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Alan7140 last won the day on 28 September

Alan7140 had the most liked content!

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3,439 of my posts have been liked

About Alan7140

  • Rank
    Grandmaster Member
  • Birthday 07/01/1953

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Tasmania, Australia
  • Interests
    Photography, Guitar
  • Edit my pics?
    Ask Me
  • Fav. Camera
    Fuji X-T2
  • Fav. Lens
  • Fav. Editor
    Photo Ninja

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  1. Alan7140

    Peugeot 203

    The Suzuki failed the Euro NCAP crash test miserably - just three stars and a dead driver-dummy, I think, the worst result for any new car in many years. That's why the delay in introduction, if indeed it ever gets released here at all. The Jimny might be handy off road at times due to its light weight and narrow track, but it equally has a reputation for being flimsy and under-powered, and is certainly not the large, customisable thing the Defender was. Time will tell if the new Defender is TATA's first real miscalculation with the Jaguar/Land Rover brand, but maybe they seriously don't care about the rough-and-tough market - they seem to be able to sell all the luxo-vehicles they can make at the moment. From personal experience with one of the earlier models of the new generation, absolutely nothing has been able to stop my Freelander 2, despite the initial doubts of lack of ground clearance and low range. It has taken me up hills and tracks that used to give my venerable Land Cruiser FJ40 short wheelbase 4x4s of 1970's vintage trouble without so much as spinning a wheel or running out of power, and in a level of comfort that the Toyotas never even hinted at. Maybe it's time that the old Defender tragics also got with Century 21 and realised that you don't need to be shaken and stirred or wear a kidney belt in order to get to an off-road destination these days.
  2. Alan7140

    Peugeot 203

    Given that it is heavily disguised, if the following "spy" pictures (note the driver is happily co-operative) are in fact correct, then the squared-off lines but svelte waistline of prototype mule would indicate something that has the angular door frames of the old Defender but with the rest appearing to be along the lines of the current Land Rover line-up. The one thing they couldn't disguise clearly show an aluminium wish-boned rear-end, so the long travel of the old live axles will be gone and the prospect of frequently lifting wheels off the ground in rough terrain will be compensated for by electronic trickery, just as with the current Range Rover and Discovery line-up. A projected starting price of £40,000, if correct, means the old Defender concept is dead and buried, and Land Rover has abandoned that to the existing plethora of cheap, basic, simple utility 4WD vehicles that are predominantly Asian built. 2020 Defender Prototype Pictures In Australia the Toyota Hilux (which isn't exactly cheap) has been the biggest selling 4WD for many years now - Defenders were really only being bought by Land Rover Tragics who thought it was still 1948 and there were still places to heroically discover in their "off-road" vehicle - never mind that is is becoming seriously difficult for anyone to find places to truly go "off road" - even in a vast and underpopulated country like Australia, there are tracks all over the place and it's hard to be a true discoverer these days, even in the most remote areas. That, and the fact that travelling off road/track is actually illegal in many places (you don't get caught by police, though, you get caught when you get stuck and call for help - and get charged for the rescue).
  3. Alan7140

    Peugeot 203

    Luc, friends of ours after we arrived in Australia in 1964 had a '50's 203 as their daily driver, which was still their car well into the '70's when I lost touch with them through moving. That car never seemed to break down, and I hesitate to guess just how many miles it showed on its odometer when it presumably expired sometime after that. Viv, I believe the Disco is still the model which gives the most trouble in Land Rover's stable, although this may finally have been put to bed with the latest, completely redesigned model. The Disco Sport is another kettle of fish - it's the direct descendant of the Freelander 2, although also redesigned. The Freelander 2 shared Ford Europe's Mondeo common platform, a legacy of Ford's ownership of LR during the '00's. How all the new models fare under the new ownership of TATA (India) is as yet open to conjecture, though. Then there's the yet-to-be-released replacement for the Defender, which will have a bumpy introduction as the legions of traditional Land Rover fans will be expecting something worthy of succeeding that much worked original 1948 design. They might succeed if they avoid the temptation to overload the new vehicle with electronic gadgetry and computers. "Limp home mode" is not an acceptable option when some electronic thing fails in the middle of Australia's vast Simpson Desert.
  4. Alan7140

