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Ok, just a few thoughts after having my new Epl-1 for a few days. First of all, the body feels ok, its plastic but its nice enough. The lens however feels like a toy, literally like some kind of cheap lego lens. The pictures I have taken so far seem alright though. I am picking up some test prints on Monday to see what the quality looks like in 5×7. As far as controls go I think the main issue I will have is in using the A, S and M modes. To change the shutter, for example, it seems I have to do a lot of button pressing. Its a pain. Also it is true that it hunts for focus in low light.

Ok, enough of the negatives! The main positive for me is the size and the results I have seen so far. The pictures seem pretty good and the size is fantastic. I see a great future for me in the small micro four thirds format. I love being able to have it in my bag and just pull it out when I want to. I want to slowly build up some lenses and then at some point upgrade the camera to one that has easier controls. So far I plan on getting the 20mm pancake and also the 100 to 300 mm lens, but not any time soon. One other fun thing, I got a cheap adapter so I can play with my Sigma Nikon mount AIS manual lenses!

Here are some shots, mostly testing out the fun art filters!

 

Grainy Black and White

Pin Hole

 

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Akismet trouble

Just wanted to let people know that I am currently having trouble with Akismet. Here is an example. I just checked and it says it has blocked three more spam mails. I saw only one spam mail in the queue. The one comment I saw was not spam. I wish I could turn it off all together but have not found out a way to do so. So if you have made a comment that you do not see here, please excuse me! It may be that Akismet made your comment disappear. I check my blog often so its not like I let comments just pile up! Arrgg!

Amazon Fail!

You know how Amazon has prime membership? Supposedly if you pay for prime then you can get overnight shipping for $3.99 or 2 day shipping for free. Last year I paid for prime membership and always got the stuff I ordered on time. This year I decided to try their student prime membership, which they offered for free. Well last Friday I decided to get the Epl-1,I ordered it a little after 7pm. They said I could pay $3.99 for one day shipping to get it by Monday. Great! I go to teach today and then come home to wait!

Well, I am sure you can see were this is going. By 6pm I knew it was not going to arrive. By 7pm I was sure. It just makes me wonder if they don’t rush as much when you have a trial prime membership versus one that you pay for. I know in reality they would probably say it’s because I ordered late on Friday and it’s the weekend. The end result is that my new toy may arrive sometime tomorrow evening (according to UPS). Sigh…

I just wish that Amazon had been truthful and said one day delivery by Monday is not possible at this time. To their credit they did refund the $3.99.

So I don’t really need another camera (do we ever?), but I do really want one. My budget is $500, but I might go up to $600. I want a small camera with a large censor. I have a Nikon D90, and its great camera, but its to big to carry around in a briefcase type bag. I have a small Lumix FH-20 and its great for size and also the 8x optical zoom is nice. But the size of the sensor limits its capabilities. Also you don’t have full control of settings like a PASM mode. I also have a G10. I thought I would never be willing to sell this camera, but I am. I just want the flexibility of a larger censor camera. I want to be able to make large prints for friends and family, from time to time. So, as you can see, I do not need another camera. What I should do, if anything, is get another lens for my Nikon. But thats not what I WANT to do!

So then comes the question of which small/larger censor camera to splurge on? Well there is not one out yet that is my ideal. My ideal would be an interchangeable lens, small camera systems that can use legacy (old) Nikon lenses (which I own) and has retro styling. Maybe even with old fashioned shutter and aperture dials like will be on the not yet to be released Fujifilm Finepix X100. Also it would be nice if it had 1:1 ratio as an option and art filters like pinhole and black and white. While most of my photos are nature and landscape, it would be nice if it also was very capable at higher ISO…say usable from 800 to 3200.

On paper the closest out their with my desired traits is the Olympus E-PL1, which seems really butt ugly to me! I hate the boxy look and those push button controls. It just lacks that sexy quality that cameras like the  Finepix X100 have in spades! Reviews of its image quality are outstanding, and many different reviewers agree on this. Its really, really, hard to get reviewers to agree on anything so that impresses me! Additionally it has some fun art filters to play with and the 1:1 aspect ratio I wanted. Not to mention, its prices have gone down to around $400 since the announcement of the EPL-2.

