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Two Great Portable Tripods For Travel Under $100

A good tripod for travel needs to be light but strong while at the same time being collapsible into a small size. Full-size tripods come in all shapes, sizes, and vary widely by price but two tripods under $100 offer a lot for travelers. The Manfrotto Advanced Compact Aluminum and Neewer Carbon Fiber 66-inch have their strengths for both video and photographers hitting the road.

Photography Choice: Manfrotto

The Manfrotto has a light aluminum body with arms divided into 3 sections that are secured with a latch system. The head is a pan and tilt, good especially at set angles, but not as versatile for primarily video shooters. The Advanced Compact Aluminum is a straightforward tripod that weighs 1.42 kilograms (3.13 pounds) and has a maximum height of 165 centimeters (5.4 feet).

The drawback to the use of aluminum legs is that they can’t support a lot of weight when compared to other materials like carbon fiber. A carrying capacity of 3kg (6.6 lbs) might not be a problem depending on your particular gear and if you’re photo first, the Manfrotto Advanced Compact Aluminum is a good choice to consider.

Video Choice: Neewer Carbon Fiber 66-Inch

Although it’s closer to the $100 price mark than the Manfrotto, the Neewer is a lot less expensive than most carbon fiber tripods on the market. The Neewer is light, weighing 1.54kg (3.4 lbs) but can carry an impressive 12kg (26.5 lbs). A ball head gives more flexibility with shooting angles which are easier to work when filming video, plus the Neewer can be setup completely horizontal. A further tribute to its flexible design is the monopod built into one of the legs.

The Neewer might have a few extra bells and whistles but if you’re looking for something simpler, more photography oriented, and at a slightly lower cost the Manfrotto might be better suited to your needs. Of course if you want to go ultra portable the Joby Gorillapod is a much more compact alternative.

Mavic Mini 2 Review: Your Most Commonly Asked Questions Answered

The Mavic Mini 2 is the smallest drone currently in the DJI lineup. Its portability benefits are tangible but are the tradeoffs worth the light weight? If you’ve been eyeing the Mini 2 against its larger cousins in the Mavic line like the Air 2, these are your most common questions, answered.

What’s special about the Mavic Mini 2?

As you can see in my video review here, the Mavic Mini has the footprint of a smartphone and weighs only 249 grams.

Why 249 grams?

It’s the weight just below the requirement for drone registration in many countries. To stay up to date, his map is updated in real-time and DroneMate (Android/iOS) puts all the local laws and regulations in your pocket for offline use.

How does the Mini 2 handle in windy conditions?

The Mini 2 is rated at a level 5 wind resistance, the same as the larger Mavic Air 2 which means it can handle winds up to 28-39 kilometers per hour.

Does the image remain stable?

Yes, you can see some of that footage in the video review, which hasn’t been stabilized in post-production. Basically meaning the steadiness of the shot is both from the Mini 2’s enhanced motors (over the Mini 1) and camera gimbal.

The Mavic Mini 1 is still on sale, should I get it?

No. The Mavic Mini 2 is better is every way and the money savings are minimal.

How does the footage look?

Mike from Drone Supremacy did a comparison you can watch below between the Mavic Mini 2 and the Air 2. Can you tell the difference?

What can’t the Mini 2 do?

It’s a great drone but not perfect. The Mini 2 is missing front facing obstacle avoidance sensors so you’ve got to be extra careful when flying. Also, without front sensors special flight modes like Active Track aren’t possible since the Mini 2 can’t fly around what it can’t see.

Is this the drone to get?

The Mavic Mini 2 is a powerful little drone but a smaller drone means a smaller camera sensor so it doesn’t do particularly well in lower light situations. If camera quality is a priority for you, go with a larger Mavic like the Air 2. However, if you travel frequently, not having to register this drone is a big benefit and being as small as it is, you’ll probably end up bringing the Mini 2 to more places.

Logitech’s MX Anywhere 2s Shows Impressive Durability After 2 Years Of Use

One of the biggest questions about Logitech’s MX Anywhere 2s mouse when it was released was how durable is it? When comparing it to its predecessor 2, the 2s is lighter, slimmer, and feels a little less sturdy. After the first year as part of my Road Tested! series, the 2s showed signs of wear and the limitations of its design.

A travel mouse with that level of wear might be concerning but in year 2 you can see in the video above the Anywhere 2s has shown it will be worth the investment. The battery life has deteriorated but can still be measured in weeks and the buttons maintain a respectable click. Despite its durable shell, travelers might find the 2s limiting is in particular aspects of its design. So, if you’re looking for a portable mouse for travel, be sure to watch the video above for the most comprehensive review of the 2s you’ll find anywhere.

Washington DC In Wide Angle, Photos During Lockdown

The streets around the National Mall in the United States capital Washington D.C. are extraordinarily quiet these days, even over sunny spring weekends with warm temperatures. Museums are closed, the Capitol Building fenced off, and the general state of the pandemic has reduced tourism in the city by 87 percent.

Large open spaces and few crowds made for good conditions to test out the Tamron 17-28mm ultra-wide angle lens. Here photos from the National Mall, in a unique state of springtime calm.

national mall

The lack of tourists is easy to see for most but for locals, the conspicuous few joggers, picnics, and games of soccer along the Mall is an unusual sight for a warm Sunday.

us capitol

Remnants of the events of January 6, 2021, barriers now stand blocks away from the U.S. Capitol Building. A stark contrast to this view.

Smithsonian National Musem of the American Indian logo

Mostly gone virtual, museums that line the National Mall have become their own outdoor exhibit, like the National Museum of the American Indian.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, closed for 6 months and counting, has also put a number of its exhibits online while waiting to open their doors again.

washington dc streets

These streets aren’t closed but it’s hard to tell from the photo above.

washington dc food truck

What was once a wall of food trucks, only the occasional one remains with its window open and food for sale.

washington monument

Although the insides are closed, the open spaces of the National Mall around landmarks like the Washington Monument make for good socially-distance-acceptable exercise and fresh air. When Washington D.C. does reopen though be sure not to miss this Chinese restaurant with a secret menu and take a drive out to the area’s other, lesser known space museum.

How NFTs Could Change Travel

Everydays: The First 5000 Days

The digital photo above sold for $69.3 million dollars. It’s called Everydays: The First 5000 Days by the artist Beeple and although the digital art was auctioned off at Christie’s, you can see I was able to easily copy and paste it above. That does not mean though I’m the owner of the NFT, a concept that may revolutionize how we travel.

What Are NFTs

NFT stands for non-fungible token, in other words something that is unique and can’t be duplicated. NFTs are in a sense akin to rare baseball cards like a 1952 Mickey Mantle that sold for 5.2 million USD. A baseball card is something tangible however, you can hold it in your hands, you buy it and it’s yours. With NFTs the digital file like the image aboven can still be copied like any other file except the NFT, like a public certificate of authenticity, belongs only to one individual.

To get more detailed: the only way to own an NFT is to buy it through a transaction that’s recorded on the blockchain. Blockchain is a way of publicly documented translations. The person who bought Beeple’s artwork above has a public record of that transaction. You can listen to a more thorough explanation of NFTs on the foXnoMad Podcast but your two main takeaways should be: NFTs establish authenticity and chain of ownership.

Wild West Of NFT Trading

Imagine your favorite musician minting songs from their new albums to sell as NFTs. Everyone can still listen to the music but only one person will own the NFT. Think of it as sort of an autograph: you can get the album anywhere but there’s only one Britney Spears signed limited edition.

listening to music

The same concept can be applied to a driver’s license or passport. Fakes are possible but when you check the authenticity of the document against the records of the government who issued them, the frauds become evident. Right now, NFTs are making headlines with high price sales of NBA video clips selling for $240,000 and the grumpy cat meme selling for $83,000.

So why would anyone want to buy one? Well, NFTs have made it possible for specific digital assets to be rare – a rarity people are so far, willing to pay for. The market for NFTs is a rapidly evolving on sure to make even more expensive headlines but aside from the art trade, it has implications for travelers.

True Digital Passports?

Given how digital everything is these days, it does seem a bit odd to carry around a paper book you get stamped when entering a new country. Of course those paper passports are authenticated through centralized computer systems but NFTs could solve that middleman process. Being one of a kind authenticated digital assets that are publicly documented could mean an eventual end to paper passports.

An NFT-based passport and visas would be much, much more difficult to forge and if you lose the device containing your NFT passport, regenerating one through a digital portal is a lot faster than today’s snail mail methods. Of course, how this will all look (an app on your phone?) isn’t clear since it’s the very early days of NFT popularity. The reach into the travel industry for NFTs though is wide from everything to plane and event tickets to yes, maybe your passport too.

iPhone 12 vs. $2700 Camera Test: Can You Tell The Difference?

Let’s take the image right below. Can you tell what type of camera it was taken on?

cute dog

The answer is it was shot on an iPhone 12. Now take that same photo, except shooting it on the Sony a7C with a Tamron 17-28 f2.8 millimeter lens.

cute dog again

The differences in image quality might be a bit more apparent now that you’ve had time to compare them side-by-side. Still, telling the $1000 iPhone 12 apart from the full frame $2700 Sony setup though isn’t as easy in every situation. The iPhone renders colors vibrantly especially in bright outdoor conditions like Utah’s mountains and in many cases, when the pictures aren’t next to each other picking them apart becomes more of a detective game.

I’ll let you test your skills watching in the video above to see how many out of 10 you can guess correctly.

No matter how you do, I think the iPhone holds up compared to the considerably larger build of a full frame mirrorless camera. Certainly the Sony outperforms in many ways but it’s also a larger device with two functions – to shoot videos and photos. Apple on the other hand has to design a device that can do both of those things well, but also be your emailingsocialmediaposting-time-sucking-device most of us are attached to.

So if you’re wondering what kind of camera you need to get started on YouTube for example or to post travel videos on TikTok, the Sony a7C would be nice, but you don’t have to look further than the phone in your pocket. While every year phone cameras get better, most modern phones are so good, the differences are very incremental. Don’t think so? See if you can tell these iPhone 12 photos apart from the 11.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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