Patrick Müller writing nonsense since 2019

The damn gear. Part II

Continuing to think about this matter (really: why can't I let go? I don't to be focussed on this) I'd like to talk little about what draws me to different systems. Especially what I feel may be really neat about Fuji and Sony.

Fuji, my current setup

What drew me to Fuji in the first place - and still does - is fairly simple: it's a high quality compact system with a bunch of stunning lenses. Being an APS-sized mirrorless system means that cameras and lenses are lightweight, at the same time the quality of the equipment is really great. I currently own 2 Fuji lenses (XF 23mm f/2 WR and XF 35mm f/2 WR) and both of them are really great lenses. They are well built, robust and have great optical quality. I own a single Zeiss lens for the system: the Touit 32/1.8. This is also a great lens of outstanding quality. Its autofocus may not be as great as the newer Fuji ones, but that's really all there is to this. So yeah, nothing to complain.

There was another bug point thet drew me to Fuji: ergonomics. In many ways their cameras and lenses work like classical cameras. They have aperture dials on the lenses and loads of dials on the camera to set things in a very direct way. I really am very fond of that. The one thing I don't like about my Fuji equipment is that the lenses I own all use focus by wire when used in manual mode. This really is something I am disliking, but that's about it.

Sony, the contender

So what let's me even consider Sony after using the Fuji stuff for a few months and being happy with it?

  • Interoperability with the 35mm world without any crop-factor or anything.
  • The general aesthetics of the larger sensor.
  • Another stunning lens lineup.

There is also whan major drawback: I'd have to give up on my beloved dials for everything.

Considerations

The Sony part of this post may look rather short: but some of there factors (mainly their lens lineup) weigh heavily. Of course even I were to decide to switch there are things to consider. When I went to Fuji I made the choice to spend less on the camera (I just got an X-T10) and more on a few great lenses. I feel that with sony I'd have to spend more on the camera-side of things (I'd gravitate towards the A7R at this time) and then see that I'd still end up with one or two nice primes. Since one of the things that really draw me to this system are the Loxia primes (and some of the other Zeiss lenses) this might be getting expensive really quickly.

Conclusion, for now...

For now I am certainly going to stick with my current system for a while. THere will be a trip to Scandinavia later this summer where I am sure the Fuji equipment will perform greately. In the meanwhile: if somebody wants to lend me some Sony equipment to play around with that would be great ... In all seriousness: getting my hands on some of this gear and trying to form an opinion that way may really be a helpful thing.

Gear? Damnit ...

It's not a secret that I am quite happy with my Fujifilm gear. Recently I found myself browsing through the assortment of Zeiss Loxia lenses and wondering if Sony may be a better choice. I have to say: all this anxiety about gear is really toxic. Just had to get that off my chest.

Hiatus

So this blog does not look all that dead right now I'll give a bit of an explaination as to why nothing is happening: I'm simply moving. And this will take up quite a bite of time over the next few week(ends) so my posting on here and also on sites like flickr is a bit less.

Photography, not cameras

Let's start this off with a confession: like many people in the photography-world I am a bit of a gearhead. After all: who doesn't like shiny new things, really good industrial design and so forth? But this is not what it is supposed to about: photography is - in my mind - meant to be a creative endeavor rather then a game of technical optimization. Sure there is room for both but all to often the technical side dominates everything, even images posted on interned forums are mainly looked at for aspect such as sharpness, any vignette that might be visible, grain/noise, need I go on? Instead we might all be better off to assume that the technical side is the way it was intended, unless we are asked for feedback on this, and look at/talk about the actual image.

A random photograph to make this less dry

Talking about images is of course way more difficult then talking about technlogy: no more easy answers on right or wrong, no more technical measurement of what is "better". Instead very personal reasoning of what is good or bad needs to be expressed in an understandable and relatable way.

Let's create a place for this

There used to be a few pleasant little places on the web for this kind of talk. The kind of small internet-forums where people would comment on each others images in a positive and constructive manner, where technical talk can be about personal experiences with a given piece of kit and not about specs that you can look up at whatever the favorite review-site of the day is. So does this not exist or do I simply not know about it? Even if does exist there may be room for more then one such place: after all, in the age of internet giants like facebook there is a certain charm to the small tight-knit community off somewhere in its own corner of the web. One might even say those are essential for keeping the web to be dominated even more by large social networks.

