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Contour+2 Review

Published on January 1, 2013 by Che_Moderator

With the current popularity of ruggedized compact video cameras, there are primarily two big names in the market. GoPro with the Hero3, and Contour with their top of the line Contour+2. Both systems have their merits and draw backs, so we are not going to turn this into a Coke or Pepsi / Nikon or Canon type debate. At first glance, you will notice a few things about the Contour camera. Most noticeably, it is metal and has a much lower center of gravity than the GoPro. Spec wise the cameras are pretty much on par with two exceptions. The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition will do a higher frame rate at 720p (120fps) and 1080p (60fps). This feature can be nice when trying to do a lot of slow motion effects, or if you are shooting extremely high-speed sports. On the other side of the table, the Contour+2 is GPS enabled. This allows you to embed telemetry and maps not only with the included software, but also with 3rd party software such as Trackvision.


Voodoo Tactical Armadillo vs Condor Messenger Bag

Published on July 15, 2011 by Volvospeed

In this review we are going to compare two bags that serve roughly the same role. They are the Condor #146 messenger bag and the Voodoo Tactical Armadillo Pack, both in Army Digital (UCP). Both bags carry about the same amount of gear and are both carried slung over the back. That said, each bag has a feature set that makes it unique. Shown above is the Armadillo Pack. The two most striking external features are the weapon rest, and the oversized carrying strap. While not the intended purpose, I find the weapon rest makes a great rear support for a rifle that already has a bipod. The strap is what really sets this bag apart. At a hair under 4" and thickly padded, it stays comfortable all day even with 15-20 pounds in the bag. In addition the strap has two pouches to stow fast access gear as well as a large zippered map pocket. This bag also has well placed rows of PALS webbing and a carry handle.

Pelican Hardback Case 1080

Published on July 15, 2011 by Volvospeed

Pelican cases have long been known for building tough ATA travel cases used world wide to protect everything from camera equipment to documents. Professionals have trusted Pelican for years. For this reason, when I was looking for a small day planner sized case I turned to Pelican first. After some browsing their site, I found what I wanted. A small, 13"x10"x2", waterproof case. The Pelican 1080 Hardback. At first look the case seems familiar to any one with experience with Pelican. The case is a harder plastic than traditional Pelican cases, and has a single aluminum clamp style lock instead of the more common multi clamp lids I have seen in the past. A one way valve is located behind the latch.

Remington 887 Nitro Mag Tactical Field Strip

Published on May 20, 2011 by Volvospeed

There has been a lot of talk about the Remington 887 series shotgun. A lot of traditional 870 guys hate it. The Nova and Super Nova camp says its a bad clone. One site proclaims it the worst gun of the year, while another sings its praises. What I can say about the 887 is, it has its place. The ArmorLokt rust proofing system does work pretty much as advertises, more on that later. The weapon can be field stripped with a single hex key. It does chew through pretty much any ammo you feed it. One of the big knocks against it was an early issue with the feeding system. It would jam from time to time. This issue was addressed in the 2011 guys and Remington will send you out a replacement trigger group if you contact them. That said, the overall feel is impressive, if you can get over it being plastic coated. Personally I will not carry a plastic pistol, but a plastic coated longgun..... jury is out.

Jawbone Era Shadowbox

Published on April 7, 2011 by Volvospeed

There are probably twenty plus videos reviewing these on-line. For those reasons this will not be an in-depth review, just more of an over view. Let me start by saying, "I hate bluetooth". I hate the headsets, I hate keyboards, I pretty much hate the standard. More importantly I hate all headsets. I do not like walking around looking like I am crazy and talking to myself. Places like Washington DC where you have to use one in the car annoy me. That said they do have their place. I needed a headset that allowed me at the least 15 feet range and 5 hours talk time. Having used several headsets in the past, I knew I wanted one that was easy to pair. So how easy is this to pair? Super easy, atleast on iPhone. All you do is make sure that bluetooth is turned on, go to Settings/General/Bluetooth and shake the headset 4 times. Yup thats it. Ok so far so good. Battery life. I needed a headset that goes 5+ hours which this does no problem, but thats nice is it has an on-screen power meter. In addition you can answer calls just by tapping the headset. There are a ton of fit options for this headset. Like all previous Jawbone headsets, these seem to fit well or not at all. If you did not like previous Jawbones, you will not like this one either. Fit is too personal to really review or comment on. Below, you can see the on-screen power meter between the bluetooth icon and the phones power meter.

