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I purchased this faucet in oil rubbed bronze for a kitchen remodel in 1009. Within a few months the rubber button on top changing the faucet from spray to stream stopped working. Since it was still a beautiful faucet and because I would need to get a plumber out to replace it, I ignored the broken toggle button. One year, almost to the exact date of original installation, the sprayer hose came out of it housing, and leaving us without a usable sink until we could replace the faucet. I called the manufacturer to describe the problem and they promptly sent me a replacement faucet at no charge. I paid a plumber to come out and replace the broken faucet, who discovered on removing the old faucet that the bronze finish had completely chipped off under the handle just below where the faucet moves to swivel from side to side. The second faucet failed in exactly the same manner, again almost exactly one year from installation. That inside hose carrying water to the sprayertap came out of its housing and could not be reattached. Plus the bronze finish of this second faucet had chipped away even more than the first. I called representatives of Danze, the manufacturer, and they were very responsive to my complaintsjust incredulous that both faucets had failed as I described. I asked to be reimbursed for the original purchase price of the faucet and the plumbers fees for installation. They acknowledged that the company had had problems with the finish on the first faucets they manufactured in this model but those problems had been corrected. They refused my request for reimbursement but offered me any replacement faucet I wanted in the Danze product line. I explained that I had new counters cut with a single hole for the faucet and of the five faucets that would work in my kitchen, four would look awful and I was reluctant to install the faucet I bought for a third time. The company proposed sending me the same model I originally purchased with many assurances that it would not chip or fail, plus an agreement that they would reimburse me for all plumbing costs incurred in installation. In addition, I was told that if the third faucet would fail, they would reimburse my money and pay for another plumber to come in and put in a fourth faucet. The third faucet has been installed for four months now. There is prominent chipping of the finish in the same place as the other two faucets. The housing has not come off the sprayer arm yet, but it no longer docks tightly and this minor failure always preceded complete detachment in the last two faucets. I must say Danze has been wonderful to work with. They have been very responsive to my complaints and very quick in trying to make things right. Within 12 hours of emailing the customer care manager about the third faucet failure I had a return email apologizing for the mess and his assurance that my claim would be expedited. The company has promised me full reimbursement for the cost of the original faucet, plus they will cover the cost of (hopefully, a final) installation of a faucet not manufactured by Danze. In all, I paid for one faucet which Danze replaced twice more. They have and will cover all installation costs. The company made a beautiful but defective faucet but their responsiveness and quick actions prevented this situation from being a complete nightmare. Instead it has been a big inconvenience and annoyance. Dont fall for looks with this beautiful faucet and dont assume, because it is expensive, it is wellmade or will last. If youve stopped here looking for a faucet, keep looking or beware. UPDATE***As of 1012, I have received full reimbursement for the cost of having a plumber replace this faucet in my home, THREE TIMES, and the original cost of the faucet purchased through Amazon. If you have installed one of these defective faucets in your home, and plan to replace it, it is worth your while to pursue a claim with the company. If you remove this Danze, keep the defective faucet. DO NOT DISCARD. The company will pay to have it returned but they will want to see it. This entire experience has been extremely annoying but the company has been very responsive.

The water motion in this reminds me of a washing machine. When I was a kid I remember being mesmerized by my grandparents front loading washing machine. At home we had a top loader, so it was something new and interesting when I was little.

 

My Flickr Pro Account expired today. When I went to look at my stats for today I got an ad page, so I went to renew my account for another year. Overall I've been pretty happy with Flickr, so I clicked through to renew my 1-year subscription and eventually got to the end of the process and was presented with this:

 

"You are about to subscribe to the Yahoo! service listed above. You will be charged the total due, on an auto-renew basis, for each term as shown above, until you cancel."

 

As a consumer I find this kind of policy offensive. It's a tactic used by second rate companies to collect recurring subscription fees even after a customer stops using the service. Some people find automatic renewal to be convenient, but for them there has always been an option to enroll in auto-renewal. This policy change was enough to get me to take a step back and reassess what I get from Flickr, and how it compares with other sites.

 

The best feature Flickr Pro offers has no competitive alternative that I know of, and that is unlimited storage of full resolution photos. This is the single feature that has convinced me to renew, at least for now. At some point I am planning to build a gallery with a service like Zenfolio, or Smugmug, or one of the other similar options. Once I do, this Flickr feature will become much less important.

 

The other feature Flickr has that I enjoy is their groups, but since Google+ added communities I find it to be almost as good. I still think Flickr's groups are better, especially with the way photos are added, but communities are close enough, and the activity and engagement from Google+ communities is actually much better than Flickr.

 

My Flickr presence had about a 1 year head start on my Google+ presence, so the group I interact with on Flickr was initially much larger. Now that I've spent time on Google+ I've found that my personal community is growing many times faster than on Flickr. It's also much easier to find active relevant and interesting discussions on Google+.

 

Flickr has Explore, which is a huge opportunity for exposure that doesn't really exist on Google+, and only kind of exists on 500px (if you can get to the front page). The problem is, despite having improved my photography (in my opinion), and definitely increased the engagement I get on the photos I post, the last time I had a photo in explore was March of 2012 (13 months ago). Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to complain about this, and I understand it's a complex algorithm that accounts for many different factors, but if I never have a photo reach explore, it's not a relevant feature to consider when I'm deciding whether or not to continue using Flickr, or renew my Flickr Pro.

 

The last feature Flickr Pro offers that I do really enjoy is stats. I like to see where my photo views come from. As far as I know, nothing like this exists on other social networks.

 

Ultimately, I renewed my Flickr Pro for 3 months (instead of the 1-year I was originally planning) and immediately canceled it so it won't auto-renew. In 3 months, I'll reassess my Flickr use, but for now, I'll continue on. But Flickr, I want you to know I'm not happy with your policy changes, and your competition is evolving much faster than you, so our days together may be numbered.

Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - A Plumpish Proportion

 

Photo By: SSG Robert Stewart

 

To learn more about the annual U.S. Army Photography Competition, visit us online at www.armymwr.com

 

U.S. Army Arts and Crafts History

 

After World War I the reductions to the Army left the United States with a small force. The War Department faced monumental challenges in preparing for World War II. One of those challenges was soldier morale. Recreational activities for off duty time would be important. The arts and crafts program informally evolved to augment the needs of the War Department.

On January 9, 1941, the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, appointed Frederick H. Osborn, a prominent U.S. businessman and philanthropist, Chairman of the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation and Community Service.

In 1940 and 1941, the United States involvement in World War II was more of sympathy and anticipation than of action. However, many different types of institutions were looking for ways to help the war effort. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of these institutions. In April, 1941, the Museum announced a poster competition, “Posters for National Defense.” The directors stated “The Museum feels that in a time of national emergency the artists of a country are as important an asset as men skilled in other fields, and that the nation’s first-rate talent should be utilized by the government for its official design work... Discussions have been held with officials of the Army and the Treasury who have expressed remarkable enthusiasm...”

In May 1941, the Museum exhibited “Britain at War”, a show selected by Sir Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery in London. The “Prize-Winning Defense Posters” were exhibited in July through September concurrently with “Britain at War.” The enormous overnight growth of the military force meant mobilization type construction at every camp. Construction was fast; facilities were not fancy; rather drab and depressing.

In 1941, the Fort Custer Army Illustrators, while on strenuous war games maneuvers in Tennessee, documented the exercise The Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Feb. 1942), described their work. “Results were astonishingly good; they showed serious devotion ...to the purpose of depicting the Army scene with unvarnished realism and a remarkable ability to capture this scene from the soldier’s viewpoint. Civilian amateur and professional artists had been transformed into soldier-artists. Reality and straightforward documentation had supplanted (replaced) the old romantic glorification and false dramatization of war and the slick suavity (charm) of commercial drawing.”

 

“In August of last year, Fort Custer Army Illustrators held an exhibition, the first of its kind in the new Army, at the Camp Service Club. Soldiers who saw the exhibition, many of whom had never been inside an art gallery, enjoyed it thoroughly. Civilian visitors, too, came and admired. The work of the group showed them a new aspect of the Army; there were many phases of Army life they had never seen or heard of before. Newspapers made much of it and, most important, the Army approved. Army officials saw that it was not only authentic material, but that here was a source of enlivenment (vitalization) to the Army and a vivid medium for conveying the Army’s purposes and processes to civilians and soldiers.”

Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn and War Department leaders were concerned because few soldiers were using the off duty recreation areas that were available. Army commanders recognized that efficiency is directly correlated with morale, and that morale is largely determined from the manner in which an individual spends his own free time. Army morale enhancement through positive off duty recreation programs is critical in combat staging areas.

To encourage soldier use of programs, the facilities drab and uninviting environment had to be improved. A program utilizing talented artists and craftsmen to decorate day rooms, mess halls, recreation halls and other places of general assembly was established by the Facilities Section of Special Services. The purpose was to provide an environment that would reflect the military tradition, accomplishments and the high standard of army life. The fact that this work was to be done by the men themselves had the added benefit of contributing to the esprit de corps (teamwork, or group spirit) of the unit.

The plan was first tested in October of 1941, at Camp Davis, North Carolina. A studio workshop was set up and a group of soldier artists were placed on special duty to design and decorate the facilities. Additionally, evening recreation art classes were scheduled three times a week. A second test was established at Fort Belvoir, Virginia a month later. The success of these programs lead to more installations requesting the program.

After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Museum of Modern Art appointed Mr. James Soby, to the position of Director of the Armed Service Program on January 15, 1942. The subsequent program became a combination of occupational therapy, exhibitions and morale-sustaining activities.

Through the efforts of Mr. Soby, the museum program included; a display of Fort Custer Army Illustrators work from February through April 5, 1942. The museum also included the work of soldier-photographers in this exhibit. On May 6, 1942, Mr. Soby opened an art sale of works donated by museum members. The sale was to raise funds for the Soldier Art Program of Special Services Division. The bulk of these proceeds were to be used to provide facilities and materials for soldier artists in Army camps throughout the country.

Members of the Museum had responded with paintings, sculptures, watercolors, gouaches, drawings, etchings and lithographs. Hundreds of works were received, including oils by Winslow Homer, Orozco, John Kane, Speicher, Eilshemius, de Chirico; watercolors by Burchfield and Dufy; drawings by Augustus John, Forain and Berman, and prints by Cezanne, Lautrec, Matisse and Bellows. The War Department plan using soldier-artists to decorate and improve buildings and grounds worked. Many artists who had been drafted into the Army volunteered to paint murals in waiting rooms and clubs, to decorate dayrooms, and to landscape grounds. For each artist at work there were a thousand troops who watched. These bystanders clamored to participate, and classes in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography were offered. Larger working space and more instructors were required to meet the growing demand. Civilian art instructors and local communities helped to meet this cultural need, by providing volunteer instruction and facilities.

Some proceeds from the Modern Museum of Art sale were used to print 25,000 booklets called “Interior Design and Soldier Art.” The booklet showed examples of soldier-artist murals that decorated places of general assembly. It was a guide to organizing, planning and executing the soldier-artist program. The balance of the art sale proceeds were used to purchase the initial arts and crafts furnishings for 350 Army installations in the USA.

In November, 1942, General Somervell directed that a group of artists be selected and dispatched to active theaters to paint war scenes with the stipulation that soldier artists would not paint in lieu of military duties.

Aileen Osborn Webb, sister of Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, launched the American Crafts Council in 1943. She was an early champion of the Army program.

While soldiers were participating in fixed facilities in the USA, many troops were being shipped overseas to Europe and the Pacific (1942-1945). They had long periods of idleness and waiting in staging areas. At that time the wounded were lying in hospitals, both on land and in ships at sea. The War Department and Red Cross responded by purchasing kits of arts and crafts tools and supplies to distribute to “these restless personnel.” A variety of small “Handicraft Kits” were distributed free of charge. Leathercraft, celluloid etching, knotting and braiding, metal tooling, drawing and clay modeling are examples of the types of kits sent.

In January, 1944, the Interior Design Soldier Artist program was more appropriately named the “Arts and Crafts Section” of Special Services. The mission was “to fulfill the natural human desire to create, provide opportunities for self-expression, serve old skills and develop new ones, and assist the entire recreation program through construction work, publicity, and decoration.”

The National Army Art Contest was planned for the late fall of 1944. In June of 1945, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., for the first time in its history opened its facilities for the exhibition of the soldier art and photography submitted to this contest. The “Infantry Journal, Inc.” printed a small paperback booklet containing 215 photographs of pictures exhibited in the National Gallery of Art.

In August of 1944, the Museum of Modern Art, Armed Forces Program, organized an art center for veterans. Abby Rockefeller, in particular, had a strong interest in this project. Soldiers were invited to sketch, paint, or model under the guidance of skilled artists and craftsmen. Victor d’Amico, who was in charge of the Museum’s Education Department, was quoted in Russell Lynes book, Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of the Museum of Modern Art. “I asked one fellow why he had taken up art and he said, Well, I just came back from destroying everything. I made up my mind that if I ever got out of the Army and out of the war I was never going to destroy another thing in my life, and I decided that art was the thing that I would do.” Another man said to d’Amico, “Art is like a good night’s sleep. You come away refreshed and at peace.”

In late October, 1944, an Arts and Crafts Branch of Special Services Division, Headquarters, European Theater of Operations was established. A versatile program of handcrafts flourished among the Army occupation troops.

The increased interest in crafts, rather than fine arts, at this time lead to a new name for the program: The “Handicrafts Branch.”

In 1945, the War Department published a new manual, “Soldier Handicrafts”, to help implement this new emphasis. The manual contained instructions for setting up crafts facilities, selecting as well as improvising tools and equipment, and basic information on a variety of arts and crafts.

As the Army moved from a combat to a peacetime role, the majority of crafts shops in the United States were equipped with woodworking power machinery for construction of furnishings and objects for personal living. Based on this new trend, in 1946 the program was again renamed, this time as “Manual Arts.”

At the same time, overseas programs were now employing local artists and craftsmen to operate the crafts facilities and instruct in a variety of arts and crafts. These highly skilled, indigenous instructors helped to stimulate the soldiers’ interest in the respective native cultures and artifacts. Thousands of troops overseas were encouraged to record their experiences on film. These photographs provided an invaluable means of communication between troops and their families back home.

When the war ended, the Navy had a firm of architects and draftsmen on contract to design ships. Since there was no longer a need for more ships, they were given a new assignment: To develop a series of instructional guides for arts and crafts. These were called “Hobby Manuals.” The Army was impressed with the quality of the Navy manuals and had them reprinted and adopted for use by Army troops. By 1948, the arts and crafts practiced throughout the Army were so varied and diverse that the program was renamed “Hobby Shops.” The first “Interservice Photography Contest” was held in 1948. Each service is eligible to send two years of their winning entries forward for the bi-annual interservice contest. In 1949, the first All Army Crafts Contest was also held. Once again, it was clear that the program title, “Hobby Shops” was misleading and overlapped into other forms of recreation.

In January, 1951, the program was designated as “The Army Crafts Program.” The program was recognized as an essential Army recreation activity along with sports, libraries, service clubs, soldier shows and soldier music. In the official statement of mission, professional leadership was emphasized to insure a balanced, progressive schedule of arts and crafts would be conducted in well-equipped, attractive facilities on all Army installations.

The program was now defined in terms of a “Basic Seven Program” which included: drawing and painting; ceramics and sculpture; metal work; leathercrafts; model building; photography and woodworking. These programs were to be conducted regularly in facilities known as the “multiple-type crafts shop.” For functional reasons, these facilities were divided into three separate technical areas for woodworking, photography and the arts and crafts.

During the Korean Conflict, the Army Crafts program utilized the personnel and shops in Japan to train soldiers to instruct crafts in Korea.

The mid-1950s saw more soldiers with cars and the need to repair their vehicles was recognized at Fort Carson, Colorado, by the craft director. Soldiers familiar with crafts shops knew that they had tools and so automotive crafts were established. By 1958, the Engineers published an Official Design Guide on Crafts Shops and Auto Crafts Shops. In 1959, the first All Army Art Contest was held. Once more, the Army Crafts Program responded to the needs of soldiers.

In the 1960’s, the war in Vietnam was a new challenge for the Army Crafts Program. The program had three levels of support; fixed facilities, mobile trailers designed as portable photo labs, and once again a “Kit Program.” The kit program originated at Headquarters, Department of Army, and it proved to be very popular with soldiers.

Tom Turner, today a well-known studio potter, was a soldier at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in the 1960s. In the December 1990 / January 1991 “American Crafts” magazine, Turner, who had been a graduate student in art school when he was drafted, said the program was “a godsend.”

The Army Artist Program was re-initiated in cooperation with the Office of Military History to document the war in Vietnam. Soldier-artists were identified and teams were formed to draw and paint the events of this combat. Exhibitions of these soldier-artist works were produced and toured throughout the USA.

In 1970, the original name of the program, “Arts and Crafts”, was restored. In 1971, the “Arts and Crafts/Skills Development Program” was established for budget presentations and construction projects.

After the Vietnam demobilization, a new emphasis was placed on service to families and children of soldiers. To meet this new challenge in an environment of funding constraints the arts and crafts program began charging fees for classes. More part-time personnel were used to teach formal classes. Additionally, a need for more technical-vocational skills training for military personnel was met by close coordination with Army Education Programs. Army arts and crafts directors worked with soldiers during “Project Transition” to develop soldier skills for new careers in the public sector.

The main challenge in the 1980s and 90s was, and is, to become “self-sustaining.” Directors have been forced to find more ways to generate increased revenue to help defray the loss of appropriated funds and to cover the non-appropriated funds expenses of the program. Programs have added and increased emphasis on services such as, picture framing, gallery sales, engraving and trophy sales, etc... New programs such as multi-media computer graphics appeal to customers of the 1990’s.

The Gulf War presented the Army with some familiar challenges such as personnel off duty time in staging areas. Department of Army volunteer civilian recreation specialists were sent to Saudi Arabia in January, 1991, to organize recreation programs. Arts and crafts supplies were sent to the theater. An Army Humor Cartoon Contest was conducted for the soldiers in the Gulf, and arts and crafts programs were set up to meet soldier interests.

The increased operations tempo of the ‘90’s Army has once again placed emphasis on meeting the “recreation needs of deployed soldiers.” Arts and crafts activities and a variety of programs are assets commanders must have to meet the deployment challenges of these very different scenarios.

The Army arts and crafts program, no matter what it has been titled, has made some unique contributions for the military and our society in general. Army arts and crafts does not fit the narrow definition of drawing and painting or making ceramics, but the much larger sense of arts and crafts. It is painting and drawing. It also encompasses:

* all forms of design. (fabric, clothes, household appliances, dishes, vases, houses, automobiles, landscapes, computers, copy machines, desks, industrial machines, weapon systems, air crafts, roads, etc...)

* applied technology (photography, graphics, woodworking, sculpture, metal smithing, weaving and textiles, sewing, advertising, enameling, stained glass, pottery, charts, graphs, visual aides and even formats for correspondence...)

* a way of making learning fun, practical and meaningful (through the process of designing and making an object the creator must decide which materials and techniques to use, thereby engaging in creative problem solving and discovery) skills taught have military applications.

* a way to acquire quality items and save money by doing-it-yourself (making furniture, gifts, repairing things ...).

* a way to pursue college credit, through on post classes.

* a universal and non-verbal language (a picture is worth a thousand words).

* food for the human psyche, an element of morale that allows for individual expression (freedom).

* the celebration of human spirit and excellence (our highest form of public recognition is through a dedicated monument).

* physical and mental therapy (motor skill development, stress reduction, etc...).

* an activity that promotes self-reliance and self-esteem.

* the record of mankind, and in this case, of the Army.

What would the world be like today if this generally unknown program had not existed? To quantitatively state the overall impact of this program on the world is impossible. Millions of soldier citizens have been directly and indirectly exposed to arts and crafts because this program existed. One activity, photography can provide a clue to its impact. Soldiers encouraged to take pictures, beginning with WW II, have shared those images with family and friends. Classes in “How to Use a Camera” to “How to Develop Film and Print Pictures” were instrumental in soldiers seeing the results of using quality equipment. A good camera and lens could make a big difference in the quality of the print. They bought the top of the line equipment. When they were discharged from the Army or home on leave this new equipment was showed to the family and friends. Without this encouragement and exposure to photography many would not have recorded their personal experiences or known the difference quality equipment could make. Families and friends would not have had the opportunity to “see” the environment their soldier was living in without these photos. Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Panama, etc... were far away places that most had not visited.

As the twenty first century approaches, the predictions for an arts renaissance by Megatrends 2000 seem realistic based on the Army Arts and Crafts Program practical experience. In the April ‘95 issue of “American Demographics” magazine, an article titled “Generation X” fully supports that this is indeed the case today. Television and computers have greatly contributed to “Generation X” being more interested in the visual arts and crafts.

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NEW RELEASE @ Pure Poison FASHION

- Group - New Offers!

Pure Poison will release new item every Friday and we have a special discount program for our members, such as:

 

-> Group members will receive 50% off for one specific color of the new release and 20% off for the other available colors. We will announce which one of specific color every friday!

Check for Group vendor ( highlighted in red) near the normal vendors.

 

-> We will also have a lucky draw program for our monthly customers and group members. The monthly prizes will now be:

1st winner - 6000L - Gift Card

2nd winner - 3000L - Gift Card

3rd winner - 1000L - Gift Card

 

With this new offer, we have increased the join fee for Pure Poison group to 500L. This group fee change will not effect the existing members.

 

Enjoy!

jewelrydom.com/15605.

I purchased this faucet in oil rubbed bronze for a kitchen remodel in 1009. Within a few months the rubber button on top changing the faucet from spray to stream stopped working. Since it was still a beautiful faucet and because I would need to get a plumber out to replace it, I ignored the broken toggle button. One year, almost to the exact date of original installation, the sprayer hose came out of it housing, and leaving us without a usable sink until we could replace the faucet. I called the manufacturer to describe the problem and they promptly sent me a replacement faucet at no charge. I paid a plumber to come out and replace the broken faucet, who discovered on removing the old faucet that the bronze finish had completely chipped off under the handle just below where the faucet moves to swivel from side to side. The second faucet failed in exactly the same manner, again almost exactly one year from installation. That inside hose carrying water to the sprayertap came out of its housing and could not be reattached. Plus the bronze finish of this second faucet had chipped away even more than the first. I called representatives of Danze, the manufacturer, and they were very responsive to my complaintsjust incredulous that both faucets had failed as I described. I asked to be reimbursed for the original purchase price of the faucet and the plumbers fees for installation. They acknowledged that the company had had problems with the finish on the first faucets they manufactured in this model but those problems had been corrected. They refused my request for reimbursement but offered me any replacement faucet I wanted in the Danze product line. I explained that I had new counters cut with a single hole for the faucet and of the five faucets that would work in my kitchen, four would look awful and I was reluctant to install the faucet I bought for a third time. The company proposed sending me the same model I originally purchased with many assurances that it would not chip or fail, plus an agreement that they would reimburse me for all plumbing costs incurred in installation. In addition, I was told that if the third faucet would fail, they would reimburse my money and pay for another plumber to come in and put in a fourth faucet. The third faucet has been installed for four months now. There is prominent chipping of the finish in the same place as the other two faucets. The housing has not come off the sprayer arm yet, but it no longer docks tightly and this minor failure always preceded complete detachment in the last two faucets. I must say Danze has been wonderful to work with. They have been very responsive to my complaints and very quick in trying to make things right. Within 12 hours of emailing the customer care manager about the third faucet failure I had a return email apologizing for the mess and his assurance that my claim would be expedited. The company has promised me full reimbursement for the cost of the original faucet, plus they will cover the cost of (hopefully, a final) installation of a faucet not manufactured by Danze. In all, I paid for one faucet which Danze replaced twice more. They have and will cover all installation costs. The company made a beautiful but defective faucet but their responsiveness and quick actions prevented this situation from being a complete nightmare. Instead it has been a big inconvenience and annoyance. Dont fall for looks with this beautiful faucet and dont assume, because it is expensive, it is wellmade or will last. If youve stopped here looking for a faucet, keep looking or beware. UPDATE***As of 1012, I have received full reimbursement for the cost of having a plumber replace this faucet in my home, THREE TIMES, and the original cost of the faucet purchased through Amazon. If you have installed one of these defective faucets in your home, and plan to replace it, it is worth your while to pursue a claim with the company. If you remove this Danze, keep the defective faucet. DO NOT DISCARD. The company will pay to have it returned but they will want to see it. This entire experience has been extremely annoying but the company has been very responsive.

View On Black

 

This is the Americana at Brand, L.A.'s newest beacon of American consumerism that opened on May 2, 2008 in Glendale. On the surface, it may look like just another mall, but with more than 75 stores and restaurants—plus a state-of-the-art movie theater and a park with a water fountain, it's definitely bigger than anything Los Angelenos have ever seen before.

 

Two years in the making and cost $400 million, Americana is the new shopping center and residential center in Glendale made possible by Grove developer Rick Caruso.

 

Caruso, who spent millions fighting Glendale Galleria owner General Growth Properties while planning the project, has built an empire by creating stylized retail centers that encourage shoppers to kick back and hang out. You either love the idea of shopping in a fantasy land -- where shiny trolleys cruise mini-streets and uniformed elevator men ask "Which floor? "-- or you cringe over its Disney-esque surrealness.

 

But only the terminally cynical will be blind to the Americana's charms. Yes, architectural purists will bemoan the hodgepodge of design styles -- Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Mediterranean, Classical and many more. But walking down the paved pathways, you almost feel as if you're strolling Boston's Newbury Street or Georgetown in Washington D.C. Or the main drag in Vegas. A 2-acre grassy knoll features an 80-foot "dancing" fountain, the centerpiece of the project, with stores and a playground curving around all sides.

 

Unlike at the Grove, there are no department store anchors, only a multilevel Barnes & Noble and an 18-screen Pacific movie theater. And though the outdoor space is triple what it is at the Grove, there's actually less retail.

 

But the lineup is aimed straight at younger shoppers: Calvin Klein, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Lacoste, Martin + Osa, Free People, H&M, Juicy Couture, Custo Barcelona and XXI from Forever 21.

 

Abercrombie & Fitch opened its first store in California for its Australia-based line Gilly Hicks, which features hip lingerie and lounge wear for twentysomethings. Paperchase, a British stationery store, will debut its first West Coast shop.

 

Tiffany & Co. launched its lower-priced "concept store," geared toward the trendy jewelry shopper.

 

And you won't go hungry -- though you might leave with a touch of indigestion. Restaurants and eateries include Cheesecake Factory, Beard Papa (cream puffs), Caffe Primo (salads and paninis), Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, CrepeMaker (handmade crepes), Jamba Juice and Richie's Neighborhood Pizzeria. On the higher end, there's Katsuya, the Japanese restaurant from sushi chef Kaysuya Uechi and designer Phillippe Starck.

 

The Americana takes its customer service seriously. The concierge desk offers -- for fees -- valet service, on-site oil changes, rental car and taxi reservation assistance, wardrobe consultation and styling, dry cleaning, tailoring, a notary public and even a yoga instructor. That's just for shoppers.

 

There are even more perks for those planning to move into Caruso's Neverland. Stacked above the center's shops and restaurants are 100 condos and 238 apartments, with condos ranging from the low $700,000s to $2 million and rents from $2,000 to $5,500 a month. The list of services for residents reads like Mariah Carey's backstage rider: piano tuning, baby-sitting (kids, pets and plants), movie tickets, personal shopping, art appraisal and food delivery.

