When a 200mm Lens Isn’t Really 200mm

I’m still having a ball with my new mirrorless camera (the Olympus OM-D EM-10). When I first started looking into this I mentioned that I was going to make the switch to my friend Diane. For some odd reason she trusts my judgment and said, “great, when you decide, let me know what to buy”. Like me, she loved her big girl camera but didn’t enjoy lugging it around. I remember when she was going to France and debating what lens to bring because she just couldn’t bear the idea of bringing more than one.

After I did the research and bought mine, we went out and bought one for her too. She loved it at first sight and has gotten very adept with it very quickly. We both bought our cameras with a 14-42mm kit lens. I have to take a break here and explain crop factors because this whole story won’t make sense without it.

Crop factor is a ratio of the sensor size in a camera relative to a reference format, which is the old 35mm film cameras. You’ll hear people talk about a digital camera with a full frame sensor, that means the imaging area is the same as a 35mm film image area. Diane and I both had Nikon DSLRs, which had a crop factor of 1.5. That means to figure out the 35mm equivalent, you take the lens magnification you’re talking about and multiply times 1.5. So when we put a 40mm lens on our Nikon DSLRs, it’s really 40mm x 1.5 = 60mm equivalent. Make sense so far?
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Use Custom Fields to Tell Your Contacts Apart

The Apple Contacts application isn’t really designed to handle how many different ways we have of contacting people these days. In particular it’s awful at handling couples in a single card entry. Let’s say you’re friends with Bob and Sally Schwinkendorf. You send them a holiday card every year so you want both of their names in the same card. But then when you go to call one of them, you’re faced with two mobile numbers and you can’t tell which one is which.

Most people create three cards, one for Bob’s cell, one for Sally’s cell and a third with them together for the holiday card. It’s a mess! This quick tip will help you keep them in one card and yet still tell them apart. You can use this tip in OSX or iOS and of course it works in both when you’re done.

Full credit goes to Steve Sheridan for this awesome tip! Follow the link below for the tutorial:


Podfeet Might be a Wee Bit Faster

podfeet database shown in phpMyAdminI am an amazing proof reader. I can spot a typo on a piece of paper that’s across a table from me and turned around, but I can never see typos in my own work. I can only think it’s an arrogance thing in my brain, that there’s no chance I would ever make a typo. I decided that since Steve, like any good husband, likes to correct me, he would think it great fun to correct my blog posts, so I set him up as an administrator on podfeet.com and indeed he’s having fun fixing my typos. He’s trying to start editing content which is a point of contention so we’ll see how far he gets with that.

This last week Steve and I noticed that Podfeet.com had come to a crawl, especially when we tried to get into the WordPress admin control panel. It was taking over a minute just to log in. I called my web hosting company, Bluehost to ask them to check into it. My little friend Carl started with the obvious, “well it loads quickly for me” line which is always entertaining, but he did believe me that there was a problem so he started to dig in. He said, “wow, this is a REALLY active site!” I countered with, “well, it’s respectable but it’s certainly not huge.” He said that he was seeing a lot of data traffic. I explained that that was unlikely since my audio files for the podcast are hosted on Libsyn, and my videos are on YouTube, so other than a handful of very small images a week, it’s all text for the last 10 years. That gave him a clue something was going wrong.
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Killing the Cord $10 at a Time

leaf antenna in the box (50 mile version)Steve and I are big fans of television and we really like the content we get from cable. We have 5 TVs, 3 of which have TiVos on them with cable cards so we can watch and record a ton of TV. We also like Internet TV content. We use Amazon Instant Video to rent movies whenever our iTunes on our AppleTV decides to be stupid and not let us watch the movies we rent. We love Netflix for shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. We have a Roku and a Chromecast for entertainment too. We’re pretty much TV addicts.

We watch Tom Merritt and Brian Brushwood on Cordkillers every week and dream of a world when we can watch what we want, when we want on any darn device we want. We hear about people killing the cord or cutting the cable and dream of having that kind of courage … but did I mention that we really like TV?
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ProJive XLR for Big Girl Mic Input to RecoLive MultiCam

Last week I talked about the awesome $5 app for the iPad (and iPhone) MultiCam from RecoLive that lets you record a multi-camera session using cameras on your iOS devices and Mac and even your desktop. I had one complaint that I wasn’t able to use an external mic, because Multi-Cam simply didn’t have an option to choose between microphones. I tried to use a USB mic plugged into the iPad but I think because I had to use not only the Camera Connection Kit but also the 9 pin to 30 pin dock connector adapter, the iPad just said it wasn’t supported.

