Random thinking on a nice Sunday in June

  1. I am off to Bangalore tomorrow night. Lufthansa business class through Frankfurt. The whole ordeal always remind me on 2001: A Space Odyssey and the hibernation pods – I am seriously into ear plugs, noise cancelling headphones, eye patches and massive overdoses of Restoril washed down with post-takeoff scotch. Stewards have had to slap me awake on approach to the landing I get so numbed out. Back next Saturday.
  2. I wonder about people who use twitter on weekends. I think I need to unfollow about six people who seriously get under my skin and just annoy the snot out of me.
  3. I need to find Manny Ramirez’s 500th homerun from last night’s game against the Orioles and watch it.
  4. I received seasons one and two of The Wire for birthday presents and wonder why I didn’t get into it the first time around. Seal of approval for me is the involvement of my favorite crime writer, George Pellecanos.
  5. Reading list:
    1. The Night Gardener, Pellecanos
    2. The Pequots in Southern New England, Hauptman and Wherry
    3. Around the World Singlehanded, Pidgeon
    4. Flyfishing for Bonefish, Brown
    5. Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, Rippetoe & Kilgore
  6. CrossFit remains a daily feature of my athletic life. I am slowing getting into fierce shape with my eyes on a single goal come next February. I won’t talk about that, as I am in Nike-mode and “just doing it.”
  7. I am not fishing enough this spring. Today perhaps.
  8. I can’t garden enough because May was a cold washout.
  9. I need to go paint my boat.
  10. I think I am in China for the last few days of July and most of August
  11. I need to write a big post updating Lenovo’s sponsorship of the Summer Games.
    1. http://summergames.lenovo.com
    2. Joe Nocera has a good piece on the value of Olympic sponsorships in the sports supplement (magazine thing) in today’s NYT
    3. Yes, I saw the front page piece on the Chinese Olympic Rowing team. Pretty impressive. I would love to get an invite to watch a practice at their center in South China. The Chinese have been surprising people the past two seasons as they are not a traditional force in elite rowing.
  12. I need an awesome camera for the Olympics and need to start building my portable reporting kit for blogging my coverage of the Games. I’m thinking a Lenovo Y510 IdeaPad (I’d go Thinkpad X300 but they lack SD slots which are crucial for digital camera work), a nice SLR Nikon with an 18:200 lens, FlipCam, and perhaps a digital audio recorder and mic if I want to do any podcasting. I really want to nail the package I tote around – from batteries to knapsack.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Random thinking on a nice Sunday in June”

  1. i admit it: i’m a weekend Twitterer, and i can’t stop. but i digress…

    agreed on the X300’s lack of an SD slot: it’s a pain. as for the SLR, i’m very happy with my Nikon D40x. it’s doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the D70 series, let alone the D3, but it’s small and far easier to carry.

    the major catch is that the body does not have an autofocus motor, so you need to either buy the lenses with the capability or forgo autofocus.

  2. Get the Nikon D300. D40 takes great pics, but the D40x has too many MP and results in grainy shots. The D40 with its 6MP sensor is actually much better in low light.

    The D80 is a decent camera, but really, you’ll regret later not getting the D300 if you buy it. I’ve got the 18-200 and it’s a great all around lens.

  3. I vote for the D60, which I have and love using because of its built-in image editing software,.I recommend the D60 kit which includes a fast 18-55mm lense and a 55-200 zoom.

    I also think a second dully charged battery for you X300 would be nice as would a USB 5 in one caed reader.
    Add a Skype wifi phone to your kit and your in bidness.

    Enjoy Fungalore.


  4. Cameras and lenses…

    Much depends on where you are.

    The D300 will be more camera than you will ever need. You don’t.

    Borrow my D200 body since I now have 3 Nikon bodies.

    The 18-200 is a nice walk-around lens (http://benjaminel.smugmug.com/gallery/2485487_Ktkuk#130422523_S9hbU). With its 11x range, you have much covered. Alas, like most jack-of-all-trades it doesn’t do anything all that well and it is very slow starting at f3.5 and moving slower very quickly as you zoom.

    This is fine IF you are outdoors and pretty close as 200mm even with the Nikon digital crop factor of 1.5 won’t give you all that much reach. But it is a nice walk-around. This lens remains on my camera as the default.

    Indoors it won’t get you very far. And the mish-mash of artificial lighting will wreak havoc with auto white balance. Indoors, shoot RAW. You will also need a faster lens.

    If you’re close, pick up the 50m 1.8. For about $100, you can’t go wrong. Sure, it’s fixed focal, but when you need speed (aka light), 1.8 will be your savior.

    Faster long lenses are very expensive. If you just need more reach and will be outdoors the 70-300VR is very nice (http://benjaminel.smugmug.com/gallery/2485487_Ktkuk#P-2-12). That’s the one I purchased for Africa last year.

    Whatever body you have, in the end, it will just be the basis for your lenses. The body won’t matter that much — though Matt is right and the lack of a focusing motor in the low-end Nikon’s will hamper you eventually.

    Lenses — good ones — hold value. Even years later. More true for full frame lenses like the 14-70 f 2.8 I picked up not to long ago or my 85m 1.4 that absolutely floors me (http://benjaminel.smugmug.com/gallery/2485487_Ktkuk#130419887_dpwrB)

    Bottom line: Borrow my D200. Learn it. Buy the 18-200 as your main lens. If going to be indoors and fairly close or to see what a fast lens can do, pick up the 50m 1.8 for just $100 (yes, it’s plastic and not the more expensive 1.4 but a great bargain.)