 

Day shoppers who won't be rolling out of bed and into Urban Outfitters -- and don't want to valet -- will be subjected to a fascimile of the Grove's creeping, merry-go-round of a parking garage. But then passage to strange lands has always been tricky.

 

Info from www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-ig-americana27apr27... (with minor changes and additions)

There were about 45 dust spots on this image when I opened the RAW file in Photoshop and had to carefully remove them all before converting the RAW.

I think it is a big issue of any interchangeable lens system camera(both ILC and DSLR).

 

Why the Sony FE system is doomed 1: Is Sony the final loser as usual in the ILC market too?

 

Everybody in a camera forum claims MILC,especially the Sony FE system is winning this ILC game over the rest, Canon Nikon are really stupid losing all their market to the Sony, is that really true?

 

Between 2006 and 2008 Sony was the fastest growing company on the DSLR market, reaching about 13% market share in 2008(in unit sales) to become the third largest DSLR company in the world.

But then Sony switched to SLTs and dropped DSLRs. After that they switched to focus more on their new E mount and the 'NEX' APSC mirrorless system, which I personally loved and supported with my own money. After that they dropped the 'NEX' name and quit releasing new APSC mirrorless lenses while solely focusing all their effort on FF mirrorles-the 'FE' mount(Fullframe E mount)...........

The results? Sony now commands about a 11% market share for ILC cameras, so despite of the common forum myth that Sony is taking over this industry with the series of the quick A7X camera launches, Sony is actually losing their sales and market share-they have been losing more A mount guys to CN than they have been taking CN guys with the FE series plus the obscure adapter strategy.

So Sony still remains the 3rd largest ILC (DSLR, SLT and Mirrorless) company in the world but not by unit sales any more, by value. This is significant because they are no longer selling as many affordable cameras as they used to be , and most of their sales loss coming from younger gen market because many of young new photogs no longer afford Sony ILC cameras or like many of our friends here, they cannot justify the prices(even the supposed to be lowend A6300 costs over 1k).

 

Now, the question we might want to ask to Sony is, if they stuck with DSLRs or SLTs, could they have done the same or better? Or would just the simple mirrorless A99 type body without the SLT have actually done any better than over hyped but awkward A7X series? I actually think so. Sony has never tried to advertise the A mount properly, never promoted it seriously at their sites or via DPR, LL ,etc, but the A mount line has been just doing as well or slightly better than the E mount. So if they seriously advertise and promote the A mount line, I think they will sell better than the E mount line.

 

Please do not get me wrong I am a A/E mount user and definitely not a DSLR fan any more. I am a big EVF fan, so I am not DSLR biased. In fact, IMO, high resolution EVF is one of the most important features-almost a must-have feature in any camera system. So I will never go back to OVF camera myself, to me it feels very awkward and even anachronistic.

 

But I have to be realistic and honest, the E mount seems to be a failing effort, and it is clearly seen in the sales number. The A mount is not as insignificant as it supposed to be to Sony sales.

Now, despite of crazy shill marketing and internet promotion for the FE system,Sony only has about 11 percent or less of market share which is about 8 percent and 3 percent of MILC and D-SLR market respectively. If you read the numbers superficially it seems like the E is selling much better, but is it really so? No. Because the MILC market is about 1/3rd of the D-SLR market size, so the 8 percent sales in MILC market is about identical to 3 percent sales in D-SLR market.

 

The reality is the E mount share is getting worse and worse every year as the prices going up every new generation, and it is expected to become much worse than what Sony has presented it would be in their recent presentation to the dealers throughout the world, because Sony now thinks "market share" is ILC's+lenses+accessories and "by value" to obscure the data. They seem to be deliberately ignoring the negative unit sales numbers.

 

So again, despite of the common forum myth the FE is not a very successful mount system in terms of sales. I am a FE mount user and I use it for now(there is no better choice for me) but I am not committed to it, and in fact, I much prefer the A6300 plus the A99vMK2 combo if they are fully supported with a good lens lineup by Sony(and Zeiss and Tamron). Actually, the only one reason why I still have to use my FE A7X series is the lens line, mostly the Batis line and that is all. If it is not for the Batis, I am not using it. IOW, if there is proper lens support from Zeiss, Sony and Tamron for the original APS-C E mount, then there is no reason for me to use the overpriced over-hyped, awkward FE mount system.

 

Many of dealers(except big US online sellers like Amazon or B&H) throughout the world actually not very happy about Sony and their stupid policy of forcing all potential E mount buyers to the FE by intentionally disabling the APS-C lens line.

Many of dealers think the FE system will fail in the long run ,the FE system will not win, it is a temporal success, in deed a very short time success........and it is even an euphemism..........to put it polite.

 

What's hilarious about Sony camera business is that if you read the numbers carefully, you quickly realize Sony's SLT to MILC focus shift in ILC market has not actually improve anything in terms of their overall camera sales, but their E mount MILC has just deprived some serious sales from their A mount. And the even sadder fact is their MILC sells overall, regressed significantly in the past 4 or so years. The year 2013 was the peak year for them and after that it has been steadily declining.

 

What's really sad is that they failed to gain anything on their forceful focus shift from the A to the E to the FE and probably cost them a significant amount of momentum. By forcefully shifting their marketing focus from the A to the E to the FE in a very short time,they've created many many disappointed Sony haters.......just like they did with the Vaio PC business a few years back.

 

Despite of all the purported success Sony supposed to have got, Sony is still a small player in the ILC business, and probably even less significant after this year because only those well-heeled rich guys or spec-obsessed landscapers buy their FE cameras due to their unfair sudden price hikes.

 

Even domestically(here in Japan), as of last year, they are 4th for market share in ILC's, and actually further losing sales to CNFO.. And Japan is supposed to be the most mirrorless friendly market.

 

After all, maybe Canon Nikon Fuji were not as stupid as they always thought to be by those armchair camera market experts?

 

Unlike Sony and Fuji,Canon Nikon have not wasted much of their very limited RD money on quickly contracting current consumer camera market, but they have effectively invested that in something more important for their future such as medical imaging, automobile camera system, and surveillance camera tech. For us gearheads, maybe being mirrorless or mirrored is a very important issue, but for most of NORMAL people it is not important at all, and the A7 form of camera is not really disruptive in any way. It will not change the way we use our cameras or anything: It is not connected, It is not programmable, It is not dust-free(most important issue to me), It is not significantly lighter than Canon or Nikon fullframe system as opposed to how Sony has originally marketed it to be, It is not a true hybrid system. The FE FF has just made the great NEX extremely awkward, if not useless.

I mean many E mount users have bought into it for the promised smaller SYSTEM size(it was a lie) and extremely affordable lens system(another lie), not for the oversized overpriced FE lenses.

Again if not for the Batis, I am even not writing this crap about the A7X since there is nothing else interesting about the FE mount system.

I guess I will give a few more months for Sony to see if they are actually serious about the APS-C line E mount lenses and how they treat the A mount and the user base. It is very important because I know the future of the A mount will also be the future of the E mount and FE. Sony throws anything against the wall to see what will actually stick and they will keep replacing everything even those commercially successful ones, as they always do in all markets they enter.

This really exhaust users and this is why Sony has so many haters.

 

Honestly, now I think only three real pros for Sony FE system are below:

1 DXO 11 support

2 cheap Capture One 9.4 Pro for Sony(50US)

3 Zeiss Batis line lenses.

   

UPDATE: There are many articles that explain about A mount license contract here in Japan.

It seems to be the type of odd contract is the reason why Sony has not really serious about the A mount development any more.

Many dealers here already reported Sony has already finished the A99V successor, but the management still want to hold on the announcement.

The problems are:

1 Sony has to pay license fee to Konika Minolta.

2 All Sony G and GM lenses are Konika Minolta designs and they want to or already raise design and production fee.

3 Technically, the A mount license is still owned by KM not by Sony.

4 if Sony quits the A mount business or quits supporting the mount, KM will charge 5 years of the annual license fee for it.

So even if the A99 successor sales really well, it may not be a very profitable product for Sony, and therefore, they want to be careful about it. Also, they have to calculate the risk of quitting it. Even if Sony has to pay 5 years of annual license fee to KM, it is still better terminate the A mount business.

It is again all about politics nothing else.

Many forum people tend to think Sony has bought KM business, but it is not that simple. It looks like much more complicated legal issues there. If you check the biggest customers list for KM optical business, Sony has always been listed there. And it looks like KM is charging quite significant amount of money annually for the A mount license.

 

UPDATE2: now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

 

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of them themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp Sony sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year. But it is a pure contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

 

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie who want to promote Sony over Nikon or anything.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next sensor producers. Now, Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not use Sony for this. As fool as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

  

Nikon crisis 7:Keep the F or not for better long term future.

 

Should Nikon keep the F or ditch it ?

 

A short registration distance has some advantages for some lenses but disadvantages for others.

 

For example if light rays from the exit pupil strike the sensor at an extreme angle, such as happens with various wide angle lens designs, you can have problems of vignetting and colour fringing. Leica experienced this with their early digital M bodies with certain of their lenses which had been excellent on film, and needed an special designed set of micro lens arrays.

 

This was a problem with some Leica film lenses on older sensors, such as the one in the NEX-7. It is not a problem with lenses designed for digital sensors, or for recent sensors with BSI. IOW, if the E mount had slightly wider mount diameter design or a bit longer registration distance,then the A7RMK2 would not have needed the special designed expensive microlens arrangement, and thus could have been a lot cheaper than it is now.

 

That's an important point - lenses that are specifically designed for digital sensors. A short registration distance doesn't automatically make this easier.

 

There are various ways of correcting this - a curved sensor being one; or a sensor with angled micro lenses at the periphery being another(this is the tech the A7R2 and the A6300/X-Pro2 sensors use). But both of these have a potential disadvantage when used with lenses that do not require correction. Alternatively software correction could be employed with the compromises that that involves.

Or the manufacturer could re-design lenses so that light rays are as near to parallel as possible when they strike the sensor, which in the case of some wideangles means utilising a retrofocus design. But if you do this your lenses are then back to the size of those used with DSLRs, so unfortunately you have lost most of the potential advantage of the short registration distance here already........this is why all the great E mount fullframe lenses are huge...........in fact, on average bigger than Canon Nikon Tamron equivalent lenses.

  

Sigma seem to be going down this line, and I don't think they will do well.

The big optical advantage is that almost any lens can be used.

That might be an advantage to some users but I'm not sure it's an 'optical' advantage.

  

A second one is that there is more space for tilt-and-shift adapters, bellows or other devices to go between lens and camera. You couldn't use the Cambo Actus with a DSLR.

But the hypothetical mirrorless A or F mount can take this and so able to get a better quality set of TS lenses than the current DSLR TS lenses from Canon, Nikon or Zeiss.

A marginal advantage for most people frankly. But for architecture photographers it is a huge advantage over the short flange distance mount design of the E mount.

And at least, it is a way better more practical design than the short registration mount design with an adapter option.

However, if your main point to have a mirrorless camera is to get better non-native lens adaptability, then it must have short registration distance which accepts more lenses from many different eras.

But I doubt there are many many mount adapter freaks in the FE mount world any more, since most of us already know adapted lenses do not perform very well, and adapters add extra weight, and deprive some serious amount of potential IQ of lenses adapted.

IMO, the main point of mirrorless is reducing mechanical and optical complexity and thus being able to increase profit margins; and to use an EVF for both the same visual experience for stills and video.

The optical advantages are for a very, very, very limited range of focal lengths and fields of view. As pretty much all MILC systems demonstrate, lens size is mainly driven by focal length, image circle, and max F number, if you doubt it look at the Panasonic Leica 12/1.4, is it really tiny? No, it is bigger than the Batis 25mm f2 or the Fuji 16mm f1.4......And then, you look at Sony FE glass... barring the 28/2 & 35/2.8 all the lenses are about the same size as their DSLR equivalents. No magic here.

You look at E glass... 20/2.8 is the same size as the EF 24/2.8. 16/2.8 is small but really bad. If there are advantages they haven't been realized or capitalized on.

Also the optical benefit is only for lenses under around 44mm-50mm in the case of Canon or Sony A , and actually you gain that back for longer focal lenses. for instance Olympus made some pretty small and good primes for the OM mount which was even longer then the EF mount. So small lenses are indeed possible even without short registration distance as opposed to many tiny mirrorless fans claim.

Also while there is some optical advantages (not really major because the lenses have to be designed for the sensor stack), there's also counters which has to worry more about sensor reflections, vignetting and color casting,etc that don't occur with a more relaxed registration distance. This is a big part of reason why Nikon F mount cameras using the same sensor usually have less sensor reflection or color casting issues than the Sony E mount rivals using the same sensor. But no reviews talk about this since they do not want to displease Sony and its fanboys........

So, if the size potential reduction is not the main point for Nikon to go mirrorless, then why not just keep the very popular F mount with excellent lens line?

I used to be agaist this idea-keeping the venerable F mount, but now I am kind of supporting it since I have learned the only one real advantage of going really short with flange distance is better legacy lens adaptability.

I think keeping the F makes more sense as Thom Hogan and others say, because, by now, most of people already using mirrrorless(especially the FF ones) already understand the short mount registration distance does not make FF lenses really small unless seriously compromising on max F number or edge sharpness.

  

UPDATE:Another serious issue all the camera makers will have to face but I did not really realize before is that all ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people, anyway.

Then why not just go all the way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

 

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon F or Pentax K or Sony A but m43?

Nikon and Pentax have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

    

Update2:now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

  

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of their own sensors themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I'd say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out through internet by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp DX sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year does not mean they are Sony chips. It is a simple contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony or Toshiba.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors to Toyota or some other car airplane manufactures in Japan.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next main sensor producer. Now Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not choose Sony for their main sensor producer this time. As obtuse as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

 

UPDATE4: Now, I just confirm that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D3400 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

        

For those who wanted to see one of the many images I have been working on!!! This is about 1.55m high, just a little higher than me! This was dicussed with my customer before I painted it concerning size, design and color - it had to fit to the wall colors....lol. Yup, really. I was very glad to get this finished and my customer was very happy too!!! Off to buy a new camera and a mega lens....lol. (just kiddin')

 

No invites necessary, if you want to make a comment more than happy to see you pop by. I have some more images going into a show today - so keep your fingers crossed - maybe I sell something. I need more room.

 

For anyone who would like a painting please contact me directly at my email address. I charge a nominal fee for painting water color (portraits of people and animals) or other subjects on canvas. Fees for freight are reasonable and my charges mainly cover just reimbursement for materials.

Always looking for new work to keep me busy.

 

Sydney, Australia. One of the very few things I found irksome about Australia was the internet situation -- it's expensive and you have to watch how much you use. If you go over your monthly bandwidth limit your ISP will charge you extra fees or drop you down to dial-up speeds. I had to make a trip to the Apple Store nearly every Sunday to piggyback their free WiFi, since it was the only place in New South Wales offering that service. The idea that coffeeshops, cafes, or bookstores might offer free WiFi access to their customers is a strange and risible one to the Aussie mind.

 

See where this picture was taken. [?]

jewelrydom.com/57182.

I purchased this faucet in oil rubbed bronze for a kitchen remodel in 1009. Within a few months the rubber button on top changing the faucet from spray to stream stopped working. Since it was still a beautiful faucet and because I would need to get a plumber out to replace it, I ignored the broken toggle button. One year, almost to the exact date of original installation, the sprayer hose came out of it housing, and leaving us without a usable sink until we could replace the faucet. I called the manufacturer to describe the problem and they promptly sent me a replacement faucet at no charge. I paid a plumber to come out and replace the broken faucet, who discovered on removing the old faucet that the bronze finish had completely chipped off under the handle just below where the faucet moves to swivel from side to side. The second faucet failed in exactly the same manner, again almost exactly one year from installation. That inside hose carrying water to the sprayertap came out of its housing and could not be reattached. Plus the bronze finish of this second faucet had chipped away even more than the first. I called representatives of Danze, the manufacturer, and they were very responsive to my complaintsjust incredulous that both faucets had failed as I described. I asked to be reimbursed for the original purchase price of the faucet and the plumbers fees for installation. They acknowledged that the company had had problems with the finish on the first faucets they manufactured in this model but those problems had been corrected. They refused my request for reimbursement but offered me any replacement faucet I wanted in the Danze product line. I explained that I had new counters cut with a single hole for the faucet and of the five faucets that would work in my kitchen, four would look awful and I was reluctant to install the faucet I bought for a third time. The company proposed sending me the same model I originally purchased with many assurances that it would not chip or fail, plus an agreement that they would reimburse me for all plumbing costs incurred in installation. In addition, I was told that if the third faucet would fail, they would reimburse my money and pay for another plumber to come in and put in a fourth faucet. The third faucet has been installed for four months now. There is prominent chipping of the finish in the same place as the other two faucets. The housing has not come off the sprayer arm yet, but it no longer docks tightly and this minor failure always preceded complete detachment in the last two faucets. I must say Danze has been wonderful to work with. They have been very responsive to my complaints and very quick in trying to make things right. Within 12 hours of emailing the customer care manager about the third faucet failure I had a return email apologizing for the mess and his assurance that my claim would be expedited. The company has promised me full reimbursement for the cost of the original faucet, plus they will cover the cost of (hopefully, a final) installation of a faucet not manufactured by Danze. In all, I paid for one faucet which Danze replaced twice more. They have and will cover all installation costs. The company made a beautiful but defective faucet but their responsiveness and quick actions prevented this situation from being a complete nightmare. Instead it has been a big inconvenience and annoyance. Dont fall for looks with this beautiful faucet and dont assume, because it is expensive, it is wellmade or will last. If youve stopped here looking for a faucet, keep looking or beware. UPDATE***As of 1012, I have received full reimbursement for the cost of having a plumber replace this faucet in my home, THREE TIMES, and the original cost of the faucet purchased through Amazon. If you have installed one of these defective faucets in your home, and plan to replace it, it is worth your while to pursue a claim with the company. If you remove this Danze, keep the defective faucet. DO NOT DISCARD. The company will pay to have it returned but they will want to see it. This entire experience has been extremely annoying but the company has been very responsive.

zauji.com/9757.

I purchased this faucet in oil rubbed bronze for a kitchen remodel in 1009. Within a few months the rubber button on top changing the faucet from spray to stream stopped working. Since it was still a beautiful faucet and because I would need to get a plumber out to replace it, I ignored the broken toggle button. One year, almost to the exact date of original installation, the sprayer hose came out of it housing, and leaving us without a usable sink until we could replace the faucet. I called the manufacturer to describe the problem and they promptly sent me a replacement faucet at no charge. I paid a plumber to come out and replace the broken faucet, who discovered on removing the old faucet that the bronze finish had completely chipped off under the handle just below where the faucet moves to swivel from side to side. The second faucet failed in exactly the same manner, again almost exactly one year from installation. That inside hose carrying water to the sprayertap came out of its housing and could not be reattached. Plus the bronze finish of this second faucet had chipped away even more than the first. I called representatives of Danze, the manufacturer, and they were very responsive to my complaintsjust incredulous that both faucets had failed as I described. I asked to be reimbursed for the original purchase price of the faucet and the plumbers fees for installation. They acknowledged that the company had had problems with the finish on the first faucets they manufactured in this model but those problems had been corrected. They refused my request for reimbursement but offered me any replacement faucet I wanted in the Danze product line. I explained that I had new counters cut with a single hole for the faucet and of the five faucets that would work in my kitchen, four would look awful and I was reluctant to install the faucet I bought for a third time. The company proposed sending me the same model I originally purchased with many assurances that it would not chip or fail, plus an agreement that they would reimburse me for all plumbing costs incurred in installation. In addition, I was told that if the third faucet would fail, they would reimburse my money and pay for another plumber to come in and put in a fourth faucet. The third faucet has been installed for four months now. There is prominent chipping of the finish in the same place as the other two faucets. The housing has not come off the sprayer arm yet, but it no longer docks tightly and this minor failure always preceded complete detachment in the last two faucets. I must say Danze has been wonderful to work with. They have been very responsive to my complaints and very quick in trying to make things right. Within 12 hours of emailing the customer care manager about the third faucet failure I had a return email apologizing for the mess and his assurance that my claim would be expedited. The company has promised me full reimbursement for the cost of the original faucet, plus they will cover the cost of (hopefully, a final) installation of a faucet not manufactured by Danze. In all, I paid for one faucet which Danze replaced twice more. They have and will cover all installation costs. The company made a beautiful but defective faucet but their responsiveness and quick actions prevented this situation from being a complete nightmare. Instead it has been a big inconvenience and annoyance. Dont fall for looks with this beautiful faucet and dont assume, because it is expensive, it is wellmade or will last. If youve stopped here looking for a faucet, keep looking or beware. UPDATE***As of 1012, I have received full reimbursement for the cost of having a plumber replace this faucet in my home, THREE TIMES, and the original cost of the faucet purchased through Amazon. If you have installed one of these defective faucets in your home, and plan to replace it, it is worth your while to pursue a claim with the company. If you remove this Danze, keep the defective faucet. DO NOT DISCARD. The company will pay to have it returned but they will want to see it. This entire experience has been extremely annoying but the company has been very responsive.

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Hello my friends todays painting is from one of my memories of Olongapo City, Philippines .my visit to Olongapo was special in many ways.Since I was in the navy at the time it was a chance to get the hell off the ship (U.S.S Callaghan DDG-994) google it haha I was a plankowner of that ship which meant I was part of the first crew on board which was a destroyer,anyway time to write about the the most exciting town in the Orient. The stories I heard about this place before even stepping foot off the ship were amazing,lets just say I was happy to be a single guy, this was my chance to experience what had become legendary - a night in Olongapo. For the bar owners it meant money, and lots of it. And for the Filipinos employed at the various clubs it meant not only income, but often the chance to meet the right guy and, if they were so disposed, to start the move eastward. the famous line of I love you Joe no sh&t take me back to the states was a line I heard almost every night, not me but some sailors actually got married to some very beautiful Filipino women, just walking down the streets would cause women to flock outside to you grabbing your arm like your some kind of rock star, to them you were rich, which is certainly not the case as everyone knows service men and women don't make jack squat really, but to them yes your rolling in the doe,its really a sad situation looking back on it the way alot of people and especially woman have to live but at the time being a young punk with a bunch of like minded navy men out to get drunk we were in heaven,at least in the minds of a bunch of young punks,another thing I remember is before you came into town you had to go over a little river known simply as the "Sh&t River." only a sailor could of thought up that name , but it was fairly appropriate given that raw sewage from the town was often dumped into it. Boys in little, flimsy boats beckoned from below the bridge, telling passers-by to throw pesos or centavos into the river. When a coin did get thrown, the boys would dive into the filth and somehow retrieve the coin. The navy eventually tried to discourage this practice by putting a fence along one side of the bridge. which is a good thing because no telling how many diseases one could get from such a practice,once in town and in a bar Most of the Filipinos who worked in bars, did not consider themselves prostitutes. In many ways this was true.

 

A bar fine worked like this: if a guy sat at a bar and got to talking to one of the girls behind the counter, he could ask her to leave the bar with him. The girl had the option of saying yes or no, though the bar owner or mama-san would often discourage refusals. Still, girls could, and did, refuse invitations by servicemen to go out on the town. This was one aspect of the barfine which distinguished it from prostitution. lucky for me Im a good looking guy and women would often want to pay me hahah sorry I guess I still have some of that navy jackass in me, just joking,any how

 

If the girl was agreeable, however, there would be a fine. Technically, you were not paying for the girl. In fact, the money you paid to the bar was to compensate the owner of the bar for the loss of the girl's work that night. This is because most of the girls worked for little or nothing other than tips. So if you wanted to deprive the bar of what was essentially free labor, you had to at least compensate the owner for the loss. Thus the "fine."

 

Granted, the girls did normally receive half of the fine. But this was merely a bonus paid by the bar to the girl for bringing it repeat business. Barfine amounts depended upon the bar. In the 1980's, barfines at the flashier places could go for as much as 500 or even 600 pesos a night - about $30 to $40 US. In the smaller bars fines averaged 400 pesos and sometimes even less. So what did a barfine get you? The only thing a patron was guaranteed was that the girl would be allowed to leave the bar with him. This came as a rude shock to some Olongapo newcomers, who assumed that the fine ensured him of a night of sex. It did not. True, the girls were highly encouraged by the bar owners to consent to sexual requests, and the girls themselves sometimes did so simply to ensure another barfine the next day, but the girls were not obligated to do anything. On most first "dates" the best you could hope for was a kiss, unless the girl was an unabashed "professional." Most were not, however. Most were girls from villages or other islands who served customers drinks most of the night, but who suffered the indignity of wearing a one piece bathing suit every hour or so in order to keep their jobs. They did this in order to make a few pesos for their family, and more often than not, in order to find a nice American guy who was marriage material so that she and her family might actually have a future of some kind. These Filipinos tended to cluster together in groups for safety and solace, If concrete relationships were established, a serviceman could sometimes buy a lifetime barfine from the bar. This would be a large, flat fee paid to the bar to ensure that the girl would always be available for the payee. Some of the girls liked this arrangement because of the implied commitment, and because it often served as an excuse on their part not to accept barfines from men they didn't find attractive. Note that a lifetime barfine did not necessarily prohibit the girl from accepting barfines from other men,especially if your ship pulled out even for a few days, and it did not carry over if the girl quit one bar and began working at another. Also, most of the girls were hopeless romantics. From the start most of them made it clear that they were not sexual partners. They were girlfriends, or "honey-ko's." You would take them dancing and out to eat and give them everything else which a girlfriend was due. She would meet your friends, and your friends' girlfriends, and you would take vacations together (for example, to Baguio). You might meet her family (usually an awkward affair).. Those pre-port fantasies of choosing a different girl every night would evaporate for most guys. If you decided to take out another girl, your own friends would question why you were "cheating" on your girlfriend, and you could bet that the "Filipino Network" was working at lightspeed to get word of your infidelity to the right parties. Despite their most stubborn efforts to remain a "playboy," sailors and Marines usually found themselves in relationships. Which implied - yes - commitment! It was a very humbling experience.

When the ships pulled out, that was a time of tears and promises. The girls who had found boyfriends would cry, the girls who had not welcomed the arrival of new ships and new hope. Promises were made by the sailors and Marines to come back, to write, to remain faithful...promises normally broken. Not always.Im pretty sure the navy no longer has a base there after many years and with the service men gone I have no idea how that place is now, after all even with all the crazy stuff that went on alot of money was pouring into that little city every night from servicemen around the world,

This specific image was made with Nikon D800 and AF-S24-120mm f4VR lens in 1.2X crop mode.

I really miss the D800E 1.2X crop mode these days, it was a very usable feature that I often used. Having the D800E or D810 was like having reliable 3 different sensor format cameras in one body.

 

Originally there were about 45 dust spots on this image and had to carefully remove them all before converting the RAW.

I think it is a big issue of any interchangeable lens system camera(both ILC and DSLR).

 

Why the Sony FE system is doomed 1: Is Sony the final loser as usual in the ILC market too?

 

Everybody in a camera forum claims MILC,especially the Sony FE system is winning this ILC game over the rest, Canon Nikon are really stupid losing all their market to the Sony, is that really true?

 

Between 2006 and 2008 Sony was the fastest growing company on the DSLR market, reaching about 13% market share in 2008(in unit sales) to become the third largest DSLR company in the world.

But then Sony switched to SLTs and dropped DSLRs. After that they switched to focus more on their new E mount and the 'NEX' APSC mirrorless system, which I personally loved and supported with my own money. After that they dropped the 'NEX' name and quit releasing new APSC mirrorless lenses while solely focusing all their effort on FF mirrorles-the 'FE' mount(Fullframe E mount)...........

