Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What are the odds of any one person being born?

That is an interesting question. You are an individual with a specific pair of parent contributors to your very specific DNA structure (i.e. combination of genes) … so if you take into account all of the wars and everything else that might have snuffed out your lineage at some point in time, how likely was it that you would be born at the very point in time at which you popped into this world?

Apparently, the odds were pretty low …

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The source (and a good watch) …

https://youtu.be/Lp7E973zozc

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sigma 19mm DN – A sad story of a great lens felled by a double failure in barely 2 years that no one will warrant …

So I made a huge mistake when I bought the lovely pair of m4/3 Sigma lenses – the 19mm 2.8 and the 30mm 2.8. Terrifically sharp, fairly small, and smooth video performance. Decent lenses all around …

I purchased them both from B&H Photo in New York, the very best outlet for Canadian buyers who want good service and fast and cheap shipping. Accept no substitutes.

And then calamity struck … the 19mm would not start (these lenses have a funky mechanism that requires a special power-up sequence) on any of my m4/3 bodies. I tried them all and all the lens would do is click repeatedly on a slow cadence until the camera gave up and posted an error on the LCD screen.

I eventually thought that I should look into warranty service. The lens was barely 2 years old, which is a veritable new born for lenses, but that turned out to be a serious issue.

Canada has a 7 year warranty on current Sigma lenses, and may have been running the 10 year warranty at the time I purchased this lens. This warranty is actually offered by the distributor – Gentec International – as there is no Canadian Sigma company. Gentec offers a long warranty because Sigma lenses are generally that good. However, they do not warrant lenses purchased in the USA, even though all Sigma lenses are manufactured in the same factory!

In the USA, there is actually an American Sigma company that offers the oh-so-confident warranty period of 1 year, for which I obviously do not qualify as my lens is older than that. I called BHPhoto and they confirmed that I was screwed by the short American warranty.

So … paper weight.

Well, not quite. I decided to send it to Gentec to get a repair estimate. They came back after a week or so with $176, which of course is not far off the retail price of $249.99, itself up 20 bucks in the last few months (thanks Sigma / Henry’s.) Sheesh. Too high a price for a repair to an obviously fragile lens that still would not have a proper warranty. I’d be a moron to spend that.

So I called Gentec back when I got the email in order to decline the repair and tell them to keep the piece of junk. The technician said hang on a minute and told me he would look at it again and get back to me in a day or so. I got busy for a few weeks and remembered it just a few days ago, after 3 or 4 weeks.

I called back and spoke to a guy who said he would get back to me in 15 minutes. That took a couple of days :-) … but he did call me yesterday. That conversation was fascinating …

He had tried really hard to push it through as a courtesy repair, and he almost got it done. But … there are two faults in this lens – the main board, which they had already replaced, and the AF motor, which was also not working. In fact, they think the AF motor is slowly ruining the main boards.

The AF motor pushed the cost above Gentec’s cost for the lens, at which point their rule kicked in and the courtesy repair was denied.

Note: The technician was the person putting all the effort in here. He did not say it this way, but clearly he saw that I was getting screwed for having bought a Japanese made lens in the USA instead of buying the same lens made in the same factory in Canada. When it came time for Gentec themselves to put up a little extra cash to create a happy customer (me), they balked at the cost. And here is the kicker – they spent some of that money on an overnight courier to ship me back the half-repaired lens. SIGH … I would have paid the shipping had they offered to repair the lens.

So: Sigma builds a fragile lens, which has almost no useful warranty in the USA and is not covered in Canada because Sigma does not even have a presence here. Gentec will not cover me because I had the temerity to spend my money in the USA. OK, I sort of get that. Their technician tries like crazy to do the right thing, but a very slight cost overrun on the repair nixes it, yet they spend money sending me the new main board and sending by courier over night. And I sit here with a lens that will actually start up on my GF3, but won’t AF reliably and will only shoot once in a while. And who knows how long that will last, because the technician says that the successful start up “comes and goes.”

I would call Sigma and their flexible / inflexible / sometimes nonexistent warranties a total mess here in North America …

My recommendation

Buy Sigma lenses in Canada for the much better warranty.

Or better yet buy another brand for the peace of mind that a lens should last longer then 2 years.

The final slap in the face was that they sent it back without the caps I had on it … sigh ….

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rogers IGNITE 250u Internet – OH MY GOD! ** Updated **

It turns out that the new Rogers IGNITE bundles are the smokin’ deal of the century. I had the Hybrid Fiber 60 plan with the addition of unlimited bandwidth and the basic modem rental, which at the time was a pretty excellent deal as I documented ad nauseum here: http://kimletkeman.blogspot.ca/2014/07/rogers-high-speed-internet-hybrid-fiber.html

When I noticed that the Internet packages had changed, I checked out the availability in my neighbourhood and found that I could get all the packages for the first time! AND the cost of the 250u package is actually lower than what I was paying already, since it includes unlimited bandwidth and the advanced modem rental already. And that modem is the new Rocket modem, which I have to say is the fastest thing I have ever seen.

So far that the 250Mbps is actually over 300Mbps …

I cannot say enough about this package … the price is right and the speed is staggering ….

What the heck are you waiting for?

(And yes, it’s not cheap … but the value is immense.)


19 April – Just in case it was a fluke, I thought maybe I should test it again … and …

Wow …


21 April – Noon time … just checking how daytime speeds hold up. Pretty well, I have to say Smile

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FUJIFILM ANNOUNCES NEW ULTRA SHARP FAST PRIME XF16MMF1.4 R WR LENS

Compact XF16mmF1.4 R WR brings weather-resistant portability to wide angle photo enthusiasts and professionals

Valhalla, N.Y., April 16, 2015 FUJIFILM North America Corporation announced the new FUJINON XF16mmF1.4 R WR, a weather-resistant, fixed focal length lens (24mm in 35mm format equivalent) that delivers a dramatic wide field of view and stunning image performance. The F1.4 maximum aperture in the XF16mm gives users extraordinary image quality in low-light conditions, and pleasing bokeh-rich macro photography with a minimum working distance of less than 6” / 15cm for numerous creative photographic possibilities.

clip_image002The XF16mmF1.4 R WR features a high-speed autofocus of 0.11 seconds, a weather- and dust-resistant structure that can work in temperatures as low as 14°F / -10°C, and great portability thanks to its compact size. The XF16mmF1.4 R WR includes a depth-of-field scale on the focus ring that is perfect for landscape, travel and street photographers who want to calculate the distance, adjust the aperture setting, and shoot spontaneously.

Perfect match for the FUJIFILM X-T1

The XF16mmF1.4 R WR pairs perfectly with the award-winning FUJIFILM X-T1, a weather-resistant premium interchangeable lens camera with a large OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). It has the latest generation 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and an EXR Processor II that allows photographers to capture amazing, high resolution images anywhere.

FUJINON XF16mmF1.4 R WR key features:

  • FUJIFILM X-Mount is compatible with all FUJIFILM X-Series interchangeable system cameras
  • Weather-resistant design with 9 sealing points in 8 areas
  • 0.11 seconds autofocus speed and nearly silent operation
  • Uses 13 elements in 11 groups, including 2 aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion, and 2 ED glass lens elements to reduce lateral and axial chromatic aberration
  • Nano-GI coating alters the refractive index between glass and air to reduce ghosting and flare
  • 9 blade aperture creates smooth and circular bokeh
  • 1/3 EV steps
  • Minimum working distance of less than 6 inches / 15cm

The FUJINON XF16mmF1.4 R WR will be available in May 2015 for CAD $1,149.99.

About FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Electronic Imaging

For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to www.twitter.com/fujifilmus to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, or go to www.facebook.com/FujifilmNorthAmerica to Like Fujifilm on Facebook. To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries, including: healthcare, with medical systems, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; graphic systems; highly functional materials, such as flat panel display materials; optical devices, such as broadcast and cinema lenses; digital imaging; and document products. These are based on a vast portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic, software and production technologies. In the year ended March 31, 2014, the company had global revenues of $23.9 billion, at an exchange rate of 102 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

###

CONTACT:
Matthew Schmidt
Fujifilm

(914) 789-8529
mschmidt@fujifilm.com

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April showers bring May fl…. WTF??

Here we are into the second week in April and what to our wondering eyes does appear?

20150408_192508_SGH-I747M_3.7 mm_ISO 80_1-75 sec at f - 2.6

The forecast suggests that tomorrow will be warm … but today I think we can all be pretty sure that climate change is not a myth …

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Corgi vs Pug

Sophie, the 10 year old Pug, has found a temporary home with us and the boys have become completely enamored with her. So much so that when she goes home, they think that we’ll have to have another one immediately. Interestingly, they originally had thought about a Corgi, which is another small dog but with an equally interesting heritage. I’ll leave you to Google that.

I happened to see this cute play fight between a Corgi and a Pug and thought I would share this link here on the blog.

And while I am at the sharing … here is the type of illusion I LOVE …