Ajouts de photo a mon compte flickr, adding pictures to my flickr account

Compte tenu qu’un blogue n’est pas la place idéale pour présenter des photos j’ai envoyé le tout sur un compte Flickr que vous pouvez consulter ici :

Compte Flickr Sylvain Paquette’s account.

Since exposing pictures on a blog isn’t quite ideal, i’ve send all my new pics to my Flickr account, visit me there.

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Exporail St-Constant Lowkey Monochrome gallery

I went shooting at Exporail St-Constant and used my panasonic GX85 with an olympus 7-14mm F2.8, a panasonic 20mm F1.7 and a 42.5mm F1.7.

Most shot are made using L.monochrome profile and fiddling with the filters and contrast.

All shot in JPG and direct from the camera.

Here is the Flickr share : Lowkey Exporail album from FLICKR

I strongly recommend visiting Exporail if you are interested in trains but also in photography. The lighting in one of the hangar is really nice.

Here are the informations to get there : Exporail St-Constant informations

Couple of examples :

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Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro lense

Yesterday was my birthday and I got myself a nice gift … ok it wasn’t really my birthday but still got the lense.

I’ve been using Micro 4/3 for couple of years now and still hasn’t got a UWA lense when my 10-22 ef-s was my favorite on canon aps-c and the sigma 10-20mm was my favorite on my full frame canon kit.

Until now I’ve been using the panasonic 12-32mm kit lense as a wide angle but … it’s not really one at 24mm equivalent. It’s an amazing kit lense, the first kit lense that didn’t end up in the original box sitting in a closet but it’s not a wide angle lense when the crop factor is 2. Yet 24-64mm equivalent is close to the perfect general use range. The lense is sharp, super light and fast, dual stabilized and corrected in the body. Even if really good I wanted something wide, really wide but not fish eye wide.

I was considering the panasonic 7-14mm F4, the olympus 7-14mm F2.8 and the new panasonic leica 8-18mm.

Since I was going after the widest possible and fastest possible lense the olympus looked like the perfect choice. The panasonic didn’t impress me, for the price I would had expect better build and IQ and why not make it OIS for dual stabilisation. The leica is almost the price of the olympus and from the pictures I’ve seen the IQ is still below the olympus while not a constant F2.8 and the feeling in hand is not as good. The biggest advantage of the leica is the removable hood and thread for filter. I won’t do much video so it won’t be as important for me but I understand that for video the leica will be a better choice even if not constant aperture.

I’ve been able to play with the 7-14mm F2.8 in a store and it didn’t take much to convince me that this is the UWA to get for the Micro 4/3 still shooting. The build is incredible, the clutch manual focus ring is a joy to use and the IQ is really high even wide open and from 7 to 14mm.

I’ve use the lense only for two days but I’m already convinced I made the right choice. It bring back memory of my 10-22mm ef-s lense but it’s wider, brighter and better IQ. Of course it’s bigger and heavier but combined with my panasonic GX85 it’s still easy to manage. With the lcd system in the GX85 you can pivot the lcd so it’s visible from the top and take those dramatic shoot close to the ground. It’s a really nice combo.

When shooting FF I always kept a 28mm lense in my bag and the 7-14mm give me that perfect balance of 14mm to 28mm equivalent with a nice constant F2.8. The leica would had given me better range on the long side but I would had lost a precious mm in the wide range. When getting a UWA, that 1mm is of importance considering it’s 2mm FF and make a big difference when trying to include as much as possible in the frame. Honestly if the leica had been 200-300$ less I would had consider it but it was only 100 canadian pesos less and not close to the feeling of handling the olympus.

I’m sure I will greatly enjoy that lense, it’s always fun to play with those extreme lenses. My 10-22mm was the most used of all my lense, I suspect this lense will be more often than not on my camera.  The Micro 4/3 system is filled with those interesting gems of lenses and the price is generally quite reasonable. Sure this lense is expensive but in comparison with other system it’s still a bargain.

Today I had an very interesting discussion with another amateur photographer that was quite curious about the lens and camera combo I was using. We were discussing about how peoples are so focused on big sensor and shallow depth of field these days. He did exactly like me and switched his huge and heavy bad of nikon gear for a small fuji setup and seems really happy with the move.

