Etikettarkiv: Review

Cardio Training with the Android

Since I got my HTC Magic phone, the second generation Android operating system from Google and a lovely phone I have worked out using two different softwares that I would like to share.

These softwares are CardioTrainer and BuddyRunner, two wonderful applications to help you run well when doing exercise. Both offer similar features and are mainly aimed at runners that want to keep statistics on their exercise and perhaps also their competitions.

The Cardio Trainer Android application
The Cardio Trainer Android application

But what do they do? To make a long story short they are both personal trainers and logging instruments that can upload your running data to a web site where you can review what you have done and compare runs over time.

They are using the GPS in the phone to log your position periodically and thus can calculate your speed. They also measure the time and therefore knows at all times your speed and pace, the distance you have ran so far and in what time you did it.  If you are using earphones and listening to music on your Android mobile as you run they will muffle the music or silence it completely and announce the running data periodically.

Feature-wise they are very similar, CT offers more settings to smooth out GPS positions during a run which can be good if you get bad measurements occasionally but won’t really help much in the long run, so to speak, but after testing the two producs side-by-side I can only conclude they are very similar in the distance they measure when running. The distance on both of them is perhaps a bit on the conservative side compared to distance measured on map or with a really good outdoor GPS (Magellan eXplorist XL) which shows a slightly longer track most of the time. Not certain why this is but they seem to be on the conservative side. My 2 km track registers as 1 850 meters roughly and that is 7.5% on the conservative side.

CT has a huge disadvantage for us Europeans, the tracks it records are shown in metric units on the handheld if you set it up to do so, but on the website everything is by imperial measurements which is really sad because it is otherwise a very good application. I have written them and they are looking into developing it. In fact there’s been two new versions of CardioTrainer released recently both with some small improvements.

The Buddy Runner
The Buddy Runner

BuddyRunner however has a really wonderful web site where you can see the run on a Google Maps interface, statistics on your run such as pace for each part of the run, and elevation. It is interesting to see the elevation go up and the pace time per km increase at the same time. You can compare several runs (up to three) download your running track and it keeps tracks of your records, longest, fastest and so on. Over all it is a much more developed web site than CardioTrainer has. However the application on the handheld is less sophisticated, it does not have the same filters and settings as CardioTrainer does and when it speaks to you it always abruptly pauses the music, the CardioTrainer can lower the volume but keep the music running which is better if you are trying to keep your pace to the music.

In the phone however both applications are very similar however and the settings screen also offers settings to change the announcer frequency and the contents of the announcing messages. BuddyRunner performs well int he background but CardioTrainer wants to run in the foreground, otherwise it pauses. CardioTrainer can also automatically play a certain playlist of music for you while BuddyRunner just leaves the music player alone.

Example of the website for Buddy Runner, click to check it out in reality.
Example of the website for Buddy Runner, click to check it out in reality.

Sharing your things with others is easy on the BuddyRunner, the application and webside can write RSS feeds to your Facebook, Twitter or Friendfeed site and so on, you may show your dashboard to anyone you like, they can’t manipulate it unless you log in but they can leave a comment on your run if they want to.

CardioTrainer has a secret passcode to the webside, you can not display it without this code and when you enter the code you may also remove runs and modify the content, so you would not want to post that publicly. There is also right now no integration with Facebook, Twitter and similar sites, no RSS feeds and the tracks can not be downloaded from the site.

In the end the factor that is the most deciding one for me is the website. BuddyRunner has a much better web site and I love the feature that you can download your runs in GPX format to have them displayed on Google Earth or some similar mapping software if you like. Great stuff!

Review: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4,5-5,6

This lens has quickly become one of my favorite lenses. The 70-300 is very versatile and it is a lovely walk-around lens for street photo as well as nature photography. It is also useful for portrait work when you want to shoot a little more from a distance. Perfect for candid shots in the crowd.

Full designation: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f / 4.5-5.6 G ED-IF

Fortsätt läsa Review: Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4,5-5,6

Review: Nikkor 16-85 f/3.5-5.6

This is a wide-angle-to-normal zoom lens that is ideal for street and general walk around photography especially if you keep a longer lens, such as the 70-300 as a possibility. If you already own the 18-55 or 18-70 lens you may wish to spend your money on something else. This lens is different in some ways but generally it is the same family as those two lenses. This lens is meant to be a replacement for the 24-120 on a digital body and does a good job.

