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On Sony

I’ll continue to objectively review Sony cameras and lenses because they are in the market and a major player.

As for myself, I have firmed up my previous reluctance to invest my money in Sony products. Along with a revolting phone call experience last spring with Sony personnel, Sony’s checkered ethical history (which continues today with outgoing attacks on web sites), the Sony incompetence on their own security coupled with the Sony worst practice of a “root” updater Sony camera firmware, and now the whole spineless movie release thing, my discomfort with Sony has turned into contempt. This is not a company I wish to support with my spending.

At the same time, I feel no need to have that view adopted by anyone else; I am simply expressing how Sony looks to me as a a company. Which means I don’t confuse Sony the company and the many solid people within it with the leadship.

Mark M writes:

There were times I swore I would never buy another Nikon, Epson, or Canon (include Adobe, Google, etc.) product for very similar reasons of corporate arrogance; lack of competent service and customer service; predatory marketing practices; vindictive employees. Cyber security was not the issue then that it is today, and Sony Pictures has screwed up big time, no doubt about that.

On the other hand, I need to make images using the best products I can afford. And I get the satisfaction of watching Sony eat Nikon's, and though not as devastating, Canon's lunch. And in time, some other entity will blast Sony out of the water.

DIGLLOYD: My perspective is equally objective. Everyone has to deal with the reality of their own situation and a mix of conflicting factors—just like at the voting booth.

If Sony made a great camera that solves serious issues, I’d have to consider it. A product is the sum total of its part: physical manifestation, service and support, and the factors I started this discussion with.

Alfredo P writes:

I totally agree with you, so, please stop using cameras with Sony-made sensors inside!

DIGLLOYD: I sense sarcasm. Sony makes the best sensors on the market (Nikon D810).. See previous comment. I am not anti-Sony or anti any company: I just like well conceived products with good support and service and company behavior that doesn’t make raise my hackles. Sony could easily turn around its whole image, but its leadership seems to have an ingrained culture of circle the wagons.

Brad B writes:

If it hadn't been for your reviews of the A7R shutter vibration flaw and other things that were negative for me I was all set to go with that system. I wasn't thinking clearly because I was a little intimidated by the size and cost of the D810. Pfft, my fears were unfounded, after a couple of hours with the D810 it felt like an old friend because Nikon isn't stupid; basic things in thier design haven't changed that much since my first F in the early 70's and my fingers knew exactly where to go. After 40 something years of Nikon use I'm happier than ever with this amazing camera.

Sony is a huge monolithic company and their own worst enemy. I didn't know the story of the copy protection software fiasco until I read the link you provided--thanks. As for the movie melodrama, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Sony is foremost a Japanese company and they have a lot more to fear from the North Koreans than we do. If anyone is taking the hacking of their systems personally it should be people in Tokyo.

DIGLLOYD: I don’t conflate Sony the company leadership with its thousands of employees any more than I’d judge residents of a city by its leaders.

Regarding the A7R shutter vibration, I see the issue as a technical one about which I must inform my readers. Many users of the A7R can avoid or minimize the issues simply by the way the camera is used. But it won’t work in general for my needs. See also Sony, Fix These Things and Win.

Last Minute Deals: Discounted Mac Pro, Deal Zone, and Oatmeal

The mass shopping murmuration reaches its climax right around now. But it will come down soon.

Looking for a Mac Pro? For general photography, the 6-core Mac Pro is the sweet spot. See my review of the 2013 Mac Pro over at MacPerformanceGuide.com.

Don’t forget 64GB 2013 Mac Pro memory at OWC.

B&H Photo has many 2013 Mac Pro models discounted by $250 to $400, with free one day shipping. MPG strongly recommends Mac Pro with the 1TB flash drive, or at least the 512TB flash drive, but you can upgrade to 1TB or 2TB SSD later. The B&H Photo DEAL ZONE has a few interesting smaller items.

OWC has a bunch of stuff on sale and Cyber Savers and used Macs and displays.

For stocking stuffers sure to enthrall your kids, get 'em a few bags of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Thick Oats at Amazon. Well, they can make cookies heh heh.

Server Changes in Place

About 2 weeks of intensive coding work 14 hours a day has now come to its fruition. The hard part wasn’t designing something new; it was achieving near perfect compatibility with material up to 8 years old. A goal achieved over several iterations.

“Delivery” comes with pain in my right “mouse arm”, of considerable concern and with due caution now in my head. Well, yesterday was 16 hours almost nonstop. This might slow me down for a few days to recuperate the injury.

The server now generates all gallery and crop pages on subscriber pages (the windows that pop up with large images and/or crops). This removes a significant chunk of effort from my workflow, since these pages are now automagical. It also guarantees that there cannot be “page not found” errors—because they are generated dynamically at runtime based on what actually exists. There is some risk that crops might be missed in some older material that used ad-hoc naming conventions, so please report any unusual glitches, apparently missing images, etc.

