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Saturday, July 17, 2004

hade for it.

On 85th Street

8:55:32 PM    

I headed out to Best Buy, but this time with my Compact Flash Card (Type I) with the intention of sticking it in a couple of the 8 megapixel digicams and being able to get some idea of what I call "blackout lag." Blackout lag is the time it takes to get back to live action on the LCD after you've taken a shot.

In other words, you turn off the automatic review - and then put the camera into various size modes, and see how much of the action you are going to miss while the camera is doing it's writing of the info to the card or the buffer or wherever.

First I gave the Pro 1 a try. Man, I thought there must be something wrong with it and began fooling around with the settings. The blackout must have lasted about 2 seconds. Maybe more. I wasn't even shooting in raw mode. So I futzed around with all the settings but it still seemed to take forever for the "live" image to reappear after the shot was taken. Maybe there was some setting I didn't know about.

I then did the same with the Nikon Coolpix 8 mp and experienced the same blackout. The swivel on the Nikon LCD was pretty flimsy. Anyway they didn't have the Minolta A2 so I couldn't try it with that but I did pick up one other camera - I think it was by Fuji - and got the same blackout time.

Weird. They were all about twice as slow as my dinky little A75.

I went to some of the digital review sites and compared blackout times between the Powershot Pro 1 and my camera and they seemed to be about the same - but then I noticed that the Powershot Pro 1 review was based on a highspeed 1 gig Flash Card. Does that mean that my A75 would be twice as fast with a better CF card?

While I was there, customers were routinely being told that a 4 or 5 megapixel camera would make much better 8 x 10 prints. There was even a display that the salesperson could point out showing this really pixilated picture - supposedly the results of a 3 megapixel camera. I told several of them that 3 megapixels was absolutely enough to make a good 8 x 10 print, even if you did a touch of cropping, but no one believed me and the sales people insisted that they should spend the extra $100 for the 4 megapixels.

Best Buy is a wonderful oasis of ignorance. The customers just want something that they can point and shoot and not have to read the manual or anything like that; and the salespeople know just a tiny bit more than the customers.

I began answering questions for some of the customers, steering them in one direction or another and one of the salespeople asked me if I wanted a job (and she was only half-kidding). Two people bought cameras based on my recommendations (no commission).

Well, I came back to the house and did some more testing with the A75 and the blackout time was much shorter than with any of the cameras I had fooled around with. I don't get that.

In fact - if that is the real blackout time for those digicams - then they are currently useless to me. I'm going to need to try them with a fast card. But I'm also going to have to try my A75 with a fast card.

3:57:28 PM    

hade for it.

Pickup Game

hade for it.

Pickup Game (Detail)

12:33:06 PM    

When I don't have anything much to plug into this blog, it is great to have your thoughts:

Hi Dave, "Leaves #56" is an exquisite image! Very elegant - beautiful composition and wonderful use of backlighting. Being an immigrant (sort of, I arrived here at age one year,) I especially enjoyed "Monica's" and the story that went along with it. I admire people like Juan & Monica so much - please let them know that there's this guy in Maryland who thinks they are great Americans and is really glad they came to this country! Best regards, SteveR

It warms my heart to return to your site and find that you are a) there, and b) on the ball, as always. At the mo, I'm doin my stuff with a Canon IXUSi, fixed focus, it makes me brave coz it looks like a mobile phone, but with 4m Pixels. I'm goin to buy the panasonic Lumix FZ10 coz thats all I can afford (Leica lens extraordinary). It sounds like I'm a technophile, not so, I just want the images . . and I have them. You are a touchstone Dave, thank YOU! - M.

- - -

I did come up with something Rube Goldbergish: I took one of my lens shades, flipped it backwards, and put it on the back of the A75 so that it shades the LCD when it is in direct sunlight.  I think it looks a little weird, but it is somewhat helpful.  I also found that there are various third-parties that sell gizmos for a) protecting the LCD and b) magnifying and shading it.  (Look on B&H Photo under Digital / LCD Accessories).  One of the problems with the A75 is that LCD automatically darkens when it is pointed at something bright - and I don't think there is anyway to control this.  I realize why they do this, exposure-wise, but viewing-wise it doesn't make sense.

- - -

After an hour or two in the sun, I came back and tried something else: took one of those plastic things that goes over EOS-type flash and cut a hole in one side to look through and covered the thing with black tape -- it's okay - but if I have time, tomorrow I'm going to make a dash to B&H and look at the Digi Finder gizmo.


9:54:28 AM