    Striped Horse

    And I live just 16km away from "New Norfolk" Tasmania, which is about as far South as you can get from old Blighty and still be in the Commonwealth. Some Scottish-sounding cities on the South Island of New Zealand (including Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill) hold that ultimate distinction - as well New Norfolk here in Tasmania was named after semi-tropical Norfolk Island in the Pacific (not Norfolk in England) which in turn had been equally inexplicably named by Captain Cook after the Duchess of Norfolk in England. Maybe a favour was owed?
  5. Alan7140

    Peugeot 203

    Pretend Holdens only now, Mike. Made in Germany (Commodore) and Poland/Belgium/UK or South Korea (Astra). The original Australian-made Commodore (1978) was a copy of the German Opel Commodore that was properly welded and strengthened (powered with either a V6 or, as Aussie habits dictated, a thumping big V8) to survive the goat-tracks laughingly called "roads" in this country. There was an attempt to do a fuel-saving 4 cylinder version, which failed miserably. The natively designed and built Holdens which preceded the Commodore were based on down-sized existing American Chevrolet models. Finally firing a last shot over the bow, as it were, you have one of the last muscle-car Holdens exported to the UK as the Vauxhall VXR8. From Wiki: " Holden, formerly known as General Motors-Holden, is an Australian automobile importer and former automobile manufacturer with its headquarters in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The company was founded in 1852 as a saddlery manufacturer in England". Having driven a UK built Land Rover Freelander 2 for nearly 8 almost completely trouble-free years here now, I can attest that Land Rover have lifted their game considerably since the 1990's/early 2000's when the question was when, rather than if, they would break down. The one thing I cannot fathom (having opened up the failed key fob to find about 40 cents of circuitry and a $1 battery) is the replacement cost of well over $500 for a key fob - which is what ruined my definition of "completely trouble-free". What a bloody rip-off....
  6. Alan7140

    No New DSLR's?

    What??? Everyone knows that SLR is the way of the future - a nice big mirror banging up and down to let everyone in the vicinity know you're using a REAL camera.... a big, bulky prism to add weight and presence to your equipment and so allowing a dual-purpose role as weapon to ward off muggers, no useless electronic garbage like focus peaking or focus point enlargement which just gets in the way of getting those hard-to-focus achieving a sharp image, no jittery EVF that will never equal optical finders, and better still all those old manual focus lenses that can be used to get a nice, old look to your photos.... Oh yes, give me SLR any day. I'm even willing to put my money where my mouth is - look at my latest 3.8kg $240 purchase with its $260 lens and grow green with envy. (And FILM - Long live film!!!!) ( ....for those who don't get sarcasm).... Actually, for me the biggest news is that Sigma are working on an L mount camera with a 36x24 Foveon sensor. Given their past enlargement from APS-C to APS-H by simply adding more of the same sized pixels, such a sensor would be in the vicinity of high-40's genuine megapixels, with no luminance interpolation needed. Such a sensor could give even the Hasselblad/Fuji 100MP MF cameras a fright, which, combined with a new range of L mount lenses from Panasonic/Leica would finally give Sigma a viable presence in the up-market camera field.
  7. Alan7140

