Nikon and Canon Go Mirrorless.  What Does it Mean?

The last DSLR I owned was the Sony A-850 back in 2011.  At the time, it was at the cutting edge of sensor technology.  It had a 24-megapixel sensor that could be cranked to ISO 6400 (to truly awful result) with a huge bright optical viewfinder and some really cool Minolta and Sony lenses like the Sony 135mm f\1.8 and the Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro and on and on.  That was the last full-frame DSLR Sony ever rolled out.

Shortly after that, Sony began the great mirrorless debacle.  There were A-mount translucent mirror cameras, e-mount mirrorless cameras that could use A-mount lenses and other lenses with various adapters.  The early e-mount cameras were touted for their tiny size but what went along with this new line of mirrorless cameras was a lack of usable auto-focus, long black out periods while shooting and almost no native lenses.  For the Sony and Minolta faithful these were the wilderness years.  Like the Israelites marching endlessly through the desert, we Sony shooters trudged despairingly from one mirrorless camera mirage to the next always hoping to reached the promised land of a competent full frame mirrorless camera.  And then finally in 2017 there was the A9!  Can I get a hallelujah?  And we were there.  Of course, after renting the A9 and proving that it was real (to torture the religious metaphor further) like Doubting Thomas, I then waited until the A7 III was available to save a thousand bucks.  But finally, life was good.  I started to round out my lens collection and anticipate being able to get more specialized lenses in e-mount, things like 200 – 600mm zooms and long macro lenses.

But just to prove that the Sony mirrorless line had arrived, the DSLR heavy hitters Nikon and Canon rolled out full-frame mirrorless cameras with their own new mounts.  And this proves the point because this was the only way for Nikon and Canon to prevent their users from jumping ship.  It is now possible to get all the advantages that mirrorless provides like an electronic viewfinder that works in any light level from pitch black to direct sun without sacrificing the advantages that DSLRs provided, like excellent autofocus and professional lenses.  You might think this competition from Nikon and Canon would bother me.  A Sony fanboy would fear the competition from its rivals would harm his brand.  But in actuality, it will force Sony to step up their game.  For instance, I foresee Sony improving the weather-sealing on their A9 level cameras to compete head to head with the mirrorless cameras that their competitors make.  But by the same token Nikon and Canon are going to have to provide sensors at Sony’s level even in more modest cameras.

And finally, this new situation takes away the biggest detraction that Nikon and Canon used in the past, that the only real cameras were DSLRs.  Without a doubt they were the ones who blinked first in this staring contest.  Sony no longer has to prove mirrorless is better.  Canon and Nikon just did.  So, here’s my prediction.  In ten years, there won’t be a single new full frame DSLR camera to be bought.  I would have said five years but as in everything else I am conservative.

SEP2018 Photo Recap – Part 4

Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens on Sony A7 III
Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens on Sony A7 III
Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus; Sony A7 III with Minolta 200mm, f\4 Macro Lens
Sony A7 III with Sony 55mm F\1.8
Sony A7 III with Minolta 200mm F\4 Macro
Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens on Sony A7 III
Southern New England Gray Fox w/ Sony A7 III w/ Sigma 150 – 600 mm Contemporary lens on Sigma MC-11 converter, at 150mm focal length
Southern New England Gray Fox w/ Sony A7 III w/ Sigma 150 – 600 mm Contemporary lens on Sigma MC-11 converter, at 150mm focal length

Lichen on Monument
Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

27SEP2018 – Quote of the Day

This week I’m reprising my favorites quotes

“Individuals who have been wronged by unlawful racial discrimination should be made whole; but under our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race. That concept is alien to the Constitution’s focus upon the individual. …To pursue the concept of racial entitlement – even for the most admirable and benign of purposes – is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.”

Antonin Scalia

We’re gonna miss Scalia.  He was solid.

Trump vs Kim Jong Un and the Shanghai Noon

I went through the “Trump vs” spoof posts and picked the one I liked best.  I’ll post one section a day but if you want to read ahead I have the link at the bottom of each post to the next installment.  This one began back in March 2018.

