Porsche Cayman Video

I've always had an interest in cars... one infamous family story involved me using my carry-on bag to take 20 or so car magazines on a long flight to read. However, I always made relatively responsible choices, buying reliable, low cost vehicles from family members and otherwise ignoring my urge to drive something exciting.

That time is finally over.

I traded in my nice, reliable, well maintained 2014 Honda Accord sedan in on this used, expensive, 2008 Porsche Cayman.

Of course, I had it inspected and took a lot of care in seeking out this specific one - it's low mileage, well maintained, I have most records, and it is incredibly fun to drive. This short video was the best I could do as at the moment, only myself and my father know how to drive a manual transmission. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do some more exciting videos soon.

Also, this is the last video I'll be making with the Spark. I liked it so much that I've already replaced it with a Mavic Pro.

 

I Bought a DJI Spark

Thanks to a strange sale at Target (Green Monday? I didn't know that was a thing), I picked up a DJI Spark drone about a week before Christmas. I couldn't help it - I've wanted a drone for a while and had been seriously looking at the Mavic but couldn't justify the cost. The Spark was close enough to a refurbished Mavic that it didn't make sense either, until the sale.

I've already crashed it several times, but it has help up nicely. Most of my crashes were with the cell phone controls when I first got it, but since then I've gotten the controller (perfect Christmas gift from Megan), making it easier to avoid obstacles. I also added a set of prop guards, and at low speeds they provide a lot of resilience, as well as added safety.

So I made a video, comprised of clips I recorded the first two weeks or so that I had it. It's a little longer than usual but I really liked this track, so I just stuffed everything I could from my first few flights in.

I can't wait to use it in more places, I'm starting to get the hang of planning cinematic shots before I take off - with a battery life of barely 15 minutes it's important to know what I want to do ahead of time. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the quality of my footage improves as I become a better pilot. Plus, I need an excuse to get the Mavic later on.

So I sold off my Panasonic G7 and got a G85 instead...

Although I didn't slam it too badly in my official Panasonic G7 review, there was something about it that wasn't a good fit for me. I did have some trouble with a few soft shots due to shutter shock, and the lack of in-body stabilization was a bigger deal to me than I realized.

So I sold it and replaced it with the G85. The G85 has very similar specifications, sharing a similar sized body, the same 16 megapixel 4/3 sensor, and control locations. However, it's astounding how much different the camera itself feels - much more solid and refined. Controls like the AFS/AFC/MF switch are much stronger feeling and less finicky, and give me the impression it will last longer. Weather sealing is a welcome addition, and it is paired with a similarly sealed 12-60mm kit lens which offers both better stabilization and more reach than the 14-42mm in the G7's kit. It also has an in-body sensor stabilization feature that interacts with the 2-axis optical stabilizer in some Panasonic lenses to offer a pretty hefty advantage in video stability.

 I really put the weather sealing to the test at Niagra Falls "hurricane deck."

I really put the weather sealing to the test at Niagra Falls "hurricane deck."

For stills, the new shutter mechanism is much quieter and has less vibration - I haven't noticed any of the shutter-shock blur like I did on some images from my G7. The new 12-60mm kit lens also seems sharper and cleaner at the same focal lengths as the old 14-42 lens I had, and that extra reach on either end is very useful. Of course, this body is compatible with my other micro 4/3 lenses, and makes for a great little kit when paired with the 17mm 1.8 or 25mm 1.8 Olympus lenses.

All in all, a solid upgrade to the G7, though for a budget shooter who doesn't necessarily need the weather sealing, larger kit lens, or other minor features it may be worth waiting a generation - I'd anticipate the G85's successor to have the 20 megapixel sensor and a number of other features trickled down from the superb GH5.