The results? Sony now commands about a 11% market share for ILC cameras, so despite of the common forum myth that Sony is taking over this industry with the series of the quick A7X camera launches, Sony is actually losing their sales and market share-they have been losing more A mount guys to CN than they have been taking CN guys with the FE series plus the obscure adapter strategy.

So Sony still remains the 3rd largest ILC (DSLR, SLT and Mirrorless) company in the world but not by unit sales any more, by value. This is significant because they are no longer selling as many affordable cameras as they used to be , and most of their sales loss coming from younger gen market because many of young new photogs no longer afford Sony ILC cameras or like many of our friends here, they cannot justify the prices(even the supposed to be lowend A6300 costs over 1k).

 

Now, the question we might want to ask to Sony is, if they stuck with DSLRs or SLTs, could they have done the same or better? Or would just the simple mirrorless A99 type body without the SLT have actually done any better than over hyped but awkward A7X series? I actually think so. Sony has never tried to advertise the A mount properly, never promoted it seriously at their sites or via DPR, LL ,etc, but the A mount line has been just doing as well or slightly better than the E mount. So if they seriously advertise and promote the A mount line, I think they will sell better than the E mount line.

 

Please do not get me wrong I am a A/E mount user and definitely not a DSLR fan any more. I am a big EVF fan, so I am not DSLR biased. In fact, IMO, high resolution EVF is one of the most important features-almost a must-have feature in any camera system. So I will never go back to OVF camera myself, to me it feels very awkward and even anachronistic.

 

But I have to be realistic and honest, the E mount seems to be a failing effort, and it is clearly seen in the sales number. The A mount is not as insignificant as it supposed to be to Sony sales.

Now, despite of crazy shill marketing and internet promotion for the FE system,Sony only has about 11 percent or less of market share which is about 8 percent and 3 percent of MILC and D-SLR market respectively. If you read the numbers superficially it seems like the E is selling much better, but is it really so? No. Because the MILC market is about 1/3rd of the D-SLR market size, so the 8 percent sales in MILC market is about identical to 3 percent sales in D-SLR market.

 

The reality is the E mount share is getting worse and worse every year as the prices going up every new generation, and it is expected to become much worse than what Sony has presented it would be in their recent presentation to the dealers throughout the world, because Sony now thinks "market share" is ILC's+lenses+accessories and "by value" to obscure the data. They seem to be deliberately ignoring the negative unit sales numbers.

 

So again, despite of the common forum myth the FE is not a very successful mount system in terms of sales. I am a FE mount user and I use it for now(there is no better choice for me) but I am not committed to it, and in fact, I much prefer the A6300 plus the A99vMK2 combo if they are fully supported with a good lens lineup by Sony(and Zeiss and Tamron). Actually, the only one reason why I still have to use my FE A7X series is the lens line, mostly the Batis line and that is all. If it is not for the Batis, I am not using it. IOW, if there is proper lens support from Zeiss, Sony and Tamron for the original APS-C E mount, then there is no reason for me to use the overpriced over-hyped, awkward FE mount system.

 

Many of dealers(except big US online sellers like Amazon or B&H) throughout the world actually not very happy about Sony and their stupid policy of forcing all potential E mount buyers to the FE by intentionally disabling the APS-C lens line.

Many of dealers think the FE system will fail in the long run ,the FE system will not win, it is a temporal success, in deed a very short time success........and it is even an euphemism..........to put it polite.

 

What's hilarious about Sony camera business is that if you read the numbers carefully, you quickly realize Sony's SLT to MILC focus shift in ILC market has not actually improve anything in terms of their overall camera sales, but their E mount MILC has just deprived some serious sales from their A mount. And the even sadder fact is their MILC sells overall, regressed significantly in the past 4 or so years. The year 2013 was the peak year for them and after that it has been steadily declining.

 

What's really sad is that they failed to gain anything on their forceful focus shift from the A to the E to the FE and probably cost them a significant amount of momentum. By forcefully shifting their marketing focus from the A to the E to the FE in a very short time,they've created many many disappointed Sony haters.......just like they did with the Vaio PC business a few years back.

 

Despite of all the purported success Sony supposed to have got, Sony is still a small player in the ILC business, and probably even less significant after this year because only those well-heeled rich guys or spec-obsessed landscapers buy their FE cameras due to their unfair sudden price hikes.

 

Even domestically(here in Japan), as of last year, they are 4th for market share in ILC's, and actually further losing sales to CNFO.. And Japan is supposed to be the most mirrorless friendly market.

 

After all, maybe Canon Nikon Fuji were not as stupid as they always thought to be by those armchair camera market experts?

 

Unlike Sony and Fuji,Canon Nikon have not wasted much of their very limited RD money on quickly contracting current consumer camera market, but they have effectively invested that in something more important for their future such as medical imaging, automobile camera system, and surveillance camera tech. For us gearheads, maybe being mirrorless or mirrored is a very important issue, but for most of NORMAL people it is not important at all, and the A7 form of camera is not really disruptive in any way. It will not change the way we use our cameras or anything: It is not connected, It is not programmable, It is not dust-free(most important issue to me), It is not significantly lighter than Canon or Nikon fullframe system as opposed to how Sony has originally marketed it to be, It is not a true hybrid system. The FE FF has just made the great NEX extremely awkward, if not useless.

I mean many E mount users have bought into it for the promised smaller SYSTEM size(it was a lie) and extremely affordable lens system(another lie), not for the oversized overpriced FE lenses.

Again if not for the Batis, I am even not writing this crap about the A7X since there is nothing else interesting about the FE mount system.

I guess I will give a few more months for Sony to see if they are actually serious about the APS-C line E mount lenses and how they treat the A mount and the user base. It is very important because I know the future of the A mount will also be the future of the E mount and FE. Sony throws anything against the wall to see what will actually stick and they will keep replacing everything even those commercially successful ones, as they always do in all markets they enter.

This really exhaust users and this is why Sony has so many haters.

 

Honestly, now I think only three real pros for Sony FE system are below:

1 DXO 11 support

2 cheap Capture One 9.4 Pro for Sony(50US)

3 Zeiss Batis line lenses.

   

UPDATE: There are many articles that explain about A mount license contract here in Japan.

It seems to be the type of odd contract is the reason why Sony has not really serious about the A mount development any more.

Many dealers here already reported Sony has already finished the A99V successor, but the management still want to hold on the announcement.

The problems are:

1 Sony has to pay license fee to Konika Minolta.

2 All Sony G and GM lenses are Konika Minolta designs and they want to or already raise design and production fee.

3 Technically, the A mount license is still owned by KM not by Sony.

4 if Sony quits the A mount business or quits supporting the mount, KM will charge 5 years of the annual license fee for it.

So even if the A99 successor sales really well, it may not be a very profitable product for Sony, and therefore, they want to be careful about it. Also, they have to calculate the risk of quitting it. Even if Sony has to pay 5 years of annual license fee to KM, it is still better terminate the A mount business.

It is again all about politics nothing else.

Many forum people tend to think Sony has bought KM business, but it is not that simple. It looks like much more complicated legal issues there. If you check the biggest customers list for KM optical business, Sony has always been listed there. And it looks like KM is charging quite significant amount of money annually for the A mount license.

 

UPDATE2: now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

 

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of them themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp Sony sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year. But it is a pure contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

 

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie who want to promote Sony over Nikon or anything.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next sensor producers. Now, Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not use Sony for this. As fool as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

  

Nikon crisis 7:Keep the F or not for better long term future.

 

Should Nikon keep the F or ditch it ?

 

A short registration distance has some advantages for some lenses but disadvantages for others.

 

For example if light rays from the exit pupil strike the sensor at an extreme angle, such as happens with various wide angle lens designs, you can have problems of vignetting and colour fringing. Leica experienced this with their early digital M bodies with certain of their lenses which had been excellent on film, and needed an special designed set of micro lens arrays.

 

This was a problem with some Leica film lenses on older sensors, such as the one in the NEX-7. It is not a problem with lenses designed for digital sensors, or for recent sensors with BSI. IOW, if the E mount had slightly wider mount diameter design or a bit longer registration distance,then the A7RMK2 would not have needed the special designed expensive microlens arrangement, and thus could have been a lot cheaper than it is now.

 

That's an important point - lenses that are specifically designed for digital sensors. A short registration distance doesn't automatically make this easier.

 

There are various ways of correcting this - a curved sensor being one; or a sensor with angled micro lenses at the periphery being another(this is the tech the A7R2 and the A6300/X-Pro2 sensors use). But both of these have a potential disadvantage when used with lenses that do not require correction. Alternatively software correction could be employed with the compromises that that involves.

Or the manufacturer could re-design lenses so that light rays are as near to parallel as possible when they strike the sensor, which in the case of some wideangles means utilising a retrofocus design. But if you do this your lenses are then back to the size of those used with DSLRs, so unfortunately you have lost most of the potential advantage of the short registration distance here already........this is why all the great E mount fullframe lenses are huge...........in fact, on average bigger than Canon Nikon Tamron equivalent lenses.

  

Sigma seem to be going down this line, and I don't think they will do well.

The big optical advantage is that almost any lens can be used.

That might be an advantage to some users but I'm not sure it's an 'optical' advantage.

  

A second one is that there is more space for tilt-and-shift adapters, bellows or other devices to go between lens and camera. You couldn't use the Cambo Actus with a DSLR.

But the hypothetical mirrorless A or F mount can take this and so able to get a better quality set of TS lenses than the current DSLR TS lenses from Canon, Nikon or Zeiss.

A marginal advantage for most people frankly. But for architecture photographers it is a huge advantage over the short flange distance mount design of the E mount.

And at least, it is a way better more practical design than the short registration mount design with an adapter option.

However, if your main point to have a mirrorless camera is to get better non-native lens adaptability, then it must have short registration distance which accepts more lenses from many different eras.

But I doubt there are many many mount adapter freaks in the FE mount world any more, since most of us already know adapted lenses do not perform very well, and adapters add extra weight, and deprive some serious amount of potential IQ of lenses adapted.

IMO, the main point of mirrorless is reducing mechanical and optical complexity and thus being able to increase profit margins; and to use an EVF for both the same visual experience for stills and video.

The optical advantages are for a very, very, very limited range of focal lengths and fields of view. As pretty much all MILC systems demonstrate, lens size is mainly driven by focal length, image circle, and max F number, if you doubt it look at the Panasonic Leica 12/1.4, is it really tiny? No, it is bigger than the Batis 25mm f2 or the Fuji 16mm f1.4......And then, you look at Sony FE glass... barring the 28/2 & 35/2.8 all the lenses are about the same size as their DSLR equivalents. No magic here.

You look at E glass... 20/2.8 is the same size as the EF 24/2.8. 16/2.8 is small but really bad. If there are advantages they haven't been realized or capitalized on.

Also the optical benefit is only for lenses under around 44mm-50mm in the case of Canon or Sony A , and actually you gain that back for longer focal lenses. for instance Olympus made some pretty small and good primes for the OM mount which was even longer then the EF mount. So small lenses are indeed possible even without short registration distance as opposed to many tiny mirrorless fans claim.

Also while there is some optical advantages (not really major because the lenses have to be designed for the sensor stack), there's also counters which has to worry more about sensor reflections, vignetting and color casting,etc that don't occur with a more relaxed registration distance. This is a big part of reason why Nikon F mount cameras using the same sensor usually have less sensor reflection or color casting issues than the Sony E mount rivals using the same sensor. But no reviews talk about this since they do not want to displease Sony and its fanboys........

So, if the size potential reduction is not the main point for Nikon to go mirrorless, then why not just keep the very popular F mount with excellent lens line?

I used to be agaist this idea-keeping the venerable F mount, but now I am kind of supporting it since I have learned the only one real advantage of going really short with flange distance is better legacy lens adaptability.

I think keeping the F makes more sense as Thom Hogan and others say, because, by now, most of people already using mirrrorless(especially the FF ones) already understand the short mount registration distance does not make FF lenses really small unless seriously compromising on max F number or edge sharpness.

  

UPDATE:Another serious issue all the camera makers will have to face but I did not really realize before is that all ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people, anyway.

Then why not just go all the way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

 

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon F or Pentax K or Sony A but m43?

Nikon and Pentax have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

    

Update2:now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

  

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of their own sensors themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I'd say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out through internet by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp DX sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year does not mean they are Sony chips. It is a simple contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony or Toshiba.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors to Toyota or some other car airplane manufactures in Japan.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next main sensor producer. Now Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not choose Sony for their main sensor producer this time. As obtuse as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

 

UPDATE4: Now, I just confirm that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D3400 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

        

m43 has failed6- Maybe not just Nikon, Pentax, m43, or Sony Amount but the entire camera industry going bankrupt?

The recent excessive focus on high profit/ high end products of Sony, Fuji,etc, will not work in the long run since there will not be enough number of well heeled guys interested in photography any more, and most of us who might switch to Sony or Fuji already have done that in the last 3 years or so.

 

I think Canon (especially) can afford to refresh their FF DSLR (and even semi-pro APSC DSLR like EOS 7D) in roughly 5 year cycles, because they sell a truck load of entry and mid-level DSLR. The bottom sustains the top.

Sony learned that they can not compete in the bottom, so they targeted the top level with the Alpha 7 system(especially with the A7X2 series), plus very high quality lenses such as the new FE50mm f1.4Z. They are able to make some profit out of that for very short time, as the margins are higher for those products. However, this is not sustainable, as:

 

1. People who moved from other systems have already done so as I already explained many times(thus, now already the A7X line sells slowed down here in Japan), and their number is decreasing with time. Plus, perception is very important; people using Canikon are perceiving that their brands are about to/will do something important soon, and so refrain from switching. Like my very dearest friend Derek.

 

2. There is only a certain number of arguably high quality gear that the market can absorb, so the number of alpha 7 cameras sold will be reducing in time. As I said, not all people want huge camera lens system at all costs of usability/cost and weight. Actually, most of normal people do not want that even if they can get FF system free.

 

3. Sony/Fuji,etc, are not Leica or Phase, no one perceives them as some sort of premium brands. So once they feel ripped they do not want to spend a lot of money unless they actually produce something really game-changing.

4. the recent airplane regulation changes really force many people to eventually go back to a big bodied camera with powerful battery since we are no longer allowed to fly with many camera batteries unless we put them in out carry-on bag.....if only one or two batteries are allowed, most of mirrorless, especially the fullframe ones suddenly become useless. 

 

So , in the end, I might agree have to think the industry itself is dying, it is safest to just stay with what you already have and keep your money in your bank or house or spend your money on a new PC or a Mac or something like that, until you see what is actually winning in this game clearly. And, the saddest part is I think there is no winner in this game.

 

I told my customers that they better keep their D800E and stick with it as long as they can, at least they see what is actually winning clearly. I have strong feeling neither Fuji nor Sony will win but some outsider such as Microsoft or Red or Black Magic design or some Western company will take over the entire industry in the next decade. Or maybe even Toyota or some one like Epson will take it over from Canon, Nikon and Sony. So it is really the safest to stay with the F mount system as long as you can and when time comes sell it to move to the final winner's new universal mount system.

But then, the mount system idea is the 20th century idea and must be rectified, I mean we need an universal mount system.

Don't you think so?

So I think 2017 will be a really tough year for the camera companies and they are making it tougher and tougher themselves........they should have listened to Thom Hogan, who has been giving the great modular camera idea for Nikon for over a decade. He even came to Japan and gave a great presentation of his idea of programmable camera system. But Nikon ignored it.

Tony Northrup said it very well.

"It's comforting as a camera nerd to know that it's the consumer market that's disappearing, especially "Built-in Lens" cameras (P&S cameras). The market for higher-end pro & semi-pro cameras still seems to be strong.

Consumers are more into photography than ever, but traditional camera manufacturers are cut out because they couldn't transition to the modern era of software- and cloud-centric photography (Instagram, FB, Snapchat, Twitter,Line, etc)."

I think he is spot-on this one, I know why none of my friends use cameras I gave them any more since they cannot upload their images to FB or Line automatically.

They just interested in documenting their own lives, so they snaps a lot and they want to upload their images online immediately after they shoot them.

So the camera companies will suffer more from this sudden death of the consumer camera market in next year, and I wonder if there is no natural disaster occurs in next year in Japan, then what will they use for the next excuse.

   

UPDATE: There are many articles that explain about A mount license contract here in Japan.

It seems to be the type of odd contract is the reason why Sony has not really serious about the A mount development any more.

Many dealers here already reported Sony has already finished the A99V successor, but the management still want to hold on the announcement.

The problems are:

1 Sony has to pay license fee to Konika Minolta.

2 All Sony G and GM lenses are Konika Minolta designs and they want to or already raise design and production fee.

3 Technically, the A mount license is still owned by KM not by Sony.

4 if Sony quits the A mount business or quits supporting the mount, KM will charge 5 years of the annual license fee for it.

So even if the A99 successor sales really well, it may not be a very profitable product for Sony, and therefore, they want to be careful about it. Also, they have to calculate the risk of quitting it. Even if Sony has to pay 5 years of annual license fee to KM, it is still better terminate the A mount business.

It is again all about politics nothing else.

Many forum people tend to think Sony has bought KM business, but it is not that simple. It looks like much more complicated legal issues there. If you check the biggest customers list for KM optical business, Sony has always been listed there. And it looks like KM is charging quite significant amount of money annually for the A mount license.

 

UPDATE2: now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

  

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of their own sensors themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I'd say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out through internet by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp DX sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year does not mean they are Sony chips. It is a simple contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony or Toshiba.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors to Toyota or some other car airplane manufactures in Japan.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next main sensor producer. Now Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not choose Sony for their main sensor producer this time. As obtuse as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

 

UPDATE4: Now, I just confirm that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D3400 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

        

People who've tried and failed at Online marketing previously can experience enjoy it is impossible to generating income online. However, when talking about promoting your company, this game changes a great deal. For those who have not been successful yet, then then chances are you just haven't been subjected to quality marketing information.

 

Flashy websites look neat, but avoid making your site too distracting. Remember, you might have just a couple seconds to get a visitor's interest once they get to your website, so creating a good first impression is essential. Any more than that, and they are generally certain to mouse click away to a different page.

 

Link your site in each signature section which is open to you. If you are using a forum then you definitely should put your link within the signature area. Every email you distribute must have a web link for your site in your signature. This can be a non-aggressive method to advertise your website when you speak with anyone on the web. Create a tempting line that encourages readers to click and place it close to the link.

 

Affiliate marketing online must be considered seriously and researched well. Try to look for someone successful within the field to emulate. Most individuals who are good in internet promotion give free services or charge a little fee. After you have chosen a method you would like to try, stay with it until it proves profitable or shows you need to proceed to a brand new technique. It might start slowly, however it is worth enough time you place in it.

 

Internet marketing could be successful with dedication and effort. There is absolutely no such story in regards to a business that simply got lucky within their success. Do you reckon Anheuser Busch just hit a stroke of luck once they developed their brands of beer? Certainly not! They spent time, money and energy to be able to sell their product, making it the very best that could be to attract in customers.

 

One unique method of website marketing is via image searches. If you have relevant photos on your own site, the desire for your website could be increased because you are not depending on text searches only. People looking for photos might end up staying on your own site and searching through all of that can there be. You are going to build understanding of the company you might be selling, and raising the opportunity these individuals will return often.

 

Everything you have read above should enable you to ultimately turn into a better internet marketer, but it's not anything that's going to take place overnight. Today, no perfect recipe for guaranteed success exists. When it existed, everyone will be performing it. However with the best determination, anybody can use reliable information and turn it into a success. www.unleashyourgeek.com/get-organic-traffic-now-naturally...

Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - Son in the Tub

 

Photo By: MAJ Aaron Haney

 

To learn more about the annual U.S. Army Photography Competition, visit us online at www.armymwr.com

 

U.S. Army Arts and Crafts History

 

After World War I the reductions to the Army left the United States with a small force. The War Department faced monumental challenges in preparing for World War II. One of those challenges was soldier morale. Recreational activities for off duty time would be important. The arts and crafts program informally evolved to augment the needs of the War Department.

On January 9, 1941, the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, appointed Frederick H. Osborn, a prominent U.S. businessman and philanthropist, Chairman of the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation and Community Service.

In 1940 and 1941, the United States involvement in World War II was more of sympathy and anticipation than of action. However, many different types of institutions were looking for ways to help the war effort. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of these institutions. In April, 1941, the Museum announced a poster competition, “Posters for National Defense.” The directors stated “The Museum feels that in a time of national emergency the artists of a country are as important an asset as men skilled in other fields, and that the nation’s first-rate talent should be utilized by the government for its official design work... Discussions have been held with officials of the Army and the Treasury who have expressed remarkable enthusiasm...”

In May 1941, the Museum exhibited “Britain at War”, a show selected by Sir Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery in London. The “Prize-Winning Defense Posters” were exhibited in July through September concurrently with “Britain at War.” The enormous overnight growth of the military force meant mobilization type construction at every camp. Construction was fast; facilities were not fancy; rather drab and depressing.

In 1941, the Fort Custer Army Illustrators, while on strenuous war games maneuvers in Tennessee, documented the exercise The Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Feb. 1942), described their work. “Results were astonishingly good; they showed serious devotion ...to the purpose of depicting the Army scene with unvarnished realism and a remarkable ability to capture this scene from the soldier’s viewpoint. Civilian amateur and professional artists had been transformed into soldier-artists. Reality and straightforward documentation had supplanted (replaced) the old romantic glorification and false dramatization of war and the slick suavity (charm) of commercial drawing.”

 

“In August of last year, Fort Custer Army Illustrators held an exhibition, the first of its kind in the new Army, at the Camp Service Club. Soldiers who saw the exhibition, many of whom had never been inside an art gallery, enjoyed it thoroughly. Civilian visitors, too, came and admired. The work of the group showed them a new aspect of the Army; there were many phases of Army life they had never seen or heard of before. Newspapers made much of it and, most important, the Army approved. Army officials saw that it was not only authentic material, but that here was a source of enlivenment (vitalization) to the Army and a vivid medium for conveying the Army’s purposes and processes to civilians and soldiers.”

Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn and War Department leaders were concerned because few soldiers were using the off duty recreation areas that were available. Army commanders recognized that efficiency is directly correlated with morale, and that morale is largely determined from the manner in which an individual spends his own free time. Army morale enhancement through positive off duty recreation programs is critical in combat staging areas.

To encourage soldier use of programs, the facilities drab and uninviting environment had to be improved. A program utilizing talented artists and craftsmen to decorate day rooms, mess halls, recreation halls and other places of general assembly was established by the Facilities Section of Special Services. The purpose was to provide an environment that would reflect the military tradition, accomplishments and the high standard of army life. The fact that this work was to be done by the men themselves had the added benefit of contributing to the esprit de corps (teamwork, or group spirit) of the unit.

The plan was first tested in October of 1941, at Camp Davis, North Carolina. A studio workshop was set up and a group of soldier artists were placed on special duty to design and decorate the facilities. Additionally, evening recreation art classes were scheduled three times a week. A second test was established at Fort Belvoir, Virginia a month later. The success of these programs lead to more installations requesting the program.

After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Museum of Modern Art appointed Mr. James Soby, to the position of Director of the Armed Service Program on January 15, 1942. The subsequent program became a combination of occupational therapy, exhibitions and morale-sustaining activities.

Through the efforts of Mr. Soby, the museum program included; a display of Fort Custer Army Illustrators work from February through April 5, 1942. The museum also included the work of soldier-photographers in this exhibit. On May 6, 1942, Mr. Soby opened an art sale of works donated by museum members. The sale was to raise funds for the Soldier Art Program of Special Services Division. The bulk of these proceeds were to be used to provide facilities and materials for soldier artists in Army camps throughout the country.

Members of the Museum had responded with paintings, sculptures, watercolors, gouaches, drawings, etchings and lithographs. Hundreds of works were received, including oils by Winslow Homer, Orozco, John Kane, Speicher, Eilshemius, de Chirico; watercolors by Burchfield and Dufy; drawings by Augustus John, Forain and Berman, and prints by Cezanne, Lautrec, Matisse and Bellows. The War Department plan using soldier-artists to decorate and improve buildings and grounds worked. Many artists who had been drafted into the Army volunteered to paint murals in waiting rooms and clubs, to decorate dayrooms, and to landscape grounds. For each artist at work there were a thousand troops who watched. These bystanders clamored to participate, and classes in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography were offered. Larger working space and more instructors were required to meet the growing demand. Civilian art instructors and local communities helped to meet this cultural need, by providing volunteer instruction and facilities.

Some proceeds from the Modern Museum of Art sale were used to print 25,000 booklets called “Interior Design and Soldier Art.” The booklet showed examples of soldier-artist murals that decorated places of general assembly. It was a guide to organizing, planning and executing the soldier-artist program. The balance of the art sale proceeds were used to purchase the initial arts and crafts furnishings for 350 Army installations in the USA.

In November, 1942, General Somervell directed that a group of artists be selected and dispatched to active theaters to paint war scenes with the stipulation that soldier artists would not paint in lieu of military duties.

Aileen Osborn Webb, sister of Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, launched the American Crafts Council in 1943. She was an early champion of the Army program.

While soldiers were participating in fixed facilities in the USA, many troops were being shipped overseas to Europe and the Pacific (1942-1945). They had long periods of idleness and waiting in staging areas. At that time the wounded were lying in hospitals, both on land and in ships at sea. The War Department and Red Cross responded by purchasing kits of arts and crafts tools and supplies to distribute to “these restless personnel.” A variety of small “Handicraft Kits” were distributed free of charge. Leathercraft, celluloid etching, knotting and braiding, metal tooling, drawing and clay modeling are examples of the types of kits sent.

In January, 1944, the Interior Design Soldier Artist program was more appropriately named the “Arts and Crafts Section” of Special Services. The mission was “to fulfill the natural human desire to create, provide opportunities for self-expression, serve old skills and develop new ones, and assist the entire recreation program through construction work, publicity, and decoration.”

The National Army Art Contest was planned for the late fall of 1944. In June of 1945, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., for the first time in its history opened its facilities for the exhibition of the soldier art and photography submitted to this contest. The “Infantry Journal, Inc.” printed a small paperback booklet containing 215 photographs of pictures exhibited in the National Gallery of Art.

In August of 1944, the Museum of Modern Art, Armed Forces Program, organized an art center for veterans. Abby Rockefeller, in particular, had a strong interest in this project. Soldiers were invited to sketch, paint, or model under the guidance of skilled artists and craftsmen. Victor d’Amico, who was in charge of the Museum’s Education Department, was quoted in Russell Lynes book, Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of the Museum of Modern Art. “I asked one fellow why he had taken up art and he said, Well, I just came back from destroying everything. I made up my mind that if I ever got out of the Army and out of the war I was never going to destroy another thing in my life, and I decided that art was the thing that I would do.” Another man said to d’Amico, “Art is like a good night’s sleep. You come away refreshed and at peace.”

In late October, 1944, an Arts and Crafts Branch of Special Services Division, Headquarters, European Theater of Operations was established. A versatile program of handcrafts flourished among the Army occupation troops.

The increased interest in crafts, rather than fine arts, at this time lead to a new name for the program: The “Handicrafts Branch.”

In 1945, the War Department published a new manual, “Soldier Handicrafts”, to help implement this new emphasis. The manual contained instructions for setting up crafts facilities, selecting as well as improvising tools and equipment, and basic information on a variety of arts and crafts.

