Tag Archives: technolust

New Shiny Announced!

World goes bonkers!

Anyone with even just a passing interest in digital photography can’t have failed to spot the rumour mills and industry monitors grinding into life this past few weeks. New DSLRs are very much in the news, if you care about such things.

Canon announced a new professional flagship model, the EOS-1D X, back in October 2011. Aimed at replacing the current top-flight DSLR models they produce, it’s slated for release sometime in 2012. I won’t bore you with the technical details. If they interest you, they’re on the press release and everywhere else!

Nikon, meanwhile, has just unveiled their D3 series replacement, the FX-format D4. I can’t immediately find official release dates, but again, if you are sufficiently interested in the technical stuff, it’s in the press release and everywhere else!

These press releases are timed to hit the CES 2012 shindig in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. The Consumer & Electronics Show is one of the biggest international gadget-fests going, and everyone who is anyone in the technology world will be there. Except Apple, but there you go. That’s an entirely other story.

So why do I bring you this earth-shattering news? Am I being sucked into the technolust vortex? Will Snaptophobic end up as just another technoblog, regurgitating press releases about every new gadget or software without even pausing to breathe?

No. Not a chance.

If I am completely honest I have never been free of the vortex, but I find the effort needed to get incredibly excited about new gear has waned in proportion with my age and bank balance! Yes, I am interested in it, but only in a peripheral kind of way. Being a Canonista, the new EOS-1D X is interesting, but it’s so far beyond my budget that I can effectively ignore it. It’s a camera that may be of interest to me if I were a professional photographer and it was to be my key tool, but as I am not a professional and I already have a camera that’s more than adequate for my needs, I won’t be letting myself be sucked too deeply into the vortex.

With Nikon’s announcement, there will now be an inevitable increase in the Cankon/Niknon fanbois crowing over features that trump their arch nemesis. This is partly why I haven’t bothered you with the technical features of each new camera, because they are really irrelevant to you and me. The kind of people who will find that sort of information at all of real interest are those who are not—in my opinion, I hasten to add—real photographers. 

So, while the baying over megapixel counts, burst frame rates, astronomical ISO levels, focus points and other geeky stuff begins to inexorably grow in volume, remember this: it’s not about the gear.

The camera is just a tool, a means to an end. Some of my best images were taken using a 35mm film camera that cost £20. Learn to use the tool you have, and make great pictures. If you can afford one of the new shinies, or can justify one for your work, go to it with my blessings. If you just want to leave it in idiot mode, slung round your neck as techo-jewellery … words fail me.

No, really, they do. 

Decisions, decisions.

I’m in the fortunate position of owning two Apple laptops.

One was an upgrade decision, and replaced my previous G4 PowerBook as my main working machine. The other is the result of an unfortunate incident involving water and the PowerBook. In the latter case, the house insurance provided us with a new MacBook Pro, which Best Beloved uses for his hobbies and stuff. I also regard it as my backup machine should the worst happen to the main box.

As things turn out, the main machine has had all the love and attention, and is currently running the latest variant of Mac OS X 10.5.8. It’s a prime candidate for the move to 10.6, now the wrinkles have been ironed out with that release. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, as the “upgrade” cost for Snow Leopard is £25.

I’d quite like to bring both machines up to the same level. I spent a fair bit of time today updating the second-line machine’s OS, and it’s reminded me how old OS X 10.4 Tiger looks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be possible to simply upgrade Tiger to Snow Leopard. It would have to be a “wipe and install”, which isn’t something I’d be happy to do for a second-line machine.

Now, Apple’s answer to this is to offer what they call the Family Pack. This comprises Snow Leopard, all the iLife apps, and all the iWork apps, licensed to be installed on up to five machines. I would actually quite like to upgrade all the iApps that came installed on the laptops, so this – at least on the surface – seems like a good plan.

Then you spot the price. The Family Pack is a not unreasonable £183. That is, however, quite a big jump from the £25 I had mentally budgeted for. That would also eat up my Aperture 3 upgrade price into the bargain.

I do have a Leopard “upgrade” disc. This is the one that you could acquire from Apple if you bought a new machine with an old OS installed, just before they announced a new OS. I could upgrade the Tiger machine to Leopard, then get the £25 Snow Leopard disc. I wouldn’t then have the iApp goodness, but then I have to wonder whether I really need them anyway. I don’t use iMovie or iDVD much, iWeb never gets used, Garageband is fun to play with occasionally, so only iPhoto would be useful – and as I use Aperture iPhoto is not really essential anyway.

That leaves the iWork package. I’m not sure I really need Pages or Numbers, but Keynote might be useful – especially if Best Beloved gets invited to make more talks. A single user iWork box is £71.

Decisions, decisions.

I think, on balance, Best Beloved is happy to retain Tiger on his machine. At some point we could upgrade it to Leopard, then jump to Snowy. I can get Snowy and run it on my machine, save some cash to get Aperture 3, and then we can consider iWork down the line.

I had kind of convinced myself and BB that we should shell out for the Family Pack. Having now worked it through, I think the cheaper route is the better one.