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kirnist

kirnist
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Member since: 20.11.2010

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    • Hama Digi-Klear / Photo Accessory / 2 Readings / 1 Rating
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      24.11.2010 11:38
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      Very usefull tools for any photographer.

      Hama is a well known brand of third-party photographic accessories that range from this small lens pen to full size tripods.
      This gives you an idea that your not dealing with a cheap chinese knock-off, for such a simple and cheap tool this may not seem important but it is.

      The digi-klear is what is known as a lens pen. Its shape makes that very clear. There a many lens pens, almost all feature the brush and pad. The purpose is essentially the gleaning of your lens glass or filters.

      The front element of your lens, or the filter you put in front of it will get dirty with dust, water and finger prints. The procedure most advised to clean it from dust is to use a blower. However small the dust particles you don't wish to drag them across the glass. Whatever is not blown away you can gently brush off.
      Don't be alarmed! Although I mention these cautions, lens glass, particularly the front element is far more resilient than people give it credit. However, a good lens should last many years, so that can mean allot of abuse, which you'll want to minimize.

      The brush is a soft brush which is important because of what I mention above. You could use it to clean your camera or lens body, but this is what its designed to do, and its best you don't contaminate its with dust grain any more than needed. The brush can retracts which is nice so you don't get it dirty.

      Those specks that still don't budge are usually the result of dried water/mud/saliva droplets. I got plenty of this living in Scotland, the mist, the rain, a few shots of friends and a K10D water resistant body leads you to a lot of evidence of "abuse". Except for large water droplets from rain or fogging of the lens (under heavy mist) you shouldn't bother yourself with cleaning much (even dust). Light properties are wonderful, and are scarcely affected by some tiny obstacles.
      But if you do want to clean the "leftovers" your options are a lens cleaning cloth or the pad of the lens. The pad takes longer to work on the whole glass, but I find it more effective and it can reach the edge of the glass very easily which the lens cloth cant.

      The pad when you put its cap, takes on a some chemical which is suppose to help with the cleaning. This is the reason I wanted to go for the Hama rather than a no brand.
      The pad does a great job, especially with the finger prints, which are essential imprints made through your bodies natural grease and can be hard to remove completely. I've used the pad on the LCD screen and my glasses to great results as well. The chemicals will run out eventually, lets see what the pad does on its own.

      Almost all the lens pens are the same as I said, probably the same plastics. The only reason to spend a bit more is really peace of mind about those chemicals... Which could be a completely bogus prejudice of mine.

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    • Sennheiser PX 200 / Headphones / 2 Readings / 1 Rating
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      23.11.2010 23:43
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      Some great headphones for the person on the go who doesn't want to spend much

      I must say upfront I'm not an expert on these things. I don't have a great ear, or so my more musically incline friends have told me.

      The sound as far as I can tell is great, pretty clear ad good bass. Thats all I can say about their technical quality I'm afraid...

      They are beautiful! I bought the white articulated ones, they rock!
      The design is pretty cool, and would go well for ipod users who like their trendy white earpieces :P
      As headsets go they are small and feel fiddly at first, but they are well built and do actually seem a quality product. Mine lasted 2 1/2 years before the left ear piece stopped working. I must say I used and treated them pretty heavily.

      The ear piece isn't big enough to cover your whole ear, but its comfortable, feels soft and does a good job of keeping noise out. I used it for a long time in a study/computer room in college, which contrary to what the name might induce you to think, was anything but quiet. It was mainly used for groups discussions.
      I did find that in prolonged use (which I did allot) the ears get a bit sweaty despite the smallish size.

      The articulated version comes with a neat box to carry it. One of the main reasons I bought it, because I was always carrying it between home and college. The folding and unfolding process seems a bit tricky at first, but after a little practice you do it quickly and easily and most of all without fear of breaking them!

      Definitely a great buy, unless you really have an super ear, then there are super expensive (and I'm told better) alternatives.

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    • Mustek GSmart LCD 3 / Digital Camera / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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      23.11.2010 14:49
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      Don't buy it.

      That pretty much sums up this camera for me.
      When I first started to get into photography, I was using a film compact camera, very basic.
      I was shooting more and more and of course spending quite a bit of money for processing.
      I knew the future was in digital, so I decided to save up to get a digital camera.
      I searched around and quickly discovered that digital cameras were quite expensive. I also had this fixation, a foolish one, I know now, that I must get 3 MP or above. At the time, that was a decent resolution.
      For what I could afford (150 euros), this seemed like a good option. I knew it would be basic, but I thought thats ok, with decent daytime shots, it should be fine to start.

