Monday, December 03, 2007

The DMCA is coming to Canada! What can you do?

I've had no time to post since I'm swamped with school + work. However, this required a post. Our "wonderful" conservative government seems to be ready to introduce legislation bought and paid for by the US. Instead of listening to Canadians, Canadian companies, Canadian studies and Canadian copyright holders, our government has chosen to listen to US pressure and international corporations. Michael Geist has a nice post on what you can do.

For those who don't know, The DMCA in the US is a law that makes you a criminal for breaking a digital lock even if the reason you were breaking it was legal. This new law would trump any fair use laws. Apparently Canadas version will be even worse than the US.

Help stop our government giving us all a Christmas present none of us want.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rogers and Fido to offer 3G service soon

I was talking to a Fido Business Services rep last night. I complained, as I always do about the crazy data rates that Rogers has. He informed me that Rogers, and by extension (some time later) Fido, will be launching new 3G phones with 3G service available through their networks. He then hinted that new Data plans will accompany this as the current plans with 3G speeds would just be stupid.

Can't wait.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kingston vs. Sandisk Warranty Service

I've always used Kingston cards for my memory card needs. I've recently started buying Sandisk. Now no card manufacturer makes perfect cards. Some cards die. I've recently had the experience of having a Sandisk Card die on me. I've also had in the past a Kingston card die (an old one which I had had for many years).

Why did I move to Sandisk? Though it may seem strange, a brand cards generally work very well with the brands card readers. Sandisk has better, and a larger selection of card readers. I've had incompatibilities before (this isn't an SD vs. SDHC issue) and drifted towards Sandisks complete solutions.

So what happened to prompt this post? Kingstons cards are a better value, but not only that, they have a much better exchange policy. When I had my Kingston card die (or any one one of their computer memory products), Kingston ships me a replacement within 2 business days with a return package for the old card. This entire process is quick and more importantly free. Sandisk on the other hand does not. They told me it would take 2-3 weeks to get the product exchanged and it would be faster to take it to the store of purchase if possible. This is what I did. I was told 2 weeks. 2 Weeks plus having to go to the store vs. 2 days and the convenience of having it shipped to the location of my choice. Not only is Kingston cheaper, as reliable (in my limited experience) but they have a much better service policy.

I'll be moving back to Kingston from now on.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nikon D200 @ ISO 3200 with Nikon Capture 1.2 Noise Reduction


My Rex (Nikon D200 @ ISO 3200)
Originally uploaded by tracer.ca
This is not a scientific test. This is just an observation from many shots taken over the last few months. The noise reduction in Nikon Capture 1.2 is better than previous versions of Capture. It's also far better than the built in NR. Sure, Noise Ninja "could" produce better results with tweaking. But Nikon knows it's cameras and sensors, and with very little fuss it does a damn good job.

Speaking of my WRX. My Lease is ending soon. As my lease approaches it's end, there doesn't seem to be anything on the market (especially not the new WRX) for me to replace it with, save for the new Mitsubishi Evo which isn't available yet. Luckily I still like my car.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Nintendo giving away Silicone Jackets for existing wiimote owners


Yes, apparently people still can't learn to hold on to their wiimotes. Mind you I could see how this thing will make it more comfortable to use. Get yours here

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vista a dud.

When recently trying out Bioshock (which is a whole nother post), I installed Vista Ultimate on another HD to try it out and Bioshock with DX10. I couldn't get Bioshock to load in Vista. But I ran Vista for three weeks to give it a good old try. Needless to say I'm back to running XP x64. My primary purpose for my computer (other than writing blog posts) is for photography. Something as basic as, oh you know, file transfer speed is important. Sometimes you have to dump a gig or 16 from a days worth of shooting and you'd like to do it quickly. To that end I own Sandisk Extreme IV CF Cards and the FireWire reader that goes with them. In XP x64 using my motherboards built in FireWire interface I was getting close to the reported maximum transfer speed of 40MB/sec (somewhere around 36mb to be exact). You'd think, something as basic as this would just, well work in Vista. It worked... at 2MB/sec. I just couldn't beleive it. I heard file transfer was slow but geez. I downloaded was is being dubbed as "Vista Service Pack 0.5". It was a huge improvement, I went from 2 to 20MB/sec. Still 50% slower than what I'm used to.

