LifeWeTravel Trip Tips and Product Reviews from real people who travel the world. en-us Fri, 05 Jun 2020 05:01:16 +0000 Sett RSS Generator How does the Lumix GX7 compare to the GX1? Back in 2012, I wrote about how I was on a journey to learn to take insanely great pictures, and I was taking that journey using the Lumix GX1 camera, which I love. It's got much of a DSLR's quality, but with the much smaller form factor of a point and shoot camera. And like photographers like to say, "the best camera is the one you have with you" to get the shot, so a smaller camera like the GX1 beats out a bulky DSLR any day of the week for me, because I carry it in my bag all of the time. I've captured many spur of the moment shots that way, like this one celebrating 5 years of an employee working at our company, which only happened because I happened to have the camera with me:

I've also taken some fantastic photos with the GX1. Here's a link to my favorites and here's one of them:

So as you can imagine, I was very interested to learn about the successor to the GX1, a recently-released camera called the GX7.

And a friend recently asked me:

"I'm thinking about exchanging [the GX1] for the GX7KS...Yay or nay?"

My answer is, "it depends."

The GX7, which sells for $998 on Amazon with a 14-42 zoom lens, is a superior camera to the GX1 in several important ways:

  1. It has a same size sensor with 25% less noise.
  2. It has in-body image stabilization
  3. It has wifi and NFC capabilities
  4. It has an adjustable electronic viewfinder
  5. It has an adjustable, touch sensitive rear display panel
  6. It has 7 function buttons to which you can assign your own functions, and it has two dials that you can assign functions to (i.e., aperture on one and shutter speed for the other) -- the GX1 only has one dial.
  7. Higher ISO for better low light pics

These aren't small differences. They're meaningful ones. So if budget is not your primary concern, then yes definitely upgrade to the GX7. You may also want to consider the Sony NEX-7 which is in a similar price range -- $1,098 on Amazon with a lens. I'd go with the GX7 over the NEX-7 for these reasons, as mentioned by dpreview:

The Panasonic GX7's advantages over the Sony NEX-7:

  • Sensor shift IBIS
  • Tilt up EVF
  • Better EVF - more screen resolution
  • Better LCD - more screen resolution
  • Touch screen
  • Can shoot in 4 aspect ratios rather than 2
  • Higher maximum sensitivity (ISO 25,600 vs 16,000)
  • Slightly more powerful built in flash (GN 7 vs GN 6)
  • Faster max shutter speed - 1/8000th
  • Much smaller lenses
  • Much wider variety of lenses
  • 40 lenses available vs. 21 lenses available
  • Longer exposures possible (60 sec vs 30 sec)
  • Has 2X and 4X digital zoom (not that anyone would actually use it)

So back to the main question -- GX1 or GX7? Well, it really comes down to price, because you can get a screaming deal on a GX1 right now. There's literally one left on Amazon right now for $528 for camera and lens. That's half the price of the GX7. So if you're budget constrained, the GX1 will serve as a fantastic camera and leave your wallet thicker.

Lastly, here's a great YouTube video of the Panasonic Lumix product manager talking about the new GX7. I'd love to hear your comments below as well. And if you stumbled on this page, you might also like to read about how I'm hacking SmugMug + Lightroom in my photo workflow process.

Panasonic Lumix GX7 vs GX1 Camera Comparison Video

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Sat, 04 Jan 2014 17:15:38 +0000
Best baby monitor? Does anyone else have an opi]]> Well, the time is fast approaching (7 weeks!) so Sue and I are starting to look into the products we need to buy. Our friend Carrie wrote a fantastic blog with her pics & Pans.

Carrie recommended this Levana Monitor ($99 on Amazon).

Does anyone else have an opinion? We're going to have to upgrade Sue's iPhone soon, so one option might be to use this iPhone app as a baby monitor and use Sue's old phone as the recording device. Just not sure how reliable it would be.

I'll be happy to post details here once we make a decision, along with details on how it's working out.