 

Dramatis Personae: President Trump (PT), Melania Trump (MT), Secretary Mattis (SM)

Scene 1 (White House West Wing, Presidential Living Quarters, 1:30 am Friday 9MAR2018.

PT – Schmoopy, Schmoopy.

MT – What do you need Schmoopy?

PT – Where did you put my Deadpool costume?  I’m meeting with that tiny maniac from North Korea and I’ll need every advantage I can get to avoid being assassinated and to get the best deal.

MT – I promised Mike Pence I would hide it from you until February 2021.

PT – That Pence is so short-sighted.  He doesn’t see the big picture.  When you go up against a maniacal narcissist you need to scare him and throw him off balance.  Seeing me in my Deadpool costume will make him think I may have super powers and also be unkillable.  That means he’s much less likely to try and kill me.

MT – Schmoopy, I am not sure that costume will fit you well.

PT – Did you shrink it washing it?

MT – I think maybe you did some unshrinking of your own.

PT – Well, it’s lycra spandex.  It should just stretch.

MT – There are the limits for even the miracle fabrics we love so much.

PT – Well, please find it for me anyway.  I’ve booked a meeting with Mad Dog at 6 am and I need it to give me the mobility for the martial arts moves I’ll need to make.  I could get a Black Panther suit but then there’s that whole racist thing.

MT – Oh, Bog nam pomagaj!  Okay, okay Schmoopy I will find the Deadpool suit.  But please listen to your wise men.  This idea may still have the rough edges.

PT – Don’t worry Schmoopy, I’ve got it covered.

MT – Yes but will it stay covered?  Okay, okay, I will go now and get the suit.  (exits the room).

PT – (yelling after her) And Schmoopy, can you get me a Double Reuben for lunch, thanks.

Scene 2 – White House, Oval Office, Secretary Mattis entering door with President Trump in his extremely form fitting Deadpool costume balanced in a martial arts stance.

SM – Great Detonating Balls of Trinitrotoluene!  Mr. President for mercy’s sake put on a bathrobe or something.  What if a CNN drone gets a picture of this?

PT – Relax Mad Dog.  I’ve got the whole White House on lock down.  Even that snoop Mueller couldn’t get a camera in here if he tried.  So, what do you think of my suit?

SM – No offense Mr. President, but your Deadpool suit wearing days are now officially behind you.  And if you want to know why look behind you.

PT – (looking behind himself) I guess I see your point.  But in that case, I’m going to need martial arts ninja stuff more than ever.  I called that little maniac short and he’ll do anything he can to get me for that.

SM – Then why are you meeting with him?

PT – Because I can’t back down now.  The wily oriental mind has no respect for cowards.  If I show fear he will attack relentlessly like a shark that smells blood.  He will flood our country with stunted, malnourished assassins who will surround the White house five hundred deep like some kind of zombie mob endlessly testing the perimeter fence for a weak spot just waiting for me to emerge.  Marine One will have to be equipped with belly armor to survive missile attacks and will have to have those cool buzz-saw attachments to repel the ninjas that get launched at it by their insane comrades.

SM – Oh good grief.

PT – Exactly.  The only way to prevent that scenario is to meet Kim Jong Un face-to-wily-face and stare him and his assassins down.  I need all of our top ninjas in here to train me.  Get me Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and Jackie Chan.  On second thought forget Jackie.  It’s not a racist thing but you can never be too careful.

SM – Mr. President, I don’t think there’s time for you to become a martial arts expert.

PT – I’m a really quick learner.  You saw what I did with the tax bill.

SM – Nevertheless.

PT – Then what do we do?  You can’t let me be killed.  Pence will probably replace you with a chaplain.

SM – Mr. President, we will have a special forces team covering every contingency of this assignment.  SEAL Team 6 will be in charge of refreshments and lavatory security, Delta Force is in charge of the podium, microphones and all other electronics including your tweeting and 24th Special Tactics Squadron will provide applause and laugh track whenever you make a very funny joke.