There are a lot of issues that are now reported on the net. Most of them to do with file and network speeds. On the plus side, M$ did an amazing job with the Aero Interfaces performance. I don't actually think the interface is that good, but they made their attempt at "pretty" and "usable" at least work fast without any noticeable visual lag like simple dropshadows in XP does.

The average user it seems started noticing. Manufacturers are starting to offer downgrades to XP.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Canadian Dollar Equals US Dollar



For the first time since I've been alive the Canadian Dollar has hit par with the US Dollar. This has a whack of implications but here I'm only going to talk about how it effects us as consumers. The price disparity between Canadian and American goods. Canadians have always payed more for goods than we should. Considering on average Canadians make less money this is especially true. This new event though will remove that perception that exchange + shipping + duty will make it about equal. Well, one of those is now out of the question. If things keep going as they are, the duty factor will be wiped out by the exchange rate. So you have a Nikon D80 going for $150 less in the US. How about a Subaru WRX? $8k less. Books? I hear the publishers are re-considering printing prices on their books. It goes on and on.

For us it means that one of two things will happen.

A. The US Dollar will stay weak and our Dollar Strong. Suppliers will have to lower their prices to match and in turn Retailers. This unfortunately will take some time.

B. Our Canadian Dollar will weaken. Possibly even due to a weaker retail sector due to falling sales (everybody shopping online in the states now).

Currency rates are a complicated thing which I won't pretend to know about. I'm just happy that suppliers of goods to Canada will finally have to bring their prices in line or face loosing sales.

DPReviews Hands On Nikon D3 and D300

DPReview has posted both their Nikon D300 and Nikon D3 Hands On Previews. Let the drooling begin.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's a Beat


It's a Beat
Originally uploaded by tracer.ca
My friend Carl picked up this 1990 Honda Beat from japan. It's a K Class Micro car. 660cc two seater convertible from Honda. It's a blast to drive. Great on gas. Just gotta get used to the right hand drive and the size.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

iPhone in Canada

Though Apple is not releasing the iPhone official in Canada any time soon (probably because Rogers sucks), you can still buy one readily now.
Here is one place that has the iPhone available.

I'd rather buy the Sony P1 anyways as it's feature set is more inline with what I'm after.

Update:
Why the Sony P1?
1. Open Phone for less money (no worries about unlocking or updates etc)
2. Wifi (seriously, this is a basic phone feature now)
3. Cell Phone reception (apparently better but not verified by me)
4. Bluetooth Support (again, apparently better but not verified by me)
5. I hate touch screens (this is personal)
6. Upgradeable memory (M2 cards are currently at 4GB, 6GB and 8GB Coming soon)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nikon D300 Official Sample Images


Nikon also posted (but I missed) the Official D300 Sample Images. These, like the D3 samples are amazing. Nikon has really raised the bar on DSLR imaging.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nikons New D3, D300 and Nikkors

Nikon Today announced a slew of new products. The largest product release I have ever witnessed from this company. In a lot of ways it was a revolutionary release, not just for Nikon, but for the photography community as a whole. Personally I didn't like everything I saw, but that's a personal bias.

Nikon D3


First and foremost, Nikons new Flagship D3 (to Nikon Imaging for specs). This camera is more than I could hope for from Nikon. While Canon has their brand new 1Ds Mk.III and 1D Mk.III, this Nikon is somewhere in between. Instead of trying to compete with either of these cameras, Nikon has created something sort of in between, but different and at a very competitive price.

Nikons apparent strategy for this camera was not quantity but quality. I'm talking about the resolution of the camera. Now this is yet to be seen, but I gather pixel for pixel, this 12MP sensor will produce stunning images. Not only that, but with a base ISO of 200 and selectable ISO to 6400 with boost to 25600 (crazy), it will be incredibly light sensitive.

