My Changing World
The world must be changing, all right...recently I find myself lusting after a Pontiac(!), of all things (the Solstice, when the one with the bigger engine comes out, not that I can afford a new car, because I've always been too big to fit into a Miata), and a Sigma(!!) (I just can't wait to get a 30mm ƒ/1.4 for the K-M 7D). I've come a long way from wanting a restored Austin-Healy 3000 and the faster 85mm from Carl Zeiss.
As far as music-reproducing equipment goes—another of my interests—my world is changing there too. Recently a company in Britain called Musical Fidelity introduced an all-in-one Krell/Levinson/Pass-style dreadnaught called the kW250s. I've always liked Musical Fidelity. When they first got started I owned a sweet little thing the company made called "The Preamp"—that was its official designation—and a swell power amp that went with it (called a P70, I think).
Anyway, the kW250s is exactly what I wanted...10 years ago (well, minus the tuner section). Now, however, the world has traveled too many times around the sun. My "stereo" is basically two little speakers on either side of my computer, and my "music library" is on two humongous hard drives (on top of which the speakers, appropriately enough, sit). I do fire up the big stereo from time to time when I want a fuller sound, or something more than a road sign to bass. But not all that often. Certainly not every day, although certainly every week. And it's the Olive Opus that I covet now. Gotta wait for the prices of such devices to come down.
I'm waiting for a high-rez SACD-type music file format, too—that seems inevitable. Or at least I hope it is.
Back to camera-land, there are a couple of things I'm hoping for there too. Not just my pet Decisive Moment Digicam, although I continue to think that it's one of my few harebrained ideas that would actually succeed commercially. Lens connoisseurship is certainly changing: I can mimic the "looks" of various kind of lenses in software now, and I'm waiting for some canny manufacturer to take DxO's lead and figure out that it can build a lens with certain aberrations deliberately uncorrected, correcting them later in software. Well, I guess the Nikkor 10.5mm* already does that. And I'm waiting for a digital camera that's not made of black polycarbonate and manganese alloys. Hasn't the classic old metal-carapaced look been gone long enough now to be sufficiently exotic? How long will it take some enterprising digital manufacturer to go retro? Thom Hogan did a survey a few years ago and was surprised to find that what a large number of Nikon photographers wanted was...a digital FM3A. Staunch.
I still want an Austin Healy 3000, however.
Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON
*Official name: Nikon Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm ƒ/2.8G ED AF DX Fi PG 13 AD NO PU TX NL MT ZZ**