12 July 2010


My conversion to the digital world started about 4 years ago when I fully changed from film to digital photography. I then scanned all of my existing film onto hard drives. I had to wait to change to digital photography until the quality of digital was as good as film. It took me a little while to get used to digital, but I have never looked back in changing over. When I was using film, I would end up throwing away 90% of the film I shot, as you always edit your images and only keep the very best from each scene. That equated to a lot of film being thrown away. Now with digital, I just delete the images I don’t want and keep the rest. No film to clog up landfills.

Over the past couple of years, I have gradually changed over as much of my life as possible to the digital world. Music was next on the list. I had already converted some of my music to play on my MP3 players and iphones, but I still had all of my compact discs sitting on a bookcase. I ended up buying a DVD player for my vehicle a couple of years ago that plays SD cards, my wife’s new car we bought last year also plays SD cards. So about 12 months ago, I converted all of my music to a digital format and put all of my compact discs in storage in the garage.

Next on my list, I decided that I had too many DVD’s taking up too much room around my house, so I started converting all of them to a digital format. Now, with the exception of my blue-ray movies, the hundreds of DVD’s I had all over the house are now packed away in storage as well. I have a hard drive with all of the movies we own hooked up to the TV, and I can upload them to either my computer or my iphone to watch. So why keep all of these DVD’s laying around? The last part of my life to convert to digital was all the stacks of paper taking up my filing cabinets.

I spent the last few days going through and scanning everything that was in the filing cabinet, like bank statements, credit card statements, receipts, utility bills, etc. Just about all of my bank statements and bills can be downloaded off of the internet now, so I have opted to not receive paper bills or statements from most of my banks, credit card companies, phone company, etc. I ended up throwing around 5 full garbage bins of paper away that was taking up room in my filing cabinets. I worked out that by not receiving paper statements or bills anymore, I will be saving around 50 pieces of paper per month, plus the associated envelopes that all of these statements/bills come in. That is just for one household.

Imagine the amount of paper saved if 500 households elected to stop receiving paper bills, or a 1000 households, or 10,000 households? That starts to add up to a lot of paper, from a lot of trees. I don’t buy my music on compact discs anymore, I just buy them online and download them. Again, how much landfill do old compact discs that are thrown away take up? Or DVD’s for that matter?

02 February 2010

Lowepro Magnum 650AW bag review

I just received my new Lowepro Magnum 650 AW shoulder bag and I love it! I have been on a bit of a Lowepro bag spending spree these last few months as I upgrade all of my camera bags. The Magnum 650 AW replaces my Commercial AW shoulder bag as my main bag that I always keep my gear in.

I have been quite impressed overall with the design and quality of the new Lowepro bags coming out in the past 12 months and the Magnum 650AW is no exception. Below is a picture of all of my standard gear that I keep in this bag:

2 x Nikon D700 bodies with MB-D10 grips
Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8 lens
Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 lens with Hoya PRO1D UV filter
Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 lens with Hoya PRO1D UV filter
Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Macro lens with Hoya PRO1D UV filter
Nikkor TC 20-E II Teleconverter
Nikon SB-600 Speedlight flash
Nikon MC-36 Remote Control
5 x Nikon En-EL3e batteries
2 x Nikon MH-18a Battery Chargers
2 x Nikon battery adapters for MB-D10 grips
7 x SanDisk 8Gb Extreme (60MB/s) Compact Flash cards
SanDisk ImageMate card reader
Apple iphone 3Gs
HP Pavilion dv6 Laptop
Western Digital 320GB external hard drive

Believe it or not, I actually still have room for more stuff if I need to.

The Magnum 650AW comes with ample dividers to customise the bag to suite your own specific needs. In fact I even had a few extra dividers to spare once I was done configuring the bag. I do though have one issue with this bag. Lowepro advertises it as being able to fit a pro DLSR with 70-200 F2.8 lens attached. Now the only way this would fit is to fit it in horizontally. The trouble is if you do that, there is not enough room to fit a second camera with lens attached in the bag with the way the bag is designed. If you try and fit it in vertically, it sticks out too far to close the bag properly, and that is WITHOUT the laptop case that needs to fit in the main compartment as well. This was a BIG positive for me with the Commercial AW as I could fit my Nikon D700 with a 70-200 F2.8 lens attached and lay it horizontally and also have a Nikon D700 with another lens attached fitted vertically in the bag. I think that Lowepro could have made the bag a few centimetres taller and then you would have no problem fitting a DLSR pro body with a 70-200 F2.8 lens attached in the bag. I mean that bag is not meant to be Airline carry-on approved anyway, so why skimp on the height?

Overall though, I absolutely love this bag, as I do all of my Lowepro bags. I know have 5 Lowepro bags, all of which should last me a long time as the build quality is fantastic and they can really take a beating in all climates and terrains and most importantly keep your camera gear safe and secure.