BYOB

New Year’s Eve! Tuesday night is party night this year.

Take some time to go through this Decade in Pictures story from the Times. Very impactful. It contains John Tlumacki‘s marathon finish line photo. As it should.

It’s been many years since I stood in line to go to the No Name restaurant. They didn’t have a liquor license, you brought your own. But it became one of those, nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded, types of places. Sad to see it closing.

Rumors about the next iPhone suggest no more notch. I kind of like the notch now.

Cameras are getting better but nobody is buying them. Because phones.

And, ten years, one movie trailer.

Thoughts on the Leica M10-P

If you’re a photographer, should you consider an expensive digital rangefinder?

Leica M10-P, Voiglander Nokton 40mm f/1.2

I’ve been using a Leica M9 rangefinder for almost ten years. It’s been a great camera. It forced me to get back to the basics of photography. Prime lenses. Framing each shot. Manual focusing. Considering exposure and depth of field for each press of the shutter. It was limiting but also liberating.

It’s easy to let the computer inside a modern camera do a lot of those things for you and I think I was falling into that trap. Too much automation can make photography rote. I still use my Nikon DSLR and mirrorless cameras and zoom lenses for speed and versatility, especially when traveling – but alongside the Leica.

Digital technology has a lifespan and, after ten years, the CCD sensor in the M9 was getting a little dated. It still produced beautiful warm RAW images but there was no live view and no ability to do focus peaking for very narrow depth of field shots – something becoming more important for my aging eyes.

I sat out several generations of upgrades to Leica’s rangefinders, successors to the M9, like the M240, the M and a few other variants. I thought the advances were negligible and didn’t warrant the price. My M9 was working just fine. Then, in 2017, Leica released the M10. It had a new 24mp CMOS sensor, a larger optical viewfinder and, most importantly, the ability to use a high resolution electronic viewfinder. Now I was tempted.

So after waiting (and saving) for a year or so I decided to pull the trigger. I checked the B&H used inventory and found an ‘open box special’ for an M10-P, a more expensive version of the M10 with no red dot and a quieter shutter. Because it had been a demo unit it was priced lower than a regular new M10. So I ordered it.

Leica M10-P, 50mm Summilux with Visoflex EVF

Although impeccably engineered, the original M9 was a slightly awkward looking camera. It was the first Leica rangefinder designed for a full frame digital sensor. To fit the electronics and a full frame sensor that could accommodate traditional M lenses, the camera ended up being a little thick and it had some jutting edges. But the photos were amazing so all that was forgiven.

Aesthetically and ergonomically the M10-P seems close to perfect to me. It’s beautiful to look at. The controls make sense. It feels solid in the hand. It’s the thinnest digital M yet. And the quiet shutter is incredible. The damping gives it a nice feel and you barely hear the Pa-lunk sound.

How are the images? I attached a 35mm Summilux lens to the camera. This lens is a little soft wide open but it’s a classic and I wanted to see how it looked with this new sensor. Pretty good, it turns out. Images had that classic Kodachrome look. The sensor was at least as good as the CCD in the M9 in its color tone and rendition.

Fall colors, Leica M10-P, 35mm

Next I tried the super sharp 50mm Summilux ASPH FLE and opened it up. I used the Visoflex EVF. Peaking worked flawlessly and I was able to nail focus.

Hawk on a post. Leica M10-P

I have been using the M10-P for just over a year now and it has not disappointed. It has been a pleasure to use. (My new favorite lens to use with it is the Voiglander Nokton 40mm f/1.2.) Here are a few more photos from the M10-P.

Connemara Ponies. Leica M10-P
Man in Portree. Leica M10-P
Leica M10-P
Portree Harbor. Leica M10-P

Leica gear is expensive, no getting around that. But the quality is undeniable.

Is something like the Leica M10-P worth the cost? I like to think of these Leica rangefinders as my version of a mid-life-crisis Harley Davidson, something a lot of people in my shoes go for. In that light the cost is not so bad. So yes, for me it was worth it. Your milage, of course, may vary.

No spots available

A Monday squeezed between Christmas and New Year. Weather-wise, it’s a good day to stay in if you don’t have to go out.

While you were relaxing by the fire over the holidays scientists were working on submitting their papers. Here are some of the most cited from last year.

If you want to take the T to work you have to get to the station. If you don’t live near the station you have to drive to it. And then you have to park. Many lots are full by the morning rush and because of supply and demand prices for parking go up. And that’s on top of your T pass. Eventually you run the numbers and find it’s cheaper, quicker and more convenient to just drive in and park. That’s unfortunate but it’s a reality for a lot of people.