    Also, get a 4 or 8GB compact flash that’s fast. Sandisk Ultra III or IV

    If you need reach, borrow my 70-300vr. I love ya but you can’t borrow the 85 1.4 or my 14-70 2.8

    Pick up Photoshop Elements 6. A few books are worthwhile. Will go through those later.

    Will bring the D200 and a whole host of lenses with me in a couple of weeks. Quick tutorial on the water.

    Safe flight

  5. I’ll lend a vote on the laptop: an X61s. Built-in SD and incredible battery life. The screen res won’t be great for doing massive photo editing, but otherwise good. The Y510 would be quite nice as a station to work from through, with the larger screen.

  6. i’m sure all of the subsequent commenters know a great deal more about the SLRs than myself, so i’ll defer to them while saying that i’ve personally been pleased with the D40x.

    whichever you end up choosing, however, i recommend hitting Digital Photography Review early and often:


  7. Despite being guilty of the occasional weekend Twit, I’ll share that I’ve heard good things about the D40 as an entry level DSLR. Also, check out http://www.rentglass.com – a great place to audition really nice lenses before you decide which one to fork out the bucks on.

    re the podcasting, it would be interesting to see if you could put together a video podcast from China using the new DSLR – they all shoot video now, right? Also, it got me thinking that this would be a great way to show Lenovo technology in play at the Olympics – from IT infrastructure, track timing, on-location support, web, etc etc… you could create an entire series featuring your company’s people and products, and have a lot of fun doing it. I think sports and new media have a good future together – have you read about the Speedo podcasts?


    Neville Hobson had some interesting results posted to his blog, which for some reason is experiencing a little down-ness right now.

    Of course, then you wouldn’t have time to enjoy yourself, so drop me a line if you’d like a hand with it 😉

  8. I’m sure you will get endless recommendations/suggestions regarding the camera.

    I’ll second Uncle Fester recommendations. I have a D70 and while I would love the D300, my next body will probably be the successor to the D80. The D300 is just more camera than most people need (or know how to use)

    Borrow or rent lenses until you know what you want. If you are getting a lens to cover sporting events you will want a faster lens than the 70-300 f3.4. I would suggest the 70-200 2.8 which works wonderful under less than adequate light conditions. The shortcoming is the lens is expensive and heavy (use monopod) The nikon version is not very affordable at $1800 but a very affordable alternative is the Sigma version at $900 (if you can call that very affordable).

    As mentioned earlier, rent or borrow glass unless you know you will use it a lot.

  9. Clarification:
    I incorrectly stated that you need a faster lens than the f3.4 for sporting events.

    You would need a faster lens if you are taking pictures of INDOOR sporting events where the lighting is inadequate for a f3.4 lens. The 70-300 f3.4 lens is great for sunny outdoor sporting events

  10. My 70-300VR 4.5-5.6 hits 5.6 pretty quick. It was great on safari and auto ISO can keep the shutter speed up.

    I’ve rented the Nikon 70-200 2.8 and it is a beautiful lens. And yes, it is long and very heavy. The bigger problem is that with a tele-converter it won’t be any faster than the 70-300 and I don’t think 200 is enough reach. He’ll need 300 based on seating.

    BTW: I mentioned I have 3 bodies: a D300, D200, and my D70. If you’ve gotten very comfortable with the D70, I would highly recommend the D300. The auto focus is fast and accurate and for that alone, it is extremely worthwhile. And the 3″ LCD is amazing.

    The D300 with the 85m 1.4 is the absolute best combo.

  11. The D300 is $1000 plus … too rich for my blood. Remember — the bulk of these shots are going to wind up here and on Flickr. I doubt very much if The Rowing News will be picking up an option on any for potential cover shots.

    Great advice however and I do appreciate it.

  12. If you were to do the affordable DSL thing

    Pick up a D80 for about with a nice range kit lens 18-135 for $1000

    Then pick up the 70-300 for about $470
    (think of all the great skiff shots you can get!!)

    That will get you an exeptional starting DSLR kit.

    if you don’t like the equipment after the fact, then I could buy (at a major discount) the d80 body 🙂

    or if you want to go real affordable, borrow Uncle Festers equipment, he seems to have more than enough

  13. What Brian said. 🙂

    Pick up the 18-200VR lens. Kick around with the D200 body for awhile when I bring to the cape in two weeks. You can use through August so no problem at Olympics.

    Then we can see what drops at PMA next Winter for you. Spend the dough now on lenses. When I go two body, I can use the D70 as my second so no real problem with you holding on to the D200 for a bit.

    I would highly advise picking up the 50mm 1.8 as well as the 18-200


    First off, nothing beats a fixed focal for sharpness. That little sucker at $110 is sharper than my 18-70VR which is a $1,800 lens.

    Second, while zooming with your feet rather than the lens seems silly, it’s a great way to learn the ropes. Get the basics down with that lens and everything else is cake. Since it’s tack sharp, it’s fairly easy to see your mistakes.

    While the bokeh isn’t the greatest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh) — my 85mm 1.4 is incredible in that regard — it is still a damn fine portrait lens. Learning depth of field (DOF) with a fast lens is mandatory. The 18-200VR will do fine as your walk around but for low light situations, the 50mm is a light, compact, sharp little guy to have in your kit.

    That little $100 lens is one reason I would avoid the D40 series as the 50mm 1.8 requires a focus motor in the body.

    The Churbuck fish portrait gallery will be a fine addition to your flickr page

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