This is part two of “Fuji with manual and vintage lenses” which I started last May (read part 1). It has taken me a long to find time to do this but nevertheless here we are! In this second entry I’m going to look at “Miranda 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 ” zoom lens, a M42 lens mounted on Fujifilm XT-1.
A good branded zoom lens is pretty expensive and for me I can’t justify buying one for personal use. Luckily there are pretty affordable vintage ones that can produce pretty good images and more than adequate for hobbyists or even more serious shooters. There are many options so I set a budget of £20 to see what I can find and there it was waiting for me to give it a new home!
This is a great lens and has exceeded my expectations. As you can see from all the sample photos it has great sharpness and a good bokeh effect when used at maximum focal length. You will lose auto focusing with this as expected so it’s a little tricky to get the focus right in low light but during the day and when you can set the shutter speed high enough to avoid handshakes you can capture some amazing photos with it while not being bankrupted! See more samples on the gallery below ( all photos are edited including some colour & sharpness changes)
Yesterday Microsoft introduced the latest member of their Surface family; Surface Studio. It’s an all in one desktop computer featuring many new technological and design innovations as they are known to do with their other Surface products. It was a very exciting and clever presentation and it is such a gorgeous piece of technology. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s VP of devices, knows how to work the crowd and it reminded me of his Surface Pro 4 presentation that made me filled with excitement for the device. This time however, I know better! Despite all the light and smoke, I have no trust in Microsoft’s ability to deliver a seamless and hassle free experience and have a feeling even that Surface Studio will be riddled with issues, at least for advanced users. I was going to keep this story to myself but after seeing the presentation and knowing how much I actually want to have a device like that one day, yet I won’t trust Microsoft so easily again, I thought I should share my experience with others,to the best of my aging memory’s ability! So buckle up as this is going to be a long ride!
I used to be an avid desktop fan. I never thought a laptop or a tablet can replace it and become my only and main device. The best setup I had over the years was a high end PC I assembled together with the reliable Window 7, and an iPad as an in between and on the go device. That all changed when Microsoft released Surface Pro.
Surface Pro was the first device in years to get me excited about the computers again and make me wonder whether I can rely on this device that’s claiming to offer performance, portability and variety of input options. After some consideration, I decided to risk it all! I sold my PC and iPad and got the Surface Pro. It wasn’t without it’s shortcomings but for most parts it delivered and became my one and only device. When Surface Pro 2 came out, I wasn’t tempted and my Pro was still perfectly adequate and I didn’t want to touch my near perfect setup. It was powering my Acer LCD display and connected to an array of peripherals. Surface Pro 3 was…
I’ve been eyeing a second candidate for my Good Design series but so far I haven’t seen anything that special, so I decided to look back into the things I already use and that revealed my second Good Design award winner: a pair of sunglasses.
Sunglasses; we love them, we break them, we lose them! A good pair of sunglasses comes at a steep price and will require constant attention and protection. Carrying around a case to protect your sunglasses, specially if you are travelling light, is a minor annoyance don’t you think? Not to mention remembering not to leave it behind somewhere. I always thought if only you could neatly fold them and put them in your pocket, a lot of these concerns will cease to exist! I have been buying cheap ones so I don’t have to worry too much. The problem with cheaper option of course is the quality of filtering and the lens that’s not very good. Funny enough however, the cheap ones you’ll never lose!
A few months ago at the airport, when I was killing time by walking around the maze of shops, I saw a very interesting foldable design by French Connection. Lucky for me it was on offer for half price (£25), although later I came to the conclusion that if I had paid the full price I wouldn’t have regretted it.
This well built and light plastic sunglasses are exactly what many of us, well.. some of us, need not to worry about breaking or losing them. It has a good and solid mechanism to fold/unfold and comes with a soft case too if you like to have one, but I feel confident just putting them in my pocket if it’s not too tight.
What’s neat about the case design, apart from it being a pocket size, is the built in cleaning cloth that turns this into a complete package.
If I could start all over again, I would get more into design, more specifically, industrial & product design. I get a lot of pleasure in finding products that are very functional and at the same time objects of desire. A lot of times I think on how to improve the existing products or grieve over the design flaws that to me are just so blatantly obvious! Unfortunately it’s a little too late for me to becomes a product designer, but I can still enjoy looking out for the good ones.
I’m starting a new series of articles called “Good Design” in which I will share those designs I find interesting. From the simplest things to those more complex; pencils to aircrafts! Whatever I find inspiring. I will start small however, from things around us and day to day objects that can add a little more colour to our daily lives.
Everyday we are surrounded by an insane amount of sound/noise around us. The busy city streets, transport, noisy work environments, living next to a construction site etc. I wonder often, that as an evolutionary change, will the humans in future have an inferior hearing ability as a result of being exposed to a lot of sound pollution. We get used to them very quickly. It’s only when you start protecting your ears by blocking some the sound out that you begin to notice. It’s quite frightening when you unplug and hear the volume. The other area where sound can affect us is sleeping and I’m finding myself much more sensitive to the music of the darkness as I’m ageing.
For the first article I’m going to write about a pair of ear plugs. As a light sleeper, I have been using earplugs for years in all forms and shapes and while some are better than the others, none had me satisfied, until now. There are three essential factors I believe to be required for a good earplug:
And this order is important. If they can block the noise effectively but not comfortably, or if they won’t last long, then it can’t be very helpful. I have tried all sorts that can be thought of; foams, plastic, wax. They all have their benefits…
Despite the wide array of gadgets in all shapes and forms available these days, finding the one that suits you both functionally and aesthetically is not an easy task. I have always struggled to buy devices that combine a good design with logical and well thought through features. From buying a mouse, a headphone, all the way to a PC. Even buying a tablet, that was made simple by Apple due to their superior quality, is not a clear choice anymore when they are saturating their own market share with profit only driven multiple choices and the drop in design quality ( yes, that camera hump in iPhone or iPad Pro is not acceptable).
So When I decided to buy a new keyboard for my mini work station, I knew it’ll be a mission! Specially since I wanted to buy a white keyboard, under £50 and designed for Windows. Up until this point I had no idea how limited the choices are for a good wireless Windows keyboard! It’s bad enough that I actually considered buying the Apple wireless keyboard. The best I could find was a white keyboard from Lenovo, but unfortunately it was bundled with a PC and no way of buying it separately.
I almost gave up and decided to just go for a black keyboard. This was not exactly a solution but at least more choices are available in terms of design and wireless connectivity, just before that however, I came across a compact looking white bluetooth keyboard from inateck. This German company that I had never heard of before, seemed to be offering me an option!
I usually avoid buying from lesser known brands that tend to offer more affordable prices, simply because my past experience has taught me you get what you pay for! You can spend hours researching but the end result is sadly most of them will underperform or have some random and unexpected flaws.
The reviews for Inateck Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard were mixed and at the end of the day there’s a limit to how much you can rely on reviews anyway. People have different needs so the perfect device for one could be the disappointment for the other. I decided to give it a ago after reviewing all the features and designs. It was ticking a lot…