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Monday, 29 November 2021


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* One reader said (rather rashly perhaps, as he is an excellent commenter): "I don't expect you to post this comment, as I have the impression you do not like dissent from your views." *

I think most of us are here because we DO agree with what you say, so most comments will be positive.

As for the music play-list, I thought it would be too modern for me, so I skipped it. (I still listen to mostly 50's and 60's music.)

Your blog, your rules. Take no prisoners and never apologize.

It is oh soooo hard to figure out tone and context from a paragraph of text.

Who was it that said: we see things not as they are, but as we are. Anais Nin?

I will thank you (and every other moderator online) who has ever saved me from an internet battle.

I've been in many of them (I'm now old enough to refer to myself as a cantankerous fart) and I don't enjoy explaining to people on the internet why I am right.

Are you familiar with Venkatesh Rao's essay "The Internet of Beefs"?

It is a pretty long read but well worth it and describes in depth the nature of online argument.

Every time I drive up Rte. 30 through Newfane, VT (several times a year), I remind myself that however wrong the "fixer sinks" argument went, it was still a hell of a washer. RIP, Fred.

Thank you Mike. I for one hope you continue editing and moderating comments as you have for all these years. The cordial spirit here at TOP is of great appeal to me, and I find it unique to pretty much all discussion forums. I appreciate your efforts to be sure.

And thank you for this post. Well put.

A saying, attributed to Mark Twain, could apply to Flame Wars-"Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it."

Never fell for 'equivalent f-stops,' perhaps because I was too lazy to do the erroneous math as much as that it just didn't seem to make sense.

Now, I never in my life thought I'd ever have occasion to mutter the following again, but: adding sodium sulfite does have a significant effect on reducing the size of grain! Distinctly remember that from briefly using Edwal's FG-7 developer.


I must admit I find most of your music links not to my taste but you know what they say, opinions are like axxxxxxs, everyone has one.

I don't mind if you don't allow dissent/altercations as I come here to read what you have written, not see yet another flame war. I may not always agree with you, might even think you've lost your mind on occasion, but it is always interesting and worth reading.

Yes, fixer will of course not sink in water for same reason as CO2 (heavy gas) does not sink in air.

This is why you will at once be buying patent ZyniCo(TM) print washer. ZyniCo's highly-trained engineers. some of whom exist, have done careful studies in this area and realise that although yes, fixer does not sink to bottom of water, under suitable conditions is possible to arrange for concentration gradient such that fixer concentration does indeed vary detectably across volume. Extensive research programme then began: system is simple in principle but, as often, hard in practice.

Initial plan was to use small black hole to produce sufficiently strong gravitational field that desired concentration gradient could be achieved. This is sadly not practical: small black holes are expensive even by the standards of owners of very expensive cameras, and have certain stability problems well-known to physicists: evaporation, possible naked singularities, resulting failure of causality and so on. Even if these problems can be dealt with flux of X & gamma radiation from Hawking radiation of small black hole tends to fog paper and often set fire to it & require photographer to work behind 100cm lead shielding to reduce absorbed dose to levels which are merely extremely unsafe. Final problem that tidal forces almost always cause prints to tear. Regrettably not practical solution. Only one such 'Kerr-Newman' device was constructed, has now been decommissioned and disposed of safely in deep space. Well, we hope we are safe from it there.

Better solution fortunately was found: in fact was obvious. Certain other people also have had problem of separating fluids in similar way, and is often done by using high-speed centrifuges. Thus was ZyniCo print washer born. Is simple device: print is installed in centrifuge. Centrifuge spun up to working speed, and fixer extracted from outer edge while water fed from inside. Process takes no more than one week to complete, and is far more practical than black hole solution. Some problems remain. Power consumption is somewhat high: current system requires own substation (ZyniCo are happy to supply such at reasonable cost). Outer edge of centrifuge is supersonic, and noise levels are therefore sadly high: hearing protection must be worn within 100m. If print is not positioned carefully will inevitably tear. Some emulsions detach from backing under stresses involved. If print is positioned carelessly can also cause centrifuge to become unbalanced, resulting in catastrophic failure and ejecting parts of print, centrifuge etc at high velocity. System as provided comes with enough armour plate to contain it on failure but is heavy as a result: 500 to 2000 tonnes depending on desired print size. Safety interlock ensures photographer can not enter containment system while it is running.

System is currently is awaiting regulatory approval: annoying government people make claims that it is 'dual use technology' which ZyniCo engineers obviously deny: what other possible use could such a thing have, we ask ourselves?