I’ve had the most fun in this hobby with this simple setup. I’ve been fortunate to own or use amazing lenses (135mm f2.0, 85mm f1.2, 50mm f1.0 etc) and body in the past but this didn’t translate in the fun I have now. Smaller, lighter, more versatile, better user interface, good jpg results, uploading directly from my phone and camera to google photos, compatibility to old manual lenses … I can pack 5-6 lenses, 3 batteries, the camera in a small bag and no back pain at the end of the day. I don’t sit at the computer for longer time than what it took me to snap the shoots anymore, I simply transfer the file and automatic backup handle the rest. I’ve been bringing my camera everywhere I go for a month now, I would never do that with my previous kits.

BTW the GX85 do post focusing directly in the body. It’s really nice if you want to get a subject and background all in focus.

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro mounted on a panasonic GX85

 

Here are some picture taken while I’m getting use to the lense and still learning a lot about my Panasonic GX85. This small camera is filled with features and so nice to handle.

 

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85

 

You  can always use it for portrait if you are after goofy faces !

I should provide this picture for my passport renewal.

Portrait using olympus 7-14mm F2.8 pro on panasonic GX85.

 

For my next post I want to talk about a real bargain that I keep in my bag and that give me the best bang for the bucks I’ve seen in photography. Yes my olympus 40-150mm lense that can be purchased for around 150 canadian pesos. I don’t know if I won the lense lottery but I get really good results with it. As long as the sun is there since it’s not a fast lense but IQ wise it’s surprisingly good.

In near future I have plan to convert my olympus e-pl1 in full spectrum or IR. I want also a second body, was thinking of the pen F but the LCD pivot system is of no use for me. It’s really deceiving since I really liked the rest of the camera. Maybe a OM10 II or older OM1.

I played with extensions tubes also, it’s nice and I’m getting used to it but eventually I’m thinking of a macro lense, something like the 60mm F2.8 from olympus. The 30mm macro F2.8 from panasonic seems rather short for macro but I would like to have a nice 30mm prime lense in my bag … will have to try one.

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Experimenting with JMLC (Jean-Michel Le Cléac’h) horn loaded beyma tpl 150

I bought a pair of beyma TPL 150 with 4 horns (JMLC expansion) configured in dipole from a friend.

Replacing my raal 70-20xr for something more efficient has been almost impossible so far but gave a shot to those. I’ve not heard the beyma tpl 150 in original configuration before but the JMLC charge had me pull the trigger and purchase them.

The reason I want to replace the raal is not because of sound quality since so fat from 4-5khz up nothing come close to this. The 70-10 are more interesting over 10khz but the 70-20xr make a wonderful job at 4-5khz and up. My main horn are ok up to 5khz after that it’s pushing it since they start to beam quite a bit. The reason is mostly because I want to build a tube amplifier dedicated for the tweeters and the efficiency of the raal would had needed more power then I wanted to build. I use a 2 watts amp for my mid, I don’t want to build a 50 watts  amplifier for the tweeters.

So the raal 210-10 was a huge disappointment, the yamaha 4281 an even bigger one. I can’t stand jbl 2404 2405 and most ribbons. Not an easy task to find a good tweeter that can push 100+ db/w and doesn’t sound harsh or aggressive or dead.

I didn’t expect the horn loaded beyma to be this big so I had to improvise some form of legs until I fix my drivers and rebuild my cabinets. Fortunately I don’t have to make up excuses about horns not to use them in my living room, It’s not about the look for me and frankly I like odd looking speakers in today boring waf approved slim tower market.

I’ve tried some 300 db/oct integration from 1000hz to 5000hz with the deqx and I’m extremely impressed at what those can do. Even at 1000hz they still get lot’s of energy, no harshness and give solid results. The horn seems to do an amazing job a loading them.

When I get time I will post a serie of measurements at 1m and different angles. Nothing scientific. Using my ears I would say at around 8-10khz they start to get slightly directional but nothing really problematic.

For now I’ve settled for 370hz to 3000hz for my mid, 3000hz and up for the jmlc beyma and I’m going to listen to that for some time.

