Archive for November, 2009

New Party CD in the Works

OK, I guess it’s been a couple of years since I’ve hosted one of my “theme” parties, but I’ve finally got myself motivated enough to pick-up the torch again. For the 2010 party, it will be a celebration of late ’70s early ’80s British synthpop. The CD track listing has almost been finalized, the essay is in it’s final draft stage, and I’ve started the process of putting together the artwork for the jewel case. As far as food goes for the party, I’ll be looking into what was popular during the early ’80s. If dressing up is you thing, there will be plenty of options of you. I’ll do a blog post later on with some suggestions illustrated by period photos. But if you’re a guy, think of Depeche Mode circa “Speak and Spell”. If you’re a lady, consider the fashion sense of the female singers from The Human League circa “Dare”. The plan is to have the CD in the mail around March/April with the actual party in June.

Add comment November 14th, 2009

Mini Camera Review: Contax G1

contax_g1.jpg

This is a camera I wanted to love so much — yet it continues to disappoint every time I use it. Rangefinders are dreamy, and I bought the Contax after feeling nostalgic for my old Voighlander Bessa R. And the Contax should be a great camera simply because of its impeccable pedigree, yet I find the camera maddening to take pictures with due to its bizarre design. The two lonely positives are the interchangeable Carl Zeiss lens and the beautiful fit and finish of the camera body. Just holding the camera in your hand is like handling a piece of art. But back to the aggravating design. The G1 is actually not a traditional rangefinder like the old Leicas. It can operate in auto or manual focus modes. To manually focus, you must turn an awkwardly placed dial on the top of the camera. For me, it takes forever to get the focus just right, even with as much practice as I’ve had. the updated G2 has the focus dial in the front of the camera, which is a little better, but it’s still totally fiddly. Forget auto focus mode, I find it completely useless.

Despite the frustrations the camera elicits, I continue to use it. Quite simply, the Zeiss lens are some of the best lens I’ve ever used. The 45mm Planar is actually considered the sharpest 35mm camera lens ever made, beating the Leica 50mm Summicron. For some reason these lens are magic with black and white film. I also like the camera size. It’s smaller than an SLR, but has a nice heft to it and it auto advances the film unlike my old Bessa R. It’s too bad they screwed up on the auto and manual focusing though. Coming from my Nikon F100 (review coming), the auto focus on the G1 seems clumsy and primitive. Even my cheapo Yashica T4, made by the same company, has a better auto focus system. But I suppose I’ll keep the camera just for its lens. The G series Zeiss can’t be used on any digital cameras, so they can be found on eBay for pretty cheap.

2 comments November 4th, 2009


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