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Tue, 10 Sep 2013 08:51:52 +0000
Comparing the Micro 4/3's 20mm 1.7f-stop lens with the 14-55mm zoom lens for the Lumix GX1 My buddy Isaac just bought a GX1 -- in fact, he bought two of them. This gave us a great chance to compare lenses: The non-zoom, 20mm 1.7f lens (about $350 on Amazon) with the power zoom, 14-42mm 3.5f lens (about $325 on Amazon). There's also a very interesting third len]]>

My buddy Isaac just bought a GX1 -- in fact, he bought two of them. This gave us a great chance to compare lenses: The non-zoom, 20mm 1.7f lens (about $350 on Amazon) with the power zoom, 14-42mm 3.5f lens (about $325 on Amazon). There's also a very interesting third lens to consider, which we didn't specifically test: The non-zoom, 14mm 2.5f lens ($286 on Amazon).

Here's what Isaac had to say about the 20mm lens:

As Isaac mentioned, the lower the focal length, the more distortion you'll see when taking close-up portraits of people. @m43photo has a GREAT article describing that phenomenon here. The lower the focal length (i.e., "14mm" vs "20mm") the wider the angle the lens has.

And Isaac is right -- the 20mm lens does focus slowly, which makes it hard to take pics of a child that's often moving. However, when it captures a picture, the shot is awesome. Here are a few great pics I got in just a few minutes of shooting:

Speaking of manual focus, there's a nice big manual focus ring on the 20mm lens, but I found it didn't focus as quickly as I'd like. It took 3 full turns of the ring to go to each extreme. From what @m43photo said in his blogs, the 14mm lens may focus more quickly in manual mode, so I'm super interested in comparing it with these lenses, which I hope to do at some future date.

In sum, I'd say that if you want to take some killer pics, go with the 20mm lens. The 1.7f is just awesome (note the super shallow depth of field in the two pics above, meaning that the backgrounds are very blurry), and the lens is compact.

If you want more of a "do it all" lens and you're willing to live with a power zoom and power focus (i.e., no manual controls), then go with the also very-compact 14-42mm zoom lens.

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Thu, 20 Dec 2012 01:10:18 +0000
Do what works for you! You will hear 1000 tips and conflicting opinions on everything from pacifiers, to strollers to breast feeding. Do what works for you.

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 20:20:05 +0000
Let's Juice: Comparison of 3 juicers to replace two meals per day My wife and I have been making an effort to eat unprocessed foods as a part of a healthier lifestyle.  Simply told, that means if there's a label on the food (or if it's in a box), we try not to eat it.  I'll write a more comprehensive blog soon about the thinking behind this approach.

Part of this initiative is to buy organic fruits and vegetables (Rainbow grocery in San Francisco is just amazing) and consume them over other foods as often as possible.  We try to  juice every morning and most evenings, replacing evening meals with juice as often as scheduling permits.

We've gone through three juicers looking for the exact right one, and finally we've found it.  Here's a review of the ones we tried, so you don't have to.

Jack Lalanne Juicer

The Jack Lalanne high-speed juicer: This was our first juicer.  (The link at left is for Amazon, although you can also purchase it at Costco for $89).  It actually worked quite well.  It has a large opening and consumed all types of fruits and vegetables we could throw at it.  Cleanup was simple enough, although there were a number of large parts to be cleaned.  But there were two things about this juicer that made it a non-starter for us:

1) We're buying organic produce, which is way more expensive than non-organic.  And this juicer didn't extract all of the juice from the items it was juicing, leaving very wet pulp.  This meant that although the juicer itself was cheaper, we weren't getting as efficient a juice from it.

2) The larger issue, however, is that there's a lot of literature about the advantages of low-speed (80 RPM vs. 3600 RPM) juicers, called "masticating" juicers.

While the high speed juicers (like the Jack Lalanne) use centrifugal force to extract the juice from a spinning filter, the low speed masticating juicers "chew" the juice out of the food.  You can find plenty of claims on the web about how low speed juicers "preserve enzymes" in the food and "don't cause oxidation" and "preserve nutrition" in the juice.   The instruction manual for one of the Omega juicers below even went so far as to say that juice from low speed juicers doesn't lose any of its goodness for up to 72 hours, while juice from high speed juicers has to be consumed within 20 minutes.  I don't know that I specifically buy any of those claims, but I will say that reason #1 was enough for me -- I want to extract as much juice out of the fruits and vegetables as possible from this pricey organic produce.  So, although the Jack Lalanne juicer has a lot of great qualities to it, we were off in the hunt for a low-speed juicer.