The difference with the raal from 1000-10000hz is big, more energy, realism no harsness and open sounding. Over 10khz I think the raal had a little bit more sparkles but I don’t hear as high in frequency as I use to and this won’t bother me at all. I don’t see any downside going with the beyma except for size. Cymbals sound fantastic and life like, trumpet and female vocals too. Both horns mix really well.

I’m not sure I will keep them dipolar, I will have to compare with and without. I’ve never kept anything dipolar in my room for a long time. I don’t like mixing ways where some are dipolare and some aren’t, it’s messy and even optimized for the listening position they are still trace of reflection distorting the original sound.

I can always keep the back horn and absorb the back wave in it since the original back cover are known to cause some frequency aberration and I don’t want to reinstall those. It’s gonna be my next thing to experiment with those.

I will try to live with this configuration for couple of weeks and if it’s all good will start the process of rebuilding the bass cabinets with double the number of 10″ drivers and passive radiators. Then integrate the tweeters horns in this cabinet and make some form of post for the large JMLC 320hz horn on the side. This should be the final form of my home speakers.

Picssssssssssss

 

Not the horn but just for fun

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Retour à la photographie comme passe temps, mes commentaires sur la panasonic GX85

Après avoir mis mes équipements photos de côtés dans les 2-3 dernières années, j’ai ressorti le tout pour faire un peu de ménage, recharger mes batteries et faire quelques photos.

Mon vieux olympus pen e-pl1 fonctionne toujours mais il commence à être très désuet. Cela a toujours été difficile de faire un focus manuel avec cet appareil. Le pen epl1 était un gateway lorsque j’ai décidé de tout vendre mes équipement full frame canon. Je l’utilise de temps à autre lorsque la caméra du cellulaire ne suffit pas mais sans plus.

Mes objectifs manuel canon fd, mes om mount de olympus et mes nikon F et pre ai sont toujours en bon état. Pas surprenant, c’est indestructible c’est vieux objectifs.

Je me suis décidé à remplacer mon boitier pour un boîtier moderne pouvant utiliser mes vieux objectifs et comme j’avais déjà tous mes adaptateurs pour fd, om mount, pre ai nikon, l’idée de demeurer avec le système micro 4/3 était très tentante. De plus j’adore le format 4/3 que je trouve plus approprié à la photo artistique que du 16:9 par exemple.

Un peu de lecture sur les inter-tubes et les choix se dirigeaient vers un de ces boîtiers :

  • panasonic GX85
  • panasonic G85
  • olympus e-m5 mkii
  • olympus e-m10 mkii

La stabilisation en boitier et mirrorless étaient au top de mes priorités puisque j’utilise beaucoup de vieux objectifs manuels.

J’ai pris le temps de regarder les produits fujitsu et  sony aussi. Le prix, le format et la gamme d’objectif ne m’enchante pas trop et je trouve les fujitsu exagérément retro dans leur look. Sony … j’ai entendu de mauvaise histoires avec leurs boitiers et capteurs ce qui n’aide pas.

L’attrait du format 4/3 et la taille des boîtiers en 4/3 est un grand avantages pour moi. Quelques tests en magasin m’ont aussi montré que la différence entre un petit senseur 4/3 et un aps-c est rendu négligeable pour utilisation web. Évidemment les full frame et format medium sont plus performant mais d’aucun intérêt pour moi maintenant. Le but c’est de l’apporter partout avec moi.

Le GX85 a été mon choix finale suite à une visite chez LL lozeau à Montréal. Cela a été difficle a décider entre le G85 et le GX85, la prise en main est plus moderne sur le G85 et il a quelques avantages en vidéo comme une prise de microphone mais il est aussi pas mal plus encombrant et je ne passe pas des heures à tenir le tout dans mes mains. Esthétiquement j’adore le look “rangefinder” du GX85 et sont format est idéale. Aussi le viewfinder numérique tout en haut à gauche me plait. Cela permet de prendre le pouce gauche pour choisir la zone focus sans retirer son oeil du viewfinder. Très plaisant à manipuler et efficace.

