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Thursday, 18 October 2018


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If you don't like tea... why drink it?
Water is just fine for many of us.
Lemonade with real lemons, even better.
Cranberry Juice, Orange Juice and other varieties add spice to the day.

There is a Moroccan mint tea that is quite tasty, for those rare moments when I want a hot drink and coffee isn't the right thing. Other mint teas need not apply.

As a coffee aficionado I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but all the adjectives you ascribe to coffee can be applied to matcha, the more concentrated, healthier, richer version of green tea. It's also super fun to make. Here's a quick visual: https://matchasource.com/how-to-prepare-matcha-green-tea/

For things you use every day my mantra is to buy the best you can afford. For example, I bought a Porche Designed kettle, where form meets function and get pleasure from it with every use.

If you use a lens regularly then the same advice applies.

"Water that has been made to taste bad" is the best description I've read yet of green tea. I say this with a cup of bad-tasting water in hand, as I'm also making the shift from delicious coffee for health reasons. My sympathies.

RE: Switching to Tea

I did similar but found a single (Italian expresso 2 oz) cup daily, brewed with a stove top expresso maker, satisfies me, and adds reasonably small amount of coffee's additives.

Restricting choice to the 35-55mm range. I have the perfect for me lens - m4/3rds Olympus 17mm f1.8. Small, light with manual focus included.

And, it produces really lovely photographs, nothing more to add.

Tea, a drink from rotten leaves.

Stay with the coffee! (Just watch the quantity.)
Life's too short not to enjoy the LITTLE pleasures.

Holding breath until 3 months for your weight loss report.

[Only five weeks more to go, I'm a month and three weeks into it. --Mike]

The secret of weight loss has been out for a long time (forgive my french);
Eat less $hT, and produce more $hT.

I take my coffee... fairly seriously, and though I rarely have more than cup a day, I can't imagine ever giving it up. What I have switched to however (to cut down on my sugar intake) is Saffron (green) tea- it doesn't have all the health benefits of nasty tasting Green or Matcha, but it doesn't do any harm either, and is quite pleasant to drink!

If you don't like green tea, it is just as likely you have not met a tea you like. I can make some suggestions,

Wuyi oolong is a perfect tea for a coffee lover. It brews a sweet cup with notes of cherry and chocolate. And all of the health benefits attributed to green tea are attributed to oolong tea as well. I really love this Yunnan black tea, which was what I would make for myself when I got to the office (coffee at home, bike commute, tea at work). https://www.rishi-tea.com/product/ancient-golden-yunnan-organic-fair-trade-black-tea/black-tea Black tea is also good for you.

Maybe you don't like how leafy and vegetal the tea tastes? Then maybe green tea isn't for you. White tea is made of only young leaves and tips, which are less vegetal tasting when brewed. Or try doubling down and get kukicha to get even more vegetal, just to see if that's what you dislike. Rishi will pack you sample packs of many varieties for $2 apiece. The samples are each enough for about 2 cups of tea, so it is a good way to find what you like.

And you have not tasted tea until you've had tea from Spirit Tea. They only source rarer, more expensive tea, but it is worth it. Maybe try one (or three) of their samplers: https://spirittea.co/new-products/white-and-green-tea-sampler-set.

Meanwhile, I also have the perfect lens. It's a Sigma 30mm f/2.8. It comes fixed on a DP2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeespoonr/45076856032/

I can ruin the dieting surprise: carbohydrates are the problem. Restrict your carb intake to less than 25-50 g/day and eat good fats (olive oil, grass fed butter, and coconut oil---but NO VEGETABLE oils!) and good meats: bacon, grass-fed beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and you'll switch your body into ketosis and the pounds will melt away. Its not a temporary thing, however, if you increase your carb intake, the weight will return.

I agree regarding the Olympus 17 1.8, have it, use it, love it.

So sorry for your coffee fast, only worthwhile if that is the path to weight loss.

I liked your rant. There are a whole bunch of different cliques in photography, one being the engineering clique. Engineers (or people with that mindset) are interested in sharpness, and they take over camera forums because sharpness is something you can define and compare and all that. Art is more difficult to talk about; you can't even define the terms. However, I can't think of any great photographer who was really hung up on sharpness. Even the f64 folks named their group more in reaction to artificial softness ("pictorialism") than to a fascination with sharpness.

As for diets, I'll be interested to see what happens, but a few words on one you may not be using. I read recently somewhere that older people tend not to get enough protein. I examined my diet, and realized that applied to me. So, I started having blueberry/powdered protein shakes for breakfast. Not a huge number of calories -- less than the average breakfast, especially if you use non-fat milk -- and you don't get hungry again very quickly. In fact, I often skip a lunch entirely, and don't eat again until six or seven. 1500 calories often does me for a day.

