OMARCAST

2019

The GPS Handhelds For Hiking You Should Get In 2019 #hiking #gps #hikingtech

TechOmar MoralesComment
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No matter if you are a seasoned hiker or just starting out you will benefits from a handheld GPS when venturing into nature.

The first line of defense in case you get lost or just want to be on the safe side is a GPS but you maybe wondering if you actually need one when you have a perfectly working smartphone and most GPS units look and fell outdated.

Well to be honest it depends. If you just go hiking close to home for short periods you may not actually need to invest on a dedicated GPS unit but you will still need to make some small investments.

The iPhone or Android Way

Some hardcore hikers frown on the idea of going hiking with just a smartphone but the true is that smartphone are really capable devices. The hc-hikers point to three main downsides of using a smartphone and all of them are valid but like everything there are workarounds. Battery pack investment $30-50

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Downsides of smartphone and workarounds

Poor battery life - True. The high performance of smartphone comes with the downside of shorter battery life.

Solution, Get a good external battery pack like this one or this one.

Now you have more than enough juice for a day hike. To preserve even more battery if you are out of cell coverage put your phone on airplane mode. GPS will work but it will preserve your battery since it will stop looking for cell signal. Lower brightness a bid and you should be good.

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Fragility - Yes Smartphone’s are fragile devices and thats a big upside of dedicated devices since they are built to handle the outdoors.

But you can and ruggedness to any smartphone with a good outdoor rugged case.

Here are some good ones UAG, Spigen Rugged Armor, Pelican Shield and Otter-Box Pursuit. Total case investments $14-40

Network Dependent Mapping - This one was a very valid one many years back but today is just fluff since offline mapping apps are easily available and more often that not offer better maps than dedicated GPS units.

On this side there are two awesome apps AllTrails and my go to GAIA GPS. This apps are very powerful and are been updated constantly. Mapping cost $20-40

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So your total cost assuming you don’t already own any of this items will be between $45 and $150 way less than a GPS unit.

NOTE: I embrace redundancy if I go hiking with my phone or a GPS unit I always one more than one. Even if you have a GPS unit why not also have your rugged up phone with you in case your’s GPS fails. And if you are only taking your phone take another spare one in case your main one suffer a catastrophic failure or damage. We all have an old one laying in drawers around the house they don’t have to be the latest and greatest and if you don’t already own a spare get a cheap one for less than a $100. [Here is a good back up one][0].

Another good backup unit will be a GPS watch like a [Garmin Forerunner 945][1]but this are a bit expensive for just a backup unit. If you will get more value out of them like health and workout tracking then it will justify it price.

Dedicated Units

More often than not when people make list like this one they will trow in every single model they can or just repost everyone else list that have’t been updated in years beside the title to update the year.

I will keep this list short and only with units I actually use or will use. Now you will see a theme here on the brand and thats because when it comes to GPS I really trust Garmin.

This is Garmin latest generation GPS handheld and it boosts a newer but familiar interface modern connectivity and access to Garmin’s Connect, Live Tracking, Garmin Explore and Connect IQ.

Long battery life and the best part user replaceable AA ones so you can take spares.

Included Birds Eye view imagery along Topo maps.

Note: Some of the negative user reviews when the units initially launched had been addressed by Garmin via software updates.

If you are really a touchscreen person then the Oregon 750t is the way to go. It’s compact and sleek but features great GPS reception advanced features like Ant+, Bluetooth, Wifi, Camera and also supports Connect IQ. It comes preloaded with topo maps as well. This little device offer a lot on a small package and this one is actually my go to GPS handheld.

The GPSMAP 64st is an affordable but outstanding GPS unit. It’s not touchscreen and lack most of the connected features (while it support Live Tracking) but is a solid unit at a good price. The keyword here is value.

Enter the mighty inReach Mini. This is one of Garmin’s most popular products and for a good reason. This is primarily a communication device with basic field GPS functions but this device will definitely save your life if the worst happens.

The inReach can log your location on device and can also send your location via satellite so your trusted one even when far away from the nearest cell tower. It allows you to send and receive SMS anywhere in the world and it has a dedicated SOS button. Press it and help will be on its way.

This unit should be carried no matter what along cell phones and dedicated GPS units it also integrates with other Garmin devices like the GPSMAP 66st and Garmin watches. Also connects to your smartphone.

