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Cleaning out tabs: Standing desk, Camera, Magsafe recommendations

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I’m probably 20 blog posts behind. The strategy here is that if I learn something new, I just leave it open as a tab in Safari, this works really well, because you can share Safari links on any Apple device, so when I want to find something old that I’ve been working on the discipline is to then post it onto this blog. So you can think of this blog as a set of Safari tabs dating back to 1996! So here goes

Standing Desks

This is the one thing that I didn’t get in this pandemic, mainly because, we have a ton of very serviceable Ikea tables (not fancy I know) and then got a bunch of monitor stands. But if I were to do it over again, for desks I would just get a moving table so that you can sit or stand. And for existing desks, I would spring for a moving desk because you get a monitor stand *and* a moving thing. Here are some good ones from Wirecutter:

  • Standing Desk Convertors. I haven’t tried these, but if you have a big enough desk, they sit in the middle and the best ones have a separate movement for the keyboard and the monitor. You can also get them with up to three monitor arms as well, so pretty perfect. They like the Kangaroo Junior the best but Uplift also makes an awesome electric one. These are pricey at $200-400, but remember that monitor arm costs $100 at least.
  • Standing Desks. Then for $500, you can get an Uplift table that moves. Remember that you also need a monitor arm to go with this so it’s a good price and very neat, after all, it’s all about your back 🙂

Getting Back to Sony Cameras and Lens

Well, I’ve been thinking long and hard about getting the Sony A1, I really like the Sony A7R3 that I have but basically haven’t used it during the pandemic. But in thinking about this, I was wondering what has happened in lenses in the past two years. Well, the short answer is that Sony has gone all out to ship more Grand Master lenses and they are beauties. You no longer have to sacrifice with mirrorless anymore. I was surprised to see that despite all these efforts that in terms of great primes, the list had not changed that much. DxOMark although flawed does give you some sense of sharpness. Lot of people like Shotwell, CameraLabs and DxOMark others have done subjective reviews as well:

  • Sony 55mm FE f/1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*. Wow, this has remained the best choice for tack sharp lenses. It is super expensive to be sure, but is general seen as the sharpest lense that Sony has ever produced. It is super heavy, but what picture quality you get out of it. It uses the German Zeiss (I love pronouncing that word) with the T* coating. This thing is in the top 10 lenses ever tested at DxOMark. If you can believe it, with a 60Mps A7R4, it’s sharpness yields 54Mp!
  • Sony 35mm FE f/1.4 Zeiss Distagon T*. This is a medium lense and it is also tack sharp. It is a bit more wide angle than the 35mm. The great uses are for landscapes and for group shots.

But there are some new lenses that are pretty interesting in particular going wider for landscapes, there are two great choices in image quality order

  • Carl Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Sony FE. This is an older lenses and since it’s wide plenty of vignetting, but really shapr and the widest of the high-quality lenses. It is really great to get a wide lens for the big landscapes. You can stitch photos, but it is nice to get it all in a single take.
  • Carl Zeiss Loxia 2.8 21mm is compact and at the center has nice sharpness. I really do these wide lenses and 21mm is really wide, maybe too wide 🙂

Then going to the telephoto end

  • Sony FE 135mm F/1.8 GM. This is a short telephoto lens and is supposed to be very sharp. And of course with cropping, you can get 20MP 270mm lenses thanks to all the pixels in modern cameras. So not a bad way to stay all prime. But yes at that speed it is super expensive
  • Sony 85mm f1.4 GM. This is the lens that I’ve been looking at for a while, in the prime area, I would really like a 55mm and then a telephoto lens. It’s a medium-range prime that’s great for portraits and of course with 40MP, you can crop to 20MP and get the equivalent of a 160mm lens! DxOMark has it incredibly sharp with 47Mp sharpness against a 60Mp sensor. The much less expensive Sony 85mm f/1.8 FE is another one to look at since it is just about as fast as the 1.4 but way less expensive. The advantage of the fast lenses for portraits is that it lets you blur the background very nicely with great bokeh. And DxoMark has it just slightly below with a score of 46 vs 48 for the f/1.4
  • Sony 400mm FE f/2.8 GM. This is where you get into the high-speed sports Lense that is super sharp and fast and probably just better rented for special sports and safaris. It’s huuuuugggeeee for the record. It costs $522 to rent for a week, so not bad for specialy use.
  • Sony 600mm FE f/4 GM OSS. Wow a 600mm lenses, you deefinitely don’t need to buy one, but at $536 for a week great for a sporting event.

Now the other set of choices is to go all zoom. In fact, with my now old Canon 5D2, that’s what I did, I had a 16-35mm, 70-200mm and a 100-400mm F/2.8. With that older camera with effective ISO of only 1600 (wait, did I just say only?), this worked well in daylight but not at night. And, you do give up sharpness with zooms. But Sony does offer the same range of great zoom, I would recommend:

  1. Sony FE 24-70mm F/2.8 GM. It’s actually hard for me to recommend this lens and it’s DxOMark of 30, I would actually get the sharper by double, 55mm or 50mm instead, but it is there for you.
  2. Sony FE 16-35mm F/2.8GM. This gives you nice wide angle zoom and with a DxoMark of 39, you can see there is a tradeoff in quality, but you get a really wide lense.
  3. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS. This is for weddings and other events and is expesnive but very general purpose.

Magsafe Chargers

There are actually very few of these around. Just beware of the chargers that say Magsafe, but aren’t certified as Cnet points out. Also they are insanely expensive:

  1. Apple Magsafe. This at $34 is probably the best deal. It works with other Qi charged products and is a flat puck. The main thing is that it works well with Magsafe cases. net, net, if you can hold off from buying, hopefully there will be more options.
  2. Belkin Boost Up Charge Three-in-one and two-in-one. At $150, you can get a Boostup that charges your watch, phone and AirPods at the same time. I actually have such a thing that isn’t Magsafe and it is convenient, but there is still quite a premium for it.
  3. Apple MagSafe Duo. This is $129 so really expensive, but it combines a $34 Magsafe with a $30 Apple Watch charger into one compact thing.

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