PT –  That’s all very good but what about the Mission Impossible stuff?  Who’s gonna be suspended overhead on that cable like Tom Cruise and hover over Kim Jong Un, ready to pounce on him if he tenses his cat like body ready to leap on me across the dais.  Who will be that man?  Should we get Cruise?  Is he available?  Has he gotten too old?  Does he have a successor?  Maybe Jason Statham?

SM – Mr. President, Jason Statham is fifty years old!  (under his breath, “Oh what’s the use!”) Yes, Mr. President, Jason Statham will be suspended above Kim Jong Un’s head on a piece of steel cable but to avoid detection he will be cloaked using the stealth technology we learned from the Predator species that your friend Arnold Schwarzenegger faced back in the 1980s.

PT – Good, now you’re talking sense.  You can’t be too careful you know.  Okay, so that covers the defensive stuff but I think I should have some offensive weapons in case he gets off a zinger that makes me look bad.  How about a laser hidden in my ball point pen?  And can we put some itching powder on his podium?  That will definitely make him look bad if keeps scratching all over the place.

SM – Yes, laser pen, itching powder, check and check.  Would you like us to put some ex-lax in his breakfast snack?

PT – Please Matthis, let’s not be ridiculous.

 

Trump vs Kim Jung Un and the Bad Example

 

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He-Man Woman Hater’s Club or Royal Order of Racoons?

As is my way I’m trying to come up with the name of something before the something even exists.  I’ve become intrigued with the idea of starting a fraternal order that would provide a place for people like me to feel at home.  Both of the names in the title are imaginary societies that appeared in popular tv shows when I was a kid.  The He-Man Woman Haters Club was where the Little Rascals congregated when they were having trouble with Darla or the other girls in the neighborhood and the Racoon Lodge is where Ralph and Ed retreated to when Alice and Trixie were nagging them about the dumpy apartments, they lived in.  Of course, these names may be under copyright protection but any name will do as long as the ground rules are right.

Rule 1 – All voting members will be married men.  They have to be men because women are a nuisance.  They have to be married because wisdom only comes through suffering and no one suffers as much as married men.  Unmarried men are welcome but cannot vote.

Rule 2 – All memberships will be approved by me based on interviews and recommendations of people I can vouch for.  Memberships can be revoked any time someone stops fitting the membership criteria.  I decide the criteria and can change them anytime I deem it necessary.  It’s a flexible system and should prove robust.

Rule 3 – The women’s auxiliary is made up exclusively of wives who can make sandwiches.  They have no standing in the organization other than to assist the members, cheer at sporting events, chaperone children’s activities and make sandwiches (and other designated foodstuffs).  If any wife becomes a nuisance she will be ejected and her husband will be liable for the offense up to and including expulsion.  Girlfriends of unmarried members can join the auxiliary but must get along with the wives.  Any member who has a wife and a girlfriend will have to sort that out himself.

Rule 4 – All children’s activities must be chaperoned by the parents or legal guardians of the children attending.  This is key.  People should care enough to spend time with their kids.  If you don’t want to why would we?

Rule 5 – No member can openly espouse Democrat, progressive, communist, socialist, globalist, anti-American or any other pinko sentiments.  You can be an atheist if you refrain from annoying religious people about it.  The organization is innately pro-God because God has always done right by me.  But we are not denominational.  God only talks to me when I’m alone and won’t allow me to tell anyone else what religion he belongs to.  Sorry.

Rule 6 – Men will wear pants at all times.  This is very important.  We are Americans and American men wear pants.  End of story.  You Scots are out of luck.

Rule 7 – Whenever in the course of a meeting or in organizational documents a pronoun is used for a person of indeterminate sex the masculine form will be used.  If this bothers you then you’re in the wrong club.

Other rules equally idiosyncratic will follow as I get around to making them up.  Suffice it to say that I will provide rules to prevent all the behaviors that annoy me in everyday politically correct arenas.  No make-believe pronouns, no gender equality, no weirdos of any kind (other than my kind of weirdos).