I have found the strong caffeinated coffee I make gives me jitters. So half decaf has taken care of that. Finding good decaf beans however is a challenge. I don't roast my own beans, however I am a bit crazy about the rest of the process. Time/water filtered, measured,water temperature/grind/coffee weighted on a gram scale- all finely controlled.

Tea? Lipton will do.

Can't say I have a favorite lens. They are tools for differing subjects.

Despite my commenting on various previous posts about how I have old manual lenses on a 5D blah blah.... You named the lens I've shot with most, the Panasonic Leica 25mm/1.4 which I had been carrying daily on my M4/3 bodies. It's an excellent lens and easy to slip into my pannier when I ride to work but.... @Andy Munro mentions (above) the Olympus 17mm/1.8 and now that I've recently acquired one of those, it's giving the 25mm a run for it's money. The 17 is very pleasing even if not quite as sharp and warm as the 25. It's an embarrassment of riches, yes, and, as a sage once said, if I can't take a good picture with either of these lenses, it's not the fault of the lens.

If green tea is too bitter for you, maybe you are using water that is too hot? After boiling the water, wait one whole minute at least before pouring onto leaves. I usually go to two minutes. And don't brew too long.
*Oolong*, not *Toolong* ;-) Sorry!

Anyhooo... back to lenses.

I have a strange love-want-something-else relation with the Panasonic 20 (I have the second version). I keep thinking I should replace it with something... wider (PL 15) or longer (PL 25) or longer still (Sigma 30, the new one). But when I use it (which is often) I love the pictures I can make with it, especially close up. I think that it is under-appreciated in the m43 community, even though it is very well liked.

My solution thus far is to leave it attached to my GX-7 and think of that combo as my X100P. Now that I have a `fixed' lens camera I love, I can indulge other lens fantasies for my interchangeable lens bodies. Alas, due to lack of funds, these remain only fantasies for the time being.

I’ve been on decaf for a year. With Nespresso at least, I really can’t tell the difference.

I've read the first 13 comments and from them, I suggest you change the title of your post from "In search of perfect lenses" to "In search of perfect tea".
Have you heard of AKBAR Premium 100% Ceylon tea? If not, try it and tell us what you think.

Wait a minute! There's something unhealthy with coffee?

Come on man...5 weeks more! Better send me private email cuz at 75 I may not last that long :-) Actually I'm on a really good exercise roll and so lucky to have a huge community forest at my back door with nice trails and all they do is go UP! Last two 9 mile walks have totaled 4,000 feet of climb. BUT I can't lose any weight. So waiting for your secret and drinking 2 nice cups of coffee in morning - I'd rather die than drink tea.

Mike, before you ditch coffee altogether: coffee is good for your liver, see https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/liver-information/diet-and-liver-disease/coffee-and-the-liver/ and elsewhere in medical literature. Make sure you have it before lunch to avoid sleep problems.

Early this year I was advised I had pre-diabetes. I was 81kg and just over 5'5". I stopped alcohol and all foods with a sugar content above around 6%, though most are way less than that. I eliminated all processed foods and severely cut the carbohydrates. Ten months later I have a sustained weight of 67kg and feel great! I'll be interested to hear if your diet is similar.

As for tea, I'm a regular drinker, but never, ever, tea bags. Eeewwwww. Like putting a used dish mop in a cup of hot water. Tea made with actual loose tea, on the other hand, can be very refreshing. I use Dilmah. Not sure if it's available in your part of the world.

Ideal lens? Mine's a Summicron 5cm f/2 collapsible LTM - great for b&w film. Though I lust after the Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8 LTM, but can't afford one.

A foole and his money is soone parted. Pick your favorite fooleishness. Feel free to waste money however you please—audio, fine food, vacations, whatever.

I drink coffee, matcha green tea and Morning Thunder (black tea and roasted maté). All three have caffeine (good for circulation). The matcha green tea also contains anti-oxidants. I've had a-fib all my life, and my Cardiologist has no problem with my caffeine consumption. My Vascular Surgeon likes the fact that I have normal blood pressure at my toes (due to good circulation).

When I make coffee I use a French Press Coffee Maker https://amzn.to/2PG9BKZ I use a mixture of french roast coffee (home ground) and green tea leaves. Tastes good ...and is good for you.

