Requiem for a Lenscap

Farewell, then, Lens Cap for a 12-60mm Olympus lens. You leave behind a quality lens shorn of your protection, falling in the line of duty somewhere on the Paris metro system.

It is unkind to speak ill of the departed, but in this time of despair we must be honest with ourselves and each other. The only surprising thing about this tragedy is that it took so long to occur, given your predilection for leaping from the lens at the slightest brush.

We must reflect upon your creator, the good Lord Olympus, and ask him why He cannot create a lens cap across His entire range of otherwise brilliant lenses that does not suck wholeheartedly.

Lo then, for the great circle of life must continue, and we can only hope that your generic 99p replacement that, I note, comes with a lanyard which recent experience suggests will be useful, will be at least as good as you were.

Which isn’t saying much. Until then, I’m patenting my temporary protection method as the revolutionary LenSock™ – It’s Better Than Nothing. Purchase your LenSock at any reputable photographic or underwear stockist.


I am, I have come to realise, something of a hoarder of things. Not intentionally, really. Everything I purchase is bought with a firm use and goal in mind, and is kept for exactly that reason. I really do still want to play through the Legend of Zelda, which required buying the cart and the N64 to play it on. The fact that I don’t have time to play the games I have for the consoles actually currently attached to the telly, let alone the ones in boxes in the corner of the room, is besides the point.

At any rate, I’ve decided there’s a helluva lot of stuff lying around that’s going to be of more use to someone other than me, and a lot of it was photo gear. This is a win/loss record of those transactions, mainly for my own edification, but perhaps might be of use to someone studying Olympus camera gear depreciation,

Olympus E-1: The first of Olympus’ forays into the digital arena, this pro-level, weather-sealed monster was a lot of fun to use, and despite the limited resolution took photos as good as, and some would say better than, the current gear. It was a loveable, ergonomic beast, substantial without being overwhelmingly heavy and in general a lot of fun to have. Still, it shows its age badly, and as a child of the modern era being shorn of the excellent Oly image stabilisation system and it’s quirky auto-ISO handling often lead to me botching shots I would otherwise have got. Pilot error, of course, but it meant that the camera was left on the shelf more often than not and so had to find a new home. Bought: 27/09/2010 for £175.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £110.00. Lost my proverbial shirt on it. It’s an abnormally low price for it to go at. Not sure what happened there, bad timing perhaps.

Olympus 25mm Pancake: What a lovely little lens. Little being the correct word, as attached to the E-510 or E-600 it became a pocketable DSLR ‘solution’, as long as part of your solution is a coat with big pockets. At f2.8 it’s a pretty decent and very cost-effective portrait lens, but I had a hankering for faster glass that eventually left this surplus to requirements. Bought: 18/06/2009 for £147.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £146.00. Can’t argue with that result. Basically a year and a half rental for one hundred pence.

Olympus 8mm Fisheye: My first wideangle experience, much to my buddy Craig’s displeasure. But, screw that guy, I like fisheye effects. For a while, the highest quality lens I had, it got great results but results that couldn’t be used all that often unless you wanted to become known as’that fisheye guy’. Which led to it often being left at home, which led to it being partly forgotten about, especially after moving to the stellar 7-14mm lens. So onwards it travelled. Bought: 23/08/2009 for £310.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £332.09. Effectively, I was paid to photograph with this lens. I’m a pro! Well, maybe not, but it’s a net gain for me.

Sigma 18-125mm: Here’s a lens that was massively underused. It’s not that it’s a bad lens, by any stretch, and it seemed to cover a very useful range. The intention was that this would be a great ‘walkaround’ lens, for the times when I want to travel light. It more or less fulfilled that, although I often wanted to go a little wider than this let me. The downfall was that if I really wanted to travel light, I’d be carrying around my Canon S90, not a DSLR, and those times I was prepared to carry a DSLR, then I’d also be happy enough to lug around a bag of lenses as well. Bought: 16/04/2010 for £88.00. Sold: 14/01/2011 for £72.00. Well, a net loss of £16 for a poorly thought out idea isn’t too bad.