      I was very excited and soon became very disappointed when I started operating the camera.
      Forget about any ergonomics, the only decent features are that the shutter button is where its suppose to be and theres a little strip to help you pull out the battery.
      The camera behaves like a webcam. Super slow to adjust to light conditions and to take the shot.
      Quality is poor, and couldn't handle anything but good light conditions. Horrible in artificial light.

      It advertised that it could be used as a webcam, but I had no success. Admittedly I didn't try much, as I got frustrated.

      It soon stop working properly, it seemed like battery problems but it wasn't. It would take the shot if it pleased it or even turn on if it felt like it.

      I abandoned it and eventually got enough money to by a Sony-V1, it was twice the money but light years away in all specs.
      Lesson learned.

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      • More +
        23.11.2010 14:34
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        A must read if you like distopian future novels and conspiracy theories.

        This novel introduced new words into our vocabulary, most notably "Big Brother", but double speak, newspeak, though police as well. The book crystallizes the ideas of population control through thought control which is done through information control.

        In this world, history, culture, prejudices are written and re-written at will. This is done very deliberately in an almost boring government desk clerk, burocracy kind of way. Its all so simple and easy.
        There is no collective mind or memory. People really are like sheep.
        The few deviations, like those of the main characters aren't even really against the system.

        Of course there must be repression, and Room 101 is really the pinnacle of torture.
        The totalitarianism of the book is a parallel to Stalinism and similar oppressive regimes, but only because everyone knows of the overt way in which big brother measures operated in those regimes. I seem like this could never happen nowadays, right? Well you are forgetting about North Korea...
        Admittedly, even there no such extremes of control are possible, and it seems hard that such a thing could come to be. But if you think about it, if you think about slogan like WAR IS PEACE or FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and you see that so many times rallies and political discourse is also reduced to a single idea, a single cry. No thought of the origins or reasons behind many events in the news is already the practice and encouraged. It's a first step to the lack of knowledge and memory necessary for thought control to creep in.

        The novel is full of impressive, thought provoking ideas, but its not the easiest to read and the characters have a weird involvement. I'd like to know of a different involvement between Winston and Julia, of a different attempt of Winston to relate to his fellow human being. But of course, it may be natural constraints from the environment that does not allow this.

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        • More +
          22.11.2010 22:58
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          A great camera to take with you and explore everything, just don't push it to high ISOs

          This camera is a super zoom (18x), meaning it has a huge range of focal lengths. This allows you to get a wide close up shot of a group of friends, but also a close shot of a furry animal far in the distance. All in one small package. This is the great appeal of this type of cameras, but they can have a drawback. When you build a lens that can do all these focal lengths, you run into two major issues: keeping the quality of the lens throughout and avoiding shacky images well you zoom all the way out.
          Panasonic in this camera does both things beautifully. The Leica lens is of great quality and can give you beautifull images throughout the range. I can't say about the current market, but at the time of my purchase of this camera, it was probably the best lens in this type of camera. Another great feature of this lens: 1cm focus, so you can get really close. Great plus for walkabouts in the fields.
          Panasonic's Mega Optical Image Stabilization (Mega OIS) does an amazing job at keeping the images crisp, down to capture speeds that would induce motion blur in your photographs.

          With these two things going for it, it makes great pictures, which only lack that fine detail of big sensors when you peep at the pixel level. This comment is more for those who are looking at buying either this or a DSLR. Yes, the DSLR will have a larger sensor which provides greater detail. Most users and almost any viewing size except uncommonly big prints, you won't notice the difference.
          Since I'm on the topic of the sensor... I does have a drawback, at least mine did, and from what I've research so did a huge number of these cameras: high ISO banding.
          When you hit high ISOs the camera not only showed a lot of noise (more than competitors like Fuji), it also showed artifacts in the shape of purple-ish bands of noise. These weren't generally extremely obtrusive, but usually you could tell it was there. Not good.

          The camera feels well built, although plasticky, which is natural and par for the course in this type of camera.
          The controls are well laid out, and can be used fairly easily with thin gloves. When it gets cold I like to use a pair of thin gloves, but even with thin cloth, allot of controls can be hard to feel in many cameras. A big plus for this camera is the little joystick. Most actions I need to make in the menus are accessible through this joystick. Its not only easy and quick, but also the easiest to operate with gloves. Awesome.
          The rest of the ergonomics are good, but of course, if you have normal hands, the grip will feel small. Thats just how most are designed in this class and in compact cameras. One thing that this camera does well is the thumb rest, its well designed and well placed, allowing you to balance the camera well with one hand.

          For serious users, you will like the fact that it has RAW, which is common for all cameras in this class, I believe. But lets face it, if you looking to use the RAW, it'll be for professional work, in which case, you'll want a different sensor. There are of course those who are used to using RAW with theirs DSLRs and like the idea of it for this backup/walkaround/take-on-trip camera. So its a plus, but not essential.

