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Showing posts from December, 2008

User Interface and Market Size

When cars were new, a hundred years ago, each had different arrangements for the controls. There were hand throttles, foot throttles - originality was more important than consistency. Those were the days when a European automobile executive foresaw a market for a million automobiles, since that was his estimate of the number of peasants intelligent enough to be trained as a chauffeur!

The consistent user interface observed in all cars is a prerequisite
to their omnipresence. Imagine getting into a rented or borrowed car
and needing to figure out where the controls are. In the late eighties
I remember being unable to use a friend's car, unaware you have to
push a button to turn the key. But muscle memory is even more
important. Driving on British highways is not a problem, you stay in
your lane with all the other people. But when you're going down a
narrow country lane with hedges either side, and a lorry comes around
a corner up ahead, my Canadian instincts take me the wrong way, and I

Portraits

We had our company holiday party recently, where I work. I set up a photo booth, to get some practice in doing studio type portraits. Lesson one: I should have taken my own backdrop, instead of using the net and painted background of the indoor driving range. I thought it would go darker and more out of focus, but not quite enough. I do like the portraits, all the same.





Happy Birthday, Paul!

Got my new Canon 5D Mark II camera, and took some pictures at a party in a dark restaurant.

ISO 6400, F/4.0, at a mix of 1/10s, 1/20s, & 1/30s, handheld, 105mm except the wide shot, 24mm. Lenses with Image Stabilization are a good thing.








The real reason people hold birthday parties:




Never leave out the party organier:

Almost Full Moon

The moon is pretty big and pretty bright tonight, and I'm supposed to practice focusing my new telescope.

ISO 100, 1/100s, and the telescope naturally provides f/8.



On the canon XTi, the 500mm lens acts like an 800mm. The camera shoots 3888x2592. This image is 1778x1778. Ignoring the wasted sky outside the central square, cropping doubled the apparent size of the moon.

Clearly, I'm not finished practicing, that focus needs to be sharper. Still, an interesting addition to the collection, especially considering the price. Of course you have to count that against the time you spend doing multiple takes, trying to get the focus right. Let's rate that at just $20/hr ... it adds up.

Telescope

I came across a store selling telescopes as camera lenses. It's reflector telescope designed to be used with cameras. Doesn't have an eyepiece, doesn't attach to a tripod. Does attach to a camera, does have a focus adjustment, marked with distances.

Looks like this:



A Canon 300mm lens is $4000 US, that's f/4, IS Image Stabilization, USM focus motor. A Canon 500mm lens is $5700, an 800mm lens is $11,000. That's more than my motorcycle!

My lens cost me $135, including shipping and border fees. At that price, you sacrifice a few incidentals, such as IS Image Stabilization. You don't get a focus motor, you have to focus manually. You don't even get an aperture, to reduce the light you have neutral density filters which cut the light be 2 and 4 f-stops. No, the filters don't go on the front, you have to take the lens off the camera and fit them on the rear.

As for the focus, you have to get it dead right. At a distance of 12 feet, you get a depth-of-field of 1/…