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New 3ds XL first impressions in 2022

written by owen, published 2022-May-03, comment

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I have never used a Nintendo DS/3DS personally but when one went up for sale I jumped at the chance.  It is a rare device in my circle. I have always thought of portable games as "kiddie", shortened and simplified experiences.  But with the e-shop closing and the rarity of the "New" version I said why not.  If I had a choice I would have bought the super nes or a white version but one I got was fine.  Locally there is not a tonne of choice when it comes to these things - so I grabbed it while I could.

The system was released in Japan on October 11, 2014. I love old tech because its cheaper and you pretty much know exactly what you are getting - unlike when you buy a ps5 and spend 6 months playing Fifa + Ratched and Clank. I purchased this one for roughly 120 USD with 2 games. This whole setup and library of games is brand new to me.

First Impressions

  • This screen resolution is super low.
  • the UI transitions are a bit abrupt
  • This UI buttons are not sleak.
  • the 3d feature is giving me a slight headache.

Interacting on the lower screen and not realizing that things are happening on the top screen is a new experience.  And I have not even played a game yet.  Still just fiddling around with the UI and going through the settings.

I did not get a SD card wth my purchase so I will have to buy one.  I hopped onto the Eshop, tried to download something but no SD card so no go.  I watched the StarFox 64 trailor in 3d which was interesting but I still had the headache.  Hopped out of that to adjust the brightness of the screen then I realised that the 3ds could only suspend one thing at a time which is ok.  Then I hopped into youtube which luckily still works and watched a few 3d videos.  The 3d video is interesting but the internet browser is definitely too slow - or maybe the youtube web page is bloated.  Probably a little bit of both.

Next I went into the theme library which also required an SD card.  After I did some research online I discovered that system came with an SD card which makes not having one my fault.  I had a 4gig SD card and I screwed off the very flimsy back plate, inserted the card, turned on the system, didnt work, no card found, went online, did some reading, then realised that I need to put the card down further into the system because it is actually spring loaded.  The card then worked, downloaded a few free themes but they all seem to clutter the interface so I switch back to the default gray/silver.  A pure black theme might look nice - might be the low resolution but everything looks very muddy compared with the screens we have in 2022.

Controls

The circle pad is weird and the Dpad is positioned too low for my liking.  Adding the weight of the XL console I am already experiencing hand cramps.  I can probably get accustomed to the circle pad but Dpad is going to be tricky.

Conclusion

Overall its a fun little device.  The worst part is its low resolution.  The XL is a tiny bit but the bigger screens make up for that.  There is no room in my life for extra toys so my plan is to only play GBA games on it and maybe the odd 3ds game. It will be interesting to play these games on a portable without having to wait until the livng room television is free.

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External DVD Drive

written by owen, published 2022-Feb-08, comment

Picked this up off amazon because my new desktop did not come with a CD disk drive. It is impressive how small these things have gotten. I actually still have one of the old IDE disk drives in the closet in case of an apocalypse.
The hardware feels cheap but it does the job while being easily packed away when not in use.

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Review - JJC Auto Lens Cap for Ricoh GR III

written by owen, published 2020-Sep-18, comment

Dust is something to worry about so from the first time I saw a video of the JJC Auto Lens Cap I knew I had to test it out. Bought it on Amazon and after using it for 3 weeks I can safely say it kinda works and yet it kinda fails. I give it a 5 out of 10. Not for everyone.

The benefits

  • It works as advertised. Fits secure onto the camera and does not fall off.
  • Lightweight plastic, much lighter than the metal lens cap.
  • When closed the lens cap is perfectly flush with the bottom of the camera. This allows the camera to stand perfectly upright.

Disadvantages

  • It is slightly thicker than a normal lens cap which means I could no longer slip the camera into my jeans pocket. :(
  • Pointy edges
  • The sharp plastic edges on the back of the doors make 3 slight scratches on the edge of the stick-on UV filter.
  • There is a tiny gap between each door which means that the cap is not 100% dust proof. Unavoidable but I had to note it.
  • When the doors are open it makes the front of the camera more visible because of the shape that the doors create.

Conclusion

So in the end, the auto lens cap did not work out for me. Main reason is because I like to put the camera in my pocket. I reverted to my old JJC mental lens cap. Despite the inconvenience the normal lens cap does a better job of keeping the camera pocket-able and dust free while on the road and air tight while the camera is at rest (in a pockets, drawer etc). The auto lens cap is fancy but slightly too big to be useful. Final review score 5/10. It works but its not perfect.

The packaging

The packaging

When opened.

When opened.

Slightly thicker

Slightly thicker

You can see the sharp plastic guide edges

You can see the sharp plastic guide edges

You can faintly see the edge scratch in the glass

You can faintly see the edge scratch in the glass

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Auto lens cap has a smaller diameter because it screws onto the camera itself.

Auto lens cap has a smaller diameter because it screws onto the camera itself.

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What I am want in a new camera (point and shoot)

written by owen, published 2020-Aug-22, comment

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I could always keep using my old camera until the stars align ( it still works ) but its definitely time for an update.  As usual I make lists.  Lists are simple;

Smartphones are trash

I have said it before.  But the gish is that its not really about "the camera you have on you" - its about how average you want to be.  If you want to be like everyone else then use average tools.  Otherwise fts.  These people who recommend smart phones are using red cameras to make youtube videos.  You will spend more time watching their videos than creating your own.

