There’s a very interesting exhibition currently running at London Design Museum called “Designs of the Year 2015”. It’s a showcase of outstanding designs of the past year in 6 categories of architecture, digital,fashion, graphics, product and transport. It will be there until late August and it’s well worth a visit. I won’t get into much details as there’s a very comprehensive website with everything you need to know, but as I was walking around I started taking some notes on what a good design should be. I found the exhibition very inspiring and made me want to design something right away!. Here are some of my notes;
A good design:
1- Functions well
2- Easy to use
3- Understands the manufacturing process
4- Ingeniously uses the available materials
5- Easily affordable
6- Requires limited skills to make
7- Changes the way we live
8- Solve problems
9- Reflects innovation
10- Responds to its’ era
11- (allows to) Express individuality
12- Provokes debates
13- Open minded and not tied down to what’s established
14- Has clean and bold outlines
15- Understands the user
16- Captures the critical spirit without designing out the fun
17- Doesn’t obscure the function
18- Helps people re think things
19- Reflects past, present and future
20- Brings drama and magic
21- Has everyday impact
22- Touches emotions
This was one of the most bizarre reading experiences I’ve had in my life. I hated this book! then I loved it and hated it again to fall in love with it all over again a few chapters later! After a while though I realised it was reminding me of the parts of myself I didn’t understand, or like and the memories that I hated not the book! Although hate might be a strong word for it, I guess it was just stirring up some strong emotions in me. It made me feel so many things and remember things I had completely forgotten! And some chapters just made my tears flowing for no apparent reason. I read it over three days! picked it up on a Friday evening and finished it just past midnight on Sunday..putting it down was not an option! and I was hoping it would go on forever!… and then watched the film right after but I fell asleep! then suddenly woke up in 5 a.m. and continued watching… somewhere then I didn’t know whether I’m awake or sleep, whether I’m still reading the book or watching a film, whether I’m there with Toru, Naoko, Kizuke and the rest, or merely an observer of this fictional world that felt so real thanks to the meticulous descriptions of everything painting such a vivid image in my head. I was fully absorbed by the words, as if the book was reading me! sounds crazy when I’m writing about it now!
Listening to the soundtrack of the movie on a sleepy Monday, I found myself still wandering in that world, wanting to just leave work and go for a very very long walk to think about everything and nothing! I think I will go on to read another Murakami book soon!
p.s. I listened to “The Beatles – Norwegian Wood” about 500 times afterwards! and this was a song I had never listened to!
Fuji lenses are absolutely amazing and amongst the best I’ve ever used, but the price tag is high enough that even with some truly great promotions they do, for a hobbyist photographer like me, they remain mostly unreachable. I’ve managed to secure two Fujinon prime lense; 35&18mm, both superb in built quality and performance, but I wanted to get more out of my X-E1, and later on X-T1 and experiment with other lenses.
There’s always the 2nd hand option, but it is still hard to justify paying that much money without any financial returns, not to mention there are not many Fuji second hand lenses out there!, which led me to the third options; old vintage lenses! Any good lens from a famous brand will still have a red price tag on it regardless of it’s age, but there is a market where it is possible to collect 2-3 decent lense for under £100! Old Russian and Japanese lenses from companies no longer in play or transitioned to completely to digital i.e. completely discontinued products have a massive market on eBay! Thanks to Fuji cameras playing nice with these lense with providing good manual focus options, they just fit right in and a £15 lens is producing some excellent results. I admit I’m not very fussy when it comes to colour/contrast rendering, chromatic aberration or distortion and as long as I’m happy with the overall quality, I can look the other way and ignore the imperfections or often enjoy some.
After a little research I decided to get into m42 lenses mainly from the price standpoint. A decent adapter was cheap and a good range of lenses were available. Also I did experiment with a couple of C-Mount lenses, including CCTV and cinematic lenses. Fuji has a standard adapter for leica lenses but who can afford a Leica anyway! In this series of articles I’m going to review my m42 lenses ,and others when I come across them, used with Fuji X-E1 and X-T1. This is not going to be a very scientific approach, I’m mainly interested in providing sample photos in different conditions, what I found to be widely missing when trying to decide what lens to buy. There is quiet an extensive database of http://m42lens.com/ but sadly it doesn’t provice any sample photos.