As the Army moved from a combat to a peacetime role, the majority of crafts shops in the United States were equipped with woodworking power machinery for construction of furnishings and objects for personal living. Based on this new trend, in 1946 the program was again renamed, this time as “Manual Arts.”

At the same time, overseas programs were now employing local artists and craftsmen to operate the crafts facilities and instruct in a variety of arts and crafts. These highly skilled, indigenous instructors helped to stimulate the soldiers’ interest in the respective native cultures and artifacts. Thousands of troops overseas were encouraged to record their experiences on film. These photographs provided an invaluable means of communication between troops and their families back home.

When the war ended, the Navy had a firm of architects and draftsmen on contract to design ships. Since there was no longer a need for more ships, they were given a new assignment: To develop a series of instructional guides for arts and crafts. These were called “Hobby Manuals.” The Army was impressed with the quality of the Navy manuals and had them reprinted and adopted for use by Army troops. By 1948, the arts and crafts practiced throughout the Army were so varied and diverse that the program was renamed “Hobby Shops.” The first “Interservice Photography Contest” was held in 1948. Each service is eligible to send two years of their winning entries forward for the bi-annual interservice contest. In 1949, the first All Army Crafts Contest was also held. Once again, it was clear that the program title, “Hobby Shops” was misleading and overlapped into other forms of recreation.

In January, 1951, the program was designated as “The Army Crafts Program.” The program was recognized as an essential Army recreation activity along with sports, libraries, service clubs, soldier shows and soldier music. In the official statement of mission, professional leadership was emphasized to insure a balanced, progressive schedule of arts and crafts would be conducted in well-equipped, attractive facilities on all Army installations.

The program was now defined in terms of a “Basic Seven Program” which included: drawing and painting; ceramics and sculpture; metal work; leathercrafts; model building; photography and woodworking. These programs were to be conducted regularly in facilities known as the “multiple-type crafts shop.” For functional reasons, these facilities were divided into three separate technical areas for woodworking, photography and the arts and crafts.

During the Korean Conflict, the Army Crafts program utilized the personnel and shops in Japan to train soldiers to instruct crafts in Korea.

The mid-1950s saw more soldiers with cars and the need to repair their vehicles was recognized at Fort Carson, Colorado, by the craft director. Soldiers familiar with crafts shops knew that they had tools and so automotive crafts were established. By 1958, the Engineers published an Official Design Guide on Crafts Shops and Auto Crafts Shops. In 1959, the first All Army Art Contest was held. Once more, the Army Crafts Program responded to the needs of soldiers.

In the 1960’s, the war in Vietnam was a new challenge for the Army Crafts Program. The program had three levels of support; fixed facilities, mobile trailers designed as portable photo labs, and once again a “Kit Program.” The kit program originated at Headquarters, Department of Army, and it proved to be very popular with soldiers.

Tom Turner, today a well-known studio potter, was a soldier at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in the 1960s. In the December 1990 / January 1991 “American Crafts” magazine, Turner, who had been a graduate student in art school when he was drafted, said the program was “a godsend.”

The Army Artist Program was re-initiated in cooperation with the Office of Military History to document the war in Vietnam. Soldier-artists were identified and teams were formed to draw and paint the events of this combat. Exhibitions of these soldier-artist works were produced and toured throughout the USA.

In 1970, the original name of the program, “Arts and Crafts”, was restored. In 1971, the “Arts and Crafts/Skills Development Program” was established for budget presentations and construction projects.

After the Vietnam demobilization, a new emphasis was placed on service to families and children of soldiers. To meet this new challenge in an environment of funding constraints the arts and crafts program began charging fees for classes. More part-time personnel were used to teach formal classes. Additionally, a need for more technical-vocational skills training for military personnel was met by close coordination with Army Education Programs. Army arts and crafts directors worked with soldiers during “Project Transition” to develop soldier skills for new careers in the public sector.

The main challenge in the 1980s and 90s was, and is, to become “self-sustaining.” Directors have been forced to find more ways to generate increased revenue to help defray the loss of appropriated funds and to cover the non-appropriated funds expenses of the program. Programs have added and increased emphasis on services such as, picture framing, gallery sales, engraving and trophy sales, etc... New programs such as multi-media computer graphics appeal to customers of the 1990’s.

The Gulf War presented the Army with some familiar challenges such as personnel off duty time in staging areas. Department of Army volunteer civilian recreation specialists were sent to Saudi Arabia in January, 1991, to organize recreation programs. Arts and crafts supplies were sent to the theater. An Army Humor Cartoon Contest was conducted for the soldiers in the Gulf, and arts and crafts programs were set up to meet soldier interests.

The increased operations tempo of the ‘90’s Army has once again placed emphasis on meeting the “recreation needs of deployed soldiers.” Arts and crafts activities and a variety of programs are assets commanders must have to meet the deployment challenges of these very different scenarios.

The Army arts and crafts program, no matter what it has been titled, has made some unique contributions for the military and our society in general. Army arts and crafts does not fit the narrow definition of drawing and painting or making ceramics, but the much larger sense of arts and crafts. It is painting and drawing. It also encompasses:

* all forms of design. (fabric, clothes, household appliances, dishes, vases, houses, automobiles, landscapes, computers, copy machines, desks, industrial machines, weapon systems, air crafts, roads, etc...)

* applied technology (photography, graphics, woodworking, sculpture, metal smithing, weaving and textiles, sewing, advertising, enameling, stained glass, pottery, charts, graphs, visual aides and even formats for correspondence...)

* a way of making learning fun, practical and meaningful (through the process of designing and making an object the creator must decide which materials and techniques to use, thereby engaging in creative problem solving and discovery) skills taught have military applications.

* a way to acquire quality items and save money by doing-it-yourself (making furniture, gifts, repairing things ...).

* a way to pursue college credit, through on post classes.

* a universal and non-verbal language (a picture is worth a thousand words).

* food for the human psyche, an element of morale that allows for individual expression (freedom).

* the celebration of human spirit and excellence (our highest form of public recognition is through a dedicated monument).

* physical and mental therapy (motor skill development, stress reduction, etc...).

* an activity that promotes self-reliance and self-esteem.

* the record of mankind, and in this case, of the Army.

What would the world be like today if this generally unknown program had not existed? To quantitatively state the overall impact of this program on the world is impossible. Millions of soldier citizens have been directly and indirectly exposed to arts and crafts because this program existed. One activity, photography can provide a clue to its impact. Soldiers encouraged to take pictures, beginning with WW II, have shared those images with family and friends. Classes in “How to Use a Camera” to “How to Develop Film and Print Pictures” were instrumental in soldiers seeing the results of using quality equipment. A good camera and lens could make a big difference in the quality of the print. They bought the top of the line equipment. When they were discharged from the Army or home on leave this new equipment was showed to the family and friends. Without this encouragement and exposure to photography many would not have recorded their personal experiences or known the difference quality equipment could make. Families and friends would not have had the opportunity to “see” the environment their soldier was living in without these photos. Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Panama, etc... were far away places that most had not visited.

As the twenty first century approaches, the predictions for an arts renaissance by Megatrends 2000 seem realistic based on the Army Arts and Crafts Program practical experience. In the April ‘95 issue of “American Demographics” magazine, an article titled “Generation X” fully supports that this is indeed the case today. Television and computers have greatly contributed to “Generation X” being more interested in the visual arts and crafts.

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www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/n/newportwetlands/index.as...

  

This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, but is a great place for people too with a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children's play area.

 

Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.

 

Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.

  

Opening times

 

Open every day (closed Christmas Day), 9 am to 5 pm (Coffee Shop open 10 am to 4 pm). On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the centre will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and the coffee shop will be open 10 am to 3.30 pm. Please note that the carpark also closes at 5:30pm.

  

Entrance charges

 

None

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Autumn/winter is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay.

  

Information for families

 

Newport Wetlands visitor centre is ideal for children and families. Guided walks and children's activities are available on the reserve, drinks and a bite to eat can be enjoyed in the coffee shop afterwards, followed by a browse in the retail area. Children will find the outdoor children's activity area with its 4 m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very entertaining. We can offer a variety of fun environmental activity and exploration days for a wide range of local interest groups.

  

Information for dog owners

 

Some access for dogs - marked footpaths on perimeter of reserve. For more information, please contact the NRW enquiry line.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Bearded tit

 

You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like 'pinging' calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reeds.

  

Dunlin

 

Dunlins can be seen at Newport Wetlands at almost any time. They breed further north, including in the Arctic, but migrating birds pass through in spring and autumn and some also spend winter here. Watch for them probing their beaks into the mud as they feed.

  

Little egret

 

These dainty little white herons can be seen throughout the year at Newport. You can see them fishing, stirring up fish fry from the muddy bottom with their feet.

  

Little grebe

 

Listen for little grebes 'whinnying' in spring as part of their courtship displays. They are small, round birds, and remarkably buoyant despite their fluffy feathers.

  

Shoveler

 

Shovelers are commonest here in winter, but are also a regular breeding bird. Watch them using their beaks like sieves to sift out microscopic aquatic life from the water.

  

Seasonal highlights

  

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Spring is the start of the breeding season and is an active and exciting time of year at Newport Wetlands, as birds set about finding their mates and building nests. Breeding waders at the reserve include lapwings and oystercatchers. Bearded tits begin to nest in the reedbeds. During late April and early May, swallows and swifts begin arriving from Africa, and can be seen flying overhead. This is a great time of year to listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo and many plants, including orchids, will begin to burst into colourful flower.

  

Summer

 

Grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonflies, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found at Newport Wetlands. After dark is the best time for moth spotting, but visitors are likely to see species like cinnabar moths and scarlet tiger moths during the daytime. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Their droppings, or ‘spraint’, are the most commonly spotted clue to their presence.

  

Autumn

 

In autumn, the reeds turn from a vibrant lush green to yellowing brown. Groups of goldfinches can be seen flitting around the reserve and are particularly visible along Perry Lane, using their long beaks to extract seeds from the teasels. Autumn is another extremely active season at Newport Wetlands, as migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay. Curlews, redshanks, dunlins and oystercatchers feed on the estuary at low tide using their long, pointy beaks to sift through the nutritious mud for worms and grubs.

  

Winter

 

The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience. From October onwards, large groups of starlings gather at dusk in great black clouds. At its peak, around 50,000 birds swoop and soar overhead, chattering noisily. After a breathtaking display, the birds drop dramatically into the reedbeds where they settle for the night. Another winter treat at Newport Wetlands is a single bittern, which has been seen here most winters since 2001. Bitterns are rare and extremely secretive, moving silently through the reeds looking for fish. Parts of the reserve provide a winter home for nationally important numbers of black-tailed godwits, shovelers and dunlins.

  

Facilities

  

Information centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Viewing screens are available.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with easy accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Tearoom

 

Coffee shop serving triple-certified organic Fairtrade coffee, fairtrade tea, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and a selection of organic cold drinks, sandwiches, baguettes, locally-produced cakes and cookies.

 

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

 

Cold drinks

 

Snacks

 

Confectionery

  

Shop

 

A retail outlet for all your bird food and bird care accessories with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and children's items.

  

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

 

Bird food

 

Bird feeders

 

Gifts

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe in the visitor centre has large, panoramic windows overlooking the reserve and surrounding countryside. There is a large outdoor decking area providing additional seating with the same relaxing views. We provide organic Fairtrade tea and hot chocolate, and locally-produced cakes and ice cream.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

We are proud to hold a Level 5 Food Hygiene rating enabling our customers to have full confidence in the food and service that we provide.

  

Opening hours

 

10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)

  

Highlights from our menu

 

Triple-certified coffee including cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, all freshly-made

We are known for our Bara Brith, Welsh cakes and hot toasted teacakes

From autumn through to spring we sell steaming tasty soups which are gluten-free

We provide a variety of sandwiches and rolls made with bread from a family baker

Pole-and-line-caught skipjack tuna is used to fill delicious sandwiches or rolls

Good variety of sandwiches and cakes. Coffee excellent

  

Access to the cafe

 

The coffee shop is in the visitor centre which has wheelchair-friendly ramps into the centre and out onto the reserve.

  

Children welcome

 

There are highchairs for babies and toddlers. We provide children's lunchboxes containing a sandwich, two-finger Kitkat, apple or orange juice and a choice of wildlife face mask.

  

We use local ingredients

 

We use Welsh meats, cheeses and free-range organic eggs.

  

Dietary requirements

 

We sell vegetarian and vegan food, some wheat-free snacks and soup, and some organic food.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.

 

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from reception

 

Visitor Centre open 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas Day. coffee shop open 10 am to 4 pm

 

Entry to the reserve is free of charge

 

Car park open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily

 

Three mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available to hire out free of charge. Telephone for details

 

Registered assistance dogs welcome (please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of registration)

 

A dog walking route map is available from the visitor centre. Tethering rings and drinking bowl at the visitor centre entrance

 

Check events and activities for accessibility,

  

How to get here

 

Newport Railway Station (5 miles/8 km). Taxis usually available

 

Bus stop in the reserve car park, Number 63

  

Car parking

 

Free parking, 180 m/197 yds from the visitor centre

10 blue badge spaces

85 parking spaces

Drop-off at visitor centre arranged by telephone 01633 636363

Tarmac surface, path to visitor centre compacted limestone chippings and dust

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Entrance by wooden walkway with a maximum gradient of 1:40. Manually operated doors. Non-slip tiled surface. Low section on service counter. Hearing loop system is installed at the service counter and in the education rooms. Good natural and artificial lighting. Staff can give assistance and read out any literature if required. Binoculars are available for hire (£3.50 for the day).

  

Nature trails

 

Four main trails. All level on compacted with one incline using a zig-zag. Floating walkways have been used by wheelchairs, scooters and pushchairs but caution should be taken due to buoyancy.

  

Viewing facilities

 

Natural viewing opportunities throughout the reserve. A wheelchair accessible viewing screens overlooking the reedbeds.

  

Toilets

 

Unisex accessible toilet along with separate ladies and gents available on ground floor of Visitor Centre. Level step free access. Baby changing table and a second baby facility in ladies toilets.

  

Catering

 

Step-free level access. Outside deck viewing area. Tables are well spaced apart. Good natural and overhead lighting. Non slip tiles. Accessible WC in the visitor centre.

  

Shop

 

Shop is located in the visitor centre. Level entry step free with no doors. There is step free, level access throughout. Non-slip tiled surface. Ample room. Well lit with daylight and fluorescent lighting. Promotional video usually playing with subtitles. Staff can provide assistance.

  

Classrooms

 

Two classrooms available as one room if required. Step-free, level access throughout. Non-slip flooring. Artificial even lighting. Portable hearing loop system available. Two raised ponds nearby.

  

Picnic area

 

Four picnic tables with wheelchair access outside visitor centre. Visitors free to bring their own refreshments for picnics.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Newport Wetlands

 

E-mail: newport-wetlands@rspb.org.uk

 

Telephone:01633 636363

  

How to get here

 

By bicycle (Sustrans cycle route)

 

Sustrans National Cycle Network route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using existing roads. The car park has a covered cycle stand. Please note that cycling on the reserve is restricted to a designated route.

  

By train

 

The nearest railway station is Newport - which is five miles from the reserve. There is a taxi rank at the station and Newport bus station is just a few minutes walk away. For train times to and from Newport visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or telephone 08457 484950.

  

By bus

 

From the Kingsway Bus Station in Newport, the Number 63 bus leaves at 7.30 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.50 pm and 6 pm and stops at the bus stop in the reserve car park. Alternatively, contact Newport Bus 01633 670563.

  

By road

 

Join the A48 at either junction 24 or 28 of the M4. Follow the A48 until you come to the Spytty Retail Park roundabout. Exit onto the A4810 Queensway Meadows. At the first roundabout take the third exit onto Meadows Road and follow the brown tourist signs to the reserve.

  

Our partners

 

The Newport Wetlands project is funded by the European Union's Objective Two programme supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and secured via the Newport European Partnership, Newport City Council's allocation of the Welsh Assembly Government's Local Regeneration Fund, Newport City Council's Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the Environment Agency Wales and Visit Wales – the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

 

Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB would like to thank the communities of Newport and the volunteers who have supported Newport Wetlands.

  

Newport Wetlands Conference and Meeting Rooms

  

Set in the tranquil surroundings of a peaceful nature reserve, our excellent conference facilities offer a superb location for a great getaway from the office and provide a wonderful setting for a variety of corporate events. You will receive a warm welcome from the staff at the Visitor Centre, providing a professional and efficient service.

 

We can provide facilities for the following

 

Conferences

 

Board Meetings

 

Seminars

 

Training Courses

 

Presentations

  

Away days

 

Rooms can be arranged in boardroom, theatre style or in any other format to suit your event. We also have a range of equipment for hire including a digital projector and smart board facilities.

 

Your booking fee includes free car parking, access to the Reserve as well as the Visitor Centre, Shop and Café. The Reserve comprises of a series of lagoons and reed beds from reclaimed industrial land, which is now home to a wealth of wildlife.

 

A tour of the Reserve can be arranged as an unusual and revitalising break during a meeting or away day.

  

Catering

 

Fairtrade coffee and tea, biscuits or homemade cakes can be served throughout the day, and we can provide a freshly prepared buffet to suit your dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Buffets include a selection of classic sandwiches, a selection of savoury items, fresh fruit and a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes.

 

Alternatively, delegates can stroll across to the café themselves and appreciate inspirational views of the reserve from the veranda.

  

The Lakeside Suite

 

A purpose built meeting room, which caters for 12 people boardroom style or 25 people theatre style.

  

The Education Facilities

 

Set in a tranquil environment, overlooking the waters edge the Education Rooms offers the perfect environment for larger events and conferences. The room can be organised in various styles and caters for up to 80 people theatre style.

 

For more information or to make a provisional booking, please contact Adrianne Jones using the details below.

 

For more information

 

Adrianne Jones

Centre Co-ordinator

E-mail: adrianne.jones@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01633 636355

m43 has failed6- Maybe not just Nikon, Pentax, m43, or Sony Amount but the entire camera industry going bankrupt?

The recent excessive focus on high profit/ high end products of Sony, Fuji,etc, will not work in the long run since there will not be enough number of well heeled guys interested in photography any more, and most of us who might switch to Sony or Fuji already have done that in the last 3 years or so.

 

I think Canon (especially) can afford to refresh their FF DSLR (and even semi-pro APSC DSLR like EOS 7D) in roughly 5 year cycles, because they sell a truck load of entry and mid-level DSLR. The bottom sustains the top.

Sony learned that they can not compete in the bottom, so they targeted the top level with the Alpha 7 system(especially with the A7X2 series), plus very high quality lenses such as the new FE50mm f1.4Z. They are able to make some profit out of that for very short time, as the margins are higher for those products. However, this is not sustainable, as:

 

1. People who moved from other systems have already done so as I already explained many times(thus, now already the A7X line sells slowed down here in Japan), and their number is decreasing with time. Plus, perception is very important; people using Canikon are perceiving that their brands are about to/will do something important soon, and so refrain from switching. Like my very dearest friend Derek.

 

2. There is only a certain number of arguably high quality gear that the market can absorb, so the number of alpha 7 cameras sold will be reducing in time. As I said, not all people want huge camera lens system at all costs of usability/cost and weight. Actually, most of normal people do not want that even if they can get FF system free.

 

3. Sony/Fuji,etc, are not Leica or Phase, no one perceives them as some sort of premium brands. So once they feel ripped they do not want to spend a lot of money unless they actually produce something really game-changing.

4. the recent airplane regulation changes really force many people to eventually go back to a big bodied camera with powerful battery since we are no longer allowed to fly with many camera batteries unless we put them in out carry-on bag.....if only one or two batteries are allowed, most of mirrorless, especially the fullframe ones suddenly become useless. 

 

So , in the end, I might agree have to think the industry itself is dying, it is safest to just stay with what you already have and keep your money in your bank or house or spend your money on a new PC or a Mac or something like that, until you see what is actually winning in this game clearly. And, the saddest part is I think there is no winner in this game.

 

I told my customers that they better keep their D800E and stick with it as long as they can, at least they see what is actually winning clearly. I have strong feeling neither Fuji nor Sony will win but some outsider such as Microsoft or Red or Black Magic design or some Western company will take over the entire industry in the next decade. Or maybe even Toyota or some one like Epson will take it over from Canon, Nikon and Sony. So it is really the safest to stay with the F mount system as long as you can and when time comes sell it to move to the final winner's new universal mount system.

But then, the mount system idea is the 20th century idea and must be rectified, I mean we need an universal mount system.

Don't you think so?

So I think 2017 will be a really tough year for the camera companies and they are making it tougher and tougher themselves........they should have listened to Thom Hogan, who has been giving the great modular camera idea for Nikon for over a decade. He even came to Japan and gave a great presentation of his idea of programmable camera system. But Nikon ignored it.

Tony Northrup said it very well.

"It's comforting as a camera nerd to know that it's the consumer market that's disappearing, especially "Built-in Lens" cameras (P&S cameras). The market for higher-end pro & semi-pro cameras still seems to be strong.

Consumers are more into photography than ever, but traditional camera manufacturers are cut out because they couldn't transition to the modern era of software- and cloud-centric photography (Instagram, FB, Snapchat, Twitter,Line, etc)."

I think he is spot-on this one, I know why none of my friends use cameras I gave them any more since they cannot upload their images to FB or Line automatically.

They just interested in documenting their own lives, so they snaps a lot and they want to upload their images online immediately after they shoot them.

So the camera companies will suffer more from this sudden death of the consumer camera market in next year, and I wonder if there is no natural disaster occurs in next year in Japan, then what will they use for the next excuse.

   

UPDATE: There are many articles that explain about A mount license contract here in Japan.

It seems to be the type of odd contract is the reason why Sony has not really serious about the A mount development any more.

Many dealers here already reported Sony has already finished the A99V successor, but the management still want to hold on the announcement.

The problems are:

1 Sony has to pay license fee to Konika Minolta.

2 All Sony G and GM lenses are Konika Minolta designs and they want to or already raise design and production fee.

3 Technically, the A mount license is still owned by KM not by Sony.

4 if Sony quits the A mount business or quits supporting the mount, KM will charge 5 years of the annual license fee for it.

So even if the A99 successor sales really well, it may not be a very profitable product for Sony, and therefore, they want to be careful about it. Also, they have to calculate the risk of quitting it. Even if Sony has to pay 5 years of annual license fee to KM, it is still better terminate the A mount business.

It is again all about politics nothing else.

Many forum people tend to think Sony has bought KM business, but it is not that simple. It looks like much more complicated legal issues there. If you check the biggest customers list for KM optical business, Sony has always been listed there. And it looks like KM is charging quite significant amount of money annually for the A mount license.

 

UPDATE2: now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

  

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of their own sensors themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I'd say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out through internet by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp DX sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year does not mean they are Sony chips. It is a simple contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony or Toshiba.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors to Toyota or some other car airplane manufactures in Japan.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next main sensor producer. Now Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not choose Sony for their main sensor producer this time. As obtuse as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

 

UPDATE4: Now, I just confirm that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D3400 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

        

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www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/n/newportwetlands/index.as...

  

This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, but is a great place for people too with a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children's play area.

 

Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.

 

Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.

  

Opening times

 

Open every day (closed Christmas Day), 9 am to 5 pm (Coffee Shop open 10 am to 4 pm). On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the centre will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and the coffee shop will be open 10 am to 3.30 pm. Please note that the carpark also closes at 5:30pm.

  

Entrance charges

 

None

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Autumn/winter is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay.

  

Information for families

 

Newport Wetlands visitor centre is ideal for children and families. Guided walks and children's activities are available on the reserve, drinks and a bite to eat can be enjoyed in the coffee shop afterwards, followed by a browse in the retail area. Children will find the outdoor children's activity area with its 4 m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very entertaining. We can offer a variety of fun environmental activity and exploration days for a wide range of local interest groups.

  

Information for dog owners

 

Some access for dogs - marked footpaths on perimeter of reserve. For more information, please contact the NRW enquiry line.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Bearded tit

 

You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like 'pinging' calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reeds.

  

Dunlin

 

Dunlins can be seen at Newport Wetlands at almost any time. They breed further north, including in the Arctic, but migrating birds pass through in spring and autumn and some also spend winter here. Watch for them probing their beaks into the mud as they feed.

  

Little egret

 

These dainty little white herons can be seen throughout the year at Newport. You can see them fishing, stirring up fish fry from the muddy bottom with their feet.

  

Little grebe

 

Listen for little grebes 'whinnying' in spring as part of their courtship displays. They are small, round birds, and remarkably buoyant despite their fluffy feathers.

  

Shoveler

 

Shovelers are commonest here in winter, but are also a regular breeding bird. Watch them using their beaks like sieves to sift out microscopic aquatic life from the water.

  

Seasonal highlights

  

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Spring is the start of the breeding season and is an active and exciting time of year at Newport Wetlands, as birds set about finding their mates and building nests. Breeding waders at the reserve include lapwings and oystercatchers. Bearded tits begin to nest in the reedbeds. During late April and early May, swallows and swifts begin arriving from Africa, and can be seen flying overhead. This is a great time of year to listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo and many plants, including orchids, will begin to burst into colourful flower.

  

Summer

 

Grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonflies, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found at Newport Wetlands. After dark is the best time for moth spotting, but visitors are likely to see species like cinnabar moths and scarlet tiger moths during the daytime. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Their droppings, or ‘spraint’, are the most commonly spotted clue to their presence.

  

Autumn

 

In autumn, the reeds turn from a vibrant lush green to yellowing brown. Groups of goldfinches can be seen flitting around the reserve and are particularly visible along Perry Lane, using their long beaks to extract seeds from the teasels. Autumn is another extremely active season at Newport Wetlands, as migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay. Curlews, redshanks, dunlins and oystercatchers feed on the estuary at low tide using their long, pointy beaks to sift through the nutritious mud for worms and grubs.

  

Winter

 

The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience. From October onwards, large groups of starlings gather at dusk in great black clouds. At its peak, around 50,000 birds swoop and soar overhead, chattering noisily. After a breathtaking display, the birds drop dramatically into the reedbeds where they settle for the night. Another winter treat at Newport Wetlands is a single bittern, which has been seen here most winters since 2001. Bitterns are rare and extremely secretive, moving silently through the reeds looking for fish. Parts of the reserve provide a winter home for nationally important numbers of black-tailed godwits, shovelers and dunlins.

  

Facilities

  

Information centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Viewing screens are available.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with easy accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Tearoom

 

Coffee shop serving triple-certified organic Fairtrade coffee, fairtrade tea, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and a selection of organic cold drinks, sandwiches, baguettes, locally-produced cakes and cookies.

 

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

 

Cold drinks

 

Snacks

 

Confectionery

  

Shop

 

A retail outlet for all your bird food and bird care accessories with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and children's items.

  

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

 

Bird food

 

Bird feeders

 

Gifts

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe in the visitor centre has large, panoramic windows overlooking the reserve and surrounding countryside. There is a large outdoor decking area providing additional seating with the same relaxing views. We provide organic Fairtrade tea and hot chocolate, and locally-produced cakes and ice cream.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

We are proud to hold a Level 5 Food Hygiene rating enabling our customers to have full confidence in the food and service that we provide.

