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pierces

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About pierces

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Southern California
  • Interests
    Cruising, cruising, wildlife...oh, photography too!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    www.pptphoto.com

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  1. Walking about the ship, I usually just strap on the A7III. I've been carrying an SLR, DSLR or Mirrorless rig for so long that I hardly notice it. I think I wear a camera more often than a watch. As for a little camera, if my A6300 with a 25mm on it isn't small enough, I have a Pixel phone that produces truly remarkable images. The Pixel and the Windows Icon phone before it killed compacts for me about five years ago. The RX100 cameras are fantastic but these phones are really changing casual shooting. Dave
  2. I remember all the fuss when IBIS first appeared in the Minolta A1digicam. It was pooh-poohed as a gimmick and would never be used in real cameras since optical stabilization was obviously superior. How things change! I have always had a steady hand but sensor-based stabilization in the A700 and A77 really spoiled me. It was the main thing I missed in the NEX-7 and later in the A6000 and A6300. Optically stabilized lenses made up for the loss in the main walkabout lenses but I really missed it when using the Lensbaby and various cheap, fun manual lenses. I never upgraded to the A6500 since its specs were so close to the A6300 but last year, my jump to the A7III brought in-body stabilization back into my life and when Sony releases its next APS-C body, I will jump on it. It is a great time to be a photographer! Dave
  3. I have has an SSD as a boot drive for the last 6 years or so. First was a SATA unit from Sandisk that was about three time as fast as a spinning drive and the latest is a NVME M.2 drive that is six times faster than that. I have found them to be reliable and they really do perk up boot and the load time of programs. I make sure the size is enough for the operating system and to have the program files installed in the Program Files folder as well. Unless you are a collector of random software, a 250GB SSD is probably enough, though you may want to double that for other reasons outlined below. With the Adobe programs (sans catalog for LR) installed as well as the Office 365 local copies, SQL Server, Visual Basic, Luminar, and a ton of plug-ins, I still had about 20% of a 256GB drive left over. I replaced it with a 500GB unit after research turned up an issue with deteriorating performance when about 80% is reached. I also moved my user files like My Music, My Documents, pictures, etc. to a separate storage drive (really easy in Windows 10) to improve performance as well as free up space. SSDs do have a finite life span as do memory cards and USB drives. The technology is very similar and the individual cells will deteriorate after a finite number of read/write cycles. Functional life span is measured in TeraBytes Written (TBW) rather than hours and your usage can affect the life of the drive. Unless you (foolishly) edit a lot of video directly off the SSD or some other intense daily use, they will last for years like a spinny drive. Modern quality drives usually have the same 5-year warranty as traditional drives. Another factor is a 500GB drive of the same model family as a 250GB one will be rated at twice the TBW since there are twice as many cells to spread the usage across. I had to replace my 256GB drive not only due to the volume issue but I found I had exceeded the TBW by about 75% (with no cell failures). It was an older model and the new drive is rated at nearly six times the TBW despite being only twice as large. Dell and HP machines in the $1500 range typically have a 500GB M.2 SSD and you can expect five years out of it easily. (I have had my work laptop for over two years and abuse the read/write cycles horribly with database work. It is only about halfway to its TBW recommendation.) Even if you overrun the limit and get antsy about failure, it is pretty easy to replace one, even for a non-gearhead. 🙂 Bottom line: M.2 SSD for boot and programs. Spinny drive for storage. Dave P.S. Spinny drives throwing a bearing are way more common than a total SSD failure. 😉
