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Monday, 09 January 2017


That top sunset image reminds me of the mid-stage of one of Bob Ross's "Joy of Painting" shows. Next he would begin plopping silhouettes of conifers on the lower left. It's too pretty...but it's real.

Old people...Just like getting more nearsighted.

Actually, with age, our eyes don't become nearsighted, they just have an ever-lengthening close-focus limit. The correct term is presbyopia. While not the same, it's more like farsightedness (hyperopia) than nearsightedness (myopia). In farsightedness, one can't focus on close objects, but those 'beyond infinity' are in range.

As a lifelong -6 diopter myopic, I enjoy being able to look over or under my spectacles and see very close objects as clearly as an infant can. It makes working with view cameras easy; no loupe needed. :-)

[Thanks, fixed. --Mike]

>>Just like getting more nearsighted.<<

People tend to get more farsighted (presbyopic) with age.

"I'm fascinated by aging. It's really interesting, and I'm enjoying observing the effects."

When you reach your 70s I don't think you'll actually enjoy the effects.

Just walk, and walk, and walk, and walk. You get the picture. (Pun very much intended.)

NPR did a recent piece on the benefits of extreme cold. I'm a bit skeptical but don't plan to test these theories for myself.


My vision has gone from near to far-sighted steadily since I turned sixty. I know it's time for a new formula when I can follow a golf ball better with my glasses off.

Age and a lot of sun has left me with worsening cataracts that will need new lenses in both eyes. I am thinking of asking for one macro and one zoom.

Bearing in mind that the 18-55 is the kit lens, it might be more prone to variability than some. I have one that is sharp but a friend bought one which was much softer and he had to return it after comparing it with mine. Keep an eye on it. It should be very sharp except for the 55 end which is a little softer.

My XF 18-55mm gives really nice images but they are soft compared to the wonderfully sharp XF primes. "Soft" is perhaps a bit strong: images are just not as sharp as those made with the primes. However, I find that a slight modification to my sharpening technique in ACR gives me what I want. Strangely, I've not noticed the same lack of sharpness in the XF 55-200mm or XF 18-135mm zoom lenses.

I discovered something about extreme weather last year that I'd never noticed before.

Sometimes I'm out and about with my camera in very hot or very cold weather (both of which I dislike tremendously; extreme cold and wind is painful, but extreme heat and humidity is just plain loathsome).

And I'll find my attention grabbed by a good photo subject, and so I drop into that sweet zone where everything goes away but my eye and that subject, and I work the picture: bracket exposures, reframe and rethink, try some different DOFs, exhaust the possibilities. I work it.

And then I snap out of that state, and I discover that I had completely forgotten the extreme temperature. I suddenly remember that I'm actually freezing or dripping sweat. But for those few minutes, it had all just gone away. What a wonderful feeling.

Another thought: we may lose 15 degrees of tolerance for the cold as we age, but I've gained probably 25 degrees of tolerance for the cold as I aged by getting much smarter about how to dress for it, and by being able to afford good cold weather gear. A couple hours today along the East River in the 18 degree air barely fazed me. Though I am going to adopt your two-hat technique, Mike.

I can anecdotally agree with your assessment on age and weather. However, much as I hate to inform you, it does not appear to work with dogs. My two dogs are approximately 8 and 9 (I found them at separate times dumped on state parks). It was 24 all weekend here where I live in Texas and they had zero desire to go home where it was warm.... We spent a day hiking in the Sam Houston National Forest on Saturday. I think we may have hit 30 degrees if I was standing in the sun. They stalled and stalled the whole way back to the car. When we finally got there you would think getting in the car and going to home was the dog equivalent of a death sentence.

I had the 18-55 until I gave it along with my XT1 to my niece. I'm more of 28-35-50 X Pro/X100 photographer. I never had any problems with mine. I thought it was a really first rate lens and far better than most "kit zooms."

Butters is very lucky because he has snow. What my dogs wouldn't give for a day in the snow!

I moved south to escape temps like that Mike. But the other morning my thermo read 19 with a brisk wind. Felt like good ole Boston. Good news here is that cold fronts only last a few days and temps will be in 70's tomorrow. Not bad. :)

Hmmm, sounds a bit Huraki Murakami to me, the getting old and enjoying it thing...

I think I'd prefer your cold windy weather Mike! At least you can wear two hats and warm clothes. Spare a thought for the people in north western New South Wales, where temperatures are forecast to be 90F overnight and 116F daytime this Friday, which is Friday 13th. Nothing you can do about it outdoors.

I remember driving in conditions not quite that hot in an un-airconditioned car many years ago. Stopped at every town to jump fully clothed into their municipal swimming pool, then back on the road with car windows open. Temporary relief for the very short time it took for the clothes to dry out. After that I never bought a car without aircon.

Good luck with your lens. I mostly use manual focus primes now after an $800 repair to an autofocus Canon L lens several years ago. At least manual focus lenses have the potential to last several lifetimes if well stored and maintained. I intend coming back as a better photographer.

"By the way, did you know that you lose about 15 degrees of temperature tolerance over an average lifespan? Old people really do get cold more easily, because our metabolisms lose adaptability, or responsiveness, and can't adjust as easily."

Well, I'm past 70 and still enjoy the winter months hiking and photographing in the Sierras here in California, and don't feel that I get cold any more easily than I did 20 years ago.

From my Christmas holidays in the Sequoia National Forest: South Creek Falls.