Some Highlights:
- 3" VGA Resolution Screen: wow
- 51 Point AF with 15 Cross Type: I'd use them in grouped mode anyways
- HDMI Output: neat, now all I need is a High def TV
- Live View with Contrast Based AF: good for macro and over the wall shots
- Plenty of UI enhancements
- The full 35mm frame "FX" format Sensor: Yay wide angle and low noise.
- ISO 25600!!!: If that means usable ISO 6400 I will be super happy
- Auto Adjust to DX Crop
- Custom focusing calibration with 20 lens specific calibration memory: Double Wow.
- 14 bit A/D

Unlike Nikons previous offerings, this one does not have specific variants for sports and "other" like the D2h and D2x did. This camera is both 12MP and capable of 11FPS. Sports shooter may lament the full frame sensor for their applications, with the D3 only having 5MP in DX Cropped mode, but for them, Nikon released the D300.


Nikon D300


Now, I was totally not expecting this, I predicted a revision, not a new camera. Though the D300 looks a lot like the D200, on paper, it outspecs the D2xs and the D2hs in a lot, if not all ways. The D300 shares a lot of the same specs as the D3 above except for it's DX Size sensor and lower FPS. This has just become the best camera (again, on paper) in the mid level market. A camera at this price, with these features is simply amazing. It really is the D2xs in a smaller body. Even the 100% frame coverage is there.

Nikon took every aspect of the D200 and made it better. It doesn't look like they left a feature untouched. Hell, they even fixed the stupid terminal caps! Now, would I go out and replace my D200 with this? No. I'm not getting a new DSLR for myself unless it's full frame. But anyone looking in the market now, Nikon has really differentiated themselves. Lets just hope that at hte DX sensor size at the same resolution as the D3, the camera can maintain the low noise needed to produce good images in it's ISO range.

Now whats a couple of new pro bodies without a wack of new lenses?

AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G


This lens is both just what I wanted, and not a lens I will ever get all at the same time. Nikon is continuing it's trend of breaking backwards compatibility. There is no reason to make this lens a G type lens with no aperture ring other than to break backwards compatibility and lower price. The latter of which is of course a serious consideration in todays marketplace. I understand that not everyone is as crazy as me and still shoots with a fully mechanical film camera. When I first heard about this lens I didn't beleive it. A lens like this would have to be huge. And well, it is. Or more specifically, damn heavy at 1kg. The 14mm f/2.8D which it effectively replaces was already 670g. I own the excellent 17-35mm f/2.8D. This lens, on a FF sensor seems to be much better suited for general photography. That and I can use it on my FM3a :) The only thing is, that the 17-35mm is not the sharpest lens wide open. If they have fixed this in this new lens, which I doubt, then it will be worth it.


AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G


This lens would make a lot more sense if it had VR. Otherwise, other than 4mm at the wide end and about 30g of weight savings, it offers no advantage over the 28-70mm f/2.8D it replaces. Again, on paper. The new N type coating and it's performance wide open may prove me wrong. We'll have to wait and see.

Nikkor 400mm, 500mm and 600mm Super Tele Lenses finally get VR


These lenses were long overdue for a VR Update, and they got it. Not for me, or my style of shooting, but I'm sure they'll make many people very happy.

Well folks, there you have it. A very big day. 2 new amazing bodies, and 5 new pro lenses. Now if only Nikon would realize that there are still people on this world who like general purpose prime lenses. (hey, gotta find something to complain about :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Amazon leeks Canon 40D and 1Ds Mk. III

Amazon jumped the gun on posting product pages for two new Canon bodies.
40D (Engadget) and 1Ds Mk.III (Engadget).

I'm hoping Nikon steps up as they are rumoured to otherwise this will be the end of the pro market for Nikon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR & Summer


This may not be your standard 70-200mm shot, but it illustrates Summer very well :)
The way in which I got this lens could be a blog post all on it's own. It's not the lens I really wanted, but it's the lens that made the most sense really. It's big, heavy but amazing in all other aspects.

Form Factor


This lens is really well designed for it's size. The focus ring has a ridge so you know exactly where to hold it. The zoom ring is is located in the most convenient place to hold the lens so it's balanced. it has three focus lock buttons at the end of the barrel so it's convenient no matter which orientation you're holding the camera/lens. It's weight is very manageable all things considering. It's not a walk about lens that fits into your carryall, but what do you expect from an f/2.8 Zoom.

