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Dallas

I Must Apologise

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I know I haven't been around much or made many posts the past few weeks, but I have an excuse. Between my apparently now full time job of photographing real estate, organising the Fotozones safari for 2019 and also moonlighting on a couple of other website projects, there just hasn't been much time for me to produce any content for Fotozones. Sorry. :( I do check in at least once a day, but I am noticing that there aren't too many new posts being made by the rest of the gang either, so either everybody is experiencing their own busyness or there's just not a lot left to talk about as far as photography goes. Let's hope it not the latter! 

 

So yeah, I am fast approaching the 250 mark for houses photographed since April. At one point last month I was getting up to 5 new appointments a day, which is great for me, except that trying to co-ordinate appointments with people during the week across a very large geographic area is not unlike herding cats! I travel as far as 40km south, 40km west and even up to 50km north. Can't go east for obvious reasons, but you get the picture. A lot of driving. Which has also raised another little issue that I need to address, namely a vehicle upgrade. For the past 6 years I've been driving around in a little Ford Bantam pick-up van, which has been an awesome little thing, but there's one problem. It doesn't have air-conditioning and as our temperatures begin to climb north of 30˚C together with the humidity we have on the east coast, things under the collar are getting a little (shall we say) "slicked" when moving from property to property. So I am on the hunt for a "new" 2nd hand car, which brings with it a whole lot of other things to consider. I can't afford to buy a new car, so I'm looking at something about 5 years old, preferably with mileage as low as the vehicle I will be trading in (I have done less than 80,000km in the Bantam in 6 years and it already had 35,000km on it when I got it). I'm quite keen on the Ford Fiestas, although an Ecosport would be nice, but I am not quite in that league just yet. I also looked briefly at the Hyundai Accent about a month ago, but I'm still not quite sold on the brand. I like my Fords. 

 

Camera wise my Olympus E-M1's are still going strong. Apart from the rear command dial on one body not always making proper electrical contact there have been no other issues. One thing I am acutely aware of now though is that because I am sometimes shooting over 1000 bracketed frames a day, there's going to come a day very soon when the shutter is going to konk out. The E-M1 is rated to 150k actuations and I must be getting close now. It occurred to me that I should probably use the electronic shutter, but unfortunately this feature is disabled when shooting in auto bracketing mode. I suppose I could bracket manually, but that means more time per frame, more risk of moving the camera and then this increases the risk of failed jobs. Not really an option I want to explore too deeply! Best to just budget for a camera upgrade next year. 

 

But to what? My options are the E-M1 Mk II, or if I want to save money I could look at a lesser body, like the E-M5 Mk II or even the E-M10 Mk III. For RE photography I really don't need all the weather sealing or other features that the E-M1's have. I could consider the Panasonic bodies, however... the brand support is still very sketchy in this part of the world and not an option I can consider realistically. Believe it or not I have been looking at the Sigma SD Quattros. I think that the image quality I have seen coming from those Foveon sensors is better than anything coming out of any Bayer array camera system. The main considerations for me would be size and battery power. I have read that they are very power hungry and are also not the smallest cameras around. For RE photography the size isn't a deal breaker though. I would only have one lens and one body to carry around. My other main concern is the workflow. Apparently the cameras now offer .DNG raw files which makes them compatible with Lightroom, but I need to investigate whether this has any impact on IQ when compared to using the Sigma software. My RE workflow is already very complicated so I am not all that keen on making it even more so. But I am looking into this lot quite seriously, so stay tuned. 

 

On the personal front all is well. I am back in the kettlebell gym classes 3x a week after noticing that my pants were getting (ahem!) a little tighter. It's amazing how quickly fitness can leave you. I didn't do any training for about 5 months and my first couple of classes didn't go well at all. A month back in the saddle now and the metabolism merry-go-round is starting to spin up to speed again. Just as well, with a new camera and "new" car on the horizon there is no room for a new wardrobe too! 

 

Ohhh! Before I forget, the safari for 2019 is all coming together swimmingly. I have made all the bookings and already had an argument with the local airline flying us to the Kruger Park. I made an error on one of the tickets and they wanted to penalise me 50% of the ticket price. I raised Cain with them and was pleased to hear this week that they will refund me in full for the error, less a small "admin fee". I can't help but wonder how many meeker people they rip off this way. It's not right I tell you. Anyway, I am also now an approved sales agent for safari destinations from &Beyond which is great. They manage a lot of exotic destinations so I will be working on producing more safaris with them, including something very special at Phinda Private Game Reserve in 2020. This will be a unique safari experience, unlike anything I have done before. Make sure you are on my mailing list here or on Photographers.travel if you want to be kept in the loop with what is going to be happening. Great things are unfolding! 