Small + Inconspicuous

The camera has to be small and be able to fit in my jeans pocket.  Obviously it is not going to be as small as my previous Powershot elph 300HS but it has to be small while still taking good quality photos.  This rules out the Fuji X100V - I do not want to get jacked on the streets.  As for Leica it must be nice.

Bigger image sensor

I am done with small sensor cameras, for years I wondered why the quality of my photos never got better even though I was constantly upgrading to higher megapixel cameras.  A few features improved but Canon was simply shipping the same tiny sensor while doubling the resolution.  3.2mp, 6mp, 12mp, Canon fts.  Fool me once, fool me twice.
The Canon G7x is too big, (plus I never do video) so I then was looking into the the G9X but it seems than Canon is never going to release a Mark3 for that camera.  Canon fts.

New hardware + Updateable

I keep my cameras for years.  I think my current camera has been going strong for 6 years.  Too many devices get released with micro usb ports and never get updates.  Canon and Sony fall into the group of neglecting their cheaper cameras.  I know personally that I do not have the money to buy a 2000$ camera so fts.  Nothing should be released in 2020 without a USBc port.

Processing speed and In body stabilization (IBIS)

I need stabilization.  Its something you never know you need until you experience it.   I mostly take candid photos.  Or I am in a location where I am the only person taking pictures and everyone wonders wtf.  So it is rare that I have the opportunity to fully compose a shot.  Which means I need to run and gun.  So the camera has to be able to keep up with the kind of pictures I take.  IBIS will hopefully reduce the amount of blurry pictures I have to delete at the end of the day.

Conclusion

Obviously all these things will come at cost and trade offs but only patient men ride donkeys.  There are not many options in the point and shoot camera market - well not many "good" options - so compromises will have to be made but thats pretty much how life is.  The best iphone is $1100 right now but its a consumption trap that will surely develop a random problem within 2 years.  It is obvious that if I want the best quality I have to buy a big camera but the point is not to achieve perfection but escape the trap of average consumer tech.  And maybe - just maybe get better at taking pictures.  When you try your best and you dont succeed....

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BillGates commented: I wish you bought the x100v so I could buy it from you ???? ... read 1 more

Time to buy a new camera (point and shoot)

written by owen, published 2020-Aug-06, comment

my trusty canon powershot ( 12.1 MP, f/2.7, 1/2.3") is beginning to show its age. I originally bought it in 2014 for $150usd (released in 2011). It is my 4th canon powershot. I have to applaud canon for their cheap p&s pocket cameras that are able to stand survive 6 years of use, 4000+ photos so far (2015-2020). The firmware unfortunately never gets updated and the soft plastic lens ring around the self closing blades now get stuck in a open position. The camera I had before had a metal enclosure.

Preface

Pictures on the internet nowadays are hyper filtered and surreal - I am not a fan - I can see why people like the smooth, fake color look. But sharpness has always been a problem with small sensor cameras like the canon powershots. If the light is not perfect and colours are not bright you are going to get muddy/fuzzy pictures.

It is hard to find a camera that is both small and good quality - its probably against the laws of physics. But I am willing to compromise. Fast auto focus and IBIS is also important. I dont want interchangeable lenses. I have been watching lots of youtube.

The search

So after a couple months of searching around I reduced my options to the canon g9x, a small camera with a bigger 1" sensor (four times as large as my old camera) costing 3 times as much at 450$ usd. At the this point the cost increase was expected because I want make a big jump in quality/speed. I need to leave the tiny sensor market. Things are moving fast and I need to shot and run - in a manner of speaking. Plus I keep watching old videos of film photographers from the 1940s whos pictures still look good 60 years after they were taken. My old pictures are so low quality I dont even bother to go back into the archives. So if I am going to be taking pictures I want to at least get a nice quality.


To whom much is given, much is tested. I also got interested in street photography so the small size of the canon g9x and the increased resolution should prove to be an asset. But there was a snag; the canon G9x is currently on version 2 or Mark2 which was released in Jan, 2017. That is a full 3 years ago. If you know anything about modern tech you know that buying old tech is a losing battle. USB-C ports are far better than micro-usb.

So i waited for canon to release a new version. waited and waited. no new version. Still waiting. Other cameras in the same lineage such as the g7x and g5x got a mark3 update in 2019 so I figured the g9x was next in line. I patiently watched the news feeds and rumor sites. While Canon released new cameras, printers, crowd counting cameras, all sorts of tech - pumping out new cameras costing upwards of $5000 usd. Yet no G9X mark 3 with a USB-c port. #Shame

I rarely edit my photos; partly because my computer is slow, and have too many hobbies, so post-processing or video is no more room. A couple years ago I started using auto-contrast in picasa3 but thats pretty much all I do. I never crop my images - because I am lazy. So when I am taking pictures with my point and shoot I need to make sure the picture looks "good enough" the first time I take the shoot. Right now I am averaging 60% good pictures - IMHO. This may seem high because I have been taking pictures with these tiny cameras for YEARS and I know what they can and cannot do. The problem is whenever I go wild and I try to be fast or artsy my "good" picture rate goes down to 10%. This fact limits my range of pictures. So I need to up my game.

Some people say the best camera is the camera you have with you - which usually means a smartphone camera. The problem I have with smartphone cameras is that the pictures lack detail - the look fine on the phone screen but trash in print or on a large screen. The ergonomics of using a phone is off-putting. Not enough options and it gets costly if you want better quality.

Anyway while I hunt for a new small camera you can browse my old pictures (taken with my current canon 300HS) or look at a few I took recently with my cellphone below (edited in black and white because my phone camera is trash 8 MP, f/2.2, 31mm);

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