Sunday, November 17, 2013

Between storms, Merrell's and VFF

It's been raining heavily the past few weeks but it was bound to stop . . .  sometime

    Sony NEX-5n  with 16mm prime

I had to do a few erands and found myself on Granville Island.   It's an early Saturday morning and nearly deserted

    Sony NEX-5n with 16mm prime

except for this little bird who was waiting to be fed.   They are used to human food .  There are many stores waiting for you to spend your hard earned money and this one was selling T-shirts of that famous Mayor in Toronto

   Canon T2i, with 18-250mm super zoom

 This day I decided to visit a shoe store

    Panasonic Lumix TS3

and saw a running shoe that looked dressy enough to wear at work.  It was a Merrell Barefoot Life Tour Glove, like  THESE    I've been buying Barefoot type sandals for a couple of years now and I think they are healthier for you.  Merrells make a larger toe box in their shoes to allow your toes to splay more than being all squished together.  They also have a zero rise design so you don't land on your heels like standard shoes

Since I was in shoe buying mode, I also went to another store where they had Vibram Five Fingers on sale.  This is the Treksport Five Fingers Glove VFF (for short)

    Panasonic Lumix  TS3

It took me a while to get these on as your toes don't go where they are supposed to.  These shoes fit like a glove so there is no room for socks

    Panasonic Lumix TS3

I managed to get these on and  What a Difference they make vs My Keens.   I had to try a few pairs on to get the right size but they are like a second skin and so comfortable that I didn't want to take them off.  These are probably the most comfortable shoe you may ever find

   Panasonic Lumix TS3

Walking in them is like walking barefoot, except that you aren't.  You just have to get used to people staring at you

Many years ago I bought a few pairs of toe socks.  You will love them in hot weather as I don't think your feet smell as much when you wear them.  These are all Cool Max type

so I put on a pair of these toe socks and changed into my Merrell Barefoot Life Tour Glove

I've been wearing them for a couple of days now and I must say that these are very comfortable.

Now you are able to experience the Barefoot experience all year around.  These shoes are very light and your toes are able to move and utilize muscles as nature intended.

I used to collect cameras.  I used to also buy & sell cameras and often purchased a table at the camera swap meet so I could buy and sell cameras.  It has been my hobby since high school and I like to keep pace with technology.   I used to joke with my buddies that even if I didn't have money for clothes, I always had money to buy cameras . . .

   Taken with my new Sony RX100M2

I wanted something that I could put in my pocket, yet still get a good photo

   Sony RX100M2               Shelter Island Marina, Fraser River, Richmond, BC

This camera has a 1" sensor, the largest of most P&S cameras that can fit in a pocket.  The video mode is amazing.   I like to shoot in Aperture priority mode and now I have full control over my settings.  It was an expensive weekend as I also bought the Fuji X-E2.


  1. I like the tilting screen but no viewfinder. I guess I still prefer a that since I can adjust it to work with my glasses prescription. Trying to compose on an LCD screen for me is a real hassle.

    Why the new cameras?

    1. Richard:

      I still have my Canon T2i dSLR with OVF which has been to many places. I brought it to iMBC2012, and also with me all across the USA last year so I do have a real viewfinder but it makes your camera larger and I wanted something to put in a pocket. The eyepiece has a diopter. I wanted something non threatening to point in front of people so decided upon a P&S style which makes it more stealth for traveling.

      The LCD is much better for video recording.

      The "WHY a new camera part" may be more suited for a blog post but in summary I was not happy snapping away with an automatic camera with no control over settings. The newer TS4 has A & M modes which mine does not. Also waterproof life style cameras have an extra glass filter in front of the lens which further degrades the image and also a high "F" stop. Something like F3.3 so I could not shoot very much in low light. Also the video mode did have 1080p but only 60i, and I wanted 60p. The Canon S120 only has 30p mode and the G16 was a bit too bulky but if it had a fully articulating screen like the older models I may have gone for it instead. Also I like to keep up with technology and the Sony has a few software tricks in the camera like, DRO, HDR

    2. I guess I thought the NEX had all of the manual control and lens options that anyone could want and with a prime lens, not very bulky at all. Which P&S is weatherproof? The Canon?

    3. Richard:

      I have been carrying my NEX-5n with the 16mm prime but it is still heavy in my pocket. I like the camera but the Sony RX100M2 is half the size and outputs 80-90% of the quality of the APS-c sensor and has better video modes. I usually carry my Lumix TS3 but it only has an F3.3 lens. The RX has a F1.8 and has manual controls as I like to fiddle.