Full lens designation: Nikkor AF-S DX VR 16-85 f/3,5-5,6G ED-IF


This lens uses the Nikon silent autofocus motor so it works on all digital bodies, even those without focussing motor built in. It has low-dispersion glass and internal focusing meaning there is no rotating of the front lens (great if you use polarizer).


The lens have a very obvious barrel distortion at 16 mm which is normal for this wide angles, but I was surprised how much more distortion it had compared to the 18-200 mm lens or the old trusty 18-70 kit lens that used to be delivered with many cameras in the past. The distortion is kind of fun and can be used in interesting ways but when shooting straight lines such as buildings you have to be careful how you point the camera or it looks like the buildings are leaning back (or forth).

This type of distortion is not difficult to correct in photoshop, GIMP or some other editing software but I feel it is a little more than what I had expected at these focal lengths. Once zoomed out to 25 mm and beyond the distortion is much more normal and actually becomes more of a pincushion distortion than a barrel type.

Vibration Reduction

The Vibration Reduction (VR-II) works great. I hardly ever think of it any more but it is there and I have done some serious long exposure time shots hand held with it and there is never a problem. Turn it off when you use it on a tripod however, it can sometimes act really weird when you have a tripod fixed camera and happen to forget to turn VR off.


The sharpness of this lens is good in the middle and average in the corners. It is however better than the 18-200 in almost all comparable focal settings and I have to give it a pretty decent rating because of this. I always considered the 18-200 very soft and the 18-70 is good but this lens is even better. The sharpest setting for this lens are apetures centered around f/8. Fully open it gets a little soft in the corners but stay remarkably sharp in the center. It is also extremely sharp on the smaller apertures, up to f/20 or so it is still really good and this is unexpectedly well performed by a lens in this cost range!

Sharpness is better than the famous 18-70 and much better than the 18-200 lens which is well known to be quite soft at any aperture outside its sweet spot around f/8-f/11. If you are looking for sharpness then this is your lens.


This lens have a easily seen vignetting. Fully open at f/3,5 and focal length of 16 mm the corners are at leas one full EV darker than the center section of the lens. When stopped down 1 stop it is much better alright and two stops down it is not noticeable any more. The vignetting is worst at 16 mm and becomes better the further along to 85 mm you zoom. I guess this is the price to pay for the excellent sharpness of this piece of glass.

Chromatic aberration, flaring and ghosting

I have not seen any problems with this, I would say it is better than average.

Build quality and feel

Excellent. It feels like the much more expensive pro lenses would. The zoom will not ”creep” like the 18-200 would do and all movements are nice and smooth and precise.

The lens takes 67Ø filters so this is fairly standard and the same thread diameter as the 70-300 which is a gread second lens to this one. I still favour the 18-200/3.5-5.6 lens because of less distortion as a walk-around lens but the added wide angle of 16 mm is great sometimes.

Positive sides:

  • Light
  • Very sharp for a zoom, comparable to a prime in some aspects!
  • Same filter diameter as the 70-300 which is a great companion lens
  • You get VR with it!

Negative sides:

  • Vignetting is strong when fully open on the widest angles
  • It’s not a really cheap lens
  • The distortion could be better actually, compared with the 18-200 or the 18-70 it is much more pronounced at the wide angles.

SLR Gear

This site is incredible. Really incredible. If you want to know how your lens is doing technically you must visit this site and check it out. Find out which aperture setting produce the sharpest images for each of your focal lengths.

SLR Gear >>>

Learning to read the diagrams here is a bit tricky but there is a wealth of information on almost any lens you can think of getting for your camera and also other stuff. But I really love it for their lens reviews.

Review: Nikkor DX AF-S 55-200 f/4-5.6G ED

This is what the lens looks like half-extended.

This lens is usually bought as a step-up lens from the kit lens with the entry-level digital SLR cameras from Nikon. I got one as well before my first trip to Öland because I was still waiting for my 18-200/3.5-5.6 lens to arrive in the mail. As it turned out I would have to wait for more than six months for that beauty so I had some time to use the 55-200 and get aquainted with it.

Fortsätt läsa Review: Nikkor DX AF-S 55-200 f/4-5.6G ED

Review: Nikkor DX AF-S VR 18-200/3.5-5.6G ED-IF

The idea of a one-lens-fits-all is extremely alluring, and I can say that when I heard Nikon was coming out with this lens I was lined up in queue to get it. I ordered it in May 2006 and received it in August. The lens must have been one of Nikons best selling of all times since it was impossible to find in stores for several months due to unanticipated demands.
Fortsätt läsa Review: Nikkor DX AF-S VR 18-200/3.5-5.6G ED-IF