Helios 28mm f2.8
The first lens I tested on my X-E1, with a basic M42 to Fuji X-mount adapter, was Helios 28mm f2.8. I was looking forward to it very much but unfortunately I was not really impressed with the result. I bought it on eBay for £20 including P&P; for that price this lens was absolutely worth it!
Helios (or Ге́лиос in Russian) is a brand of camera lenses, made in the USSR. and currently discontinued.
This is a very average lens.The widest aperture being f2.8, it won’t provide crazy bokeh, but the shape of the defocused areas are very pleasant. It does create a lot of blooming and axial chromatic aberration on the highlights, but as expected the closer the aperture the sharper everything gets. I sold the lens a year after bundled up with my X-E1.
There’s really not much to say about it! It’s the kind of the lens that performs well on a bright day for stationary subjects, it does the job and provides a very good focal length on small size sensors (became 42mm on my X-E1), but it’s doesn’t have anything special about it!. See some of the sample photos in the gallery below:
This review contains spoilers.
This is perhaps one of the easiest books to write an outline for! A mentally handicapped person or as the book refer to, retard, goes through an operation that makes him intelligent, but the side effect is he will lose it all very soon with possible regression to a more inferior mental state than the beginning. Yet this outline reflects so little of how detailed and complex the story is.
You know that feeling of relief and accomplishment when you finish a book? I usually get it after completing a read, but after Flowers for Algernon I felt anything but. Not only I wanted the story to go on, even though I have a pretty clear picture of what is likely to happen to the protagonist, Charlie, I wanted to remain in his world, or more precisely, his mind.
Many stories are told through the main characters words, but in this case this had such a profound effect since it made Charlie’s journey through the different mental states more emphasised and so strongly felt. It even got horrifying for me towards the end to witness his downfall, as if I was walking side by side him unable to do anything.
This book made me think a lot about human behaviour, how we see and treat each other, and how much we hide in our minds. It’s as if we all have multiple personalities that manifest themselves in different situations and what a relief it will to be able to have only one, be one. Maybe some people are like that I don’t know.
I hope Charlie managed to keep enough of his wits to make him happy, and someone is still putting some flowers on Algernon’s grave.
A few days ago I watched a very interesting documentary on the renowned Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli. I am a big animation fan and no other form of entertainment engages my imagination so vividly, but I can’t even begin to describe how I feel about Ghibli animations and especially the work of one of its founders and master animators Hayao Miyazaki.
Miyazaki’s work makes me feel so many things all at once that is so overwhelming I enter a hypothesized state! It takes me far back to the memories I had completely forgotten and then much further back to the memories I never had! In a way it creates new memories! sounds pretty insane I know! and I’m out of words for describing how much I love and admire their work.
I can’t recall the details but somehow I came across a copy of Spirited Away around 2003 and little did I know my world will never be the same. Since then I have been a devoted fan and watched all their animations multiple times and still do! I doubt I will ever get tired of them! It’s kind of the place I go when I need to escape reality. Needless to say it was devastating to hear the news of Miyazaki’s retirement earlier in the year and the unclear fate of the studio. Fortunately a good friend found about this documentary that was screened at ICA for a limited time and it provided for some most needed Ghibli time in these desperate days!
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013) provides an unprecedented access to the behind scenes of Studio Ghibli as Miyazaki is working on his last masterpiece The Wind Rises, in a time when his colleague, and in some point mentor, Isao Takahata is also directing his possible farewell work The Tale of The Princess Kaguya.