Next up on the possible list is the Sony NEX 5. The NEX 5 is all about the sexy factor for me. I happen to love its looks and feel, the buttons seems very logical. I do not mind that the function of its buttons change according to which mode you are in. I love the pull out screen and panorama mode. I worry that the panorama mode is a bit of a gimmick, it would be nice to see an actual large print from one so that I could tell the real quality. Where Sony falls short is the lenses. When you pick a camera, you are also picking a camera lens system. And the reviews for the Sony E lenses have been kind of hum drum. Of course you can use legacy lenses with adapters, so that is a plus. Another plus is the sensor, a CMOS sized one, larger than the M4/3rd option.

Also in the running is the Samsung NX100. I like the size, and I love the lenses. Thats about it. There are far fewer reviews out there on this system and my local camera store does not have it in stock. I think with its larger sensor it has real potential, but some people have said  image quality does not hold up to the EPL-1. What I love is their approach to lenses. Sony lenses do not make sense to me, why make a small camera with a huge lens? Samsung seems to be willing to make small lenses that actually look like they fit on the small NX100 body. Of course what you give up is image stabilization. Thats how Samsung makes the smaller lenses, so IS is not an option. I also love the ifunction button that lets you change shutter/aperture etc. by turning the lens.  I also wonder how committed they are for the long haul. Will they dump the line if sales don’t meet expectations?

On paper getting a Panasonic or Olympus camera makes the most sense for my needs. As a system I feel they are here to stay and the lens choices are really nice. I have not made my final decision yet. I’l keep you posted!

So while Kodak is blowing up old buildings and laying off workers Polaroid has been busy finding creative ways to embrace its past while moving into the future. At the new CES 2011 Polaroid announced three new products. The new offerings from Polaroid are: camera sunglasses, a printer, and a nice retro looking instant/digital print camera. While these do not seem like home-run hits , I applaud their efforts to move forward in the digital age while essentially remaining Polaroid. Kodak meanwhile seems to be trying to ditch its past.

http://1000words.kodak.com/post/?id=635313

Here is a link to an article about kodak blowing up some of its old factories and promoting its printers. Uh, not impressed!

http://www.rd.com/content/printContent.do?contentId=27695&KeepThis=true&TB_iframe=true&height=500&width=790&modal=true

Here is another story about how Kodak has been laying off workers and held on to long to its film heritage.

Now I love film, I still use it and am a big fan of Ilford, (http://www.ilfordphoto.com/home.asp), a company that is committed to keeping film available for enthusiasts. I do however recognize that  most folks ,including myself, also have embraced the digital camera age. So how could Kodak bring these two together successfully? Well, how about a retro styled digital camera that has built in filters for kodak films that are now gone? It would have a kodachrome filter, and filters for other kodak films no longer made. It could also have a Tri-X filter (still made at the date of this posting). I would love to see that camera made!

Well, what about those wonderful new Kodak printers, you ask? Um,again, not impressed. When I go into a store like Best Buy to buy a printer what am I looking for? First I consider price! They all make pretty good quality prints, so price is key and then second is brand recognition, at least for me! Right now I have a Canon Pixma printer for 4×6 and 5×7 printing. I am perfectly happy with it. And when I don’t want to bother with that I just send the images to someone online, have them print for me, and then the pictures are mailed back to me! (Think Snapfish).

So, now, as for Polaroid, follow this link see there recently announced products, (I may buy the printer):

http://www.gossipcop.com/lady-gaga-live-stream-polaroid-grey-label/

Smell-O-Vision Needed!

Well, I am still having Christmas with my family. There is a little visitor at my uncles house, a 14 year old Chihuahua who is also here for the holidays. Well I just have to say that, while cute in it’s own way, it is the stinkiest dog I have ever seen. I mean this poor creature smells like it has gas 24/7! So it is now that I wish I had a smell-o-vision gadget so that I could share the wonder that is this little dog! Happy New Year!

I am with my family for the holiday. I miss home though. Decided to try out the word press app for iPad, I am using it now. I cannot see a way to post pictures so this is just a short test to get an idea of what is possible with this app. Seems like not much! If I find a way to post pictures with this I will add some. Otherwise I will post some holiday Picts in January when I get back home!