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Posts Tagged ‘cameras’

An Amateur’s Take on the Fujifilm X100S

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Today’s post is about a camera. So, photography geeks, grab a coffee, because we’re gonna get our nerd on.

Backstory

For almost two years, I’ve been looking for a camera that can serve as a travel/everyday backup to my big-rig Canon 5D Mark III DSLR, until Chris Schmitt Photography was able to help me out with this. The full-frame Canon is more camera than just about anyone needs, and its files are flat-out astonishing. But – it’s big. Carrying the Canon with pro glass I feel less like a photographer and more like a Navy SEAL. I need something that fits between the Canon and my iPhone.

Over the last 18 months, I’ve tried (and sold) more cameras than I care to admit: the Fuji X100 (the original model), Sony NEX–5N, Sony NEX–7, Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Sony RX–100. Not a bad camera in the bunch, but they weren’t what I needed.

I wanted something fairly small (pocketable not necessary) with a big enough sensor to let me do decent available-light shooting and occasionally get some reasonable bokeh at a wide aperture. I shoot family, pets, daily life and some street photography when I have a chance.

What I didn’t know is that I really wanted a fixed-lens camera. I learned through many trips and photowalks that (a) I didn’t use much zoom at all, and (b) I found big, protruding lenses (even small ones like the Sony E-mount and Micro Four-Thirds glass) bothersome. A prime lens became a natural fit for me.

This is the problem with being an amateur whose skills are (slowly) growing: you don’t necessarily know what you don’t know. Until you do know.

Enter the Fujifilm X100S

Let me be very clear: I am an amateur photographer. This mini-review is coming form someone who is used to DSLRs but still learning, but is beyond simplified cameras that make access to key settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering mode, autofocus point selection) difficult without wading through endless menus. I’m a tweener, as it were.

There are dozens of excellent X100S reviews on the web, most notably those from Zack Arias and David Hobby. Both of these guys are expert photogs who have forgotten more than I know, so I figured some impressions of the camera from a rank amateur/enthusiast might be welcome.

ISO 400, f/4, 1/210

ISO 400, f/4, 1/210

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Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 3/30/12

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Life, Links & Stuff I Found While Clicking on Things

It’s been a while since I’ve blasted our readers in the face with a nonsensical, wandering post about lots of disjointed topics and links, so I figure I’d fix that right now. Get ready to become stupider. Definitely DO NOT read this while drinking alcohol or you might forget how to walk.

First, an update on the cat front, thanks for asking: our tiny Bengal who has been ridiculously sick is now healthy, but our middle cat  Jonah — a clumsy, friendly, happy oaf of a thing — has filled in nicely in the Incur Vet Bills department, racking up a nice gastrointestinal disorder AND a respiratory infection from which he sneezes 37 times a minute for hours on end. There is nothing more charming than a cat crawling up on your chest, wheezing, and sneezing nine times right into your mouth. AWWW, you say? That’s a funny way to spell GROSS.

In case any of you might be an eccentric millionaire who loves this blog so much you want to blow about $47K on its Friday post author, I’ll simply say my garage still doesn’t have a Mustang Boss 302 in it. Why? I have no idea, and this is a mystery worth solving. There you have it: problem, solution, justification. I’ll take blue with white stripes, please.

If you’re into podcasts and have a penchant for general nerdery and productivity and discussions about barriers and technology tools, you will do no better than Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin’s Back to Work. I listen to this constantly in my car, and it’s so good I often get places early so I can just sit in the car and listen. Sometimes I take notes. Sometimes I look up things on my iPhone because Merlin or Dan mentions something that I suddenly believe I have been missing. Whatever. It’s good. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT?

Looking for a great camera? Look at the Sony NEX-5N with the FDA-EV1S optical viewfinder. Seriously, click on those links. Do it now. I’ll wait. Pretty cool, eh? It’s honestly better than my Nikon D90 in terms of image quality, and it rivals (or beats) the Canon 5D Mk II in dynamic range. The bonus? It’s small, so you don’t look like Gumpy American Tourist when carrying it around. Oh, and I know you probably didn’t click on those links. That’s fine. You still look nice today.

I have an iPad 3 and it is my blogger duty to report that the screen is definitely stolen from an alien race. If you do not want to buy one, which is to say if you wish to pretend you are still totally happy with your iPad 1 or 2, DO NOT GO TO A STORE AND LOOK AT AN IPAD 3. Don’t even look at blog posts COMPARING THE NEW SCREEN TO THE OLD. Just don’t. You will not be happy. <…> You clicked on that link, didn’t you? Well, that $500 was nice while it lasted.