Performance



The Serve redo

This lens is fast, in all senses of the word. It's focusing is very quick, and it's f/2.8. Sure there are faster lenses (200mm f/2 faster focusing, lots of primes with larger aperture), but the combo is great for the price. Combined with the D200 this lens has fast and accurate focus and tracking. I've only had it hunt a few times, but that's probably just me still getting used with the many focus combinations and options in the D200 than with the lens. It's sharp, and the VR helps in low light situations, especially when you don't want to increase the ISO too much. I have particularly shaking hands so VR is not as effective as for some, keep that in mind. The contrast and colours are as good as I have experienced them. I have not had the ghosting or flare issues that some have described, but I have also not put the lens into the conditions which would induce those artifacts.

Usability


This lens is usable for a variety of subjects. Close action sports and motor sports are a very good candidate for this lens. For wildlife it's no where near powerful enough. The 200-400mm or any of the primes in the higher end are better for that purpose, unless you're talking about common backyard birds, squirrels and the occasional raccoon. For portraits there are better lenses, like the dedicated DC Lenses or either of the 85mm. However, in a pinch this lens produces good results, even though it scares your subjects :) One gripe I have about this lens is the use of a polarizing filter. I always use a lens hood with any lens I use as a form of protection. Much better than using a "protective filter" which does nothing but make the camera store that sold you that filter more money. The problem is that if you want to adjust the CP, you have to take off the lens hood.

Other Nikkors


The 80-200mm f/2.8(D) is a nice lens. In fact, for the price it's a great lens. The older push pull non-D lens is rather annoying to use. Either lens is slow to focus, especially with bodies lower than the D200. But there is one problem. That problem is used 80-200mm f/2.8D AF-S lenses. This lens has been discontinued since the introduction of the 70-200mm, however it makes it the best deal. You can get good quality second hand copies for almost the price of a new non AF-S model. If you don't want to spend the cash for one of these new (or used) and your not enamoured with the performance of VR, seriously consider the 80-200mm f/2.8D AF-S as a much better deal with almost the same performance.

Summer


Sunset Wreck

This is of course a great summer lens. The majority of the subject matter is the type of things you'd want to take in the summer. It's also the type of lens that you only take out for that purpose. it's not a lens that you can just throw in your bag and take anywhere. You don't want to lug this thing around and you will stick out wherever you take it out. Summer to me is more about chillin and walking places. Less planning and more doing. This is not a lens I use a lot, but when I need it it's a lens I couldn't imagine being left without. However, as yet another Summer approaches it's end, so does the time of this lens. Now I'm not saying that I won't use this lens after summer, but you get the idea. I'm always sad at the end of summer. Maybe because I take part time courses in the fall/winter and have no life during those times. Here are more shots taken with this lens.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Two new Cameras from Nikon this Fall! (D300 or D200s possible)


There are rumours flying like mad, beginning with this photo of a poster in a camera shop in Tokyo advertising the sale of a D200 replacement in the fall. Originally from the following post on dpreview.

There is also the fact that Nikon is sponsoring the IAAF World Championships in Athletics Osaka. It would make sense for Nikon to announce a new pro camera at the same event they're sponsoring.

Flickr discussion on the subject.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Quick impressions of the Canon 5D vs. the D200


Bottle Art
Originally uploaded by tracer.ca
A lot of people say it's kind of silly to compare these two cameras. I disagree. Even though technically, the 30D is the direct competitor to the D200 it's not really. Mostly from a Nikon shooters perspective, the 5D is the only camera worth switching for.

There are many technical comparisons of the D200 and the 5D on the net. I'm not even going to attempt to be one of these. This is something different. This is just the joy of using a camera that I get from having directly compared these two cameras. I know that the IQ (Image Quality) of the 5D is one of the best (if not the best) in the 35mm DSLR arena. There is no comparison there. I'm talking about the rest of the camera. Now some may argue that IQ is the most and only important thing. This post is not for them.

