New Toy

Sep. 8th, 2008 11:48 pm
plumbob78: WGT (Words and Pictures)
Lens came today.

Let me preface this by saying: "I am an idiot." Turns out the "scratch" on my original lens was a very small, thin, linear piece of stubborn debris.  But, anyway, NEW LENS!!!

It's very nice. It has a "supersonic" motor built in, so it focuses nearly silently. Very sturdily constructed. Huge Focus Ring for easy manual focus. It's a beast, though. Damn thing weighs over a pound. Very pleased with it, though. Can't wait to go out and shoot with it. I think I shall do that this weekend. I love my toys.

GLASS!

Aug. 31st, 2008 03:51 pm
plumbob78: WGT (Words and Pictures)
Just got off Adorama. Bought the lens. The expensive one. And a filter.

Delivery expected in 4-6 Business Days! *bounces*
plumbob78: WGT (Words and Pictures)
I need a lens for my camera. Not an additional one, but a replacement. At some point (Pike's Peak, I'll wager). My lens got scratched. Now I need to decide whether to buy the new version of the same lens I have now, or this lens. A straight replacement would be around $130. To step up would be $675. Either way, I'll also be getting a filter this time so I don't scratch the new bloody lens.

Any thoughts? Budget is a minor concern, as I can just cut back on other toys.
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
Not a whole lot. Still no new boss at work. Been almost a month now. Perhaps it was sorted out today while I was out, but I'd doubt it.

Had a good time this weekend. Went for a long drive on Saturday out to Winchester, which was nice. Hadn't had a good drive in a long time. Played pool with some of the gang on Saturday night. Met up with mostly the same group to watch football and pig out on wings on Sunday. Pats are still going strong so I am happy. Also am happy the Red Sox are going to the World Series, although that means I actually have to watch the bloody thing. Curse baseball for having games mid-week.

Sakura - FrontRunning out of shelf space here at the home, so Sakura is now on the shelf above my desk at work. She makes a nice change to my workspace decorations. Up to this point they;ve been limited to dies-cast models of military hardware. And while that is a hobby of mine, tKaname and Tessahat's still pretty worky. I think now my desk reflects more of the complete "me." I also finally opened up my Kaname and Tessa figures and they are now occupying spaces on my bookshelf. I really do need to get my ass to IKEA and buy more shelves. I just have too many book and too many items to display.

Both of these pictures, by the way, were taken with my new camera. The one on the left was taken in .jpeg mode, letting camera do all the processing, while the one on the right was shot in RAW and I did post-processing myself with the CameraRAW plug-in in Photoshop Elements. I think I could really get into shooting RAW all of  the time. Getting the photos someplace where folks actually can see them is more time-consuming, because you have to open them in the program, manipulate them and then save them as a .jpeg or a PNG or something that browsers and/or OS's will recognize as an image file, but you do get a lot more control. With a RAW image, the RAW data from the CCD is saved as is. Any camera settings you had applied, like white balance or sharpness are saved in a header. When you open the RAW file it shows the image as shot, with those settings applied, but you can change all of that in the RAW converter before opening the photo in an editor. A .jpeg already has had the processing applied in camera and the image has been compressed, so there is less data to work with. Basically, from what I gather, when you work on a .jpeg you are working on only a shadow of the original photo. Working with raw you can get things basically how you want them in the full data, then convert it to a TIFF or PSD or .jpeg to do other stuff that doesn't require all that stuff, like cropping or adding text and such. Or at least I guess that's the benefit. I haven't really played around that much with it yet.

