Archive for April, 2012


Let’s Party!

A few recent favourites:

Whole gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150689490657807.393300.26123047806&type=3

Whole gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150704241582807.394230.26123047806&type=3

Catch me next at:

Wax, Friday 4th May @ Mansion Nightclub, Southend-on-Sea: https://www.facebook.com/events/316231595106164/
Kool Kids Klub, Saturday 19th May @ The Sunrooms, Southend-on-Sea: https://www.facebook.com/events/157360157720729/

Still trying to find an opportunity to take the camera outdoors but what with work and the typical british weather- so far, nothing.

L

It has been far too long since I blogged. Work has been keeping me busy 7 days a week but here’s a quick post about a recent challenge.

I have been working on several data migration projects and have been struggling in general with sluggish SQL query performance. Most of the research conducted has suggested the primary bottleneck is disk IO (rather than throughput or CPU speed) so I decided to try and find the fastest "reasonably priced" SSD to give me a boost. I found this list http://www.storagesearch.com/ssd-fastest.html and after research each of the items (for availability and cost) I chose the OCZ Revodrive3 X2 PCI-e SSD.

I ordered the SSD and installed it in one of my spare servers (SuperMicro X8SIL-F, Intel X3470, 16GB Kingston RAM). Despite not being listed on the OCZ compatibly list http://www.ocztechnology.com/displaypage.php?name=revodrive_moboguide the SSD was detected during post. Again, despite being listed as only compatible with Windows 7, the SSD was detected in Windows 2008 R2 and after installing the driver and initialising the disk in Server Manager appeared in "My Computer".

Unfortunately after installing SQL Server 2008 R2 and loading a few database up the machine mysteriously restarted and no longer was the drive listed in "My Computer" or device manager. After further reboots the SSD was no longer showing during post (various green and blue LEDs were still lit so it wasn’t completely dead). I tried the card in an old Dell 9150 I had kicking around- nothing. Then a spare HP Microserver N36L- again, nothing.

Fairly convinced now that the SSD had died I called eBuyer up and started the RMA ball rolling along with placing an order for a new card (this was Thursday night and fortunately they were able to guarantee Saturday delivery). I also ordered a motherboard from the compatibility list- ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, an Intel i7 Quad-Core 2600 3.4GHz Sandy Bridge processor, and 16GB DDR3 RAM along with a no-name case all from Amazon (again, with the guarantee of Saturday delivery).

I put everything together and fired it up:

One of the first things I noticed was the different number of chips present on each of the SSD boards (compare this to the one at the top of the post?). But regardless, the replacement was working and still going strong after 24hrs solid use.

Keeping an eye on various counters in Windows I’ve seen the card reach over 1000MB/sec- impressive! And no longer does the disk seem to be the bottleneck, it now appears to be the CPU- doh! Unfortunately it looks like some queries only utilise a single processor core so the CPU is actually only 12.5% utilised.

That’s all for now! It looks like I was just very unfortunate with the first card but the replacement is blindingly fast and a great price (especially when compared with the competition).

L

New Canon Toys

I finally got around to using my new Canon 5D Mark III, Speedlite ST-E3-RT and Speedlite 600EX-RT this weekend so thought I best take the time to say a few words…

Firstly I need to have a rant about the lack of AF-Assist beam on the ST-E3-RT. I should have spotted this before/during purchase but i am gobsmacked that Canon have chosen to actually remove a feature present in the earlier ST-E2. I shoot almost solely in low light situations where the 5D will understandably fail to lock focus, needless to say this renders the transmitter pretty much useless to me! And falling back to the ST-E2 of course means dropping back to IR communication with the 600EX-RT (again, meaning I may as well still be using the 580EX II.

I do suffer occasional communication issues between the ST-E2 and 580EX/600EX so I don’t want to send the new radio devices back- instead i’m considering modifying the ST-E3-RT in some way to equip it with an AF-Assist lamp! Also, the additional benefits when shooting in normal (not low light) conditions making them worth hanging on to.

Other than that, both the flash gun and transmitter appear to be built just as well as their predecessors and just as easy to use.

Now on to the 5D Mark III body itself… I’m sure there’s a lot I haven’t noticed/read about/played with but here’s what I have:

Bad:
My fingers are pretty sore after using the camera for about 3 hours straight- I hope this is simply because it’s new, and very quickly my fingers will get used to the slightly different shape.
I kept catching the modelling lamp button which sends the flash insane. There was a custom function on the old 580’s to disable this so hopefully the same is true for the 600.
To zoom into a shot you now need to use a button on the left then the wheel- this is a lot trickier than before with a single easy to reach button- please fix this in a firmware update!!!

Good:
The dual memory card feature is brilliant. I have a 16 GB Sandisk CF and SD being written simultaneously to provide redundancy should one fail/break/get lost. Also my MacBook pro has a built-in SD card reader so i’ll no longer need to use a USB cable to download the photos from the camera.
The lock on the mode wheel is handy- it didn’t often used to get knocked, but would occasionally- so thumbs up.
High ISO performance is great! The Mark II was good, but this is even better.
The HDR feature is a nice extra.
I imagine the additional AF points will come in handy when shooting in the studio, but so far i’ve only used the centre point when shooting.

A few samples:

And a little video I made from the stills:

https://www.facebook.com/waxmusicuk

I’ll try and post some more if I get a chance to use the camera outside or in the studio shortly.

L

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