  4. I am unaware of any digital camera that doesn't analyze exposure from the image on the sensor or read it from the autoexposure module in the prism hump. Holding the polarizer in front of the lens will be automatically adjusted for. I have done this many times with a P&S with no in-camera adjustment. Another point is I found holding the filter flat against the front of the P&S lens barrel removes the chance of reflection from the back of the filter. Especially in the bright light at a beach or other location where a polarizer would be used. As long as you don't press hard against the barrel, it won't interfere with the autofocus. In a pinch, I have even used polarized sunglasses as a filter! 🙂 Yay stabilization! I really wound down my use of a tripod when in-body and optical stabilization became common. These were shot handheld from a moving boat (inside the breakwater, so moving) using bent legs as shock absorbers. A tripod would have made shooting impossible. I still use my tripods for macro shooting and nighttime scenery where it can't be avoided but I haven't carried one on an excursion or onboard walkabouts in ten years or more. My alternative point of view. To each, their own. Right? Dave
  5. Almost exactly nobody. I stopped packing one after about the fifth cruise where I never touched it. And yet, you can find an endless procession of bad landscape photos where the lack of simple composition rules that you mentioned took their toll. 🙂 Dave
  6. Went back to scanning the news for more info on the tech that put my new computer on hold and here's what I found. DDR5 memory: Here this year but still a ways off. Some availability this year but likely only in the world of servers and insanely expensive workstations. This announcement of 2019 availability won't affect my timing on this build. My memory decisions have come down to speed and quantity based on my choice to go with AMD. The base speed for the new X570 boards is DDR4 3200 which is a bit faster than the Intel base. I'm not an overclocker, so base speed will do fine. The decision is now 32GB vs. 64GB and while more RAM is often better, there is a level of diminishing returns and I'm having a hard time finding definitive proof that over 32GB of RAM will boost photo processing in any way. AMD 3xxx CPUs: July 7. A real date and less than a month away! I haven't seen release dates for the announced motherboards but one would assume that the timing would be close if not simultaneous. Looks like I'm going with AMD this time around. New territory for me but they have made significant advances in single thread performance and for multi-core, they offer up to a 12-core, 24-thread option without breaking the $500 threshold. Photoshop doesn't seem to get any big boost beyond 6 or 8 cores but hey, maybe it comes with a "I HAVE 12 CORES" sticker for the case! They are supposed to run cool as well but liquid cooling is still on my shopping list. AMD 5700 graphics: July 7 as well. Still on the fence here. I have had a lot of good luck with Nvidia cards over the years but AMD has done well since I abandoned ATI cards way back before AMD bought them and killed the brand back in 2010. The new cards don't support hardware based ray tracing like the new Nvidia RTX cards, but I don't really plan on doing a lot of gaming. Even if I was, very few games support it anyway. I'm more concerned with having more processing power and memory available for Lightroom and Photoshop. It will come down to price since the cards being released apparently perform on par with the range I was looking at in the Nvidia brand. PCIE 4.0 SSD drives: Looks like some will be popping out of the mill in July. First wave will be about 30%-ish faster than current top performers, which is attractive. Price will tell. As with cameras, the price/performance threshold is a personal thing and I will balk if the performance increase is out of sync with the pricing. Add in the possibility that PCIE 3.0 pricing may drop due to the newest shiny thing appearing and I may end up with insanely fast drives instead of ludicrously fast ones. It looks like an August delivery for the new baby. Of course, this could all be derailed if Sony drops a hint of a smoking hot APS-C body this fall... Dave
  7. The shows may look bright to you while sitting in a darkened theater but the actual illumination is about the same as a normally lit room. Your camera will make up for this by slowing the shutter speed down to expose longer. This is what causes the blur. To help this, you need to increase the shutter speed. The three components of exposure are shutter, sensitivity and aperture. To speed up the shutter, you need to raise the sensitivity and/or open the lens aperture wider. A point and shoot camera doesn't allow a lot of options since the small sensor doesn't let you increase the sensitivity a lot without making the photo too grainy (noisy) and the lenses often don't have a large maximum aperture (can't let enough light in). Your best option is probably to go into the Scene menu and choose "Sports". This mode tells the camera's brain to set the shutter as fast as possible to stop action and will raise sensitivity and open the aperture as much as possible to achieve this. Also, don't zoom in more than needed since zooming will reduce the maximum aperture (lets in less light) and magnification will exaggerate motion, both yours and the subject, which can cause more blur. If the performers are too bright and the stage looks normal (camera's auto metering ties to average out the whole exposure and often does badly with a bright subject against a dark background, or vice versa), use the exposure adjustment (+/-) to adjust downwards (-). This will not only correct the exposure on the performers but may allow for a faster shutter speed. Hope that helps. Dave