  

Opening hours

 

10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)

  

Highlights from our menu

 

Triple-certified coffee including cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, all freshly-made

We are known for our Bara Brith, Welsh cakes and hot toasted teacakes

From autumn through to spring we sell steaming tasty soups which are gluten-free

We provide a variety of sandwiches and rolls made with bread from a family baker

Pole-and-line-caught skipjack tuna is used to fill delicious sandwiches or rolls

Good variety of sandwiches and cakes. Coffee excellent

  

Access to the cafe

 

The coffee shop is in the visitor centre which has wheelchair-friendly ramps into the centre and out onto the reserve.

  

Children welcome

 

There are highchairs for babies and toddlers. We provide children's lunchboxes containing a sandwich, two-finger Kitkat, apple or orange juice and a choice of wildlife face mask.

  

We use local ingredients

 

We use Welsh meats, cheeses and free-range organic eggs.

  

Dietary requirements

 

We sell vegetarian and vegan food, some wheat-free snacks and soup, and some organic food.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.

 

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from reception

 

Visitor Centre open 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas Day. coffee shop open 10 am to 4 pm

 

Entry to the reserve is free of charge

 

Car park open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily

 

Three mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available to hire out free of charge. Telephone for details

 

Registered assistance dogs welcome (please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of registration)

 

A dog walking route map is available from the visitor centre. Tethering rings and drinking bowl at the visitor centre entrance

 

Check events and activities for accessibility,

  

How to get here

 

Newport Railway Station (5 miles/8 km). Taxis usually available

 

Bus stop in the reserve car park, Number 63

  

Car parking

 

Free parking, 180 m/197 yds from the visitor centre

10 blue badge spaces

85 parking spaces

Drop-off at visitor centre arranged by telephone 01633 636363

Tarmac surface, path to visitor centre compacted limestone chippings and dust

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Entrance by wooden walkway with a maximum gradient of 1:40. Manually operated doors. Non-slip tiled surface. Low section on service counter. Hearing loop system is installed at the service counter and in the education rooms. Good natural and artificial lighting. Staff can give assistance and read out any literature if required. Binoculars are available for hire (£3.50 for the day).

  

Nature trails

 

Four main trails. All level on compacted with one incline using a zig-zag. Floating walkways have been used by wheelchairs, scooters and pushchairs but caution should be taken due to buoyancy.

  

Viewing facilities

 

Natural viewing opportunities throughout the reserve. A wheelchair accessible viewing screens overlooking the reedbeds.

  

Toilets

 

Unisex accessible toilet along with separate ladies and gents available on ground floor of Visitor Centre. Level step free access. Baby changing table and a second baby facility in ladies toilets.

  

Catering

 

Step-free level access. Outside deck viewing area. Tables are well spaced apart. Good natural and overhead lighting. Non slip tiles. Accessible WC in the visitor centre.

  

Shop

 

Shop is located in the visitor centre. Level entry step free with no doors. There is step free, level access throughout. Non-slip tiled surface. Ample room. Well lit with daylight and fluorescent lighting. Promotional video usually playing with subtitles. Staff can provide assistance.

  

Classrooms

 

Two classrooms available as one room if required. Step-free, level access throughout. Non-slip flooring. Artificial even lighting. Portable hearing loop system available. Two raised ponds nearby.

  

Picnic area

 

Four picnic tables with wheelchair access outside visitor centre. Visitors free to bring their own refreshments for picnics.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Newport Wetlands

 

E-mail: newport-wetlands@rspb.org.uk

 

Telephone:01633 636363

  

How to get here

 

By bicycle (Sustrans cycle route)

 

Sustrans National Cycle Network route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using existing roads. The car park has a covered cycle stand. Please note that cycling on the reserve is restricted to a designated route.

  

By train

 

The nearest railway station is Newport - which is five miles from the reserve. There is a taxi rank at the station and Newport bus station is just a few minutes walk away. For train times to and from Newport visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or telephone 08457 484950.

  

By bus

 

From the Kingsway Bus Station in Newport, the Number 63 bus leaves at 7.30 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.50 pm and 6 pm and stops at the bus stop in the reserve car park. Alternatively, contact Newport Bus 01633 670563.

  

By road

 

Join the A48 at either junction 24 or 28 of the M4. Follow the A48 until you come to the Spytty Retail Park roundabout. Exit onto the A4810 Queensway Meadows. At the first roundabout take the third exit onto Meadows Road and follow the brown tourist signs to the reserve.

  

Our partners

 

The Newport Wetlands project is funded by the European Union's Objective Two programme supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and secured via the Newport European Partnership, Newport City Council's allocation of the Welsh Assembly Government's Local Regeneration Fund, Newport City Council's Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the Environment Agency Wales and Visit Wales – the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

 

Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB would like to thank the communities of Newport and the volunteers who have supported Newport Wetlands.

  

Newport Wetlands Conference and Meeting Rooms

  

Set in the tranquil surroundings of a peaceful nature reserve, our excellent conference facilities offer a superb location for a great getaway from the office and provide a wonderful setting for a variety of corporate events. You will receive a warm welcome from the staff at the Visitor Centre, providing a professional and efficient service.

 

We can provide facilities for the following

 

Conferences

 

Board Meetings

 

Seminars

 

Training Courses

 

Presentations

  

Away days

 

Rooms can be arranged in boardroom, theatre style or in any other format to suit your event. We also have a range of equipment for hire including a digital projector and smart board facilities.

 

Your booking fee includes free car parking, access to the Reserve as well as the Visitor Centre, Shop and Café. The Reserve comprises of a series of lagoons and reed beds from reclaimed industrial land, which is now home to a wealth of wildlife.

 

A tour of the Reserve can be arranged as an unusual and revitalising break during a meeting or away day.

  

Catering

 

Fairtrade coffee and tea, biscuits or homemade cakes can be served throughout the day, and we can provide a freshly prepared buffet to suit your dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Buffets include a selection of classic sandwiches, a selection of savoury items, fresh fruit and a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes.

 

Alternatively, delegates can stroll across to the café themselves and appreciate inspirational views of the reserve from the veranda.

  

The Lakeside Suite

 

A purpose built meeting room, which caters for 12 people boardroom style or 25 people theatre style.

  

The Education Facilities

 

Set in a tranquil environment, overlooking the waters edge the Education Rooms offers the perfect environment for larger events and conferences. The room can be organised in various styles and caters for up to 80 people theatre style.

 

For more information or to make a provisional booking, please contact Adrianne Jones using the details below.

 

For more information

 

Adrianne Jones

Centre Co-ordinator

E-mail: adrianne.jones@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01633 636355

La Brassiere Specializing in LINGERIE

 

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This 58 acre seafront camp was built in 1939 as a joint venture between Thomas Cook and the LMS railway. It continued to be run by Thomas Cook for many years and was known to many as simply 'Cooks Camp'. It was designed from the outset to be a more upmarket facility and was famed for its modernistic architecture, especially the 60ft-tall Hamlyn Tower which loomed large over the site to become a well-loved Prestayn landmark.

 

In common with other camps of this era it was a full board facility which meant that all meals were included and were taken in the huge communal dining hall which could accommodate 1750 people in one sitting. The camp reputedly owned the largest fryer in the world which was capable of cooking 2,000 portions of fish at one time!

 

The late 1960s saw a downturn in business as customers were looking for more freedom from the regimented entertainment and mealtimes. The camp responded by converting some of the chalets to self catering and by installing static caravans. The situation wasn't helped in 1971 when Pontins opened their brand new multi-million pound self-catering camp just a mile down the road

 

It eventually fell on hard times and was sold to rival Pontins in 1975. Plans were announced for a massive investment to convert the entire site into self catering. It was renamed Tower Beach and the following year 15 brand new two-storey chalet blocks were built in the traditional Pontins style. All chalets were equipped with kitchens and lounges. More old chalets were converted and the caravan park was expanded along with an area for touring caravans and tents. A new indoor pool was built and the old (larger) outdoor pool was subsequently filled in.

 

It differed from other Pontin camps in that an extra charge was made to use the camp facilities...the swimming pool, snooker room, even the evening entertainment complex all had a separate admission fee. However this was reflected in the holiday cost and Tower Beach was the cheapest self-catering camp in the old Pontins stable.

 

After investing a considerable sum of money it therefore came as a huge shock when Pontins closed it all down at the end of 1984 - most of the chalets were only 7 years old! The camp sat abandoned and derelict for the next 17 years during which time it was used for police riot training and even TV/movie filming. It was finally demolished in 2001.

 

The land was sold for a reputed £5 million and it's now a housing estate known as Tower Gardens.

 

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/n/newportwetlands/index.as...

  

This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, but is a great place for people too with a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children's play area.

 

Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.

 

Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.

  

Opening times

 

Open every day (closed Christmas Day), 9 am to 5 pm (Coffee Shop open 10 am to 4 pm). On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the centre will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and the coffee shop will be open 10 am to 3.30 pm. Please note that the carpark also closes at 5:30pm.

  

Entrance charges

 

None

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Autumn/winter is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay.

  

Information for families

 

Newport Wetlands visitor centre is ideal for children and families. Guided walks and children's activities are available on the reserve, drinks and a bite to eat can be enjoyed in the coffee shop afterwards, followed by a browse in the retail area. Children will find the outdoor children's activity area with its 4 m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very entertaining. We can offer a variety of fun environmental activity and exploration days for a wide range of local interest groups.

  

Information for dog owners

 

Some access for dogs - marked footpaths on perimeter of reserve. For more information, please contact the NRW enquiry line.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Bearded tit

 

You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like 'pinging' calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reeds.

  

Dunlin

 

Dunlins can be seen at Newport Wetlands at almost any time. They breed further north, including in the Arctic, but migrating birds pass through in spring and autumn and some also spend winter here. Watch for them probing their beaks into the mud as they feed.

  

Little egret

 

These dainty little white herons can be seen throughout the year at Newport. You can see them fishing, stirring up fish fry from the muddy bottom with their feet.

  

Little grebe

 

Listen for little grebes 'whinnying' in spring as part of their courtship displays. They are small, round birds, and remarkably buoyant despite their fluffy feathers.

  

Shoveler

 

Shovelers are commonest here in winter, but are also a regular breeding bird. Watch them using their beaks like sieves to sift out microscopic aquatic life from the water.

  

Seasonal highlights

  

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Spring is the start of the breeding season and is an active and exciting time of year at Newport Wetlands, as birds set about finding their mates and building nests. Breeding waders at the reserve include lapwings and oystercatchers. Bearded tits begin to nest in the reedbeds. During late April and early May, swallows and swifts begin arriving from Africa, and can be seen flying overhead. This is a great time of year to listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo and many plants, including orchids, will begin to burst into colourful flower.

  

Summer

 

Grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonflies, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found at Newport Wetlands. After dark is the best time for moth spotting, but visitors are likely to see species like cinnabar moths and scarlet tiger moths during the daytime. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Their droppings, or ‘spraint’, are the most commonly spotted clue to their presence.

  

Autumn

 

In autumn, the reeds turn from a vibrant lush green to yellowing brown. Groups of goldfinches can be seen flitting around the reserve and are particularly visible along Perry Lane, using their long beaks to extract seeds from the teasels. Autumn is another extremely active season at Newport Wetlands, as migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay. Curlews, redshanks, dunlins and oystercatchers feed on the estuary at low tide using their long, pointy beaks to sift through the nutritious mud for worms and grubs.

  

Winter

 

The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience. From October onwards, large groups of starlings gather at dusk in great black clouds. At its peak, around 50,000 birds swoop and soar overhead, chattering noisily. After a breathtaking display, the birds drop dramatically into the reedbeds where they settle for the night. Another winter treat at Newport Wetlands is a single bittern, which has been seen here most winters since 2001. Bitterns are rare and extremely secretive, moving silently through the reeds looking for fish. Parts of the reserve provide a winter home for nationally important numbers of black-tailed godwits, shovelers and dunlins.

  

Facilities

  

Information centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Viewing screens are available.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with easy accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Tearoom

 

Coffee shop serving triple-certified organic Fairtrade coffee, fairtrade tea, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and a selection of organic cold drinks, sandwiches, baguettes, locally-produced cakes and cookies.

 

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

 

Cold drinks

 

Snacks

 

Confectionery

  

Shop

 

A retail outlet for all your bird food and bird care accessories with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and children's items.

  

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

 

Bird food

 

Bird feeders

 

Gifts

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe in the visitor centre has large, panoramic windows overlooking the reserve and surrounding countryside. There is a large outdoor decking area providing additional seating with the same relaxing views. We provide organic Fairtrade tea and hot chocolate, and locally-produced cakes and ice cream.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

We are proud to hold a Level 5 Food Hygiene rating enabling our customers to have full confidence in the food and service that we provide.

  

Opening hours

 

10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)

  

Highlights from our menu

 

Triple-certified coffee including cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, all freshly-made

We are known for our Bara Brith, Welsh cakes and hot toasted teacakes

From autumn through to spring we sell steaming tasty soups which are gluten-free

We provide a variety of sandwiches and rolls made with bread from a family baker

Pole-and-line-caught skipjack tuna is used to fill delicious sandwiches or rolls

Good variety of sandwiches and cakes. Coffee excellent

  

Access to the cafe

 

The coffee shop is in the visitor centre which has wheelchair-friendly ramps into the centre and out onto the reserve.

  

Children welcome

 

There are highchairs for babies and toddlers. We provide children's lunchboxes containing a sandwich, two-finger Kitkat, apple or orange juice and a choice of wildlife face mask.

  

We use local ingredients

 

We use Welsh meats, cheeses and free-range organic eggs.

  

Dietary requirements

 

We sell vegetarian and vegan food, some wheat-free snacks and soup, and some organic food.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.

 

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from reception

 

Visitor Centre open 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas Day. coffee shop open 10 am to 4 pm

 

Entry to the reserve is free of charge

 

Car park open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily

 

Three mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available to hire out free of charge. Telephone for details

 

Registered assistance dogs welcome (please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of registration)

 

A dog walking route map is available from the visitor centre. Tethering rings and drinking bowl at the visitor centre entrance

 

Check events and activities for accessibility,

  

How to get here

 

Newport Railway Station (5 miles/8 km). Taxis usually available

 

Bus stop in the reserve car park, Number 63

  

Car parking

 

Free parking, 180 m/197 yds from the visitor centre

10 blue badge spaces

85 parking spaces

Drop-off at visitor centre arranged by telephone 01633 636363

Tarmac surface, path to visitor centre compacted limestone chippings and dust

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Entrance by wooden walkway with a maximum gradient of 1:40. Manually operated doors. Non-slip tiled surface. Low section on service counter. Hearing loop system is installed at the service counter and in the education rooms. Good natural and artificial lighting. Staff can give assistance and read out any literature if required. Binoculars are available for hire (£3.50 for the day).

  

Nature trails

 

Four main trails. All level on compacted with one incline using a zig-zag. Floating walkways have been used by wheelchairs, scooters and pushchairs but caution should be taken due to buoyancy.

  

Viewing facilities

 

Natural viewing opportunities throughout the reserve. A wheelchair accessible viewing screens overlooking the reedbeds.

  

Toilets

 

Unisex accessible toilet along with separate ladies and gents available on ground floor of Visitor Centre. Level step free access. Baby changing table and a second baby facility in ladies toilets.

  

Catering

 

Step-free level access. Outside deck viewing area. Tables are well spaced apart. Good natural and overhead lighting. Non slip tiles. Accessible WC in the visitor centre.

  

Shop

 

Shop is located in the visitor centre. Level entry step free with no doors. There is step free, level access throughout. Non-slip tiled surface. Ample room. Well lit with daylight and fluorescent lighting. Promotional video usually playing with subtitles. Staff can provide assistance.

  

Classrooms

 

Two classrooms available as one room if required. Step-free, level access throughout. Non-slip flooring. Artificial even lighting. Portable hearing loop system available. Two raised ponds nearby.

  

Picnic area

 

Four picnic tables with wheelchair access outside visitor centre. Visitors free to bring their own refreshments for picnics.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Newport Wetlands

 

E-mail: newport-wetlands@rspb.org.uk

 

Telephone:01633 636363

  

How to get here

 

By bicycle (Sustrans cycle route)

 

Sustrans National Cycle Network route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using existing roads. The car park has a covered cycle stand. Please note that cycling on the reserve is restricted to a designated route.

  

By train

 

The nearest railway station is Newport - which is five miles from the reserve. There is a taxi rank at the station and Newport bus station is just a few minutes walk away. For train times to and from Newport visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or telephone 08457 484950.

  

By bus

 

From the Kingsway Bus Station in Newport, the Number 63 bus leaves at 7.30 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.50 pm and 6 pm and stops at the bus stop in the reserve car park. Alternatively, contact Newport Bus 01633 670563.

  

By road

 

Join the A48 at either junction 24 or 28 of the M4. Follow the A48 until you come to the Spytty Retail Park roundabout. Exit onto the A4810 Queensway Meadows. At the first roundabout take the third exit onto Meadows Road and follow the brown tourist signs to the reserve.

  

Our partners

 

The Newport Wetlands project is funded by the European Union's Objective Two programme supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and secured via the Newport European Partnership, Newport City Council's allocation of the Welsh Assembly Government's Local Regeneration Fund, Newport City Council's Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the Environment Agency Wales and Visit Wales – the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

 

Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB would like to thank the communities of Newport and the volunteers who have supported Newport Wetlands.

  

Newport Wetlands Conference and Meeting Rooms

  

Set in the tranquil surroundings of a peaceful nature reserve, our excellent conference facilities offer a superb location for a great getaway from the office and provide a wonderful setting for a variety of corporate events. You will receive a warm welcome from the staff at the Visitor Centre, providing a professional and efficient service.

 

We can provide facilities for the following

 

Conferences

 

Board Meetings

 

Seminars

 

Training Courses

 

Presentations

  

Away days

 

Rooms can be arranged in boardroom, theatre style or in any other format to suit your event. We also have a range of equipment for hire including a digital projector and smart board facilities.

 

Your booking fee includes free car parking, access to the Reserve as well as the Visitor Centre, Shop and Café. The Reserve comprises of a series of lagoons and reed beds from reclaimed industrial land, which is now home to a wealth of wildlife.

 

A tour of the Reserve can be arranged as an unusual and revitalising break during a meeting or away day.

  

Catering

 

Fairtrade coffee and tea, biscuits or homemade cakes can be served throughout the day, and we can provide a freshly prepared buffet to suit your dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Buffets include a selection of classic sandwiches, a selection of savoury items, fresh fruit and a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes.

 

Alternatively, delegates can stroll across to the café themselves and appreciate inspirational views of the reserve from the veranda.

  

The Lakeside Suite

 

A purpose built meeting room, which caters for 12 people boardroom style or 25 people theatre style.

  

The Education Facilities

 

Set in a tranquil environment, overlooking the waters edge the Education Rooms offers the perfect environment for larger events and conferences. The room can be organised in various styles and caters for up to 80 people theatre style.

 

For more information or to make a provisional booking, please contact Adrianne Jones using the details below.

 

For more information

 

Adrianne Jones

Centre Co-ordinator

E-mail: adrianne.jones@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01633 636355

 

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/n/newportwetlands/index.as...

  

This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, but is a great place for people too with a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children's play area.

 

Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.

 

Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.

  

Opening times

 

Open every day (closed Christmas Day), 9 am to 5 pm (Coffee Shop open 10 am to 4 pm). On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the centre will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and the coffee shop will be open 10 am to 3.30 pm. Please note that the carpark also closes at 5:30pm.

  

Entrance charges

 

None

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Autumn/winter is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay.

  

Information for families

 

Newport Wetlands visitor centre is ideal for children and families. Guided walks and children's activities are available on the reserve, drinks and a bite to eat can be enjoyed in the coffee shop afterwards, followed by a browse in the retail area. Children will find the outdoor children's activity area with its 4 m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very entertaining. We can offer a variety of fun environmental activity and exploration days for a wide range of local interest groups.

  

Information for dog owners

 

Some access for dogs - marked footpaths on perimeter of reserve. For more information, please contact the NRW enquiry line.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Bearded tit

 

You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like 'pinging' calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reeds.

  

Dunlin

 

Dunlins can be seen at Newport Wetlands at almost any time. They breed further north, including in the Arctic, but migrating birds pass through in spring and autumn and some also spend winter here. Watch for them probing their beaks into the mud as they feed.

  

Little egret

 

These dainty little white herons can be seen throughout the year at Newport. You can see them fishing, stirring up fish fry from the muddy bottom with their feet.

  

Little grebe

 

Listen for little grebes 'whinnying' in spring as part of their courtship displays. They are small, round birds, and remarkably buoyant despite their fluffy feathers.

  

Shoveler

 

Shovelers are commonest here in winter, but are also a regular breeding bird. Watch them using their beaks like sieves to sift out microscopic aquatic life from the water.

  

Seasonal highlights

  

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Spring is the start of the breeding season and is an active and exciting time of year at Newport Wetlands, as birds set about finding their mates and building nests. Breeding waders at the reserve include lapwings and oystercatchers. Bearded tits begin to nest in the reedbeds. During late April and early May, swallows and swifts begin arriving from Africa, and can be seen flying overhead. This is a great time of year to listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo and many plants, including orchids, will begin to burst into colourful flower.

  

Summer

 

Grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonflies, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found at Newport Wetlands. After dark is the best time for moth spotting, but visitors are likely to see species like cinnabar moths and scarlet tiger moths during the daytime. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Their droppings, or ‘spraint’, are the most commonly spotted clue to their presence.

  

Autumn

 

In autumn, the reeds turn from a vibrant lush green to yellowing brown. Groups of goldfinches can be seen flitting around the reserve and are particularly visible along Perry Lane, using their long beaks to extract seeds from the teasels. Autumn is another extremely active season at Newport Wetlands, as migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay. Curlews, redshanks, dunlins and oystercatchers feed on the estuary at low tide using their long, pointy beaks to sift through the nutritious mud for worms and grubs.

  

Winter

 

The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience. From October onwards, large groups of starlings gather at dusk in great black clouds. At its peak, around 50,000 birds swoop and soar overhead, chattering noisily. After a breathtaking display, the birds drop dramatically into the reedbeds where they settle for the night. Another winter treat at Newport Wetlands is a single bittern, which has been seen here most winters since 2001. Bitterns are rare and extremely secretive, moving silently through the reeds looking for fish. Parts of the reserve provide a winter home for nationally important numbers of black-tailed godwits, shovelers and dunlins.

  

Facilities

  

Information centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Viewing screens are available.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with easy accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Tearoom

 

Coffee shop serving triple-certified organic Fairtrade coffee, fairtrade tea, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and a selection of organic cold drinks, sandwiches, baguettes, locally-produced cakes and cookies.

 

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

 

Cold drinks

 

Snacks

 

Confectionery

  

Shop

 

A retail outlet for all your bird food and bird care accessories with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and children's items.

  

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

 

Bird food

 

Bird feeders

 

Gifts

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe in the visitor centre has large, panoramic windows overlooking the reserve and surrounding countryside. There is a large outdoor decking area providing additional seating with the same relaxing views. We provide organic Fairtrade tea and hot chocolate, and locally-produced cakes and ice cream.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

We are proud to hold a Level 5 Food Hygiene rating enabling our customers to have full confidence in the food and service that we provide.

  

Opening hours

 

10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)

  

Highlights from our menu

 

Triple-certified coffee including cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, all freshly-made

We are known for our Bara Brith, Welsh cakes and hot toasted teacakes

From autumn through to spring we sell steaming tasty soups which are gluten-free

We provide a variety of sandwiches and rolls made with bread from a family baker

Pole-and-line-caught skipjack tuna is used to fill delicious sandwiches or rolls

Good variety of sandwiches and cakes. Coffee excellent

  

Access to the cafe

 

The coffee shop is in the visitor centre which has wheelchair-friendly ramps into the centre and out onto the reserve.

  

Children welcome

 

There are highchairs for babies and toddlers. We provide children's lunchboxes containing a sandwich, two-finger Kitkat, apple or orange juice and a choice of wildlife face mask.

  

We use local ingredients

 

We use Welsh meats, cheeses and free-range organic eggs.

  

Dietary requirements

 

We sell vegetarian and vegan food, some wheat-free snacks and soup, and some organic food.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.

 

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from reception

 

Visitor Centre open 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas Day. coffee shop open 10 am to 4 pm

 

Entry to the reserve is free of charge

 

Car park open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily

 

Three mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available to hire out free of charge. Telephone for details

 

Registered assistance dogs welcome (please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of registration)

 

A dog walking route map is available from the visitor centre. Tethering rings and drinking bowl at the visitor centre entrance

 

Check events and activities for accessibility,

  

How to get here

 

Newport Railway Station (5 miles/8 km). Taxis usually available

 

Bus stop in the reserve car park, Number 63

  

Car parking

 

Free parking, 180 m/197 yds from the visitor centre

10 blue badge spaces

85 parking spaces

Drop-off at visitor centre arranged by telephone 01633 636363

Tarmac surface, path to visitor centre compacted limestone chippings and dust

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Entrance by wooden walkway with a maximum gradient of 1:40. Manually operated doors. Non-slip tiled surface. Low section on service counter. Hearing loop system is installed at the service counter and in the education rooms. Good natural and artificial lighting. Staff can give assistance and read out any literature if required. Binoculars are available for hire (£3.50 for the day).

  

Nature trails

 

Four main trails. All level on compacted with one incline using a zig-zag. Floating walkways have been used by wheelchairs, scooters and pushchairs but caution should be taken due to buoyancy.

  

Viewing facilities

 

Natural viewing opportunities throughout the reserve. A wheelchair accessible viewing screens overlooking the reedbeds.

  

Toilets

 

Unisex accessible toilet along with separate ladies and gents available on ground floor of Visitor Centre. Level step free access. Baby changing table and a second baby facility in ladies toilets.

  

Catering

 

Step-free level access. Outside deck viewing area. Tables are well spaced apart. Good natural and overhead lighting. Non slip tiles. Accessible WC in the visitor centre.

  

Shop

 

Shop is located in the visitor centre. Level entry step free with no doors. There is step free, level access throughout. Non-slip tiled surface. Ample room. Well lit with daylight and fluorescent lighting. Promotional video usually playing with subtitles. Staff can provide assistance.

  

Classrooms

 

Two classrooms available as one room if required. Step-free, level access throughout. Non-slip flooring. Artificial even lighting. Portable hearing loop system available. Two raised ponds nearby.

  

Picnic area

 

Four picnic tables with wheelchair access outside visitor centre. Visitors free to bring their own refreshments for picnics.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Newport Wetlands

 

E-mail: newport-wetlands@rspb.org.uk

 

Telephone:01633 636363

  

How to get here

 

By bicycle (Sustrans cycle route)

 

Sustrans National Cycle Network route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using existing roads. The car park has a covered cycle stand. Please note that cycling on the reserve is restricted to a designated route.

  

By train

 

The nearest railway station is Newport - which is five miles from the reserve. There is a taxi rank at the station and Newport bus station is just a few minutes walk away. For train times to and from Newport visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or telephone 08457 484950.

  

By bus

 

From the Kingsway Bus Station in Newport, the Number 63 bus leaves at 7.30 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.50 pm and 6 pm and stops at the bus stop in the reserve car park. Alternatively, contact Newport Bus 01633 670563.

  

By road

 

Join the A48 at either junction 24 or 28 of the M4. Follow the A48 until you come to the Spytty Retail Park roundabout. Exit onto the A4810 Queensway Meadows. At the first roundabout take the third exit onto Meadows Road and follow the brown tourist signs to the reserve.

  

Our partners

 

The Newport Wetlands project is funded by the European Union's Objective Two programme supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and secured via the Newport European Partnership, Newport City Council's allocation of the Welsh Assembly Government's Local Regeneration Fund, Newport City Council's Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the Environment Agency Wales and Visit Wales – the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

 

Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB would like to thank the communities of Newport and the volunteers who have supported Newport Wetlands.

