Sunday, 31 July 2011

Exakta Varex IIb, Carl Zeiss 50mm Tessar+35mm Flektogon

Exakta Varex IIb, Carl Zeiss 50mm Tessar+35mm Flektogon

Carl Zeiss f2.8 50mm Tessar 

Very Nice 35mm close focusing 150 mm/ 6 inches Semi wide angle Flektogon its an absolute Beauty

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Factory Reburbished, Fujifilm FinePix AV200 Review

Andrea wanted to get her 72 year old father a digital camera and She asked me to have a look around for something that would be easy to use, make good pictures and cost about €50 including postage.

A fairly tall order, maybe not

So after a little research and a good look around our ever present online e-market site I suggested this
Factory Refurbished  Fujifilm FinePix AV200.

Well I hear you ask what does Factory refurbished mean? you get a camera that is serviced by the manufacturer, which in this case means it looks like new, and I mean NEW not even a fingerprint on the LCD screen. Its then re-packaged with a new manual, software disc and leads + 2 AA batteries. The only sign that this has been used before is the FujiFilm Finepix Box States clearly this is "Camera is Factory Refurbished" As this particular camera is still part of the current Fuji lineup this is obliviously to stop the unscrupulous trying to sell it again as new. Which with the condition of this camera could well have been done.

A word of warning always check your seller is honest, as I have heard and read horror stories about trashed camera's sold as refurbished. On the likes of ebay if it truly is Factory Refurbished the seller will have more then one. So always check people's feedback and see what others are saying. If you are buying from another site it is always a good idea to run a Google/Yahoo search with the webshops/site name and Keywords like. "Complaints" "Reported" and the old faithful "Ripoff".

As Always Click on Photos to see a larger Image

Available Light, Nice Colour Rendition, quite good Dynamic Range but as with a lot of the current 14/16 megapixel micro sensors there is less highlight detail then one will get with a larger sensor, or less pixels!
I find the wide angle setting a little on the Normal Side for my liking
 The SR Scene Recognition is a really good catch all setting, which lets you set it and then point and shoot. Here we can see that the software is struggling to make an acceptable image under these conditions. It Looks sooo Digital !
 Full Scene
100% Crop. Actual Pixels
Andrea with forced flash used as shadow fill light

Available light in the workshop, here it did a good job of capturing detail in the highlights, To be Honest I have been polishing this little baby for a while now.
 This was taken with the flower setting in strong sunlight and is sharp as a tack, impressed with the quality of the lens, take a look at the 100% Crop below.
There is also a 1280 x 720p HD video capability with auto focus and image stabilisation which I did not have time to test as Andrea was off to Germany to see her folks

In conclusion for €50 I would recommend this to just about anyone who wants a little camera in their pocket with the ability to make A2 prints. The lens has its limits as its only x3 zoom but it is tack sharp. The one reservation I have is the I had trouble seeing the screen in really bright light, but you can say this or most screen only camera's. Having a proper viewfinder is one of the best reasons to move to a bridge camera or an SLR, because the viewfinder is were the picture is really made.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is still, so is the mind still." - Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Breathing is the process that moves air in and out of the lungs. Breathing is life. It is one of our most vital functions. Without food, we would die in a few weeks, without water, in a few days, but without air, we would die within a few minutes. Also, breathing is one of the few bodily functions which, within limits, can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. Pranayama is the science of yogic breathing exercise which promotes proper breathing. In a Yogic point of view, breathing is not only to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, but to increase and control Prana or the vital life energy. Prana, or life force is a concept of the Hindu religious tradition, but a spiritual meaning to breath can be found frequently in other religious context too: Throughout the books of the Bible, the Spirit is experienced as the Breath of God, revealing God to the world and giving life, not only to humans, but also to the whole of creation. The very first verse of the Bible speaks of the Spirit as a mighty wind which moves over the face of the deep, drawing aside the veils of darkness to allow the beautiful earth to emerge (Gen 1:1).In the second chapter of Genesis, God breathes the breath of life into humans and animals. Elsewhere in the Bible, when God takes back the breath, life disappears: 'When you take away their breath they die and return to the dust' (Ps. 104:29).

The cultivation of breath, as we do in Yoga, has many health benefits too,

 It helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath.

 It actually increases lung capacity.

 Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety

 Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen

 Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system

 Calms the mind and integrates the mental / physical balance.

So let’s try to picture the breath as a continuous wave like pattern, The wave that connects us to life. It may take a few weeks of practice to perfect a smooth flowing pattern with minimum effort and with maximum capacity.”

Probably one of the easiest breathing exercises goes like this:

Lie down on your back in a comfortable, quiet spot, maybe the floor, maybe the bed... eyes closed. Put one hand onto your tummy, and let your breath flow, deep, full, but without force. Enjoy, relish, every refreshing, invigorating inhale, every relaxing, calming exhale. Feel how the air moves through the body, feel the gentle lifting and sinking in your hand. Notice, how easy it is to relax like this? Repeat as often as possible or necessary.

To finish, I would like to share my favourite poem of Kabir, thirteenth century mystic poet and saint of India:

 Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.

 My shoulder is against yours.
 you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
 rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
 not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
 around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but

 When you really look for me, you will see me
 instantly --

 you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
 Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
 He is the breath inside the breath.