          Another feature worth mentioning is the barrel around the lens. It allows you to attach a tube which then allows the use of filters of different size (the lens itself takes 46mm filters) as well as teleconverters. This is a great plus for those users who buy this camera to expand their experience in different types of photography.

          Hope this has been useful.

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        • Tamron 190DP / Camera Lens / 4 Readings / 0 Ratings
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          21.11.2010 17:51

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          If you can buy it used and don't mind the 24mm wide angle, then this is a great walkaround

          This lens is another walkaround, although maybe barely some might say, since in crop sensors its not longer 24-135mm. I find that for the great outdoors 24mm is quite good. But you might miss the wider angles, especially on walkarounds in the city.
          The 135mm do for me more than make for it. As it allows to get more details out of the subject you are faced with. Its also good for picking up people in a crowd.

          The build quality is well above the average, the lens feels very solid and sturdy. The focus ring feels good, but not smooth. The zoom ring is a bit harsh.

          At 24mm and F3.5 its a bit disappointing, but if you stop down to F5.6 is pretty good. I was very well surprised by the sharpness at 135mm. Overalls sharpness is very good, on par with a 17-70mm except maybe at the sweet spot of the lens.
          This is a lens from the film days, therefore it is full frame. If Pentax ever goes full frame, this lens will be and even better range.

          The lens is on the big side (for a 135mm maximum focal length) and has a wide filter size. But this works to make it feel sturdy and a quality build rather than be a nuisance.

          General prices seem too high, I would advise looking for a used copy.

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        • Tamron 55BB / Camera Lens / 5 Readings / 3 Ratings
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          21.11.2010 16:28

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          The cheapest way to reach 500mm with great quality, if you can work with it

          If you been interested in long tele photography (wildlife, sports, just shooting the moon), you've undoubtedly notice that long tele lenses cost a lot of money.

          Catadioptric lenses are a cheaper way to get long telephoto lenses. The cost is mainly the aperture. These lenses have fixed apertures are are usually slow (F8).

          The Tamron 500mm 55B (and 55BB) are some of the better examples of catadioptric 500mm lenses.
          You will find many 500mm F8 lenses nowadays on ebay (Centon, Phoenix and the lot). These are usually not very interesting.

          On to the lens itself...
          The lens is full metal built, like nearly all old manual lens. So, its like a rock. Its also pretty small for 500mm, particularly Tamron's design was notorious for making the lens small even for a catadioptric.
          Like other manual lenses of old, the manual focus is smooth and super easy to operate (despite the fat grip). You just don't get this nowadays...
          55BB comes with a screw on hood while the 55B version has a built in hood. The hood is useful, but not so much as in normal lenses since the design of catadioptrics mean they practically eradicate chromatic aberrations.
          Manual focusing isn't for everyone, and focusing with a fixed F8 lens can be hard unless you have lots of light. I'd advise using it on static targets.
          Sharpness is pretty good, comparable to many more expensive lenses. However its easy to miss the spot, don't be fooled if it seems not that great, make sure you are focusing well. Which connects to the lack of depth of field, at F8 it might seems like it'd be no problem, but at 500mm it can actually fall short of what you'd like.

          The biggest gripe for most is the doughnut shaped effects on the out of focus areas. I admit it can be disruptive. But if you choose you background carefully, you can minimize this.

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        • Tamron LD A017 / Camera Lens / 11 Readings / 5 Ratings
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          21.11.2010 14:45
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          Cheap and cheerful, but if you want a good tele lens that will fill you craving for longer,go Pentax

          First off this is a budget tele zoom lens. The market really only has two, this and sigma's version.

          Overall this is tied with Sigma for image quality, or so reviews indicate. Supposedly this is sharper but has more chromatic aberration at 300mm, while the Sigma has less CA but also a bit less sharpness.
          I have tried this lens, but not Sigma's version. This lens does indeed have CA, quite noticeable for certain subjects (high contrast borders). Sharpness is indeed very good, especially considering that this range of the market was usually not great at all.

          Build quality is good, and you will be well impressed by the heft of the lens, which is bigger than the Sigma.
          If you have Pentax kit lens, its about the same build quality, which is good.

          The "macro" feature is useful, especially for bugs and the like, although of course its not real macro. Sigma also has this.

          Focusing is a bit slow on my K10D, it should be better on more recent Pentax models, since ,motors are said to be better (K20D, K-7, K-5). Take this into account if you are considering this for sports.
          Also concerning sports, particularly indoors or other uses for which you would like to have a faster lens (i.e. lower F number), this lens is not the option. It is slow (particularly so at the longer range), which is natural for this price range.