  

Newport Wetlands Conference and Meeting Rooms

  

Set in the tranquil surroundings of a peaceful nature reserve, our excellent conference facilities offer a superb location for a great getaway from the office and provide a wonderful setting for a variety of corporate events. You will receive a warm welcome from the staff at the Visitor Centre, providing a professional and efficient service.

 

We can provide facilities for the following

 

Conferences

 

Board Meetings

 

Seminars

 

Training Courses

 

Presentations

  

Away days

 

Rooms can be arranged in boardroom, theatre style or in any other format to suit your event. We also have a range of equipment for hire including a digital projector and smart board facilities.

 

Your booking fee includes free car parking, access to the Reserve as well as the Visitor Centre, Shop and Café. The Reserve comprises of a series of lagoons and reed beds from reclaimed industrial land, which is now home to a wealth of wildlife.

 

A tour of the Reserve can be arranged as an unusual and revitalising break during a meeting or away day.

  

Catering

 

Fairtrade coffee and tea, biscuits or homemade cakes can be served throughout the day, and we can provide a freshly prepared buffet to suit your dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Buffets include a selection of classic sandwiches, a selection of savoury items, fresh fruit and a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes.

 

Alternatively, delegates can stroll across to the café themselves and appreciate inspirational views of the reserve from the veranda.

  

The Lakeside Suite

 

A purpose built meeting room, which caters for 12 people boardroom style or 25 people theatre style.

  

The Education Facilities

 

Set in a tranquil environment, overlooking the waters edge the Education Rooms offers the perfect environment for larger events and conferences. The room can be organised in various styles and caters for up to 80 people theatre style.

 

For more information or to make a provisional booking, please contact Adrianne Jones using the details below.

 

For more information

 

Adrianne Jones

Centre Co-ordinator

E-mail: adrianne.jones@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01633 636355

This 58 acre seafront camp was built in 1939 as a joint venture between Thomas Cook and the LMS railway. It continued to be run by Thomas Cook for many years and was known to many as simply 'Cooks Camp'. It was designed from the outset to be a more upmarket facility and was famed for its modernistic architecture, especially the 60ft-tall Hamlyn Tower which loomed large over the site to become a well-loved Prestayn landmark.

 

In common with other camps of this era it was a full board facility which meant that all meals were included and were taken in the huge communal dining hall which could accommodate 1750 people in one sitting. The camp reputedly owned the largest fryer in the world which was capable of cooking 2,000 portions of fish at one time!

 

The late 1960s saw a downturn in business as customers were looking for more freedom from the regimented entertainment and mealtimes. The camp responded by converting some of the chalets to self catering and by installing static caravans. The situation wasn't helped in 1971 when Pontins opened their brand new multi-million pound self-catering camp just a mile down the road

 

It eventually fell on hard times and was sold to rival Pontins in 1975. Plans were announced for a massive investment to convert the entire site into self catering. It was renamed Tower Beach and the following year 15 brand new two-storey chalet blocks were built in the traditional Pontins style. All chalets were equipped with kitchens and lounges. More old chalets were converted and the caravan park was expanded along with an area for touring caravans and tents. A new indoor pool was built and the old (larger) outdoor pool was subsequently filled in.

 

It differed from other Pontin camps in that an extra charge was made to use the camp facilities...the swimming pool, snooker room, even the evening entertainment complex all had a separate admission fee. However this was reflected in the holiday cost and Tower Beach was the cheapest self-catering camp in the old Pontins stable.

 

After investing a considerable sum of money it therefore came as a huge shock when Pontins closed it all down at the end of 1984 - most of the chalets were only 7 years old! The camp sat abandoned and derelict for the next 17 years during which time it was used for police riot training and even TV/movie filming. It was finally demolished in 2001.

 

The land was sold for a reputed £5 million and it's now a housing estate known as Tower Gardens.

Bae-Aérospatiale Concorde: 21st January 1976 - November 26th 2003

 

Yep, I'm on another one of my Concorde bouts again, but I don't consider that a bad thing if I'm honest because I've never known anyone who really doesn't like this aircraft. The thing about Concorde is the fact that it was, and still is, probably one of the most beautiful and sophisticated creations mankind has ever made, up there with the likes of the Saturn V Rocket. With smooth crisp lines and a long sweeping body, Concorde, although very much a plaything for the rich, showed the world that Supersonic travel is not just reserved for Fighter Pilots, but for the fare paying public as well, and took us to a place where I sadly feel we shan't return to, not in this day and age.

 

So where does Concorde's story begin? Well, our ability to break the Sound Barrier is a good start, with the early Spitfire pilots of World War II inadvertently doing so, and then a flight by the experimental Bell X-1, which was launched from the underbelly of a bomber and jetted off into a world very much of its own. Following these breakthroughs in speed, the first considerations for a passenger alternative were considered as far back as 1950, and in 1954 the first meeting of the Super Sonic Transport (SST) Committee was held.

 

Original intentions were to build passenger aircraft to similar principles as the X-1, but these were shelved due to impracticality. Instead, a new design known as the Delta-Wing was looked at, being used on the likes of the AVRO Vulcan. Ideas were created, and tests carried out on the similarly designed Handley Page HP.115, a purpose built aircraft for the intention of making the perfect testbed for the future SST. Eventually, the Delta design chosen was dubbed the Ogee Platform, derived from the Ogival Wing design. The most important intention of the design was to place the wing's centre of pressure as close as possible to the centre of gravity so as to lower the amount of control force required to pitch the aircraft, and the Ogee Platform came closest to this requirement.

 

Final design requirements came down to the design of the airframe itself outside of the wings. Essentially, the aircraft was similar in design to contemporary Delta-Wing fighter jets, with a long streamlined nose and a smooth body to reduce resistance as much as possible. Problems came with the actual operation of the aircraft's basic functions, most notably the cockpit, which had to be designed with streamlining in mind, but couldn't use conventional aircraft windows, with the strengthened window frame obscuring the view forward for takeoff and landing. In response, designers created a Drooping Nose, where the streamlined visor could be raised and lowered, with conventional aircraft windscreens behind to provide a view similar to that of a regular aircraft. Due to the length of the aircraft, the plane was fitted with a small wheel at the rear of the frame so as to absorb any potential tail-strikes during takeoff and landing.

 

During supersonic flight and transit through the Sound Barrier, fuel would be distributed between the forward fuel tanks and a small fuel tank in the rear whilst the aircraft was accelerating and decelerating so as to alter the centre of mass, essentially acting as an auxiliary trim control.

 

But one of the most endearing parts of the design was the point on the nose, which is not there for stylish flare, but for a very important reason. Without the point, aircraft attempting to transit the sound barrier would face much greater resistance as the airframe is much larger and more obtrusive, the point on the other hand breaks the sound barrier ahead of the actual aircraft itself, meaning the transit effect travels around the frame of the aircraft rather than against the hull.

 

Of course, the most difficult part when it came to getting the SST to go are the actual engines themselves. For the greatest efficiency, the new SST couldn't use conventional Turbofan engines as their cross-sectional area was too excessive. Instead, Rolls Royce was commissioned to build a set of Turbojet engines that could be slung in streamlined pods underneath the wings. The result was a quad set of Rolls Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 engines that had been developed from the Bristol engines used on the Vulcan bomber. In all, only 67 of these engines were ever built, and had an overall maximum thrust of 38,000lbf, pushing the SST to beyond the speed of sound.

 

By the mid-1960's the designs had been near enough perfected, and after signing up with Sud Aviation of France (later to become Aérospatiale), the combined efforts of British Aerospace and Aérospatiale resulted in the construction of two prototypes in 1965, these aircraft being dubbed 'Concorde', the French word for Harmony, Agreement, or Union. Concorde 001 was built in France at Aérospatiale's factory in Toulouse, whilst Concorde 002 was built at the BAC works in Filton near Bristol. The first flight of a Concorde aircraft took place on the 2nd March 1969, with Concorde 001 flying from Toulouse. On the 9th April, Concorde 002 made its first flight from Filton, and on October 1st, 001 made its first supersonic flight.

 

Both aircraft were presented at the Paris Airshow of June 1969, alongside one of their rivals, the Boeing 747. But Concorde was not the world's first supersonic commercial airliner, as the Soviet Union had beaten them to the punch in June of that year with the Tupolev Tu-144, an aircraft of almost exactly the same principles of Concorde that had been hastily put together between 1965 and 1968 after blueprints and designs had been obtained by Soviet Agent Sergei Fabiew. The Tu-144 made its first supersonic flight in June 1969, and made its first supersonic commercial flights with Aeroflot in May 1970.

 

However, the 'Concordski' (as it was known by the West), had many serious flaws, which came to bear in a series of horrendous crashes. The first major crash was at the 1973 Paris Air Show, where during a display flight, the first production Tu-144 aircraft broke apart over a suburb, killing 6 people on the aircraft and 8 on the ground. Another major incident took place in May 1978, when on a routine test flight an improved version of the aircraft known as the Tu-144D crashed on landing, resulting in the withdrawal of the 144's from commercial service after only 55 flights. They would remain cargo aircraft until 1983, after which they were used for the training of Soviet Cosmonauts for the Buran Space Shuttle project.

 

Concordski however did have a profound effect on Concorde, especially after its crash of 1973. Confidence in the Concorde was rumbled by the failure of the Tu-144, and thus many potential buyers pulled out. Originally, airlines such as American Airlines, Pan Am, Japan Airlines, Eastern Airlines, United Airlines, and Air Canada had all put in orders, but by 1975 only Air France and BOAC (later nationalised into British Airways) orders remained. At the same time, Boeing and Lockheed of the United States attempted to create their own SST's so as to combat Concorde, with Boeing creating the 2707, and Lockheed the L-2000, neither of which went beyond concept models.

 

Eventually, 14 production Concorde aircraft were handed over to their respective airlines between 1976 and 1980, with the first aircraft being delivered to British Airways on the 15th January, the first flight taking place to Bahrain on the 21st January. Simultaneously, Air France made its first flight to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar in Senegal. However, the Transatlantic routes to the United States were the main points of contention, as the fear of Sonic Booms caused protest, resulting in a ban being passed by Congress. Although permission was given to fly to Washington Dulles on the 24th May, the New York Port Authority continued to ban Concorde due to the noise. The result was a risky training program by Concorde pilots to land at JFK Airport without using any power at all, meaning that from the start of their descent over the New York area, no power could be applied so as to keep the noise levels to a minimum, doing the whole approach in one. Eventually the ban was lifted after it was found that Air Force One, a Boeing VC-137 (converted Boeing 707), was louder than Concorde, and thus commercial services to JFK began on November 22nd, 1977.

 

In addition to the British Airways and Air France flights to New York and Washington from Paris and London, a slew of other short lived ventures occurred at the same time. In 1977, British Airways jointly shared a Concorde for flights to Singapore via Bahrain with Singapore Airlines, painting G-BOAD in a BA/SA hybrid livery. These flights however were capped after only 3 runs due to noise complaints.

 

Another short lived venture was with the American airline Braniff, which leased 10 aircraft from both airlines to operate subsonic domestic services from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth from 1978, with Braniff crews taking over from international crews after landing at Washington. These services ended in 1980 due to a lack of profitability, with only 50% bookings or less on most flights.

 

Over the years, Concorde also flew to a myriad of destinations off its usual Transatlantic services, including Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean, South America, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, mostly on charter flights but sometimes for short demonstration flights for fun seekers. Usually, Air France would provide the charter aircraft as their Concorde fleet was used less than the BA fleet, only operating two flights a day as opposed to BA's four.

 

The 1980's though were the boom years of Concorde, as this was when the money makers really spread their wings. In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson "For the have not's, it wasn't much fun, but the have's were having a ball!" Wealth moved from the stars of stage and screen to the stock marketing men and women of Europe and America. Investments on oil shares, and other large multinational companies meant you and your house was worth more than most countries. Greed was endemic, and the super-rich had no shortage of that. They'd have Champagne for breakfast, eat nightly at the Ritz, have a fleet of chauffeur driven Rolls Royce's at their beck and call, and would make weekend trips across the Atlantic with Concorde like it was a commuter train!

 

It was thanks to Concorde that Phil Collins could perform two shows for the 1985 Live Aid in one night, the first at Wembley in London, the second at Philadelphia JFK stadium, picking up Cher along the way who would join him in the finale 'We are the World.' You could arrive before you departed, and probably bump into a selection of celebrities en-route. Ex-Beatles, Actors, Businessmen, Fashion Designers, you name it, they were probably there!

 

These years were wild, profitable, and turned Concorde from an airliner, into a rite of passage for the money makers of this world. If you could fly on Concorde, then you'd truly made it in life!

 

However, as the 90's began to blossom and boom, the end of the decade brought its headaches for Concorde, and when things went wrong, they really went wrong quickly!

 

The recession of 1992 damaged Concorde's sales as money became much harder to come by, and the explosive era of greed began to fade away in the face of austerity. Environmental considerations began to crop up, and Concorde was singled out by environmentalists as one of the biggest culprits for noise and air pollution.

 

But on July 25th, 2000, disaster struck when Air France Concorde F-BTSC, crashed upon take-off from Paris Charles de Gaulle, smashing into a nearby hotel and killing all 109 passengers, plus 4 people on the ground. The cause was later determined to have been debris left by a preceding Continental Airlines DC-10, which punctured the tyres of Concorde and ruptured the fuel tanks on the port-side wing. However, the crash resulted in the grounding of all Concorde aircraft for over a year. Although test flights were carried out, and some private charters, revenue earning service was intended to return in the summer of 2001.

 

G-BOAF made the first service flight of a Concorde aircraft across the Atlantic from London to New York on September 11th, 2001, landing at JFK airport 30 minutes before American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked by terrorists, was flown deliberately into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, in what would turn out to be one of the darkest days in modern history. In the ensuing chaos, flights across America were grounded immediately, and Transatlantic services diverted, but this was just the beginning. Global markets collapsed and the aviation industry went into meltdown. Airlines such as TWA, Swissair, Sabena and Ansett Australia were just a few of the victims of this aviation downturn, and Concorde's return to service was delayed until November 7th, 2001.

 

Concorde may have stuttered back into life, but time had really caught up with this supersonic machine of the past. The maintenance costs of the aircraft were now much higher, with fuel prices rising and passenger levels dropping due to stagnation in the post-9/11 market. British Airways was making a loss on every single flight they made, and both this, with a mixture of discontinued support from Aérospatiale's successors, Airbus, meant that Concorde's fate was very much sealed.

 

On the 10th April, 2003, Air France and British Airways simultaneously announced the retirement of Concorde. Although the day after Virgin Atlantic and its founder Sir Richard Branson intended to purchase British Airways' Concorde fleet for a nominal fee of £1 each, citing a clause in the original agreement to operate the aircraft, the Government and British Airways denied allowing him to buy the aircraft for such a small price, demanding at least £1 million for every aircraft. This was further hampered by Airbus' refusal to continue maintenance support.

 

The end slowly came throughout 2003, with Air France's last Concorde flight taking place on 27th June, whilst British Airways conducted a series of farewell tours to a selection of destinations, including Toronto, Boston, Washington, Belfast, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Concorde was officially retired from British Airways service on the 24th October, 2003, but continued to operate a small number of farewell charters until November 26th, when G-BOAF, the last Concorde to be built in 1979, flew to its home base of Filton, ending the supersonic age of passenger air travel.

 

In all, every one of these £125 million aircraft still exist apart from two. Aircraft 203, F-BTSC, was lost in the type's only ever fatal crash in 2000, whilst Aircraft 211, F-BVFD, was withdrawn in 1982 after only 5 years of service and used as a spares donor, being cut up for scrap in 1994. The 6 prototype and 12 remaining production aircraft are now scattered across the world in museums, including Barbados, Seattle, New York, Brooklands near London, Manchester, Le Bourget, Toulouse and Chantilly in Virginia.

 

So, what killed Concorde and can we ever go there again? Many things killed Concorde, and when they came, they came fast. The economic downturn of the 90's and the rising environmental considerations started to damage its image, but the Paris Crash, the September 11th attacks and the ensuing stagnation of the aviation market, an outdated design becoming more and more expensive to maintain, the discontinuation of maintenance by Airbus and the fact that they were making a loss on every single flight is truly what ended Concorde's reign.

 

As for returning to the world of supersonic travel for the fare paying customer, in this world of austerity and environmentally bound agendas, I highly doubt it. Although Boeing considered the idea with the Sonic Cruiser, the amount of fuel required to operate these aircraft and the overall lack of interest or money to fund a project solely aimed at the 1%, means that chances are we won't see the likes of Concorde ever again.

 

But either way, we can be glad to say that we did it, we built Concorde, we flew it, operated it for 27 glorious years, and in doing so brought nations and continents closer together. Concorde truly lived up to its name, an everlasting symbol of peace, prosperity, speed, design and human endeavour.

 

You may want advice about real estate property purchasing in such a way that's clear to understand. This information will enable you to every step of the way in the house buying process. Here we are going to explain some advice in simplistic terms that anyone can understand.

 

When negotiating with real estate property purchases, always employ a moderate approach. It could be counter productive to get too aggressive inside your bargain hunting. However, it is recommended to stand firm on the wants. Enable your lawyer and Realtor to go negotiations since they have expertise in negotiating.

 

Should you sell a property to your client, don't lose touch. Contacting customers on each anniversary throughout the day they bought your home and throughout holidays lets you be in touch without seeming intrusive. Whenever they hear from you again, they will likely understand that they helped throughout your buying selling experience. After your greeting, make sure they know that you simply function through referrals and also you would really appreciate it should they recommended one to their other friends.

 

Should you be with kids or are considering having kids, you want a home that has many space. Your brand new home needs to be equipped for safety look at this wisely should your home includes a swimming pool area or steep stairs. It could be safer to invest in a home that children formerly lived in. Most parents childproof their houses, so these homes are probably already safe for your children.

 

When you are wanting to invest in a new house, take into consideration your long-term picture. Require a family, as an example. Although you possibly will not have children yet, that doesn't suggest that you won't desire to start up a family down the road. This means you needs to be centering on a home's size, the institution district, neighborhood safety, along with other crucial elements of raising a household.

 

Make certain you have some additional money put away in the event any unexpected costs show up when you're investing in a home. Buyers will frequently calculate the ultimate closing costs by combining the exact amount for that deposit, any points that proceed to the bank, along with any prorated taxes for real estate property. Most of the time though, closing calculations can prove inaccurate because some fees are still out if the calculations are carried out.

 

In summary, we have now provided you many of the most crucial aspects regarding buying real estate property. We hope that you simply not merely had the ability to learn something, but that you simply also can successfully use it. Follow our advice and you may be a stride even closer to becoming an expert in this particular subject. shamyisrael.co.il/%d7%a6%d7%95%d7%95%d7%aa-%d7%94%d7%9e%d...

Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - Eye of the Holder

 

Photo By: SGT Pablo Piedra

 

To learn more about the annual U.S. Army Photography Competition, visit us online at www.armymwr.com

 

U.S. Army Arts and Crafts History

After World War I the reductions to the Army left the United States with a small force. The War Department faced monumental challenges in preparing for World War II. One of those challenges was soldier morale. Recreational activities for off duty time would be important. The arts and crafts program informally evolved to augment the needs of the War Department.

On January 9, 1941, the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, appointed Frederick H. Osborn, a prominent U.S. businessman and philanthropist, Chairman of the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation and Community Service.

In 1940 and 1941, the United States involvement in World War II was more of sympathy and anticipation than of action. However, many different types of institutions were looking for ways to help the war effort. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of these institutions. In April, 1941, the Museum announced a poster competition, “Posters for National Defense.” The directors stated “The Museum feels that in a time of national emergency the artists of a country are as important an asset as men skilled in other fields, and that the nation’s first-rate talent should be utilized by the government for its official design work... Discussions have been held with officials of the Army and the Treasury who have expressed remarkable enthusiasm...”

In May 1941, the Museum exhibited “Britain at War”, a show selected by Sir Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery in London. The “Prize-Winning Defense Posters” were exhibited in July through September concurrently with “Britain at War.” The enormous overnight growth of the military force meant mobilization type construction at every camp. Construction was fast; facilities were not fancy; rather drab and depressing.

In 1941, the Fort Custer Army Illustrators, while on strenuous war games maneuvers in Tennessee, documented the exercise The Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Feb. 1942), described their work. “Results were astonishingly good; they showed serious devotion ...to the purpose of depicting the Army scene with unvarnished realism and a remarkable ability to capture this scene from the soldier’s viewpoint. Civilian amateur and professional artists had been transformed into soldier-artists. Reality and straightforward documentation had supplanted (replaced) the old romantic glorification and false dramatization of war and the slick suavity (charm) of commercial drawing.”

 

“In August of last year, Fort Custer Army Illustrators held an exhibition, the first of its kind in the new Army, at the Camp Service Club. Soldiers who saw the exhibition, many of whom had never been inside an art gallery, enjoyed it thoroughly. Civilian visitors, too, came and admired. The work of the group showed them a new aspect of the Army; there were many phases of Army life they had never seen or heard of before. Newspapers made much of it and, most important, the Army approved. Army officials saw that it was not only authentic material, but that here was a source of enlivenment (vitalization) to the Army and a vivid medium for conveying the Army’s purposes and processes to civilians and soldiers.”

Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn and War Department leaders were concerned because few soldiers were using the off duty recreation areas that were available. Army commanders recognized that efficiency is directly correlated with morale, and that morale is largely determined from the manner in which an individual spends his own free time. Army morale enhancement through positive off duty recreation programs is critical in combat staging areas.

To encourage soldier use of programs, the facilities drab and uninviting environment had to be improved. A program utilizing talented artists and craftsmen to decorate day rooms, mess halls, recreation halls and other places of general assembly was established by the Facilities Section of Special Services. The purpose was to provide an environment that would reflect the military tradition, accomplishments and the high standard of army life. The fact that this work was to be done by the men themselves had the added benefit of contributing to the esprit de corps (teamwork, or group spirit) of the unit.

The plan was first tested in October of 1941, at Camp Davis, North Carolina. A studio workshop was set up and a group of soldier artists were placed on special duty to design and decorate the facilities. Additionally, evening recreation art classes were scheduled three times a week. A second test was established at Fort Belvoir, Virginia a month later. The success of these programs lead to more installations requesting the program.

After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Museum of Modern Art appointed Mr. James Soby, to the position of Director of the Armed Service Program on January 15, 1942. The subsequent program became a combination of occupational therapy, exhibitions and morale-sustaining activities.

Through the efforts of Mr. Soby, the museum program included; a display of Fort Custer Army Illustrators work from February through April 5, 1942. The museum also included the work of soldier-photographers in this exhibit. On May 6, 1942, Mr. Soby opened an art sale of works donated by museum members. The sale was to raise funds for the Soldier Art Program of Special Services Division. The bulk of these proceeds were to be used to provide facilities and materials for soldier artists in Army camps throughout the country.

Members of the Museum had responded with paintings, sculptures, watercolors, gouaches, drawings, etchings and lithographs. Hundreds of works were received, including oils by Winslow Homer, Orozco, John Kane, Speicher, Eilshemius, de Chirico; watercolors by Burchfield and Dufy; drawings by Augustus John, Forain and Berman, and prints by Cezanne, Lautrec, Matisse and Bellows. The War Department plan using soldier-artists to decorate and improve buildings and grounds worked. Many artists who had been drafted into the Army volunteered to paint murals in waiting rooms and clubs, to decorate dayrooms, and to landscape grounds. For each artist at work there were a thousand troops who watched. These bystanders clamored to participate, and classes in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography were offered. Larger working space and more instructors were required to meet the growing demand. Civilian art instructors and local communities helped to meet this cultural need, by providing volunteer instruction and facilities.

Some proceeds from the Modern Museum of Art sale were used to print 25,000 booklets called “Interior Design and Soldier Art.” The booklet showed examples of soldier-artist murals that decorated places of general assembly. It was a guide to organizing, planning and executing the soldier-artist program. The balance of the art sale proceeds were used to purchase the initial arts and crafts furnishings for 350 Army installations in the USA.

In November, 1942, General Somervell directed that a group of artists be selected and dispatched to active theaters to paint war scenes with the stipulation that soldier artists would not paint in lieu of military duties.

Aileen Osborn Webb, sister of Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, launched the American Crafts Council in 1943. She was an early champion of the Army program.

While soldiers were participating in fixed facilities in the USA, many troops were being shipped overseas to Europe and the Pacific (1942-1945). They had long periods of idleness and waiting in staging areas. At that time the wounded were lying in hospitals, both on land and in ships at sea. The War Department and Red Cross responded by purchasing kits of arts and crafts tools and supplies to distribute to “these restless personnel.” A variety of small “Handicraft Kits” were distributed free of charge. Leathercraft, celluloid etching, knotting and braiding, metal tooling, drawing and clay modeling are examples of the types of kits sent.

In January, 1944, the Interior Design Soldier Artist program was more appropriately named the “Arts and Crafts Section” of Special Services. The mission was “to fulfill the natural human desire to create, provide opportunities for self-expression, serve old skills and develop new ones, and assist the entire recreation program through construction work, publicity, and decoration.”

The National Army Art Contest was planned for the late fall of 1944. In June of 1945, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., for the first time in its history opened its facilities for the exhibition of the soldier art and photography submitted to this contest. The “Infantry Journal, Inc.” printed a small paperback booklet containing 215 photographs of pictures exhibited in the National Gallery of Art.

In August of 1944, the Museum of Modern Art, Armed Forces Program, organized an art center for veterans. Abby Rockefeller, in particular, had a strong interest in this project. Soldiers were invited to sketch, paint, or model under the guidance of skilled artists and craftsmen. Victor d’Amico, who was in charge of the Museum’s Education Department, was quoted in Russell Lynes book, Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of the Museum of Modern Art. “I asked one fellow why he had taken up art and he said, Well, I just came back from destroying everything. I made up my mind that if I ever got out of the Army and out of the war I was never going to destroy another thing in my life, and I decided that art was the thing that I would do.” Another man said to d’Amico, “Art is like a good night’s sleep. You come away refreshed and at peace.”

In late October, 1944, an Arts and Crafts Branch of Special Services Division, Headquarters, European Theater of Operations was established. A versatile program of handcrafts flourished among the Army occupation troops.

The increased interest in crafts, rather than fine arts, at this time lead to a new name for the program: The “Handicrafts Branch.”

In 1945, the War Department published a new manual, “Soldier Handicrafts”, to help implement this new emphasis. The manual contained instructions for setting up crafts facilities, selecting as well as improvising tools and equipment, and basic information on a variety of arts and crafts.

As the Army moved from a combat to a peacetime role, the majority of crafts shops in the United States were equipped with woodworking power machinery for construction of furnishings and objects for personal living. Based on this new trend, in 1946 the program was again renamed, this time as “Manual Arts.”

At the same time, overseas programs were now employing local artists and craftsmen to operate the crafts facilities and instruct in a variety of arts and crafts. These highly skilled, indigenous instructors helped to stimulate the soldiers’ interest in the respective native cultures and artifacts. Thousands of troops overseas were encouraged to record their experiences on film. These photographs provided an invaluable means of communication between troops and their families back home.