Once suitable bribes and blackmail are arranged ZyniCo Centrifuge-O-Wash will be available to discerning photographers everywhere. Price we find is very reasonable. Well, reasonable for the sort of photographers ZyniCo is interested in supplying. Installation requirements on request: private island no longer required although advantageous. Demonstration model will shortly be available for viewing, and appointments are now being taken: please contact your sales representative.

Yeah, all cameras "cut off" part of the image, because the lenses project a circular image, and all the common camera formats are rectangular (including the degenerate case of square).

Well, except for full-circle fisheyes, which instead waste part of the film/sensor area :-).

And...ready for this?...the Estes Camroc. A camera payload for a model rocket, the 1970s version at least used a 1" circular piece of film. My darkroom could not handle that! I never bought a Camroc, despite photography being my well-established hobby by then, including darkroom work, precisely because I couldn't do anything with the pictures I might take in the darkroom. (My home enlarger didn't have interchangeable neg carriers, it was 35mm only, I think a Durst M35; the highschool darkroom didn't have any glassed neg carriers, only glassless ones for common sizes.)

When I was into Leicas, I followed the LUG (Leica Users Group) and learned a lot from the contributions. Sometimes the discussions got bit overheated. When somebody then wrote: “I will leave this group unless . . .” I did not read any further but did wonder why somebody would feel the need to communicate his reasons for leaving to a group that would not care if he left or not.

Completely tangential to your point, but 'a Micro 4/3 sensor "cuts off part of the image," sigh, not,' caught my eye. EVERY rectangular-format sensor cuts off part of the circular image that EVERY lens produces. So yeah - a Micro 4/3 sensor cuts off part of the image, but less in proportion than a "FF" sensor with a 3:2 aspect ratio. And who came up with this bizarre criticism anyhow? (And yes, an anamorphic lens will cast a non-circular image, but that's not really what this criticism is about, is it?)

But I've paid for the full five minutes....

[No you haven't. --Mike]

I think you are doing a good job keeping your site a friendly place for all, despite some us getting a bit out of line at time. If you will humor me, could you please explain what you mean by there is no such thing as equivalent apertures? You say an advantage of 4/3 is the added depth of field. This is simultaneously one of my likes and dislikes about the format. It means I can shoot at a higher shutter speed to get the same depth of field since f/4 results in a fairly wide zone of focus compared to f/4 on full frame (assuming the same print size and field of view). It also means I can’t get as much subject separation at f/1.8 as I can on full frame. That’s the context I think of equivalent apertures at since I shoot with 1” sensors up to 5x7 and primarily think of aperture as a way to control the zone of focus. I’m assuming you must think of it as part of the exposure where it has the same effect no matter the format. Is that the disconnect? Or is it thinking of it in terms of focal length? I suspect it’s all terminology that’s creating the confusion, unlike the fixer issue of old which was just marketing.

You mean that 11x14 Zone VI print washer (it drained from the bottom) wasn't worth the premium price?

Hi Mike. I was commenter 1 with "Huh", but what it shows is that there are various strata to your readers. At 75 I'm in the upper strata, or is that the lower, and it's natural that my tastes are a bit antiquated compared to a generation younger, or two.

FYI, my latest CD purchase is ABBA's Voyage. I still like some of the young stuff.

And my thanks.
I’ve probably had the odd comment cast into the digital void.
I won’t complain - I come here for the serenity.
This one always makes me chuckle.

Your blog is a credit to you. You do an excellent job keeping it sane which probably accounts for its longevitey and popularity

You have left off the Leica SL2 ! Why the over site? Is the Leica not worthy of mention? Bill

Do you want a 5 minute argument or a 10 minute argument?

- Monty Python

Bit late, but let me add to what I guess is a large silent majority of readers who loves the curated comments (and may not realize the effort it takes on your side).

BTW not sure if the "4000 weeks" was a reference, but I'd never heard of that phrase before. A quick Google search brought up a book published just a few months ago in the UK, one that looks very promising. It's on time management, written by Oliver Burkeman.

Works for me. This is the pretty much the only blog where I bother to read the comments at all, and then I tend to read all of them. It is certainly the only spot on the whole web I post. Kudos to your curation, and to all commentators.

Hi Mike. Just to re-confirm what many have said here: you are a master curator of the forum, making it a genuine source of insight and commonality. I haven't been commenting much lately (life comes in waves), but when I did, I always felt supremely privileged to be part of this community. Your wisdom as editor makes it happen.

Mike writes: "I might not know what I'm doing, but I know how I do it, you've got to give me that."

Yes, yes, you do! Love that statement. I'll be looking for a way to use it.

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