Tascam DR-70D Review + How It’s Useful in Video Production

If you want an audio recorder to use primarily in video productions, there are many options to choose from. But, if you narrow the list down to just budget-friendly audio recorders that were designed for DSLR cameras — the number of options gets much shorter. You’re pretty much picking between the Tascam DR-60D Mark II and the new Tascam DR-70D. I recently purchased the DR-70D, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the unit in this post.

First and foremost, the form factor of the Tascam DR-70D is excellent. It’s compact, and the design makes it easy to mount it directly to your camera, or neatly slide into an audio bag. The DR-60D Mark II is a bit fatter and taller than the DR-70D. It wouldn’t fit comfortably into my audio bag, and I find it a bit too bulky to mount directly to my camera. The DR-60D is nice for what it is, but the form factor of the DR-70D is much more appealing to me.

Another drawback of the DR-60D is that it only has two XLR inputs. It also doesn’t have built-in microphones. In contrast, the DR-70D can record up to four individual tracks (and it has four XLR combo inputs), and it has built-in stereo microphones. Basically, all of the reservations I had about the DR-60D are not present in the DR-70D. It feels like it was made just for me. Continue reading Tascam DR-70D Review + How It’s Useful in Video Production

Zoom H5 Shotgun Shootout: SGH-6 vs. Rode NTG-2 vs. NTG-3

The third and final video in my exhaustive, three-part analysis of the Zoom H5 portable recorder is a shootout of shotgun microphones. I compared the sound of the separately available SGH-6 shotgun capsule against the Rode NTG-2 and NTG-3 shotgun microphones. To keep things interesting, I also included the Audio-Technica AT4053b hypercardioid microphone and the XYH-5 stereo microphone capsule Continue reading Zoom H5 Shotgun Shootout: SGH-6 vs. Rode NTG-2 vs. NTG-3

Audio Test: Zoom H5 vs. Zoom H4n vs. Tascam DR-40

When you’re looking for a budget-friendly yet capable audio recorder, three models will likely show up on your radar: the Zoom H4n, the Tascam DR-40, and the new Zoom H5. All three feature good sounding stereo microphones, dual XLR inputs for external microphones and signals, and, most importantly, entry-level price tags. In addition to how you feel about the layout of their various controls, and the overall vibe of each recorder’s design, it’s important to determine which model sounds best to your ears. This last differentiator is the reason I created this post. Continue reading Audio Test: Zoom H5 vs. Zoom H4n vs. Tascam DR-40

Zoom H5 Review + Why It’s Useful in Video Production

There are several budget-friendly audio recorders available that are capable machines for recording sound in video productions, and the Zoom H4n and the Tascam DR-40 stand out as popular favorites. The new Zoom H5 recently arrived on the scene, and I finally had the chance to use it. On paper, I was aware of the new features it offered video people before I ever touched the thing. When I used the H5 for an extended period, I discovered a few more things that make it more attractive for video production, and I found some things that could be improved as well.

For starters, the most obvious thing that sets the Zoom H5 apart from the pack is its interchangeable microphone module port Continue reading Zoom H5 Review + Why It’s Useful in Video Production

Youth is Restored to My 2011 Camera: Hands-on Review of the Eye-Fi Mobi

If you were instructed to visit an electronics store and purchase a smartphone that didn’t have the ability to shoot HD video, you would have a tough time. This feature was only found on select high-end phones a few years ago, but now it’s nearly universal. The same rule now applies to digital cameras and built-in Wi-Fi. If you’re a manufacturer and you’re releasing a new camera in 2014 that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you’re taking a big risk.

Continue reading Youth is Restored to My 2011 Camera: Hands-on Review of the Eye-Fi Mobi

Two Months with the Nest Protect

In our post-2007, post-iPhone world, it can be misleading to define oneself as a “gadget geek.” When you consider that the majority of people in the United States now own a smartphone, this particular term becomes distinctly trite. To truly be a gadget geek, you need to do better than being a smartphone or tablet nerd. You need to embrace bleeding-edge gadgetry in unusual product categories. You need to be a true dork.

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One Month with the Nexus 5, After Five Years of iPhone

I did it. After five years of nonstop iPhone, waking up with the iPhone, sleeping beside the iPhone, keeping the iPhone with me at all times… all the time, I finally switched to an Android phone. I’ve had the Nexus 5 for an entire month. Would I recommend other iPhone users make the switch? The answer is no. Kind of.

Continue reading One Month with the Nexus 5, After Five Years of iPhone

Pancake Too Thick? Hands-On with the Olympus BCL-1580 “CrĂȘpe” Lens

As much as I love my Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, I wish it was even smaller. This is the story of modern photo gear: we’ve got amazing cameras built into our mobile phones, now we just need amazing lenses that are somehow miraculously compact. Recently, the Olympus BCL-1580 came to my attention. It’s compatible with my trusty (and discontinued) Panasonic GH2, and it’s only $50. Plus, it’s drastically smaller than my 20mm f/1.7. Game on! I needed to try this thing. Pancake schmancake. I’ve been wanting a “crĂȘpe” lens, and it seemed like it was finally here.

Continue reading Pancake Too Thick? Hands-On with the Olympus BCL-1580 “CrĂȘpe” Lens

Riding the GIMP: My Photoshop-Free RAW Workflow

I committed to shooting strictly in Manual Mode at the beginning of the year, because I could see an improvement in the image quality of my photos, and I felt more of a bond and sense of ownership over my work (you can read about this process in this post). In order to push the quality of my work further, I knew the natural thing to do was to start shooting in the RAW format, however, my ancient copy of Photoshop CS3 was incapable of processing these files. I didn’t own post-production software that allowed me to shoot in this mode.

Continue reading Riding the GIMP: My Photoshop-Free RAW Workflow

Hands-On Review of the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for NEX

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens on a NEX 5 mirrorless camera. I only had access to this camera and lens for a short period of time, but it was long enough to get a basic feel for it. I figured I’d share my thoughts and a few pictures I snapped.

Continue reading Hands-On Review of the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for NEX