When the war ended, the Navy had a firm of architects and draftsmen on contract to design ships. Since there was no longer a need for more ships, they were given a new assignment: To develop a series of instructional guides for arts and crafts. These were called “Hobby Manuals.” The Army was impressed with the quality of the Navy manuals and had them reprinted and adopted for use by Army troops. By 1948, the arts and crafts practiced throughout the Army were so varied and diverse that the program was renamed “Hobby Shops.” The first “Interservice Photography Contest” was held in 1948. Each service is eligible to send two years of their winning entries forward for the bi-annual interservice contest. In 1949, the first All Army Crafts Contest was also held. Once again, it was clear that the program title, “Hobby Shops” was misleading and overlapped into other forms of recreation.

In January, 1951, the program was designated as “The Army Crafts Program.” The program was recognized as an essential Army recreation activity along with sports, libraries, service clubs, soldier shows and soldier music. In the official statement of mission, professional leadership was emphasized to insure a balanced, progressive schedule of arts and crafts would be conducted in well-equipped, attractive facilities on all Army installations.

The program was now defined in terms of a “Basic Seven Program” which included: drawing and painting; ceramics and sculpture; metal work; leathercrafts; model building; photography and woodworking. These programs were to be conducted regularly in facilities known as the “multiple-type crafts shop.” For functional reasons, these facilities were divided into three separate technical areas for woodworking, photography and the arts and crafts.

During the Korean Conflict, the Army Crafts program utilized the personnel and shops in Japan to train soldiers to instruct crafts in Korea.

The mid-1950s saw more soldiers with cars and the need to repair their vehicles was recognized at Fort Carson, Colorado, by the craft director. Soldiers familiar with crafts shops knew that they had tools and so automotive crafts were established. By 1958, the Engineers published an Official Design Guide on Crafts Shops and Auto Crafts Shops. In 1959, the first All Army Art Contest was held. Once more, the Army Crafts Program responded to the needs of soldiers.

In the 1960’s, the war in Vietnam was a new challenge for the Army Crafts Program. The program had three levels of support; fixed facilities, mobile trailers designed as portable photo labs, and once again a “Kit Program.” The kit program originated at Headquarters, Department of Army, and it proved to be very popular with soldiers.

Tom Turner, today a well-known studio potter, was a soldier at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in the 1960s. In the December 1990 / January 1991 “American Crafts” magazine, Turner, who had been a graduate student in art school when he was drafted, said the program was “a godsend.”

The Army Artist Program was re-initiated in cooperation with the Office of Military History to document the war in Vietnam. Soldier-artists were identified and teams were formed to draw and paint the events of this combat. Exhibitions of these soldier-artist works were produced and toured throughout the USA.

In 1970, the original name of the program, “Arts and Crafts”, was restored. In 1971, the “Arts and Crafts/Skills Development Program” was established for budget presentations and construction projects.

After the Vietnam demobilization, a new emphasis was placed on service to families and children of soldiers. To meet this new challenge in an environment of funding constraints the arts and crafts program began charging fees for classes. More part-time personnel were used to teach formal classes. Additionally, a need for more technical-vocational skills training for military personnel was met by close coordination with Army Education Programs. Army arts and crafts directors worked with soldiers during “Project Transition” to develop soldier skills for new careers in the public sector.

The main challenge in the 1980s and 90s was, and is, to become “self-sustaining.” Directors have been forced to find more ways to generate increased revenue to help defray the loss of appropriated funds and to cover the non-appropriated funds expenses of the program. Programs have added and increased emphasis on services such as, picture framing, gallery sales, engraving and trophy sales, etc... New programs such as multi-media computer graphics appeal to customers of the 1990’s.

The Gulf War presented the Army with some familiar challenges such as personnel off duty time in staging areas. Department of Army volunteer civilian recreation specialists were sent to Saudi Arabia in January, 1991, to organize recreation programs. Arts and crafts supplies were sent to the theater. An Army Humor Cartoon Contest was conducted for the soldiers in the Gulf, and arts and crafts programs were set up to meet soldier interests.

The increased operations tempo of the ‘90’s Army has once again placed emphasis on meeting the “recreation needs of deployed soldiers.” Arts and crafts activities and a variety of programs are assets commanders must have to meet the deployment challenges of these very different scenarios.

The Army arts and crafts program, no matter what it has been titled, has made some unique contributions for the military and our society in general. Army arts and crafts does not fit the narrow definition of drawing and painting or making ceramics, but the much larger sense of arts and crafts. It is painting and drawing. It also encompasses:

* all forms of design. (fabric, clothes, household appliances, dishes, vases, houses, automobiles, landscapes, computers, copy machines, desks, industrial machines, weapon systems, air crafts, roads, etc...)

* applied technology (photography, graphics, woodworking, sculpture, metal smithing, weaving and textiles, sewing, advertising, enameling, stained glass, pottery, charts, graphs, visual aides and even formats for correspondence...)

* a way of making learning fun, practical and meaningful (through the process of designing and making an object the creator must decide which materials and techniques to use, thereby engaging in creative problem solving and discovery) skills taught have military applications.

* a way to acquire quality items and save money by doing-it-yourself (making furniture, gifts, repairing things ...).

* a way to pursue college credit, through on post classes.

* a universal and non-verbal language (a picture is worth a thousand words).

* food for the human psyche, an element of morale that allows for individual expression (freedom).

* the celebration of human spirit and excellence (our highest form of public recognition is through a dedicated monument).

* physical and mental therapy (motor skill development, stress reduction, etc...).

* an activity that promotes self-reliance and self-esteem.

* the record of mankind, and in this case, of the Army.

What would the world be like today if this generally unknown program had not existed? To quantitatively state the overall impact of this program on the world is impossible. Millions of soldier citizens have been directly and indirectly exposed to arts and crafts because this program existed. One activity, photography can provide a clue to its impact. Soldiers encouraged to take pictures, beginning with WW II, have shared those images with family and friends. Classes in “How to Use a Camera” to “How to Develop Film and Print Pictures” were instrumental in soldiers seeing the results of using quality equipment. A good camera and lens could make a big difference in the quality of the print. They bought the top of the line equipment. When they were discharged from the Army or home on leave this new equipment was showed to the family and friends. Without this encouragement and exposure to photography many would not have recorded their personal experiences or known the difference quality equipment could make. Families and friends would not have had the opportunity to “see” the environment their soldier was living in without these photos. Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Panama, etc... were far away places that most had not visited.

As the twenty first century approaches, the predictions for an arts renaissance by Megatrends 2000 seem realistic based on the Army Arts and Crafts Program practical experience. In the April ‘95 issue of “American Demographics” magazine, an article titled “Generation X” fully supports that this is indeed the case today. Television and computers have greatly contributed to “Generation X” being more interested in the visual arts and crafts.

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The new operator on the NZ regional service routes which is scheduled to start services on November 21, 2014.

 

LONG-DISTANCE BUS WARS HEAT UP WITH NEW SERVICE

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Competition has increased in the long-distance bus market with the launch of a new city-to-city express service, ManaBus.com.

Prices for the new service, which plans to operate five new express routes between eight North Island destinations, will start from $1 plus a $1 booking fee. That's similar to the lowest fees charged by major competitors, the InterCity Group and Naked Bus. The Auckland-based company is owned by Souter Holdings, which also runs Fullers Ferries, Howick & Eastern buses and the Wellington-based bus service, Mana Coach Services.

Transport entrepreneur and company owner Brian Souter said their experience from many successful years of operation in the UK, North America, Poland and Finland has demonstrated there is a demand for fast, modern and innovative city-to-city express coach travel.

"We firmly believe that the introduction of new products and services, offering the consumer more choice at affordable prices, will grow the total transport market and encourage modal shift from the private car," he said.

Souter Holdings is part of the global transport company Highland Global Transport and the Souter Investments portfolio of companies. Souter's sister, Ann Gloag, co-founded the Stagecoach Group, starting in Scotland with two buses in 1980. Today the listed company has a market capitalisation of more than 2.2 billion pounds and operates nearly 12,000 buses and trains in the UK, Western Europe, the US and Canada.

The Stagecoach Group has had close ties with New Zealand infrastructure investor Infratil over the years. In 2005 it sold all of its NZ operations, including the Fullers Group, to Infratil. Four years later Infratil, in turn, sold Fullers to Souter Holdings, which also bought ferry operator 360 Discovery Ltd the same year. Fullers is now facing competition from newcomer Explore Group on the Auckland to Waiheke ferry sailings. Souter Holdings owns 74 per cent of Mana Coach Services, with the remainder held by Infratil.

The launch of ManaBus.com has created 70 new jobs across the North Island while the fleet of new luxury coaches were purpose-built by Tauranga-based Kiwi Bus Builders. The company wouldn't say how much it had invested to start up the venture, other than "a considerable amount".

The country's largest long-distance bus operator is the InterCity Group which eight years ago faced another new market competitor, Naked Bus. Naked Bus founder Hamish Nuttall said his company grew 25 per cent last year, from a mix of expanding the market and taking customers from competitors. "A new entrant into the market will grow awareness which is good for us," he said.

Last month it said it would trial a "lie-flat" Sleeper bus, a first for New Zealand, for $50 or less from December. ManaBus.com said its new coaches offer free Wi-Fi, at-seat power and USB points for charging mobile devices, and reclining seats, but no lie-flat option. - NZ Herald

CUTCO is a brand of cutlery and kitchen accessories directly marketed to customers through in-home consultations with independent sales representatives who are almost exclusively college students.[1][2][3] The products cannot be purchased in stores. Cutco is owned by Alcas and has been in business since 1949. All its knives are produced in Olean, New York in the United States, although a few products (such as the ice cream scoop and the metal heads of the flatware) are partially made outside the US.[1] More than 100 kitchen cutlery products are sold under the Cutco name, as well as a variety of kitchen utensils, cookware, sporting and outdoors equipment, and flatware.

 

Cutco claims that their cutting edge is the sharpest available, and uses slogans such as "The World's Finest Cutlery" to promote their product line. The company uses an edge design Cutco calls "Double-D", and ergonomic handles. Cutco offers a "forever guarantee" on their products.

 

The Double-D Edge design consists of three edged points separated by recessed straight segments of blade. The company claims that the recessed edge is protected from dulling caused by the knife hitting the cutting surface via the sharpened points. This is similar to a serrated knife, but the company claims their edge design performs better. The knives can be mailed back to Cutco for resharpening; the customer is required to pay a shipping and handling fee.[4][5]

 

Cutco knife blades are stamped 440A stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 55-57c; the handles are thermoresin.

 

www.cutco.com/home.jsp

There were about 45 dust spots on this image when I opened the RAW file in Photoshop and had to carefully remove them all before converting the RAW.

I think it is a big issue of any interchangeable lens system camera(both ILC and DSLR).

 

Why the Sony FE system is doomed 1: Is Sony the final loser as usual in the ILC market too?

 

Everybody in a camera forum claims MILC,especially the Sony FE system is winning this ILC game over the rest, Canon Nikon are really stupid losing all their market to the Sony, is that really true?

 

Between 2006 and 2008 Sony was the fastest growing company on the DSLR market, reaching about 13% market share in 2008(in unit sales) to become the third largest DSLR company in the world.

But then Sony switched to SLTs and dropped DSLRs. After that they switched to focus more on their new E mount and the 'NEX' APSC mirrorless system, which I personally loved and supported with my own money. After that they dropped the 'NEX' name and quit releasing new APSC mirrorless lenses while solely focusing all their effort on FF mirrorles-the 'FE' mount(Fullframe E mount)...........

The results? Sony now commands about a 11% market share for ILC cameras, so despite of the common forum myth that Sony is taking over this industry with the series of the quick A7X camera launches, Sony is actually losing their sales and market share-they have been losing more A mount guys to CN than they have been taking CN guys with the FE series plus the obscure adapter strategy.

So Sony still remains the 3rd largest ILC (DSLR, SLT and Mirrorless) company in the world but not by unit sales any more, by value. This is significant because they are no longer selling as many affordable cameras as they used to be , and most of their sales loss coming from younger gen market because many of young new photogs no longer afford Sony ILC cameras or like many of our friends here, they cannot justify the prices(even the supposed to be lowend A6300 costs over 1k).

 

Now, the question we might want to ask to Sony is, if they stuck with DSLRs or SLTs, could they have done the same or better? Or would just the simple mirrorless A99 type body without the SLT have actually done any better than over hyped but awkward A7X series? I actually think so. Sony has never tried to advertise the A mount properly, never promoted it seriously at their sites or via DPR, LL ,etc, but the A mount line has been just doing as well or slightly better than the E mount. So if they seriously advertise and promote the A mount line, I think they will sell better than the E mount line.

 

Please do not get me wrong I am a A/E mount user and definitely not a DSLR fan any more. I am a big EVF fan, so I am not DSLR biased. In fact, IMO, high resolution EVF is one of the most important features-almost a must-have feature in any camera system. So I will never go back to OVF camera myself, to me it feels very awkward and even anachronistic.

 

But I have to be realistic and honest, the E mount seems to be a failing effort, and it is clearly seen in the sales number. The A mount is not as insignificant as it supposed to be to Sony sales.

Now, despite of crazy shill marketing and internet promotion for the FE system,Sony only has about 11 percent or less of market share which is about 8 percent and 3 percent of MILC and D-SLR market respectively. If you read the numbers superficially it seems like the E is selling much better, but is it really so? No. Because the MILC market is about 1/3rd of the D-SLR market size, so the 8 percent sales in MILC market is about identical to 3 percent sales in D-SLR market.

 

The reality is the E mount share is getting worse and worse every year as the prices going up every new generation, and it is expected to become much worse than what Sony has presented it would be in their recent presentation to the dealers throughout the world, because Sony now thinks "market share" is ILC's+lenses+accessories and "by value" to obscure the data. They seem to be deliberately ignoring the negative unit sales numbers.

 

So again, despite of the common forum myth the FE is not a very successful mount system in terms of sales. I am a FE mount user and I use it for now(there is no better choice for me) but I am not committed to it, and in fact, I much prefer the A6300 plus the A99vMK2 combo if they are fully supported with a good lens lineup by Sony(and Zeiss and Tamron). Actually, the only one reason why I still have to use my FE A7X series is the lens line, mostly the Batis line and that is all. If it is not for the Batis, I am not using it. IOW, if there is proper lens support from Zeiss, Sony and Tamron for the original APS-C E mount, then there is no reason for me to use the overpriced over-hyped, awkward FE mount system.

 

Many of dealers(except big US online sellers like Amazon or B&H) throughout the world actually not very happy about Sony and their stupid policy of forcing all potential E mount buyers to the FE by intentionally disabling the APS-C lens line.

Many of dealers think the FE system will fail in the long run ,the FE system will not win, it is a temporal success, in deed a very short time success........and it is even an euphemism..........to put it polite.

 

What's hilarious about Sony camera business is that if you read the numbers carefully, you quickly realize Sony's SLT to MILC focus shift in ILC market has not actually improve anything in terms of their overall camera sales, but their E mount MILC has just deprived some serious sales from their A mount. And the even sadder fact is their MILC sells overall, regressed significantly in the past 4 or so years. The year 2013 was the peak year for them and after that it has been steadily declining.

 

What's really sad is that they failed to gain anything on their forceful focus shift from the A to the E to the FE and probably cost them a significant amount of momentum. By forcefully shifting their marketing focus from the A to the E to the FE in a very short time,they've created many many disappointed Sony haters.......just like they did with the Vaio PC business a few years back.

 

Despite of all the purported success Sony supposed to have got, Sony is still a small player in the ILC business, and probably even less significant after this year because only those well-heeled rich guys or spec-obsessed landscapers buy their FE cameras due to their unfair sudden price hikes.

 

Even domestically(here in Japan), as of last year, they are 4th for market share in ILC's, and actually further losing sales to CNFO.. And Japan is supposed to be the most mirrorless friendly market.

 

After all, maybe Canon Nikon Fuji were not as stupid as they always thought to be by those armchair camera market experts?

 

Unlike Sony and Fuji,Canon Nikon have not wasted much of their very limited RD money on quickly contracting current consumer camera market, but they have effectively invested that in something more important for their future such as medical imaging, automobile camera system, and surveillance camera tech. For us gearheads, maybe being mirrorless or mirrored is a very important issue, but for most of NORMAL people it is not important at all, and the A7 form of camera is not really disruptive in any way. It will not change the way we use our cameras or anything: It is not connected, It is not programmable, It is not dust-free(most important issue to me), It is not significantly lighter than Canon or Nikon fullframe system as opposed to how Sony has originally marketed it to be, It is not a true hybrid system. The FE FF has just made the great NEX extremely awkward, if not useless.

I mean many E mount users have bought into it for the promised smaller SYSTEM size(it was a lie) and extremely affordable lens system(another lie), not for the oversized overpriced FE lenses.

Again if not for the Batis, I am even not writing this crap about the A7X since there is nothing else interesting about the FE mount system.

I guess I will give a few more months for Sony to see if they are actually serious about the APS-C line E mount lenses and how they treat the A mount and the user base. It is very important because I know the future of the A mount will also be the future of the E mount and FE. Sony throws anything against the wall to see what will actually stick and they will keep replacing everything even those commercially successful ones, as they always do in all markets they enter.

This really exhaust users and this is why Sony has so many haters.

 

Honestly, now I think only three real pros for Sony FE system are below:

1 DXO 11 support

2 cheap Capture One 9.4 Pro for Sony(50US)

3 Zeiss Batis line lenses.

   

UPDATE: There are many articles that explain about A mount license contract here in Japan.

It seems to be the type of odd contract is the reason why Sony has not really serious about the A mount development any more.

Many dealers here already reported Sony has already finished the A99V successor, but the management still want to hold on the announcement.

The problems are:

1 Sony has to pay license fee to Konika Minolta.

2 All Sony G and GM lenses are Konika Minolta designs and they want to or already raise design and production fee.

3 Technically, the A mount license is still owned by KM not by Sony.

4 if Sony quits the A mount business or quits supporting the mount, KM will charge 5 years of the annual license fee for it.

So even if the A99 successor sales really well, it may not be a very profitable product for Sony, and therefore, they want to be careful about it. Also, they have to calculate the risk of quitting it. Even if Sony has to pay 5 years of annual license fee to KM, it is still better terminate the A mount business.

It is again all about politics nothing else.

Many forum people tend to think Sony has bought KM business, but it is not that simple. It looks like much more complicated legal issues there. If you check the biggest customers list for KM optical business, Sony has always been listed there. And it looks like KM is charging quite significant amount of money annually for the A mount license.

 

UPDATE2: now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

 

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of them themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp Sony sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year. But it is a pure contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

 

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie who want to promote Sony over Nikon or anything.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next sensor producers. Now, Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not use Sony for this. As fool as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

  

Nikon crisis 7:Keep the F or not for better long term future.

 

Should Nikon keep the F or ditch it ?

 

A short registration distance has some advantages for some lenses but disadvantages for others.

 

For example if light rays from the exit pupil strike the sensor at an extreme angle, such as happens with various wide angle lens designs, you can have problems of vignetting and colour fringing. Leica experienced this with their early digital M bodies with certain of their lenses which had been excellent on film, and needed an special designed set of micro lens arrays.

 

This was a problem with some Leica film lenses on older sensors, such as the one in the NEX-7. It is not a problem with lenses designed for digital sensors, or for recent sensors with BSI. IOW, if the E mount had slightly wider mount diameter design or a bit longer registration distance,then the A7RMK2 would not have needed the special designed expensive microlens arrangement, and thus could have been a lot cheaper than it is now.

 

That's an important point - lenses that are specifically designed for digital sensors. A short registration distance doesn't automatically make this easier.

 

There are various ways of correcting this - a curved sensor being one; or a sensor with angled micro lenses at the periphery being another(this is the tech the A7R2 and the A6300/X-Pro2 sensors use). But both of these have a potential disadvantage when used with lenses that do not require correction. Alternatively software correction could be employed with the compromises that that involves.

Or the manufacturer could re-design lenses so that light rays are as near to parallel as possible when they strike the sensor, which in the case of some wideangles means utilising a retrofocus design. But if you do this your lenses are then back to the size of those used with DSLRs, so unfortunately you have lost most of the potential advantage of the short registration distance here already........this is why all the great E mount fullframe lenses are huge...........in fact, on average bigger than Canon Nikon Tamron equivalent lenses.

  

Sigma seem to be going down this line, and I don't think they will do well.

The big optical advantage is that almost any lens can be used.

That might be an advantage to some users but I'm not sure it's an 'optical' advantage.

  

A second one is that there is more space for tilt-and-shift adapters, bellows or other devices to go between lens and camera. You couldn't use the Cambo Actus with a DSLR.

But the hypothetical mirrorless A or F mount can take this and so able to get a better quality set of TS lenses than the current DSLR TS lenses from Canon, Nikon or Zeiss.

A marginal advantage for most people frankly. But for architecture photographers it is a huge advantage over the short flange distance mount design of the E mount.

And at least, it is a way better more practical design than the short registration mount design with an adapter option.

However, if your main point to have a mirrorless camera is to get better non-native lens adaptability, then it must have short registration distance which accepts more lenses from many different eras.

But I doubt there are many many mount adapter freaks in the FE mount world any more, since most of us already know adapted lenses do not perform very well, and adapters add extra weight, and deprive some serious amount of potential IQ of lenses adapted.

IMO, the main point of mirrorless is reducing mechanical and optical complexity and thus being able to increase profit margins; and to use an EVF for both the same visual experience for stills and video.

The optical advantages are for a very, very, very limited range of focal lengths and fields of view. As pretty much all MILC systems demonstrate, lens size is mainly driven by focal length, image circle, and max F number, if you doubt it look at the Panasonic Leica 12/1.4, is it really tiny? No, it is bigger than the Batis 25mm f2 or the Fuji 16mm f1.4......And then, you look at Sony FE glass... barring the 28/2 & 35/2.8 all the lenses are about the same size as their DSLR equivalents. No magic here.

You look at E glass... 20/2.8 is the same size as the EF 24/2.8. 16/2.8 is small but really bad. If there are advantages they haven't been realized or capitalized on.

Also the optical benefit is only for lenses under around 44mm-50mm in the case of Canon or Sony A , and actually you gain that back for longer focal lenses. for instance Olympus made some pretty small and good primes for the OM mount which was even longer then the EF mount. So small lenses are indeed possible even without short registration distance as opposed to many tiny mirrorless fans claim.

Also while there is some optical advantages (not really major because the lenses have to be designed for the sensor stack), there's also counters which has to worry more about sensor reflections, vignetting and color casting,etc that don't occur with a more relaxed registration distance. This is a big part of reason why Nikon F mount cameras using the same sensor usually have less sensor reflection or color casting issues than the Sony E mount rivals using the same sensor. But no reviews talk about this since they do not want to displease Sony and its fanboys........

So, if the size potential reduction is not the main point for Nikon to go mirrorless, then why not just keep the very popular F mount with excellent lens line?

I used to be agaist this idea-keeping the venerable F mount, but now I am kind of supporting it since I have learned the only one real advantage of going really short with flange distance is better legacy lens adaptability.

I think keeping the F makes more sense as Thom Hogan and others say, because, by now, most of people already using mirrrorless(especially the FF ones) already understand the short mount registration distance does not make FF lenses really small unless seriously compromising on max F number or edge sharpness.

  

UPDATE:Another serious issue all the camera makers will have to face but I did not really realize before is that all ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people, anyway.

Then why not just go all the way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

 

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon F or Pentax K or Sony A but m43?

Nikon and Pentax have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

    

Update2:now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.

  

UPDATE3: I think I must correct some terrible lies spread by so called reviewers here:

1 Fuji X-Trans3 is just the same sensor design or some variant of the A6300 sensor. A lie. The Fuji 24mp sensor is Toshiba design, Sony produced sensor. Last year Toshiba sold out some of their CMOS plants to Sony, they made some specific contract conditions that they would continue to design core sensor designs and produce prototypes of their own sensors themselves, albeit a small number of each sensor they design, and then they take that to main fab process and Sony would mass produce that in Kumamoto Tech and Nagasaki tech.

And the Fuji X trans 3 sensor is the first practical case of this Toshiba Sony sensor business collaboration. So it is definitely not a Sony sensor. If you have both the A6300 and the X-Pro2 or X-T2 , you can easily tell that. The specs are very different and even the base ISO value is so dramatically different, I'd say the a6300 sensor is the better one here.

2 Nikon D7200 sensor is also Toshiba sensor but some similar variant of the X-Trans 3 sensor. No. Lit is another lie spread out through internet by the so called reviewer community.

The D7200 sensor was initially produced at Toshiba Kyushu plant, and then moved to Renesas Mie plant.

Now it is produced at Sony Kumamoto or Kagoshima tech.

So it is definitely a Toshiba sensor used Renesas IP, and the 20mp DX sensor used in the D500 seems also share the same tech used in the D7200 Toshiba sensor.

And they are nothing to do with Sony tech. Just now produced by Sony since Toshiba sold out their main CMOS factories to Sony last year does not mean they are Sony chips. It is a simple contract work and nothing like Sony designs it for others.

3 The Nikon D5 uses old Toshiba tech. No, wrong again. The Nikon D5 sensor is designed by Nikon and Renesas, produced by Renesas. All the high-speed read-out sensors from Nikon are designed by either Aptina or Renesas, nothing to do with Sony or Toshiba.

4 Canon does not sell sensors, it is another lie. They sell their industrial design sensors such as automobile and airplane sensors to Toyota or some other car airplane manufactures in Japan.

5 Renesas now has no their own CMOS factory. Wrong again, they still have 3 and 2 of which are small car use sensors but the last one in Mie still produces big sensors for Nikon. But their CMOS production capacity is not large enough for Nikon consumer grade bodies sold under 3k. So the D810 and the lower grade cameras use either Toshiba or Sony sensors produced at either Sony Kumamoto or Nagasaki, or some rare cases at Kagoshima.

6 Nikon is now completely dependent on Sony. Again, a big lie.

Nikon is now seeking another contract sensor producer who has large enough production capacity for their consumer grade camera sensors. And they are probably choosing Tower Jazz as their next main sensor producer. Now Panasonic, Tower Jazz and Sony are competing for that and I am sure Nikon will not choose Sony for their main sensor producer this time. As obtuse as the current Nikon management is, they at least understand how risky to give Sony all prior info about all their upcoming cameras, so they want to go against Sony. But the sad part is Nikon cannot be 100 percent independent from the Sony tie since Aptina one inch sensor choice is now no longer available as they are now a part of On Semi.

 

UPDATE4: Now, I just confirm that Nikon DL series actual shipment date would be next January 17th as planned in last Nikon conference at Nikon D3400 launch. But it may delay even further to next CP+ show in Yokohama Japan(in Feb 2017).

 

So it is already promised to be a failed product line before the actual launch. I think Nikon is really stupid, I mean I don't think phones or mirrorless killing Nikon but itself, it obtuse marketing killing it.

        

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/n/newportwetlands/index.as...

  

This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, but is a great place for people too with a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children's play area.

 

Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. You'll enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.

 

Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.

  

Opening times

 

Open every day (closed Christmas Day), 9 am to 5 pm (Coffee Shop open 10 am to 4 pm). On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the centre will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and the coffee shop will be open 10 am to 3.30 pm. Please note that the carpark also closes at 5:30pm.

  

Entrance charges

 

None

  

If you are new to birdwatching...

 

Autumn/winter is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay.

  

Information for families

 

Newport Wetlands visitor centre is ideal for children and families. Guided walks and children's activities are available on the reserve, drinks and a bite to eat can be enjoyed in the coffee shop afterwards, followed by a browse in the retail area. Children will find the outdoor children's activity area with its 4 m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very entertaining. We can offer a variety of fun environmental activity and exploration days for a wide range of local interest groups.

