Category: Alexa – Amazon Echo

Fujifilm FinePix Z30 Camera Review

FujiFilm Z30
FujiFilm Z30

FujiFilm Z30

The Fujifilm’s FinePix Z30 is a pretty point-and-shoot camera with a somewhat unique design. It comes in a shocking  pink, an intense bright orange, and a vibrant purple. That plus its rounded corners certainly set it off from the crowd.

I love bright colors, but unfortunately, the bright metallic look of this camera make it look a bit toy-like.  Also the designers didn’t take functionality seriously enough. The camera has no place to comfortably place your fingers to hold it when you take a picture. Although the two rows of rubberized buttons on the back look good, every time you want to press one, you have to put on your glasses to find just the one you want. Oh, and you have to open the battery door to plug in the USB cable.

The Z30 is a 10-megapixel camera with a 3x optical lens and a nice-sized CCD. Although the pictures were good, I found that many of the flash pictures had unevenly distributed lighting.

Have I said enough?? Take a pass on this camera. What is amazing to me is that the A150, a similarly priced and sized camera from the same manufacturer (Fujifilm), was one that I really liked. The A150 had impeccable design and took great pictures. (Check out my review of the A150).So take a pass on this camera and check out the A150 for a good entry-level digital camera.  The Z30 retails for $149. The A150 goes for $129. So a higher price is not necessarily a better camera.

Here are my pros and cons fro the Z30:


  • Compact size
  • Good manual on CD
  • Numerous continuous shooting, self-timer and flash modes


  • Poor lens placement
  • Body feels flimsy
  • Control buttons too small and close together
  • Poorly placed USB port
  • No place to grip
  • 4-way directional control which is on the buttons, is difficult to use
  • Not many manual controls
  • Nested menus that can be difficult to navigate

My full review with pictures, specs and more details is at Hardware Secrets.

Check out the prices: Best Buy Digital Cameras

Fujifilm FinePix A150 Review

Are entry-level digital cameras worthwhile? Well, I guess the answer to that question depends a lot on the camera itself, but with this Fujifilm FinePix A150 digital camera, the answer is yes. With a retail price of $129 and street prices even lower, you get a lot for your money. It’s a 10 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom and a large 3″ display. It uses AA batteries so as long as there is a store nearby, you will never be out of power.

The A150 takes very good photos. The color representation is good and the low light photos are excellent. You also get a lot of extras. The camera has face detection technology that tracks a face and adjusts the setting for the best picture. It also has picture stabilization, continuous shooting, a self-timer, and macro mode. It has 14 different scene positions, and can even take movies.

If you want a simple camera to have on hand for a quick picture or to slip in your pocket to have available anytime, this is a good choice.

Here are my pros and cons:


  • Sturdy, attractive build
  • Large, clear screen
  • Much added functionality
  • The ability to shoot videos with sound
  • Easy to use controls
  • Excellent documentation including owner’s manual on disk
  • Inexpensive


  • Tripod mount poorly placed
  • No viewfinder
  • Screen fades out in bright sunlight

My full review with pictures is at

Click the link below to see the current price for this and/or similar cameras at Best Buy:

FUJIFILM FinePix 100-Megapixel Digital Camera – Black

Flip Ultra HD Camcorder Review

The small Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder took the market by storm in the last two years. And why not? It’s a small camcorder that fits in the palm of your hand. It is very easy to use. The quality of the videos is good for showing online (640 x 480) and the Flip makes it easy to upload the videos to YouTube.

There are now many Flip imitators, but the Flip was the first in this market area, and it still holds up well against the competition. The Flip now also comes with a better resolution in a Flip appropriately called the FlipHD (1280 x 720).

The Flip has a pop-out USB connector, so there are no clumsy cables. Just insert it into your computer. The included software is also easy-to-use.

Here are my pros and cons:


  • Simple, easy-to-use controls
  • Self-contained, easy-to-use software
  • Easy uploads
  • Quick start-up
  • Good video quality
  • Good in both high and low light conditions
  • No cords
  • Small and light
  • Tripod mount
  • TV playback


  • Plasticy feel
  • Low resolution
  • Few editing options
  • Doesn’t always fit in USB port without hub or extender
  • No optical zoom

You can read my more detailed review with pictures at Although it a great little camera, the Flip is getting a lot of competition from cell phones whose video hardware is getting better and better! Buy one now if you want to have a small video cam and want to upload to Youtube quickly. Else, wait a while — these things just keep getting better and better.

Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder - White/Orange
Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder - White/Orange
Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder – White/Orange

Flip Video Ultra is the easy-to-use, pocket-sized camcorder that allows you to shoot and share high-quality video anywhere and everywhere. Its flip-out USB arm and built-in FlipShare software make it simple and fun to view and save your videos, e-mail them, or upload them to popular video-sharing sites, including YouTube, MySpace and AOL Video.

Panasonic Lumix G1 Digital Camera Review

The G1 is the first of Panasonic’s entries that is a cross between a digital SLR and a point-and-shoot camera. The G1 is smaller than most digital SLRs and looks more like a professional camera than one you can put in your pocket. However, besides the usual black, the G1 comes in red and blue, making it truly distinctive.

It is smaller because they have removed the mirror box that is typically used to reflect the picture into the view finder in a digital SLR. Instead Panasonic has added a live electronic viewfinder. While previous electronic viewfinders leave a lot to be desired, this one is terrific! The camera also has a 3″ flip-out rotating LCD display.

The G1 is based on a Micro Four Thirds lens system that also uses smaller lenses. All-in-all, the camera is more complex to use than a simple point-and-shoot, but it takes great pictures and may be a good entry into the semi-professional world of digital photography.

The G1 has a big brother called the GH1, which also takes high-def videos. Here are my Pros and Cons on the G1:


  • Very good image quality
  • Sturdy build
  • Excellent electronic viewfinder
  • Small & lightweight
  • Snappy performance
  • Automatic Settings
  • Great dust reduction technology
  • HDMI output
  • Excellent LCD screen that flips out and rotates
  • Comes in body color choices
  • Good selection of features like digital red eye reduction, face detection
  • Good image stabilization


  • Limited lens selection
  • Complex controls
  • No movie mode

You can read my full review and view pictures on the Hardware Secrets website.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 Review

Lumix FX500
Lumix FX500

Lumix FX500

This small point-and-shoot digital camera has10 megapixels, a 5X Leica zoom lens with a 25mm wide angle focal length, and a large 3″ touch screen. This is a versatile camera that can be used for close-ups as well as wide shots and it still fits easily in a shirt pocket. If you are looking for a small digital camera that does a lot, this one fits the bill. It has a large variety of scene presets, red-eye reduction, and face recognition. It can even take HD movie clips….and the pictures are excellent. Check out my detailed review along with specs and pictures on HardwareSecrets.
The suggested retail price is $399, but you can find it cheaper.

Flip Ultra Camcorder Review

The Flip Ultra
The Flip Ultra

The Flip Ultra

The Flip Ultra is a unique video camera. It is simplicity at its best. As small as a compact camera, it will fit in your shirt pocket. It has a USB connector that pops out of the camera for an easy way to attach it to the computer. The software offers a very easy way to upload your videos directly to YouTube and other websites. Even though the resolution is fairly low, the video quality is amazingly good. It is perfect for videos that you want to post online or email to family and friends. Read my full review at

The Flip Ultra comes in black, white, orange, pink, and green. It retails for 149.99, but is cheaper at Amazon.

Olympus SP-570UZ Review

The Olympus SP-570UZ is a point-and-shoot camera with a big difference. In many ways it thinks and acts like it is a more expensive digital SLR (Single Lens Relex) camera. And that’s a good thing!

Olympus 570
Olympus 570

Olympus 570

This Olympus is not considered an SLR because it does not have interchangeable lenses. Instead, it has a powerful, but compact 20x optical zoom wide angle lens. You can do as little or a much as you like with the 570. It has full manual control, but also works well in Auto mode and has 21 preset screen modes to choose from.

Other features are face detection,  dual image stabilization, and  It also has two features that are wonderful, but not always found in cameras of this type: It has a hot shoe for an external flash and also has the ability to shoot in both JPEG and RAW formats.

Read my full review at

Retail: $449.99

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