By Don Lindich
Week 51, 2021
Q. I like listening to the radio, especially AM stations, but unfortunately most are very weak or have too much static. Could you recommend a good radio please?
-F.G., Pittsburgh, PA
A. My go-to for portable radios of all types is C. Crane, found at ccrane.com. They have a very wide array of AM radios, FM radios, shortwave radios, emergency radios, and weather radios, as well as many accessories to accompany them. The C. Crane Radio 3 for $209.99 is their standard bearer and offers excellent performance, as well as a design that is meant to reproduce the spoken word with excellent clarity. It also has a jack for an external AM antenna. If you want to really improve your reception the $109 C. Crane Twin Coil Ferrite AM Antenna should not only permanently solve your local reception problems, it will also pull in stations from far away, especially at night when AM signals can travel hundreds of miles.
I often receive complaints about the poor FM reception of modern AM/FM receivers. A set of $15 unamplified rabbit ears makes a fantastic FM antenna and has been one of my top recommendations over the years. You could also use a more advanced antenna like an amplified Eclipse antenna from Antennas Direct, but most people find the basic rabbit ears to be sufficient.
Q. I have an Olympus XZ-1 digital that is coming to the end of its life. I am looking to replace it with a similar camera and am looking at two used cameras on Facebook Marketplace, the Sony RX100 III or the Olympus XZ-2. Do you have a preference for either one?
-J.H., Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
A. I have used both of these cameras (as well as the XZ-1) and you won’t go wrong with either of them. Your XZ-1 was a fine performer that holds up well even today for still images, and the XZ-2 brought many improvements. Good as the XZ-2 is, the RX100 III is in another league and it would have to be significantly less expensive in comparison to purchase it over the RX100 III. The RX-100 III has a 20 megapixel 1-inch sensor, which is quite large for a compact camera and noticeably larger in physical size than the 12 megapixel XZ-2 sensor. The bigger sensor with more pixels will pay noticeable dividends in image quality, especially in low light conditions. The RX100 III also has a pop-up viewfinder, which is tremendously useful for taking telephoto pictures and composing and viewing images when the light is behind you.
One downside to buying something used from a private seller on Facebook Marketplace is you will not get a warranty. I suggest checking KEH Camera at keh.comkeh.com and Used Photo Pro at usedphotopro.comusedphotopro.com for any used camera you are considering buying. With KEH or Used Photo Pro you will get a warranty on most used equipment, as well as return privileges. There is much value to this and to buy from a private party the savings on an XZ-2 or RX100 III would have to be $50 or even more for it to be a sensible purchase. Currently KEH has an RX100 III for $351.29, so I would not consider the Facebook Marketplace camera unless it was under $300, preferably $275 or less.
Plan on buying a new battery or two for whatever used camera you buy. Though the camera may work like new, the battery likely has lost capacity through age or use. Happy shopping and enjoy your new (used) camera!