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Thursday, 06 December 2012


I enjoy you bargain alerts and I suspect most readers do too (and I'm an anti-capitalist lefty who thinks the earth at this moment is headed to global heat death). Perhaps your personable tone has lulled me to sleep... : )

Some unsolicited advice from one who appreciates your views on art without sharing your political views: take the money. There will always be those who feel you are wrong for some action or another. Nothing you can do about it. Take care of you and your family and keep posting.
Merry Christmas


Thanks for the Brubeck link, which I jumped on even though I have both 'Time Out' and 'Time Further Out' already ( I think - getting into my actual cabinet of CD's is a bit tough right now what with creeping office clutter...).

That your spiff went to the N.O. musicians makes it an even better deal.

Thanks again.

The Nikon V1 has an (good) EVF and very fast hybrid PD and CD autofocus too. As "not a scary DSLR" with a silent (electronic) shutter for street photography it's a decent camera.

To scotch the rumors: the RAW data from the Nikon 1 isn't cooked above ISO 400. The sensor has a mode-switch between 400 and 800 ISO to trade off dynamic range at low ISO against read noise at high ISO (i.e. the photosite capacitor size is changed trading dynamic range against kTC noise).

Plus Nikon NX Image and Capture applications added noise reduction (that couldn't be turned off) for ISO 800 and above. Other post-processing apps don't do this.

Nikon didn't help themselves by not explaining clearly what they're doing in an "enthusiast's camera" so people drew their own conclusions.

You rock.

I'll challenge everyone to match the donation my wife gave to TOP for my birthday last June. Though she won't tell me the amount I'll assume it was close to $100. A bargain among the many bargains available this shopping, er Holiday, season.

My frontal lobe reacts with this: I don't care about what you do with your money, or how you make it. I'm just here to read your blog.

Link away, my friend, link away!


Mike. I read you every day. I often buy based on your suggestions. I try to purchase through your links whenever possible. Feel no shame. You are worth every penny.

Doesn't the Nikon v1 have a 1/16000 sec flash synch shutter speed and do 60 fps bursts at 10 megapixels ?
And also take all my old c-mount lenses? And 400fps standard res video?
Seems worth $300 just to experiment with.

I bought a tower in 2011. I hate laptop keyboards, shrug.

And I have faithfully bought as many gifts as I possibly can through your links. I always do, and I subscribe. So I hope as it gets closer, your season gets merrier.

Just passing the word along: DXO currently has holiday discounts on all its software. I was pleasantly surprised to discover these price cuts this morning because I've been using a trial version of DXO Filmpack. I've always had poor color sense and I find their film emulation makes it easier for me to get what I want, color-wise. Bonus: I'm actually printing out the results on my Epson 2400 and not just viewing them onscreen!

Just a comment on Canon 50mm lens. I have not used the 50mm 1.4 but I do own the 1.8. I can't comment on whether the 1.4 is better but I can state that the 1.8 is pretty damn good! It may be more cheaply made but it performs just fine.

"...even though the last documented case of a human on Planet Earth buying a tower computer happened back in 2009."

Not quite. Laptops are fine for email or "social networking" but there's still nothing like a beautifully engineered Mac Pro to get real work done! Laptops may have become the most popular computer style but even my relatively late-model MacBook Pro trembles against my 2 x 2.4 GHz quad-core Mac Pro with 28Gb of ram and its 30" NEC PA301W color-accurate monitor! I fear not the largest of image files!

Anything lighter than 30 lbs is a girlie computer. {GD&R}


I hope the recent unpleasantness* of the Brubeck CD contretemps won't throw you off your game. Your suggestions, evaluations and judgments are the main reasons I tune in. It's easy to skip the ones I care nothing about, from entire columns (rarely) to specific product recommendations (frequently), but a great convenience to be able to click on those that interest me and be taken away to a helpful site. Nine times out of ten I would have no other ready access to the information.
TOP services, of all sorts, are worth a great deal. And I'm glad that I can pay something for them, however occasionally and indirectly.

* By the way, "the recent unpleasantness" is a phrase heard from time to time here in the South to refer to the War of Northern Aggression.

Try looking at "Eliot Porter, In the Realm of Nature" pub. by J Paul Getty Publications 2012. By Martineau and Brune. I compared both at my Local Independent Bookstore. To my eye the Martineau was far superior. I was pleased that there were two new books on Porter out this year.

I've been repeatedly/continuously tempted by some of the amazing deals. I keep visiting camerasize.com ... hmmm, I hated that K-01 when it first came out, but for $316 with IS and a 70/2.4 ? Ditto the V1 when I've been planning on replacing my Sony NEX kit with an RX100. And it's probably a good thing the LX5 sold out on panasonic.com for $199 before I got to it ! (I know it's only $50 more at B&H, but somehow that $50 makes it more compelling when it's not the camera I really want).
Each time, I remind myself of that old saying: it's not a bargain if it's something you didn't want in the first place. But I keep looking.

In response to the feedback on the Brubeck five disk set, I decided to buy one. Gone!

Now available on Amazon, five new at prices ranging from $65 to $150 (aprox.).

The Panasonic G3 kit (not just the body!) is available from B&H for $299. Camera pricing is kind of nuts right now.

Of course you should link. I bought the Brubeck set as it was a bargain Even better if you get something in exchange for bringing it to my attention. I'd hope that I'm not that unusual, I'd much rather help out someone who continues to make my day more interesting than get offended when they say/do/make an offer, that doesn't interest me. Some days I think people must go out of their way trying to find a new way to get offended.