In my mind the classicel internet forum is an ideal platform for this kind of undertaking: it provides a well more understandable way of making content accessable to everone interesten then the ever more strange "activity feeds" of the social networks that are being presented to us sorted in some way nobody who has not spend a lot of time researching understands. How about a simple chronological order that gives you the option to find something again and now if somebody has replied to a thread after you have last looked at it from the overview?

Software of choice

My current contenders are FluxBB and Flarum, with Flarum being slightly in the lead because I feel like trying something a little different. Flarum takes a lot of its clues from Discourse (a software I find really interesting) while being build in php, something that as quite an advantage for me as a php-developer. With the forum software covered a thing that remains is image-hosting as flarum does not natively support uploading images to the forum server when posting, also in the long rund you end up with a lot of data this way - keep in mind all this has to also be backed-up.

Do stand by for further announcements

This project is actually already quite far along, so in a few days you should see an update with a link to what I am up to regarding this whole thing. In the meantime there is still some stuff I have to go through and some smaller things to decide. So there might be a post about that as well.

No excuse, just own it

I'am as guilty of this then anybody: looking for excuses. Not so much before others but before myself. "If I only had this other camera/great piece of software/whatever I could have done this. Of course this way it wasn't even worth trying." Obviously whenever the second part of that reasoning comes out you have already lost, you have kept yourself from even trying, thus failing instantly without learning anything instead of at least failing a little later and learning something - or not failing at all.

Just putting this out there.

The sun has returned

Finally it is back a little more often ...

So I got to get out my camera get out in a bit of a better spirit then in recent weeks.

Out in the wild: first impressions of the M4

After almost a week I finally got to go out with my shiny "new" Leica and play around and while I still have to get a handle on working with this camera I really had a blast. It's just such a joy to handle, even more so once I could let go of the idea of having to check my exposure with my phone all the time and just accepted that it would all work out in the end. This ends up being a really pleasant and uncomplicated tool that never gets in you way.

As far as lens I got goes (a Summicron 50mm from the early 50s) I have to say it performs really well for a 60-70 year old lens. The one thing I found out quickly is that I'd really like to have a 35mm lens, but everything at its time.

Back into analog photography: the Leica M4-2

For once you are getting two posts in a row from me as I really cannot resist sharing my excitement about that little camera with you. I will certainly write up a full first-impressions post later but for now I am still in awe about its build quality and handling. I think I am beginning to get why people are talking so enthusiastic about these cameras.

Setting up models in Laravel

This post was written before the blog was somehow taken over by photography and never got released. So while I am sure there must be some reason for that, I am releasing it now since the topic seems interesting for people using Laravel:

At first glance creating a model on laravel is easy as typing "php artisan make:model User" and being done with it. Of course there is a little more to do and so here are few points that you might want to remember. Let's see a very basic example:

<?php

namespace App;

use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\SoftDeletes;

class Request extends Model
{

    use SoftDeletes;

    /**
     * @return \Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Relations\HasMany
     */
    public function items()
    {
        return $this->hasMany('App\Item');
    }

    /**
     * @param User $user
     */
    public function setUser(User $user)
    {
        $this->update(['user_id' =>  $user->id]);
    }
}

The first sind you will notice is that I am importing the SoftDeletes trait. I find this a good practise to do early on so that I can ensure that if the requirement of getting "deleted" data back comes up later this is no problem. Essentially it will use a datetime field called "deleted_at" to markt items as deleted and Eloquent will ensure that selects don't cover deleted items unless it's told to do otherwise.

Another handy thing is not to constantly handle foreignkeys in your controllers by simply adding a method to create the association in question by injecting not the key but the model itself into it.

Other goodies

At least for me it's quite a common thing to want to display what are essentially tables of one model or another that are sortable by a given column, in those cases column-sortable is a great package for laravel. Just import the Sortable trait, declare what columns should be available for sorting by and you are almost set:

// ...

    use Sortable;

    public $sortable = ['id', 'created_at'];

// ...

Now you can use a nice set of helpers to get sortable tables in your blade views.

Another quick image

I took a trip around the block last weekend, so now I now get to spam you all with images ;)