Un-boxing: It's like the Hors d'oeuvre
With the release of Apple's operating system OSX 10.5 I knew the jig was up. Some new features of last-year's operating system were non-functional on the older Power PC (PPC) versions of the iMac. I had a Power PC. That started my savings plan.
When OSX 10.6 came out a couple of months ago there was no PPC support. Not unexpected. The old machine served me well for almost 4 years. No major surgery; system rebuilds. It just ran. It will now be retired to the entertainment room as a music player and photo display.
It is replaced with a new iMac, configured with a 27" screen, an Intel i5, a quad core machine, and 8 GB RAM. Lots of room to grow. While memory and CPU utilization were pegged with PPC, this one reports lots of capacity.
Another new lens, but this is the last one [for a while]: a Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55mm f/3.5. Purchased on eBay it includes the lens, an extender, all caps and a case.
For the bird feeder, a Canon 200mm f/2.8 prime lens:
Only thing missing is the birds.
Now this is transformational:
My new lens arrived today. Well, new to me. The lens is second hand, and is at least 20 years old. It seems to be in good working condition; I didn't see any scratches or fungus.
At 135mm it's equivalent to 270mm when used on my camera offering a good mid-range zoom. With the aid of a small screwdriver, metal cutters and a file, I was able to convert the lens to fit the 4/3 mount for my Panasonic G1.
Converting lenses has turned out to be a rather pleasant and unexpected benefit of the Panasonic. It offers a combination of satisfying activities: taking things apart, putting things back together, cutting metal and filing rough edges, messing around with mechanical things. But best of all, there is actually a reason and benefit to doing it.
There were three variations of the Konica 135mm series: f/2.5; f/3.2 and f/3.5 versions. Considering a combination of factors, and my use of the lens, the f/3.2 version fits my needs quite well.
Rummaging through our cabinets I came across some old camera equipment. Among the things I found was a Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.4 lens. I was attracted by the the speed of the lens as well the focal length. A 50mm lens on my G1 would translate to a fast 100mm. I had read about this lens previously and heard good things about it, for example:
Image quality is superb, the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 renders razor-sharp and contrasty images with neutral colour rendition – the results are only very slightly less sharp than those of the legendary Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, which is considered as one of the sharpest lenses ever made by anyone – you really have to take a very close look to see any difference at all. The lens is definitely sharper than its predecessor internal linkHexanon AR 57 mm / F1.4. Other references to the lens described the procedure to adapt it to a 4/3 lens mount [2, 3].
Being an Enterprise Architect, and thus fearing nothing, I pulled out my #0 Cross Screw Driver and began to work. I did not follow the instructions to the end; only to remove the various protruding flanges that prevented me from connecting the lens to the 4/3 adapter. Coupled with a file I was able to remove these parts, reassemble the plates and fit the lens onto the mount.
The fit was loose, and as the instructions suggested, a shim is required to get a proper fitting. Hear again my experience as an Enterprise Architect was pressed into service. Rather than cut a metal washer as suggested by the instructions, I used cardboard. This is certainly a temporary, or as we say in the trade, a Proof of Concept approach. However, it has the benefit of being simple to implement with the tools at hand and no cost (other than the cardboard, which incidentally comes free with washed shirts.)
It took three layers of cardboard to get a reasonably snug fit; I may consider a fourth as there remains a bit of slippage when I move the aperture ring.
The next step was to try out the lens. This is an old lens having no electronics so I'm flying completely on manual. I'm not uncomfortable with that. The only adjustment I had to make to the camera was to configure it to Shoot without Lens (which I thought a curious feature when I first read the manual but now it comes into play.)
As a manual lens there is no meta data captured, aperture reading being the most important. As well, the camera is not aware when the focus ring is being turned. On supported lenses, adjusting the focus will zoom in the view finder. However, with the G1 zooming-in the view finder can be done manually.
My next experiment is to compare this lens against my Summilux and Vario.
I'm not going to offer a full review but overall I'm very happy with it. My initial concerns were with the lens: it's a little slower than I'd like (f/3.5) but I've got a faster lens on order. However, the kit lens is quite satisfactory. The other issue relates to software support: lack of RAW support in Aperture. Indications are this will be resolved soon.
There are many things to like. With a maximum aperture of f/22 I've found a lot more control over depth of field as well more tolerance in my light painting. Colour rendering seems quite good and while I have not done a full set of tests, the camera seems to produce less noise at higher ISO settings. ISO 400 seems quite good.
While the images seem a little soft when zoomed to 100% this may have more to do with the software that comes bundled.
It is certainly more functional than my Leica, although that is to be expected as that camera is two years old. I've just tried the face detect and it seems to work well. As well it has a continuous focus making it easier to keep moving objects in focus. This came in handy when trying to capture my sister-in-law's dog. Dogs move around a lot. The combination of a view finder and articulating LCD is very useful offering viewing options for a wide range of conditions and positions.
But best of all: it's red!
There's been a disruption in the force. I had been expecting it, but last week came the final straw. Another brown-out. That transient state of hysteresis of neither electrical failure nor electrical service. It blew out one of my backup drives. Given the increased frequency of these events, I purchased a UPS system. This protects against electrical surges as well as those nagging brown-outs. I'll have to test the duration of failure I can with stand, but there is a connection between the UPS and my machine such that when the battery begins to run out, it can gracefully shut down my Mac.
Of course, I had to replace the lost drive. I purchased a Drobo. Sehr Kewl. The unpacking ceremony:
I bought my iPhone 3G on July 11. Since then this has been my experience:
- 400 mb data transfer / month is more than sufficient for my needs. I'm using in the range of 30 mb per week. There are a couple of reasons for the low usage, prime among them is that I use the internet mostly at home where I have wireless access. An unlimited data plan would not be of use to me.
It looks like I'm not alone. MacNN reports that 91% of Roger's users use less than 200mb / month 
- 16MB storage is the right amount for me. I currently have loaded 925 songs, 983 photos, 8 videos and 27 (all free) applications leaving 7.17 GB available
- Last month I used 120 minutes talk time of my 150; this month I'm at 27 minutes
- My only complaint relates to battery life, but I have a charger at work, home and in the car so I usually don't run into any problems.
Linda and I joined some friends at the Salsa Festival.
Wikipedia offers the following:
Salsa (music)There were certainly bands (several of them) to provide the music, and people dancing but most of all there was food.
is a diverse and predominantly Spanish Caribbean genre that is popular across Latin America and among Latinos abroad. Salsa incorporates multiple styles and variations; the term can be used to describe most any form of popular Cuban-derived genre, such as chachachá and mambo.
refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States), Latin and North America.
In Spanish or Italian, salsa can refer to any type of sauce, but in American English it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato or corn based hot sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those used as dips, whereas in British English it more typically refers to Salsa Cruda which is common in Spanish or Italian cuisine.
Today I carried only my iPhone so all the photos taken are with its built-in camera. Pretty grainy but on the other hand, it tags all the pictures with the location using its built-in GPS.
One of several bands playing on the street