...and other misconceptions I made 07-5-20
2007 May 20

Archive for the 'toys' Category

December 30th 2007
Nikon D300

Posted under toys | 3 comments | |

Nikon D300Ok, ok!

It was a mistake to do the teaser “I’ll tell you later” thing about the new camera. You can stop emailing now!

Wow. Two comments, six emails and two questions in person in the 12 hours since I posted this…

As Michael pointed out correctly, I was interested in the Canon 40D. Really good camera, as far as I can tell. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized that I would soon get frustrated with it as well. It still had some of the same issues that I didn’t like about the Rebel XT that I had:

  • autofocus issues; both the Rebel XT and the 40D have only 9 autofocus sensors; while the 40D appears to be somewhat better it still has some reported problems with focusing in low light and overall both cameras get easily confused what they should focus at
  • relatively noisy already at ISO800 – from all I can tell from the reviews it’s not really a huge improvement over the Rebel XT
  • only fixed iso settings and no quick way to change this while shooting (at least the 40D now displays the iso setting in the viewfinder – that’s a huge improvement over the Rebel XT)
  • not really any more rugged than the Rebel XT – I really wanted something that felt more solid and promised to survive a few more years

Basically the 40D is a nice step up from the Rebel XT, but I was sure I would end up wanting more in a year. That’s where the D300 comes in (and to be honest, M3’s comment that she got one for Christmas really made me do more research which then pushed me over the edge). It’s more expensive than the 40D but seems to do better on all the things that I didn’t like about the 40D. Or, to phrase it positively, what really sold me on the D300 in comparison can be summed up like this:

  • better low light results (not necessarily night shots – I mean shooting indoors without a flash)
  • very good sensor with useful in-camera post-processing; especially the Active D-Lighting is pretty cool; nothing comparable in the Canon
  • great dynamic range (not sure if it is better than the 40D but it is outstanding in the D300 and I haven’t seen any reviews showing similar performance for the 40D)
  • ISO-Auto mode: tell the camera the slowest shutter speed you want and it increases the ISO if necessary; amazingly simple and such a great idea; I always have my Rebel XT on ISO100 or 200 and then often have blurry snapshots because the lighting forced a 1/10s shutter speed or something – or I switch it to ISO800 for something like that and then forget to switch back and have lower quality pictures than I want
  • outstanding autofocus; 51 sensors, 3D tracking of moving objects, amazingly fast even in extremely low light (I did some shots this morning that ended up being 1/20s, f4 at ISO3200 and it found focus and tracked it without any noticeable delay)
  • none of the Canon things I don’t want, like the different “stupid modes” (err, I mean, Scene Modes – you can’t even shoot RAW in those… I don’t want to pay for these, I don’t want any compromises made for these, they are just useless)
  • amazing LCD; you have to see it to believe it – stunning; bright, full VGA resolution, four times the pixels of the 40D LCD; good enough to seriously check focus, white balance, composition, everything
  • nice solid construction; well sealed, rugged, tough; even a longer promised shutter life
  • much more useful liveview feature – on the Canon the AF doesn’t work while on liveview
  • many small details – much better battery life, 100% viewfinder, doesn’t use strobe flash as AF illumination, etc
  • to be honest, the extra MP (12 vs 10) weren’t really a factor – everything above 6MP or so is enough, I think

I’ll post more pictures and stuff later – right now our good friend Denise is here playing with the girls (which allowed me to write this post to begin with) but I really need to get back to my duties now…

Update: just found out another reason to prefer the Nikon over the Canon – the D300 can control an SB800 or SB600 flash remotely without any additional hardware. With the Canon system you either need to buy a dedicated wireless controller that you put on your camera (like the ST-E2) or you need to use a system flash like the 580EX attached to the camera and a second system flash (like the 430EX) as off-camera flash – either way that’s extra $$ you need to spend in order to start using off camera flash. Money you can save with the Nikon system as there you need just one system flash (SB800 or SB600) and can use the built-in flash to control it!

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December 5th 2007
Distractions and insights

Posted under family & toys | 2 comments | |

Ok, I’m distracted. I finally gave up on Comcast’s promise to deliver Tivo-software for it’s own Motorola DVR and bought a TiVoHD. And then bought an external drive to expand it. And then found out that the Series 3 Tivo can be extended using any eSata drive, but the TiVoHD cannot, unless you manually modify its built-in hard drive (which of course I did), but then I found out that the eSata cable that I have is the wrong one. And did I mention that it will take Comcast a full week to get the CableCards to us so we can’t use the TiVoHD for anything but basic cable until next Monday? SOB.

So yes, major distraction.

But since you don’t come here to hear me whine about trivia in my pampered life, here’s what you are really here for: During bath time today S2 played with little rubber duckies. A bigger one and two smaller ones. And she said “…and dat’s mama-ducky, and here’s baby-ducky… ‘are you ok, baby-ducky?’… ‘YEAH!'”. I think this is the first time that I observed here playing like this. And of course two minutes later H2 did the same.

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November 25th 2007
Toys, toys, toys

Posted under toys | 3 comments | |

K2 told me that I needed to stop calling my toys “toys” – otherwise the girls will think that they should be allowed to play with them. Ok, let’s call them “gadgets” – I’ll still think of them as my “toys”.

Anyway, as you might have guessed, I’ve got a new one, and I love it. Seriously. It’s an Asus EeePC. A tiny little sub-sub-sub-notebook. It looks much more like a toy than like a laptop, but it actually has an Intel CPU and enough horsepower to run a neat little Linux distribution. It’s keyboard is basically too small for my fingers, it’s screen is only 7 inches. But it has a solid state disk instead of a harddisk (i.e., no moving parts), is extremely sturdy and still less than two pounds. Way cool.

Did I mention that I’m sitting on the sofa, writing this post using my new toy gadget?

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November 20th 2007
Toys

Posted under toys | 3 comments | |

K2’s toysNormally I only post about my toys here. But today I’ll make an exception.

These are K2’s toys. She puts them to good use. Among other things she bakes wonderful (did I mention ‘wonderful’?) bread. I hope she’ll post about some of it on her blog later today… let’s just say it’s yummy. Let’s just say if I hadn’t married her already, I might marry her just for the bread.

Anyway, all that heavy use took its toll. The mixer in front (a rather old KitchenAid Ultra Power) died today – and was replaced by the black one next to it (a nice new KitchenAid Professional 600). The red one (a KitchenAid Professional HD) was supposed to replace the Ultra Power initially (we bought it maybe earlier this year), but somehow K2 never really learned to like it, so it will have to find a new home now. Serious offers are of course welcome :-)

And yes – I simply couldn’t resist a post with three stand mixers standing next to each other in our kitchen…

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