Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Not Recommend a DSLR to a Friend (Updated)

Recently, friends of mine went on to Facebook looking for camera buying advice. They had been using a Nikon D40 for quite some time and were looking for an upgrade. They had two requirements: that it be a dSLR and that it would do good video as well. I wish I could say that that ensuing results were unexpected, but they weren't. This is a sampling of the responses that they got:

  • Nikon D800
  • Sony RX100
  • "Just use your iPhone"

Not very helpful, yes? It just got weirder from there with people posting the inevitable Ken Rockwell links, Amazon specials... you name it. Suddenly, everybody was a camera enthusiast, and we're talking Facebook, not DPReview. I think out of 20 posts, only three actually came close offering advice for what the original posters were asking for. Don't be like this when people are asking for your advice....

Monday, April 22, 2013

After the Boston Marathon: Vancouver Sun 2013


"Worst parade ever."  - Sign by the side of the road.

With the bombings in Boston taking place just days before the annual Sun Run, things took on a more subdued affair this year. Tribute was paid in the form of blues and yellows, the colours of the Boston Marathon. So for one day, more than 48,000 people forgot about the old grudge against them fir beating us in game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup, and we all became Bostonians.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Impressions (Updated)

Sigma just announced the world's first APS-C 18-35mm f/1.8 zoom.  Stop and consider what that achievement means: there aren't even any f/2.0 constant zooms for APS-C. The 18-35 f/1.8 is basically wish fulfillment for all of the DX fanboys wishing for something more interesting than full-frame handme downs.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

ASUS MeMO Pad ME172V Review

At a certain point, you will have to decide whether you want something for the sake of having it, or if you want something because it will have a transformative aspect to your life. Take the Apple iPod for example. During its heyday, it was an easy target for singling out people who wanted it for the sake of having a status symbol, but ask yourself: when was the last time you played a CD? Very clearly, MP3 players have been transformative, because they have improved the listening experience by the sheer density and connectivity that they offer to music collections. And that is very much so what is happening with tablets. Again, it’s very easy to label iPad owners as status seeking hipsters, but Apple is leading the tablet revolution down a road that is quite clearly transformative in how we consume readable media and how we interact with out computing devices. I have multiple extended family members who have been staunchly sitting out the personal computer revolution for the past three decades, only to fall in love with tablets and the non-computer things that you can do with them… like video chat and store cooking recipes. So the question then is, would it matter if you skimped on performance to save on price? At what point are you having something for the sake of having it, without reaping the transformative benefits that the very best examples of its genre can offer? Such is the case with the MeMO Pad.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Review

"The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten." 
                       - Sir Henry Royce Co-founder of Rolls-Royce

That little aphorism has also been attributed to Aldo Gucci, though it was probably Royce who said it first. It's wisdom I live by; I really don't agree with Ken Rockwell's method of writing, but we the same philosophy of "The poor man pays twice." If you save up for quality, you'll be happier and spend less in the end. Do note that in both cases, Royce and Gucci are selling things way beyond the measure of what would be considered basic and necessary, so you mgiht say that there's a vested interest in that sentiment.

Flash forward to the present; the way things are priced nowadays, the companies won't even give you the chance to forget about the price, never mind the quality. (How much did you spend on that new pair of Nikes?) The Nikon 70-200 /f4 only looks inexpensive next to it's f/2.8 big brother. Compared to the expectation that you would have of how a lens of this calibre should be priced, it's a bit on the steep side.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nikon Coolpix A Review

In theory, putting an APS-C sensor into the smallest body possible ought to be an exciting prospect. However, the reception of the Nikon Coolpix A at the time of launch was muted. Part of this can be attributed to the ensuing launch of the D7100, but on paper, the Coolpix A's specs seemed to disappoint. At best, it was a D7000 crammed into a matchbox; a brilliant idea, but older technology nonetheless. So how does it work in practice?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

D7100 vs D7000 Part II

This is brief excerpt from the main review, which has been updated. Friends, family, my dog, my friend's dogs, etc., were giving me grief about how far off the D7000 sample was, so I re-shot it. It's pretty much as I stated before, the D7000 would be closer to the D7100 with better technique, and is, but the differences are still easy to spot. Or put another way, the D7100 can pick up more detail and is more contrasty than the D7000, so much so, that you can still notice the difference with sloppy shooting.