Les avantages du GX85 :

  • stabilisation dans le boîtier 5 axes
  • double stabilisation avec objectifs o.i.s de panasonic (se rapprochant d’un steady glide)
  • beaucoup d’options pour vidéo 4k et photos 4k comparativement à olympus
  • taille très compact et bon feeling de solidité, ca rappel la série pen de olympus
  • écran de haute qualité qui représente bien le résultat final
  • viseur numérique de qualité très utile.
  • exporter les photo via wifi sur cellulaire ou ordinateur (fonctionne bien sur cellulaire mais moins avec les ordinateurs)
  • mode d’aide au focus manuel de panasonic extrêmement efficace
  • gamme d’objectifs superbe de panasonic à prix très raisonnable inclus la stabilisation dans les objectifs
  • bruit a haut iso énormément amélioré versus mon ancien boitier.
  • aucun filtre passe bas réduisant la résolution et couche logiciel pour réduire les effets de moirée efficace.
  • filtres artistiques en jpg utile et nouveau modes noir et blanc haut contraste magnifique

Le G85 et son 12-60 “kit lense” me plaisait bien aussi mais l’appareil devient moins intéressant. Je veux pouvoir entrer le tout dans une poche de manteau avec 1 ou 2 objectifs pancake et ne pas traîner de sac photo. Le 12-60 me semble un bel objectif aussi bien que beaucoup plus gros que le 12-32. Il semblerait qu’il est un peu moins sharp mais 24-120mm c’est une belle plage comme zoom a tout faire.

Le GX85 vient avec un minuscule objectif 12-32mm stabilisé. Je croyais que ce serait un autre objectif à laisser dans la boite d’origine mais, contrairement au 14-42 d’olympus, celui-ci est compacte, plaisant à utiliser, une belle plage d’utilisation du zoom (12 à 64mm équivalent), il est sharp, focus rapide et demande aucune correction (ou elles sont fait directement dans le boitier). 12mm f3.5 stabilisé s’utilise très bien et permet pas mal de latitude pour les photos intérieur. Un des rare kit lense qui vaut amplement le prix demandé lorsqu’ acheté séparément. Ici il est inclus avec le boitier et m’est revenu à 999$ canadien pour l’ensemble, ceci donne un rapport qualité prix incroyable selon moi.

Après avoir jouer un peu avec le 12-32 fourni avec cela m’a convaincu de me commander un panasonic 20mm f1.7 et un 42.5mm f1.7 que je suis a découvrir présentement et je suis aucunement déçus jusqu’à présent. L’ensemble 12-32mm, 20mm f1.7 et 42.5mm f1.7 est extrêmement compacte et complémentaire. Pour le télé j’ai mon vieux vivitar 70-210mm et mon superbe olympus zuiko 135mm manuel.

Je suis encore a découvrir l’appareil et m’habituer avec mais c’est tout un monde comparativement a mon ancien pen epl1 ou même mon 5d mkii niveau optimisation de l’interface utilisateur. Un charme à manipuler.

Jusqu’à présent je ne peux être plus satisfait du résultat.

Panasonic GX85 et objectif vivitar serie 1 70-210mm f3.5, photo prise avec cellulaire.

 

Quelques photos prises en expérimentant avec l’appareil (directement de l’appareil, aucun traitement) :

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 135mm f3.5

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 50mm f1.8

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 50mm f1.8

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 50mm f1.8

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 50mm f1.8

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 50mm f1.8

panasonic gx85 et olympus zuiko om 28mm f2.8

panasonic gx85 et lumix 20mm f1.7 o.i.s

panasonic gx85 et lumix 20mm f1.7

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Petite visite aux Iles de la madeleine en février 2017

Pas chaud ici, mais c’est très beau.

 

Il vente toujours mais c’est très beau tout de même.

 

Petites maisons colorés, décors hivernal

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Returning to a yaesu ft-897d instead of the kenwood ts-2000

I’m getting tired of the intermod my ts-2000 suffer so I got a used ft-879d, added a fp-30 internal power supply, a mh-59a8j which is a fantastic multi fonction mic including volume control and a ldg FTM meter.

I don’t hate the ts-2000 but I have a pager tower close from here and the front-end of the ts-2000 can’t match the ic-7100 or even the ft-897d.

Adding a yaesu ft-897d to the shack

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Icom ic-7100, small shack and ram mount

The icom ic-7100 is a fantastic little radio, specially when you have limited “shack” space. I’ve decided to fix it on my desk using a ram mount I had on hand for a old gps I don’t use anymore.