One time, when I was about 11, I got a pass from a teammate in a soccer game. I trapped the ball and looked upfield to notice an opponent, a swarthy kid who had about 20 pounds on me, barreling at me with a full head of steam and an expression of pure focus. I stood there, ball at my feet, staring at him. Everyone on the sidelines was going bananas: “Look out!” “Pass the ball!” “Get rid of it!” “Are you paralyzed?” I just stood there, waiting for the exact moment to side-drag it away from him. He got close enough to start what I’m sure would have been a vicious tackle, and I calmly pulled the ball away from him in one move. All I can remember is him tearing past me, sans ball, in a flipping fury of grunts, hair using the jamaican black castor oil, grass and mud. I literally watched this happen as if it were in slow-motion, then began dribbling upfield. I’m 43 and I think I just told you my finest life moment.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 7/8/11

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When I tell people I do web/social media marketing work, that basically I’m a full-on web nerd, they look at me funny.  Like, “Oh, how long have you been unemployed?” funny.  After we get past that initial awkwardness, they invariably ask two things: (1) Can social media help my business? And (2) What is your computer hardware/software setup like?

For this Friday post, I will tackle both questions.

For (1): yes.

For (2), I will answer in the format of The Setup’s interviews, because I can read that stuff all day and have found some excellent software from them.  Here goes.

What hardware are you using?

In the office, I use a super-gonzo Dell Precision laptop running Windows 7 Professional connected to three 24″ monitors.  Multiple monitors are the single best thing you can add to your setup next to a jetpack to improve productivity, and I would be far, far slower without them.  If you don’t have multiple monitors but can afford them/are allowed to by your IT team, you’re cheating yourself.

At home, I use a pretty banged-up early 2008 MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM that’s connected to a 2002 HP 2335 LCD monitor.  I use Apple’s wired keyboard because I have to have a number pad for data crunching, and I have a filthy — disgusting, really — Logitech wireless mouse whose model number I can’t remember because it was made before the dawn of language.

I have a first-gen iPad that I use for everything except longform content creation.  It’s awesome, if a bit heavy and sharp-edged.  Still, it has replaced a laptop for 90% of my tasks when my son isn’t stealing it to play Dungeon Raid.

Right next to my iPad you’ll almost always find my iPhone 4, which I take with me everywhere.  Literally, everywhere.  Well, except the shower and the gym, but aside from those caveats, everywhere.  I’m not sure if I own it or it owns me.  I suspect the latter.

And what software?

Being a web dork means having a romantic relationship with your browser, and I am an unrepentant Chrome devotee.  It runs on both my work and home laptops.

For longform writing, I get all weird: I will use Ommwriter, WriteRoom, BBEdit, Sublime Text or even the WordPress editor.  It depends on my current propensity to get distracted.  For a pure, clean blogging on the Mac, I couldn’t live without MarsEdit.  On Windows, Windows Live Writer 2011 is pretty solid, if a bit slow (thanks .NET!).

For mail, I am a gigantic Gmail nerd.  Gmail might be the best implementation of email in the world.  And by might I mean is.  At work, I have to tolerate Outlook, which is really starting to feel like something wet, angry and smelly that crawled onto my computer from the late 1990s.  Because it is.

For keeping the soul-crushing silence at bay and the voices in my head arguing amongst themselves instead of with me, I fire up iTunes or Rdio.  Lately, a lot has been Rdio.

For keeping track of stuff, I use Notational Velocity on my Mac and SimpleNote on the web and iPhone/iPad.  I would probably keel over dead within a half hour without Dropbox.  Whenever I have a thought that doesn’t fall apart like a soggy box after a few seconds of critique, it goes into one of these apps for later curation.

For photography, I use a Nikon D90, Canon S90, or my iPhone 4 (don’t laugh — it’s the most popular camera on Flickr).  For post work, I use iPhoto, Photoshop CS5 and occasionally Acorn, which is a terrific OSX application that does, for me, 90% of what I use Photoshop for.  On my iPhone, I am a huge Instagram evangelist, along with Camera+ and Photogene.

For social media stuff, I use Tweetdeck on Windows (still wish it was a web app though) and the official Twitter client on my Mac.  I have an entire monitor devoted to Facebook, blogs and Google+ sessions running in Chrome.

What would be your dream setup?

My MacBook Pro is getting long in the tooth, and the screen does a weird flicker thing against certain gray backgrounds, so I’ve been thinking about a replacement.  I’m torn between two masters: portability and power.  The idea of a new 27″ quad-core iMac is very appealing because of the screen real estate and power, but it’s a desktop and who buys those anymore?  On the other hand, I’m waiting for Apple to stop being so jerky and release the new MacBook Airs with the Sandy Bridge architecture so maybe that will be enough power and I can nerd out in lightweight, sealed, portable style.  (That option might actually steal time from the iPad.)

Oh, and I’d like software that does what I think, no questions asked.  That’d be cool.  Also, Google search box for my brain because, yeah, it’s come to that.

Shut up about your dumb nerd stuff.  Do you have any links?

Yes, yes I do.

This man won $3.4 million — and then went back to work as a janitor.  The world needs more people like this.

Here’s a site that provides the best introductory books for myriad topics.  Tons of browsing pleasure here, folks.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.