The "New Toys" Thread

Guess I jumped the gun with the previous post, the Sigma under further testing showed some real problems with sharpness near infinity focus and optical stabilization issues. So back to the store it went and now I have one of these instead.

A fine choice, despite the weight I really like my 200-500. I have a 1.4x teleconverter on it almost permanently now, with the Z9 it performs very well. To me anyway.
Happy to hear you like yours - It actually feels a bit lighter in the hand than the 150-600 despite the constant aperture, specs say the Nikon weighs more but maybe it's just better balanced. Also good to hear it works well with the TC1.4! I'll keep that in mind if I start needing extra reach.
Guess I jumped the gun with the previous post, the Sigma under further testing showed some real problems with sharpness near infinity focus and optical stabilization issues. So back to the store it went and now I have one of these instead.

I have a much older version of that lens, also with the stabilization. It's amazing glass and I love having an excuse to use it.
the VR has always impressed me, even on my old D7000. While I was out with mine yesterday someone asked me if it was hard to keep it stable, so I just held it up in live view at full reach (with the 1.4x TC) and the VR just handled it with only a small amount of movement. I don't have a steady hand, either. It's helped by the VR built-in to the Z9, which works with the lens VR.

I also looked at the Sigma lens, I watched this video when comparing the two. Kind of pointless now but still interesting.

Yeah, the VR is night and day compared to the Sigma's OS, you can even tell in the viewfinder. Hand-held at 500mm in average lighting with the Nikon I'm getting sharp shots the majority of the time, while with the Sigma it was showing significant blur in the same conditions with maybe 10% that were sharp.

I'm by no means a hater of third-party lenses but this was a real eye-opener.
A Dell XPS 9370 laptop. Second-hand, obviously, and it's a 16GB of RAM model with a Core i5-8350U, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and a 4K touchscreen. I might replace the SSD with a larger one, and the battery, but I don't feel like throwing too much money into this, as it's supposed to serve as a temporary machine until I can afford an Apple-silicon MacBook. I mean, this was basically a steal for €280, as I've seen similarly-specced Dell XPS 13s go for much more.
Nice spec there. Work might be getting rid of an older Precision because it's lacking a USB-C port and therefore can't be used with our WD series docks. It wouldn't be of much significance but it has 64GB of RAM. My computer rehoming scheme might help another one. :p
Been wanting a smart watch for a long time, so when I finished work earlier than planned yesterday and still had time to kill in Frankfurt, I paid a visit to the Apple Store. Only wanted to compare Series 8 sizes in person to see which fits my wrist better, but then had a rather informative talk with one of their sales dudes, and walked out with a 40mm Watch SE instead.

Not yet sure it's the right call, may make use of the 14 days return window and upgrade to a 41mm Series 8 still. The additional sensors, larger screen area in the same case and faster charging seem like things I want to have, just not sure they're worth a +66% price difference. Always-on screen is kinda neat too. Guess I'll live with the SE for about a week and decide then.

It's kinda nice wearing a watch again. I used to always wear one years ago, until smartphones became useful enough to make a normal watch somewhat obsolete. Then had some cheap fitness bands, but those never really stuck with me. The Apple Watch does quite a few more things than those though, I think I'll get a fair share of use out of it day-to-day.
I'm a long time Apple Watch user but it took me a while to get to the point where I actually felt comfortable spending retail money on one. The first one was a series 0 clearance sale when it was being discontinued and the second one was a series three (I think) I found in the classifieds. An impulse buy in the duty free shop at an airport in Singapore and then buyers remorse after the flight. Neither was the model and color I actually wanted. I bought the Series 8 when it came out, specifically because I wanted the always-on screen this time around. It's pretty nice not to have to do that wrist movement to get the screen to turn on.

Oh. and several years after Focus modes came out I finally arsed myself to set it up. 8pm to 8am is "me time". Badges and notifications from all my work related apps disappear and the clock switches from showing weather, calendar, date etc to only showing the time in BIG friendly letters.

Oh and the Series 0 spent half a winter under my mates sauna because it dropped between the floorboards when I undressed. The cracks didn't look big enough for a watch with a band to fall through so it never occured to me to look underneath the building. The battery had died already (series 0 have shit battery life) so I gave up searching forit. His dog found it in spring and when I put it on the charger and it eventually came back to life the "lost device" alarm came on, the one I had sent via the Find My app months earlier.
I’m still on a series 4 because for some reason none of the incremental improvements ever tickled me enough to make the switch. Until they introduced the much improved sports features and artificially limited some of those (specifically running power) to s6+ for exactly no reason (except to get people to make the switch i bet).
Will see what s9 has to offer in fall. Apart from the artificial software limitations I’m still perfectly happy with the Watch. Don’t care about always on display or the additional o2 sensor in any way. Multi band gps might be nice, but it’s always been very good already.
Only thing I’d definitely always shell out for: large version (yes I’m tall but have very skinny wrists, still) and cellular (purely, 100% only so I don’t run out of podcasts on my runs, which happens all the time with this non-lte one).
I've tried the large version on, but the smaller one just feels better to me somehow. This is part of the reason I'm considering switching up to S8, to get the smaller bezels and bigger screen in (almost) the same casing size. Other sensors are nice, but not really necessary - continuous body temperature readings are the one I'm likely most interested in, but I doubt they're terribly accurate measured at the wrist.