The kit used is ram mount :

RAM-B-138U (dual mounts and short arm)

RAM-B-201U-C (a long arm to replace the short arm)

You can also simply order parts by parts what you need. My setup use the 1″ ram balls and the radio screw directly under the RAM-B-202.

 

Icom ic-7100 on ram mount

Icom ic-7100 inside the shack on ram mount

Icom ic-7100 over ic-7300 on ram mount

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My sound system as of June 2016

Someone asked me if I was still using the tannoy in my system. Since the beginning of the year I’ve return to horns.

This is the actual setup. It’s not perfect on the aesthetic department and I have to make some decent horns brackets but it play wonderfully. Take note the television is a 70″ for size reference.

IMG_20160107_194837

JMLC 320hz horns over visaton tiw 250 xs

The system consist of :

16-350hz = 4 visaton tiw 250 xs charged with 6 8″ css passive radiator on the back. A pair of icepower 500asp and whatever cable I had on hands.

350-5000hz = A pair of JMLC  (Jean-Michel LeCleach) expansion horns made by Marco Henry (Musique Concrète) using JBL 2441 and radian diaphragms. The amplifier is a icepower 125asx2 and whatever cables I could find.

5000-20khz (and more) = A pair of raal 70-20xr (seen without the front plate in the picture). The amplifier is a icepower 250asx2 and take a guess for the cables.

IMG_20151231_114121

JMLC (Jean-Michel LeCleach) expansion horns made by Marco Henry (Musique Concrète) using JBL 2441 and radian diaphragms

Everything is feed to my DEQX crossover/preamplifier/dac. I usually use linear phase 96db/oct or more for the transition between each drivers and combined with the fact I’m using the horns inside a home, I can get the transitional frequency in the 320hz without problems. It’s nice because the 10″ visaton start to sound a little bit muddy over 350hz. I try to keep a balance between latency and high order filters so It’s not a pain to watch movies and having delay on the sound. Normally I like to keep the latency in the 20-40ms. The DEQX is fantastic for that.

The CSS passive radiators permit to tune the cabs where you position them using external added mass. This is a really nice way to optimize the system without using much corrections from the DEQX. In the end I only use little bit of correction from 16hz to 140hz and after that the horns and tweeters are perfectly fine without it. This speak a lot about the quality of the JMLC expansions and the RAAL tweeters performances.

I’ve been able to compare different raal and so far the 70-20xr are my favorite. I can’t stand the 210-10, the 140-15D are too directional and doesn’t bring anything more for a 2-4khz cut. The 70-10 is nice for 10khz and more, under that … The 70-20xr is really versatile and never sound like a ribbons as the 210-10 tend to do. You can cut the 70-20xr at 2khz if you want with a proper crossover and still get a lot of energy They need more power than you may think so I’ve used my second larger amplifier for them.

I do hook the horns and tweeters directly to the amplifiers. I would do that with tube amplifiers using output transformer or icepower amplifier only. With anything else a capacitor is almost necessary.

My source are either a mac mini with a m-audio audiophile sound card or a chromecast (just replaced the old apple tv) using the TV as a converter (hdmi to toslink) to the dac. 99% of the time the chromecast and spotify (on highest quality setting) is used and it sound perfectly fine.

I’ve installed a old realistic power meter on the low frequency cabs to get an idea of the real power need … and mostly to look at needles moving while listening to music. For most of my listening the power consumption is under 1-2 watts per channel on the visaton. Lound session will peak in the 5-10 watts. My amplifiers are way overkill even for the low frequency sections.

radioshack power meter

The horns are made of rocks dust and epoxy. It similar to concrete.  They weigh a ton and by sitting on top of the low frequency cabs damp everything. I need to build a better rack eventually but for now it works quite well.

This is the best sound I’ve had home and heard from a sound system so far and I’m really happy of been able to enjoy it everyday. It play everything you throw at it with authority and accuracy without ever sounding like cheap horns can. There is no shouting, it’s not in your face except if the music played is supposed to be (ex trumpet, big bands etc) The energy from the speakers is amazing and the realism is there.