I've tried my best to remember to use your links for practically every Amazon purchase I have made. Even when those purchases are out of TOPs realm, like the time I ordered my Niece some Unicorn covered plasters. As odd as this may be, I appreciate the work you do here and hope that the 13cents you made off of those plasters aided in keeping this site around for others to appreciate as well.

Hi Mike.

As an antidote to the occasional meanness of the Internet, and a thankyou for the daily pleasure you bring me, I hope you buy yourself something nice with the tip I just popped in your tip jar.

I'm afraid that I could only afford a token amount...


Hope you also benefited from the download version I bought - which was actually more expensive than the CDs.

Hang in Mike - Illegitimi non carborundum
Keep up the excellent work

Hey Mike,
I bought a few Christmas gifts through your affiliate links, and I'm trying to figure out if it "took". Can you see if you got credited for a DVD of "Panda Go Panda"?


[Yes indeedy! --Mike]

I would really like to buy a Mac Pro but I'm tired to wait for the new one ...

>> lambasted me yesterday

Nothing like some distance and an internet connection to breed obnoxiousness. Whatever happened to "if you can't say anything good, don't say anything"? The only thing all the venom I see spewed out on the internet does for me is make me fear we're doomed.

As an aside, I am typing this on a 64bit Windows 7 tower with 16GB of RAM and a 2 TB RAID disk array. Tower users unite!!

I was going to give you support for linking to whatever you damn well please -- it's your site after all, but then you had to knock those of us who prefer towers to laptops. So, I'm with holding my hug and warning you that god will punish you by cutting the cost of Nikon D800s by $200-300 next week, therby making you feel bad for making me feel bad.

Note #1: I would post a sarcasm alert at this point, but don't want to be accused of copyright infringement.

Note #2: Don't listen to internet idiots and keep doing what you do. A whole lot of us look forward to reading whatever you're posting every day.

That Canon 50 is a good lens and a good deal, I paid more for one used, and that was a good deal itself at the time. I'd add one of these though: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K42W4Q/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i02

And so what if you sell some stuff? People don't realize how much work it is writing the stories that wrap around those links. Not to mention, years and years of steady posting and audience-building to make TOP the commercial juggernaut that it is, raking in tens of dollars a day. They're just jealous.

Hunh. As a personal rebuttal to your critic, here's $25 in your tip jar. Consider it the equivalent of a magazine subscription, and far better than almost any print magazine, at that. Cheers.

"...even though the last documented case of a human on Planet Earth buying a tower computer happened back in 2009."

Hey, I resemble that. Exactly 2009 for me, when I made the transition from film to digital. And when this one craps out, I'll get another.

A new iMac is turnkey solution with D800, I/O for SD and USB 3.0 transfer from CF built in.

Mac Pro is a donkey for such things.

I was one of the lucky ones who read your post and utilized the link to purchase the set. I have several vinyl LP's of Mr. Brubeck's from "the day" that I enjoy, but nothing like the CD's for a good price. One Christmas morning, Mr. Brubeck and his sons played on one of the network shows, a really special Christmas gift. Thanks for paying him tribute by giving us a heads up on the CD offer.

Thank you for sharing the link to the Brubeck set, and I'm glad you made a few dollars off of it. And yes, I purchased it via your link. I for one am looking forward to a few hours of listening to one of my favorite jazz musicians. I have some of those recordings already, but this is the cheapest way for me to fill in the gaps, and I wouldn't have found it otherwise. By the way, everyone always instantly gravitates to "Take 5" when they hear Brubeck, but his genius goes way, way beyond that, from his early jazz fugues all the way to his death. A few highlights in my mind (that don't always get full attention )are "Audrey," "Autumn in our Town," and "Strange Meadowlark." Cheers!

Thanks for the link to the Brubeck CDs. Snapped up a copy. Unknown to me previously.

"And for those who will jump on me saying that the slower Canon 50mm is even cheaper than the 50mm ƒ/1.4 on sale—yes, I know, but the ƒ/1.4 is a better lens.

As a previous owner of both lenses yes, the 1.4 is a far better lens, however, a note of caution. Never rest this lens on it's front element when it is extended. It has an exceptionally weak plastic arm in its focusing mechanism that will bend out of shape. Then it's time for a service, or to get the toolkit out for the brave: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/canon/475106-canon-ef-50mm-f1-4-disassembly-procedure.html

In truth we should be paying you,

As alway in gratitude


The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 (in all its flavors/mounts) is available for $349, a drop of $140 from its earlier price, which tends to be remarkably static.

Now that's a bargain. I am gonna order mine (through your URLs of course!) later tonight.


Geeze, Mike link to whatever the hell you want. It's like people watching free TV complaining about the commercials...

I've owned both the Canon 50/1.8 and the 50/1.4. The 1.8 is a very good lens for the price. In fact, I might not even own the 1.4 if I hadn't used the 1.8 as a camera/asphalt collision prevention device. Now that I have the 1.4, I think the focus speed alone is worth the extra investment. Non sequitur: I appreciate your promotional links. If anything, you undersell and over-disclose.

Dear Mike,

I read your site very often, and I am thankful for the work you put on it.

Today I actually took the trouble to search for it and you don't have a referral link to Amazon.FR. Could you please be so kind to add one?

For what is worth, just now I discovered that I can also subscribe to TOP. Which I intend to do.

That brings me to another comment, please consider mentioning the subscription at the end of your posts every now and then. As a regular internet user I am conditioned to ignore any side frame. In case you already mention that in some blog posts, please do it more often for the sake of your attention-challenged readers like me.

Kind regards,

"the last documented case of a human on Planet Earth buying a tower computer happened back in 2009"
I bought this very same computer(macpro), the 2010 version, just back in May, I wanted to run Snow Leopard forever. Love it. Do not like small screens.

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