Pat's Log
Fri, 22 Feb 2008

Another New Lens!
20080221 Picked up another new lens today, a used Sigma 24-70mm, f2.8. While this lens is significantly cheaper than my Canon 17-85mm IS/USM, I think it was a good purchase. It provides an f2.8 aperture over the entire range of the zoom, it has a very wide and smooth manual focus ring, and its large diameter (82mm at the front) makes it easy to grip firmly for stabilization. On the downside, it is heavy (over 700g), and the focus servos are extremely loud. But really, this lens just begs to be manually focused all the time. Besides, my camera makes it a point to let me know when it's in focus.

In reading some reviews, I can see that reviewers mention the same points I raised, but the verdict is also that the optical qualities of this unit are great. Some say it's comparable to an equivalent Canon L-series lens. I'm a little skeptical about that, but I'm happy to read that the corners stay bright and sharp.

I first tried this lens at a bowling alley lit only by blacklight. I was very impressed by how much light it took in, with the range of tone and colour. As someone who avoids flash at all costs, I'm glad to own this lens now.

[] | posted @ 04:47 | link
Fri, 15 Feb 2008

Family Van, 1993-2008
20080214 It saddens me, but after over fourteen years of good service, the family van, a 1993 Pontiac Transport, has finally taken its last drive.

Technically, the vehicle is still drivable, at least for short distances. During the last week of extreme cold, the head gasket gave way, and the engine started losing a lot of coolant. In recent years, little things like ball joints and relays have worn out, but the decision was made that any major engine trouble would not be worth the cost.

And yet, it seems like everything is still alright. I took the van out for one last spin, revving it strongly and enjoying the beautiful, powerful purr of the 6-cylinder 3800cc V90 engine. Amazingly, it still has the original muffler and even one of the factory wiper blades; there is no question in my mind that OEM parts are superior.

I get attached to things, so I'll miss this car. It took us everywhere. The photo is from Utah in 1999. Because the body is plastic, it looks every bit as shiny and perfect now as it did then. Maybe it's just cosmetics, but it really doesn't feel like it's time for this old friend to go.

They just don't build them like they used to...

[] | posted @ 04:57 | link

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