flash bang wallop

I’m rather taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2. Not merely does it look like a proper camera, it doesn’t handle like a gimmicky electronic toy. I love the wide-aspect images, and it stores all the EXIF information I need for panoramas. I could do without the proprietary USB/video connector, and it would have been really nice to have auto-bracket enabled on raw shooting for exploring HDR images, but it is not a huge deal. Neatest basic function is the ability to view your pics as a calendar, each day opening up the ones you took then. Nice.

Barnack’s ghost is probably troubled by the use of the Leica name on such a frivolous device. I will be able to claim the famed “leica glow” on my shots now, though.

I’m thinking that this camera is targeted towards the sophisticated grandpa. It’s able to track the ages of two children, so your pictures can be tagged as being of Baby X at age Y. Useless? Well, someone could use it.

Oh okay … some photos are here: http://scruss.com/gallery/v/lumix_lx2/

camerangst

I told myself that I wouldn’t upgrade my P&S until the pixel count doubled for an affordable price. I didn’t define ‘affordable’, though, leaving myself perhaps too much consumer wiggle room.

Anyway, 10+ megapixel compacts are here, but there are many contenders. The Panasonic DMC-LX2 has a nice lens, but is expensive and looks a little soft unless you shoot raw. The Canon SD900 is lovely and tiny, but maybe that’s all.

Do I really need to upgrade at all?

Things I Saw in Vancouver

Things I Saw in Vancouver – and yes, there are flowers in bloom. Beware of the cute sea otters, though they’re not quite up there with the Oh Noes! otter.

Update: Dave‘s photos are good – thanks!

a narrow escape

I narrowly avoided buying an old Speed Graphic camera on eBay today. I regretted bidding almost immediately; film is a pain, and I’m glad I didn’t win. It would have been a nice ornament, but nothing more useful.

fauxlomo

Portpatrick, with the Gimp faux lomo effect
Portpatrick, taken with a Fujifilm MX-1200 pretending to be a lomo

For probably no better reason beyond babbittry, I’ve always half-wanted a lomo. Half-wanted, that is, because of my previous experience with “Russian” photo gear (I’ve had a Lomo TLR, a Fed rangefinder, and a Pentacon six) and its legendary quality control. I’m also so done with film.
A while back, Donncha wrote about a  GIMP Lomo Plugin. While it looked handy, the link to the code is now dead. You can find what I think is the same one here: http://flelay.free.fr/pool/lomo2.scm (or a local copy here if that link dies: lomo2.scm). Just pop it in your .gimp-2.2/scripts/ directory, and it’ll appear as a filter. The original author‘s comment on Donncha’s blog contains good settings: Vignetting softness=1, Contrast=30, Saturation=30, Double Vignetting=TRUE.

I knew there was a reason I retrieved my old 1.3 megapixel Fujifilm MX-1200 from my parents’ house. And that reason is fauxlomo!

Costco Photo Centre, part II

So I got the photos back today. The service is pretty quick; I sent the order at 16:45, and had a ready-for-collection confirmation at 10:41 the next day. After braving the lines at Costco (no fun), I had a look at them.

The prints are pretty good; colour’s bright, everything’s sharp, and there’s no obvious digital artefacts. But I got a bunch of dupes (maybe those failed uploads didn’t really fail at all). If I needed pictures again in a hurry and cheaply, I might go for Costco, as long as it wasn’t for anything really important.

I’ll still thinking about a networkable photo-printer, though. CompuSmart had a demo HP Photosmart 8450 for cheap, but it had no cables or PSU, so was pretty useless.

Costco Photo Centre: cheap, but stupid

So I’ve got the holiday photos, and want to print them for those that like that. I’d used Future Shop in the past, but Costco is offering such cheap prints, I thought I’d give them a try.

Probably a mistake:

  • Their drag and drop uploader is an ActiveX control that only works under IE on Windows. Use any other browser, and you get presented with an old-school HTML form. For 94 pictures, that would get dull quickly.
  • The uploader transmits several images at once. It seems that if any of the uploads should fail, all the files uploading at that time also fail. Uploading a few at a time doesn’t seem to help much; around one in ten files will fail randomly.
  • While the uploader does warn you when an upload fails, it’s up to you to remember which files haven’t worked. Clicking Retry just takes you back to the uploader, and since it’s an embedded applet, there’s no browser history to take you back to note your failed uploads.
  • The albums store files in the order uploaded, and can’t be changed.
  • Long file names get truncated, and then get uselessly used as the title on the back.

Still, I’ll let you know how it all went when I get the prints in a couple of days.

about to be gone

This corner of Bloor & Bedford is about to be gone:

244 Bloor W

It has memories for us, as the first place we stayed when we arrived was just up the road. Breakfast was at Country Style (which became a Booster Juice after the massive Tim’s opened across the road), lunch was from Pita Factory, the daily paper from Gus at the Mac’s, dinner was sometimes at Swiss Chalet #1; all on the same block, all going to be gone.
If you look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that hugin neatly severed a couple of heads. It might smart a little, but with some bactine and gauze, it’ll grow back in the morning.