Tag Archives: RNF

RNF – Bringing reality back.

I hear a lot of talk about “bringing jobs back” that used to be. Problem is that often times these are industries and professions that are or are on their way to being obsolete. To entice companies to do so corporate welfare is provided which may make for a good sound bite or photo op, but at most proves pointless by only delaying the inevitable.

Both sides of my family hail from small, rural towns. On both sides many saw the handwriting on the wall generations ago and left to pursue opportunities elsewhere often including the military and college and sometimes both.

Some moved to urban centers, others suburban, and some overseas.

Left family.

Left land.

Left familiarity.

Had to be done.

Home is where you make it.

They did not sit around lamenting the situation.

They were willing to change.

To move.

To retrain.

To get an education.

They did something about it.

They knew there was no cavalry coming to save the day.

They surveyed the situation and left. And the generations that followed benefited from their willingness to adapt.

There seems to be many who talk of wanting others not to benefit unless those others are willing to change, but are unwilling to change themselves.


Olympus E-P5 1.3 Firmware update brings expanded OIShare manual remote control…

In my previous post while happy there was remote control, I lamented the lack of manual controls. Well Olympus delivered in full with their 2/12/2014 1.3 firmware update. So “Hello long exposure January star shots from the comfort of my living room.”

OIShare full manual controls for E-P5.
OIShare full manual controls for E-P5.

I have not played with it long, but new remote control features noticed so far are:

  • Switch between P/A/S/M/iAuto modes
  • In addition to shutter timer you can now set high speed and low speed burst
  • Live and Bulb time control
  • Full shutter/aperture/exposure/ISO and WB control

Plus you can do this utterly frivolous thing:

Down the rabbit hole. Taking a picture of remotely taking a picture.
Down the rabbit hole. Taking a picture of remotely taking a picture.


Well done Olympus. I may have missed it, but next time send a memo or something.



E-P5 update to the update: Olympus E-PL5: 90% OM-D goodness for half the price

Note: Since writing this I have moved on to other systems. Not because there is anything wrong with Olympus. As I often mention any modern system would suffice, but others were better suited to my personal preferences.

Update to the update:

I swear I innocently entered Southeastern Camera

The friendly folks at Southeastern Camera, Carrboro.
The friendly folks at Southeastern Camera, Carrboro.

to see if they had a deal on a new or used tripod. After some small talk with Chris and Dennis I found out that they had a lightly used E-P5 just in the day before, a lightly used OMD E-M5 with battery grip, and my current ‘it’ camera in stock new, the OMD E-M1 . Thoughts of tripods evaporated then this happened…

From left to right the Olympus OMD E-M1 (w/ my much loved 17mm f1.8 on it for a test drive), E-P5, and my trusty E-PL5.
From left to right the Olympus OMD E-M1 (w/ my much loved 17mm f1.8 on it for a test drive), E-P5, and my trusty E-PL5.
From left to right the Olympus OMD E-M1 (w/ my much loved 17mm f1.8 on it for a test drive), E-P5, and my trusty E-PL5.
Olympus OMD E-M1

Even though the OMD E-M5 is what first drew me to Olympus and eventually the E-PL5 a year is a long time in gadgetopia. The OMD E-M5 was struck from the potential upgrade comparison (3 down to 2) for the following reasons:

  • No WiFi. Yes, I do have an EyeFi card, but for that I may as well stay with my E-PL5.
  • EVF evolution. I am pleased with my own VF-4 and by all reports it is superior to the built in on the OMD E-M5.
  • Build. The E-M5 is quite impressive, but the E-P5 and E-M1 feel hewn from granite by comparison.
  • Price. The pre-owned E-M5 was barely less than the E-P5 with superior EVF (my own) and WiFi.

I was quite impressed with the E-P5 from the moment it was introduced. It’s only downside was that it was priced right along side the OMDs. Already having an E-PL5 it made little sense. I was then reminded of the great benefits of shopping at the local camera shop. One key advantage is being able to hold and shoot many cameras back to back. While I still adore the OMD E-M1 in hand I realized a few things:

  • Can’t get this in my jacket pocket. Big hand grip. Big faux SLR hump. Great features and a definite improvement over the E-M5, but I am not quite ready to commit to the grip and SLR humps. With the E-PL5 I had come to love the portability. It is great to have the capabilities you want in your jacket pocket rather than in a camera bag somewhere else.
  • In related news the size would mean I would need to hang on to the E-PL5 for every day shooting. As a hobbyist I cannot make sense of a 2 camera set up quite yet. Plus there is the practical consideration that I could not benefit from a trade in.
  • Price. Admittedly well worth the price. While fantastic I have no need for the water/dust resistant (or the E-M1’s freeze proof) feature. Perhaps the new rumored mid-tier OMD will fill the price void, but $1399 is quite the jump from my humble little E-PL5.
  • I love a good deal. The looks like new E-P5 was less than half the price of the brand spanking new E-M1 and when you add the trade in, that would not happen with the E-M1, it only got better.
  • Personal aesthetic preference. To my own surprise in the flesh I preferred the vintage PEN rangefinder styling of the E-P5 over the, admittedly impressive, demi SLR styling of the E-M1.

Steve Huff was right all along. The difference really lies in personal needs and preferences. I recently dubbed the E-PL5 my little friend on Instagram, and it has served me well, but as of yesterday I now introduce you to my (slightly larger) little friend, the Olympus E-P5.

WP_20140118_15_04_12_Pro WP_20140118_15_03_52_Pro

First impressions:

  • Having not experienced 5 axis image stabilization in the wild I previously underplayed it’s significance. For example it has noticeably improved the performance of my 40-150mm zoom. This second hand lens wonder can now be used in lower light than before and the macro converter can be used hand held. For example:
M.Zuiko 40-150mm w/ MCON-P01 Macro Converter
  • It has 1/8000 sec max shutter speed matching the E-M1 and over the 1/4000 speed of the E-PL5 and E-M5. Since I have two fast primes (17mm and 45mm) this should be of benefit.
  • Level. It has a level. ‘Meh’ to more experienced persons I imagine, but this novice is impressed.
  • WiFi brings remote control via smartphone. Cool. Being a smartphone contrarian (Loving my Lumia) I had to commandeer my wife’s Android Phone to sync up. Wow. Hopefully they will expand it’s capabilities beyond iAuto (Hello long exposure January star shots from the comfort of my living room.) but I am still impressed.
  • While I never missed having a built in flash on my E-PL5 due to it’s great low light capabilities I find it is nice to have the flash built in. My next scheduled self tutorial obsession is remote flash photography and while I do appreciate having RC built in I also like having the option of picking up a cheapie flash with slave functionality while still having the hotshoe available for my EVF at the same time.
  • It is the right size for me. In my mits the E-PL5 was on the small side so I had to beef it up with an upsized optional Olympus E-P3 grip and a Kaza-Deluxe half case.
  • Dials, dials, oh the wonderful dials. No more re-purposing function buttons and memorizing scroll wheel commands to use PASM modes. Love having dedicated two position front and back dials.
  • Real focus peaking. I had set up bootleg focus peaking on my E-PL5 (video originally for E-M5, but it works for E-PL5 also.) and mapped it to the record button to good effect, but this is superior by far.
  • No change in the PEN flow. Same VF-4Gariz wrist strap, and compact Swissgear bag that also holds my tablet that worked so well with my E-PL5 also works very well with the E-P5.

Life is good.


Previous posts copied below…

Continue reading E-P5 update to the update: Olympus E-PL5: 90% OM-D goodness for half the price

RNF – Intent vs. Content

Do not waste time focusing on those who flee at the first signs of a challenge. They very likely did you a favor.

Be weary of those who stay nearby for no good reason. Focus on the intent of their actions rather than the content.

Cherish those who remain close out of love regardless of life’s twists and turns. Investing in their well being will pay emotional if not, or possibly in addition to, material gains in the end.

Respect all, love all, hold a precious few in close confidence.



Update: Olympus E-PL5: 90% OM-D goodness for half the price


This update is perhaps long overdue, but I purchased the Olympus E-PL5 in March about a month after writing the post found below and I must say I have been very happy with it. So much so that I went on to purchase a sweet retro case from Kaza, and 2 lenses. The Panasonic Leica 14mm and an Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm zoom both purchased for a steal second hand at Southeastern Camera in Carrboro, NC.

6tag_020913-192459 GalleryImage635017324652846615_jpg WP_20130801_004

To say I am happy with the decision would be an understatement. So much so I am now eyeing a Olympus vf4 EVF as an early Christmas gift. Even with purchasing that I would have body, flash, 3 lenses, case and EVF for less than I would have paid for many cameras w/o a kit.

