Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: iPhone 7 Plus Camera vs. Canon PowerShot SX 620 HS

Recently the thought popped in my head that I wanted to have some real-deal photography equipment on my side; basically a camera that any photog would utilize to make what they are blessed to actually be in front of,  come to life and choke all viewers not on the scene with envy.

I want to be the owner of super crisp images that are magazine-worthy, ya know?  So, I took to the internet and checked out all the many options out there.  I think a $500+ camera would really sate this yearning, but financially, it's out of my reach.  (And what do you do when something is out of your reach??.. Hope you didn't say "Work hard and GET IT!!"  Nooooo.)  So, I settled for what I could comfortably afford: A Canon PowerShot SX 620.

After reading several reviews on various sites I decided that Canon's point and shoot would suffice (though I really wish I could have kicked for one of their EOS models).  Their SX 620 is currently $230 at most large retailers; a bit cheaper than its original ticket price of about $280.  I got mine from Best Buy just yesterday and am a bit sad that I will be returning it as soon as I feel up to getting back to the store (which will surely be before the 15th day after purchase).  This camera is just not worth the cost for me, because my iPhone 7 Plus' camera is better.

Now, please keep in mind that I'm no professional at photography.  In fact, I'm like an amateur's amateur.  Seriously.  I just learned a little something about lighting about a month ago.  I just love seeing beautiful things and I love to share them.  That's all this whole (more) "professional" camera kick is all about.  And even with that little disclaimer I feel confident in saying that if you own a later model iPhone you may want to skip this camera as a replacement.

Overall, I think the iPhone 7 Plus has a wider angle and the zoom on both distorts just as bad as the other.  As I like to say, the zoomed pictures have a certain degree of "ash", as others like to say, "noise". Both cameras shoot well in most lighting situations, even on the same level in low-lighting situations, which is one of the main reasons why I wanted a more professional camera.

Here are some pictures for comparison:

iPhone Zoom

Canon 620 Zoom

Okay, Christmas is long gone.  I know, but I also happen to know that I'm a little on the lazy side.  This wreath will probably never make it to the attic. *giggles*

So, from the pictures it appears as though the zoom on both devices is not at precisely the same exact level; however, I did notice that the Canon's scope is not as wide as the iPhone's in general.  In this particular iPhone snap you see quite a bit more of the wreath than in Canon's.  I believe that is due to a bit of how much zoom I used for the shots as well as because Canon's angle just isn't as wide as the iPhone's.

With this one I prefer the iPhone's shot, which appears more saturated (or soft with the colors), although Canon's shot is actually closer to the real-life colors of the wreath.


Canon SX 620

This picture was not taken in the same orientation (iPhone held vertically instead of horizontally) and the same amount of zoom was definitely not used, but once again, I like the iPhone shot better because of the color vibrancy.

(Maybe there is a setting to change on the Canon to alter that?-- At this point, I don't know nor care, my mind is set on returning it.)

iPhone with flash and zoom

Canon SX 620 with flash and zoom

This picture illustrates once again how the Canon gets less into the frame than the iPhone; however I like Canon shot better on this one.  The saturation of the iPhone shot loses the vibrancy of colors, I think.  Or it could be that the phone's flash is just not as strong as Canon's.

Excuse the bit of a mess going on, on the bed.  This one goes to Canon.


Canon SX 620
Alright, I'm starting to see that it's more to do with your preference on how soft you prefer your shots to be.  This shot with the dirty wine glasses (that are now strictly for my Apple Juice binges) goes to Canon for me.  I like the crispness this shot has with the brighter white and paler blue in the curtain pattern behind the glasses.


Canon SX 620
And again, the iPhone 7 Plus' camera has that color boldness, while the Canon is more so a truer depiction of what you see in person.

So, I guess it's not so much of the iPhone's camera being "better", as I stated in the beginning of this post, than me simply preferring the color saturation of the iPhone's camera.  The two cameras actually pretty much deliver the same except for when it comes to what the devices can get into the frame, with the iPhone being the obvious winner there.

It's also worth a mention that I shot a vlog with the Canon and the wifi upload to my phone failed.  The wifi connection to my computer from/with the camera failed totally.  The computer just would not come up as a recognized device on the camera.  I once again settled and transferred only the pictures to my phone/iCloud.  I really wish I could get the video on either of my usual (larger) devices because the preview screen on the cam is so small, but it looked about the same as all the iPhone videos I've taken.

Which brings me to another issue... The transfer of pictures and videos between devices; particularly getting them onto my computer.  Whatever I record or snap with my iPhone goes to the cloud and I can just continue work with them from my MacBook, or in a worst case scenario I just hook my phone up to the computer and import the photos and vids into Photos.  With the camera this wifi share is pretty cool, except for it doesn't seem to work too well with larger files, such as the 18-minute video I shot on it last night.

Eventually, I figured out to stick the SD card in my MacBook and transferred the video that way.  The depiction on the camera's small screen was accurate: Quality not any better than what the iPhone produces.

Bottom line is that I'm the owner of a roughly $900 iPhone (128 gb).  Spending $230 on a camera that does not do more than the iPhone's camera and even (in my opinion) lacks a bit, isn't the right move.