 

Please keep posting! I am watching, if not participating as much as I should. 

 

😎

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I think that December and the onset of Christmas might have something to do with people being busy..... ;)

 

Second hand E-M1's or post Christmas sales on new E-M1 MkII bodies might be an option.

 

********************************** 

 

An aside:  I assume that you are aware of extracting the shutter count from an OMD camera?  If not then , these links might be of interest to yourself or other readers (apologies to all who are already aware of this method involving the exposing of a hidden technician type diagnostic menu):

 

https://www.apotelyt.com/photo-camera/olympus-mft-shutter-count

 

or

 

http://blog.martinbelan.com/2013/12/how-to-find-the-shutter-actuation-count-on-the-olympus-om-d/

 

With Nikon cameras, the shutter count is hidden away in the EXIF data and most good EXIF readers can readily pull the count out from a JPG file.  I think  IIRC it is ditto for Canons, but I stand to be corrected on this brand.

 

Edited by Hugh_3170
spelling, Aargh! B)
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I have used that before, Hugh, but thanks for the link. I just checked my primary RE body now and the number of releases is only 48,880 so I am still good for a while! The other E-M1 has done less work. I recall the last time I checked it it was under 25k. 

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No worries.  My E-M1 Mk1 has around 25k and the MkII about 10k, so I hope that they both still have a lot of mileage left in them. 

 

In theory a new shutter installation into a mirrorless camera should be easier than for a DSLR - providing of course that the in-body stabilisation componentry is not in the way...........

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Apologise Dallas? Why?

I am retired and struggle to keep my camera club website up to date and run a couple of newsletters. You are doing a great job, just relax.

I think Hugh is right about the time of year influencing posts and I have noticed other forum that are suffering similarly. You have a loyal band of subscribers who I am sure will be back when they get the chance.

Oh and thanks for the POTW accolade. It must have been a slow week!

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1 hour ago, Clactonian said:

Oh and thanks for the POTW accolade. It must have been a slow week!

 

Not the reason why I selected it. I had actually meant to put it up last month but then I got sidetracked and it was only when somebody added a comment that I remembered. :) 

 

I have also noticed other fora that have slowed down. I hope it isn't those confounded Facebook groups that are causing the drop off in participation. That would be very sad. 

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Dallas -- Not to go too far off the topic of photography, do consider a Honda product for your replacement vehicle. I purchased my fifth Honda vehicle earlier this year, first one in 1991, averaging about 7 years per vehicle and each driven around 125k miles / 200k km without major issue. Fuel economy is generally excellent. Current vehicle is a fifth generation CR-V with 1.5 liter turbo charged engine gets about 32 miles / gallon (7.3 liters / 100 km). Frank

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Thanks Frank. I almost bought a Honda CR-V a few years ago, but ended up getting this little Ford van instead. They are good vehicles. A bit expensive to maintain here, but nowadays everything is I suppose. 

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Although I was a long time Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover/Range Rover owner from 1974-94, in 1994 I bought a second-hand 4Y.O. Honda Prelude 2.0 SI with 79,000Km already driven, and drove it trouble-free (with the exception of front CV joints, $100 each side, did the repair myself using reconditioned shafts). I retired the car when I bought a new Land Rover Freelander 2 in 2011, having driven the Honda for 16 years (and with the gearbox making a bearing rumble that indicated a rebuild, and for which parts were no longer available). Final mileage was 375,000km, trouble-free until the gearbox problem, the engine was still in perfect order and didn't use any oil (aside from the 1 litre per 10,000km it slowly leaked from the sump gasket which I never bothered to replace - it looked like the whole front suspension  or the engine itself needed to be dropped or lifted  to get the sump off).

 

The Freelander 2 is basically a Ford design, being based on the EUCD (Mondeo) platform, and it has been trouble-free for 100,000km, having been designed while under Ford Europe's ownership. Reports lately of new Land Rover products would indicate a slow return to reliability problems since TATA bought the company from Ford in 2008, though. The replacement for the Defender, due late next year, will be a make-or-break fro LR, I think, if indeed they bother at all. At the moment they can still sell their other models as fast as they can make them, even with the reliability question mark increasingly hanging over them, and financially they probably don't miss the Defender as its profitability was questionable given its build cost, being largely built by hand. However there is a legion of Defender fans that they stand to lose - all you have to do to judge that latent popularity potential is look on the news stand magazine racks to see current Land Rover magazine cover photos which invariably feature  a Defender of some sort, even though they haven't been made for nearly three years now.

 

So if I were to buy a conventional car (as opposed to a 4WD/SUV) , I would probably look at either Honda or Ford in preference to all else. However, reading the sales statistics for vehicles in Australia, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger were #1 & #2 respectively in October, if that means anything.

