Kit lenses have a bad reputation for being the cheap training wheels of the photography world, built solely to make the DSLR buying process more approachable for thrifty consumers in search of a one-stop upgrade. These knocks against the category aren’t completely unfounded, but you shouldn’t let the general snobbery of experienced photographers steer you away from a good deal or convenience. There are a variety of kit lenses that are still a tremendous value and a great starting point for building a glass collection, whether they’re purchased with a camera or on their own. Here, you’ll find a few of our favorites across a variety of major brands and setups.
What’s a nearly broke watch collector in love with the IWC Ingenieur Automatic to do? In this week’s Want This, Get This, we searched for an affordable alternative — and found one in the Christopher Ward C20 Lido.
Full body, full wallet(?)
You know the pinnacle of wine-making remains in France. Well, so do all those newly minted Chinese millionaires, and they’ve driven the price of Old World red wines sky high. This is especially true for top-end Bordeaux, which carry the highest cache among French wines. Those of us without a state-sponsored fortune, trust fund, or impending Wall Street bonus, however, have to look elsewhere for quality wine. Here are two splurge-caliber choices, made in the same style, of the same grape — merlot — though one comes without the inflation of appellation.
From Baby Daddy to Father
It’s the scariest and most exciting thing a man will ever face: fatherhood. Suddenly there’s the pressure of knowing this human life is wholly reliant on you, the hope of being just like your father or the fear of the same thing. It’s the moment when BC becomes AD, a distinct frozen moment when a corner is turned and there will forever more only be a “before” (child) and “after”.
For many of us, Father’s Day means finding the right gift for Dad. But now some of us will be receiving gifts as well, and so without further ado, we introduce New Father’s Day — along with a wish list for the sleep-deprived new dad to make the beginning of this next lifetime easier.
Lighten the load
When it comes to choosing the right laptop, everyone seeks three necessities: a sleek profile, high performance, and most importantly, portability. A weighty — or worse, bulky — portable computer can take a heavy toll on the body and make daily commuting a pain in the ass; yet everyone from business buffs to college grads wants a machine powerful enough to meet computing needs. We’re fortunate to bask in a beautiful balance of both virtues thanks to the latest leaps in laptop engineering. From convertibles to high-end subnotebooks, we sifted through the market to find the best laptops weighing in at under four pounds. Just remember, they’ll probably make you look fat in comparison.
The screen of your dreams
If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, leaving your gadget desires unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. In this installment, we put the Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD and the Panasonic TC-PST60 head to head.
Call it the “Goldilocks of Bags” if you like, though sometimes it seems like more of a “Unicorn of Bags”: the perfectly sized and properly priced duffel can be elusive (hell, brands can’t even decide one way to spell it). When the occasion calls for light packing in something that’ll easily fit in the back seat or sling comfortably over your shoulder there are myriad options, but how many of them can be considered worth a buy? What follows are 30 of the best duffel bags to fit every budget. These represent a vast array of materials, styles, colors and purposes, but suffice it to say each of these duffels is just right.
Keep your tablet tickin'
The iPad’s extreme portability is simultaneously glaringly obvious and overlooked in favor of its flashier tech wonders. The take-it-anywhere-ness of the iPad is also perhaps its biggest downside: we tend to treat it like the things it replaced, the books and magazines that we could toss without a care. That usually doesn’t work out well. Here are 30 great options — leather, wool, propped, or otherwise — that should keep your tablet ticking and looking good.
The Life Aquatic
If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your gadget desires remain unfulfilled. “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. Today we examine the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 and the Magrette Moana Pacific Professional.
Around the country, where people can’t easily access a natural body of water, they’ll flock to fake ones for some relaxation, fun, and relief from the heat. This is the seasonal blessing and curse of the fortunate few who own — or have access to — a pool. If you fall into this category and are already bemoaning your hosting duties to come, may we remind you of the wise words of
“Uncle” Ben Parker Voltaire, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Think that bowl of corn chips (“but they’re restaurant style!”) and playing some Jimmy Buffet from your puny laptop speakers answers the call? You are woefully mistaken.
It’s time to take your waterside shindigs to another plane. What we’re talking about is the kind of event that’ll haunt Charlie Sheen’s dreams and leave the neighborhood gabbing for decades. We’ve got your shopping list right here.