The hype was overblown but the potential for a Y2K catastrophe was real. Looking back, it was thanks to the work of a lot of dedicated people that we averted disaster twenty years ago.

Boston had 38 murders so far in 2019. There’s a list of each of the victims compiled by Adam Gaffin. By comparison with similar sized cities, San Francisco had 32, Milwaukee‘s total was 98, Baltimore had 339 and Philly, a slightly bigger city, had 351.

And, from Tulare, CA to Quakertown, PA, an autonomous truck delivered the butter. It was the first cross-country autonomous freight run.

Logical consequence

Good Sunday morning. Another beautiful day.

2019 was, among other things, the year of mass killings. And Dave Barry’s year in review, which used to be ‘funny because it’s true’, is now depressing because it’s true.

Cumberland Farms, owned by a large British retail network, is ready to throw its corporate weight behind a 2020 MA ballot question to lift the cap on the number of food stores that can sell alcohol. And if successful, according to David Rabinovitz at The Dig, that could also increase the number of retail stores that can sell marijuana, since the latter is based is a formula of the number of stores selling alcohol.

Magnolia was a great film, one of my all time favorites. But was it really 20 years ago?

Wyze, which sells security cameras and smart home devices, reports it exposed user data for 2.4 million of its customers.

And if this year has left you depressed, watch this short Iranian film. It’s just under two minutes and won an award at the Luxor Film Festival. It will make your day.

Dog in a bag

Saturday in the park. Mid 40’s today.

There’s a buzz among some scientists that Betelgeuse is going to supernova.

Former city councilor Mike Ross is the subject of a comment thread on Universal Hub and he joins in on the fun.

A company is developing algorithms to predict traffic the way forecasters predict the weather. Not sure what the point would be. I drove into work through Boston traffic for more than 20 years and by the end of that time I could predict congestion pretty damm well. But you still had to deal with it. Unlike the weather, you can’t dress for traffic.

Apple news no longer supporting RSS? That’s a shame.

And Ty Burr picks the best 50 movies of the decade. I didn’t see Cats on the list.

Attention to detail

Friday. In 1831 on this date, after a short delay caused by drunkenness at a Christmas party, Charles Darwin set off on the Beagle for a trip around the world.

This is not a good look for Deval Patrick’s campaign. I get the feeling that his efforts to gain the nomination are more aspirational than actual.

In New York real estate, the iconic Chrysler Building was up for sale this year. 77 stories. The 8th tallest building in New York. It sold for $150 million. Sounds like a lot of money but at around the same time a single residential apartment on Central Park sold for $238 million.

79 year-old Phil Spector, in jail for murder, smiles for his annual prison portrait.

And Dan Kennedy looks at how paywalls are changing the media landscape.

Outsider on the inside

It’s Thursday; Boxing Day.

A town brought out its police department to throw snowballs at each other as a way to illustrate the stupidity of an anti-snowball ordinance.

Chuck Turner has died. He was one of a kind and a tireless advocate for his constituents and for civil rights, even after his bribery conviction.

I wouldn’t advise putting your actual critical passwords through this tool but it is fun to see how adding digits, numbers and symbols can make it harder to crack your codes.

Cell phone tracking at some colleges is getting out of hand.

And Kevin Spacey just won’t go away. He’s back, with the Frank Underwood accent again, in a new holiday video.

Gold plated Santa

Christmas Eve is a Tuesday this year. It’s clear and sunny. No sign of snow.

It was a sad and bloody day in 1944.

You can’t buy holiday cheer? Actually you can but it’s expensive. And in this Spanish town they pull out all the stops. A million lights, falling snow. Money is no object. And the tourists come.

Chase Winovich has gotten into the holiday sprit.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that we were, and are, being played by Kim Jong Un.

And it will soon be time to start tracking Santa. (Watch out for those Christmas missiles around North Korea, Rudolph!)

What’s in a name?

Monday, two days before Christmas. Mild weather for last minute shopping.

The great scone debate settled by the Queen herself.

Dudley Square is now Nubian Square. The city’s book of streets needs to be amended to reflect the change. Wikipedia has been updated. Now what to do about the T station. Will it be another Dover Street?

John Bolton is certainly a hawk, so take his views with a grain of salt. But this is concerning.

Although I grew up with the Palmer Method, after years of using only keyboards those skills are lost and my handwriting is unintelligible. So I get this.

And, a candy bar instead of a ticket. After 3 infractions maybe you get an ice cream sundae.