September 21, 2014
After much deliberation, I purchased Apple iPhone 6 w/ 128GB of storage. It was fun waiting in line at the local Verizon store with other Apple Fans.
September 19, 2014
Thanks Stefan for the inspiration on this post. Looking back at old photography posts, I’ve been with the Micro Four-Thirds system since 2011. I haven’t bought every lens or accessory that I want but I’m about to make some big purchases soon and invest further. I did want to share some of my thoughts on the lenses I have and some of the potential lenses that would be great to own one day. It’s also good timing because there are a lot of new lenses for M43 cameras.
Keep in mind I’m not a professional photographer and there are many posts from them on essential M43 lenses.
I entered the M43 world with the PEN E-PL2. I still keep that camera in my bag as a backup. This Spring, I purchased the OMD EM-1 from Olympus. I also picked up some nice Peak Design camera straps and tripod mounts, a carbon fiber Manfrotto tripod and the battery pack – grip from Olympus to extend the my shooting days. It’s a terrific camera.
20MM Panasonic F/1.7 (pancake): This lens was my primary prime for a very long time. I love it! The side, look and performance was incredible. I rarely use it anymore but I broke it out today at the park and it’s still an incredible lens. In fact, anyone buying an Olympus PEN or compact Lumix should buy this lens. It performs very well in low-light but as a prime, it has no zoom function. The build is nice but I wish the manual focus was a bit more substantial. I believe the price I paid was $450 at the time but it’s gone down to _______
25MM Panasonic F/1.4 (Leica Glass) Lumix: I purchased this as a replacement to the 20mm pancake. Why? The glass and construction are incredible and very highly regarded and being 3 F-stops larger, I get slightly better low-light performance. Not as crucial since I upgraded my body but still worth while. Also, with the 2x crop factor of M43 cameras, this is technically equivalent to the 50mm f/1.4 Prime lens that is a MUST OWN for Canon or Nikon shooters. I use this lens as much as the 20mm now and it looks much better on the larger OMD body. The pancake lens on my OMD just looks strange.
Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6: This lens came with the E-PL2. It’s a decent zoom lens but pretty much a don’t buy mostly because the construction is all plastic, zoom isn’t smooth and it just doesn’t feel great in the hands. I see they’ve updated this lens since 2011 but I can’t comment on how the new one stacks up with the old.
12-40mm Olympus PRO F/2.8: This lens is incredible. It’s not the sharpest lens, it’s not the best low-light lens but it has a few things going for it. First, with the EM-1 body, it is weather sealed and pretty much water proof. I’ve submerged the lens into water up to the camera body and had zero issues. I think 6-8 inches and you’re good (if you like to live dangerously). It also has a constant aperture of f/2.8 through the entire focal length which is great. Also, 12mm isn’t insanely wide angle but it’s a great focal length. Unfortunately, at 12mm, you get a lot of distortion at the edges. Despite these shortcomings, it’s a very versatile lens with an all metal body. It feels great very similar to Canon’s EF lenses. It’s also very expensive but if you can get one under $800, go for it.
Panasonic 45-200mm f/4-f/5.6: This is a telephoto lens with stabilization. I’m not a fan of the aperture or the construction but the lens clarity at 200mm is really nice. Portraits from 50 feet away are entirely possible. If you have an OMD body, turn off the stabilization in the lens though as your body will have 3 or 5-axis stabilization. I think for amateurs, the prices is right on this lens. I use it maybe twice a month for nature or far-away portraits.
There are other lenses out there that I would like. The reason I haven’t pulled the trigger is because there’s very little justification to owning them. I’m covered in my focal range from 12mm-200mm. There’s pretty respectable. I have 2 low light prime lenses, a telephoto and an every day carry. These would serve to replace my current lenses over time and offer more functionality, better construction and overall much nicer photos. Since I don’t make money on photography, I don’t think the upgrade to ease will happen very fast.
Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 Manual Focus Lens: This is a Prime Lens at f/0.95! Sounds incredible, right? Yes until you see the price tag is $1124.99. This also does not autofocus. It’s heavy, all metal and very fun to use for portraits and night photography. I don’t need this lens but I really want it.
Olympus M 40-150mm f/2.8 Interchangeable PRO Lens: This $1500 lens was just announced last to ship soon. It has the PRO name so on the EM-1, it’s weather sealed and splash proof. It’s equivalent to an 80-300mm 35mm lens w/ the 2x crop factor and it’s half the size of lenses w/ that focal length from Canon and Nikon. The price is very high but I think worth it as a replacement to my Panasonic 45-200mm lens.
Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0: This lens is $964 and it’s a wide angle (114 degree) fish-eye that most photographers would need maybe 4 times a year at most. So it’s cheaper for me to rent but technically it expands my current focal range and I love wide angle photography especially now that I’m getting into time-lapse work.
That’s all I have for now. Just to repeat myself a bit, I’m actually really happy with my current camera lens lineup and these 3 would be purely an upgrade of the hobby for very little end-result improvements. The EM-1 itself is fantastic so I’ll continue to buy maybe 1 lens a year to expand the M43 choices I have.
September 17, 2014
I’ll keep this one short because I can’t say a lot about my job publicly but in the essence of posterity, I wanted to post to this blog that I’ve now been at TomTom for four years. Not a huge career achievement considering my life expectancy but it is a big deal to me at this stage in my life.