Used the sport tracking stuff for the first time while bouldering today, and it's really rather nice. The app I found actually tracks single climbs and a height profile with the accelerometer and barometer readings, and combined with heart rate readings that adds up to quite a lot of data that's nice to have. Plus I get phone notifications without having to dig the phone out of the bag - it's a bit too bulky and risky to carry while climbing, but the watch is perfect. So far, quite happy with the purchase.
It's hard to believe I've had my Series 5 for over 3 years, I didn't wear it much during 2020 or 2021. I don't even remember what my old Moto 360 did that I didn't want to lose but it's much better to have notifications on your wrist than to have to keep looking at a phone. I do actually care about the way it records walking distances, so I wear it every time I go out walking with or without my camera.

Mine is a 44mm, more important to me was the glossy black stainless body (similar to the old Moto) and the always-on screen. I don't think I want or need anything else. Sleep tracking is interesting but I wouldn't be able to sleep with it on anyway. I'm keeping this as long as I can.
Ended up buying a "Oneplus Nord 2 CE 5G" as a replacement for my Galaxy A31 that wasn't (reliably) charging anymore, so far I'm happy with it. But than again I'm not really a demanding customer. After comparing some phones in the 200-300euro range and adding in my personal preferences it looked like the best deal for 300euro and eventually only paid 265euro for it. I especially like the out of the box experience, no matter how customisable a UI may be I'll usually prefer one that suits me without too much tinkering.
Glad the case and matt black camera bezel arrived today so I could cover up all the shiny parts :LOL:.

And now I'll probaly discover a new weak point in smartphones now that I've got the wearing out of the usb connector covered with a magnetic quick release cable that has an adapter that is small enough to keep it in the connector all the time (thanks @Matt2000 ). When I tried the cable with my Samsung it really showed how worn the charging port was, the magnetic force was stronger than the charging port could hold. So moving the cable toward the adapter simply pulled the adapter out of the charging port.
The quick release connectors have always been shallow enough to be tucked inside the case in my use, which is nice. One thing to watch out for is that they will attract ferrous metal swarf, something to keep in mind when working on your cars. :p

Also the ones I have plug in to an Airpods Pro charging case fine and they will appear to be charging, the case gets warm but the charge percentage never seems to go up. After the first time I didn't want to risk damage so I just stick them on my wireless charger.
Not yet sure it's the right call, may make use of the 14 days return window and upgrade to a 41mm Series 8 still.
Aaaand of course I did. Also swapped to a Sport Loop band instead of the plastic Sport Band at the same time, since I didn't like that one very much:


I thought I'd most be interested in the "more sensors" and "faster charging", but damn, the slightly larger screen is actually so much nicer. And always-on is kinda great. Have only used this for half a day so far, wonder how much it impacts battery life in my normal day-to-day - the SE usually managed a day without charging with 30-40% remaining for me, so I should have a fair amount of buffer to still make it on a single daily charge.

Also, I'm kinda impressed by the Apple Store. Both times I've been there for the Watches, it was pretty full - but still, no wait time, very competent dudes directly available to help with what I needed, fast handling, no bullshit sales pitches. Processing the return of the SE and "upgrade" to the Series 8 was completely painless, they didn't even need a look at the receipt - just scanned the serial and confirmed everything is legit straight away. Tbh I'll gladly pay the full non-discounted price for that kind of in-store experience, when it comes to things I actually want to look at / try on physically before buying, instead of saving 10-15€ online on a multi-hundred € item.
Also swapped to a Sport Loop band instead of the plastic Sport Band at the same time, since I didn't like that one very much:
I’m honestly super happy that I got the Nike edition watch back then because the Nike specific silicone band with the holes in is actually the only band I can actually do sports in without getting uncomfortable (and I would never have bought it had it not come with the watch). I tried the fabric style bands, the new solo loop stuff, all sweaty and yuckkk (I am a sweaty dude I admit). I’ll have to stock up on a lifetime supply if they ever decide to discontinue them. Also I rather like the light two tone color contrast that the bands carry… however in the end it’s still a silicone band which looks like it (ie some will think cheap). Also: don’t cheap out on the bands. Just get original.

Regarding battery life, I’m actually surprised to see so little difference to a new SE… because I also routinely end up with ~30% every evening (then charging to 90-100 before wearing it to bed). Would’ve expected my 3.5yo Watch to have deteriorated more by now at ~1000 odd charging cycles.
Last month, I had to buy a new AVR to replace my old Denon AVR-1910. I found a deal on a Denon X2700-h and holy balls, this thing is far more advanced than one might think. You can stream audio through it and it even has an app to configure the sound profiles. This has me rethinking all of my old speakers as well, given that they're all from 2008 and on the smaller side.

Trouble with my old unit is that all of the speakers have very low output. I took the cover off and tried some basic troubleshooting of the ground circuits and other things, leading me to discover a small PCB with scorch marks.
Denon receivers are great, I've been extremely happy with our X1600H and the auto-leveling system is great. I considered the X2700H but decided I didn't need 8K future-proofing.