Olympus has recently introduced a premium prime lens for their Micro Four-Thirds system in the form of the M. Zuiko 12mm.
Olympus has recently introduced a premium prime lens for their Micro Four-Thirds system in the form of the M. Zuiko 12mm.
The Canon G series range of cameras has been the forefront of the company’s ability to make indispensible range of digital cameras. Their overall image quality can very well be compared to an entry level DSLR. The Canon PowerShot G11 is more than just a digital camera it is actually built keeping the professional shutter bug in mind. The camera is not built for the masses but that shouldn’t stop anyone from buying it.
The G11 is definitely a part of Canon’s PowerShot series but doesn’t quite compare to any. Reason being, the camera is so feature packed and user friendly that it actually makes other digital cameras feel a little too underrated. However the camera doesn’t come by as being light but definitely has one of the best builds in the digital camera segment. With approximate dimensions of 112 x 76 x 48 mm the G11 is big, making it one of the largest when compared to cameras with zoom values below 10x. Moreover due to its slightly larger size the camera also weighs in at 380 g making it also the heaviest but lighter than their previous PowerShot G10. The camera has also seen a change in its effective number of pixels and comes with an effective pixel of 10 MP as compared to the 14.7 MP that the G10 had. What remains the same is the 28 mm wide angle lens.
From the looks of it the G11 has a very retro look that takes you back a few years when film cameras were in existence. Moreover the camera sits perfectly and it doesn’t feel too heavy or too light. Adding to this is the protruding outer shell (front) along with a thin layered rubber padding translates to much better grip when held. The overall fit and finish is one of the best we have seen so far in a digital camera and with the G11 encased in a black matt body you can be sure that the camera won’t attract fingerprints. The PowerShot G11 comes with the same tilt-swivel screen that gives the user the freedom to hold the camera at almost any angle without losing out on the subject. The screen is decently big at 2.8-inches and performs well even under broad daylight. Overall usability of the camera further extends with the addition of large and protruding buttons. Layout again is typical of any Canon camera with buttons nicely spaced out.
Now before we even get into the cameras internal menu navigation system it is the out of box thinking that has really gone into the PowerShot G11. For instance almost all of the controls that one would use are placed on the cameras body. This more often than not eliminates the need to access the cameras interface to change settings making them quick and precise. So apart from the mode selection dial, which is a common feature in almost all cameras, what you also get is a dial mode for the ISO and EV. In addition to this, the dial modes come with selection markers that light up when the camera is switched on. This basically shows if adjustments can be made to the ISO or EV depending on the shooting mode selected. What you also get is an optical view finder along with a Hot Shoe through which you can attach a number of external flashes. Let’s not forget to mention that the built-in flash is powerful enough to light up the darkest of areas.
Other features include bracketing modes and ND filter modes. In addition to this the camera can also be set to shoot in RAW as well JPEG. However, shooting in RAW will take up considerable amount of space as the images are left unprocessed. There are also a total of 14 scene modes to select from but nothing really extra ordinary to write about. However if there was something that would go against the G11, it would be the way scenes need to be selected. You are forced to scroll through the scenes one by one without getting to view them in a grid format. Second would be the placement of the review button. Its awkward placement and flat surface makes it a tad difficult to operate.
We all know Cancun, Miami and Cabo are great for spring break. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the company of drunken college chicks and cheap tequila on the beach. But this year, we urge you to dig a little deeper. An entire world of similarly (likely more) satisfying experiences lie ahead and the best time to begin exploring them is now. From the best beaches, most picturesque scenery to the best drinks, food and art, OTP has you covered. Based on our network of backpacking buddies who have traveled the world throughout 2009, here is our list of the Top 10 Backpacking Destinations for 2010:
Travel guides have advised their readers to go to Thailand for years because it’s a cheap travel destination. Subsequently, swarms of backpackers, then tourists, congested the shit out of Bangkok. For this reason, we say forget Thailand and go to Cambodia before it gets tourist trapped. Although getting to Cambodia will cost you some cash (about $1000), once you’re in, you will feel like a millionaire. Since bargaining is common practice in most of Southeast Asia, it is said that you should aim for getting whatever you want for half of what people initially offer. Just to give you an idea: a pack of cigarettes is 20 to 25 cents. Breakfast: about $1. Hostels run $5 per day (if you get ritzy, a nice hotel is $15-$30 per day). The most expensive thing you should encounter is the entrance fee to the Angkor Temples (about $20 per day). These ancient ruins are not to be missed and will be worth spending a few dollars on.
With Ibiza dying out, Tokyo becoming increasingly expensive and Amsterdam (well it’s still a party if you don’t turn into a lazy stoner during your visit) we turn to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, for insane nightlife. The nights are longer here which means the parties last and last. The girls and guys are hot, the temperature is cold, so dancing, drinking and debauchery are all accepted forms of keeping warm. Plan a trip for new years to get the best of the Icelandic party experience (fireworks and all). This is what Quentin Tarantino had to say about partying in Iceland. Hey if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us.
The world is over 70% water, that water is usually connected to land by beach. With so many beaches to choose from, how does one place stand out from the rest? The perfect beach must have all of the following: soft clean sand, clear water, a fair amount of nakedness, natural surrounding beauty and as few tourists as possible. Very few destinations can offer the seclusion from tourists necessary to have a perfect beachgoing experience. We think the San Blas Islands near the coast of Panama come the closest. San Blas, inhabited by the Kuna Indians, offers that little bit of seclusion that tourism has yet to ruin. Women dress in handmade molas (beautifully colored fabrics), everyone has a natural sun glow tan and fresh fish is caught daily by locals in handmade kayak boats. Get your beach skimpies on and head out to Cartegena, Colombia where you can catch a boat for $300 to the San Blas Islands. The fee includes a 5 day, all-inclusive stay in beach paradise. Can’t argue with that.
