Tag Archives: Cameras

Video Surveillance Software For Mac

Seems like I haven’t made many posts lately. Lilliam and I have several projects going that have been consuming much of my time. Lilliam has a fairly significant remodeling project and I have been tired just watching it.

I have mentioned some of my security projects in past post. One of those security projects, is my video surveillance camera project. I had it completed and all working, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I decided to design a different system using a MacMini. That is what I am going to discuss today.

When I built my previous system, I started off with a Dahua standalone NVR (network video recorder) and four Dahua 2100 ip cameras. I ordered all of the system components directly from the China distributor and had them delivered direct to David at a savings over buying the components in the US and shipping here. I could not find what I wanted in David. Continue reading Video Surveillance Software For Mac

Car Dash Cams – Some thoughts

I know a lot of people are considering dash cams now by the number of emails I receive asking about mine and where they can get one.

I did not research the one I got and it is not one I would recommend because of some reasons, I will describe.

I rarely buy anything without researching it, but I did in this case. The camera I bought was bought by a friend of mine for another gringo that changed his mind and never came to pick it up. I thought a dash cam was a good idea and said I would take it without doing my research.

Most of the dash cams are made by small companies in China. The instructions they come with are generally poor. Most will work with Windows based PCs. Some will not work with Apple PCs. I have yet to see one that specified what PCs they will and won’t work with.

Because of this, I recommend that people, with only Apple PCs, be sure before buying if they can transfer the files to their PC and use the video.

Some have proprietary recording software and may only be played back on the device. All that I have seen use a mini SD memory chip to record on.

The cam I bought was only able to have the date and time set by recording the current date and time on the SD memory chip and loading it into the camera. Horrible design! My video quality is fair, but certainly not great.

You can spend from $30 to hundreds of dollars on a cam. The differences may be worth the money to you and they may not. Most people are buying them for insurance purposes and if one is ever used, what ever you paid for it will be worth the money.

GPS is on the more expensive models. It will record your trip and it can be displayed on a Google map. Those with GPS will probably record the speed you were driving and G-force of an impact.

Some are now coming out with dual cameras. I am going to include a video review of one of these cameras. By watching this video, you will learn several things about cams in general and questions to ask.

Here is another Dash Cam review site. They rate the camera in the video as having poor night vision. I would still like to have one. I refuse to drive at night in Panama and it should not be a problem.

CC Reader Car Cam Experience

I am posting this as a positive reinforcement that having a Car Cam in Panama is a worthwhile investment. I will also say that there are two sites in David that sell Car Cams. One is Planet Telecom and the other is in the Dolegita Romero’s shopping complex.

Hi Don,
Use as much or as little of the following as you wish for your blog.

What is it with gringos and euphemisms?!
Anyway, I was in a crash with a bus which swerved into my path. No injuries, both vehicles disabled.
In the hearing yesterday, the facts of the case and the police diagram were in my favor. The video iced the cake.
I am now is a good position to claim more than $1000 from the insurance of the bus (my old beater Cherokee is too old to be covered in my policy).
These car cams are a great idea. The facts of a case will often be not clear-cut.The one I have can be ordered by going to http://boquete.ning.com/ and finding the link in the right-hand margin. I can’t seem to find them locally.

I, too, had planned on the Thanksgiving buffet at the Hotel Cuidad de David but had to go to the hearing instead. Fortunately I saw the notice in Chiriqui Chatter about Resturant Quatro and so went there for dinner.
Our party of four all had the turkey special. We all loved it! Add a wonderful bottle of white Spanish wine and the pecan pic dessert–bliss!


Canon Lens Repair Experience in Panama

I have received questions in the past about camera repair in Panama. A friend recently had a Canon Lens repaired and I thought the experience might be of entrust to others.

Canon Repairs–camera, lens, etc.
After problems with an expensive canon SLR lens, I emailed Canon/Panama to check my options.  I was quickly answered by Elzebir Montenegro at emontenegro@canon.com.pa.  
Ms. Montenegro told me (in Spanish, but English will probably work as well) that I could ship the lens from David to Panama City with a shipper she recommended.
I ended up going to PC on other business and delivered the lens in person.  Canon is next to the Multimax store in Tumba Muerto; your cabbie will find it easily.  I left the lens and got a receipt.
It took several weeks before I heard more.  I was asked to approve the replacement  of internal elements for a cost of $278 (!!, but the lens is worth $1200). I was emailed a credit card  approval form which I printed, filled out, scanned (all on my $40 Canon machine!) and sent.  The lens was finished in 4 days and then shipped overnight to David by Servientregas (775-8593) for an additional $18.
Servientregas is located on the Pan Americana.  Going toward PC, it’s the first big complex on the left past the big Arrocha.  Pull in past the trucks and go to the back.
If you are going to ship to Canon, get your gear professionally packaged.  Servientregas recommended HDL in David (across from Banco General).