Some other, non-photo stuff:

Samsung Q1: Before there was the iPad, there was the lumpen, mis-shapen beasts called the Tablet PC, of which Samsung made quite a few. Hobbled by Microsoft’s need to have Windows running on everything, regardless of how well it suited the device, this turned out to be a wretched, glacially slow, unresponsive and fiddly experience that put me right off tablet computing in general. I’d bought it more or less on a whim to see if there was any room or need in my life for a tablet computer, with an eye on getting the then-upcoming, possibly just rumoured iPad. In retrospect, I might as well have bought a horse-drawn carriage to see if I needed a Ferrari. Bought: 29/07/2009 for £180.00. Sold: 11/04/2010 for £150.99. A frustrating, failed experiment, but not one that left me out of pocket too badly.

Palm Treo Pro: I used to love my Palm based PDA’s, either from Palm or the Sony Clie range. Enabled a lot of mobile work, in the pre-iPhone era. This was purchased partly to see what Palm was up to, after a long period of not paying much attention to the company, and partly to find out if Windows Mobile was really as loathsome as it was made out to be. Spoiler – it was. In spades. Bought: 19/12/2009 for £77.00. Sold: 11/04/2010 for £46.11. I’d probably have paid that much to have someone take it away from me.

There’s more I could list, but the exact records have been lost in prior email purges.Anyway, I must go and tend to the N64 game auctions that are barrelling towards a close as I type.

Out On A Wing

So, what’s my opinion on New Dehli, I hear no-one asking. Well, no-one, I’d tell you, but since I’ve landed I’ve either been asleep, working or stuck in the ludicrous mess that Dehli calls a transportation network, so I’m really none the wiser.

If you like inordinately difficult meetings with intransigently stubborn engineers, and the continual, pervasive, never-ending noise of car horns all damn day then Dehli is just the migrane-inducing pit for you.

I am so tired.

A patch, eh?

Our long national podcast editing nightmare looks like it is soon to be over. One was posted yesterday evening, although almost as soon as I pulled the trigger on that I stumbled across a great suite of audio clean-up tools, iZotope RX2. It’s not a magic bullet, but after spending literally hours futzing around with noise gates, pass filters and varied other filters with increasing desperation in Audacity, to little effect, I can’t help but appreciate the ease of use and effectiveness of the software.

It can’t perform miracles, but it certainly transformed a click laden audio stream from something that was really on the very borders of unlistenable and brought it down to only being somewhat annoying. As such, I fixed up and re-edited that podcast, uploading a revised version at around 2 AM. If you downloaded the previous version, I heartily recommend re-downloading the newer one. Still not great, but a substantial improvement.

Back to editing the other podcast, I suppose. I also must throw a load of still useful but ultimately under-utilised stuff on the old eBay later. Fun? Not really. But it’s a honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Well, without the payment.


A quick protip for anyone that’s attempting to reduce their calorie intake to something approaching socially acceptable levels – do not go anywhere near a 24 hour Tesco (other supermarkets are available) at eleven o’clockish at night.

This magical hour, give or take, marks the time where pastries are reduced in price for clearance, and if you’re a typical skinflint like me you might find it very hard to walk past a selection of delicious chocolate filled doughnuts costing a mere seven pence without throwing a few in your basket, and subsequently down your gullet.

The audacity of a dope

It turns out that for no reason I can fathom, the recording of my end of the podcasts so frequently mentioned over the past few days has fallen prey to some horrible gremlin or other. My best guess so far is that the signal from my external mic interface, which ought to be sampled at 48 kHz, was recorded at 44.1 kHz by the computer software, but without any resampling.

As a result, when the file is played back, there’s my compatriots on the other end of the virtual blower nattering away good and proper, and my voice sounding like I’m half asleep, or perhaps using the sort of voice disguise they used to have Gerry Adams talk with on U.K. news broadcasts. I figure that the voice data’s been stretched to cover the difference in apparent times, with a resulting pitch shift down.

With a quick-ish audio transform I can at least get the speeds back to something approaching my real-life dulcet tomes, but the sync between my side of the convo and everyone else’s is banjoed eight ways till Sunday. Which, coincidentally enough, will be about when I believe I’ll be finished fixing the damnable thing. Well, I say fixed. As best as is possible, but the quality is still degraded and clicky. Bah.

Slow going ahead, it seems, so I may have to delve into my back catalogue of half-finished articles to post, or in some cases fully finished articles that I just didn’t bother posting for miscellaneous reasons, all lost in the mists of time. There’s also an ever growing ‘Holding Pattern’ folder in my Aperture photo manager that is in need of sorting, and situations like this present an ideal opportunity to do some of that work.

See? There is truly no problem that does not present opportunity.