    X-E3 - First Impressions

    Adobe's handling (and associated disinterest in fixing) Fuji RAF raw files is well documented over the years. I first ran into it right at the beginning when I bought an X-Pro1 before Adobe - or anyone else - had written a demosaic algorithm, and was treated first hand to ACR's woeful attempt at it, and how they almost sank Fuji-X with everyone blaming Fuji for the resulting "watercolour effect" which Teflon-coated Adobe just walked away from. There was a half-baked attempt to improve things after competition from dcraw's open-source algorithm that was initially used by Iridient, Photo Ninja, LightZone and many other early processors as the basis for their RAF handling, but Adobe still falls well short with flat colours, desaturated fine detail, spreading colours, and an over-sharpening and global colour saturation increase to compensate, and which are all part of the algorithm that cannot be altered by the user. I never could work out why Adobe has such a god-like reputation in photography (particularly amongst its home-country users), perhaps it is because they were first off the starting blocks with Photoshop back in 1988, but from my experience with Fuji-X and Photoshop since the beginning of X-Trans sensors, the processing of Fuji raw files is just one of Adobe's string of stuff-ups over the years, and is one they have yet to properly address (remember also CS3 and its "revolutionary" printing engine, which took until CS6 to be fully rectified). At present they seem to be locked into a stance that if it's not a Bayer sensor, it's not worth bothering about. My recent experience with On1's Photo Raw has shown that a bad initial algorithm can be fixed - their initial Fuji-X effort had flaws, but they responded virtually immediately to comments from users (myself included), and the latest update has made it possibly one of the better Fuji-X raw processors I've used, much and all as I have reservations with the rather pushy nature of the company with its constant promotions and emails.
  8. Alan7140


    I can only report my own experience, not what other posts may or may not have encountered - 10 batteries for Fuji X, three batteries for Sigma sd, and previously five off-brand batteries for Nikon D. No failures, no swelling, no combustion, no overheating, no problems. The only "original" batteries I've ever had (also made in China, probably in the same factory as the OEM) are the ones that came with a new camera when I bought it. OEM batteries are a rip-off, pure and simple. How can anyone justify $250 for a single battery when exactly the same battery is available in a pack of two batteries with two-station charger included for $34?
  9. Alan7140


    Off-brand batteries are way cheaper than the Fuji branded ones, and having some that are now around six years old, I can attest that off-brand is likely to last just as long as Fuji brand. In fact the battery I've had to replace thus far is a Fuji battery - although to be fair it was originally supplied with my X-Pro-1. To be equally fair, some of the off-brand ones were bought shortly after I bought that camera. At the moment I have 10 batteries, two are Fuji units, the rest unbranded or Wasabi brand, and in each case I bought them two at a time on eBay as they included a 240V/12VDC charger - so I have several chargers as well. The same situation happened with my Sigma sd Quattro-H - a Sigma battery was quoted at $250 by C.R. Kennedy, but a quick bit of Internet Googling revealed that the battery was the same as a Panasonic G4 battery, off-brand copies of which (including a two station charger with LED progress meter) was $34 for the lot, including delivery. Both batteries are fine and last easily as long as the original during use, which in the sd Q-H's case isn't very long - about 120-140 shots on average. The camera's power needs and consumption are impressive indeed to behold. It's the only camera I've had that has shut down temporarily due to overheating on a mild, 20°C day....
  10. Alan7140

    Rolling shutter

    My D70s had an electronic first curtain - which meant flash sync at all shutter speeds (useful for bright day outdoor backlit portraiture using fill flash and wide apertures to render backgrounds out of focus). That disappeared with my next Nikon, the "pro-level" D2x which returned to a fully mechanical shutter and limited flash sync speed. As was the case for every subsequent Nikon I owned. I bought the D70s in early 2005, so over 13 years ago. Oddly Nikon limited the flash sync speed of the D70s to 1/500 if you were using a Nikon brand flash; using off-brand or studio flash the little camera would sync all the way out to 1/4000 sec, from memory. Sometimes the choices of manufacturers are puzzling indeed, and sometimes I wonder if manufacturers actually know how their cameras are used. Sometimes I think manufacturers base their model specs on wish lists published in Internet blogs, not on proper surveys of working photographers.
  11. Alan7140