In sum, the lens works fine, and I am a happy camper.

New Technology for the Blog

I am always looking for new ways to potentially improve the blog and if technology comes into the picture, then so much the better. In this case, “picture” is an appropriate word.

Last year, I upgraded my personal camera to the Panasonic GH1 and have been extremely happy with it. The 4/3 lens capability keeps the camera to a decent size even with my 14-140mm lens. However, when I bought the Panasonic, I gave my old camera away.

Soon thereafter, I realized that the new Panasonic was just easy enough to tote around every time I left the house. That prevented me from capturing many photos for the blog. I decided I needed to look for a second camera that I could always have with me.

My first research had me considering another Panasonic as I wrote about HERE.  I continued to read reviews and consider my wants and needs and finally settled in on the Casio EX-H20GBK Hybrid-GPS.  I had a friend that was going to the US and she brought it back to me.

The camera has a hybrid GPS feature. That means, it you walk in a building and out of line of site of the GPS satellites, it keeps tract of where you are walking and estimates the location. Here is a video showing some of its features.

As with any hand held, there are tradeoffs. Normally low light is not one of their strong points. Another is the lag between the time you press the button and the time the camera focuses and actually takes the picture. However, if you want something to carry around 100% of the time, you have to accept those flaws. Continue reading New Technology for the Blog

Volcan Visit May Have Been Expensive

One of the people I talked to at Dalys restaurant was reader of CC and a great photographer. I looked at several photos he had taken of calf roping in Volcan and they were nothing less than fantastic. The one thing I don’t like about my camera is that it is slow and it is easy for me to miss a photo I wanted to capture.

The gent was toting a Nikon and now I have the bug to start checking the net again for a digital SLR. I don’t know if this is going to get past the wishing stage, but I sure wished I hadn’t looked at his photos. 🙁

Saying Goodbye to an Old Flame

It was just about a year ago that I bought an Olympus 550 UZ camera. In only one year’s time Olympus has released two models to replace the 550. Technology, whether it is in computers or cameras, doesn’t have that long of a life cycle anymore.

While, in general, I have loved the Olympus 550, when Casio announced the EXILIM Pro EX-F1, I got the bug. Then as the Casio reviews started coming in, I saw that it had too many flaws in the initial release and that it would take a couple of generations, before it might be worth the money. Plus, it appears to be as large as a SLR.

As I was reading the Casio reviews, I saw Olympus release the new 570. It had changed several items that I interested me. While I thought the 560 changes were minimal. the 570 had made major improvement. I was hooked.

In general, all functions of the camera have been refined. It feels solid. The zoom ring was one thing I wanted. The manual focus has improved. It now accepts an external flash. It has face detection. It went from 7.1 to 10 mega pixels. The lens cover snaps in place. Many more items can be seen on the Olympus site. The one thing that Olympus didn’t change is that it still used xD memory. If Olympus would move to the the SD memory, I think they would increase their sales.

While it is smaller than a SLR, it gives me most of the capability of a SLR without having to change or carry extra lenses. It is larger than most point and shoot, but still small enough to be carried around, which I do all the time.

I am going to send my old flame, the 550 UZ, to my son. I know that he needs a good camera to send me photos of my McKinney grandkids. 🙂 Think he will get the hint?

Casio Has Gone And Done It!

Casio Camera
I had been thinking of adding a SLR to my camera arsenal, but I have changed my mind. After seeing the new Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1, I have a new toy to put on my watch list.

If the camera matches up to its specs, it is going set a new benchmark for digital cameras. It isn’t cheap, but so far it is very unique. It may do for the digital camera what Apple’s iPhone has done for the cell phone.

Take a look at some of the following videos: Continue reading Casio Has Gone And Done It!

How Long Is Something State Of The Art

When it comes to digital cameras, it is not all that long. In July, I picked up a new Olympus SP550UZ camera. It had been out a few months, but was still recognized as Olympus most feature laden camera for those wanting close to a SLR in a slightly smaller size.

I see today that Olympus has now released several new cameras, one of which is the SP560UZ that replaces my camera. I love my camera and am satisfied with what it provides me. State of the art just doesn’t last very long.

Putting Things In Focus

If you are moving to Panama, make sure you have invested in a good digital camera. There is so much beauty and items of interest in Panama, that you will kick yourself if you don’t have a camera. Personally, I think that in today’s world it makes sense to have more than one camera. I have two.

My first camera is a Canon A85 and it does a great job in all conditions. It is easy for even a novice to use and with its small size it is less of a nuisance to carry around.
Continue reading Putting Things In Focus