The structural changes offer further potential, which is why I expended so much time and effort—lots of behind the scenes work to do what I do here.

Visible changes

Above images in publication pages (subscriber pages), the available “gallery page” sizes are listed; each links to the appropriate page, e.g., “1284 | 2568 | 3852, and 4 crops”.

diglloyd image

Each gallery page has these links as well, so it is now quick and easy to toggle between the available sizes right on the same page. Future pages will have additional size choices so as to make the viewing experience better for the hugely varying screen sizes (from iPhone to small laptop to 4K to 5K.

diglloyd image

On publication pages (top right) is also a new toggle option for Retina On/OFF and image size Large/Small. The current state is show; click each control to toggle, e.g. from Retina ON to Retina OFF, or from Large to Small.

YouTube: Getting Infringing Content Removed

Two of my images were incorporated into a video on the Sigma DP Merrills (more than one video actually). YouTube did respond.

See Copyright Infringement Notification Requirements.

Probably there are thousands of my images out there being used without permission, but I’m just not going to worry about that battle.

YouTube confirmation of infringing content removal
YouTube confirmation of infringing content removal

David W writes:

I too am concerned about images on my website being stolen. Here's a quick, easy and free way to check the entire Internet to see if someone is using one of your images.

1. Open the Google "Chrome" browser on your computer.
2. Right click on the image you want to check.
3. Select "Search Google For This Image" in the drop down box.

That's it! I've caught many people who've stolen my images. If they have a legitimate website they will usually take down my image after I contact them.

DIGLLOYD: good tip, though it won't find images turned into video as was the case above, or at least I think it won’t.

Topics Menu System

Not everyone notices such things, so here I make it better known. See also all the various tips for using this site.

The topic menus at the top of most pages organize all content on this site. Not everything is included, so consider using search also. The three top-level menus organize three major areas.

Choose the menu for Cameras/System or Lenses or Optics/Technique.

Site Automation

From external appearances (this blog), I’ve been quiescent watching cooking shows and football while I bake cookies and munch carrot sticks. Not so.

Rather, I’ve been diligently coding new site capabilities to be deployed very soon. These capabilities will not only shrink my publication preparation significantly, but will offer new and useful behavior for readers. In short, I’ve been working 18 hour days coding server-side java, though I did take a break to do a 1.5 hour pitch-black and rainy night ride last night, with dual Lupine Betty II lampheads brighter than most car headlights. The ol' body doesn’t like 18 hours in a chair, so it needs a break. And after all, I was a software engineer for 25 years, and a damn good one. So I write my own server code.

Hang tight, and when it’s ready (soon), I’ll get back to producing content. Thank you for your support, the most helpful being the everything deal.

Meanwhile, head over to my MacPerformanceGuide.com for some interesting SSD stuff.

Leica M CCD Sensor White Spots

Kudos to Leica.

Leica Camera AG official statement:

Important Information Concerning the CCD Sensors of the Leica M9 / M9-P / M Monochrom / M-E

In some cases, particularly when using the camera models Leica M9, M9-P, M Monochrome or M-E with smaller apertures (5.6-22), effects caused by corrosion of the sensor glass may be encountered.

Leica offers a free replacement service for the CCD sensors of cameras affected by this problem as a goodwill arrangement. This goodwill arrangement applies regardless of the age of the camera and also covers sensors that have already been replaced in the past. Customers who have already been charged for the replacement of a sensor affected by this problem will receive a refund.

We have now identified the problem and are currently concentrating our efforts on finding a permanent technical solution. The marks on images mentioned earlier are related to the properties of the CCD sensor. The sensors are equipped with a specially coated IR filter cover glass to ensure optimum imaging performance. Should this coating layer be damaged, corrosion effects that alter the filter surface may begin to appear after several years.

The effect described does not affect the CMOS sensor of the Leica M (Typ 240). Should you be considering an upgrade from your camera to a Leica M or M-P (Typ 240), Customer Care would be pleased to make you an attractive offer following a check of your camera and under consideration of the model and its age.

If the imaging quality of your camera gives cause for complaint in this respect, we recommend that you send it directly to Leica Customer Care or the authorized Customer Care department of your country’s Leica distributor. As longer waiting times may otherwise occur, the camera should only be sent to Customer Care after prior arrangement.

Contact: Web site: http://de.leica-camera.com/Service-Support/Reparatur-Wartung. E-mail: Customer.Care@leica-camera.com. Telephone: +49-6441-2080-189.

For us, it is important that we offer only technically faultless products. We are therefore particularly sorry if the imaging quality of your camera should be adversely affected in any way. We hope that the goodwill arrangement we have decided upon will allow us to remedy the problem as soon as possible and rebuild and maintain the trust you have always placed in our brand.

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