Canon mirrorless versus Sony?

Now that we have near-Biden levels of free cash to spend (rent in Florida is cheaper than property tax plus lawn mowing in Maskachusetts and our neighborhood has a lot more to offer, especially for kids, than where we used to live), it is time to upgrade the household camera bodies. I have a few Sony lenses, both for full-frame and APS-C. I have lots of Canon EOS lenses, but they’re for the traditional SLRs, not for the new RF mount (which can use the old lenses via an adapter, e.g., when it is time to take pictures of birds).

Sony’s sensors were so much better than Canon’s for so long that I stopped using Canon, but DXOMARK says that the EOS R5 is competitive with Sony (14.6 stops of dynamic range, compare to 13.6 for the EOS 5D IV (2016), 11.7 for the EOS 5D III (2012), and 14.5 for the Sony A1).

Tony and Chelsea Northrup found that the Canon delivered a higher percentage of usable images of moving subjects than the Sony A1, which has a faster frame rate and costs more. The test might not have been fair, though, because of differences in lenses used, adapters, etc.

A friend loves his Nikon Z system (#SonySensorsInside), but I don’t have any Nikon lenses or bodies, so I’d like to stick with Sony or Canon.

Anyone here played around with the Canon R5 or the Sony A1? I’m leaning toward the Canon because it is cheaper, will let me use the legacy specialized lenses, and I never made peace with the Sony interface and software. On the other hand, Sony seems to be a lot more devoted to this market than Canon, which can’t even be bothered to ship a conventional SLR body with a decent sensor (last upgrade to the EOS 5D was five years ago!). I don’t see how, in the long run, the market can be big enough for more than one company and Sony’s annual revenues are $81 billion versus only about $30 billion for Canon. Combine the difference in financial resources with Sony’s demonstrated passion to take the market away from Canon and I think Sony is the better long-term bet.

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The only way to win is not to play

A group chat in which a friend with a 12,000-square-foot house describes his efforts at updating the home theater with built-in ceiling speakers:

  • friend: My house has built in 5.1 speakers in the ceiling, but I assume off-axis sound is crap?
  • friend: I really want Dolby Atmos now. It has real 360 degree placement and sky effects.
  • friend (1.5 hours later): Bought a Pioneer Elite 11.1 channel Dolby ATMOS receiver. 12 speakers and full virtual sound placement including above you. It’s going to be incredible.
  • me: we don’t have a TV

Separately, one of the advantages of living in an apartment complex/small town environment as we do is that kids can do some contemporary anthropology while out on dog walks. The 6-year-old, as part of a not-so-subtle lobbying campaign against domestic tyranny that is preventing him from watching beloved shows and movies, noted that everyone single apartment or house in the neighborhood has a TV and “they even have it on in the morning.” (we had a TV when we lived in Maskachusetts, but also a rule that we couldn’t watch anything until after dark)

Assuming that the kids can prevail over Senior Management, what size TV would make sense in our apartment? We have almost unlimited wall space for the TV. Viewing distance is 8-9′. There is no obvious place for rear channel speakers, so the sound would have to come from the TV itself or maybe some speakers on the furniture that holds up the TV.

THX says (scroll down), “we recommend you measure the distance between your couch and where your TV will be located (in inches). Then multiply that number by .835, and that should help you determine what screen size you should get.” But then they also say “or 4K or UHD TV sets, the process is a little different since the nearer you sit to these models, the more detail you’ll be able to pick up.” (and then they fail to disclose any process!)

The 0.835 factor works out to at least an 80″ TV and it would be at least 4K resolution so actually they are recommending something bigger than 80″ in our 1,950 square foot apartment! Maybe this 77″ LG OLED? Everyone who came over would say “Wow. You guys must really love watching TV!”

SMPTE uses a smaller factor. This calculator shows the alternatives. One could be nearly 11′ back from an 80-inch TV according to SMPTE (i.e., the people who make the movies), but to see every pixel with young eyes you’d want to get up to within 5′ of a 4K TV.

What about a 65″ TV that a more normal family might purchase? The above-cited calculator says that THX recommends sitting no more than 7.2′ away and SMPTE recommends no more than 8.8′ away.