For those who don't know. Canon and Nikon used to work together. Nikon made the lenses and Canon made the cameras. At some point they split. Strangely, some may argue that Canon still make the better camera, while Nikon the better lens. This all depends on what you consider the "better camera".

Whenever I talk about Canon vs. Nikon. I describe the two like this: Nikon is an optical company, Canon and technology one. Sure enough, looking at todays camera marketplace, Canon has the superior sensor and an army of image stabilized lenses. Nikon on the other hand has beautifully crafted camera bodies and in a lot of ways superior optical designs for their lenses.

And now back to the main point of this post. Holding the 5D for mere minutes you get the sense that it was designed by... well, an engineer. The D200 (or any Nikon Camera) feels like it was crafted by a photographer. Someone who realizes that not only does the camera have to take great photos, but it also has to feel comfortable in the hand for a days worth of shooting. Canons don't. The 5D is not the worst offender from the Canon line, but it's not great when compared to almost every other DSLR body I've tried (which includes Pentax and Olympus as well as Nikon) The hand grip feels awkward and far to boxy. My palm felt as if something was trying to dig into it from the camera.

Then there is the UI (I mean the physical one, not the digital one). Now, admittedly, I've been shooting Nikon cameras for over a decade, so there is a strong biased here from a "what I'm used to" perspective. But I can't help wondering about Canons choice of a single dimensional scroll wheel to move through two dimensions of focus points. Or the completely out of the way power switch.

Ironically, I can use any Nikon F-Mount lens with a simple adaptor on the 5D with great results. With the D200, I can use any AI or newer F-Mount lens on a D200 without having to use stop down metering. But, back to my earlier point, the 5D has better technology, in this case a full 35mm frame sensor. There are those who would argue that FF is a dead issue and Nikon has done a great job convincing a lot of people that this is true. I don't agree. Nikon has done an admirable job with lenses like the 17-55mm f/2.8DX. Their cameras are economical as shown by the 2x price difference between our two bodies here. But there are many other examples where the DX lenses did not compare. Take the 17-35mm f/2.8D (which I adore) compared to it's DX equivalent, the 12-24mm f/4DX. There really isn't much of a comparison. Then one looks at the prime offerings and things become even worse for the DX form factor. Sure, things may change. It's rumoured that Nikon is coming out with a wack of prime lenses this year to fix this, but it's hard to wait.

So yah, the 5D has the best 35mm DSLR sensor on the market. It's low noise at high ISO, and full 35mm frame coverage are great. If only I could have it in the otherwise superior D200 body.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Back to Digital


A picture of a flower...
Originally uploaded by tracer.ca
This photo was taken with my new D200.

I've been shooting Film since the end of December of 2006. I fell in love with film again but not by choice. Even the best 35mm Digital today (which I would say is the Canon 5D for IQ) can't touch a good roll of Fuji Provia 100F in a trusty film camera. But there I'm always learning. Always wanting to experiment. Though this can be done with film, it's so much faster with digital.

I think I will be shooting with film a lot more now then I did when I had my D70 even though the D200 is so much less frustrating to use than the D70. But it's nice to just go in your front yard, take a photo of a flower and post it to flickr.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Megapixel Problem (and High ISO)

I have been working on a draft of this post for some time. It was going to cover how stupid the megapixel race was, especially in tiny compact cameras. How stuffing 10 MP into a tiny little sensor was more than stupid, it was outright bad for the consumer.

However, Digital Photography Review has put together an article about misleading High ISO in compact digital cameras which also covers this issue in much greater detail than I was going to (but I did have a little diagram! :)

Overall this shows how desperate the manufacturers have gotten to sell yet another compact camera. Even in DSLR cameras. I was quite happy with 6MP. Sure, 10 will be nice, but so would 8.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

ICQ Accounts being returned, no word from AOL

ICQ Accounts, like mine seem to be returning. Not everyone who lost theirs has had theirs returned yet. No word from ICQ/AOL team on the subject.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

ICQ Deleting accounts randomly

My, and many others ICQ Accounts have been deleted. The technical forums over at ICQ is "flaming" with posts. Hundreds of users are registering new accounts to post their comments. I'd assume thousands are actually deleted.