I am openly soliciting a name for this noble fraternal organization.  And if you can think of anything that needs to be added to the rules or if you have other comments, such as, “you must be insane!” then just leave them in the comment section below.

Yours in fraternal benevolence,

photog (AKA, the High, Exalted, Mystic Grand Master General)

 

The Great Revolt – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd – A Book Review – Part 1

The full title of this book is “The Great Revolt, Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.”  When I was told I needed to read this I was a little resentful.  I don’t enjoy reading about politics for the most part.  This may be because lately political books are typically candidates telling us their inspirational biographies and why they are uniquely qualified to save the United States and by extension the whole free world.  Obama, Hillary, McCain, blah, blah, blah.  But I dutifully bought it two months ago and put it into the stack.

So, I started it.  It’s a combination of election analysis identifying the categories of voters who flipped the election to Donald Trump and then interviews with people in those categories.  The analysis is interesting but the interviews are riveting.  As someone who understands the anger over being categorized as a deplorable or being dismissed as unimportant or openly mocked as a defeated yesterday man with no future I was fascinated.  The stories being told by people from small towns and dying cities in the Rust Belt resonated like a tuning fork with what I felt.  Now here I am, an Italian American from Brooklyn living in New England and an engineer working in a 21st century industry and yet I feel more kinship with these unemployed factory workers and small business people than with any of the people I work with every day who don’t believe in any of the things I do.

They voted for Trump for a variety of reasons depending on the type of person or their specific circumstances but as a whole they were voting for the idea that they still counted and couldn’t be just discounted because they weren’t the coalition of tomorrow.  Their grievances weren’t progressive enough and they were too white.  They were old news.  And the interesting thing so far is that all of them that voted in 2008 and 2012 voted for Obama.  I’ve still got a bunch to read and I have to digest the analytical stuff to see what it means to my understanding of national politics but I can already see that the personal stories are the bigger news.  This proves to me that the Trump rallies were very significant.  A lot of these people voted because it was personal.  Trump reached them with his message.  It spoke to them.  These marginalized people in depressed areas of what used to be the industrial heartland resonated to a message from a billionaire New York City reality show cartoon character.  I think this means both parties have abandoned a very large swathe of Americans and if Trump can address what they want he actually could ignite a Populist Revolt.  If most people figure out that they’ve been used by both parties we could have a real awakening and some big things can get done.

I’ll get into more detail when I finish this, but I’ve already learned more about the 2016 election from reading the personal accounts than by all the political analyses that came out in the last almost two years.  I’ve met the people that made Trump president.  Zito and Todd have written an important book.

SEP2018 Photo Recap – Part 3

Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon
Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon
Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon

Sony A7 III with • Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon and Sigma MC-11 Canon EF to Sony E adapter
Sony A7 III with • Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon and Sigma MC-11 Canon EF to Sony E adapter

Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens on Sony A7 III
Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens on Sony A7 III

An Example of Excellent Street Photography

One of the regulars here (Tom) was recently commenting on a post and attached a link to his street photography.  I was so impressed with this shot that I asked him if I could link to it.  I said I thought it was iconic and could inspire a book or a movie. Well, he reminded me of a song instead.  “Me and Bobby McGee.”  Perfect.   Anyway, enjoy and I recommend clicking on the link and checking out Tom’s gallery.  Lots of good stuff.

DSC6970

SEP2018 Photo Recap – Part 2

Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon
Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon
Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon

The Raven is a Wicked Bird
Mallards on the Puddle in the Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm
Grand Canyon South Rim
Sony A7S with Sony 55mm F\1.8 lens
Grand Canyon South Rim
Sony A7S with Sony 55mm F\1.8 lens
Horseshoe Bend – Colorado River -Arizona
Voigtlader 10mm lens on Sony A7S
House Rock Valley Road, Sony A7S and Voigtlander 10mm lens
Monotropa uniflora, Indian pipe, ghost plant, corpse plant, Sony A7 III with Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens
succulent plant, Sony A7 III with Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro Lens