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Shawn Clover
Lives in San Francisco, CA
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Shawn Clover

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My mini review of the Sony a7R + Metabones adapter + Canon Lenses.
Review of the Sony a7R full frame digital camera with Canon lenses attached with a Metabones adapter.
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Goodbye SLR, Hello Little Rangefinder: The Fujifilm X100s

Well I’m not exactly getting rid of my SLRs and my army of lenses, but all that gear has been locked away for the past week. A little rangefinder camera has hit the market that scratches me right where I itch. Since the advent of digital cameras, I’ve been waiting and waiting for the killer small camera to hit the scene and that day has finally arrived. While the original Fujifilm X100 was off to a good start, it was plagued with a long list of shortcomings, and these weaknesses have been addressed in the new X100s. This baby is hands-down the best camera around for its size. I’m talking to you, Leica.

Design

The X100s is modeled after the beautiful classic 1954 Leica M3 and does a great job recreating the retro look. She’s packed with many of the same classic dials and switches of yesteryear, but upon closer inspection, not everything what it appears. For one, the timer lever is really just a toggle to switch between optical and digital viewfinder while the timer functions are handled via digital display. But other controls like the shutter and aperture dials remain true to their functional origins, completing that nice analog feel.

This is little camera just begs to be slung over the shoulder on the way out the door. No choosing lenses or strapping on a backpack full of gear. Since there are no changeable lenses, you’re locked in with the built-in (and very capable) 23mm lens. This gives you a 35mm full-frame SLR equivalent focal length. No zooming in and out, just shoot things the way you see them. A refreshing benefit to having a fixed lens is you can kiss sensor dust spots goodbye–the camera’s innards stay nice and clean. Of course, not being able to zoom is a limitation in itself, but this focal length is really photography in its purest form.

The Controls

All the switches, dials, and menus take some getting used to. You have an option of composing photos using the electronic viewfinder, the lcd back display, or the optical viewfinder. I prefer the latter because it just feels more natural (not to mention kinder to the battery life). I found using the optical viewfinder in combination with the informational display on the lcd back worked best for me.

I love the old-fashioned hardware ring dials for aperture and shutter speed, but that also adds to one of my biggest frustrations: it really limits what you can store in the custom functions presets. In fact I have not found a single use for the three custom presets. They can’t store shutter speed, aperture, drive mode, or focus mode. The only useful thing you can store is your ISO setting. If you’re using all the photo effects features (like toy camera, etc.), then maybe you’ll have a use for it, but I haven’t played around with all those things. I just shoot RAW and add effects later in Lightroom. Since there’s no sense in making custom presets with just ISO presents, I reprogrammed the Fn button to simply pull up the ISO menu so I can just dial in any ISO I want. My three presets remain empty.

Unless I’m shooting from the hip, I stay locked in with the manual focus mode. In the X100s’s case, manual focus is a misnomer because manual focus really means autofocus, it just gives you the ability to lock in your focus point before you hit the shutter. I like having the AFL/AEL button where your thumb sits do the focusing, just like on my trusty Canon.

One nice little touch is the 3-stop ND filter that mechanically pops between the lens and the sensor when you want it. I tried some test shots of water flowing through fountains in bright light, but even at f/16 and the minimum ISO 200, I wasn’t able to get much of that nice blurred water effect. I would have rather had something closer to a 5-stop filter. It would also be really nice to go down to ISO 100, but Fuji inexplicably decided to make ISO 200 the minimum ISO when you shoot RAW, while you can go down to 100 if you shoot JPG. That one still has me scratching my head. It would also be nice to be able to get to the ND filter faster than digging through the full menu to toggle it into place.

Accessorizing

It seems that every new Canon SLR I buy means automatically dropping another grand on accessories. I couldn’t believe how kind to my wallet the X100s was: a nice leather case, leather strap, UV filter, filter adapter, lens hood, and two spare batteries totaled less than $100.

Here’s what I added to protect the body and lens while staying true to the retro styling of the X100s. You can see all this stuff in my cover photo of the X100s dangling over the old pay phone above.

Shooting

Here are a few test photos I took over the past few days in San Francisco. I am blown away by this baby’s high ISO performance. It shoots cleaner at ISO 3200 or 6400 than the Canon 5d Mark III. And the true f/2 lens shoots nice razor-thin depth of field wide open with some not-too-shabby bokeh. Not Canon f/1.2L-caliber bokeh, but very nice and buttery nonetheless.

I’ve found the camera tends to overexpose things. Maybe it’s just what I shoot, who knows. But I usually keep the exposure compensation (again a nice analog dial) set down to -1/3 or sometimes even -2/3.

And its tripod mount is still virgin–this is my new handheld camera and I have no intention of dragging around a tripod to pair it with.

