Tynan http://tynan.com Life Outside the Box en-us Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:52:18 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Rolexes: Why They're Awesome and How to Get Them Dirty Cheap http://tynan.com/community/buyrolex SHORT VERSION: Here is a link to my saved search on eBay that shows cheap Rolexes that are probably worth buying. Read on to see why. A month ago or so I wrote a post called, No One Cares if you Buy a Rolex. If you didn't read it and don't feel like doing any link-clicki]]>

SHORT VERSION: Here is a link to my saved search on eBay that shows cheap Rolexes that are probably worth buying. Read on to see why.

A month ago or so I wrote a post called, No One Cares if you Buy a Rolex. If you didn't read it and don't feel like doing any link-clicking, the gist of it was that when I was younger I bought a Rolex, assuming that people would be really impressed, but in the end no one noticed or cared. You can't buy your way into being interesting.

Ironically, in writing that post, I remembered how much I loved my Rolex, despite the fact that no one else cared about it. At the same time, I had stopped really using the advanced features of the Suunto GPS watch that I had, and was thinking about getting some different watch.

Maybe I ought to get a Rolex, I thought...

Getting something as a status symbol is really lame. Although Rolexes are seen as status symbols (again... that's mostly in theory because no one ever notices them), they're also really excellent watches. I don't think most people understand just how good a Rolex really is.

A Rolex (with the exception of a now discontinued line called the Oysterquartz) is a mechanical watch. That means that it doesn't have batteries and doesn't have a quartz crystal. It has a spring that is wound up either by twisting the crown, or by harnessing the energy generated through wrist movement using a rotor. The spring powers one hundred and fifty moving parts to deliver really accurate time (gaining or losing only a few seconds a day).

To be clear, a $9 quartz watch is probably more accurate than a Rolex. But then again, a photograph is more accurate than a Monet. There's something to the art of it-- the fact that these one hundred and fifty moving parts continue to work for years on end, powered only by flicks of the wrist, through conditions as varied as scuba diving hundreds of feet deep in the ocean to climbing mount Everest.

Rolex isn't the only mechanical watch to be able to do this (Omega and Tag Heuer are similar, and I'm sure there are others I don't know about), but they are real pioneers in the field and, in terms of balancing accuracy and reliability, there is no better.

The point of all this is that a Rolex isn't a jewelry watch like a Gucci watch would be. A gucci watch would most likely be a quartz watched stamped with a bunch of logos. If they do have a mechanical watch, it would have been developed by someone else, made in China, and then stamped with logos.

I personally love the idea of a manual watch. To me it's a triumph of humanity that these things exist. I love the idea that such a rugged and precise machine can be built, and that it can fit in my watch, hidden in a tiny case.

The next most interesting thing about a Rolex is that although the price tag is quite high, it could be argued that the cost of owning one is negative. That's because Rolexes tend to appreciate over time, mainly because the style hasn't changed drastically since inception, making a 40 year old watch look roughly new.

I bought my first Rolex in 2001 for $1400. Today it would sell for $1900 if I hadn't lost it. That's not an incredible return, but it's very low risk (insure the watch from theft/loss for $30/year if you want to really make it low risk), and you get to have a cool watch for many years.

Even more interesting is that right now there are insane deals to be had on Rolexes. I actually have three of them right now because I didn't realize how plentiful good deals are, and I kept jumping on deals I thought were 'once-in-a-lifetime' deals. Some examples:

1. I bought a 1991 Air-King for $1250. I thought I was going to keep it, but one week and two Rolexes later, it's going up on eBay. I estimate that it's worth around $1700-2000.

2. I bought a 1980 DateJust for $1700. I should be able to sell this one for $1900-2000, maybe more.

3. I bought and will keep a 1999 DateJust with a diamond dial for $2100. If I wanted to sell it today, I could get around $3000.

If you combine a really good deal with years of modest appreciation, you're looking at buying a really excellent watch and earning 5-10% per year average on the "investment". On the other hand, any cheap watch you buy will tend to lose value over time. I loved my Suunto and got some really good use out of it, but I sold it for about half what I paid for it after a couple years.

Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you to buy a Rolex. I'm just trying to explain what makes them worth having, and will share some tricks to getting them really cheap. My guide to buying a Rolex will focus on the DateJust, which is the classic dress watch (that can still be worn scuba-diving), but most of the tips will work for any model.

The key dates to know for a DateJust are as follows. In 1978 Rolex introduced a "quickset" feature, which makes it much faster to switch the date at the end of a 28-30 day month. My first Rolex was a 1974 and not having quickset wasn't that big of a deal, but it's a nice feature and 1978 is a good starting point.