What did my friend buy for his home theater? Sony 77-inch OLED for $3,000. (Runs the Google OS, so in the long run it will protect you from viewing harmful content, e.g., anything that suggests that weekly COVID-19 vaccines are not in an average 8-year-old’s best interest.) He also has an 86-inch LG “nanocell” TV that cost $1,800:

It is great in normal room light. It is tolerable in a dark room for most content. It was horrible for watching Jack Ryan Without Remorse on Netflix, as the entire movie was dark. Once you see the uneven lighting in the blacks, you can’t unsee them.

So, there are two solutions. One is the Samsung Neo QLED, which has enough local dimming to do a good job of helping black areas, but it is so close to the price of an OLED that I don’t think it makes sense, except again for daylight viewing.

For OLED, there are two to consider. Sony and LG. For 77 inch, Sony is $3000, and LG is $2900. For 83 inch, Sony is $8000 and LG is $5300. They are both great, but the Sony has a better processor and comes pre-calibrated. The LG comes set up for sports and needs a bunch of work to make it work as well as the Sony for movies. I ran a poll on a Facebook group for DolbyVision, and people there voted on the Sony by 2:1.

Related:

  • Wikipedia article on organic LEDs shows that the earliest producers of practical OLED panels are now irrelevant and/or actually bankrupt (e.g., Kodak (out of bankruptcy with a market cap comparable to a day of sales for the iPhone with its included camera), Pioneer (stopped making TVs in 2010; delisted in 2018), Sanyo (acquired by Panasonic))
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How will the Afghan refugees get washing machines? (WSJ)

“Why It’s Easier to Find Expensive Appliances Than Cheaper Ones” (WSJ):

Whirlpool, GM and other companies are prioritizing higher-price products as they try to offset supply-chain snarls

“There was a day when a customer could walk in the door and buy a secondary piece or a landlord special and have 100 options to choose from,” said Mr. Coughlin, a co-owner of All Shore Appliance in Port Washington, N.Y. “Now it’s more along the lines of, we explain to the customer what we have.”

As the global supply-chain crisis snarls production and bloats manufacturing and shipping costs, companies that make products from lawn mowers to barbecue grills are prioritizing higher-priced models, in some cases making cheaper alternatives harder or impossible to find, company executives, retailers and analysts say.

Some are pushing upscale products in an effort to make up for added labor, shipping and manufacturing costs. Whirlpool Corp., maker of washing machines, KitchenAid mixers and other home appliances, said in July it would shift toward higher-price products as part of a plan to help cover rising costs.

General Motors … stopped making the Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan for more than six months, but has kept all shifts running at a factory that makes its most expensive SUVs. The average new vehicle in September sold for a record $42,800, up nearly 19% from a year earlier, according to research firm J.D. Power.

Televisions are among items for which cheaper models are becoming scarcer, said Mike Abt, co-president of Chicago appliance seller Abt Electronics. He said the price he pays for appliances is rising and he expects that to continue next year. For the first time he can remember, the price of televisions has actually increased—they typically get cheaper every year.

A tough time to be setting up a new household as a refugee, but perhaps the U.S. Treasury has enough cash to buy the high-end LG front-loaders?

Related:

  • for those of us already sick with envy, some additional motivation to support President Biden’s Tax the Rich proposals… “Gulfstream Adds Two Models To Its Large-Cabin Line of Business Jets” (AVweb): The $71.5 million G800 adds 500 nautical miles of range (8,000 NM) to that of its 10-foot-longer, larger-cabin G700 sibling, the in-development $75 million flagship of the Gulfstream fleet scheduled to enter service next year. … At the other end of the scale, the $34.5 million G400 updates the “entry level” of the large-cabin line (the smaller-cabin G280 is classed as super-midsize). The 4,200-NM-range G400 is slated to make its first flight in early 2023.
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No, no, no on Windows 11

Today is the official launch of Microsoft’s Windows 11. How’s my $2,500 state-of-the-art-in-2015 PC doing with the new software? Here’s the report from PC Health Check:

I thought that I had filled out all of my TPS reports, but apparently there is no Trusted Platform Module in my PC. This is because the idea is new? I think it goes back to 1986 when IBM Watson developed ABYSS (1990 paper), in which a secure coprocessor decrypts software before it is run, first checking to see if the user has the right to execute the code (the ultimate copy protection hammer!).

Who here is actually running Windows 11? Is it a whole new world of awesomeness that would justify days of pain to set up a new PC, transfer applications from the old PC, move hard drives, etc.? And how many kidneys would I have to donate to get a GPU? Just one? Or two and then go on dialysis?

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When you love books enough to murder them: 1DollarScan.com

A couple of months ago: Has anyone tried a book scanning service for Kondoization or pre-move preparation?