I, too, am deeply addicted to coffee but that, IMO, is considerably better than the addiction to those libations that once held me captive. At my last physical my doc, who is also a heavy caffeine user, upon noting my daily Java consumption, simply said "That's really a lot of coffee but what the hell".
So far as weight control goes, it's simple: calories in should not exceed calories out. And keep the body in motion for the better part of each day. And t'hell with green tea!

Pentax FA 43/1.9 Limited

Re: coffee vs tea.

I avoid weird fruity teas (bergamot doesn't count here) and stick to black tea. I've never had a horrible cup of tea.

Considering how little coffee I've drunk during my lifetime, I've had a lot of terrible coffee. Dear god how bad most coffee is.

But every once in a while I take a leap of faith and order a cup of espresso and get a good one. Never had a tea that came anywhere close. But I've never had tea that made me question all my life choices up to the point that I sipped on the hot beverage in question.

Disclaimer: I've never had fancy tea.

Weight-loss guess: intermittent fasting.

: )

Looking forward to your report!

My perfect lens just a hair out of the range: Nikkor 58mm f/1.4

(I agree with the 35-55 range though...35mm is 10 degrees diagonal angle of view wide of 43mm and 55mm is 10 degrees long of 43mm. That's a nice "normal" range).

Green tea is very sensitive to water temperature and getting this right can make a big difference ... but you probably knew that.

I drink one coffee a day. In the morning. And never more. Except on vacation in Europe, where I will have an extra one sometimes because espresso there is a lot better than the average shot here.

The 'secret of weight-loss' is to eat little enough that your body decides it needs to convert fat reserves into energy. For good evolutionary reasons it does not like to do this, and it will tell you so: the way it does that is called 'hunger'. So if you aren't feeling slightly hungry most of the time you will not lose weight long-term, unless you are using appetite-suppressants like caffeine &c.

Buy the lens Mantra? Then the camera? Mine is a 50 f1.4 Summilux on the optical rangefinder Leica. I've tried but do not like the EVF. There was one Fuji that was pretty good, I forget which, but it had a fixed lens. Tried all the Leicas side by side with my RF and still not impressed.
Not a tea drinker per se, but the best tea I've ever tasted was in Thailand. Might have had something in it.

Mike, I love your rants.Maybe because they so often align with my thoughts. keep it up.

I can’t live without my coffee, but like Daniel, I don’t have to drink a lot. A double espresso in the morning and maybe another one at night if I have a night shift and that’s it. Most hotels have replaced the small paper filter machines they used to have with either instant coffee ( aaaghh ) or instant nespresso machines ( double aaaghhh ). In those cases I prefer a cup of tea.

I sympathize with your coffee situation! I, too, love that "rich, full-bodied, aromatic, tasty and deeply satisfying elixir," and the morning ritual that accompanies it. But I became caffeine-intolerant several years ago (as it sounds like you have.)

I tried every alternative and was disappointed by all but one. When I finally found a great decaf coffee the smile returned to my face. Sacrilege to the faithful, I know, but they do exist. Tea was just never the same experience for me.

The key is the right blend. I highly recommend Stumptown Trapper Creek (available online.) And as coffee roasting is now firmly entrenched in the locavore craze, there may be something closer to your neck of the woods that would satisfy.

It should also be noted that all non-herbal tea (including green tea) contains some caffeine, and some tea has quite a lot. Caveat emptor!

Cut a ginger root and put it in hot water.
Tastes very nice after getting used to and is has healthy benificiairies.

Perfect is easy. Deciding what it should be perfect for is the hard part.

So, I should purchase whatever lenses I wish, but don’t “overbuy” on a car? I’m confused ...

Perfect lenses? I could say drop out every lens in your list and leave it totally empty for total accuracy on the basis that nothing is perfect but instead I'll suggest you left the Olympus 25mm f/1.2 PRO out of your list. Near enough is good enough and near enough to perfect in a lens is a lens you don't want to do without.

I have a (relatively rare) Soviet Helios-44 2/58 in Pentax K-mount, and despite it being manual focus, and needing the green button for stopped-down metering on my old Pentax K-5, it produces some of the most perfect B&W portraits, with a character you don’t find from modern lenses.

Mike, I did not take your perfect lens comments as crabby at all. There is nothing in this world that is perfect for all things. Only tools that are best for the job at hand. I have a lot of lenses, way too many perhaps, but I use them for what they are best at as needed. As I noted earlier I love the softness of my fathers old Nikon 50mm F1.8 pancake lens, it really produces a beautiful image when used at F1.8 with very limited focus area and wonderful boken in 90+ % of the image. And that is useful even on a Nikon D810 or D850. I also have quite a few of the new Sigma Art series and they excel at producing extremely sharp images edge to edge even wide open. I purchased all of my lenses for very specific reasons/shoots and use them as needed.