Though not a very off-track destination, Italy has so much to offer historically. Rome is home to the Vatican, Pantheon and Coliseum; Florence to the statue of David and then there’s that leaning tower in Pisa. Genoa is the proud home of Christopher Colombus and the roots of pizza lie in Naples. From Sicily to Milan, ancient Roman ruins are sprawled out in this land of history for you to see. Every corner of Italy will have your camera in overdrive. So read up on Italian historical events and head out to explore the land your history books only vaguely succeeded in describing.
Italy has the best classical art scene. But when the same naked figures, realistic religious scenes and landscapes get boring, drop Italy and cruise over to Barcelona to refresh your artistic eye. Two greats, Salvador Dali and Antonio Gaudi , rule Barcelona’s art culture. Both are pioneers of surrealism in painting (Dali) and architecture (Gaudi) and their art kicks ass. More than being visually orgasmic (Dali Painting, Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia), surrealism opened the door to a whole new world of art that Barcelona continues to redefine; a world where former rules of “fine art” are bent and distorted. Although some stuffy, snotty, overpriced art galleries do exist here, it’s easy to find your art fix on the streets of Barcelona. Gaudi’s trippy buildings are scattered throughout the city and the museum of Dali is only a 40 minute scenic train ride north to Figueras. If these guys don’t tickle you pickle, Barcelona is also packed with more thought-provoking graffiti than you can imagine, inspiring street performers and tons of off-beat artistic expressions (this cat statue for example).
In our world of “been there, done that”, very few places can still be considered “remote”. Most regions in the world have been taken over by luxury hotels and tourist traps. It’s hard to set foot on land that is truly remote. On that note, OTP brings you Lamu. Off the coast of Kenya, the Lamu archipelago is the oldest inhabited settlement south of the Sahara, its inhabitants are still largely Muslim and here, deserted beaches are still a reality. Whereas most places in the world are locally navigatable by train, car, bus or at least moped, Lamu’s locals get around on donkeys ONLY (now that’s some serious remoteness).
Although these areas are quite difficult to get into (as the Chinese government expressly limits tourism here for tense political reasons, see our Volunteer Tibet Article for more info), once you’re in, the Himalayas will quench your thirst for adventure. Hiking these peaks isn’t for pussies. The elevation gets painfully high and the trek becomes difficult but if you can grow a pair, this destination offers the adventure of a lifetime. Hikes through the Himalayas are laced with spiritual hilltop villages, Buddhist temples and monasteries (where you can actually stay with monks and experience their peaceful way of life). A hike through the Himalayas not only awakens your physical sense of adventure but also connects you to a spiritual world unlike any other.
Everyone was exposed to the natural beauty of New Zealand following the release of Lord of the Rings. Yes, it is very green, lush and mind-blowing. But in the same vein, it’s also incredibly expensive to get to ($1400-$1800). Instead, feast your eyes on Bolivia. With no compromises in the natural beauty department (c’mon it’s in the Amazon), and a huge price cut ($800 roundtrip), Bolivia offers backpackers some amazing nature-related perks. This place has salt flats, sand dunes, zip lines, exotic animals and plants, incredible rolling green hills and enough ancient ruins to overload your senses into oblivion. Go get your Amazon on (bring bug spray).
With so many beautiful people in the world, how do we pick just one place as the home of all that’s hot? Easy: Nakedness that’s how. Home of the Brazilian wax (necessary if all you’re wearing is body paint), Brazil offers up some incredibly sexy locals. Although the nakedness is at full force during Carnival (February) when Rio is torn apart by women wearing nothing but body paint and feathers, the best time to see the local hotties is in June during the Boi Bumba Festival. Fear not, the same nakedness is in store but minus the insane crowds that Carnival attracts. This annual festival takes place in Parintins (a small river community in northern Brazil) and is based on a legend about killing a bull and eating his tongue. Dancers are designated as various characters in the festival, each wearing very little and shaking their endowments all over the place. Here are some photos for visual convincing.
Our best overall spot goes to a destination that embodies all the qualities of our top 2010 list and, to spice it up, adds a little danger into the mix. A long-time “no go” zone for Americans, Colombia is 2010’s hottest backpacking destination. It’s cheap as hell (2,500 pesos, or $0.75 for a beer), has beautiful locals (Shakira, case closed), incredible artists (Botero: the fat man that does fatty art) and remote beaches (how does sleeping in a hammock hostel sound for $2 a night?). The danger element comes from rumors of American kidnappings and drug wars, although Colombia has become much safer in recent years. In larger cities like Bogota and Medellin (home of Pablo Escobar), solo backpackers are advised to stay in at night on weekdays, places like Cartegena and Santa Marta are safe at nightfall. Besides, a little danger always makes for a good time in paradise.
Whether its nature, art, history, hotties or beaches you seek, the above spots will satisfy whatever your craving may be in 2010. Don’t be afraid to get a little off track this year; drunken Cancun will still be around in 2011.
Written By: Anna Starostinetskaya
The stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park lies in the Lika region of Croatia. The park is surrounded by the mountains Plješevica, Mala Kapela, and Medveđak, which are part of the Dinaric Alps. The 16 blue-green Plitvice Lakes, which are separated by natural dams of travertine, are situated on the Plitvice plateau. Waterfalls connect the lakes, and the tallest waterfall is Veliki Slap at 70 meters (230 feet) tall. The Plitvice lakes area boasts a large variety of interesting and colorful flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy walking and hiking the many pathways and trails, or exploring the lakes by boat. The park itself has 3 hotels and a campsite, otherwise visitors can find accommodation at any of the number of villages and cities nearby
Credit: Jack Brauer