Tablets and Camera Lenses

Well, it’s Wednesday afternoon.  The rain is coming down outside.  Chris is at work.  Joe is taking his nap of the day.  The (unwashed) dishes are on the kitchen counter.  Laundry is hanging to dry.

There hasn’t been much to write about.  Chris has a business trip to the States coming up in the next few weeks.  I’ve been doing a bit of shopping.  He’ll be in the same town as my youngest brother, so hooray for being able to ship stuff to Lance’s apartment 🙂

What’s on my shopping list?

#1 – A tablet computer.

#2 – A new camera lens.

We had the opportunity to test drive the iPad for a few weeks about 2 months ago.  Neither of us were very impressed.  I know that some Apple fans out there are groaning or yelling in disbelief, but we both agreed that it didn’t live up to the hype.  It was also much heavier than what I was expecting.

So, I did some research.  I visited about 4 or 5 different electronics stores.  I talked with salespeople and took online comparison polls.  End result: we’re getting the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

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Only 1 salesperson recommended the iPad over the Samsung Galaxy.  Everyone else recommended the Galaxy.  The online “needs comparison” tools that I used all rated the Galaxy over the iPad for our specific needs.  Oh, and it’s lighter than the iPad, which is a big plus for me.  If/when we have another baby, I’d like to have a tablet that I can easily hold in 1 hand.  I’d also like a tablet that can be held while simultaneously keeping a toddler in my lap during long-haul flights from New Zealand to the US to the UK.

I’ve also looked into getting a case that will attach to the airplane’s tray table/seat back.  So far, this is the only one that I’ve found – the Cabeau Travel Case for Tablets.

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It has the extra option of fastening onto the backs of car headrests, so it’s not limited to airplane use.  If you happen to know of another, better tray table/airplane seat back case for tablets, would you let me know?  I’m not 100% sold on this one, but it seems to be the only one that I can find.  I don’t want to get one that props the tablet on the folded-down tray, since Joe (or turbulence) would knock it off fairly easily.

The camera lens?  Well, I have a 50mm/f1.8 Canon lens that works fabulously for what I initially wanted: portraits.  It’s definitely lived up to its promises when it comes to taking photos of Joseph.  However, I’m to the point where I want a lens with greater range that offers “one-stop shopping”.  In other words, I want a single lens that can do a variety of things but also doesn’t weigh a ton.  This is specifically for our trip to the UK.  I don’t want to have to deal with switching out lenses while walking around London, Oxford, or Paris with a pram in front of me and a nappy bag slung over my shoulder.

I did some research, talked to photography-friends, took a photography class, and have decided to go with the Tamron 18-270mm lens.

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I’ve tested it out twice at 2 different camera shops, both times with my own camera.  I was surprised at how lightweight it was in comparison with the Canon lenses, and I was impressed with the range and image stabilization.

It’s actually not a lot of things: tablet, tablet case, and camera lens, but the money sure does get spent quickly.  Thank goodness for eBates!  Still, I want to have a lens that will allow me to get the most out of our time in the UK, and a 50mm lens will not do that.  I also do not want to deal with carrying my incredibly heavy and very large laptop around LAX, Heathrow, and in Singapore (on our return trip) alongside all of Joe’s gear.  My laptop is about 4 years old, has started to slow down, and has already undergone one major repair (apparently water and computers don’t mix – who knew?!).  A tablet isn’t quite the same as a laptop, but it’ll definitely make traveling easier and is something that Chris will use while on his work-related travels to the States, to Germany, to the States again, to Scotland… the list goes on and on!

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