Tuesday, September 12, 2023

What is a good low noise microphone for field recording?

This is another blog post in my everyone-asks-this-question-a-million-times-so-now-I-can-just-link-them-here series (patent pending). The problem with most such questions asked on social media is that not enough information is provided. Answers depend on the use case, available equipment, and budget.

All prices provided are for two mics, since I assume that stereo recording is desirable. 

Note that I have used very few of these mics in practice but have been aware of their performance for, in some cases, decades. Here I am compiling the expert opinions of others, based on my training as an audio engineer.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

My favourite Windows utilities

Here's a quick article listing the essential applications I install with every new Windows computer. These solve some of the nagging annoyances and make life more efficient. 

The great thing about Windows is that every problem has a solution and most of them are open source. All of the solutions below are free. And none require compiling or other technical jiggery-pokery.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Easy 10-bit video support on Windows

This brief article will help you with the fact that Microsoft Windows does not, by default, view or play 10-bit video files produced by cinema cameras. Free solutions are easy, but not obvious. Have you ever asked yourself...

  • Why can't I see icons for my video file in Windows Explorer?
  • Why won't my video application play my video files?
  • How can I see full technical information for my video files?

Read on for solutions.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Carl Zeiss Sonnar 2.8/85mm review

If there are no perfect lenses then there are at least those that come close. The Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2.8/85mm for Contax-Yashica mount is one of those. This is a film-era lens designed for Contax SLRs. For more details, read my previous article, in which I sing the praises of this lens line as a whole. Here I will share photos from this particular optic.

Though the Contax Zeiss lenses are well-loved, you don't read much about this 85mm model, no doubt because the maximum aperture of f/2.8 seems inadequate. Why buy this lens when there are so many other 85mm focal length options? No doubt your camera system has at least one such lens, native to your mount. Perhaps it is f/1.8 or even f/1.4. So why choose a slower lens that also requires manual operation?

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Carl Zeiss lenses for Contax SLR - summary table

The title says it all. I've compiled a spreadsheet of all of the Carl Zeiss lenses made for the Contax SLR system, 1975-2001. These are highly-prized lenses that were often very expensive when released. The best performers are once again expensive, since it is difficult to find good copies. This table can help you build a set and confirm reasonable prices. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Scritti Politti answers the Situationists

Inspired by the Sex Pistols, Green Gartside formed the band Scritti Politti while studying art at Leeds Polytechnic. Moving to a squat in Camden Town, the band released their first single “Skank Bloc Bologna” in 1978. Before transitioning the group to a pure pop outfit with several chart hits, Green produced a number of songs referencing leftist political theory and post-structural thought.

One of the finest of these is “The 'Sweetest Girl'”, released October 1981 on Rough Trade. I have just made a discovery that perhaps has gone unnoticed. This song is an answer record. But who asked the question?

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Which Samsung SSDs for video?

This article will recommend which Samsung SSDs you should use for video recording... and which you should avoid. This article assumes that you wish to support high video resolutions and bitrates. For less stringent requirements you may get away with something else. But it makes the most sense to purchase accessories that support the most demanding mode of your camera, in case your requirements change in the future. 

Bottom line: The Samsung T7 Shield is recommended. Do not use the "plain" Samsung T7. The Samsung T5 is OK for lower rates. If you already have a Samsung T7 Touch, it will do as well. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Aperture Control and Vintage Lenses

This is a 2023 update to an article written in December 2010, when the temperature was -6 and water pipes had frozen. It's been rewritten for clarity, with clear instructions for using vintage lenses on mirrorless cameras. 

Today we are spoilt by cameras that do the thinking for us. This can be awfully convenient, but it does obscure the photographic process. In this article I'll explain how cameras evolved to allow control over the lens aperture. This knowledge will help you use vintage lenses even on newer cameras.

Friday, June 30, 2023

A second ISO test of the Lumix DC-S5

This is a brief article, because I've already written about the low-light performance of the Lumix S5. You should read that article for all the details. But it was a dark and rainy day, so I figured I'd do another quick comparison of ISO settings, more for my own benefit... but why not share!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

L-mount lens system (summary table)

The L-Mount Alliance was formed by Panasonic, Leica, and Sigma in September 2018 to create a new standard for mirrorless cameras. To date no fewer than 84 lenses have been released for this platform. To save you repeating many hours of research, I now share my complete list of full-frame L-mount lenses.