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Icom ic-7300 review

I just got rid of my flex 6300 and replace it for a icom ic-7300.

And make a wonderful ic-7100 holder.

The ic-7300 make a wonderful ic-7100 tablet.

If you just want to read my opinions about the icom, just skip the first part talking about the flex radios.

The flexradio life

While I really liked the flex 6300, I didn’t really like the company making them. I feeled like a beta tester who had to pay lot’s of money to participate in the development.

The radio itself started to be usable when the 1.5 version of smartsdr was released and they added some form of noise mitigation. It was still bugged and it still is to the last version I had (1.7.x).

One of flexradio problem is the target market they aim for with their products. It’s not easy to give support for cutting edge sdr technology when most of your clients know very little about computer and mostly nothing about networking. I would not like to be the one trying to solve audio configuration problems, remotely, on a vintage xp computer probably filled with old software, virus etc. on a wifi network provided through the isp modem. That’s probably why most flex owner connect the ethernet cable directly in the computer. It’s probably also one of the reason there is many complaints about the flex maestro right now.

I have to give credit to flex for the community forum on their website and their general support and let’s face it, ham radio operator generally lean on the whiny side, specially the loud ones on the internet.

All in all I like the radio but didn’t like the direction the company is aiming at with the ridiculous (in my opinion) maestro and last couple of software updates. Also smartsdr need to be more customizable for me. I’m gonna miss running the software on a laptop around the house for sure.

The best point about the flex, compared to conventional heterodyne receivers :

  • not been tied to the shack
  • amazing bandscope of 7-14 mhz if you want (but we never use it)
  • selectivity
  • sound quality (can’t stand dsp in many modern radios)
  • running completely on a computer
  • dax, audio conduit possibilities
  • easy to use
  • quick access to everything, no menu etc
  • auto calibration of the radio’s tcxo
  • able to receive as wide as you want or up to 10k (not useful over 5k but it’s there)
  • able to transmit as wide as you want or up to 10k (not my interest but the possibility is there)
  • amazing for digital modes, cw skimmers, other ham radio software
  • new generation does not need lot’s of computer power
  • screen can be as big as your wallet allow it
  • can be used on touchscreen and windows 8.1 0r 10 for nice experience
  • very visual experience where you look at the bands and not listen to A band to see if there is activity

While this is all good there are some point I liked a little bit less with the model I had :

  • been highly dependant of flex for the software development
  • bugged software often released in a hurry then fixed then new bugs etc. but it was getting better
  • need large bandwidth to be used remotely making remote operation erratic at best
  • ridiculously priced, designed, delayed flex maestro and the idea that then need to develop for nostalgic knob lovers
  • The complexity of the radio and parts used make it a “call for RMA and return it” if something goes wrong
  • not able to talk with my antenna tuner directly

Enter the new icom ic-7300

While the flex still have high value (when a new generation is released the price of the previous ones tend to tank) I decided to get rid of it and got an icom ic-7300. I didn’t want to have to deal with flex for an out of warranty repair in the future or try to sell it when they close the doors or bring a new generation of radio. I kind of expect the maestro to be a fiasco even if I hope it’s not.

After couple of days, I don’t see the ic-7300 as a flex or anan replacement or competitor AT ALL but I never expected it to be. While I highly enjoy the radio and it answer 110% to my need I have to be honest the ic-7300 is more a heterodyne radio replacement.

For someone without sdr exposition maybe it could be considered as a full fledged sdr radio but I don’t agree with that. It’s a little of both, well made and integrated (unlike the flex maestro i’ve seen operate in videos on youtube) really enjoyable to use radio. It only have 1 mhz of bandwidth but it is enough for 99.9% of my use since I rarely even used 1mhz on my flex-6300. It does give the operator a good visual experience of the bands while having the best audio quality i’ve heard on an icom radio so far.

With the ic-7300 you can run the radio from the computer with icom rs-ba1 (with an update) and get a bandscope but it’s not even a tiny bit close to the experience of doing it with a flex radio. The usb port in the ic-7300 still run at serial com port speed so what you have is a little bit slow and laggish. The good point of it is the low bandwidth needed will make it easy to use in remote operation (have not tried it yet).

