Category: Gear

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No Finder Keeper

My daughter and I fled the house today, down the road to the 7-Eleven. My wife had gone out for the afternoon—and left to fend for our own lunch, we opted for convenience. My daughter got a turkey and cheese sub, while I went for a burrito. But on the way to the convenience store, there was adventure: A lost cell phone.

As we cut across a parking lot towards the 7-Eleven, I spotted a clamshell on the pavement. Well, well, finder’s keepers? Not in my family. Lost is returned. We hoofed over to the building adjacent to the parking lot, asking if someone had lost a cell phone. The folks inside weren’t exactly helpful. I called myself using the lost phone, hoping to get some caller ID. None, except a number with 206 area code, which I recognized as Washington State. 

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The D200, After All

Okay, so call me bogus. Back in February, I made clear that there would be no camera switch, as I previously contemplated—from the Canon EOS 20D to the Nikon D200. I’ve been unhappy with my EOS 20D for sometime, even as I acquired several nice Canon lenses. The Canon camera’s ergonomics doesn’t suit me, nor have I been satisfied with the photos compared to the Nikon D70. The Nikon D70 felt more like an extension of my eye, capturing images just as I saw them.

But low-light photography is important to me, and that’s one area where the EOS 20D excels over the Nikon D200, based on tests like PBase forum member Norm’s 20D-D200 photo comparison. I resigned to sticking with the EOS 20D—after all, I had some nice lenses. 

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Prickly Situation

This afternoon I took the Canon 20D and EF-S 60mm Macro lens out into the backyard. This prickly plant reminds me of cloud formations, where the shapes take on meaning. In the photo, I see a fox to left and dog to the right. Bow. Wow. The neighbor’s dogs barked as I took pics near the fence.

I continue to struggle to find satisfaction with the Canon 20D, which has been the case since buying it. The Nikon D70 felt more like an extension of my eye, capturing images just as I saw them. I have long fussed over the Canon 20D, with some dissatisfaction regarding focus, which has always seemed soft to me or different than expected. I’m surprised by the number of times the focal point isn’t where it appears to be. I’ve encountered this problem using two different 20Ds. 

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Mac’s Back

The New Year started with my full-time return to Windows, so that I could test Windows Vista and Office 2007. This evening, after many days’ deliberations, I picked up a MacBook Pro from my local Apple Store. I will continue Windows Vista and Office 2007 testing, but no longer use Microsoft’s operating system on a full-time basis.

In typical fashion, I managed about two months on Windows before retreating back to the Mac. Reasons are same as always. My resolution to go back to Windows and stay there is a shambles. But that’s a good resolution to have broken. 

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Canon EOS 20D, 30D, or Nikon D200?

I am contemplating digital cameras this week, following Canon’s pre-PMA announcement of the EOS 30D. I had expected a 10-megapixel honker to match the Nikon D200. Instead, the Canon EOS 30D is a marginal upgrade to the 20D, similar to the Nikon 70s compared to the Nikon 70. My initial reaction: Why didn’t Canon do more? I already had compared the D200 and 20D before the announcement. My conclusion: Canon doesn’t need to.

For some time, I’ve griped about the Canon EOS 20D compared to the Nikon D70 (at one time, I owned both cameras and now have only the 20D). I often found the photos taken with the D70 came out as I expected, which wasn’t always the case with the 20D. The camera acted more like an extension of my eye. 

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My First Mac

It’s December and time to remember buying my first Mac. As a long-time Windows PC bigot I used to persecute the heck out of my wife and her coworkers. In the early 1990s, we worked at the same magazine, she as a graphic designer and I as an editor. I would tease the graphic designers, with great delight, about their Macs. I recall reading a University of Delaware study that found Mac users to be 40 percent less productive than PC users. Oh, how I taunted the graphic designers with that information!

So it was with strange compulsion I walked out of a CompUSA in early December 1998 carting an iMac (and free 13-inch color TV, which my daughter uses today). The iMac’s alluring design and blue cool color (OK, more like teal) won over my curiosity. 

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The Five-Year Plan

Lots of people are probably digging under rocks trying to uncover what will be the next, big, earthshaking technology trend. I won’t say, but I will offer an observation about reading the signs.

The first CD players started selling in the United States in 1983. By 1988, CDs surpassed vinyl records’ popularity (See Wikipedia, Gramaphone Record). Another two or three years would pass before music CDs reached mass-market dominance.