    Yet another Commie

    So hopefully completing the gear purchases, today, after hassling with two "rebuilt" (by Hartblei and by ARAX, both in Ukraine), I relented when the same guy who recently sold me a mint, as-new 1980's Carl Zeiss Jena 2,8/180 lens for P6 mount advertised a similar condition Pentacon Six TL body on eBay. Given that the lens arrived in about 10 days from Leipzig to Tasmania instead of the usual 4-6 weeks, and that the condition was exactly as described (unlike everything else people have sold me on eBay in the film camera department), I hit the Buy button as soon as it was advertised (things being helped by the price being once again about half of what other similarly described cameras were being sold for). OK, so the Pentacon metering prism turns tha camera from a pleasant Art Deco-inspired body into arguably the ugliest camera I've ever owned (and with three Kiev-60's in the stable that's really saying something), this meter actually works in three modes - Aperture, shutter and wide-open, and looks as new as the camera looks. The camera has also been serviced (it's impossible to hide the slight marks that are inevitably made on the labels on the winder and shutter speed dial when that happens, so the vendor wasn't fibbing) and the camera works perfectly... other than I haven't tried a film through it yet, so hopefully the frame spacing is perfect as claimed, and that I might finally have scored a camera in perfectly usable condition with those six magnificent Zeiss and KMZ lenses I have already acquired. Hopefully, like that 2,8/180 lens, it will have been worth the wait, and maybe even the two dead cameras and two working but with faults cameras I have thus far been saddled with by dodgy eBay sellers. This, then, hopoefully completes my return to film photography alongside my Fuji X and Sigma sd Q-H equipment. As a footnote - I bet no-one suspected that the lens I used on the Fuji X-T2 to take this shot was the pictured lens' smaller cousin, a P6 CZJ 2,8/120 of roughly a decade later manufacture. I am so sold on these lenses for B&W work (where their propensity for somewhat severe CA doesn't matter so much and which can be instead utilised as a free soft-focus filter at wider apertures) that I thought I'd try it for this shot. As can be seen, it's no slouch for colour, either.
  12. Alan7140


    That comparison between those two lenses is often made on the Internet - the CZJ lens started as the "Olympic Sonnar" designed for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, originally for the Contax rangefinder of the day, but adapted to be used with the post war Pentacon Six (and Kiev cameras with the same P-6 lens mount). That it serves both miniature and medium formats so well shows the strength of the initial design. I love using the lens, even if it and the Kiev-60 body together weigh 2.8kg!
  13. Alan7140

    Spooky Trees

    Huge improvement in B&W with #2, adds palpable atmosphere to the shot. As for the Land Rover - it was the fashion back then to hang all sorts of crap off any external mounting point such as 'roo bars, tyre carriers etc given the limited interior space of these short wheelbase units - in this case it looks like Tony has slung his Hi-Lift jack at an angle from his "cookie-cutter" style 'roo-bar, all of which would be highly illegal these days (that Landy was a well-sorted ex-army surplus Series II with a 4.4 litre Terrier V8 stuffed under the bonnet and never needed towing - it was more likely the one to be doing the towing ). I didn't take the shot - it was taken by the owner of the lead Nissan Patrol - I would have been in the direction my dog was looking, probably the pair of legs between the guy in red and the tree in the background.
  14. Alan7140


    Thanks, Chris and Luc. Definitely film, Luc - T-Max 100, Rodinal 1:50 (all well past their use-by date), ARAX (Kiev)-60 with Carl Zeiss Jena 2,8/180 lens (around 1982 vintage). "Scanned" with Sigma sd Quattro-H and Hartblei shift rotator/adapter with KMZ Vega 2,8/90 lens and Kiev P6 extension tubes, 13 stitched shots altogether (sounds complicated, but to date is the most rapid way I've found yet to digitise negs keeping everything flat and lined up correctly) which results in ~500MB files.
  15. Alan7140

    Spooky Trees

    Pump more contrast into it and the B&W one would be my pick. It's too flat and muddy-looking at the moment. Good old Lake Mountain - we used to go four wheel driving often there in the late '70's, before they closed off all the tracks that criss-crossed the place (mine is the third in line - 1976 Toyota FJ40 soft top, with Tor, my dog at the time, just in front. )

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