No ride like the present
Now that the riding season is under way in many parts of the country, it’s time to sign up for riding lessons and start thinking about the machine that’s best suited for your needs. You could jump right into researching bikes for months online, but we’d recommend starting with our roundup of the 5 best starter motorcycles first.
Strokes of genius
There’s no easier way to cool down on a hot summer day than an adventure at the local lake or river, and no better way to enjoy said body of water than a kayak. A good one will help you ditch the crowds and find the perfect hidden spot for some summer fun –- all while traveling the water less paddled. Don’t know the difference between a whitewater creek boat and an ocean kayak? We’ve got you covered with some great kayaks for summer adventure.
GP's Resident Leadfoot
The fifth installment of our Staff Favorites series features Mr. Amos Kwon. Amos is, simply put, a man’s man. He’s entirely focused on family (he’s a proud husband and, more recently, a father), but he’s also passionate about cars (he’s the heart and soul of our automotive coverage), cigars (it’s amazing that he hasn’t yet hired a personal Cuban roller), Scotch, and a mean EDC. He’s a diligent, talented writer, zipping absurd humor (we still can’t get over his “Whoever chose this… should be slapped with a pair of wet Depends” line) into the tight copy of his otherwise earnest reviews. We’re proud to have this proud Chicagoan on the team — and his favorite gear doesn’t disappoint.
Take me to the Moon
After some years occupying the dreaded fashion watch segment, Baume & Mercier has been regaining its former glory with several beautiful new timepieces and an evocative brand image. With the new Clifton series, Baume has managed to avoid the sophomore jinx, delivering yet another brace of seductive watches. We got our hands on the Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar and gave it a few weeks of wrist time.
Smoke some grass
Though you might dream about dropping lotto-winning cash on a pimped-out riding mower, the truth is that you don’t need to spend more than $2k for a mower that you can captain with pride. Whether you plan on doing your best Bill Murray (Caddyshack, not Lost in Translation) impression on your own personal links, or hope to trim a more modest green acres, we’ve got the riding mower for you.
Itchy trigger fingers, apply here
The Graham Chronofighter Oversize ($6,900) is the latest offering from a brand that has long caught our eye. It’s a watch decked out with unique dial layouts, applied sub-dial magnifier portals that look like they’re straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an imposing size… and then there’s the trigger.
Confirm your searing desires
Summer is bearing down fast, and no man passes up the opportunity to get outside and burn some meat (ok, and perhaps a vegetable or two). It is, simply, an integral summer experience, whether enjoyed in the backyard, at a tailgate, in the campsite or on your tiny urban front step.
My dad had a saying: “When it’s burning, it’s cooking. When it’s black it’s done.” This might explain the lack of repeat visitors, but maybe it was the limited tools he had to work with that contributed to his cynical approach to backyard grilling. With any of the 10 excellent grills here, you’ll not only find the right one to suit your particular needs — everything from searing steaks, to cooking a pair of burgers, to smoking an entire pig — you’ll guarantee a line around the block for your ‘cue, and a long list of friends who won’t stop asking when you’re having them over again.
IWC’s Ingenieur is as steeped in history as any watch. First seen in 1954, and designed as both a general-purpose sport watch and for scientists who worked with strong electromagnetic fields — hence the name, “engineers” in French — it reflected a growing trend towards robustness, which was already driving the popularity of the still-nascent diving watch. We break down the reference 3239 Ingenieur Automatic, our favorite of the bunch.
It wasn’t so long ago that 10-key calculators and instant messenger were the most exciting things happening to technology. But nowadays, tech moves fast — new computer segments are born and buried quicker with each passing year. Don’t let that scare you away from the good ole desktop, though. All-in-ones have more to offer than ever: effective touchscreens with the UI to back them up (Windows 8), high-def displays that can easily double as TV screens (thanks to HDMI and built-in TV tuners), and slimmer profiles for fitting just about anywhere.
Sure, it’s tough explaining to grandma where to put the floppy disc, but we’ll leave that to you. Before choosing which one is right for you, though, figure out just what it is you need. Whether that means sexy looks, entertainment nirvana or a gamer’s sweaty-palmed fantasy, our five picks for the best all-in-one desktops are awaiting below to help out.
Get to Work
A man’s desk is his life. It’s where he does his work, pays his bills, keeps his keepsakes, composes his words and his thoughts. It might be the most intimate piece of furniture in the house — it’s where one is most fully alone, and where, tethered to an often unassuming 50 square feet, a man can finally get down to business. That’s why finding the right desk is so important. Fortunately, plenty of bespoke furniture makers sell gorgeous, modern workspace options. We’ve narrowed down the field with this list of great contemporary desks at a variety of sizes, styles and prices.