Note: The inReach Mini requires a service plan to use the Iridium Satellite Network. The plans start at just $11.95 for more info on this plan check the plan page here.

There you have it the best GPS Handhelds and Smartphone upgrades you can get in 2019 so you can hit the trails with peace of mind.

The Best Macro Lenses To Get In 2019

PhotographyOmar MoralesComment
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A good Macro lens is a must have for every photographer. A good macro lens will open a new world of amazing shots but it will also work as a day to day lens. Here are a list of eight great macro lenses. This are highly rated lenses with superb picture quality and performance.

While some manufacturers offer more than one macro lens I will focus on the best one.

1 - Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro

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Canon 100mm Macro f2.8 L

Must have for any Canon shooter.

  • 100 mm focal length and 1:2.8 maximum aperture.
  • Lens construction consists of 15 elements in 12 groups.
  • 23.4-Degree diagonal angle of view
  • Inner focusing system with USM and full-time manual focus option.Closest focusing distance 0.99 ft./0.3m (maximum close-up magnification: 1x)
  • 67 mm filter size
  • 100mm lens with f2.8 aperture
  • Canon's first mid-telephoto macro "L" series lens to include Canon's sophisticated Image Stabilization

The canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USM Macro lens is a bit of a monster to be honest. Like most other Canon L series lenses, this lens comes in a little bit heavier than standard EF or EF-S lenses. This is due in part to the excellent build quality (and whether sealing) and also in part to the inclusion of Image stabilization.

Controls on this lens are fairly standard across Canon's series of lenses, you have a range selector switch, AF/MF switch and an image stabilization On/Off switch. Since this is a prime, there obviously isn't a zoom ring, just a focusing ring, which is nice and wide and has a very smooth motion to it.

The Canon 100mm Macro lens is really a multi purpose lens. Although it's main use is for macro photography, you can very readily use this as a portrait lens on a full frame body (on a crop sensor this will be a 160mm lens which is a bit long for portrait photography) with excellent results.

For the most part when shooting macro, you would want to shoot on a tripod with rail system and good lighting however since owning this lens I've found the amount of times that I've been out wandering around and happened across something that I wanted to shoot and didn't have my tripod with me to be a lot more than I expected. This is where the image stabilization on this lens comes into play. I've found that with the IS you get around a 2 stop advantage. It also makes taking macro shots by hand actually possible.

To get really close shots you can pair this lens with extension tubes. Extension tubes don't have any glass in them and simply create more of a distance from the back of your lens to the actual camera sensor. This effectively "zooms" you in further.

Image quality from this lens is phenomenal. Very sharp images with wonderfully creamy bokeh produced by it's 15 elements. This lens creates the best bokeh I have seen form a lens, including the lenses I own that stop down to f1.4.

If you are looking for possibly one of the best macro lenses on the market. you won't be disappointed with this lens. If you are looking for a great portrait lens, you won't be disappointed with this lens and if you are looking for a macro lens that you can use without the need of a tripod, then this is definitely lens you want.

Overall the Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USM Macro lens is a winner. I'm so glad I paid the extra for the L series and image stabilization. Totally worth it.

2 - Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

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Nikon Nikkor 105mm f2.8G Macro

Nikon Shooter this is the lens for you.

  • Designed for close-up and macro photography; versatile enough for virtually any photographic situation
  • Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 23 Degree20'.Features new VR II vibration reduction technology, Focal Length : 105 mm, Minimum Focus Distance : 10 ft.( 0314 m)
  • Nano-Crystal coat and ED glass elements that enhance overall image quality by further reducing flare and chromatic aberrations
  • Includes an internal focus, which provides fast and quite auto-focusing without changing the length of the lens. Maximum Reproduction Ratio : 1.0x
  • Weighs 279 ounces, and measures 33 x 45 inches; Made In China ;5-Year Warranty (1-Year International + 4-Year USA Extension)

This is a wonderful lens, it's like getting two for the price of one: a sharp portrait lens and a nice macro lens.

There are certainly cheaper lenses that offer macro capability, but most of these lack the focal length necessary to shoot insects or other tiny subjects without having to get so close as to drive them away. This lens is just long enough (105mm, or really more like 160 if shooting on a DX mount as I am) to capture tiny scenes without disturbing them. That, and it is RAZOR sharp. This lens makes great use of VR.