ON THE STREET

I love shooting from the hip, and with a little experimenting over a day or two, I’m happy with what you can do with this little marvel. With my Canon SLR, I have a custom program that I can quickly get to for this purpose, but as I mentioned above, there’s a lot of dialing and button-pushing involved to get the camera set up for quick incognito street photos. What works well for me is setting ISO 1600, dialing in f/4, setting continuous drive 3fps burst, and AF-C focus mode. Each one of these needs to be dialed in separately because the custom functions cannot store anything but ISO.

Here are a few shots. No one ever even noticed I was shooting except the guy in the Busted photo below:

the rest at
http://shawnclover.com/2013/07/11/goodbye-slr-hello-little-rangefinder-the-fujifilm-x100s/
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You Can't Run
California Highway Patrol Porsche 997 Turbo

The Automobile: A Photo Gallery http://shawnclover.com/galleries/the-automobile/
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That's my #GooglePinball  tournament competitor Brian tearing up the Medieval Madness machine at tonight's Google Local Power Users party in the Haight.

Thank you +Shannon Sweetser and Free Gold Watch for the good times!

Didn't bring my SLR... my photos are  #throughglass  
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In the O
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Google Glass got an update today that shoots all photos HDR. It's a nice improvement. Planning to get more glasswalking in over the next few days to really test it out.

Ok Glass, take a picture...   #throughglass  
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Enjoying the live stream of the Google+ photowalk tonight from the Chieftain a block up the street from all the action. (We just couldn't pass up beer + food + Giants + Warriors.)
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Shawn Clover

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Why are dozens of my #googlelocal  reviews removed because they don't "adhere to our content policies"? I read the policy and I don't see the problem.

For example, here's a review I wrote on my favorite French restaurant in SF. Why was this censored?
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+Shawn Clover: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Our CM +Shannon Sweetser is going to look into it , file an appeal and get back to you.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Also: We'd recommend signing up for #GoogleCityExperts  as well since you have quite a few local reviews and already qualify (g.co/cityexpert) We have a private Google+ community exclusive to these top contributors where they can can share product feedback and raise issues like you've done so helpfully here. 
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I Thought I Knew You, What Did I Know?
A simple-looking photo, but one of the most difficult I've ever taken, just because of the set up. It all started with finding an old 1950s British record player abandoned in a San Francisco alley. After coming back to retrieve it with the car, I took it home, rewired it, repaired the gears, and got it working again. After a few test records, I trusted it enough to throw on Rubber Soul and set up the tripod and lights.
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All These Scattered Dreams

San Francisco, CA.
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Wrapped Up In Confusion
A Muni L-Taravel arrives in the West Portal Station.
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Nice....nice...
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1,748 people
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Michael Cruz's profile photo
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Mike Howard's profile photo
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Web App Development and Photography
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I make pictures, trot globe, soar sky, explore abandonment, march mountains, and pedal two-wheelers.
Introduction

