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Analog and Digital opinions from photography to politics and everything in between.

15 October 2009

Some Thoughts

Nikon F100 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 + Fuji Velvia RVP50

I love crazy color casts. definitely wasn't expecting it from this roll, even though it was pretty old. kept it in the fridge for so long I figured it'd be fine but I guess these pleasant little surprises are nice every now and then. I was shooting into the sun too, so that probably compounded the issue. Weather's been really weird lately. cold and dewy on this morning, and then two days ago we had driving rain almost all day, then a day of heat, and now its just muggy out there. I thought San Francisco weather was supposed to be predictable.

The F100 is still amazing, thank you very much. Not too many problems, the only big one (and I wouldn't even call it a problem) being that it seems like I get a frame or two less out of a roll than on my N8008s. instead of the 38 I used to get, sometimes I can only get 36. Weird. its performing great though, finally got around to setting everything in the CSM and dialing the camera into what I like. I'll report on battery life once mine die. I'm not using AF lenses or putting too much stress on the motor drive so I'll see how many rolls I get out of this thing. curious how long I can make an exposure last once I get my remote trigger. I get a roll of Velvia back from photoworks tomorrow night so that will be on flickr probably by monday. I did make the mistake of wanting to see a roll from this weekend too badly last night. So I took it to walgreens. definitely a no-no. when I picked it up they had given me prints, something I specifically asked to NOT get. I wasn't in the mood to make it an issue so I just paid the man and left. waste of an extra five bucks.

So, I get back, expecting to have headache-free scanning. yeah, no. Vuescan gave every negative a blue or green cast with way too much grain. This on Reala 100, a film that normally doesn't have grain issues, at least with me. I scoured the interwebs for some help, and eventually just RTFM, which told me to set the base color, lock the exposure, etc. better, but not good enough. so I quit that, opened up epsonscan and what do you know, I can actually get some good scans. Turns out Vuescan is extremely picky about the C41 it likes (a conclusion corroborated by quite a few people on an old dpreview thread). which is a really shame because Vuescan is good, and I mean really good, with slides. Number of problem rolls of slides I've had: two. ever. That's life I guess. I'm gonna keep trying with different film, see if I can nail something down with vuescan. I have a bunch of NPS160 and I really just don't wanna run it all through Epsonscan. call it personal preference, but Epsonscan doesn't seem like a high-quality program. It works, it just seems like it's the Piknik of scanning software.

Also, anybody catch the UFL? I hope they make it through next season, cuz when the NFL locks the players out in 2011 you can bet your ass UFL attendance is going to skyrocket. And I mean, these games aren't that bad at all. I watched Florida and Las Vegas I think, kinda just looked like an NFL game between two "okay" teams. I hate those red ref uniforms though. so. hard. to. tell. and they need to get different team uniforms. the silver, green, black and blue just doesn't work when you have all the teams with those colors. Anyways, go Redwoods. I'll probably be watchin the game on friday night. Hope Cal doesn't choke this weekend......again.....Oregon will win so I'm not too worried.

09 October 2009

Tenba Shootout

As promised long ago, I am finally going to go over this bag. It's the Tenba Shootout Medium, not the daypack, which does not have a laptop compartment.

Hit the jump for more info. Olympus OMG + Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 + Fuji NPH400.

First off, this bag is heavy at around 2 pounds dry. If you are looking for a lightweight bag, look elsewhere. If you want what I feel is the best bag in this size range, keep reading.

There is a ton of padding on this bag, from the shoulder straps to the waist belt and back panel. It's wildly comfortable to carry, even fully loaded. the camera compartment is also well padded and fully modular, like most bags these days. It's stiff when new, like almost everything you buy, but is easy enough to move around to your liking. This compartment can also be pulled out from the bag, giving you a ton of storage space for clothes or what not. I use it for groceries. I can fit a 12 pack of whatever, a few cans of soup on the side, some small boxed foods, and some other random stuff. Those hand carts you get at the store? Think of that capacity plus some. Underneath the back padding there is a small compartment that holds a cover for the shoulder straps. it's simple enough to deal with, just zips right over them to keep the bag streamlined. Good if you're checking the bag through the airport, but not for much else in my opinion.