It's not a heavy lens, nor is it especially light. You can easily carry this lens around on your shoulder all day without a problem. It doesn't quite have the strong, tank-like feel of other Nikon pro lenses (I would not feel comfortable dropping this lens onto a hard surface); it doesn't feel like the body is made of metal as much as it is composite plastic...which is ok, since it keeps the weight down. Considering the lens has a reach of 105mm at f/2.8, I think the weight of the lens is very acceptable.

3 - Fujifilm Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR

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Fuji XF80mm F2.8R Macro

The must have weather sealed lens for Fujifilm X cameras.

Lens Highlights

  • X-Mount Lens/APS-C Format
  • 122mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One Aspherical Element, Four ED Elements
  • Super EBC Coating
  • Linear AF Motor, Floating Focus System
  • 1:1 Magnification, 9.8" Minimum Focus
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Weather-Sealed Design, Fluorine Coating
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

Finally, a real 1:1 Macro competitor from Fuji! It's ultra-sharp, and I love the 120mm equiv. in terms of workspace from the subject. The lens switch for 3 different focus ranges helps immensely with quick focus at macro ranges.

This lens is absolutely spectacular. It's so incredibly sharp at all apertures.

Wide open it does produce swirly cats eye bokeh, but once you stop down to f/5.6 the bokeh becomes smoother. Out of focus rendering is dreamy and rich.

Colors and micro-contrast are excellent. It does hunt a bit in low light, but in good light the AF is super fast and smooth.

The images rendering is stunning The lens is rather large, even larger than the XF90mm. But it's not cumbersome or ridiculously heavy. The OIS works flawlessly, and I can get razor sharp images at 1/20 shutter speed, which is a huge advantage over the XF90mm.

I'm here to tell you that this lens is epic, and the IQ is second to none.

4 - Sony FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS Standard-Prime Lens

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Sony 90mm f2.8 Macro

Son shooter this is the Macro lens you need.

Lens Highlights

  • A perfect match for α7 series, 35mm full-frame E-mount cameras, 90mm Macro with a bright F2.8 maximum aperture, Nano AR coating effectively suppress reflections, Dust and moisture resistant design
  • Minimum Focus Distance : 0.92 ft (0.28 m), Maximum Magnification ratio : 1.0x, Focal Length : 90 mm
  • Optical Steady Shot image stabilization for handheld shooting, Instant manual/auto focus selection via a sliding focus ring, Instant manual/auto focus selection via a sliding focus ring
  • Corner to corner sharpness w/ Advanced Spherical elements, Super ED glass w/ multi‐coating reduces flare and ghosting, 9-blade circular aperture contributes to gorgeous bokeh
  • Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) for quiet, precise focusing; Weight: 602 g (21.3 oz)

This lens is amazing. The build quality and the feel of the lens is great. The sharpness of the lens is on point especially when attached to any of the Sony a7 models. It is definitely worth the price.

The build quality, sharpness, built in steady shot switch, and auto/manual focus push/pull switch.

The only thing I can think of is it can be a little heavy for a mirrorless lens which can off balance the Sony a7ii in some people's hands but its excepted for a 90mm f/2.8 with that build quality.

5 - Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro for Nikon, Canon and Sony A mount DSLR

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Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro

Canon, Nikon & Sony shooter look at this lens for awesome quality at a better price.

Lens Highlights

  • Nikon F Mount/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • One LD and Two XLD Glass Elements
  • eBAND, BBAR, and Fluorine Coatings
  • USD AF Motor, Full-Time Manual Focus
  • VC Image Stabilization
  • 1:1 Max. Magnification, 11.8" Min. Focus
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Compatible with TAP-in Console

This affordable lens for Canon and Nikon do not sacrifices on quality for price. By contrast if offers an amazing value.

This lens is a must have for any photographer, pro or hobbyist, who not yet added a macro lens to their collection! The macro shots produced are breathtaking, with stunning details and sharpness. Same goes for portrait shots or just about anything else.

6 - Olympus M.Zuiko ED M. 60mm f/2.8 Lens for Olympus & Panasonic Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless

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Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Lens

Olympus & Panasonic this affordable lens is the perfect macro for you.

Lens Highlights

  • Micro Four Thirds System
  • 120mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One Extra-Low Dispersion Element
  • Three High Refractive Index Elements
  • ZERO Lens Coating
  • 1:1 Magnification, 7.5" Min. Focus
  • Movie & Still Compatible AF System
  • Weather-Resistant Construction
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

In my experience the lens is sharp right from 2.8, with stopping down grabbing you a bit more. But the reality is its sharp right from jump.