Juicing with the Jack Lalanne Juicer

Jack Lalane juicer cleanup

The Vert Hd Vrt350 Masticating Juicer:  We really thought this juicer was going to be it.  The Amazon reviews on it are stellar and a lot of people seemed very happy with it.  We had done a lot of research on masticating juicers, and this model really seemed to be a step up from the older Omega masticating juicer (below), which is a different design.  But we were quickly disappointed, for two reasons:

1) Fibrous vegetables (think: leafy greens) that are stringy get completely clogged up in the juicer because of its design, so you end up having to chop these items up into chunks that aren't more than 2 or 3 inches long to keep it from clogging.

2) An even bigger problem is that this juicer choked on carrots.  How can a juicer choke on carrots?!  Especially when there's a carrot in the stock photo?!  It wouldn't happen every time, but it happened often enough that it proved very annoying.  A carrot would cause the juicer to grind to a halt, then we'd have to reverse the juicer, pull the carrot out, chop it up more finely, and repeat the process.  Clean-up was also not as easy as I'd hoped -- while maybe not worse than the Jack Lalanne, definitely not any better.  So, back to Amazon it went.

Head to head: Vert HD Vrt350 vs. Jack Lalanne Juicer

Vert Hd Vrt350 Cleanup

The Omega J8006 Masticating Juicer: This is our current juicer, and the one I would recommend.  Don't get me wrong -- there are trade offs.  While it definitely produces the driest pulp by far, and while it may be the fastest & simplest in post-juicing clean-up time, it's by far the slowest in terms of the actual juicing time itself.  Additionally, it has an amazingly small chute, meaning everything has to be chopped up.  If the Vert 350 above had a smaller chute would it also have escaped the carrot problem?  Quite possibly.  But the J8006 is a solid beast of a machine.  While the Vert felt like it was just barely able to handle the food we'd throw at it, the J8006 has no such problems, chewing up everything we've given it with ease.  It's a confidence-inspiring juicer.

The solidness of the machine plus the dry pulp has meant we've kept it and are pretty happy with it.  If a juicer came along that could match its qualities but have a larger food chute, I'd definitely appreciate not having to cut everything up (example: the Jack Lalanne could handle an entire small apple through its chute, or if a big apple, cut in half.  With the Omega, we have to cut the apple into 8ths).   However, the fast and much simpler cleanup time and process helps offset the longer and more tedious juicing experience.  And for what it's worth, the juicer makes a really satisfying "crunch" as it chews through food.  I know, kinda meaningless but fun just the same.

Good luck in your juicing quest, and I'd love to know what you think, and what experiences you've had in the comments below.

Omega J8006 Juicer Tips

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Thu, 20 Dec 2012 01:17:47 +0000
Daddy Traveler Pro Tip - Innovative Use for a Belt ]]> Daddy Traveler Pro Tip: Innovative Use of a Belt

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Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:39:21 +0000
Our favorite parenting blogs Sue and I are compiling a list here of our favorite parenting blogs. Feel free to add your favorites, too (and tell us why!).

  • -- Carrie & Frank are our parenting heroes. Carrie writes a great blog about how to be a mindful parent. They didn't even buy a stroller! And tons of other great perspectives.
  • -- thanks Alan & Haley from our centering group for contributing this one! Love the 'sensory' focus and all the project ideas. Time to go to Michael's to get some supplies!

Lots more in the comments below.

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Fri, 04 Oct 2013 19:52:42 +0000
Co-Sleeping -- anyone have an opinion? Sue and I want to co-sleep with our baby. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do it, how not to do it, and whether it's valuable?

I'm assuming it'd be great, although I am slightly concerned I could harm the baby. I mean, I am a deep sleeper! There have been car alarms that have gone off outside our window and I haven't woken up. Is that a real concern or just dumb?

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Wed, 24 Jul 2013 03:41:51 +0000
Daddy Pro-Tip: A Quick Walk = Passed Out Baby! ]]> Here's a link to the great Infantino Hoodie I reference in the video below. And these are the "HotHands" hand warmers we put in the bottom of the hoodie; acts as a chimney keeping Devina warm -- esp her feet & legs.

Daddy pro-tip: A quick walk = passed out baby!

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Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:26:35 +0000
Best baby video -- thanks Frank & Carrie!

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Sat, 28 Dec 2013 20:01:31 +0000