Friday, August 10, 2012

A warm evening in August (updated again)

I had thought before that the Fuji X10 really could be one's only camera, in a pinch. And I'm realizing now that the same has to be equally true of the Sony RX100. It's just a bigger leap of faith to realize this, given that it is an actual pocketcamera, not just a nearly-pocket-sized like the X10. But let's face it, it is actually as capable as any camera I ever bought before, say, 2006. (If you can do without exchangable lenses, that is.)

(All are clickable.)

I'm quite fond of the last two.

Sony RX100, hand-held, 10 at night. Auto-everything, including ISO. Most are about 1/30sec, full aperture (1.8 on the wide end).  The RX100, if you recall, is a shirt-pocketable camera. To be able to do this kind of thing with that kind of camera is remarkable indeed. The last pic is at ISO 1600, the quality is better than my old Canon 5D Mark 1, which at the time was the champ (and of course is full-frame, three steps bigger sensor).
(The technically curious can download a zip (27MB) with all of them straight from the camera.)

Update: Gemma said:
The colors are almost unreal, how did you do that?

They are, aren't they? I really have not manipulated the colors, the variation of night lamps around here looks like that.

Update: I was asked to compare the Fuji X10 with the Sony RX100: 

The Fuji X10 is more beautiful, more "camera-like" in the design, and has a nice optical viewfinder. And the zoom is faster on the long end (F:2.8 vs 4.9).
Sony RX100 has a larger sensor, and yet it's much more pocketable. And it has auto-HDR (combining several shots to handle high contrast).
I also think the autofocus is faster.
Most important, it has at *least* the image quality of the X10, maybe better, and it's a true breast-pocket-sized camera, which the X10 is not. Sony RX100 a milestone in quality/size ratio.

By the way, it has an interesting feature (X10 has something similar): you can set it, at high ISO settings, to shoot several frames in rapid succession and combine them to reduce noise. It makes a clear difference, I'd say at least one stop. Of course it only works with static subjects though.

In 2002 I said to a friend: "in ten years we'll be able to buy a shirt-pocket-camera which delivers large-format quality". I was pretty certain about that, but I had no idea how exact a prediction it would turn out to be!
[Note: "large format" goes from 4x5-inch negatives and up to ridiculous sizes, so this is not a precise statement, but if taken in the spirit given, I think it is true enough, incredible as it sounds.]

Will Micro Apartments Go Macro?

Will Micro Apartments Go Macro?, article, pictures.

I think my fascination with these things is an outlier of my general fetish for efficiency.

Besides that, it's a hugely needed solution, in almost all cities in the world, people have problems finding decent, affordable apartments. (And this is after the housing bubble supposedly burst. I think it only burst half-way, if that.) It's just ridiculous that people are using over half their earnings just to have a roof over their head.

Nikon launches affordable new travel zoom digicam

Nikon launches affordable new travel zoom digicam, article.
This is less for the enthusiast, and more for the leisure/travel photographer. But I think it looks nice, it's probably quite decent quality, and it has 14x zoom, good for the travel thingy. And it costs only around $250, very reasonable. We haven't seen tests yet, but it's probably a good choice for the casual photographer.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The inflation beats you senseless

I've made a PDF from assembled pages from an online publication, about how to beat inflation. It has an interesting overview of the history of how the gold standard gradually disappeared from different countries during the 20th century, and tips for some of the best bets on how to avoid loosing your nest egg if your currency collapses as they have been known to.
The present economy is based on debt, insane though that may sound. And the money is based on nothing except the word of the banks and the governments. And they can make more money when they want. The ones who stand to lose are ordinary people who have made savings, trusting that the safest thing in the world is "money in the bank". Hah, it's even an expression meaning "safe"!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Nature Sounds 16

Anna found this, thanks. (The picture is static, and the sounds not much less so.)
(If one finds it relaxing, it can be saved.)

Here's another option, not free, but pro,

3D printer changes a little girl's life


Monday, August 06, 2012

How many movies in a month?

Famous tech writer Mark Malkoff is... crazy, is almost the word. As a challenge he tried how many Netflix movies he could watch in one month. The answer is: 252! Two hundred and fifty-two! Holy moly. Okay, this brought the price down to 3.2 cents per movie, pretty remarkable, but I just don't see how anybody could even do it.

Better decisions

If the people who make the decisions are the people who will also bear the consequences of those decisions, perhaps better decisions will result.
           -- John Abrams

I'm sure. A lot of the time. But not always!
For example, it's practically a cliché, the woman who exclusively chooses men who are really bad for her. Not uncommon at all. One of my best friends is like that. Pretty and lovely person. And intelligent. But somehow she always hooks up with men, sometimes for years, who she later bitterly regrets. Some even hit her.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Olympus 75mm F:1.8

For those who like the aesthetics of nice glass, here's a tidbit.

This lens is getting great writeups. The editor told me "one of the best lenses we have tested". 

Photos taken with a Sony RX100. Great quality. Didn't have to do any sharpening at all.  (And these are even cropped because I was too lazy to look up how to set it to macro.) 

TCGirl asked: 
was there some "apres" processing done on it, as well?

Not really. The second one was at 1000 ISO, and I did slight noise-processing, but I think nobody would even have noticed if I hadn't. Impressive for a pocketcamera. (The stabilization seems solid too. 1/40th hand-held in an awkward stand, yet pin-sharp. (Medium zoom setting.) (Oh, just found out it has auto-HDR too, unlike Fuji X10 (sadly and oddly).)

Got anymore pics from that Sony, yet, Sonny?

Not much yet. Here's one. No processing at all except for a slight lightening with levels. (Click for full size, as with all of these.)

The big railroad

[Thanks to Kirk]
Remember Miniatur Wunderland, the huge railroad model in Germany? It's even bigger now. Includes hundreds of moving cars and even airplanes "taking off". The newest part is the airport, it's really impressive.
There are 260 people working on it, that's not a small operation. I have never even worked in a company with that many people.
(The voice-over guy is pretty remarkable in himself. I am not really sure if it's a very human robot voice or a very robotic human voice!    :-)

My big umbrella

This is my favorite umbrella. Not only is is huge, but somehow they hit just on my favorite variety of each color. Deep, dignified colors.
I've had it so long I no longer have any idea where I got it.

He built Wall-E