          I must point out that your options for a tele-zoom on the cheap also include Pentax's 55-300mm which I now have. Its a bit more money, does not do 1:2 macro, but I's say its the better choice. Its sharper by a small lead, but much better in CA control, has quick-shift (the DA, not DA-L version) and is also smaller. It also of course has better zoom range.

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          21.11.2010 14:30
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          Very good lens for the price, with faults that are hard to get upset about

          I had, but since sold my copy (Pentax mount), but not because of its lack of quality.
          This lens has a great zoom range in crop sensors. You will notice that 1mm to your 18mm from the kit lens. And at 70mm max, it helps to get a bit more detail out of your subjects and also makes for a better portrait lens (headshots).

          Focus wise, its not particularly fast on a K10D, but good enough. There is a newer version with Sigma's HSM motor built in which will be at least quieter, if not faster. What is really great about its focus is how close it focuses. It is not macro, but it is very close focus.

          The build quality is good, but as you use it, it actually looks better than it really is. The coating on the body of the lens looks and feels good, but rubs of and actually got my camera bag dirty.

          The focusing and zoom rings feel good in operation, but not super smooth. Perfectly acceptable for this price range.

          One of the pluses attributed to this lens is the F2.8 aperture. I found it inconsequential. Its only avaiable at 17mm, so not really a great feature. F2.8 at 70mm would be really cool for portraits, but then it would be whole different lens, with a different price tag.

          The picture quality is very good throughout, but not that you do notice a slight drop in sharpness at the widest and at F2.8.

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          • More +
            20.11.2010 23:41

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            Great camera, well built and loade with features that is a bit dated and not quite compact enough.

            This was my first serious digital camera, well... after a sad start with a Mustek 3MP camera in the advent of digital cameras.
            This was classified as a prosumer camera, aimed at those photography enthusiasts who wanted something more out of their camera they just point and shoot. It won a european prize in that category.
            It certainly delivers with a hot-shoe, night vision and night shot modes (Sony exclusive?), manual controls including manual focusing (!).
            The camera is "only" 5MP, which if you've been into photography any decent amount of time you know is perfectly adequate for most users.
            The lens delivers 4x zoom which was a notch above the regular 3x zoom that predominated. Remember, this was before the now ubiquitous 5x, 6x 10x compact cameras.
            The night vision abilities allowed you to see and focus before taking a shot in the dark (flashing) or to actually take a shot in that night vision goggles effect you see in the movies (IR).
            The controls where good, although a bit tightly packed into this rather small body, although it is a bit "fat", meaning too broad too easily fit in your pocket.
            The down side of this camera, and one of the reason I bought into a more modern camera was the fact that it took a bit to power down and power up. Actually its the lens engaging and retracting that is mostly to fault. I also wanted more zoom...
            Another big plus is that is was mostly metal encased. I droped it hard onto the pavement twive (its got the dings to prove it) and it still kept on working fine.

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            20.11.2010 21:44
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            See the shock and awe tactic revealed in its true nature

            I had read No Logo by the same author, and although well written, it does not come close.

            Of the subject, you are likely to know only of the "shock and awe" expression from Rumsfeld.
            Klein rolls back the clock and lifts the curtain on history to show how things actually get done.
            The premise of the book is the effectiveness of the shock doctrine, first psychological and physical on the personal level. The torture and persecution to subdue prisoners, or groups or entire populations.
            The tactic scares mainly by how effective it is. Dictatorial regimes used it everywhere. But what concerns Klein is not the simple fact that violence is used to control, but rather how planned it is and how a few have created a system to use shock and awe in economic and financial systems.
            The book shows that however mighty the sword of the enslaver or the rebellious enslaved, it is the one holding the purse that controls most power.

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              20.11.2010 21:22
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              An interesting read and a pretty complete history inside the history.

              This book is a comprehensive look at the region and the west's involvement. It is thorough but never boring.
              Fisk seems to have covered it all, but he never tell it like that. As a correspondent he spend immense time on the ground, but not like so many who report back to the nightly news nowadays, he left he's "green zone".
              The smaller stories of those events also make for exciting read.
              Read this book and you'll understand much better the cause and consequences of the political, social and ultimately military struggles in the region. Including the west's dirty hand involvement that so many times is overlooked (purposefully unfortunately) in the media.
              Fisk is very matter of fact about it, there are no "evil doers" and "freedom fighters" or "liberators", he tells it like it is.
              Besides the currently hot topics of Iran and Iraq, the book also covers the almost forgotten Algeria, the definitely forgotten Armenians and it covers Palestine like you probably never heard before.

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