The final death of ICQ by AOLs hands? Or a simple technical glitch?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nikon sees a resurgence in prime sales

Not surprising to me at all, but apparently this took Nikon Canada off guard.
Primes sales are growing at a great pace here in Canada. And it has Nikon a little annoyed.

I went to the Toronto Digital Imaging and Photography show (aka, the Henrys show and sale). I showed up at the show carrying an FM3a w/ MD-12 motor drive and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AI mounted on it. It was the starting point of many conversations. Most notably with one of the head Nikon reps. The discussion quickly moved to primes. Or the lack there off. It turns out the popularity of primes is taking Nikon a bit off guard. Apparently they're having a hard time stocking enough 85mm f/1.4s and 50mm f/1.8s to keep up with demand! I lamented the lack of wide angle primes that were of any value and he agreed. It seems Nikon has spent a lot of time investing into making a lot of zoom lenses because that was what the populace wanted a few years ago (gee, you think?). Now the trend is swinging back to primes. (site note: notice how many people are selling off the 18-200mm VR Zoom?).

Being a Nikon rep he didn't have, or more specifically wasn't willing to offer any future product information. As to be expected.

Why not to buy the D40 or D40x



What does this mean? I'm sure the D40 is a hot seller for Nikon. It's a very good SLR in a lot of ways. Most notably it's price and comfort compared to the competition. However, I wonder how many of the people who end up buying this DSLR find themselves pissed off when they find out that the cheap and good prime lenses offered by Nikon won't auto focus? I wonder how many sales of primes Nikon is loosing because of the D40?

A lot of people point out that the D40s target market is not the type of people who would buy primes. And they're probably right for the majority of D40 owners. They get the kit lens, and maybe the 55-200 and they're happy. To those people I recommend one of the many P&S super zoom cameras that are littering the camera landscape and cost a lot less than the D40 + 18-200mm.

To all those who actually care about taking photography, I recommend a used D50/70 or a the D80. (To be fair the Pentax offerings are rather nice as well). Though I'm not one of those people who think all zooms are crap (they're not). For the average person, "good" zooms are a fortune. Inexpensive primes are a great value and really bring out ones photographic capabilities.

So if you are reading this, I assume you have some passing interest in photography. If you care enough to read a post like this, you care enough not to get the Nikon D40.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Apparently this set of hex numbers
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
is worth the MPAAs time to send out a mass of take down notices. Shows you how stupid a bunch of guys in suites can really be.

From slashdot.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Net Neutrality in Canada and why I hate Rogers Communications

I don't know if you've read or heard about Net Neutrality. It's a big issue right now. As small ISPs get gobbled up by the larger ones, there is less and less choice (especially in the USA) for the common bloke. The problem is that the large fish want a larger piece of the revenue pie. They're not happy gouging us for internet access as it is. They want a cut of the content revenue as well. Better yet, force you to buy their content. Rogers Communications (Toronto based cable tv, internet and wireless telephone operator) is notorious for this.


The days where a service provider just sold a connection are going away. Going back to Rogers. They lock down their phones so you have to pay for their ring tones (as just one example). They bandwidth shape their internet connections so you can't really get the 5Mb you pay for from anything you'd actually want to use it for. What right does my cell phone provider or ISP have to tell me how to use their product? Apparently, that's not very clear.


Net Neutrality in Canada


Being conservatives (read: pleasing to corporations and the rich), our government has been dragging on this issue for some time. They just don't think it's important. Equal access to all goes both ways. Everyone should be entitled to get the access that everyone else has. However, they should also have equal connection to anywhere on the net, not where their ISP chooses. Write your local MP and let them know that you demand a free internet and that Canada needs Net Neutrality legislation.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

No Nikon D3, just a D40x

Looks like I and many others were wrong. It doesn't look likely sooner than March now for a Nikon D3.



And now, for the D40x:




I have a negative bias towards the D40 itself. This camera represents another nail in the death of Nikons backwards compatibility. Not only does this camera not meter with pre-AF lenses (as has been the norm for Nikons lower end bodies for some time now), it also doesn't Auto Focus with pre AF-S lenses (screw drive AF doesn't work). The feeling of "screwing the customer" continues with the D40x. Sure, this model doesn't replace the D40. It's more expensive and will be sold along it. They should have called it something else. Every D40 owner I know is pissed (even though they know it costs more).



