The FR 235 is a great GPS + heart-rate tracker for running and cycling. There are cheaper alternatives (notably from TomTom). If your budget allows for this model, buy it ($330 here). You won’t regret it.
Several very thorough reviews have been written that go into the Garmin 235’s features in great depth — if you want a long version I recommend the one at dcrainmaker. On this page I offer you, by contrast, a (very) short review of the Garmin Forerunner 235 fitness tracker/GPS watch based on daily real-world experience. I bought one with my own money, and use it for my own running.
Footnote: I’m a 30-something guy with a desk job who trail-runs 2x per week. If you are seriously into triathlon or swimming you may want something more fancy like a Fenix 5.
- Attractive round-faced design
- Excellent GPS tracking
- Very good built-in optical Heart Rate monitor
- Great battery life (I get 9 days when running 2x or 3x per week)
- Good ergonomics
- intuitive buttons
- always-on display
- display works great in bright sunlight
- Useful as a smart watch (iOS / Android notifications)
- Customizable watch face (classic analogue, digital, etc.)
- You can swim with it (rated 50 m waterproof)
- Features that help you quantify your fitness and training (VO2Max estimate, recovery advisor, activity tracker, training effect)
- Plastic; will eventually scratch during normal use
- No barometric altimeter (although GPS altitude works better than I expected)
- Pairs with phone over bluetooth but doesn’t support external bluetooth sensors (uses ANT+ instead)
- No touch screen (although some people will prefer it this way)
- No music player
- Very little on-board storage for apps
- Odd distinction between custom downloadable watch faces, widgets and apps
- More expensive than the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio
The Garmin 235 is a good-looking runner’s/cyclist’s watch that focuses on core functionality, which it does very well. It also has smartwatch features but never lets these detract from its core functionality. Fitness trackers and smart watches are still evolving at a rapid pace – every year brings new models with better performance, new features and better designs. Unless you’re rolling in cash I’d recommend rather buy mid-range and update every few years than splurge on a titanium-and-sapphire range-topping watch like the Fenix 5.
Today I am comparing two “premium” third-party standard zoom lenses: the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 VC ($650, B&H), and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 OS ($594, B&H). Both offer a useful 17-50mm with fast F2.8 max aperture (at all focal lengths). Both feature optical stabilization. Both are available for multiple camera mounts (including Canon, Nikon and Sony).
Interestingly the price difference in The Netherlands (where I live) used to be reversed, although recently the Tamron got more expensive and the Sigma much cheaper, so that they currently retail for €419 and
€389 respectively (28 December 2013).
In addition to their similar specifications, these two have very similar size and weight, and compete in the same price range. Direct competitors, therefore. But which one is best?
I got my hands on both of them (Nikon mount), and put them to the test.Read More»
And here it is! The new flagship of Nikon’s camera range, the D4 (posed next to its upcoming nemises, the Canon 1D X).
When Canon announced their EOS-1D X in October, I made a quick side-by-side comparison with Nikon’s flagship at the time, the D3S. The new Canon featured a range of major improvements and was poised to make a grab at being the best 35mm professional DSLR money can buy. Notable was that the new Canon would only be available in March 2012, making the announcement a marketing move (for the time being). The question was what Nikon’s answer would be, since the D3S was still excellent, but already a few years old.
And now we know – on paper. The Nikon D4 narrows all of the gaps that existed between the D3S and the Canon 1DX, but the Canon still holds the specification crown. These numerical differences will probably be less important than how the features are implemented, and without a hands-on comparison we will still have to wait at bit. Notably, the new Nikon excels in its video features, for the first time surpassing Canon.
The significant stuff, in table form:
|(Max native ISO)
|# AF points
H.264 + RAW out
with face detection
with face detection
||3.2″, 921k dots||3.2″, 1040k dots|
|Memory card slots
||CF + XQD||CF + CF|
|Price (body)||$5999 (B&H)||$6800 (B&H)|
|Announcement date||Jan 2012
(available for pre-order)
(available March 2012)
DPReview covered the D4’s announcement in more detail, but I’ll just focus on the most important headline upgrades:
- Multimedia! The D4 supports high resolution video: H.264 1080p @ 30fps, 720p @ 60 fps + uncompressed HDMI video out
- Second card slot for the brand new industry-standard XQD card format
- A new 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor with face detection
Actually that is quite a short list. All the other improvements are incremental. Slightly larger LCD, improved AF sensor (with same number of points), higher resolution, improved processing power, and tweaked ergonomics. Not a bad thing since these were already excellent on the D3S. But not head-turners either.
The D3S was absolutely the best low-light performer of any full-frame DSLR, so if the D4 equals this it will still be great. One just can’t help noticing that Canon massively upped their game with the 1DX, and it seems that they might now have taken the lead – with a native ISO limit that is almost 4x that of the Nikon. One can’t help thinking that the D4’s boost range was doubled only so that the it could match the Canon’s 1D X impressive maximum ISO. What it will mean for noise I don’t yet know – we will have to wait for tests.
Interestingly the D4’s biggest selling-point now seems to be its video features. Ironic, since only a year ago the situation was reversed, with Canon being the DSLR videographer’s choice, and Nikon leading in still photography performance. But progress benefits us all, and professional video shooters will be ecstatic with the Nikon D4’s uncompressed HDMI out – up to now only available on expensive dedicated video equipment, and notably lacking on any Canon DSLR. And the XQD card slot will prove a huge advantage for storing all those massive video files.
Of course if you are already heavily invested in either manufacturer’s equipment, especially their expensive pro lenses, it might make little sense to consider a switch. But if you want to move into pro photography and have little or no existing commitment, this might be a moment to choose carefully.
Today Nikon announced the SB-910, a new top-of the range flash unit to replace the SB-900.
This is a rather quick replacement – only 2 years and 5 months after the SB-900 appeared on the market. Compare this to the previous update cycle: It took Nikon 5 years to replace the SB-800 (announced 22 July 2003).
This update most probably has something to do with a gripe some professional users had with the SB-900: if you worked it too hard the thermal protection circuitry will kick in, rendering it unusable until it cooled.
While this is good for the unit’s self-preservation, it is terrible news to a photographer shooting a critical scene (imagine the bride walking down the aisle). Of course, working pros should be aware of this (it is explained in the manual), and it’s simple to switch this feature off if you don’t like it.
Non the less it comes as no surprise: The SB-910’s new thermal protection system slows the flash recycle frequency rather than it simply shutting down.
The full list of changes compared to the SB-900, just like in its model number, are marginal:
- New overheating control (slowed recycle time instead of shutdown)
- Improved battery management
- Slightly simplified user interface (more like the SB-700)
- Illuminated buttons
- New “hard” colour filters (like on the SB-700)
- Slightly tweaked exterior that is ever-so-slightly heavier (about 1%)
The SB-910 is already available for pre-order at around $550. If you’re clever and don’t need the tweaked features of the SB-910 you can save yourself $100 (20%) and instead order the SB-900 for $449 (B&H), while stock lasts.
Update: Since the Nikon D4 has been announced on 2012-01-06, I have also written a concise post about the Nikon D4 vs Canon 1D X.
Canon has thrown down the gauntlet with the announcement of its brand new flagship DSLR, the Canon EOS-1D X. This new camera is an extremely important new model for Canon, make no mistake about it.
The significant stuff, in table form:
|# AF points
||1005-pixel RGB||100,000-pixel RGB|
||3″, 921k dots||3.2″, 1040k dots|
|Price (body)||$5200||$6800 (est)|
|Announcement date||Oct 2009||Oct 2011|