  

Information for dog owners

 

Some access for dogs - marked footpaths on perimeter of reserve. For more information, please contact the NRW enquiry line.

  

Star species

 

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

  

Bearded tit

 

You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like 'pinging' calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reeds.

  

Dunlin

 

Dunlins can be seen at Newport Wetlands at almost any time. They breed further north, including in the Arctic, but migrating birds pass through in spring and autumn and some also spend winter here. Watch for them probing their beaks into the mud as they feed.

  

Little egret

 

These dainty little white herons can be seen throughout the year at Newport. You can see them fishing, stirring up fish fry from the muddy bottom with their feet.

  

Little grebe

 

Listen for little grebes 'whinnying' in spring as part of their courtship displays. They are small, round birds, and remarkably buoyant despite their fluffy feathers.

  

Shoveler

 

Shovelers are commonest here in winter, but are also a regular breeding bird. Watch them using their beaks like sieves to sift out microscopic aquatic life from the water.

  

Seasonal highlights

  

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

  

Spring

 

Spring is the start of the breeding season and is an active and exciting time of year at Newport Wetlands, as birds set about finding their mates and building nests. Breeding waders at the reserve include lapwings and oystercatchers. Bearded tits begin to nest in the reedbeds. During late April and early May, swallows and swifts begin arriving from Africa, and can be seen flying overhead. This is a great time of year to listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo and many plants, including orchids, will begin to burst into colourful flower.

  

Summer

 

Grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonflies, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found at Newport Wetlands. After dark is the best time for moth spotting, but visitors are likely to see species like cinnabar moths and scarlet tiger moths during the daytime. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Their droppings, or ‘spraint’, are the most commonly spotted clue to their presence.

  

Autumn

 

In autumn, the reeds turn from a vibrant lush green to yellowing brown. Groups of goldfinches can be seen flitting around the reserve and are particularly visible along Perry Lane, using their long beaks to extract seeds from the teasels. Autumn is another extremely active season at Newport Wetlands, as migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay. Curlews, redshanks, dunlins and oystercatchers feed on the estuary at low tide using their long, pointy beaks to sift through the nutritious mud for worms and grubs.

  

Winter

 

The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience. From October onwards, large groups of starlings gather at dusk in great black clouds. At its peak, around 50,000 birds swoop and soar overhead, chattering noisily. After a breathtaking display, the birds drop dramatically into the reedbeds where they settle for the night. Another winter treat at Newport Wetlands is a single bittern, which has been seen here most winters since 2001. Bitterns are rare and extremely secretive, moving silently through the reeds looking for fish. Parts of the reserve provide a winter home for nationally important numbers of black-tailed godwits, shovelers and dunlins.

  

Facilities

  

Information centre

 

Car park

 

Toilets

 

Disabled toilets

 

Baby-changing facilities

 

Group bookings accepted

 

Guided walks available

 

Good for walking

 

Pushchair friendly

 

Viewing points

 

Viewing screens are available.

  

Nature trails

 

There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with easy accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  

Tearoom

 

Coffee shop serving triple-certified organic Fairtrade coffee, fairtrade tea, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and a selection of organic cold drinks, sandwiches, baguettes, locally-produced cakes and cookies.

 

Refreshments available

 

Hot drinks

 

Cold drinks

 

Snacks

 

Confectionery

  

Shop

 

A retail outlet for all your bird food and bird care accessories with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and children's items.

  

The shop stocks:

 

Binoculars and telescopes

 

Bird food

 

Bird feeders

 

Gifts

  

Cafe

 

Our cafe in the visitor centre has large, panoramic windows overlooking the reserve and surrounding countryside. There is a large outdoor decking area providing additional seating with the same relaxing views. We provide organic Fairtrade tea and hot chocolate, and locally-produced cakes and ice cream.

 

We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It's Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!

 

We are proud to hold a Level 5 Food Hygiene rating enabling our customers to have full confidence in the food and service that we provide.

  

Opening hours

 

10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)

  

Highlights from our menu

 

Triple-certified coffee including cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, all freshly-made

We are known for our Bara Brith, Welsh cakes and hot toasted teacakes

From autumn through to spring we sell steaming tasty soups which are gluten-free

We provide a variety of sandwiches and rolls made with bread from a family baker

Pole-and-line-caught skipjack tuna is used to fill delicious sandwiches or rolls

Good variety of sandwiches and cakes. Coffee excellent

  

Access to the cafe

 

The coffee shop is in the visitor centre which has wheelchair-friendly ramps into the centre and out onto the reserve.

  

Children welcome

 

There are highchairs for babies and toddlers. We provide children's lunchboxes containing a sandwich, two-finger Kitkat, apple or orange juice and a choice of wildlife face mask.

  

We use local ingredients

 

We use Welsh meats, cheeses and free-range organic eggs.

  

Dietary requirements

 

We sell vegetarian and vegan food, some wheat-free snacks and soup, and some organic food.

  

Accessibility

 

8 August 2013

 

This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.

 

Before you visit

 

Clear print site leaflet available from reception

 

Visitor Centre open 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas Day. coffee shop open 10 am to 4 pm

 

Entry to the reserve is free of charge

 

Car park open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily

 

Three mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available to hire out free of charge. Telephone for details

 

Registered assistance dogs welcome (please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of registration)

 

A dog walking route map is available from the visitor centre. Tethering rings and drinking bowl at the visitor centre entrance

 

Check events and activities for accessibility,

  

How to get here

 

Newport Railway Station (5 miles/8 km). Taxis usually available

 

Bus stop in the reserve car park, Number 63

  

Car parking

 

Free parking, 180 m/197 yds from the visitor centre

10 blue badge spaces

85 parking spaces

Drop-off at visitor centre arranged by telephone 01633 636363

Tarmac surface, path to visitor centre compacted limestone chippings and dust

  

Visitor centre and shop

 

Entrance by wooden walkway with a maximum gradient of 1:40. Manually operated doors. Non-slip tiled surface. Low section on service counter. Hearing loop system is installed at the service counter and in the education rooms. Good natural and artificial lighting. Staff can give assistance and read out any literature if required. Binoculars are available for hire (£3.50 for the day).

  

Nature trails

 

Four main trails. All level on compacted with one incline using a zig-zag. Floating walkways have been used by wheelchairs, scooters and pushchairs but caution should be taken due to buoyancy.

  

Viewing facilities

 

Natural viewing opportunities throughout the reserve. A wheelchair accessible viewing screens overlooking the reedbeds.

  

Toilets

 

Unisex accessible toilet along with separate ladies and gents available on ground floor of Visitor Centre. Level step free access. Baby changing table and a second baby facility in ladies toilets.

  

Catering

 

Step-free level access. Outside deck viewing area. Tables are well spaced apart. Good natural and overhead lighting. Non slip tiles. Accessible WC in the visitor centre.

  

Shop

 

Shop is located in the visitor centre. Level entry step free with no doors. There is step free, level access throughout. Non-slip tiled surface. Ample room. Well lit with daylight and fluorescent lighting. Promotional video usually playing with subtitles. Staff can provide assistance.

  

Classrooms

 

Two classrooms available as one room if required. Step-free, level access throughout. Non-slip flooring. Artificial even lighting. Portable hearing loop system available. Two raised ponds nearby.

  

Picnic area

 

Four picnic tables with wheelchair access outside visitor centre. Visitors free to bring their own refreshments for picnics.

 

Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.

  

For more information

 

Newport Wetlands

 

E-mail: newport-wetlands@rspb.org.uk

 

Telephone:01633 636363

  

How to get here

 

By bicycle (Sustrans cycle route)

 

Sustrans National Cycle Network route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using existing roads. The car park has a covered cycle stand. Please note that cycling on the reserve is restricted to a designated route.

  

By train

 

The nearest railway station is Newport - which is five miles from the reserve. There is a taxi rank at the station and Newport bus station is just a few minutes walk away. For train times to and from Newport visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or telephone 08457 484950.

  

By bus

 

From the Kingsway Bus Station in Newport, the Number 63 bus leaves at 7.30 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.50 pm and 6 pm and stops at the bus stop in the reserve car park. Alternatively, contact Newport Bus 01633 670563.

  

By road

 

Join the A48 at either junction 24 or 28 of the M4. Follow the A48 until you come to the Spytty Retail Park roundabout. Exit onto the A4810 Queensway Meadows. At the first roundabout take the third exit onto Meadows Road and follow the brown tourist signs to the reserve.

  

Our partners

 

The Newport Wetlands project is funded by the European Union's Objective Two programme supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and secured via the Newport European Partnership, Newport City Council's allocation of the Welsh Assembly Government's Local Regeneration Fund, Newport City Council's Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the Environment Agency Wales and Visit Wales – the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

 

Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB would like to thank the communities of Newport and the volunteers who have supported Newport Wetlands.

  

Newport Wetlands Conference and Meeting Rooms

  

Set in the tranquil surroundings of a peaceful nature reserve, our excellent conference facilities offer a superb location for a great getaway from the office and provide a wonderful setting for a variety of corporate events. You will receive a warm welcome from the staff at the Visitor Centre, providing a professional and efficient service.

 

We can provide facilities for the following

 

Conferences

 

Board Meetings

 

Seminars

 

Training Courses

 

Presentations

  

Away days

 

Rooms can be arranged in boardroom, theatre style or in any other format to suit your event. We also have a range of equipment for hire including a digital projector and smart board facilities.

 

Your booking fee includes free car parking, access to the Reserve as well as the Visitor Centre, Shop and Café. The Reserve comprises of a series of lagoons and reed beds from reclaimed industrial land, which is now home to a wealth of wildlife.

 

A tour of the Reserve can be arranged as an unusual and revitalising break during a meeting or away day.

  

Catering

 

Fairtrade coffee and tea, biscuits or homemade cakes can be served throughout the day, and we can provide a freshly prepared buffet to suit your dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Buffets include a selection of classic sandwiches, a selection of savoury items, fresh fruit and a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes.

 

Alternatively, delegates can stroll across to the café themselves and appreciate inspirational views of the reserve from the veranda.

  

The Lakeside Suite

 

A purpose built meeting room, which caters for 12 people boardroom style or 25 people theatre style.

  

The Education Facilities

 

Set in a tranquil environment, overlooking the waters edge the Education Rooms offers the perfect environment for larger events and conferences. The room can be organised in various styles and caters for up to 80 people theatre style.

 

For more information or to make a provisional booking, please contact Adrianne Jones using the details below.

 

For more information

 

Adrianne Jones

Centre Co-ordinator

E-mail: adrianne.jones@rspb.org.uk

Telephone:01633 636355

NEW RELEASE @ Pure Poison FASHION

- Group - New Offers!

Pure Poison will release new item every Friday and we have a special discount program for our members, such as:

 

-> Group members will receive 50% off for one specific color of the new release and 20% off for the other available colors. We will announce which one of specific color every friday!

Check for Group vendor ( highlighted in red) near the normal vendors.

 

-> We will also have a lucky draw program for our monthly customers and group members. The monthly prizes will now be:

1st winner - 6000L - Gift Card

2nd winner - 3000L - Gift Card

3rd winner - 1000L - Gift Card

 

With this new offer, we have increased the join fee for Pure Poison group to 500L. This group fee change will not effect the existing members.

 

Enjoy!

The new race:

 

I've owned a7II, a7R, a7,A6000,A6300,NEX5n, NEX6,NEX7, A100, A350, A700,A99V and A900.You may not easily find a bigger Sony camera supporter than me.....So I am obviously not an anit-Sony or mirrorless kind of person. I think I was one of the very first Emount adapters in the world, and I have probably spent more money than most of just temporarily moved to Sony because of the A7RMK2 kind of guys out there. But I am realistic and know the Sony system is still incomplete, on many levels it is not comparable to Nikon and Canon D-SLR systems and even not comparable to Sony's own A mount system just yet.Yes, the EMount cameras produce great images in right conditions.But they have ignored maybe minor but actually very important subtle evolutions that larger cameras earned through decades of camera companies listening to their customers, including pros.

 

Please do not be overly defensive about Sony, and definitely not deny or ignore the facts, ignoring or denying it,or overly defending Sony just spoils Sony and stops the potentially the most interesting and advanced arguably almost universal mount system from fully developing its full potential. I honestly believe the E mount is an almost universal hybrid mount system that might replace all of the current camera mount systems to make it just simple one mount if Sony listens to its customer base..

The EMount system would be better for everyone if Sony listened to a few annoyingly loud but honest professionals like Ming, Thom and Michael,who raise valid issues/points. No one will be hurt if Sony engineers understand it some subtle nuances that many photographers have actually relied on for decades for their real life work projects in the filed, and only way for Sony engineers to be able to get it correctly is to listen to likes of Ming or Thom or like that even if they are not Sony fan. Only listening to likes of Michael Reichemann,who seldom criticize about Sony or any camera, just spoil the E mount and stop it from fully development.

Some of us are really crippled by Sony ignoring these minor but important features.

Face it and see the reality, Sony is not listening, but rather mean to its user base.

Try not to express strong opinion on Sony or Mirrorless l keep that to myself and just write about the facts of the current state of the E mount system and its main issues in real life use:

 

1>Even the most avid Sony enthusiast has to admit that Sony really screws their customers over with a new model in every few months

far as depreciation. This is as opposed to Canon, say the 5D3

loosing 2/3rds of an A7 resale value in 14 months is just hard to stomach. Ming is right that wait a year for the R3 and the R2 will be way way down probably 1200-1500 used. And even now, at least in Japanese market there a quite few used A7RMK2 floating around the internet.

thats a tough bite in a year for all but the professionals. wait 2 years, and its likely under a grand...and there is no serious FW update to any of the original A7X cameras,I mean there were a few FW updates but they were all minor bug fixes not like Samsung adding many super new features to its NX1 every time Samsung updates it.

 

I think this is a very important point, and I think this actually hurts Sony not helps in the long run since this really scares those who buy the"system" rather than just a body kind of guys away from the E mount system, and those buying into the system not a camera actually spend much more money in the long run for Sony. I still have the original A7, along with the a7R, A7M2 and A6000 just because it is almost impossible to sell my A7 without losing too much money, and sheer IQ wise, none of newer A7X cameras is a huge upgrade to my ancient A7 and A7R(I know in a lab they are much better tested,but I mean in real life)

I actually have NEX5n andNEX6 too, although I haven't even touched them for a couple of years or so.

I tried to sell my NEX6 and NEX5n,which I hate but I could not get any significant money for them,so I just kept it for days I would have to shoot in intense rain, or in risky or dangerous places.

I know the a7M3 is coming very soon, and I'm already preparing for it, but I have feeling that I might just avoid it even if it is a great camera, I just hate Sony keeps depreciating every single body it releases in a matter of a few months, most of Sony cameras do not even have a couple of years of life even the expensive A7RM2 will have just a year of life, it is really silly.

2>The widely reported promise of adapted lenses working as well as their native mounts is a big marketing lie. In reality even with Sony's own LAEA 1, 3, 4 adapters, AF-C is incompatible with Continuous High bust mode. Must use Cont Low at 2fps, and it's about as accurate as an old Sony A100 focus system. Also, no Sony/Minolta tele-converters are compatible. It is not a replacement for DLSR or SLT tracking. I'd be interested to know if Canon teleconverters work with Metabones adapter,though. Yes native EMount lenses focus better. But the selection doesn't present itself as a full DSLR replacement. Where is SEL70-400 mm SSM?

3>In my rent studio shoot comparison, two A7M2 with the external battery grip got 710 shots writing RAW only. One D750 without the external battery grip got 1560 writing RAW+JPG on two cards. The A7M2 required computer/hard drive backing up, lens adapter, battery grip, making it the larger system to carry around than any Nikon or Canon or even Sony's own A mount camera such as the A99V,which I had a year ago.

And even more serious problem for studio shooting is the external vertical grip with two batteries will not transfer power to second battery when tethering. Sony Remote Camera Control software shuts down with low battery warning at 20% left on battery one. Will not clear until first battery replaced, regardless if second battery is present. Second batt is useless in tethering mode.Less power, less shots, more tether software startups. Same thing happens when installing software from Play Memories App Store. a99/900 transfer VG battery power smoothly for tethering.

So,Sony can actually do proper tethering for the A, but for E mount system Sony chooses not to do it properly, this is extremely odd to me.

4>EMount really complicates its AF usability with at least minimum two button push for AF selector points. No diagonal scrolling available to get there faster,... the same usability issue for magnifier and playback for manual focus. Two hurdles which make it slower than regular DLSR joystick instant control with horizontal scrolling for AF selector, magnifier, and magnified playback viewing.

For small bodies like the A7X, there may be no space for the simple joystick UI of the DSLRs, but at least Sony can put some sort of touch-AF feature in the A7X.

It is a big mystery to me that Sony always refuses to put touch screen UI in the A7X and A99X cameras.

As Tony Northrup says, touch screen U.I is really practical,especially for small cameras.

As an Olympus and Panasonic user, I know this very well.

I think every EVF camera needs touch AF feature and even better touch pad featre of the latest Olympus EM10M2.

5>The dumb metal thumb bracket accessory for RX1 has a lock for so-called muti interface shoe fit... but the flash adapters and microphones of any Sony A7X don't have any locks. Should that be the other way around? CaNikon have full metal locking sleds on their flashes, yet Sony has four plastic toes... not even full sleds.

It may get some unwanted water or any kind of liquid in side of the main board of the camera. So I taped it with some vinyl tape.

6>Sony actually fixed the plastic lens mount flexing with a A7m2 and R2, but never actually bother to recall the A7R and A7 to fix that issue. Even worse when it used with lens adapters, the mounting points are doubled, causing rotational wobbles when the bigger lenses are zoomed, even the size of my relatively small SAL 85 mm f1.4 ZA.. and, the adapters the only way for any A7X to use any f 2.8 zoom or f1.2 prime, that is really annoying.

7> there are many features that would cost nothing to implement and are clearly better in pro cameras but Sony tends to ignore those,as far as I remember Sony seldom adds new features with FW updates, but forces us to buy a new minor update or even worse just some annoying usability issue fixed model like the A6000 or the A7M2. All Sony cameras are not weather sealed, I think neither are all Sony lenses. I am sure assemblance of real water resistance isn't that expensive as the myriad of inexpensive water resistant consumer products proves these days. A hot shoe lock is simple and effective. Why would Sony decide their cameras shouldn't have one? What possible advantage is there eliminating it? Speaking of flash, why can't Sony implement real slow sync fill flash or real ring flash for proper macro shooting? It is beyond my understanding, and really shocks me how careless some of so-called pro camera designers are, I am sure they are not ignorant or obtuse people but careless, choose not to listen to the real user base. This kind of arrogance is always found anything Asian electronics company produce, they do not listen because of their silly egoistic pride, especially Japanese.

 

10> Sony cameras may switch raw bit rate to 12-bit output,which actually has about 11.9 bit of info to deal with, in a few specific shooting modes;in continuous, in bulb mode, and I think also in silent shutter mode..Actually,this really odd phenomenon/behavior of the A7X cameras is much more annoying and a serious issue than the lossy compressed 11-7 RAW that always criticized by likes of Loyd Chamber, Thom Hogan, and Ken Rockwell,because the sudden bit change in silent, continuous,bracketing and bulb modes may actually cause visible compression artifacts. The 11-7 raw compression actually does not cause any visible artifact except in extremely harsh bright high contrasty scene or super long exposure image.

 

In addition:

 

•Rear dial is horrible. Cheap and fiddly.

•Sony's menu system is confusing. Things are not grouped logically even for a guy like me having used almost every single Sony camera since about 2006.

•Shutter button is mushy, and makes the shooting experience feel slightly laggy, sometimes even slow.

•Startup is inconsistent. Sometimes it is almost instant, but most times, it takes a few seconds to get going, especially once it goes sleep or needs to format the card.

•Back button focus is very poor, because the button around the AEL switch is small and fiddly, even for my relatively small hands it is too small and awkward to navigate..

•Flash system is limited compared to Canon/Nikon, and it feels old dated without proper radio control mode.

To me, the slow formatting time is a really annoying problem, and Sony cameras cannot share the same card with some other brands cameras in a shooting session. It is really annoying for a person like me who shoot many brands camera systems at once.

Last week I was shooting macro with my Olympus EM5M2 and Sony A7 and A7M2(my A7R and A6000 are at Sony for sensor replacement service), I tried to use the card I was using in the Olympus in my Sony, my Sony A7,A7M2 and NEX5n rejected the card with saying something like this card needs to be re-formatted since it has corrupted files.

I put it back into my EM5M2, it then worked properly and properly read at least jpeg files although they were not Olympus but Sony files.

I found all other manufacture cameras can share one SD cards for one shooting session if forced to, but Sony, Sony cameras require dedicated cards that are formatted in the PC or Sony cameras.

This is really really annoying, sometimes SD cards used in the Sony become full, and sometimes take out the card from my Oly or Nikon and use it in my Sony, then Sony tries to format it every time. This never happens in other brand cameras, so the cards can be shared between Canon, Nikon and Olympus safely without any issue, but need some dedicated cards for Sony.

And, I do not know what my A7,A7M2,A6000 and A7R doing but every time I try to format a card in them, they take a several minutes or at least a couple of minutes to do it. Because of this I've missed a several shooting opportunities in last week.

 

I, like Michael and Kevin,see real advantages to many features in the A7 series and other mirrorless cameras vs. DSLR's. And I strongly believe EVF is the future, and that is the main reason why I use Sony and Olympus.I would have totally adopted them by now and sold all my DSLR gear if it weren't for the above mentioned idiocracies in design.

As I wrote above,proper weather sealing is quite cheap to apply these days, but Sony refuses to use it even for the flagship A7RMK2 that costs about 2 times more than the Nikon's real pro camera D810 in its home market Japan. Again, it is really beyond my comprehension, and quite stupid. If Sony listens to its users and fix all above issues, I am sure they will outsell Nikon, maybe not Canon, but at least beat Nikon.

All my Nikon cameras are sealed, and I think some of my Canons are too, If Nikon and Canon had it covered , professionals or any one shooting in harsh environment would not deal with the idiosyncrasies and broken U.I of Sony cameras to use them even if they actually prefer the EVF and mirrorless design of Sony.

 

I think It will be the new race contest.Will Sony actually listen to its user to fix its terribly awkward UI, general usability of the E system first, or will CaNikon loosen their silly pride guard down to answer to Sony with some more sophisticated true pro grade mirrorless camera first.

  

UPDATE:Another serious issue all the camera makers will have to face but I did not really realize before is that all ILC cameras are big to most of NORMAL non-photographer people, and they are very intimidating to most of NORMAL people(I mean regardless of mount type or sensor type).

I never realized it before but while walking around down town Fukuoka with one of my long time friends here forced me to understand it. A friend of mine told me that he thinks all interchangeable lens cameras are huge and intimidating to most of average people regardless of sensor size or format, it's just simply annoying!

I guess a big lens scares or annoys people more than a big body......I never saw it his way but I got his point and I decided to carry my tiny Canon G5X when I just walk around the city area with other people. If I am alone shooting something, then I usually carry my big camera, and I think it does not matter it's a m43, a FF, an APS-C, it is all big to most of NORMAL people, anyway.

Then why not just go all the way up to FF or MFDB, or at least APS-C?

 

So maybe the one really doomed is not Nikon F or Pentax K or Sony A but m43?

Nikon and Pentax have historically had very enthusiastic and even fanatic core shooters and they are usually too old to adapt themselves fast to new EVF based gear even if they understand it is the more logical thing for them as they are aged. So D-SLRs may survive as antique cameras, but m43 or Nikon One?

  

UPDATE 2 : There are many articles that explain about A mount license contract here in Japan.

It seems to be the type of odd contract is the reason why Sony has not really serious about the A mount development any more.

Many dealers here already reported Sony has already finished the A99V successor, but the management still want to hold on the announcement.

The problems are:

1 Sony has to pay license fee to Konika Minolta.

2 All Sony G and GM lenses are Konika Minolta designs and they want to or already raise design and production fee.

3 Technically, the A mount license is still owned by KM not by Sony.

4 if Sony quits the A mount business or quits supporting the mount, KM will charge 5 years of the annual license fee for it.

So even if the A99 successor sales really well, it may not be a very profitable product for Sony, and therefore, they want to be careful about it. Also, they have to calculate the risk of quitting it. Even if Sony has to pay 5 years of annual license fee to KM, it is still better terminate the A mount business.

It is again all about politics nothing else.

Many forum people tend to think Sony has bought KM business, but it is not that simple. It looks like much more complicated legal issues there. If you check the biggest customers list for KM optical business, Sony has always been listed there. And it looks like KM is charging quite significant amount of money annually for the A mount license.

  

Update3:now, I think FF mirrorless is, like self-driving car, it is the future, definitely, but not really mature enough to be practical for many real life tasks, and they are both still immensely overpriced just because newer tech relatively to their older more practical rivals.

The Sony a7R2 should be cheaper than the D810 considering it does not have the complex mirror and proper weather sealings on the shutter. The X-T2 should be as cheap as the D7200 or the 80D. The A6300 should be as cheap as its predecessor(about 650US), no more than that, it is a great camera but still not able to shoot from a fast running car or train like the 7DMK2 or the D500, and so if you were a paparazzi or anything like that, you would not choose the A6300 as your main camera.

When I wrote my previous A6300 vs D500 hands-on experience,I was very very impressed with the A6300 AF, especially with the FE55mm f1.8Z. But now I am sure if my work is completely relying on the best AF in the game, I'd definitely choose the D500, not the A6300, which could not focus well on a super fast moving thing from a fast running train or a car unless the light level is perfectly ideal.

In last week,I tried to shoot street snaps from a fast running super express train with my A6300, A7M2 and A7R2, none of my Sonys could focus on anything moving from a 300km/h fast running train, I was really glad I also brought my D750 with me for my last short train trip.

Like Thom Hogan said, the Sony Alpha E mount cameras are too slow for anything moving fast, I mean their single AF speed is very fast, but it cannot track fast, especially when the light level is not really ideal.

Plus, the general operation speed of the Sony is just painfully slow, even the most expensive A7SMK2 is very slow. I mean it takes about 30 seconds to format a card, about 5 seconds or more to wake up from a long sleep, etc, and is too slow for anything unpredictably moving or decisive once a life time kind of shot. Another big issue of the Sony FE system is terribly short battery life. I know if I bring this up, many Sony fans would tell me after adding a couple of extra batteries it is still lighter than any of Nikon Canon FF D-SLRs. Maybe so, but the real issue here is because we need to change the battery almost every couple of hours, we would miss many decisive moments, and it is really annoying.

 

Now, it is obvious this is the most difficult time to spend some serious amount of money into any of these already existing camera system since they all suck in some ways and all the camera companies are too arrogant or stupid to listen to the actual users.

 

The FE50mm f1.4Z is an amazing lens that may change the direction of the entire industry but it is a huge lens, honestly, if I knew where Sony were heading to at very first place in 2013, I would not have spent this much money into Sony FE system......I wanted it to be small, light and simple, but now it is a big, heavy, expensive and very complex system.

Really, why every new lens must be AF and this huge is beyond me. It is just making the system impractical with the terribly oversized lenses. I have never seen any 50 this big(except my Otus 55 and the old Sigma Art I hated both of those huge 50 primes), seriously it is as big as the 85mm f1.4 GM and is an ugly looking lens, too.

Sony should not try a D-SLR replacement system with the A7 system, but a great RangeFinder replacement system.

Hope they wake up soon.