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What did Santa bring you?

Now that the Christmas dust has settled, the turkey has been eaten and, at least in Canada, the Boxing Day/Week sales are winding down, what did you get? Any cool gadgets?

My wife and I don’t exchange gifts during the holidays, we simply spoil our nieces and nephew and then get what we wanted after Christmas at a bargain. It’s a pretty good arrangement that we’ve had for years. We get the holiday experience via family and we both get what we want at a more reasonable price…just time shifted a day or two.

That said, this year, I had scanned all the deals and decided the main thing I wanted this year was a new point and shoot camera. I’d had the same one for over 3 years and have been shopping around for an upgrade for those times when I don’t want to lug around my DSLR.
Nikon Coolpix P6000
I settled on the Nikon Coolpix P6000 for a couple of reasons:

  • built in GPS – this is a relatively new feature to any camera and I think the P6000 is the only point and shoot with it.
  • it has many of the features of my DSLR camera in a much smaller form factor. I can dial in the various modes and settings and still set it to AUTO when I need to let someone else use it
  • Price. The Boxing Week sale price was $100 less than anywhere else.

I’m still exploring all it’s features and options. The manual alone is the same size as the one that came with my DSLR. It has a few features that I probably won’t use, like the ethernet port on the bottom which only allows you to connect to the internet to upload to Nikon’s My Picturetown photo site. If I could post to Flickr it would be a no brainer but at the moment, it’s not an option. Plus I’d rather it was a wifi connection and not a wired ethernet option. Still, the other features of the camera still seem to outweigh the downsides. I’ll do a more in depth review once I’ve had it awhile.

The other thing I got, the Korg Kaossilator, started after some ‘look what I got’ tweets started showing up on Twitter (like this one).
Korg Kaossilator

I seem to recall hearing about this little device and immediately started looking into it more after seeing CK’s tweet and subsequent blog post. I’ll embed the same video he embeded (from Korg’s site – also check out the intro movie on the Kaossilator site linked above) because it’s a great example of what this little gadget can do:

It’s basically a laptop touchpad and a synthesizer in a box a little bigger than an old school iPod. Instead of keys, you use the touchpad for input into the device and the samples, loops and patterns built in (including some awesome 8-bit videogame sounds too!) can be controlled with your fingers. This makes for a lot of fun simply zipping your finger around the touchpad and affecting the sound. This could so easily be an iPhone app if something similar isn’t one already. You can also loop segments and overlay them with others. I’ve dabbled in all kinds of music applications over the years. I’ve had no musical training of any kind and just like to mess around with this stuff making noise that drives my wife nuts but amuses the hell out of me. If I manage to record anything interesting, I’ll post it here.

So what did you get?

Update: So here’s a mediocre first attempt at making something that hopefully doesn’t melt your ears with the Kaossilator: Ka0s1 [MP3]. Kinda turned out like the credit sequence from a cheesy sci-fi movie but I like it. It was made simply by looping a drum beat and messing around with the S.60 sample on the touchpad with the arpeggiator turned on.

13 Comments

  1. you don’t need WiFi. Just get an Eye-Fi card. Now available in Canada and they work well!

    • John says:

      I’ve had an Eye-Fi card and returned it…my issue with them is that they can’t work anywhere, only at pre-configured hotspots and that they are only available in 2gb capacities that aren’t SDHC.

  2. Cool! Any desire to record a review of the Korg for Inside Home Recording?

    No camera gear for me this Christmas (last year my wife bought me a great Lowepro bag and an SB-600 flash, so I can’t complain!), but I did get s new set of Shure in-ear monitors to replace the old ones I ran through the wash. Very little techie otherwise, which is just fine by me. I tend to buy that stuff myself!

    GPS is the best thing I see going for the P6000 — generally, I haven’t been too impressed with Nikon’s point-and-shoot models compared to Canon’s and, lately, Panasonic’s. In the end, it’s the picture quality that counts, so I’m interested to see what you get out of it.