  8. The suggestions in the article were geared towards users of interchangeable lens cameras but every camera uses three basic exposure factors and three pieces of hardware to make the photo. Exposure is controlled by the sensitivity of the sensor (film speed in the pre-digital days), the amount of time the shutter allows the sensor to be exposed to light and the amount of light gathered by the lens and passed through the aperture. Those factors are required to be addressed in every camera. our camera has a sensor, shutter and lens just like a $10,000 Leica. Taking the time to understand how the three factor of exposure work together and the advantages or disadvantages of your hardware will give you a greater chance of getting good shots. Your camera has a manual mode that allows some control over the exposure settings outside of the auto mode that, with some understanding of how exposure works, may allow you to overcome difficult shooting situations. Even if you only use the mode and scene settings. a little research into how exposure is determined by the little supercomputer in you camera can help you when a shot goes bad. Something as simple as knowing when to use the +/- exposures setting (EV Setting in your camera manual) can save the day. Look up that info as you said and don't be shy about asking questions here. This is a very newbie-friendly forum with many regulars willing to take a moment to explain something. A while ago I wrote an article on low-light photography that gives a lot of basic information on how exposure works. Take a look: Low-Light Photography Enjoy your camera! Dave
  9. Father's Day gifts aren't a big deal in our family since I an notoriously hard to buy for. I have a large assortment of tools with a want list starting at around the $500 mark and let’s just avoid talking about the camera equipment want list. When the kids were little, they found that I liked chocolate cherry cordials and Father’s Day usually included a box since small children have limited shopping options. For many years now, the Amazon gift card has been the unit of gifting and the cherry cordials were left behind. The reasons behind the gift of a small box of See’s Cordials from my oldest daughter melted my heart and brought back a flood of good memories. We have great kids. Blast From The Past Dave
  10. Pictures taken between Monday, June 17 and Sunday, June 23.  Rules: See above That's it. This isn't a contest. All photos taken this week are welcome (not just cruising). Prizes will not be awarded. Discovering the joy of photography is the prize. The idea is to get folks out using their cameras for more than vacations and toddler birthdays. Post one. Post many. Up to you. Have fun with your camera and share your fun with others!
  11. Photo shoot for the grandkids' birthdays. How cute is too cute? Dave
  12. Portrait? I am finally ready to grab a portrait lens. The 24-105 does a pretty good job at 105mm - f/4 but not exactly a "portrait" lens. I looked at the Samyang/Rokinon but I'm also impressed by the Sony 85mm f/1.8. The 85mm GM lens is way above the BFTB threshold for me. I would lean towards the Rokinon based on your review if it handles signaling for Eye-AF well. Any input? The weight of the 70-200 GM on the A7III is over a ½ pound lighter than my old A77 with the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 and the battery grip on it. I never had an issue with the weight walking up and down the sidelines at football games. A lot of football games. Thirty plus years of weightlifting may have helped and I'm still more grizzly than gazelle. The f/2.8 when needed option and the ability to move to a 140mm-400mm f/5.6 by adding a 2x teleconverter with (reportedly) little impact on image quality is a compelling argument to me, though I am concerned about the mechanical issues you mentioned. Maybe waiting until next year no matter what my decision will resolve some of that and maybe native third-party options will materialize. First world problems. Dave
  13. Top guesses seem to be A9-II, A7000 (or whatever) or more remotely, an RX10-V. I so want it to be the APS-C camera, but with a $1000 drop in the A9, maybe they are positioning? Darn guessing games! Dave
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