In other news, recent experience has reminds me how much I love adventure-type computer games. I think I'd like to play Paradise, which is by the guy who came up with the Syberia games. Apparently he has another one coming out (or perhaps recently released, actually, though I can't find it from a US vendor), called The Sinking Island. I have leads from [insanejournal.com profile] jazzfish on some text-only adventures that I need to check out. Also, I want to try to get my hands on some old games I wanted to play when I was younger but never bought for whatever reason. Back in the day I really love Sierra On-line's games. They made what are IMHO some of the best titles ever. I never played the 2 Laura Bow mystery games, and I really want to. I see on Amazon Marketplace I can get a new -- i.e. never sold for whatever reason and consigned to the bargain bin -- copy of The Dagger of Amon Ra for around $6. Unfortunately, the first game The Colonel's Bequest looks harder to come by. The two used copies from sellers on Amazon are almost $60. I could get a used copy on eBay for cheaper, but I'm uneasy about buying something on 3.5 inch floppies from some random stranger. God knows what could be on those things besides the game. So this is a general call for assistance to those on the f-list. If you have an old copy of this game you would be willing to part with, or know someone who does, I would be willing to pay a fair price for it. Fair being defined as no more than a 200s-era game who's demand has waned somewhat (or around $30). No way I'm paying 60 bucks. I want to play the fucking thing, not vacuum seal it in a display case and have an exhibit.

Happy x2

Oct. 12th, 2007 07:47 pm
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
The postman brought Sakura! Yay!

UPS delivered my new camera! Double Yay!
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
It strange to me how my decisions on technical matters often come down to gut feelings.

Like yesterday I was evaluating these computer screens for work, and I had a hard time actually quantifying in technical terms what I thought was good or bad about them. The two I rated very highly just "looked right," the others "looked wrong." At least two looked really wrong. I mean utter crap. Boggles my mind they wasted our time having us examine them. Ultimately my preference for any given piece of equipment came down to a "gut feeling" that I was seeing things as they should be.

I had a similar experience today while looking at cameras. I went to Penn Camera in Tyson's Corner today, in the hope that they would have a Pentax K10D (my front-runner among the myriad available DSLRs) I could get my hands on and fiddle with for a bit. On Monday I'd been to a smaller shop closer to home, and while they normally stock the K10D, they were out of them that day. While there I'd handled a Canon EOS 30D, and found it to be a fine well-built specimen of a camera. Made of metal, hefty, felt solid, fit my hand well. But I still wanted to check out the Pentax, because reading about it had been what got me started SLR shopping again a couple weeks ago.

As I'd hoped, Penn had them in stock and I asked to take a look at it. I had a positive visceral reaction the second I got my hands around it. I'd never handled one before, but my fingers curled around the grip like the camera and I were meant to go together. The controls to adjust shutter speed and aperture were within easy reach; where I could get to them without moving the camera from my eye. It fit me. It just felt right.

Mind you, I'd had all sorts of technical reasons to be interested in this camera. It's got an actual glass pentaprism for the viewfinder, rather than the pentamirrors you see in some other entry-level to mid-grade cameras. It's got image stabilization built into the body. the body is weather-sealed. There's an optional battery grip that might be nice to pick up at some point. Pentax has some very neat compact prime lenses. Also, I've used Pentax cameras before (one of my two cameras is Dad's old MX). But any and all technical considerations were quickly defenestrated by the gut. I also looked at a Nikon D80, which reviewers and salesman alike rate as comparable, and my initial reactions was "DO NOT WANT." Nikon makes a fine camera. They and Canon are the big boys, splitting most of the market between them. But when I got my hands around the D80, it just felt wrong. It didn't fit my hand like the K10D did. My first attempt to grip it didn't work out and I had to adjust. So the D80's out. I looked at a couple more. Handled a Sony Alpha, which felt weird, and a Canon 30D again. Strangest thing...on Monday at the other shop, the Canon felt good in my hand. Today, it felt awkward.

So I think I've pretty much decided it's the Pentax for me. This is a good decision financially, as it's cheaper than either the Nikon or the Pentax. But anyone who really knows me knows I'm not one to shy away from high price tags if I want something. I want the Pentax. It just feels right. I think I'll make one more trip to a shop for another hands-on experience to be sure, then I will order one from Adorama, where they can be had cheaper than at the retail outlets here in DC.

After the camera shop, I went to the mall for lunch, where my gut told me to have ribs (out of self-preservation, I suspect; been eating reasonable low fat lately). I then made the mistake of going into the Puma shop, where I found a pair of sneakers I liked. They were available in black, brown, blue or a sort of sage green color. They were out of brown in my size, and I already have blue sneakers, so I opted for the green ones. Yet another purchase based on viscera and impulse.

I really dig this new Arcade Fire album. I love their sound. Think I'll go check the mail now and then sit down and watch Sakura Wars.

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