In the late 80s, Rolex switched the crystal from acrylic to sapphire crystal. Opinion is divided on this, with most collectors and enthusiasts favoring the acrylic crystal. Acrylic definitely looks better and doesn't hold fingerprints as much, but it is easier to scratch. Buffing out scratches with a polishing cloth is pretty easy. Sapphire, on the other hand, is pretty much impossible to scratch. I prefer Sapphire because I tend to do things that risk scratching the watch, but it's a personal choice.

In the mid nineties, the case was switched to a holeless case. This is a very minor difference-- the pins that hold the bracelet onto the watch are hidden. Since then there have been no notable improvements. The quickset movement is called a 3035 and the next evolution, introduced in 199x is called the 3135. Both of them have their strong points and their supporters-- the point is that very little has changed over the years, so you can buy an old Rolex and it's essentially the same as a new Rolex. The 1980 DateJust and the 1999 DateJust I currently have are the exact same color schemes and both keep time with the same level of accuracy. Other than the different crystal, the holeless case of the newer one, and the less worn band of the newer one, they are indistinguishable.

Because you're working with around 20 years of available Rolexes (I've never seen great deals on the newest ones), you will have a LOT of watches to choose from. This means that you can take the approach of lowballing everybody until someone accepts your deal. Given the current economy, pretty much everyone takes your offer. I've really been amazed at how cheaply people are willing to let go of these watches.

The two major places to look are Craigslist and eBay. On Craigslist, just search for Rolex with an upper price of $2500. I wouldn't ever pay more than that. A late 70s watch should go for closer to $1600. Whenever you see a watch, offer a really low price that's $100 more than most people will offer. In other words, offer $2100 instead of $2000, $1600 instead of $1500. I almost got a watch for $1300 just because everyone else was offering $1200, but someone paid his full asking price at the last minute.

Don't get attached to any given watch. in this economy a lot of people are selling their Rolexes, so another one will come up. If you overpay, or fail to get a really good deal, you're largely negating the good-deal benefit of buying a Rolex.

On Craigslist the biggest advantage you can have over other sellers is to be really easy to deal with. Most people on Craigslist are not. My initial email might look something like this:

"Hey, I'm interested in the Rolex you're selling on Craigslist. I don't mean to insult you, but I think the watch is worth about $1600. I know you're asking for more, but if you're interested in that price, I can meet you at your convenience with cash in hand."

The last watch I bought was from a really nice guy who I sent a similar email to. When I bought the watch he thanked me for being so easy to work with and kept saying how glad he was to be done with selling it. Selling on Craigslist is annoying. We both know he could have gotten a bit more money if he held out, but he would have had to meet with a bunch of unreliable people who wouldn't show up with cash, or would try to renegotiate after agreeing on a price. Convenience is worth something.

If you're buying on eBay, you again want to email offers in. Most buy it now prices aren't that great, and auctioned Rolexes, by definiton, go for market price. The ideal watch to offer on is one that's been on eBay for a few days with no bids. At that point the seller might start to wonder if it's going to get bid up or just get sold for his opening price. The Air-King I bought had a starting price of $1000 and no bids. I offered $1250 and he took it. My guess is that if he left it on eBay it would have sold for $1700 or more.

Many sellers will also list buy it now prices that are unrealistic. Email them and offer them much less. I haven't actually bought one this way but I've gotten some really solid counter-offers back.

With eBay sellers you don't really need to worry about fakes. Just look for good feedback, and if it does turn out to be fake, eBay buyer protection will cover you. In person if you don't know what to look for, you might be better off meeting at a watch store, where they can verify that it's real. It's pretty easy if you know what to look for, so they probably won't charge you for the service. If they do, it would be $10-20.

There are two color schemes for the DateJust, stainless steel and 18k gold / stainless two-tone. They are the same price right now because the stainless steel is more in style. However, because the two tone one has a real gold crown and bezel, and also real gold center links in the bracelet, it probably has a higher intrinsic value. If you like that look, I bet it will appreciate more than the stainless one over time. I prefer the stainless look, though, so I've bought only stainless ones other than my first one many years ago.

There are also two ways to make the watch significantly cheaper after buying it. If you're lucky enough to get one that comes with the Rolex boxes, you can sell those for $100-200 on eBay. Resale value isn't really impacted by not having the box (DO keep the certificate if it comes with it, though), so you may as well sell them and take the cash. I got boxes with my 1999 watch, and they're on ebay right now.

You could also consider selling the bracelet of the watch and buying an aftermarket one. An aftermarket bracelet costs $25-75 and is probably better than the one that came with the watch, since the one with the watch will be stretched out a bit from use. The original bracelets go for $300 or so on eBay, which is sort of crazy. The resale value of your watch WILL decrease if it comes with an aftermarket one, but probably not by as much as you gain by selling it.