The other problem I have with this camera, is I admit, a reality of todays consumer digital camera market. There is NO reason for this camera to have 10 mega pixels. In other words, no reason for it to exist. Some people have floated the idea that the 6MP sensors aren't going to be made anymore. I don't buy that. The real reason this camera exists, is because the Canon Rebel XTI has 10MP and Nikon did have about a $400 price gab between the D40 and the D80 body they could fill. Sadly, most consumers don't realize that they don't need it, nor even want it. More megapixels just means less shooting buffer and more storage needed. However, I hear all the time about how people would rather get the Rebel because it's got 10 MP, it must be better... right? *sigh*



If you plan to buy the 18-200mm VR Nikkor and attach it to this camera, go ahead. If you're interested in photography as an art, please buy any other Nikon except for this one, one that can AF with classic Nikon AF Lenses.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nikon D3 any time soon now.

The Nikon rumour mill is in full force with the prediction of a high MP 1.1x or 1.13x crop factor D3 being announced at PMA. We know that the D3h is overdue, but maybe they're swapping which comes out first this time? Or dropped the x/h separation?

Check my post on flickr.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Playstation 3s Not Selling!


Not Selling
Originally uploaded by tracer.ca.
Shocking! Costco got a crate full of PS3s less than two months after launch. It took them over 4 months to get a small number of XBOX 360s which sold out fast after that lunch.

Not only that, but there is a stack of XBOX 360s right beside this PS3 stack, and it's got a few slots empty.

Apparently I could make a lot of money off this.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

US Corporations lie about Canadas Copyright stance

So the US Media giants are at it again. In a recent Globe and Mail article US organizations are quoted talking about how horrible Canada is when it comes to cracking down on those bad pirates. The reality is that we're doing just fine. The USA is just pushing their laws on the rest of the country to protect their corporations failing business models. The biggest lie in this piece is the following:



"Canada remains far behind virtually all of its peers in the industrialized world with respect to its efforts to bring its copyright laws up to date with the realities of the global digital networked environment," the group argued in its submission.



What? What Peers are they talking about? The only country that has draconian copyright laws is the United States. Our governments job is not to protect outdated business models.



Michael Geist has a great response to this article.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Web 2.0 all over again.

I hate the term Web 2.0. It's just grates me. I mean it's not really a revolution, like most applications changing version numbers. But I did really enjoy this:

Monday, February 05, 2007

Nikon D200s or D300 DSLR coming soon?

If you look at Nikons release dates for their DSLR line, you'll notice that they release a new or updated version of a body about every 18 months.

See Table below, this Blogger template pushes it down


OK, so it's not that clear that it's 18 months. In the D1x/h -> D2x/h it was several years jump. Same with D100 -> D200.
But things have changed since back then. Is the D200s or D300 due out this Spring?
















































D11999/06/15initial model
D1X2001/02/0518 months since D1
D1H2001/02/0518 months since D1
D1002002/02/21initial model
D2H2003/07/2229 months since D1H
D702004/01/28initial model
D2X2004/09/1643 months since D1H
D2Hs2005/02/1618 months since D2H
D70s2005/04/2016 months since D70
D502005/04/20initial model
D2002005/11/0144 months since D100
D2Xs2006/06/0120 months since D2x
D802006/08/0916 months since D70s
D402006/11/1619 months since D50
D200s / D3002007/05/01projected 18 months
D3hOverdueprojected over 23 months
D3x2007/12/01projected 18 months

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Panasonic (or why not to get the Nikkor 18-200mm)

Panasonic today announced the new DMC-TZ2 and DMC-TZ3.



I have not used this camera. The fact that we have a camera this small, with a 10x optical zoom is amazing though. It's also got OIS, which is one of the only image stabilization systems that actually works in compacts (vs. Nikons VR and Canons IS which work fine in SLRs, but not compacts). This lens also starts at a 28mm equivalent field of view on 35mm which should be the new basis for compacts, not the traditional 35-36mm.