    It’s a shame that so few point-and-shoots come with good wide-aperture lenses, opting instead for wider zoom ranges and image stabilization, which is good but not as broadly useful. Canon’s G series used to have f/2.0 optics, but not anymore, and the P6000 follows the trend with f/2.7 at the maximum end. Panasonic’s LX3 has f/2.0, but no optical viewfinder and not the nice grippy metal construction of the P6000 and Canon G10.

    I guess that’s why I haven’t owned a point-and-shoot for a couple of years. In a pinch I can use my wife’s Canon or my daughter’s Pentax, or (more often) the crappy but always available camera in my phone.

  3. John says:

    Derek: Sure…I’d be happy to do a review for IHR.

    I do like the P6000’s wide angle lens quite a lot. I also like that it has a proper hotshoe that lets me use one of my Nikon speedlights with it. The SB-400 works great with it…anything bigger (like a SB-600) would be just silly since it would be twice as big as the camera.

    I do wish it was better than f/2.7 but it works pretty well in most situations I’ve tried so far. The optical viewfinder is nice but not really an essential for me especially since it’s offset like all rangefinders are.

    It is definitely solidly built. It also has some cool time lapse features (stills and video at a bunch of intervals) which I should have added to the reasons for purchase in addition to some nicer video modes that most point and shoots don’t have like a working, slow smooth zoom while shooting video and a b/w mode. It also has a manual focus mode and an amazing macro mode (2cm focus distance!)

    I actually took all my DSLR gear and the P6000 with me to the inlaws for Christmas and barely used the DSLR. The P6000 was just easier to grab and shoot with when the kids were playing or whatever.

  4. Stacie says:

    Wife here; you forgot to mention the dark chocolate covered pretzels I bought you at YVR on Christmas day!

    I always shop for clothes after Christmas (John would say I ALWAYS shop for clothes). I got some really great deals at Cotton Ginny (where they give you 5% off your purchase for using your own bag) and the Bay of all places. I just had John drop me off at the entrance to Coquitlam Centre and I spent at least an hour at the Bay trying on clothes. There was 50% off almost everything.

    And of course I got a deal on the matching earrings and necklace to the pink sapphire and diamond white gold ring that my Mom bought me for my birthday in October (from Michael Hill).

  5. Tony Chung says:

    It’s nice to see that Korg still makes innovative products. I can recall when they introduced Pandora years ago: multitrack recorder with FX, line ins, built-in mic, and drum machine. Man I still want one.

    Sadly, no boxing day specials for me. I almost bought a $3K Taylor guitar, but it didn’t command me to buy it. I resisted the last one that did and have regretted it ever since.

  6. Eric Valiaho says:

    Hi there, I came across your site while reseaching Nikon p6000. Am on the fence about it. How have you found it? Also those fisheye photos, where they taken with the p6000?

    Eric V

    • John says:

      I love my P6000…the only complaint is the battery life but it’s not as bad as some are making and to solve it I simply bought a second battery. The fisheye shots were taken with a D90 + a 10.5mm fisheye lens or a lens adapter on my iPhone or Zi6.

  7. Janine Pizzuto says:

    Hi, what blog platform is this? Can I download it for free or..? I would really love it if you could answer this question! Thanks!

  8. Hi John – I’ve seriously been considering adding a Point & Shoot camera for the same reasons you described yourself. I don’t always feel like lugging around my D90 and after reading so many mixed reviews about the P6000, what is your take on the different RAW format it uses.

    I read Nikon switched from using NIF format to NRW. Do you see a real difference in size of file and/or when it comes to working with it in Lightroom if that’s what you use as post-production?

    • John says:

      I haven’t noticed any difference with RAW formats…I use Aperture and it has handled it fine…it was only an issue for about a week after it was launched while software companies had to update their RAW converters. Pretty much a non-issue as far as I’m concerned…it’s a great camera.

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