Using all these tricks, you can easily get a nice Rolex for $1000-1500 that will sell for almost twice as much. There are so many good deals out there that if I wasn't so busy, I would probably start a side business reselling them. Here's an ebay link with the search I use to find Rolexes.

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Wed, 25 Jul 2012 23:03:06 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/buyrolex
How I quit sugar http://tynan.com/community/31224 I decided to quit sugar when I learned that it was the main reason for my acne.  First I experimented with quitting sugar for a week to see if acne would clear, it did.   I have tried limiting my sugar intake before by not buying any sugar products and only eating sugar if it was offered to me for free, but this quickly fell apart because I would be simply too addicted.  So using clear skin as my main motivator and concentrating on that, I decided just to quit once and for all. 
I thought about my highschool english teacher who was allergic to sugar.  I thought about how back then I felt bad for him, but now I wish i was allergic to sugar.  Thats when I had my brilliant idea: why can't I be allergic to sugar.  From that thought on, whenever I came across a situation where I was offered sugar, I would tell them that I was allergic to sugar.  Since these situations came often I pretty much told everyone I was allergic to sugar and couldn't back out without getting caught and looking like liar.  
It worked.  I quit completely and started telling the truth instead: "I was telling people i was allergic in order to quit sugar".  My friends found it humorous that I took such extremes to quit and was shocked that I wanted to.  I no longer needed to lie to them and telling them what I was doing had the same motivational effect as telling them I was allergic since I was already a month in.

A few tips and pointers:

I've found that a good substitute for dessert is an Americano (no sugar added) with a little bit of milk.  The milk helps the bitterness of coffee.  But now I just drink it black and it tastes good. Also, Tim Ferris talks about a method where he binges and then downs a cup of coffee after.  Apparently coffee somehow mitigates bad food.   I have tried it after a sugar binge and found that I did not gain acne the next day.  

Also, think about how much money you save by not eating sugary snacks.  Allow yourself to buy good food from nice restaurants whenever you want from that saved money.  Tell yourself, I can eat gourmet meals now because I don't eat sugar.  

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Wed, 12 Sep 2012 21:17:14 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/31224
70 is not old anymore, you are just lazy..... http://tynan.com/community/11636 Senior citizens get away with murder in this country.  I cant tell you how many so called "seniors" I know that try to pass off their laziness as old age.  Well I have some news for you grandma, 70 IS NOT OLD ANYMORE.

70 is nothing.  If you train hard you should hardly be much weaker or much slower than you were in your 30's. I see people everyday in their early 30's and even late 60's hobbling around like their life is about to end.  That is BULLSHIT.  There is no reason to let yourself deteriorate like that, you should be exercising until you are completely physically unable.  And how about some Pride?

I compete in sports on a regular bias, and age doesn't mean anything.  I get beat in races by 70 year old men and women all the time.  My father gets beat in tennis by men near 80 and he is only 65.  Until the very end you should be able to walk up stairs, shovel snow, bend down, and get off the couch unassisted.

Now before you call me a jerk, I am not talking about people who are LEGITIMATELY old.  Or people with terminal illnesses or disabilities.  80 is old.  80 is the new 70, and in 20 years 90 will be the new 80.

Its amazing but the life expectancy in 1900 was around 50 years old. 

When I retire hopefully at 62 I plan on walking outside my building, and ripping off my shirt like the incredible hulk.  I will be tan, cut, and my 32 year old girlfriend will pick me up on her motorcycle.

So lets get motivated!  You already destroyed social security for my generation, you blew up the housing market, and you are sucking up all the health care.  Most gyms give seniors discounts, and the park is free. 

Jack Lalanne was my hero, and this is for you Jack. RIP

Power out!


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Wed, 25 Apr 2012 01:49:44 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/11636
Great Read: Work out, lose weight, and stop being single http://tynan.com/community/50421 As some of you may know, Captain Power, a member of Sett, currently published a book. I am writing this because I got it on kindle a few days ago and just read it today. 

It is an awesome book - once I started it I did not stop until I was completely through a couple hours later. It is a biography of sorts, split up into very small chapters that almost all deal with bodybuilding or "game." The genius of the book is that all of these mini-stories also teaches a core concept - whether it is a weight loss tactic or a brilliant way to tease a girl. 

These are also the reason the book is so addicting - once you read the first one, you cannot help but devour the next one, and so on. And if that wasn't enough to keep me chugging along, he strings a narrative of how he seduced a billionaire's wife throughout the book, before revealing how it all went down at the end.