Enjoy the tea, and good luck on the weight loss, I've always been on the other small minority, would love to add 10-20 pounds pretty much my entire life, food just moves through me too fast.

How good are new lenses? From the optical bench perspective I mean.
I did pose this question to Roger Cicala on his website but so far haven't seen an answer. Most lenses now, I believe, need to be tested with their camera platform.

When Olympus first brought out their m4/3 lenses they made a big thing out of in-camera software correction. Maybe the software stuff is minor but if so, how important is it to the performance of the lens? Someone once said that you could focus a pop bottle if you knew the math so can these lenses stand on their own?

Fifty years from now will we be searching for that gem lens from 2018 or will we even be able to use them?

I have no idea if it's true and I can't remember my source, but my understanding is that caffeine in humans has a half-life of about 5 hours. So my usual post-lunch 2 pm "flat white" is still half there at 7 pm, and one quarter there when I go to bed at midnight. My rule of thumb is no more than 3 espresso coffees per day, and no later than 2 pm. But if I want to ensure an uninterrupted sleep, no more than two no later than 11 am.

I've never understood how anything that smells so wonderful can taste so vile.

Based upon Ctein's 2015 post I bought the pictured Piao Tea maker which does work quite well. However, since then I have discovered that the perfect tea maker is, in fact, a French press coffee maker. I use the Bodum Chambord 4 cup model, but I doubt it matters. What you want to make tea is chamber where the tea can freely mix in the hot water and then a strainer so that you can pour the tea out without the tea leaves. That pretty much defines a French press. There are many wonderful teas that don't taste like boiled grass, but, alas, they have caffeine in them. I have yet to find a really good decaf black tea.

This distance will allow you a Naked Lunch perspective: your rich, full-bodied, aromatic, tasty and deeply satisfying elixir is in fact just expensive bean soup.

I say this as a neutral partisan who non-habitually enjoys both tea and coffee, though I too had to give up coffee for health reasons.

As for lenses, I'm continuing to make do mostly with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and 1.4/35. I wish it had the more modern autofocus motor of the ƒ2 WR series lenses, but I really do need the extra stop.

Only adults drink coffee. I drink beer.

Yeah, coffee, natures enema. Red Bull gives ewe wings?
Having enriched your couffers with the purchase of a Sony 20mp sensor attracted to a photographic device, I had to dust off my Cooke Speed panchro Series III 24mm t 2.2 to make it sing. Many thanks, Mike.

I never ate or drank anything solely for its health benefits or otherwise. I found early on that I hated the taste of any alcoholic brew stronger than beer, which means I'm practically a teetotaller; I have a beer about once annually! I don't drink any coffee, preferring to stick to tea.
My (typically Indian) diet is vegetarian with a good balance of carbs, proteins and other stuff. I'm 70, about 5' 10" and weigh 168 lbs, down from c.175 lbs four years back. My 34-year old son's jeans fit me well...he's 6'.
Can anyone please direct me to a lens /software that'll make my photographs look like Turner's watercolours!? I've managed to get close to Andy Warhol and even Rembrandt once or twice, but Turner continues to baffle me.
I mostly use the 20mm Panasonic on my Epl5 and the M. Zuiko 45mm on the GX1 but don't neglect the kit lenses too much, they being slow (f3.5~5.6) but sharp, with good colour rendition.

Re rants about the net...
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,

Re tea vs coffee, they’re both an acquired taste, so give it time. Says he who is a tea drinker & can’t bear coffee, married to a coffee drinker... :-)
Else find a good independent tea store and do some tastings. Another alternative is to grow a mint plant and use the leaves fresh in hot water. That may have to be indoor for yourself, given the ground freezes over in winter.
Enjoy ur weekend.

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Kintsugi (金継ぎ) in Japan is the art of repairing cracked pottery with melted gold as a glue. Talk about making the imperfect perfect!

I'll stick to my 1994 50mm Summicron IV. Tried a recent 50mm ASPH Summilux, and it's far too smooth in its ou-of-focus light points, uniform circles instead of edgy eyelets that spread the light away from the center.

As to weight loss, curious to hear your wisdom. All I know is that I had shed 30 pounds on a low-carb diet three years ago and here I am back to square one. Eat everything, not junk/industrialized, in significant moderation, and never get off the table feeling full is probably the simple, age-old system to keep things in check...

I am going to go out on a long, sturdy, near unbreakable limb and suggest that changing from coffee to green tea is not gonna do an awful lot for your health. I'd wager that doing so will not add one second to anyone's life. But perhaps there are some other imaginary--sorry---real benefits to green tea. (Green tea breath is better than coffee breath?)