I’ve got the first batch of results from 1DollarScan now and the scanned pages are in paper recycling Heaven. This is a review of their cheapest possible service: $1/100 pages and no OCR, no enhancement, and no naming of the files. Mailing books to San Jose via USPS Media Mail costs roughly $1 per book. Once the scans come back, you start with a page like this:

I downloaded them, opened each up to see what it was, and then renamed the file using Windows File Explorer. I then let my state-of-the-art PC (circa 2015) do a batch OCR via Adobe Acrobat Pro (a few clicks and then 4 hours of runtime for 28 books). Maybe due to watermarking, the files are epic in size, 70-100 MB for a regular book-type book and 200-300 MB for the technical manuals and cookbooks. A couple of the books hit 400 MB, but were reduced in size somewhat after the OCR process. (If you want to preserve the original quality from 1dollarscan, use the “Searchable Image (Exact)” setting for OCR in Acrobat; that leaves the scans unmolested and just builds the OCR database in a separate data structure behind it.) The Acrobat Pro Preflight tool says that the images within the PDFs are “300 ppi”.

How do the scans look? Here’s a book on bicycle maintenance that I thought would be tricky:

A cheaply printed book with 40 years of acid destroying the pages (how to slice a banana without peeling using needle and thread):

A book where the color is not from the acid:

A Wall Street Journal book on estate planning (timely topic now that the Democrats say they are working to change all of the rules!) in which color is used as a sidenote background:

(If your child lives in Massachusetts, a family court predator can easily take all of the trust assets via child support (over the 23-year period during which child support is ordered, not all in one lump). A parent creating a trust in Nevada or South Dakota cannot necessarily undo the child’s mistake of being exposed to the family courts in other states. Your child can simply be put in prison by the judge (“contempt of court”) unless the amount ordered is paid, either by the child or by the trust and therefore it may not matter, from a practical point of view, what the trust documents say.)

Perhaps the toughest challenge of all, some handwritten bound journals from the late 1980s. Some notes on a finite-state machine implemented in Programmable Array Logic (PALs). I think this is for reading the bits from and syncing the clock to a digital audio output of a CD player.

There wasn’t much they could do about my handwriting, but the scans are sharp and zooming in from the PDF should be just as good for deciphering as having the physical page (not that I have the physical page anymore).

So far, I would say that this service delivered everything promised.

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Meth head Sudafed policies adapted for PC sales

A lot of retail in Cambridge, Maskachusetts did not survive the coronapanic shutdowns and mask orders. Micro Center did however, and while up in Boston to retrieve the Cirrus SR20 I stopped in for nostalgic purposes. These are photos from August 26, 2021, shortly before the City of Cambridge went back to its indoor mask order (coronaplague was an emergency on August 27 when the order was enacted, but they decided to let COVID-19 rage until September 3 when the order went into effect), so masks were optional and, in fact, mask usage in the store was lower than the observed voluntary average in Palm Beach County.

As you can see from the below, people can’t buy a PC or video card without presenting a government-issued ID, similar to the process that would be required to purchase Sudafed (a precursor to meth, or so I am told). Even motherboards are limited to 1 per household. (When everyone in the same house uses a single PC, privacy can be compromised; see Au pair to green card.)

And, since I like to follow the examples set by our Presidents (even the one-termers)…. let’s remember that this is Pearl Harbor Day. (“I wonder how many Americans remember today is Pearl Harbor Day. Forty-seven years ago to this very day we were hit and hit hard at Pearl Harbor and we were not ready.”

“In a Bush administration that lesson would not be forgotten,” said Bush, who was a Navy flier decorated for combat missions during the war. “It would guide my defense and foreign policy.”)

Should we be grateful to meth heads for preparing U.S. retailers to distribute motherboards, graphics cards, and PCs?

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Pre-move discoveries of things that we owned…

A floppy disk in a filing cabinet…

And then a 5.25″ floppy! (“Mini” because it isn’t 8″ in diameter)

Two baby carriages (our youngest is almost 6)

Inch-thick folder of vet documents for Alex the Samoyed, who died in 2009, including instructions on how to inject a dog or cat with an intramuscular vaccine (but we’re told to worship the health care professionals who stick us with COVID-19 vaccines?):

Cleaning the dog’s teeth was $700 back in 2005. Lately the same place has been charging closer to $3,000.