I joined TomTom on September 7th of 2010, moved from San Francisco to New Hampshire and started a new life here. It was a big risk for me but I’m truly amazed at all of the incredible innovations and talented people at our company.
I hope to continue working @ TomTom for many years to come!
September 10, 2014
I can’t and won’t comment on yesterday’s fruit event but the one more thing moment was great. I hope this continues.
Photo via theverge
September 6, 2014
via Vanity Fair:
Newson’s hire comes amid something of staffing up by Apple. The company recently acquired Beats Music, founded by music industry pioneers Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Tech-industry observers characterized that move as underscoring the value of tastemakers. Other recent hires by the company include Angela Ahrendts, a former Burberry C.E.O., Yves Saint Laurent’s Paul Deneve, and Nike’s Ben Shaffer.
Sounds like Tim is assembling a design-house with much more visibility than before. Design out of Cupertino has rivaled Paris, London and New York for the last 2 decades. This team is going to make beautiful products together. I am excited about the next 2 years.
September 5, 2014
via Waffle & Brent Simmons:
Eventually, communities moved from BBSes and newsgroups to forums, email, chats and instant messaging. But at some point, it became “social media”, and forms of media turned into products. And this isn’t just Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it goes as far back as del.icio.us, Flickr and Yahoo Groups.
The reason I don’t like social media is that it takes two things that are polar opposites and duct tapes them together. Your own utility – to save links, to write text, to move files or materials, to keep notes, to communicate with yourself in the future, to communicate with some other specific people – and the social media outlet’s desire to fulfil its own objectives first.
This is a recipe for tone-deafness at best. But it’s also an explanation of why so many people are so uneasy with social media.
and from Brent:
My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here.
The things that will last on the internet are not owned. Plain old websites, blogs, RSS, irc, email.
I remain vigilant on maintaining my independent presence on the web. I own the formatting, the database, the design, the ‘about me’ page (BTW, it’s horribly outdated) and I curate what I want to show to the world. I like that both bloggers are making examples of Web 1.0 products more than the 2.0 products we have today. My linked category on this blog will out live Del.icio.us for sure! The only service I haven’t divested of in my life is Flickr and Google Voice. Flickr is very challenging. I simply don’t have the CPU & Storage to serve up photos. My Flickr albums have been viewed over 3.1 million times since 2005..on average, I get 3-5 thousand views a day of my Flickr photos. I can’t support that with my own server.
September 4, 2014
The fuzzy focus culminated in Square Wallet, which was initially called Card Case. Though Dorsey won’t acknowledge it publicly, the aim internally, says one source, was to “own both sides of the counter”–vendor and customer–so the company could one day “cut out the credit-card companies altogether.” (At weekly all-hands meetings, former COO Keith Rabois, only half-jokingly, used to announce the projected date on which Square’s payments-processing volume would overtake Visa’s.) Instead of helping consumers pay with their phones, like many other digital-wallet products, Square’s Wallet app enabled consumers to open a virtual tab with a nearby shop and then pay for items merely by saying their name when they arrived. Despite its popularity with the tech vanguard, Wallet saw barely any adoption. Few merchants accepted it, partly because few consumers paid with it, and vice versa. Even where Square Wallet was accepted, cashiers often didn’t know how it worked. “It wasn’t necessarily faster, or more convenient,” Dorsey says, looking back. “It felt more futuristic, but that doesn’t make it better.”
I STILL use Square Wallet. Every single merchant I’ve ever encountered accepts Wallet. i’ve never had an issue paying with Wallet and at most of the breweries, cafes and bakeries that I frequent, I auto-check in when walking through the doors. They see me on the list and charge me. The fact that Square Wallet is no longer available on the App store is a shame but I still keep it on my iPhone and use it every single day when I’m in big-cities. Finally, I use it as a way to find nearby establishment. I open it and use it like FourSquare to find nearby cafes. For some reason, a cafe taking square means they do Pour-Over coffee…something about the hipster-ness of Square that if a place accepts wallet, I’m certain the quality of their coffee is also good. Wallet is a utility in my life that I’d hate to give up. Why it didn’t catch on doesn’t make sense.
September 3, 2014
via The Atlantic:
Last, Silicon Valley startups seem to be able to offer the great experiences that they do because they centralize our information within their server farms. But email proves that this is not necessarily the case. Progress can come from much more distributed decision-making processes. The email protocol evolves based on the deliberations of the Internet Engineering Task Force, not by the fiat rule of a single company in Silicon Valley or New York.
Nearly 100% of my communication is done via email. In the rare cases that someone sends me an SMS, it goes through Google Voice. In both cases, I have an indexed, searchable organized repository for all of my communications. With Email, I own 100% of it the server, the internet connection, VPN tunnel and desktop mail application. There are no ads in my Inbox, only communications server to server with my contacts. Google owns my SMS but hosting my own SMS relay is very costly and difficult at the individual level. I worked on SMS technology @ Brightkite (check-ins via SMS) and it’s not a cheap setup to own your own shortcode.
I’m off topic now but my point is, one day Facebook will be gone and email will still be alive. I don’t use Twitter or Facebook anymore. I don’t use any of those new fangled services. I can email my photo full resolution (not cropped like a square) to a thousand people just like I do with instagram. I can email videos, photos, party invites and thoughts. Email rules and unfortunately, articles like the above-linked one don’t come around as often as they should.
September 2, 2014
via The Bold Italic:
I think you would have had to live in both SF and New England to fully appreciate this. If you have, it’s worth the read.