Showing posts from May, 2010

A brief look at old zooms

I wrote previously about single-focal length lenses (primes) and how they'd gone from ubiquitous to specialized, while at the same time zooms had changed places with them, going from specialized to ubiquitous. I still have two zooms in my collection from the period I shot film; the Tamron 70-210mm f/3.5 BBAR and the S Zuiko 35-70mm f/4 zoom.

Sitting side-by-side, the OM-4 T and the E-P2 aren't that much different in practical size. Add the VF-2 electronic viewfinder to the E-P2, and the E-P2 stands taller than the OM-4. But again, it's nothing to make a fuss over.

Looking down from above, it appears that the E-P2 is thinner than the OM-4, but that's due to the black top plate of the E-P2. The actual depth of the E-P2 is the silver metal secondary plate on which the black top plate sits. For all practical purposes the depth of the two bodies is the same, except at the mirror box on the OM-4 T; the E-P2 is mirrorless, and this much shallower depth allows the E-P2 to moun…

Where have all the fast primes gone?

A questioner asked on the Flickr Olympus E-System, "where had all the fast primes gone?" It turns out this person had purchased a Konica SLR film camera with a matching 50mm f/1.7 lens. 'Back in the day' that's what you usually purchased with any SLR film camera, an inexpensive, utilitarian 50mm that ranged in speed (and cost) from f/2 up to f/1.4. There were some that were faster, up to f/1, but at that point you were talking serious glass, physical size, and money. Lots of money.

The heyday of the 1970s had far more SLR manufacturers, and thus more prime, or single focal length lenses. Every manufacture spent the 1960's learning how to manufacture a lens that provided quite reasonably affordable image quality. The typical SLR 'kit' consisted of the body and a 50mm (or normal) lens, between f/2 to f/1.4, typically around f/1.8. So, with all the manufacturers in the market and with the standard lens being 50mm, market forces combined with economies of…

Mid-year Personal Assessment

I made a number of New Year's resolutions back in January. At the top of my list, at #1, was to get rid of my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I'm in the process of deleting the Facebook account. I say "in the process" because when I went to explicitly ask that the account be deleted, I was informed that they would wait two weeks before deleting the account, in case I had a change of heart.

I had a Facebook account for nearly five years, with the majority of the activity in the last two. The first three years of inactivity were due to the fact I signed up and then essentially forgot about it. Then, in 2008, the current company I work for started to make something of a fuss over social networking in general and Twitter and Facebook specifically. So I signed up to Twitter and found an excuse to do something on Facebook.

The sad thing is, I didn't accomplish much of anything on either except waste a lot of my time. At first I tried to tweet/post what little mundane th…

At Work with Linux

It's been a long time since I've bothered with Linux, at least for home use. Work use is a different story. At MITRE we use Linux extensively because our customers and partners use it. The MITRE office is essentially OS agnostic; we don't care what they use, as long as it's the right tool for the job. So far Linux, specifically Redhat Linux, has proven itself fit for the tasks it is called upon to perform.

The local MITRE lab in Orlando is organized around six Dell 690 workstations (no longer manufactured), each outfitted with one quad-core Intel Xeon 5140 and 32 Gb of memory. Two of those machines have Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 64-bit Server 5.5 installed while the other four have RHEL 64-bit Client 5.5. Because of the wealth of memory on each workstation I've also installed VirtualBox on every one. Through VirtualBox I've been able to install additional Linux and Windows XP virtual machines across all of them. As a consequence I've been able to buil…

Lucy the Guard Cat

Lucy might be all of just eight pounds sopping wet, but Lucy is not one to be pushed about, at least not easily. She's a proud little thing who takes her many responsibilities quite seriously, such as guarding our house, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

She woke me at 2:30am with a constant meowing in the middle of the house. I was sleeping in my La-Z-Boy recliner in the TV room because I'd been snoring pretty badly earlier in the evening and was keeping the wife awake. I'd finally fallen asleep and was deep in slumber when I started to dream about Lucy. I dreamed she was calling to me. The calling was very persistent, so persistent that I woke up to hear her meowing.

For a minute I thought it might have been one of my daughter's cats, but it became clear it was coming from where Lucy normally sleeps.

I got up, grabbed the flashlight, and went stumbling into the front of the house. At first I saw Lucy sitting in the middle of the floor with her hackles up. As I swung t…