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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 33,039

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Got new used tripod and lens, and have a request

I am getting ready for my Fall Foliage Trip - lots of planning, money-accumulating, planning, replanning...anyway, I decided to use my state tax return to buy a decent travel tripod and a wide-angle lens for my Mamiya 645. I ordered it Sunday, and it's here now.

The tripod is a MeFoto Backpacker. MeFoto sells these neat little Benro-made folding tripods that have black legs with colored accents so they look cool. This is a very good tripod. It is metal everywhere you'd want it to be metal. It has good-quality rubber on all the knobs and locks. Finish is anodized. Its head-mounting bolt has the standard 3/8"-16 thread and the quick-release plate is Arca-Swiss compatible, so you can easily get more plates for your other fifteen cameras and can also replace the head easily if need be. (It's a very nice head so you probably won't want to change it.) The leg locks are twist-lock not lever-lock; I didn't take a leg apart to see how hard it would be to clean sand out of it, but it shouldn't be that bad - the guy who invented this thing seems to have known what he was doing. There's a cute little retractable hook on it to hang a sandbag for extra stability. Its stated capacity is 4 kg. I haven't done extensive testing, but I did run it up all the way and stick a 6-pound Mamiya on it, and it was surprisingly shake-free. And it's purple! Or red, blue, aqua, black, silver or any of the other sixteen colors it comes in. They even give you this adorable shoulder bag to put it in. It has no spikes on the legs, which is fine by me because spikes on tripod legs are as useless as Republican campaign promises. If you don't like twist-lock legs or ballheads this tripod isn't for you; otherwise, you want one. There are two versions - aluminum legs for around $130, or carbon fiber legs for twice that. I'm not sure how overloaded you'd have to be to want the carbon fiber one, because the aluminum one doesn't weigh very much.

The lens is a "Mamiya 645 45mm f2.8C Compact Lens." Since not even MamiyaLeaf's own website admits this lens exists and there aren't any reviews of it online, this may be the Internet's introduction to the little beast. I will write a full review of it after I've had a chance to go out and put a few rolls of film on it, but these are first impressions:

When the lens is mounted on your camera, it sticks out a bit over two inches. The front element is close to being spherical; the front of the glass is REAL close to the front of the filter threads, so a UV/haze filter should be considered an absolute necessity here. (It requires 67mm filters).

Mamiya had two generations of M645 lenses: "C" and "N." As far as anyone can tell, "C" means Coated and "N" means New. The lens formula on the N lenses is supposedly improved and the coatings are slightly better, but Mamiya has always made exceptional glass; whether you get a C or an N lens, you will get good pictures.

There is no plastic in this lens. Everything that is not the rubber grip rings is either aluminum, brass or stainless steel. My specimen shows signs of being mounted frequently; since this is a pro lens, that's good - it means it was doing what it was purchased for.

The focusing range is 1.5 feet to infinity; the focusing action is silky smooth. Apertures are from 1/2.8 to 1/22; off the camera this ring also turns smoothly. (On the camera is a different story; the ring turns a gear that reports aperture to the automatic-exposure prism, and that always feels like you're cranking a lawn mower by hand.)

Until I get some images out of this lens I can't give a full endorsement, but I like what I see.

Now for the request: The new fad is to buy Mamiya 645 lenses and adapt them to DSLRs. Quit doing that shit. Our lenses are corrected for medium format film and won't perform properly on your camera. Our lenses don't work with your autofocus and auto aperture systems so using them on your camera is a grade-A pain in the ass. And you using medium-format lenses on non-medium-format bodies means there's now a shortage of them. It's not our fault Nikon and Canon have cheapened up their new glass to the point it's not worth buying. There are TONS of classic Nikon and Canon lenses on the market that'll work better for you than ours ever will.

I present the funniest cooking website I've found


Now get your ass in the kitchen and cook some of this motherfucking shit up.

I have a question about the ordering of the Constitution

A Second Amendment absolutist once told me the Founding Fathers put the Bill of Rights in the Constitution in order of importance.

Okay then, if this is so, why are the rights to privacy (Fourth Amendment), protection against self-incrimination (Fifth), speedy and public trials (Sixth), juries of your peers (Seventh) and to not be sentenced to cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth) less important than the right to not have your house turned into an army barracks against your will?