ProJive showing xor and mic inputThis week I remembered that ages ago Steve bought me a device called the ProJive XLR from CableJive that might do the trick. Big girl mics have XLR connectors, which is a three-pin connector, and the ProJive accepts the XLR connector. On the other end it has an audio connector that you plug into the headphone jack on the iOS device. I’ll never understand how you can use a microphone by plugging into a headphone jack, but it actually works. The ProJive also has a monitor cable so you can plug in a set of headphones to monitor your own audio.

I plugged my Heil PR40 into the ProJive, and the audio jack into the iPad and fired up MultiCam and it worked perfectly – good audio AND video!

One other note, last week during the live show I hung up on the audience from the $400 Mac OS app Wirecast Studio, and then fired up RecoLive’s Switcher iPad app and I successfully sent video to the live audience over on Justin.tv. There was much enjoyment! Steve and I got excited that I could actually do the live show this way till we realized that if I do it that way, my microphone won’t actually record into GarageBand … so there would be no podcast! I guess I’m going to end up dusting off my giant, complex, mixer if I’m going to keep experimenting with this…

Using Automator to Launch Applications

Automator window showing some of my work flowEvery Sunday night between 4:30 and 4:45pm, I get ready to do the live show. It’s a pretty complex operation (I even have a diagram). Most of the hardware pieces are plugged in all the time, my microphone, my camera, and my Mac, but I run seven applications on my main Mac to get the show to come out in video on Justin.tv, and audio on Alpha Geek Radio and the NosillaCast app and podfeet.com/live. The diagram is terrifying to most people but I’ve been doing this for a while so I’ve pretty much got the hang of it. Every once in a while I may forget a step but it’s pretty obvious what I forgot since something just won’t work. This week I was jogging on the beach when it occurred to me that Dorothy (aka @maclurker) should really automate some of this for me. She’s the one who automated the back end for me, so once the show is done I push a button and the audio file gets encoded properly with all the right ID3 tags and such for iTunes. The only problem is that she’s off on her silly boat with her husband (or is it silly husband with boat) up to Canada. Yeah, she left me. Sure she’s got Internets most days but it’s not the same. Continue reading “Using Automator to Launch Applications”

Leaving a DSLR for a Mirrorless Camera

comparison shot of the two cameras (hint, the D5100 is HUGE)I started in photography with a Minolta X700 in 1978. The day finally came when set aside my trusty camera for the sexiness of digital with the Nikon 950. I didn’t actually get rid of my Minolta because I loved it so much. Time marched on and I went through a series of point and shoots but I got back to my SLR (Single Lens Reflex) roots with the Nikon D40. I was seduced by Bart and Kirschen getting the Nikon D5100 eventually and with Dorothy standing behind me urging me to upgrade so she could buy my D40, it was an easy choice. Knowing that your camera is going to a loving home makes the decision easy. I think we develop emotional attachments to our cameras because it was through the camera’s eyes that we’ve witnessed the events in our lives, so they’re a part of that experience. Or maybe I’m just weird that way.

I had Chris Marquardt from tipsfromthetopfloor.com on the show about a year ago to talk photography with me and I grilled him about these new fangled mirrorless cameras. He talked me out of thinking about them, mostly because they were slow to focus at the time.
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Produce a Multi-Camera Shoot on an iPad for $5

screenshot of multicam in actionYou know how on high-end TV shows they have these complex and very expensive devices to switch cameras between newscasters, and video feeds, and doing beautiful cross-dissolves or quick cuts between them? Would you believe there’s a $5 iPad app that can do a lot of that and even record your multi-cam production? This is a case of something I don’t really need but now that I can do it for $5, I’m pretty sure I’ll start to use.

The application is called MultiCam from a company called RecoLive from recolive.com. I mentioned you could run it on the iPad but there’s also a version for the iPhone and a camera application for the Mac. We’ll get into all of that soon enough. Let’s start with a simple set up. I launched MultiCam from my iPad. I also launched it on my iPhone. On the iPad I see two panes at the top; one is a preview and one is the live view. In the bottom right area, I can select cameras to add to my multicam shoot.
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Easily Grip Your DSLR with ProStrap Camera Wrist Straps by Kirschen Seah

Greetings fellow Nosillacastaways – Kirschen Seah from FreeRangeCoder.com here with a review. It’s about camera related accessories this time.

both cameras showing both strapsFirst off – let’s look at the problem to be solved. You have a nice camera, be it compact or Digital SLR, and don’t quite like the idea of hanging the camera with the included neck strap. Most of these are thin and can cause quite a bit of pressure on the back of your neck. And then there’s the extra time you need to look down for the camera, wrap your right hand around the grip, whisk it up to eye level, and take the shot. Wouldn’t it be perfect if the camera sat ready close to your hand? Well there’s an accessory for that.
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