I've not noticed any particularly glaring defects or aberrations of any kind. The bokeh is good. The build quality is good, though it is a plastic lens (and I'm so glad, as metal would have been $300 more), and the weather sealing merely adds to an already fantastic presentation.

With regards to the AF; while it can be slow at times, and I stand by my original statement, it should be noted that macro lenses generally focus slower than normal lenses, due to the increased focus range. In the category of macro lenses this lens is plenty fast. I merely think this is an area where there is still room for improvement.

7 - Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Lens

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Canon EF-M 28mm Macro IS STM Lens

Canon M shooter this super affordable lens is great on any Canon M camera.

Lens Highlights

  • Light macro lens featuring Image Stabilization for EOS M series digital cameras.
  • Built-in Macro Lite which, when enabled, automatically supplies light to your photos as needed, helping to provide a better sense of depth and dimension.
  • Autofocus lens capable of focusing at infinity in normal shooting and macro shooting with up to 1.2x magnification.
  • Hybrid IS helps reduce camera shake for enjoyable handheld photography.
  • Stepping motor (lead screw-type STM) helps provide smooth and quiet operation when taking photos, and near-silence when shooting videos.

The EF-M 28mm Macro lens is probably the most interesting lens in the EOS-M Lineup. It's a very affordable, very compact "Super Macro" with an image stabilizer and built in LED lights.

The lens itself is very lightweight and appears to be a light aluminum with a plastic mount. Note that this is an EF-M lens and will only work on the EOS-M cameras (EOS-M1, M2, M3) and not a DSLR.

Included in the box are the lens, a lens-cap (EF-M28) and a lens hood. Unlike most lenses, Canon included a "free" lens hood with this one as it's required to use the hood to get a screw-in filter mount. No bag/storage is included with the lens, but the LP-811 is recommended.

The lens itself has 2 buttons on it: A light and a "release" lever. When the lens is attached and the camera is turned on, you'll need to hold the release lever and select either "Normal/Macro" or "Super Macro" to be able to take photos. The default position will not allow you to take photos and is more of a position to store the lens.

Selecting the normal mode allows typical autofocus as well as "Macro" mode (up to 1x magnification). Selecting Super Macro allows up to 1.2x magnification off the subject, but does not allow normal focusing distances (it only focuses at a very close-up macro level).

I found Autofocus to work fairly well (always tricky at such close magnifications) but was a bit disappointed that you need to use the menus to select either AF or MF. I wasn't able to get the AF+MF option to allow for both auto and manual focus and there is no switch on the lens itself.

The stabilizer works very nicely and is a great option to have when dealing with such close-up levels.

The LED additional is actually really great. When pressing the Light button on the lens, small LEDs on the left/right of the lens will turn on, allowing you to get clear shots of objects up-close. The default is for both LEDs to be on at bright mode, clicking it again will turn it to a dim mode, you can also toggle each light on/off or bright/dim, so if you only want the left LED on, you can do that. When focusing up-close, this LED comes in handy a lot as you otherwise wouldn't be able to light a subject. Great addition here!

The lens itself has no filter threading. If you want to add a filter (43mm thread) you can attach the included Hood to the lens.. note that doing this WILL block the LED's and render them useless. You'll need to decide if you want the filter threading or the LED. This is a bit disappointing.

One other piece of information to note is that this is a fixed 28mm lens, which is pretty wide for a macro. You need to be in VERY close (the minimum focusing distance is probably under 1 inch from the front of the lens) meaning that for live-animals this might be too close.. for any other subjects, you should be Ok.

The fixed lens also has a widest aperture of f3.5 which isn't bad.. for most macro work you'll probably end up bumping that to f8.

I found the LED light helped in all situations but did require you to be VERY close. This will not light anything more than a few inches from the lens.

Detail was very high, you can see many small details that would otherwise go un-noticed by the human eye, and even at a wide aperture it's very sharp. I did not notice any fringing even on high contrast subjects up-close.

Overall this is a great additional to the EF-M system. The lens has a lot of features, included some never seen on other lenses in the past. The compact size and low price make it even better, but the short focusing distance may turn some away. The fact it can be used as a normal lens as well as a macro (and super macro) may make it much more useful to some people, but those wanting to shoot live subjects may want to look into a lens such as a 100 or 150mm macro.