Having played with the icom ic-7600, the 756 pro iii etc, the 7300 is in a league of it’s own making them look like old and slow limited technology. The ic-7300 can replace my flex-6300 where a ic-7600 wouldn’t since i’ve been exposed to a good sdr radio. Now this is for my use, in my shack and on my antenna. I’m not a contester (except once a year), it doesn’t interest me, and don’t do digital modes often. I have to try the digital modes soon and see if my hamradiodeluxe licence work with it.

All in all, using the radio is a such a joy. The screen is fantastic and the touchscreen operation is another step ahead of the ic-7100 (also own) and make the yaesu ft-991 and ftm-400 (also own) look really bad. The touchscreen operation and menu are optimised, quick and easy to use. It’s exactly the opposite with the yaesu ft-991 and ftm-400dr where everything seems to have been designed by someone who never touched a smartphone in his entire life.

I really give credit to icom bringing this radio to market. Not many company would cannibalize their sales of higher-end radio bringing a new technology to market like that. The radio feels ready to be used out of the box and not a work in progress like flex does with their customers. I can see peoples waiting for the next icom release if they are in the market for a ic-7600 7700 etc or simply getting the ic-7300. I would not buy anything else from icom presently knowing how good is this little radio for the price.

I predict this radio will sell really well and be liked by their owner. I only have two days of play time on it and will post a follow up later.

So far, for my use, it’s like a largely improved ic-7600 for almost half the price (in Canadian pesos) and while it’s not a flex or anan replacement, after owning one for a year, it’s not a necessity for me and this radio answer to 110% of my need.

My shack is quite small so I have nothing against smaller radio giving me big radio performance since it mean I can fit more radio on a small desk.

I can’t wait for the next ic-7650, or whatever the call it, from icom and what could be the answer from kenwood or yaesu.

Here is the shack in june 2016

Replacing the flex-6300 for a icom ic-7300

Replacing the flex-6300 for a icom ic-7300 in va2sm shack (june 2016)

The good points of the icom ic-7300 :

  • perfect size for a small shack but keeping it fully usable
  • nice set of function easily accessible from the knobs, nice set of quick setting on the function knob and menu really easy to use and configure
  • the UI was optimized contrarily to stupid yaesu touchscreen radios.
  • wonderful little screen that is quick, easy to read, good response to touch and good brightness and contrast
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • will please the knob crowd with a little sense of adventure
  • works with icom tuners, microphones etc
  • sense of continuity in the menu, filter setting, memory operation, nb nr notch etc from radio to radio making it easy to use if you played with anything from icom in the last 15 years
  • amazing audio quality for an icom radio, I don’t hear the usual icom dsp digital harshness or tiring hissing noise like in a ic-7000
  • transmit audio seems really good even if limited to 2.8khz of bandwidth (seen negative aspect of the radio)
  • quite ok internal speaker for the size of the radio, sound from the speaker output is a lot better on larger speakers
  • easy to update and manage with sd card
  • up to 1mhz of bandscope that is highly configurable with an all in one sdr radio
  • smooth vfo (should we still call this a vfo?) that is pleasing to operate
  • while the fan can be noisy at full speed, the speed control seems well though so it won’t spin at all receiving
  • the auto tune in cw is really nice

Some bad points of the icom ic-7300 :

  • No backlight for the buttons (that is really stupid)
  • limited to 3.6khz in receive (it’s a sdr, don’t limit it like that)
  • limited to 2.8khz in transmit (it’s a sdr, don’t limit it like that)
  • uncomfortable to hold and plain original microphone
  • no way to transfer sdr data to the computer for second receiver
  • voluntarily limited by icom to be able to sell the next sdr they will release
  • one antenna jack (see previous point)
  • no rx antenna
  • bandscope limit in fixed mode don’t switch when you reach one extremity
  • not as fast to operate as a flex radio because of the lack of mouse to select the frequency to listen to
  • rs-ba1 could be better considering they sell this for 100$ us
  • should have an automatic tcxo calibration like flex
  • when  you push the power button quickly it take a screen snapshot instead of closing the radio, you need to hold power instead
  • the noise blanker doesn’t remove visually the noise from the scope like the wnb on a flex, it would be nice
  • the auto tune in ssb would be nice

73, VA2SM

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