MirrorLessons takes a look at the new Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 and 30mm f/2.8 Macro lenses for Micro Four Thirds →

March 25, 2015 |

These are two very interesting new lenses for the MFT system, particularly the 42.5mm lens, which will be a direct competitor to the amazing Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens:

The 42.5mm has some interesting characteristics however. It has an all-metal finish which should prove more resistant than the plastic finish of the M.Zuiko 45mm. But what I like the most are its close focusing capabilities (30cm) which is closer than the Olympus version. The lens seems to deliver excellent image quality with great sharpness at f/1.7. Like the M.Zuiko version, this is another lens that really proves how great the MFT system can be: so small yet such excellent IQ. It also has optical stabilisation which naturally makes it a better choice for Lumix users. The autofocus was really fast with the Lumix GX7.

I own the Olympus lens and it’s easily one of the best deals in the the entire MFT system. I’m really curious to see how this new Panasonic lens stacks up against it.

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An awesome, animated Star Wars short →

March 25, 2015 |

Paul Johnson:

What if there was an Empire-focussed short Star Wars animation, drawn with the crazy detail and shading of classic 80s anime that’s all but vanished from Japan nowadays? Well, I tried my best.

Absolutely jaw-dropping.

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Craig Hockenberry on OLED displays →

March 25, 2015 |

Craig Hockenberry explains the differences between LCD and OLED displays. OLED is the display technology that is expected to make its debut in Apple’s product lineup with the Apple Watch:

One of my first impressions of the WATCH user interface was that it used a lot of black. This makes the face of the device feel more expansive because you can’t see the edges. But more importantly, those black pixels are saving power and extending the life of the display. It’s rare that engineering and design goals can align so perfectly.

And from what we’ve seen so far of the watch, that black is really really black. We’ve become accustomed to blacks on LCD displays that aren’t really dark: that’s because the crystals that are blocking light let a small amount pass through. Total darkness lets the edgeless illusion work.

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My review of the GORUCK GR Echo was published today on Tools & Toys. I love GORUCK bags. I use the GR Echo almost every day for a million different things, and I never leave my house for more than three days without my GR2. In my mind, these are easily some of the best bags money can buy, and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to review the two that I own for Tools & Toys.

I think Tools & Toys is definitely becoming the best place on the Web for in-depth reviews of quality items, and I couldn’t be more proud to see my own work up there on the homepage. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to work with such talented people, and I can’t get enough of it.

As a side note, I arranged my first photo shoot ever with a model for this article and I have to say, I’m super happy with the results. I hope you guys enjoy it as well. And if you’d like to check out all the pictures from the session, I’ve prepared a Flickr album with the full-size images.

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The case for cold water shaving →

March 24, 2015 |

Here’s an unusual thought:

Shaving with cold water seems like a hardship, a practice that must be endured in Spartan living conditions. After all, it’s wet shaving doctrine that a man must always shave with hot water. It not only feels nice, it softens the beard and supposedly gives you a more comfortable shave.

But what if that advice is wrong? What if it’s actually better to shave with cold water, even when you’re not fighting the Battle of the Bulge?

Well, according to a bunch of authors in the 19th century, cold water shaving is indeed superior to shaving with hot water.

It seems counter-intuitive at first because hot water is nice and pleasant, but just keep reading. It actually makes sense in a strange, hadn’t-thought-about-it-like-that kind of way.

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The War Over Who Steve Jobs Was →

March 24, 2015 |

Steven Levy, on the differences between the two attempts we’ve seen at writing a faithful, fair biography of Steve Jobs:

[F]or this book, Apple was rolling out the red carpet for Schlender. In their new tome, Schlender and co-author Rick Tetzeli capture the thoughts of the people closest to Jobs in rare interviews seemingly granted to get the record straight. The subjects include Ive, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple’s former head of communications Katie Cotton, Pixar CEO Ed Catmull, and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. Others who were otherwise uninclined to cooperate did so at the urging of some of the aforementioned insiders. The implicit message seems to be that although almost all of those people participated in the official biography, they very much feel that the Steve Jobs they knew has still not been captured. Catmull’s authorized quote about the new book is telling: “I hope it will be recognized as the definitive history.”

Becoming Steve Jobs is the anti-Walter.

“Squandered opportunity” were some of the most frequent words used to describe Walter Isaacson’s official biography, Steve Jobs. At the time, the many of us who were hoping to get a better look at the real Steve Jobs — the actual human being behind the myth — feared this opportunity may have been lost forever. Luckily, it appears as though Becoming Steve Jobs is just the book we always hoped we’d get.

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What Eric Kim Learned Processing 164 Rolls of Film After Waiting a Year →

March 24, 2015 |

Fantastic, in-depth article on the lessons Eric Kim learned by waiting a full year before developing his film:

I often find that the longer I wait before I develop my film, the better I am able to self-edit my own photos. Not only that, but after a period of a few months of taking a photo, I forgot haven taken many photographs. Which means when I finally see the photographs a year after, I don’t remember shooting most of them.

It is always easier to criticize and edit the work of other photographers (because you aren’t as emotionally attached). But when you forget about having taken your own photographs, it is almost like you are judging another photographer’s images.

Interesting approach. I don’t think I could wait for an entire year without seeing my photos, though. It may be OK for seasoned photographers but for beginners, I’m not so sure it’s a good approach. One year is a hell of a long time during which you’re left with no objective way to gauge your progress, and whether your instincts are right or wrong. Even worse, you may end up cultivating bad habits, simply because you lacked the necessary feedback to correct them in a timely manner.

As a thought experiment, I get it. I just don’t think it’s a viable choice for me, personally. That said, the article also provides an excellent look at the many joys of shooting film and for that alone, it’s well worth your time.

Finally, I’d like to thank CJ Chilvers for recently pointing me in Kim’s direction. I owe you one, sir.

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David Cain on how to take a day off →

March 24, 2015 |

David Cain recently took a day off and this is how it went:

If that wasn’t a perfect day then there are none. The biggest difference between that day and a normal weekend day, I realize now, was that I paid little attention to the advance of time. I suspended all aspirations to shaping the future. The only goal was to enjoy the setting and characters of every moment I found myself in, which is refreshingly easy when you’re not trying to get anywhere else.

The next day I went back to work, but I didn’t feel my usual resistance to it, and I got a lot done. The unhurried quality of my Proper Day Off seemed to carry into the following workday. It gave me a distinct feeling of being fine where I was, of not needing to be past what I was currently working on.

A good friend of mine has always said, “rest is part of training”. I couldn’t agree more.

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