This, and cameras before it, are why I don't recommend lenses like the Nikkor 18-200mm. Those lenses are not great. They just have a very nice zoom range. Users who buy it usually say something along the lines of "This lens allows me to travel compact as it's the only lens I need". Well, then why not just get one of these? It's smaller and cheaper than the lens. You also get a whole nother camera out of it. Sure, a Nikon DSLR + Nikkor 18-200mm will take better pictures. But not by much.

Winter Reds (Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AI impressions)


Winter Reds
Originally uploaded by tracer.ca.
So, with winter comes a slow down in photos. (not helped by my lack of camera gear). Still, I managed to get out for a walk at lunch and snap some photos.

I'm really impressed with the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4. This lens is from the day when lenses were crafted, not mass produced.
At close focusing distances, and wide open, this lens DOF is really shallow. Allowing you to create excellent subject isolation. it's field of view is just rite for a walk around lens on film.

Speaking of film, I've gone to using the cheapest film I can find. Currently "Life Brand" film from Shoppers Drug Mart. Combined with $2.99 Processing to CD (no prints), it makes for an economical way to shoot film.

Monday, January 29, 2007

TopGear is BACK!

My favorite TV Show is back on the air.
For those who don't know, it got delayed because of a horrific crash while filming the new season. So this past Sunday was the first episode of the first new season.
If you're lucky enough to get the BBC, I'm sure you can catch it there on re-runs. For the rest of us...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My new notebook

So, one of the things I got stolen was my notebook.
I know I'm not going to get much from the insurance company for my crappy old Dell. So I just went out and got a new one. I really needed one. Especially with my new class. I decided on a small notebook as portability was more important. I also was toying around with the idea of a tablet.

I spent some time reaserching.But I ended up where I knew I would, with IBM. They (well, I guess now Lenovo) make the best notebooks. I knew this from years of working in IT at an add agency. It's one of the reasons I will never buy an Apple product (worst customer service I ever had to deal with).

I did end up cheeping out and getting an older (though still new model). Overall I would say I am happy with the purchase. I ended up with the x41. It's a bit slow, but $800 less than the new one.

How do I like the tablet part? This entire post was "written" on it.
What's this?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

eBay raises prices, again.

It must be nice to be a monopoly.
eBay, has once again raised prices.
Lets say you want to sell something that you list for a $1 and ends up selling for $20.
$0.40 to list the item (this changes if you list it for a higher initial value) and then 3.25% for the final value. so that's $1.15 so far.
But wait, you're using PayPal right (You better be, it's the only officially supported payment method on eBay now).
So that's $0.55 + 2.9% another $1.13
Hold on, you charged for shipping right? That doodad you sent will cost $6 to ship. Oh, you get nailed for that on paypal too. So that's actually $1.30 you owe PayPal.
So your $20 isn't actually yours. You only get $17.55
This adds up quick.
Sure, eBay is not technically a monopoly, but they might as well be.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Shooting Film

Since I got my DSLR stuff stolen,
I'v been shooting mostly film with MF Nikkors for the holidays.

Happy Birthday!

Choosing between shooting with my PowerShot S400, Nikon F601, Nikon FM3a or Sony Ericsson K710i Camera phone, I chose the FM3a.

My thoughts on this camera since I've spent a lot of time with it:
+ very light and compact for a full metal camera
+ with the 50mm f/1.8 AIS and CF-27 Semi Hard case it’s very compact in your bag
+ the film advance is very smooth and effortless
+ Manual Focusing even in very dark situations is a pleasure
+ self timer works great
- there is no grip on this camera which makes it hard to hold with big lenses
- manually re-winding film (Yah I know, I’m lazy)

The lenses I have been using with this camera are:
- 35mm f/1.4 AI
- 50mm f/1.8 AIS
- 80-200mm f/4 AIS

The 35mm f/1.4 is an awesome lens. I wish Nikon has something of comparable FOV and speed for their DX Format.

Got my stuff stolen

I got a lot of my stuff stolen, including my D70 and 17-35mm Nikkor, my two most enjoyable photography items :(

The scene of the crime (I got robbed)