And no, you have NOT found the prefect lens. That would be, at least in the digital era, your aforementioned Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm ƒ/1.4 ASPH. No sensible nor even half-way sensible person would even think of disputing that. Hell, even a nonsensical person would know it.

Oh, and matcha? The real matcha of tea ceremonies? Yeah...go ahead and try that. Let us know how it works out.

Spent the last five days dragging two fifty pound cases and an 18 pound camera backpack across multiple locations and on and off eight flights. Lost four pounds. Drank coffee, slept like a baby.

Exercise - extra food = weight loss. Pure and simple.

Not losing weight quickly enough? Get heavier cameras and add more lights to your cases....

If caffeine is the issue, then switch to decaf, it should have less caffeine than green tea.

One lens missing from your perfect lenses is the new Voigtlander 50mm f1.2 Nokton Aspherical which is only currently available in M Mount, but a Sony FE version is in the works. TAP not TOP (the angry photographer) rates it as the finest 50mm lens ever made in the video linked below.


I fancy the Zeiss Loxia lenses myself (they have 28, 35 and 50mm in the above mentioned range). Compact, all metal, manual focus, and superb quality. Nom nom nom... Unfortunately can't quite stretch to one yet, or a Sony R body to put it on either for that matter!

I immediately clicked the comments section to see how many readers' hearts had, like mine, skipped a beat thinking you had spent the day yesterday making up with Ctein, who was going to resume his column starting next week.

Alas, you were just writing about Ctein's tea article... :-(

Sorry if I stirred up an old storm.

But on the subject of tea: I don't drink coffee, but I do drink black tea, with sugar, and...wait for it...cream. To me it's the most delicious way to start the day. And having two young kids, a job, life, etc., also the only way, cos I do need some caffeine at 7:00am.

Like you said, in the end, the best lens is the one you have. I have many lenses. I usually find a 50 a bit too long for my liking. 15 Pana Leica is great as is the 20. Both are 1.7. Fast enough. I have a 25 for 4/3s and a Sigma 30 for m4/3. Both seldom used. But the Sigma 30 (same design?) is perfect on DP2M. A bit wider than 50.

Searching for perfect images is far more lasting and rewarding than searching for perfect lenses. The tool is only the main goal for those who cannot or do not use them well (or, indeed, at all).

Green tea gives me a headache, so it’s easy to leave it alone. I stick with coffee, decaf if it’s after 3 pm, and drink black teas when the weather gets colder. Tons of carbonated water as well, esp. in the summer. Hardly any soda, ever. Cutting back drastically on alcohol.

With that going on, curious about your weight loss success, since I struggle and I don’t even eat many bad foods.

Keep on ranting, btw. Much better than the usual happy, non-critical internet fluff.

I always get a kick out of the letters that follow a post about anything diet related. I believe that if you said you were considering a new religion/belief system you would not get this many posts with a “sure fire” answer. As I believe you said in an earlier post on nutrition, after reading a bunch of the literature, that the surface has barely been scratched, and every person reacts in a unique way to food. I’m glad that you seem to have found something that works for you.

The Fuji 23/1.4 is quite something. Just a perfect combination of features and less clinical than the 23/2 version.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 25/1.8 is the sweet spot for me. Compact, fast, contrast, color, sharpness, soft bokeh.

As if you haven't had enough suggestions thrown at you, but Japanese Barley Tea has a similar flavor to a light roast coffee if using a fine enough grind.

Cheers, and best of luck.

Mix half regular and half decaf - dry grounds in the can and brew from that mixture. You instantly cut your caffine intake by 50%.
Straight decaf after 4:30 pm.
The half and half sure taste better than green tea.
Just saying.

The devil invented tea and it's the only drink you can get in hell.

Nooooooooooooooooooooo Eric ..... tea is the nectar of the Gods!
It runs clear and shining ..... Irish Breakfast and Darjeeling or Orange Pekhoe later .......

As regards Coffee ..... it has a half life of 6 h or so which means afet 12 h a quarter is still there ....18 hours then you still have an eighth ... just low enough to stimulate you to need more!M Hence the early morning need for more ....

I like coffee but I am encouraged that heaven or hell I will get tea! Thanks Eric 😎

The 55mm Pentax 645DFA (and all the rest of the alphabet) is pretty close to perfect, but it lacks three important features:

1. It’s lousy when I want more or less of the scene than it shows,

2. It fails to point the camera in the right direction, and

3. It fails to push the button at just the right time.

What it does do it does stunningly well, it’s just that it isn’t that important to the outcome.

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