**Since beginning this post days ago I have already returned the camera and purchased a Canon Rebel T5i second-hand on eBay.  That camera is said to be a great cam for beginner Photographer/videographers. And I snagged it for just $350.  Should be a great investment for years to come; kicking out better quality vlogs, visually, as well as photos.

I'll keep y'all posted.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

No Joke: Foods and Many Other Everyday Products Could Be Harming You

Prior to my diagnosis of estrogen positive (100%), progesterone positive (3%-m'eh), HER 2 positive (98%) Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Breast Cancer) I had not a care in the world about the ingredients in the products I used in my household nor on my body.  I also gave little thought to the ingredients in the foods I consumed.  I love cakes and ice cream as much as I love spinach and sweet bell peppers.  What's wrong with that, right?  I got a nice balance going on.  Or so I thought.

We all recognize that cakes and ice cream are loaded with sugars and carbs and fats that should be enjoyed in serious "moderation" doses.  Especially, if you are like me: overweight/ teettering on the line of clinically obese with a BMI of 29.8.  (Here's a good place to plug that since diagnosis I have lost 9 pounds thanks to cutting out sodas and drinking copious amounts of water daily as well eating better--YAY!) The dangers of junk food is pretty much all preached out.  I think everyone gets it.  But  what about the dangers of the healthy stuff?  The fruits and vegetables?

Many of you are probably screwing your face up and have strong thoughts to move on from this post, but I implore you to hear me out.  I used to have the same reaction, "People are crazy! All these conspiracies! Fruits and vegetables are good for you!" 

Well, turns out that the use of pesticides and fungicides potentially turn that last sentence into a falsehood.

According to among other potentially harmful pesticides found on many produce items is Carbendazim which is known, for sure, to be toxic to the male reproductive system and is a suspected hormone disruptor.  Hormone disruptors, also referred to as endocrine disruptors, is defined by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) as: "chemicals that may interfere with the body's endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife."  NIEHS' site goes on to say that the institute supports studies to determine if exposure to these disruptors cause lowered fertility, an increase in endometriosis and some cancers.  Here's their explanation of what these disruptors (can) do inside the body:

  • Mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens (the female sex hormone), androgens (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones, potentially producing overstimulation.
  • Bind to a receptor within a cell and block the endogenous hormone from binding. The normal signal then fails to occur and the body fails to respond properly. Examples of chemicals that block or antagonize hormones are anti-estrogens and anti-androgens.
  • Interfere or block the way natural hormones or their receptors are made or controlled, for example, by altering their metabolism in the liver.
The mimicking one-1st bullet-- is my chief concern.  The cells that this breast tumor is comprised of all have receptors for estrogen and thrive and proliferate when estrogen binds to its corresponding receptor... or when something that seems like estrogen binds.  Estrogen overstimulation??.. Clearly, I have a problem.

And it's not just residual pesticides that pose a threat to our bodies. How about chemicals in everyday health and beauty products??  EWG has a great search tool that allows you to find out what your faves are made of.  (Click here to see for yourself)

What I found out in the search of hygiene products I use everyday is that lotions, face wash, soap, and deodorant all have to go!  They all contained ingredients that known to be toxic to organs (via absorption) and disruptive to the endocrine system.  I was hard-pressed to find any of my makeup on the naughty list, but surprisingly, (and thankfully), none made it.

I placed an order with Bubble and Bee Organic yesterday to replace my daily-use deodorant, soap, face lotion and cleanser.  I will give a review on these products in a few weeks.

And then in addition to foods and health and beauty products you have plastic products that pose a threat as well with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BPA (bisphenol A) which are both known endocrine and reproductive system disruptors.  To lessen your exposure to BPA use glass and ceramic (anything but plastic) whenever possible, especially when reheating and storing foods and avoid PVC products, period.

And you know... Many people have and will live very long lives without a shakeup to their health.  This population may use whatever products they want and eat what they like with no regard to exposure to harmful compounds.  I think that is super cool.   But for me, a current cancer patient, even if one day announced "CURED", I cannot risk it.  I cannot risk toxic exposure like I'm not especially susceptible to an ailment such as cancer, like many others that have not fallen victim to this ailment may be willing to do.

Cancer forces you to live a certain lifestyle; while the tumor is there and even long after it is gone.  You cannot feed it.  Whatever you take in, whether it be a thought, a food, a drink... You're forced to think: "Am I feeding cancer too?  Is my body a nice, comfy home for cancer to thrive in?.. Will ingredients in this perfume absorb into my skin and cause an increase in estrogen in my body?"  I have to be conscious.  I'm finding that it's a bit of an inconvenience, but you know what a bigger inconvenience is?? (You guessed it: CANCER!)

I'll close this post with EWG's 2017 lists of the dirtiest (most harmful) and the cleanest (least harmful) produce; though there is a minor update that didn't make the visual: Pears are #6 on the Dirty side.  Don't know if that means we now have a "Mean 13" or if the list remains "Dirty Dozen" with potatoes dropping off.  Either way, I'm keeping all 13 in mind and avoiding what I cannot peel all together.

No wonder I cringed as I sat in line at the local Walmart recently watching an elderly man rest leisurely on his cart as he ate dusty grapes fresh from the produce section.