      I was also looking at the GX7 but I didn't wish to start another lens collection and the NEX-6 is similar to what I have already, except for the EVF

  2. I have two pair of Merrell shoes that I just love. Most comfortable shoe ever. Snug where I need them snug, but loose for the toes. I wear them barefoot or with socks as needed. For running on pavement I had to get more cushioning and now have a pair of Saucony Viratas - zero drop with some cushioning for the concrete.

    All my cameras are old now, but they still do what I need them to do. I guess I'm kind of strange, I like a view finder on my dslr, but a tilt screen on the back (like my G11) would be nice too, for when I get low to the ground.

    1. Kari:

      I have a recurring foot problem but wearing zero lift shoes seems to help. Last year I bought a pair of Unshoes and it took a while to get used to them so when I bought these Merrells I was already conditioned. Reading reviews, the Merrells have the largest toe box. As you say it is snug at the rear where you need it to be, but sort of more room in the front for your toes to do their job. Try toe socks with them and you will like the barefoot feel more. You just have to learn to take shorter steps. I am going to get another pair if I can get a different colour so that I can alternate. Did I mention they are very light, only a few ounces. Much lighter than running shoes

      I think I am still going to buy a new dSLR for my trip next year. I was looking at the 70D or the T5i as they both have fully articulating screens. Rumour is that the T6i will be out in the spring with the dual pixel sensor of the 70D. I hope that's the case as Canon have a history of putting new technology into their Rebel series. I also have a tilting screen on my older NEX-5n but I need one that moves right around to the front for self portraits when riding solo

    2. Yes, that's the other thing I really like - how light they are. I want to try the toe socks as I have issues with blisters sometimes, but haven't picked any up yet. I like how I can feel my foot flex and move with the ground surface as I walk. It think there are a lot of little muscles/ligaments that don't get much movement in regular shoes.

      I've been reading a bit about the mirrorless cameras. They're intriguing, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up a dslr just yet. Seems like the mirrorless are still pretty bulky for Pocket status, so may as well stick with the slr. My D80 is old technology by now, but it doesn't seem to limit me in any way, so I'm cool with that for now.

    3. Kari:

      Get those toe socks. You will love them. My VFF only has thin 4mm soles so you can feel the ground. My commuter car is a 5-speed and I can "feel" the clutch better

      I also have a D80, but then I bought the Canon T2i a few years ago. I want the dual pixel sensor so I was still looking at the T5i or 70D, or switch back to Nikon when the D5300 comes out. I want the articulating screen. I have lots of Nikon lenses too

      If you are looking for mirrorless, the best rated camera right now is the Fuji X-E2 with an APS-c sensor. With adapters and if your Nikon lenses have aperture rings, then you can mount them on this Fuji too.

  3. I personally find the toe glove shoes a bit on the freaky side, but since what it counts is what works for you....

    1. Dom:

      I used to think the VFF's looked funny too but they are so comfortable. You have to try a pair on to believe it. You can wear these for hiking on trails where the ground is uneven and then your toes can articulate on the rough ground or over tree roots, not unlike a Gecko

      My Merrell Barefoot life tour gloves look more conventional, have nearly the same feel and look normal

  4. The shoes with the toes are very very popular in this area. Especially with the joggers. No strange looks as people are so used to seeing them.

    Great pictures too Bob. My favorites are the first one and last two.

    1. Trobairitz:

      I decided that I was going to re-vitalize my photographic interests. I am making an effort to learn PS: PhotoShop more, I have bought another book and I have been watching tutorials on-line. I was even thinking of taking a course. I may even dust off my large format printer, or buy another one. Not sure yet as printing is more expensive to do yourself, then just having them done somewhere commercially

      The main reason for upgrading my camera is to something that is NOT fully automatic, and which also has RAW mode and a sensor larger than most P&S cameras. I also wanted something that would fit in a pocket so I would carry it with me most of the time.

      My regular shoes make my feet hurt and these zero rise barefoot type seem better for me. So I am going to check my shoe inventory and donate the ones that don't fit right as most are new and barely worn

      When you eventually get a chance to come up here, we can go to Granville Island and you can see these places "with your own eyes"

  5. Big up Merrell; they support the UK's National Parks (for which I am an employee).

    1. Chris:

      that's great ! that must mean that I am indirectly supporting your National Parks too. Merrells have a great product

  6. Sounds like you enjoyed a little retail therapy - always good! Nice photos - the new toe shoes suit you.

    1. Karen:

      I am not usually much of a shopper unless I really need something. Hard to believe that I spend lots on shoes even though I don't like to wear them much, mostly sandals for me. Those toe shoes ie: VFF are very comfy

      My plan is to go through my nearly new shoes and toss out the ones that don't fit right. I can't walk far in some of them as they rub the wrong way.