Otter Box Defender iPhone Case

Published on April 7, 2011 by Volvospeed

While I am not a huge fan of phone cases, they do have their places. I have owned several smart phones since the late 90s.  A lot of has changed since then, both good and bad. The most recent trend seems to be phones becoming lighter but more fragile. Usually, I just carry the phone in my pocket.  However recently I have found myself out in more situations where the phone is exposed to fairly harsh environments such as at the beach exposed to sand and salt spray. One of the main reasons I do not particularly care for cases is I am a firm believer in efficient design. I cannot stand anything that snags, looks rough, does not sit flat, or impacts on the smooth operation of the phone features. This is probably the reason I can honestly say I have been especially careful to never drop my phone. Even with this increased vigilance it is still rained on, sprayed with salt, banged around, and generally abused.

iSnipe iPhone Ballistics Calculator

Published on February 3, 2011 by Volvospeed

Visiting any performance rifle site and you will see people talking about DOPE books and ballistic calculators. Which is more useful depends on what type of shooting you do. In my opinion a DOPE book should never be replaced with a ballistic calculator, but ballistic calculators like iSnipe do have their use. So at a glance, is iSnipe a desktop novelty or real tool? To start, you need to enter the ammunition you are shooting. At last count iSnipe has just shy of 2500 brands and calibers of ammunition in its pre-compiled database. In addition you can add your own loads of modify an existing one. For this review I kept it simple and used standard M118LR data as this is an easy round to find and test. Based on my rifle and the elevation here I know M118 shoots ~ 80 feet per second slower than iSnipe shows it. With a simple click I was able to change this to the numbers I see locally with my rifle.

Canon Tele-Converter 1.4 II

Published on January 28, 2011 by Volvospeed

Well all know about teleconverters and their tempting promise of increased reach at a small price. But at what cost does this new found magnification come? Why not simply run the enlarger head up 40% more or in the digital age just upscale 140%? Addressed here are the most basic aspects of a very complicated subject. For these tests, we used a Canon 1Ds paired up with a 1.4 Canon L Teleconverter. Shooting with both long and short lenses we saw similar results. Since we can control more variables in the studio, we will use studio images as our samples. Shown below is the same scene shot from a fixed tripod. In both cases the lens was stopped down 1 stop from the widest aperture available. No filters were mounted on the lens.

Leatherman Skeletool

Published on January 27, 2011 by Volvospeed

Leatherman has been producing multi-tools that make Swiss-army knives look like toys for well over twenty years now. So it really takes a lot for a new one to grab my attention. I already own a Wave as well as a Super-Tool, so what could possibly be added to this knife that makes me think, "I need that!". Its what they didn't put on it. The Skeletool is a slimmed down Leatherman that is just small enough that you can actually carry it as a pocket knife. Because god forbid you have to get up and go to the tool box to get the proper tool.

B+H Kaesemann Circular Polarizer

Published on January 27, 2011 by Volvospeed

B+W is a well known optics company that has been around since the end of WWII. More recently, 1985, they merged with the well respected lens company Schneider. Over the years B+W has produced countless pieces of precision glass. With the addition of several lenses requiring a 77mm filter, I found myself looking for a polarizer. Not wanting to negate the benefits of ETTL metering, I started to look at two circular polarizers. The 77E B+W and the Heliopan 77mm Kaesemann. Because of the harsh environments the filter would be used in, a sealed or Kaesemann was essential. If you are shooting inside a studio you can save yourself a few hundred dollars by purchasing the non-Kaesemann version of this filter. In the end the B+W won out based on reputation and itsMulti-Resistant Coating (MRC) glass. Several reviews stated that the MRC glass was extremely scratch resistant as well as easy to care for.

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