Tech

 

Sony Cyber Shot DSC H1 Digital Camera
A great all round Digital Camera, I bought the Cyber Shot used from a friend at work and it's let me down only a few times, ie: freezing in the cold but other than that it's been a great camera. The carry pouch and strap also has a loop which is where I generally fasten to my belt (so if you see a walker walking with his trousers round his ankles you’ll probably find it's me) I do struggle carrying a camera over my shoulder or around the neck with the constant tap, tap, tap to the chest, so I find it better to loop it through the belt and adjust towards my right side out the way and free from leg movement.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC – FZ38 Digital Camera

My newest edition Digital Camera, as technology has moved on considerably in the last five years or so and with the Cyber Shot having a limited x12 zoom I was on the look out for something with a powerful zoom and that’s what you get with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. I love my technology and gadgets as much as the next bloke and yeah I’m also one of those guys who never reads the instructions, trial by error is the only way! The camera also records in HD playback and comes with a USB cable for downloading straight to your computer, In the box it's pretty basic, you do get the obvious camera straps and a charger battery pack, a great upgrade to the Sony Cyber Shot.


 

Nikon D3200

I've owned the Nikon D3200 now for a couple of months, the one thing that tempted me to the D3200 after reading reviews was just how many times the word ‘robust’ was mentioned in the same sentence as the D3200. The Nikon D3200 is a huge step up for me in terms of what a camera can do and how much I know how to do it, so much so I took a few photography lessons from a friend who taught me the basics about the camera and how its many functions work.

Five years on I still own my trusty Nikon D3200 and although I have had to replace the barrel once I can categorically say that the Nikon D3200 is one of the best outdoor cameras there is to buy. Even after all this time I'm still learning as I tend to put my fell walking before my photography, even so I reckon I've taken up to 30k images with this camera most of which for this website.


 

Nikon D5600
My Nikon D3200 had been my regular DSLR on the Lakeland fells for almost 9 flawless years and it was coming up to the time when I needed to upgrade to a new camera with newer software and lens and without question I stuck with the Nikon brand simply because I feel they are the most robust camera on the market surviving record high temperatures to sever windchill and not to mention the odd drowning during prolonged downpours the Nikon D series has never let me down. It still very early to write a complete review having only tested the D5600 a few times but the changes in image detail along with colour when set in scenic mode is enough to win me over already, stay tuned for a more detailed review in the near future.

 

Garmin E-trex H

Gives excellent value for money at only costing around £80.00 the Etrex H is the GPS on a shoe string. I got my E-trex from my local Go outdoors and was even given a demo by one of the staff in the shop at no time spared from a fellow walker, then given a hearty hand shake and wished a Happy Christmas, that’s what I call service.

A little about the Etrex H, like I mentioned it is the cheapest GPS on the market and only comes with a LCD screen which in its self does look pretty basic but it does the job.It can store up to 500 waypoints/markers which personally is more than enough as I’ve only used at most 15/20 and that’s keeping the markers within a half mile radius. The E-trex is waterproof although there’s dropping in lets say a puddle or snow and then there’s dropping in a lake which I wouldn’t want to find the outcome. The Battery has 17 hours life having only used it twice using x2ordinary AA rechargeable batteries on lets say a four hour walk the batteries coped well in freezing conditions too. The only couple of gripes I do have do have so far is I don’t yet have the data cable which makes for tedious finger pushing inputting the marker points which can take roughly about half an hour to input say 15 waypoints and with the buttons feeling brand new your your thumb and fingers do tend to go numb! but other than that its the best £80.00 I’ve spent in a long time.


 

The Garmin Oregon Day 450

The Garmin Oregon 450 wasn’t on ‘my to buy list’ as I was looking at its younger and cheaper brother The Dakota 20 (Full UK 1:50 Mapping) Having penny pinched my way through the last few months I'd finally put enough away to go to my local  Go outdoors and swap my hard earned cash for a new little walking buddy. My local Go outdoors comes highly recommended as said in previous reviews, yeah sometimes you might pay over the odds but not necessarily on all occasions. I’m as tight as the next tight wad when it comes to bargains, I too will trawl the websites looking for the cheapest bargain but in this case Garmin seemed to have nailed the market (my thoughts anyway) in fact every where I looked I came up with the same price. I’m pretty lucky that my local Go outdoors has a Mountain Team Rescue member (Bolton Mountain Rescue)  and his product knowledge was second to none talking me through the interface.

The Dakota 450 packs a bit more in weight than my Garmin Etrex (192.7g) as apposed to the Etrex H (150g) but what is handy is it comes with a Carabineer thumb clip which like my Etrex I attached to my chest strap on my pack. Battery life comes in roughly between 16/18 hours depending on the backlight setting which is more than adequate time for what I need and by using x2 AA rechargeable batteries the Oregon recognises which type of battery it is running on to get the most out of it. A great additon to any fell walkers kit who has already learned how to map read.


 

Suunto Core All Black

I've had my trusty All Black for the last six years and despite the usual battery change the watch hasn't let me down once. Changing a battery can be done by using a two pence coin and with a simple anti-clockwise twist it unlocks the back plate revealing the inner workings along with the battery. The watch comes with digital compass and altimeter which will need to be collaborated after a battery change which can be easily done. Two years ago I upgraded the strap from black to a bright green. The upgraded strap can only be purchased from Suunto due to the special locking pins which hold it in place and it was pricey at around £40.00 but well worth it as the new strap came with a spare set of pins and gave the watch a refreshing new look.

A great addition to my fell walking kit which I'm hoping will be with me for many years to come.


 

Ordnance Survey Explorer Folded Series

I cut my teeth with my collection of OS maps during the early days of my fell walking career, there is many a photograph of me with my trusted OL4 ect,ect – folded neatly within my trouser thigh pocket.

In most cases the explorer series come in 1:25 scale which offers much more ground detail than the sketchier 1:50 of which most G.P.S’s are programmed including my own. My collection of maps are like photographs of my family, some are so sacred from those special first walks, some are so cut up they are held together with Selotape, battered by the wind and rain from walks gone by, never leave for the hills without one.


 

Anquet (OMN) 1.25,000 HD Mapping Software

For as long as i've run my website I've owned a copy of Memory Map software. I remember talking to friends years ago who told me it was a nightmare to install and they wasn't wrong but as technology has progressed installing memory map onto your computer or mobile device has been made very user friendly indeed.

I currently run two editions of mapping software on my laptop, Memory Map and Anquet Maps or OMN (Outdoor Map Navigator) for short. OMN used the same techniques but is slightly advanced with upgraded HD maps which are the ones you see in my walk reports. From the software I am able to calculate my walks and routes to within accuracy giving me information such as mileage and total ascent along with additional information but the main thing I really like about having OMN on my computer is ease of which you can plan a walk from. I'm not saying that you should go and throw all your paper maps into the fire but I would urge any serious fell walker to give either Memory Map or OMN a trial.