Since then I have had a great time snapping pics every day as well as on a DC field trip, a family trip to NYC and upstate NY, local museums and more. Photo sets of all can be found at my Flickr page below:


Olympus is still at it and has released or announced some great cameras since, like the OM-D E-M1 and EP-5, but I am still quite happy with the little E-PL5. And the great part is that if I do ever decide to upgrade one day I can still use all of my accessories. Here are my original ramblings from February below:

Short version:

My camera wish list has been answered (great photo quality/auto & manual controls/compact size/flip screen/reasonable price) w/ one camera, and this is it. Click picture to see Robin Wong’s review w/ some great sample shots.

Continue reading Update: Olympus E-PL5: 90% OM-D goodness for half the price

Make news newsworthy again. Please. (extended RNF repost)

The following list is not directed at any individual or organization in particular, but attempts to touch upon trends your humble writer believes come in to conflict with news’ main purpose, which is to inform.

  • Please deliver the news without opinion or spin. I will make up my own mind on what conclusions to draw thank you.
  • News is intended to be informative not entertaining. It should not be forced in to entertainment’s mold. If it happens to be entertaining great, but that is not it’s primary purpose. Spock (Nothing against pediatricians, but I refer to the techie variation.) would likely be my favorite newsreader if such an odd reality construct were possible. Not a Trekkie per se, but I would find his deadpan more authentic than the news as dramatic theater trend that is so popular nowadays.
  • Facts please, not theories unless presented as such. Don’t present vagaries costumed as news that leave me with more questions than when I began the article or news spot.
  • Stop the AP newsfeed abuse. Too often the same story “same text” is regurgitated ad nauseam across outlets causing one to worry, “What if the one designated person who actually researched this bad boy had an off day and got it wrong in the first place?” thus causing also rans to proliferate inaccuracies sans vetting.
  • OpEd contributors and newsreaders are intended to relay and discuss the news, not become the topic of the news story themselves. Or so I thought. News persons interviewing news persons about what another news person said on another news show on another news network? Really? Just plain old why? Like playing a game of seven degrees of separation from actual relevance.
  • Why so many shows? Why the paucity of real guests? Why so many talking heads, often on the company dole, that may or may not actually be experts in the field or topic being discussed? Is it because people who actually generate news opt out of this nonsense? Is it that there are too many shows and too few people in the news to feed the insatiable beast that is the multi-channeled 24/7 news cycle? Perhaps it is because some news worthy folks are actually busy doing something other than talking on TV?
  • Why so many commercials for news shows? Truth be told most fair citizens seem to have chosen their preferred flavor of news much like Red/Blue, Android/iPhone, Chevy/Ford, Steelers/Cowboys or Pepsi/Coke and no amount of commercials will change their allegiance. (In the interest of full disclosure emotional allegiances tied to for-profit entities, sports, tech, political or otherwise baffle me. A tangential ramble for another day.) Willfull dogmatic paralysis in isolation stifling intelligent discourse seems an issue plaguing this nation these days, but not the topic of this particular rant so I will move on.
  • Relevance please. Hours are spent on nonsense having to do with absolutely nothing of any real importance. Spot check. Relevance: 1a : relation to the matter at hand b : practical and especially social applicability : pertinence 2: the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user (m-w.com)
  • Lastly stop the charade that news is for my betterment and that one entity is better for me than another. It is a business seeking product. That product is gathering the eyes of the consumer so those eyes can then be sold to advertisers. (Lesson learned years ago courtesy GE and NBC.) Nothing personal, strictly business. I have no issue with it. That is capitalism.

I was thinking of creating a news reader that can filter out certain configurable words and phrases, but nonsense is so rampant I fear I will only be reading articles like reviews of basket weaving shows in Paduka (No offense to Paduka intended, nor were any baskets harmed in the writing of this rant.).

I do not appreciate topical zealots even when (especially when) they are attempting to pander to a demographic I may identify with. As in real life I do not seek out people who agree with me all the time. Boring. I also do not seek out people whose only method of disagreement is an argument. A mark of insecurity, if not outright intellectual sloth, often times it seems. If you truly believe what you are saying what sense does it make to get upset. Tiring. Rest in your truth. Debate with civility.

In the interest of staying up on current affairs I continue to read the news (I have all, but abandoned TV news), but it seems to be increasingly difficult (borderline impossible at times) to sift actual news out of the murky waters of modern media.