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Thanks Alan.

 

One of my priority items for a new (used) vehicle is that it has to be fuel efficient and reasonable to service, so that puts the Freelander out of the equation (even though the diesel is efficient, servicing and spares is where you get gouged here). Toyotas are the most popular car in this country, however, they come with a very high risk of hijacking (car-jacking in other parts of the world), which puts them out of contention for me altogether. A real pity because they fit the bill for both requirements I have perfectly. The insurance on Toyota and VW's here is probably double what I pay for the Fords. The other thing with Toyotas is that they are now the number 1 choice for Uber and Taxify drivers, who I must add, are trying to wrestle away the title of "world's worst drivers" from our mini bus taxi drivers. These idiots think that putting the hazard lights on means they can stop anywhere, at any time and the whole world around them must come to a stop so that they can collect or offload a passenger. Uber is the worst thing to happen in this country since the previous president took office. 

 

Back on the subject of Fords, I have read and heard nothing but praise for the Ford Ecoboost 1.0L engine, so it's high on the radar for me. I don't know how they can get the power out of it, but as long as it works and can be trusted, I am not fussed about the how! :D 

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My daughter had a Ford Fiesta Hatchback with the 3 cylinder 1 litre Ecoboost engine.  The engine performed really well and the large liftback door enabled a great deal of cargo space when the rear seats were folded down.  Quite a practical city car, so it could work well for a photographer or a tehnician.  The downside is of course security, with the cargo area being in full view of villains - a van is a much better option in this respect..

 

4 hours ago, Dallas said:

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Back on the subject of Fords, I have read and heard nothing but praise for the Ford Ecoboost 1.0L engine, so it's high on the radar for me. I don't know how they can get the power out of it, but as long as it works and can be trusted, I am not fussed about the how! :D 

 

Edited by Hugh_3170
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Dallas, my mention of the Freelander 2 was more in relation to its Ford platform/design. Before Ford stepped in Land Rover had perhaps one of the worst reputations for badly put together vehicles, and as a past owner of four Range Rovers (1974, 1984, 1986 and 1989 models) I can attest that this reputation was entirely well deserved. Whilst they were sheer brilliance when off-road driving, getting there or back was entirely up to the gods of chance, and while I was luckily never actually stranded as a result of being virtually raised at my father's motor garage, the amount of down-time in the repair shop, along with associated huge invoices for parts, made owning "The Best 4x4xFar" a right royal pain in the arse.

 

The Ford/Land Rover product is a whole other story, my current car being by far my best built and most reliable 4x4 yet. I never thought much of Fords in that 1970's-90's era, but currently I've had to change my view on that for the 2000's. I have friends who own other cars emanating from Ford Europe's design studios, and they have developed a similar brand loyalty. If I had to buy a new or newish small car tomorrow, I'd start (and probably finish) at a Ford dealer's showroom.

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100% Alan. 

 

We have now owned 5 different Fords since 1994 and none of them ever gave any drive problems, except for the 1981 Escort Mk II (which was partly my fault after driving through a huge puddle and drenching the distributor). Every other kind of car we'd owned including BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Opel and VW have all had a variety of drivability issues. The worst experience was one of the 2 Nissans we had, followed by the 2004 VW Polo. The Polo experience was one of the most infuriating because it was always the same thing that gave trouble - engine sensors that would go faulty and then prevent you from even starting the car. 

 

I'm still contemplating the Fiesta, but the one I had my eye on (a private sale) is too complicated as the owner is in the UK and the car is still under finance which makes it very difficult to buy. Plenty of fish in the sea though... 

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Best to wait until you can find a good one that is unemcumbered. 

 

I once bought a second hand Holden that still had finance on it, only for me to fin dout later  - the dealer was red faced and it took quite some time to sort matters out.  I imagine that with a private sale that matters in such an instance could be even more tricky if the old owner defaulted on his/her debts.

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1 hour ago, Hugh_3170 said:

Best to wait until you can find a good one that is unemcumbered. 

 

I once bought a second hand Holden that still had finance on it, only for me to fin dout later  - the dealer was red faced and it took quite some time to sort matters out.  I imagine that with a private sale that matters in such an instance could be even more tricky if the old owner defaulted on his/her debts.

 

Yup, especially when the owner isn't even in the country. Best to just walk away. I am eagerly waiting on a local dealer (where we bought our first Ford Fiesta) to present one of their salesman's cars to me. Then yesterday while photographing one of the properties the young man who showed me around went gaga for my little van, so there's a possibility that I could get a nice private sale out of them. Fingers crossed. 

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