Windows XP “Start Here” booklet. (Plus a bunch of accessories to go with a PC that was running XP. Which reminds me… who can think of a truly important Windows 10 feature that wasn’t also there on XP?)

Chinese pumpkin seeds that expired in 2018 (hiding behind some batteries in a kitchen drawer):

Multiple flip-phones, still a better design in my opinion!

A cleaning system for those valuable CDs:

An amazing Nakamichi clock radio with a long wire so that a second speaker can be placed on the opposing night table. Wake up to NPR and hear some more about January 6!

Deeply buried in a box of clutter that hadn’t been opened since at least 2014:

Printed tables of function values that were too tedious to compute:

A businessperson-turned-politician that we laughed at (but at age 66, wouldn’t she likely do a better job than Uncle Joe?):

It was not a “tough choice” to discard Tough Choices.

Kodak Carousel projector, improved with a Schneider lens, and accessories.

Decommissioned (I hope!) EPIRBs/PLBs.

“The unexamined life is not worth living” certainly applies to boxes in the garage!

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Knocking it out of the park with high-end audio

I stopped by Goodwin’s High End, an audio store that has been going reasonably strong since 1977. Coronapanic has been great for business. Governors helpfully locked people into their homes where they had little else to do other than seek maximum sound quality. “We have customers in all 50 states now,” said Alan Goodwin.

What’s state of the art in turntables these days? A $120,000 Basis:

What if you want to listen to digital? You download, maybe from hdtracks.com, to a local specialized server and connect that to a microwave-sized D/A converter:

Streaming is generally best for browsing rather than critical listening, but if you must stream, Tidal and Qobuz are reasonable options.

Electrostatic speakers are no longer in. It is all about dynamic speakers, individually priced only slightly more than a new car.

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Has anyone tried a book scanning service for Kondoization or pre-move preparation?

We have a lot of books that aren’t quite important enough to pack and move from Maskachusetts to the Florida Free State, but that don’t seem ready for the dumpster. For example, some rarely used dessert cookbooks (they were great when I was a 16-year-old and could eat 6,000 calories per day! Note that Maida Heatter lived to 102, dying shortly before coronapanic.) Also, the textbooks that I was using at the same time as these dessert cookbooks. What if one day I want to look at an intro calculus text that doesn’t approach integration from a social justice point of view nor remind the reader that Taylor series were developed by a woman (if Brook Taylor identified as a “man”, why did he/she/ze/they call him/her/zir/them-self “Brook”?)?

Paging through these tomes with Adobe Scan on one’s phone would be tedious indeed. There are, however, some companies that specialize in inexpensive scanning of books. In a process that should delight Marie Kondo, the physical book is destroyed in the process (Kondo doesn’t have anything to say on the subject of digital clutter). The binding is cut so that the freed pages can be automatically fed into a scanner. 1dollarscan.com seems impossibly cheap. At 300 DPI, they say that they charge $1 for every 100 pages and the price triplesfor 600 DPI. OCR is an extra $1/100 pages. As is changing the PDF file name(!). So a 400-page cookbook at 300 DPI could be only $4 (OCR it yourself if you’re an Acrobat Pro subscriber; open it up and then change the filename).

USPS has pretty low rates for shipping books (“Media Mail”). I’m wondering if it would make sense to send 50 percent of our library to the dumpster, 30 percent to a destructive book scanning service, and 20 percent to the Florida Free State where the books can serve as a background to people staring at phones.

Readers: Has anyone tried 1DollarScan or a competitor?

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Longest terms and conditions document for consumers? (177 pages at National rental car)

Signing up to the National Emerald Club since the U.S. is mostly out of rental cars and Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise are no longer sufficient….

How long are these Ts & Cs?

Is this a record? Here’s some of the stuff that I’m supposed to read now and remember perhaps a few years from now when it is time to visit Nicaragua:

On the other hand, maybe it will be sooner. The ruling party there seems to realize, as we do, that preventing citizens from hearing opposition voices is the best path to stable government: “Fifth presidential candidate detained in Nicaragua; 15 opposition leaders now detained in total” (CNN, June 21). Certainly, Nicaragua can teach us a lot about how to control COVID-19. As of June 22, the country had suffered 188 COVID-19-tagged deaths in a population of 6.5 million. Compare to New Jersey: nearly 26,377 deaths in a population of 9.3 million (Census 2020, though it is unclear if Census documents account for the undocumented.)

Readers: Who has ever seen a longer terms and conditions document from a company offering goods or services to consumers?

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