A larger view here:

South Creek Falls



Ah, the weather! I'm glad I live on the western seaboard of a continent. Despite my home being just over 10º of latitude north of where you are, I've never seen temperatures of -10ºC. A really cold night in Sheffield is anything below -2ºC, perhaps, and that happens only a few times a year. I think -7ºC was the worst I ever saw, and that was just for one night. Last night was +3ºC when we retired, and +5.5ºC when I got up this morning.

[Tom, I remember writing half a dozen years ago or more about an extraordinary evening in Wisconsin when the temp dipped to –28°C. I went outside in my shirtsleeves for a few minutes just to experience it, marveling that such cold would kill me inside of an hour if I stayed out in it dressed like that. Even in five minutes I could feel the body heat being sucked out of my extremities. Amazing thought, that you could be killed by the air. --Mike]

Eyesight: yes, I suffer from presbyopia, and have worn reading glasses for about 20 years. It makes handling a camera difficult - I don't wear the glasses when actually looking through the VF, but trying to change any settings probably requires that I have them on. So it's "set and pray" most of the time.

(I got a pair of bi-focals shortly after I bought my current car. It has a hi-tech steering wheel - buttons with labels all over it and without glasses I can't read them. So the lower part of the eyeglass is optical and allows me to read the steering wheel (!) while the main part of the eyeglass is plain and allows me to see the road ahead clearly. This works really well in the car - in my normal seating position the dividing line lies along the lower edge of the windscreen so I'm not normally aware of it. But walking around outside while wearing them is really disconcerting.)

I wish I could remember who said "the second worst thing that can happen to you is getting old" but I'm not remembering that sort of thing so well.
Google is no help, maybe I said it?

Lovely sunset snap/grab/shot/pic/image/exposure/photograph/etc., Mike. Sunsets (via Galen Rowell) is what got me to love photography decades ago.

I bought the 18-55mm zoom when I entered Fujiworld because I figured it would come in handy...and because with offers and rebates it was very cheap as part of the X-E2 kit, so why not?

I've been very pleasantly surprised with it from the moment I took it out of the box and exclaimed out loud "how small is this thing!?". Until the 14mm came around it was my fast wideangle.

Nowadays it's been relegated to do-it-all-when-I'm-out-with-the-family lens duty, and it fulfils this duty admirably.

I've never found mine to be soft outside of stress areas (wide open at close focus distance), but then again, I don't tend to use it for pictures where I'm overly worried about extreme sharpness.

One thing I've found has improved over the years with the firmware updates is focusing speed, so be sure to update it whenever it gets a new version.

"Presbyopic"? A Presbyterian with failing eyesight?

As for the two-hat cold, please mail some Down Under. We are sweltering through summer down here, as usual, and would absolutely love some cold, blizzardish weather.


Which two hats, after the recent "Great Hat Search" ?

[The New Zealand possum-fur watch cap, and the Golightly cashmere one. Neither one is bad but neither is either one particularly warm alone. --Mike]

I have the 18-55, which was included in the kit I purchased off of that auction site. I was nervous about the purchase, but it has worked out extremely well. Truth be told I haven't used the 18-55 much since I tend to use primes, both adapted manual focus lenses (Zuiko and Hexanon) and the Fuji 18/2. The latter is very good except for being a tad softer at the edges and exhibiting chromatic aberration nearer the edges. I have no idea how to deal with that, which is on a long list of skills I need to acquire.

My favourite lens to use is the Zuiko 28/2.8 which, especially in b&w, seems to have been made for the X system. (Were Maitani re-incarnated would he be working for Olympus or Fuji?)

The Hexanon 28/3.5 is mounted on the X-Pro right now, but I think I will swap it out for the 18-55 and get reacquainted. The lens-based stabilization would benefit me. I remember being surprised by its performance when I first got it. Maybe we should plan an outing together.

Temperature tolerance. Also get a check of thyroid functioning (a simple blood test). Intolerance of cold is a symptom of hypothyroidism. It is readily corrected with a daily hormone pill which costs cents (well, it does here; goodness knows what it costs in the USA).

I also moved to the tropical islands north of Australia. Makes quite a difference. LOL.

Re: IS use. Some of us using Olympus m43 cameras were having trouble with unsharpness a few years ago (apart from the ubiquitous shutter shock). We discovered that the trouble was the IBIS -- when we did everything right to hold the camera steady, the IBIS introduced unsteadiness! Hold the camera out and use the LCD for viewing and voila, sharp images! Obviously the IS was good for grosser movements, not the fine movements when the camera was mashing into the face with an eye level viewfinder.

I think I detected the same with the OIS of the Panasonic 45-200 on the G1.

Note that both manufacturers recommended turning the IS off when using a tripod.

I made it a practice to turn the IS off for all work unless otherwise indicated, e.g. with slow shutter speeds and whatnot.

It seems not to be a problem with more recent gear.

Cheers, Geoff

Interesting that you, of all people, bought a zoom !

As a long term prime enthusiast myself, I've also made the U-turn regarding zooms last year. I bought the same lens as you, second-hand. And I made the same observation: it can be sharp enough, but sometimes it is not as sharp as it can be.

I've not been able in the two months I've owned it to find rhyme or reason to that, but thanks to Scott and others for pointing out the IS. It makes sense, given that it can happen at 1/250 and f/8, where speed and dof otherwise dictate I should be ok. I've tested some other lenses for that very effect previously, and never encountered a practical problem with leaving IS on at all time, so this is new for me. Now to remember to turn it on and off... Bummer !

The lens really needs to be reworked by Fuji : add WR, tighten the aperture ring, and make it a real aperture ring with markings. We're smart enough to understand that between the F2.8 and F4 marks, actual aperture will be dependent on the focal length according to specs. Oh, and make it go to 70mm on the long end, thanks ! (I dream of f4/24-90.)

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