Directed and edited and even filmed by Mami Sunada, the documentary looks into the history of the studio, its founders and the main figures but keeps the focus on Miyazaki and the production of The Wind Rises, from storyboarding to the finished film. There are some amazing moments as the camera finds its way into every corner and meetings in the studio to witness some invigorating discussions, as if the camera is one of people there and no one is aware of it, which adds a very nice sense of realism to the whole thing.
We see and hear a lot from Miyazaki, how he works, what he thinks and how he sees the world as he is accompanied through his daily rituals. If you’re a Ghibli fan, this is such a treasure toehold! But even for those less familiar with the studio it will make for a fascinating watch. Never before anyone has been granted such access to the studio and Miyazaki himself and I doubt anyone will ever now, which makes this a unique and important piece of film making and something that I’m glad has happened to provide generations to come with an insight to what is beyond the doubt one of (or for me the one) the most amazing animation students in the history. The film finished on such a beautiful and meaningful shot that I’m not going to spoil here for anyone who hasn’t seen it! It’s well worth the watch.
The only thing I would have liked to see more about was on the relationship between Miyazaki and his son Gorō Miyazaki, who is one of the directors at the studio. He only appears in one scene in a discussion with a couple of producers.
It still feels me with deep sadness to think there is a good chance of not having any more Ghibli animations, but as my friend tells me everytime I bring this up, we should be grateful for what we already have, and what a wonderful gift that is indeed.
I read this book a very long time ago and in my mother tongue; Farsi. I didn’t remember much about it, almost nothing, so I was very surprised to see how religious this book was in my second time reading. What I really liked about it however, is that despite having religion at its core, it’s not a strictly about religion, or a religion, or a belief. It’s about life, it’s about the forces around us, spiritual or otherwise, and the things that we can choose to accept or deny. It’s about the reality of life and the practical lessons we can learn from our every day living, our experiences, and at the same time it looks beyond that and the possibilities of connecting to everything on a higher level.
It is the story of hopes,doubts, giving up, standing back up and making peace with one’s fate. It is about the journey that we all take in our lives, most of us without even realising it.
Whatever life is, with or without any meaning, however we are here, with or without the influence of a higher power or being, we have been given an opportunity to partake in an amazing journey, and for bitter or sweet, you get to do this only once, so you might as well live without any regrets.
This book will probably have a different message for different people, but for me it’s simple, live your life to the fullest and be kind to yourself and to others.
For such a short book, this was such a heavy read! took much longer than I expected to finish this! I just couldn’t speed up and felt buried under layers and layers of hidden meaning .. well! maybe not so hidden! but metaphors and analogies that engage your thoughts and makes you wonder! take you back to your younger self or show you a glimpse of what you may become.
What I like about the style of the book is, it feels like it’s written by an adult who can still think like a child in a fully self aware state, and as a result he was able to see how we miss the subtle details in things as we grow up, and the life simply becomes going from A to B and so on. We care less about what things truly our and more about what they worth to us.
It’s the first time for me wanting to go back and read a book right after finishing it! I don’t think looking at the stars make me laugh yet! In a strange way, this little story made me wanting to be a more genuine person! more true to myself and others.. and I do believe the little prince was real.
Mobile photography has come a long way. The combination of better hardware and software have made our daily companions a little more than a toy when it comes to capturing random life moments. I dare to say, perhaps for many it has even replaced their need for a dedicated point & shoot camera. Obviously mobile phones still can’t replace a DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses simply due to the lens limitations, same way a low range point & shoot can’t, but I can see they are getting closer. Software tricks to replicate depth of field effect is neat! and an important effort towards that goal, but not very practical yet. I can see a future not too far where interchangeable compact lenses are available for your mobile phone camera, and that future feels more feasible with products such as the Moment Lens.
I’ve had my fair share of fisheye and wide angle lens adapter for my phones, a good and fun way to experiment and take interesting photos, but they never felt like anything more than a toy. Flash forward to 2014 when a group of very talented people who believed in “photography is in our pockets” launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce high quality lens adapters for mobile photography. I didn’t back the project at the time. I was very intrigued by it, yet somehow it escaped my radar and by the time I came across it again sadly the campaign was ended, but fortunately successfully. I kept an eye on Moment and when they started accepting pre-orders I jumped right in and ordered a Moment wide.
