Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm wheeling, but I need to work on my dealing

Well, it's that time of year when all the camera makers wow us with their new wares. The last couple years have been pretty boring. However, this year everyone has 12x compact travel zoom cameras with 720p HD video. Sony has a new prosumer camcorder with an interchangeable lens system. Panasonic even announced new 3D lenses for both their 4/3 system and their camcorders. It's exciting again. Somewhere in all this commotion I found myself on eBay placing bids on a Leica V-Lux 20 travel zoom with GPS tagging. It's been out a while, but it ranks at the top of the travel zoom class with the new Samsung. However, Fujifilm has a new EXR travel zoom slated to arrive soon that might blow both of them away. I was completely caught up in the idea of a compact travel zoom that could reach out and snap incredible photos of pelicans sitting atop buoys and dolphins spouting across the bay.

However, the way travel zooms attain their immense magnification is by using a small sensor. The smaller the sensor, the less glass you need to create a large zoom. I hate small sensors. They're bad in low light. I started getting all torn up inside over wanting this tiny camera with a big zoom, but not wanting another tiny, noisy sensor. Then as I was searching craiglist for a possible deal on a Leica V-lux 20, I found a guy selling a Leica Digilux 3. That was the Panasonic-based 7.5mp SLR they made a couple years ago that uses micro 4/3 lenses. I thought to myself, this is much more practical if I'm going to spend money on a camera because it has a larger sensor, tons of lenses available for it, and I can use it in a professional capacity. However, he was asking way too much for it and wouldn't come down on the price. Then I started looking at Leica's current crop of cameras. I kept coming back to the X1. It has a huge APS-C sized sensor in it even though it's a compact. It actually shares the same sensor as the Nikon D90. The downside is that it has a non-interchangeable fixed lens. At first I was both disgusted and annoyed. I mean, I understand how to shoot with a fixed lens. My first camera, a Canon AE-1 had a fixed 50mm lens. My phone has a fixed lens. It has a place. However, the Canon could take a zoom lens. The phone is a freaking phone -- the modern equivalent of a 110 throwaway camera. Why would you build a $2000 camera with a fixed lens that can't be swapped out? Why?!!!

But as much as the idea aggravated me, I kept finding myself looking at the X1 again and again. The manual controls are on dials, not hidden down in menus on the screen. The lens is so high quality. The sensor creates image quality only found when lugging around a big DSLR. The round pop-up flash is such a cool design element.

Suddenly I found myself placing bids on the X1 instead of the V-Lux 20. It makes no sense because it's the opposite of what I was wanting. However, my eBay patience paid off. Eventually, one of my low-ball bids won.

From BlogPhotos

There's a Leica X1 on its way to my house. Expect a thorough review next week. I don't know if I'll keep it or resell it, but I'm going to try it out.

Unfortunately, I'm not having as much luck selling things as I am buying things. I listed the remains of our salvage Kubota on craigslist for $200. I've gotten two hits on it.

From BlogPhotos

Andy the Asian farmer and his girlfriend came by tonight to look at it, but he won't go above $100. I was insisting on $125. Everytime I looked at it sitting there with so many good, useable parts -- injectors, injector pump, glow plugs, water pump, fuel pump -- I just couldn't give it away for $100. However, as soon as Andy left, I thought, damn, I have this engine still taking up space in my garage and not $100 in my pocket. I'm thinking I should have just taken the money and gotten it out of here.

That's the point of being a wheeler dealer. You have to be able to sell as well as you can buy. I've never been a good salesman. I get attached to stuff. Plus, I feel guilty trying to convince someone to spend money on something they don't need. But geez, there are so many good parts on that Kubota.

After not selling the motor, Ben and I did some cleaning on the garage. I might actually have my car in there by the end of the weekend. Unfortunately, I somehow slashed open my foot while cleaning.

From BlogPhotos

It doesn't look so bad now, but it was bleeding profusely at the time. The question is, how did I do that? I was wearing flip flops, but it's not like anything jumped out and stabbed me. I was just walking around picking up trash and sorting out paint cans. Then ... I realized my foot was hurting and covered in blood. Go figure.

I've got to get the oil changed on the Porsche in the morning. Then it looks like yardwork is imminent. Boat work on Saturday. Back to housework on Sunday. Good times.
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