warning: digital camera nerd talk, you might want to skip the following paragraph if this kind of stuff bores you:
i was up until 4am last night researching digital cameras,
and when i woke up this morning, i continued with my research. some of you might already know that i've been thinking about upgrading to a digital SLR camera - either the canon rebel XLT or the nikon D50. despite the amazing image quality and clarity, there's a few things about digital SLR's i don't really like: their inability to swivel the LCD screen, the fact that you can't preview the image before taking the photo (you compose the shot through the viewfinder), and how not only is the camera body expensive, but so are the lenses (a good lens might actually cost more than the camera itself). then the idea of the prosumer cameras caught my attention,
these 5+ megapixel cameras that resemble SLR's but still behave like traditional digital cameras, and many with 10x optical zooms or higher. i boiled it down to a three way battle between the panasonic lumix FZ5, the fujifilm finepix S5200, and the fujifilm finepix S9000. aesthetically, the prettiest one was the S5200, with an unassuming manually-focusing 10x zoom lens that doesn't extend out like the other cameras. problem was it uses xD memory, which is something exclusive to fuji and olympus cameras, which means i have to get new memory cards, as well as a new reader. it also lacked an LCD that could fold out. nevertheless, with an estimated street price of $350,
it was almost 50% cheaper than the digital SLR's. then there's the S9000, its more high performance sibling, which does offer a swivel LCD as well as the ability to use compact flash memory (the kind that currently use), but it's also more expensive, and i might as well get the SLR if i'm thinking about getting the S9000. that leaves the lumix FZ5, which for $350 is a steal as well. although it has an unslightly projecting lens, word on the street is it's fast and light, and features image stabilizing mechanism on top of a 12x optical zoom - it was also highly rated on both boing boing and wired, something about a cult following. it uses SD memory, which is pretty common nowadays (that means they're cheap to buy). everything looks great except i'm not very happy with it's macro capability,
only able to get as close as 5cm; my nikon coolpix 4500 can resolve macro detail down to 1.8cm. at this point, i'm seriously thinking about the lumix FZ5. i'd like to play around with it in a store before actually buying it, but it seems like such a steal at that price. i still really love the digital SLR's and their amazing image quality, but i think it might be more power than i really need, and besides, the coolpix 4500 is still, in my opinion, the best camera around.
it's hard to think about cameras during the winter because there's a relative lack of things to photograph compared to the other seasons. like today i wrestled with the idea of getting some naturing; if nothing else, just to get out of the house and stretch my legs. it was probably the warmest it's been all week (40 degrees), but the idea of being out in the woods freezing my ass off with nothing to do seemed too boring and cruel so i just stayed home the whole day. at least there was a football game on television, patriots beat the buccaneers.
in the evening my parents and sister came over for dinner. while we hung out in the living room, my sister cooked in the kitchen, making some macaroni pasta with bits of turkey meat. after they left i watched a few L&O episodes before taking a bath. the water was so hot, i could see my breath while i was soaking. i decided to get out when my copy of rolling stone got too soggy to read. the rest of the night i switched gears and did some research on growing mushrooms at home. shiitake mushrooms grow best in 50-80 degrees temperature; to my delight the temperature of my place during the winter falls within that range (60-68 degrees). there's also pearl oyster mushrooms, 55-75 degrees, and enokitake, 40-60 degrees (my place might not be cold enough for this variety though). they don't like sun so i might be able to grow them in the closet of the guest bedroom which is currently empty (i took a temperature reading, 57 degrees, perfect). i just hope they don't smell too bad (hate for guests to come to my place and have it smelling like the smurf village). if i clean out the hallway closet, i might also be able to do some hydroponics in there as well (unrelated to mushrooms), anything to bring some nature into the house (i didn't learn my lesson from king kong apparently).