The side pockets of the main compartment have flaps that fold inward so you can easily access your gear; and extra lens, body, whatever you would like. Good idea? yes, I think so. good execution? no, not in my experience. once you get the backpack fitted correctly to your body, the pockets are so high up that it's almost impossible to unzip them, let alone reach in and grab a lens. What I do is stick my extra body (Nikon N8008s) with an extra lens in one of the compartments, then I zip the strap up in the side pocket's zipper. That way I can just grab the strap and pull the whole body out. The N8008s is a bit bulky though, so I'd really recommend using a smaller body in this manner as there is a size constraint with this whole ordeal. I use the other side pocket with the flap closed. I keep a memory card wallet in there with some microfiber cloths and extra rolls of film if I decide to bring them with me. The other outer pocket, on the front of the bag, is for tripods. Tenba has some system for using it with different sized tripods. I only have one tripod and its pretty small when closed, so I haven't really worried about Tenba's "system"

The laptop "compartment" on the shootout really just piggybacks on the camera compartment. there is a rubberized zipper on the top of the bag that allows you to drop your laptop into the little padded sleeve on the camera compartment. it seems quite padded to me and seems to be able to easily fit a 15" notebook with its own neoprene padded sleeve. depending on the size of your notebook, your mileage will vary. I'd like to come back to the rubberized zippers later though.

The top flap on the bag could have used a little more thought. it's a little tough to get anything bulkier than a Nikon rear lens cap in there. There are two translucent plastic pouches. one I keep gels and small PC cords in, the other has lens adapters, filters, and some other misc. small objects. there is a bottom pouch, but again it's small and you can't fit anything bulky in it. Not even really more than a couple rolls of film. really wish there was some more thought put into that area of the bag. There are elastic bands for pens and such, which is nice.

The camera compartment for this bag is awesome, despite any other shortcomings. It can fit everything. I keep two strobes with small light modifiers in one area. the modifiers are really just to cut down the power of the strobes while softening light just a tad. nothing important. I also throw in a manfrotto super clamp with my wireless triggers in a different compartment. On the camera side, I've got my Nikon F100 on top, my N8008s on the side, both with 28mm, 50mm, or 105mm primes. The Olympus E-500 goes on the bottom of the compartment with the Zuiko 35mm macro, and the 14-45mm rarely makes it out of the house. I toss in an Olympus Stylus Epic when there is space, loaded with neopan 1600 as a last-ditch effort to get a shot. All this, and there's still some room.

Everything has a downside, and there are certainly some to the Shootout. The biggest issue is the zippers. They are all fully rubberized, which is nice since it gets rainy here and I like to be assured my gear is going to be dry. however, the zippers are stiff as hell when new and take a while to break in, especially the one for the main compartment. also, Tenba claims their weather cover is the "fastest-deploying" or some bullshit like that. lies. the zipper to get to the cover is on the bottom of the bag, no biggie. the zipper tab, however, is smaller than on most of my pants and is damn near impossible to unzip. the cover then snaps over the shoulder straps, which can be difficult if you're out of practice. other than that, and the fact the the bag stays stiff for a long time, there's really almost nothing wrong with the shootout.

Note that I have the medium version without the rolling wheels, the large and small are obviously of relative sizes and if you opt for the rolling version there is a price premium. The daypack is, if I recall, the Medium, but instead of Tenba's tripod system, there is a collapsible compartment for food, softgoods, and other miscellaneous items you may need on a hike. I would recommend it if you don't need the use of a laptop compartment or tripod carrier. My shootout came from B&H and retails for about 189. Check eBay, you may be able to find one on there, but I had very little luck with that. For reference, I was also looking at an Ape Case Pro, and the Lowepro Computrekker. I would recommend the Lowepro if you don't want to swing for the Tenba. I should add that this was a present to me from Chloe, the greatest elf of them all.

That was a mouthful. just as an update, I'll have stuff up on flickr next week. it's been busy. 2 rolls of chrome on the way. I am on twitter now as well. you can follow me @mathewmphoto. Anyone else as suprised that Obama won the Nobel Prize as I am? Some thoughts to come. Also, I am debating an F100 review, but we'll see. Ken Rockwell's F100 review is quite in depth and I feel like I am only going to have opinions on the camera to supplement his. That's all for now.