I love working with paper, graphics design and packaging, so I pay a special attention to those factors when I buy a new prodcut. I was very excited to receive my Moment Wide lens although I had very moderate expectations. From what I had seen and read, I knew I am getting a quality product, but how good could it be? it’s a just a mobile phone lens after all! So needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I was finally faced with this little beauty.
I don’t remember the last time I was actually excited about unpacking a gadget. Most items come in a pretty standard packaging. They are usually nicely & efficiently designed but there are not many details and special attention to them to slow down the unwrapping! you just tear away to the product. Not the case here.
Everything is fitted inside a little box with the moment logo printed on it. Inside there is a black box with a card wrapper that has little moment logos printed inside, a nice touch. This wrapper is holding two boxes; one houses the lens and the other the mount plate. Here comes the big moment, the first encounter.
First thing I noticed as I picked it up was the weight! this is proper glass! and then the mount plate which is a great feature as you can use your lens with any phone, provided the support from Moment. There’s also a nice little printed card to complete this beautifully designed package. Just when you think you’ve seen it all you discover a little carrying bag gently hidden under the lens! voila! now it’s completed! But let’s dive into the lens quality and the images captured with it.
Most current lens adapters for mobile phones look nice and sharp in the center but degrade rapidly the closer to the edge of the frame it gets. Although that provides some interesting effects at times, you really want an image that is as less distorted and abbreviated as possible, and that’s exactly what Moment delivers; nice, clean, and in my case, wide photos that are indistinguishable from a photo taken with a proper SLR wide lens. It makes your phone all you need for landscape or architecture photography! can’t believe me? see for yourself! (I’ve taken these photos using Google Nexus 5 and Apple iPhone 6)
You need to be patient when installing the mount plate and make sure the lens will be sitting exactly on the center of the camera lens, otherwise you will end up getting some vignetting. It was fairy easy to install it on Nexus 5, but on iPhone 6 no matter many how many times I tried I still ended up getting some minor vignetting. I might need to try again but the point is installing the mount should be much easier than this. Also need to be careful when re-adjusting the plate as the edges could scratch the back of your phone, specially for gentler ones like iPhone, as you lift it up and place it back down. Lastly, be a little careful when holding your phone after mounting the lens as it makes the upper half much heavier, so don’t drop it!
Moment is compatible with most phone cases, so far anything I have tried has worked so you don’t need to worry about that.
What could be better
Although sticking the mount plate on the back of your phone with the provided adhesive works, I wish they would provide other options; a case for example with the mounting plate built in. A lens cap on both ends would also be a welcomed addition as right now it easily gathers dust.
And the final thought is on the price. Right now, Moment it is priced at $99.99. It’s a well made lens and I don’t think I paid too much for it personally, but since it is only a companion lens adapter for a mobile phone, this initial pricing could put many off. Anyone who I have shown the lens and the photos to were amazed by it, but the price instantly became a drawback! specially if you are interested in buying the Tele lens too. What would be more reasonable? not too much lower! I think $74.99 would hit the sweet spot with more people.
Moment is ,without a doubt, the best mobile lens adapter ever made. It matches the great build quality with great images it produces and makes your mobile camera a much more capable one. It can easily rank it as 2014 top 5 gadgets for me and a must have for any mobile or non mobile photography enthusiast.
Update 10/11/14: Moment got in touch with me about the vignetting issue on iPhone 6 and suggested perhaps the lens is not fully rotated into the mount. The mount for iPhone was a little tighter than the one I had for Nexus 5 so I didn’t apply as much pressure as I should have. When I followed the instruction and pushed the lens to rotate until the logos on the sides were in line with with the top edge of the phone the vignetting was gone.
@samsalek The logos on the sides should be rotated till they are in line with with the top edge of the phone. This may solve it.
— Moment (@moment) November 10, 2014