shawnclover.com/fadeto1906: my 1906 earthquake + today photoblend project

clockograph.com: my 1/2 built working photographic timepiece project

Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
San Francisco, CA
I'm far from a casino connoisseur, making only one trip to the Vegas or Tahoe strip every year or two. I had high hopes that the Hard Rock would bring a sorely-needed breath of fresh air to the dreary, aging establishments of South Lake. Did they gut the old Horizon to the frame and create an innovative, awe-inspiring gaming wonderland? Nope. The place looks just like every other joint in Tahoe with some fresh carpet and memorabilia sprinkled about. True-to-Hard Rock music piped through the speakers--Queen, the Stones, Zeppelin, Green Day. It should have been cranked to 11 with woofers pounding, but regrettably the tunes were barely audible through tiny 3" ceiling can speakers. Come on… it's supposed to be about music for crying out loud. Sigh. The dealers sport name tags with their favorite bands engraved. I engaged in a debate with one dealer who argued the Kinks were more of an influence than the Beatles--a nice guy who knew his stuff. On the downside, some of the dealers seemed inexperienced and made some pretty serious gaffes pulling back chips that should have paid at the Blackjack tables. The most appealing-looking place to eat was the oyster bar and we couldn't pass up a late-night dinner at the counter in front of the steam-powered cookers. My wuss friends thought the jambalaya was way too spicy but I found it absolutely delicious. The oysters weren't bad either. The small staff, try as they might, was completely in the weeds. Shortly after our orders arrived, one of them bellowed out a Chef Ramsay-esque "SHUT IT DOWN!" when things became completely out of control. I think it was our order that put them over the edge. Much of the rest of the place didn't seem ready either. Bathrooms were out of paper towels, bare wires hung out of display cases. We ended up heading next door to the Hard Rock Café for the Super Bowl, which, oddly enough, seems to have absolutely no relation to the Hard Rock Casino. Overall, the Hard Rock is definitely the freshest casino in South Lake, but that's not saying much. The air is less smoky than any of the other nearby casinos, but the fumes are definitely in the air. Let's put it this way: the clientele is on the younger side and the sad sight of wheelchair-bound seniors connected to oxygen bottles while sucking on cigarettes is almost non-existent here. Not a bad place, but it should have been so much more.
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Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
When you're tired storage places with poor service, endless contracts, long insurance pitches, astronomical rates, and long hallways, it's Sheehan to the rescue. You'll get one-on-one service with no nonsense and a nice and solid, easily-accessible steel storage unit in a quiet, bay-side industrial area. There aren't any fancy auto-payment systems, but you can easily set up your bank to send a monthly check. I never worried about the security of my unit. There are cameras everywhere and a full-time security guy never failed to wave to me when I drove in. As Dennis said, you could probably leave a lock off your unit and no one would ever mess with it. Overall, a nice break from those big-chain storage places in every way. I wish there were more businesses like Sheehan around today.
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Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
We have been regular customers of Iron Cactus since the day it opened. We've watched many a Giants here game over burritos, IPAs, and sangrias. Things were great in the beginning. Then the decline began. The burritos began shrinking like George Costanza in a cold pool sometime in 2013. Our final visit was a Sunday afternoon in December of 2014. My super burrito arrived and I thought someone was playing a joke. It was literally the size of a toilet paper roll. After looking around for hidden cameras, I realized this is what it's come to here. I wasn't even able to find a trace of guacamole until the penultimate bite. To add insult to injury, they've also decided that nickel-and-diming for everything is the way to rake in more money. The chips that were once plentiful and free are now sold by the basket. So after plunking down $9 a piece for tiny super burritos, we could have added a few chips for another $2 in attempt to fill up. We ordered a container of rice and pinto beans to go, just like we always do, except they gave us black beans instead and claimed we said "black beans." No, we said "pinto beans" like we have a hundred times before. I hope that when Iron Cactus goes out of business from insulting its regular customers, a decent taqueria opens up in its place. We could really use a good taqueria in SoMa. Please--all you restaurateurs out there--we are starving for a good burritos in SoMA! I promise I will be your most loyal customer.
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Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
Best. Ribs. Ever. They know how to cook up some delicious fall-off-the-bone ribs here. I've also had Oola's ribs for catering and they're equally as tasty. They also do the pan-seared ahi tuna perfectly, and I love me some good ahi tuna. Great staff and always a top-notch bartender. It's a bit on the pricey side, but par for the neighborhood.
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
161 reviews
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Castillo B2 holds a spot high on my list of go-to power taquerias, well worth a walk across the slot from SoMa where we have a serious lack of quality burrito places. The burritos are pure Mission-style: hefty, tightly-wrapped, and hot on the inside, just like they should be. The chicken isn't perfect, but it's still good. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it may just be overcooked because it sort of forms into little nugget-like formations. But overall, the ingredients are fresh and delicious. I always get my burrito to go. Lunch hour here doesn't exactly make for a nice ambience to gnaw into a burrito. There always seems to be some sort of loud commotion going on in the dining area, mostly a side effect of the neighborhood. The cook and the cashier seem to be regulars and they are awesome people: friendly and courteous.
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Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
I never thought I'd find a mechanic that would delight me enough to write a 5 star review, but this place is different than any other auto mechanic I've ever dealt with. I came in for regular 30K service and spongy brakes, expecting a costly brake job, among other things. After dropping off the car, my phone rang a short while later. I answered, going into my typical defensive mode that I've grown accustomed to from past experience with auto mechanics, ready to question every single thing "wrong" with the car and the thousands of dollars about to be estimated to fix it. "Your car's fine," said the voice on the other end. He explained that the brakes had plenty of life left and just needed to be bled. The only thing needed was an oil change and new air filter. The honest diagnosis was the most refreshing words I've ever heard coming through the phone from an auto mechanic. I arrived later to pick up the car, prepared for the typical damage to the wallet. The bill was about 1/3 what I expected, and they did the brakes for free! These guys are awesome. We've got a new mechanic for as long as these guys are around. Next time I come in, I know I can completely drop my guard and toss them the keys. They've earned my trust.
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Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
I rarely write reviews of places away from home, but this may be my favorite breakfast place on the planet. We're actually discussing another trip to San Diego just to eat here again. Seriously, can we have one of these in San Francisco? I knew nothing about this place when we stepped in, and ordered an ice coffee and French toast, expecting my usual watered down coffee and two pieces of bread to arrive with maybe a little garnish on the side if I'm lucky. 10 minutes later a plate that looked like a volcano piled on it was placed before me. It was unlike any French toast I've ever had. Dare I say breathtaking, maybe because I couldn't breathe while shoveling down the mountain of French toast. I was in heaven. I can even rave about the iced coffee. It was top notch. And being a hot day, I downed the first glass and while contemplating a second, there was already a new glassful in front of me as soon as I turned around. Now that's service. Yeah it's a ton of food, but after breakfast I cruised right through lunchtime and still wasn't even hungry by the time dinner rolled around (and time to get on the airplane to head back home).
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Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago