How Long Should My PC Last?

How long should I expext my Photo PC to Last?

Desktop PC in NZXT tower caseOn the 10th January 2013 my Windows Desktop PC reached it’s 5 year anniversary and what was once considered state of the art is now indubitably antiquarian in the computing world. Once able to whiz through Windows at a relatively lively pace, it plods like the PC-pensioner that it has become. It bears little resemblance to the original specifications when first acquired, as I’ve added, replaced and pushed this mysterious black box to the limit, just to cope with my burgeoning library of ever-more-processor-demanding software and an image library that now stretches well over 2 terabytes. To be honest, it’s really struggled through the last couple of years, with a seemingly endless number of failures including several hard drives, the DVD drive, RAM chips, and some odd boot up and BIOS problems to name but a few. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had the PC out from under my desk and the side panels off, but I bet it must be pretty close to a hundred times by now. It’s now got to the stage that when I switch on my PC in the morning, I may as well go and have a cup of tea, because like me, it takes quite a while to wake up and get ready for work.

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Stepping Up to the Mark (5D Mark III)

A Good Time to Upgrade to the 5D Mark III Perhaps?

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III – click Image for full size view

Well I’ve finally given in. Despite the price and stating I’d be unlikely to upgrade so soon, the lure of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III finally got the better of me and I’ve traded in one of my 5D bodies against a new 5D Mark III. Why now you may ask? Well the price of the 5D Mark III has dropped over £600 since the March launch and the other major factor is the impending release of Canon’s surprise package at Photokina, the EOS 6D.

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Firmware Update for the Canon 5D Mark-III Annouced

Canon have announced a new firmware update from the Canon 5D mark-III. Nothing unusual in this you may think but this update won’t actually be available till April 2013. That’s around 6 months, so what’s going on?

 Well, the firmware update is primarily in response from feedback from the movie fraternity to provide substantial improvements in the video facilities such as providing HDMI output. Most of this may be of little consequence if you’re primarily a stills photographers, however, as some recent online rumours have suggested, the autofocusing abilities will also be greatly enhanced to allow autofocusing with lenses apertures down to f/8. Currently autofocus can only be achieved with apertures down to f/5.6, so this means that 1.4 and 2x extenders can be used with many more lenses and should significantly improve the the 5D mIII ability in the sports and and wildlife genres. This will truly mark the 5D mIII as an all allrounder, and put it up there with capabilities of the previous 1D series cameras.

Why the long wait you may ask, six months is some way off? Well I suspect many of these changes are still under development or in the testing phase,  although there are rumours to suggest the firmware release will coincide with another major camera release. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Details from the Canon website can be found here.

Big Stopper Shocker

The Ultimate 10 Stop Filter

Remains of the old Swanage Pier

Old Pier remains at Swanage – © John R Birch

I’ve owned a Lee Big Stopper 10-stop filter for almost 2½ years now and have become quite a fan of long exposures and the effects that this filter can produce. It’s become a staple accessory to many a photographers kit bag and it opens additional artistic opportunities to a landscape photographers day once those golden hours have disappeared. Prior to the Big Stopper I used a B+W 10 stop filter, which is of the screw-in type,

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The Canon 6D – A New Challenger to the 5D’s Reign

A New Full Frame DSLR From Canon

As an occasional visitor to the Canon Rumours website I was aware that a new Canon DSLR was imminent but I must admit the announcement of the EOS 6D at the 2012 Photokina show took me by surprise. I, like a few other I suspect, were contemplating an EOS 3D, something that would sit in-between the 5D MIII and the EOS 1DX in Canon’s line up. However the more I look at the 6D’s specs the more this camera seems to make sense, so lets take at look what’s in stall for potential 6D owners:

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Canon Anounce EOS 5D Mark III

5D Mark-III revealed by Canon

Well the long wait is over and the much anticipated announcement of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III hit the press and web this morning. The rumour mill has been abound and plentiful in recent weeks, in anticipation of the big announcement from Canon, and specs for the 5DII’s replacement have been quoted anywhere from 18 to 36 mp. Now all is revealed.

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Antarctica 2011 Trip Review

This is a blog I started quite some time ago, but for some unknown reason or other it got put on a back burner and I never got around to finishing it, until now. It’s been quite a while since my trip to Antarctica and I’ve been wanting to write about some aspects of this amazing trip. I read Andy Bigg’s (one of the workshop instructors) excellent article entitled Antarctica – What Worked and What Didn’t the equally excellent Antarctica Debrief by professional photographer and fellow workshop attendee Josh Holko. It’s very much something along these lines that I wish to pervey, so this is my take on the trip in deference to the two already very well written blogs.

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Why Aren’t Extended Timer Facilities Built-in to my DSLR?

On the weekend whilst photographing the limestone pavement on top of Malham cove in the Yorkshire Dales I lost my remote timer switch. It was dangling from my camera and got tangled up in my tripod legs as I was moving my tripod; one of the legs closed, snapped the timer cord out of the socket on the side of the camera which then disappeared down one of the deep grykes in the limestone pavement, never to be seen again. Thankfully it wasn’t an original (and very expensive) Canon TC-80N3 remote timer; my original TC-80N3 bit the dust last year when I managed to dangle it in salt water on a Scottish beach, this latest disaster was a only a considerably cheaper eBay clone. 

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Drobo Revisited

Well it’s taken just over 2 years, 2 years 1 month to be precise, but a red light appeared on the front of my Drobo indicating that one of my hard drives had failed. In case you didn’t know the Drobo is an external storage device that houses a number of SATA hard drives sold by Data Robotics Inc. They promote the Drobo as a fail safe back-up device for your precious data, photographs,

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When Lightning Strikes

AEO Lightning Strike – Firsts Looks

Murchison   Jun 2011 2020

I’ve often admired some amazing photographs of lightning and although I’ve read plenty on the technique of how to achieve such shots I’ve never had any success myself. All my attempts have been a complete disaster even when I’ve know the shutter was open when the lightning flashed.

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