Are there any trained cryptologists here? I need help deciphering this

We ran this letter a few days ago:

According to my understanding, God is the potter; we’re the clay. He says a dog chases the cat. The devil in his pride said the equivalent of the cat should chase the dog. All babies are born asexual and sexuality is taught. I think not long ago we handled hermaphrodites as female by surgically removing the penis. Being married myself for most of my life, my sexuality does not get aired publicly. Public displays of affection are muted compared to the truth found in the Bible. In the book of Romans, it is noted that as a whole, societies like the LGBT are out to recruit or at least find acceptance by force for a lifestyle that is after what? Sexuality in public. This is not OK in the heterosexual community and the same should be for non-traditional unions. Marriage is from our Creator, and as created beings, life works better when we act in our place.


Mr. Phelps, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me just what the hell this man is trying to say.

Taxes filed 1-27, federal refund received 2-4

So, nine days.

If you owe additional money, waiting til 4-15 is fine. If they owe you a refund, get that return in!

Actual sheriff's report: The goblins stole my scissors

On January 25, 2015, at 10:35 pm, a man in Plummer, Idaho, called in this report to the Benewah County Sheriff: his scissors are missing and he thought it's the goblins because they didn't leave footprints in the snow.

Posted without much comment: Pro-Life Groups Blame Abortion, Medical Research, Vaccine Makers For Measles


The Disneyland measles outbreak has grown exponentially and is spreading across the country, and finger-pointing is almost as viral. Called out for their role in the spread, anti-vaxxers have blamed immigrants and vaccine supporters. Now, two pro-life groups claim that the fault lies with Merck, the company that manufactures the MMR vaccine. Also included in their blame are the medical research behind the Rubella vaccine, and abortions that took place in 1964-1965.

They say that because Merck won’t make a measles-and-mumps vaccine without the Rubella vaccine included, and because the Rubella vaccine was developed on strains obtained from aborted fetuses, many people have no choice but to abstain from the MMR vaccine. They say that these objectors have no objections to the vaccines for measles and mumps, and that if Merck would just offer these separately, the children these pro-life groups represent could be saved.

Go get 'em, guys.

Make Crack the Idaho State Recreational Drug...immediately if not sooner


The Idaho Giant Salamander. What can be said about this noble beast?

Well, it's a salamander...t's really big for a salamander (average size is 8 inches)...it lives in Idaho...and it separates the adults from the Republicans in our state legislature, and not just because most Republicans' slime coats are thicker than the one on any salamander.

On the 19th of January in the Year of Our Ford Twenty and Fifteen, one Ilah Hickman, Boise junior high student, traveled the fog-shrouded wasteland that is our state capital to plead for this magnificent creature to be named Idaho's State Amphibian.

By a basically party-line vote of 10-6, the assembled worthies in our legislature said no.

Reason? "Federal overreach." The slimier-than-a-salamander Repukes we sent to Boise to do the people's work decided labeling these salamanders - these plentiful salamanders, I must add - as an official state symbol would inevitably lead to the federal government taking over the state.

Therefore, I urge - nay, I plead - the Idaho state legislature to declare Crack the Official Recreational Drug of the State of Idaho, since so many of our elected officials are on it.

I e-filed today; will report when my refund arrives

Screw the "rapid refund" loansharks.

Is Shake Shack's IPO a good thing?

Tomorrow Shake Shack will go public. (Shake Shack, for those of us who don't keep up with the East Coast, is a very small chain of very small hamburger restaurants known for good food and extremely long lines.)

My feeling is, this isn't such a great thing. Here's why:

1) No first-mover advantage. There are a LOT of these kinds of places on the market already.
2) New Yorkers and Bostonians will stand in line for an hour for a hamburger. People in Ohio or Minnesota probably will not.
3) Their food might be "fast food" priced in New York City, but in Montana that's sit-down money.
4) There is NO guarantee McDonald's won't create a "hamburger boutique" chain within their own system. They've got the supply chain and - more important - the huge amount of money it would take to build a better-burger brand. (No, it wouldn't be "Mickey D's serves fancier food. They tried that shit and it didn't work. This would be a whole new label.)
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