Number 1 on the runway
If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. The watch companies maintain a continuous flow of tantalizing images of their new creations, the Web is rife with chronic watch flippers offering good deals on minty timepieces, and suddenly that watch you’re wearing is starting to look a little rough around the edges. Time for an upgrade. But reality steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your watch love remains unrequited. What’s a guy to do? Want This, Get This presents a lustworthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
Don't Call Them Point-and-Shoots
The point-and-shoot market may have hit a smartphone camera iceberg, but the ship hasn’t sunk yet. In fact, bitter competition has sped up the photography arms race, producing a wide field of top-tier compact cameras with big sensors — at a better price. Boasting image quality more than good enough to be deemed professional, these cameras can be a useful tool for the prosumer and feverish enthusiast alike, providing an infinitely more portable, all-in-one option rather than bulky DSLRs while sharing many of the same features and image quality.
That said, it’s up to you sharpen the focus on what you really need. We don’t mind walking a few steps to get the right shot — so our choices hone in on the best compact cameras that sport big sensors, fixed lenses and fast focusing. There’s a big field of small shooters; we’re here to slim it all down to the cream of the crop.
This year, little-known manufacture JeanRichard made a concerted effort to refresh its product line — new designs, new movements, new image — and it showed at BaselWorld. We recently got our hands on their latest: the Terrascope ($3,500), an old dog with new tricks.
Good for desk-diving or otherwise
Relatively young watch manufacturer Maurice Lacroix has been generating a lot of interest of late its their new collections, and the Pontos S Diver is no exception, standing out in a crowded field of me-too pieces. At turns retro and modern, the Diver, which builds upon the success of the Pontos S Chronograph from last year, presents a uniquely attractive face to its lucky wearer.
Bring the heat
Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet is the Bentley of the grilling world, so when their Chief Grill master and VP of Design Russ Faulk offered to sit down with us to talk about a new Pizza Oven he’d developed, we brought a bib and hot pepper flakes. Find out what makes his latest pizza oven rig so special in our latest edition of Breakdown.
In Too Deep
Editors Note: If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. Watch companies maintain a continuous flow of tantalizing images of their new creations, the Web is rife with chronic watch flippers offering good deals on minty timepieces, and suddenly that watch you’re wearing is starting to look a little rough around the edges. Time for an upgrade. But reality steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your watch love remains unrequited. What’s a guy to do? Gear Patrol’s new series, Want This, Get This, presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.
You should unwind -- but your favorite timepiece shouldn't
A self-winding mechanical watch only lives up to its name if it’s kept moving. On your wrist, there’s no problem — the motion of your arm keeps the rotor spinning, which winds the mainspring. But leave it on your bedside table for a couple of days and you’ll need to crank it by hand and set the time and date. While that’s no great hardship with one or two watches, once your collection grows to more than that, you’re going to want a watch winder.
So which one to get? The one in the SkyMall catalog should be fine for your $40,000 Patek Philippe, right? Wrong. We’ve rounded up five of the best winders, from $40 to $7,000, to help you choose the right one for your budget and your quiver of timepieces.
Doppel the fun
Last year HABRING² — a small Austrian independent brand spearheaded by Richard Habring, creator of the Valjoux 7750-based rattrapante complication for IWC — won the Sports Watch of the Year award from the Grand Prix d’ Horlogerie de Genève for its Doppel 2.0. Not content to rest on his laurels, Habring’s upped the ante with the Doppel 3 (~$8,800), a limited-production gem.
From Here to the Moon
When the Mercury program started putting men in orbit, American astronauts largely chose their own watches to wear. John Glenn strapped a Heuer stopwatch to his wrist and Scott Carpenter wore a specially-modified Breitling known as the Cosmonaute. But by the 1960s, NASA saw a need to qualify every piece of vital equipment in the capsule, and the wristwatch was one of them. Wally Schirra had already worn his own OMEGA Speedmaster on his Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, and it was included in a quiver of chronographs selected by NASA for rigorous testing. Subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations, violent shocks, vibrations, vacuum and humidity, the Speedmaster outperformed watches from the likes of Rolex, Wittnauer and Longines to be named NASA’s approved timepiece. It was March 1st, 1965.