Anyway, great read. Self improvement principles strung together in a very entertaining way. I recommend you guys check it out -  it is only $3 on Amazon.

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Fri, 08 Mar 2013 01:48:38 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/50421
Best Travel Deal Websites http://tynan.com/community/44158 Since many of us are interested in traveling, I thought it would be a great idea to start a thread about the best travel deal sites. Here are my favorites so far.

Holiday Pirates - this blog regularly posts great travel deals from most big European cities. Some of the recent deals include 300 EUR roundtrip flights from Europe to NYC, and 358 GBP flights from UK to Zimbabwe, Sudan or Ethiopia. This is an awesome resource for all European travelers.

Kayak - most people probably know this already. It's a great tool for finding flights and hotels, especially if you're traveling from or within the US.

SkyScanner - this site is great for comparing flight prices from different travel agencies. I've been able to find better prices than on Kayak or other American sites for flights departing from Europe.

FlightFox - this is a crowdsourcing site in which other people compete to find the best possible fares for your flights. I've never used it myself, but it could be very useful if you have a complicated itinerary. Those of you who are travel veterans could probably make some money there.

What are your favorite travel deal websites? 

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Thu, 14 Feb 2013 21:15:50 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/44158
Rialta (or similar) owners roll call. Unite and post a pic http://tynan.com/community/40135 I've caught at least 3 new people in the forum this year claiming to have a Rialta, so I wanted a headcount to connect faces to names and share experiences. Here's a photo album of my build: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100818256773744.3282966.8329234&type=1&l=2aa5d7cf57

Current known owners to be updated: Me, Tynan, Brian, Paul Newcomb? (unconfirmed), Joe in Portland, Hysul (08 Coachman Freedom Express), Shacky (2009 Rialta), Robert Crouse (www.cccgis.com/Rialta.htm), Jason Martin ('95 FD), Dave Rickey (5000BTU AC and high-power antennas), Chuck in Austin ('95), Josh ('96), Mark ('97), John Donna ('96?)

Former R.I.P. owners: Austin Y., Tommy N., Peter Parker

bonus pic on how I fixed the shoddy drawers:

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Thu, 27 Dec 2012 22:54:09 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/40135
Options for PayPal? http://tynan.com/community/1057740 I have been thinking about possibly purchasing a 'hobbyist' membership, but PayPal isn't an option. Will this be changed? Im juggling between Sett, Medium and Ghost - not sure which I'll stick with, but if I am unable to pay via PayPal then I will have to stick to a free account.

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Thu, 11 Dec 2014 01:20:51 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/1057740
Rialta updates: 1740W array, air conditioner, waterless "composting" toilet, and hydraulic supermoto hauler http://tynan.com/community/1210653 I realize the community forums aren't very active and a several Rialta folks are moving on to other living arrangements, but surely someone will find this helpful. On the topic of summer heat, I realize I could’ve rel]]>

I realize the community forums aren't very active and a several Rialta folks are moving on to other living arrangements, but surely someone will find this helpful. On the topic of summer heat, I realize I could’ve relocated to another climate, but I love the community in Austin and decided to put my time, money, and energy into improving my living space over relocation costs plus building a new community elsewhere. Big ups out to Dave R. for proving the possibilities of solar-powered air-conditioning, out to J. Donna for all the enthusiasm, help, friendship, free tow, and new tires, and of course out to Tynan for sharing all kinds of fantastic hacks and leading us to RV life. Tynan, I don’t know where I’d be without a marine fridge, great find!

PM me for an album of the build

Yes, the new array reliably runs both runs the 5kbtu air conditioner and charges my batteries simultaneously from 10AM-5PM. I only having 4 golf cart batteries, so I usually shut off the A.C. after 5pm because my panels are permanently mounted flat (not tiltable towards a sunset) and I simply don't have the battery capacity to run it at night. Yamaha's 1000W ultra quiet generator runs up to 9-10 hours per gallon, so that's a likely upgrade I'll add in the old generator compartment to run it at night, though I really wish it had an electric start so it can be programmed to come on only when needed (anyone know of a similar 1000W high-efficiency, ultra-quiet, electric-start model or a hack to modify the Yamaha?). The four SunPower 435W panels are 20% efficient and outperformed my expectations (in clear direct sunlight, two panels can often put out over 600W and I’ve seen them peak over 700W!) causing me to add an additional MidNite Classic 150 charge controller (which do need networked to each other btw, otherwise they get confused when trying to change charge stages). Though the controller is $620, it was still more cost efficient for me over wiring the bank to 24V, then adding a big (big to start generator occasionally, otherwise 12V loads are relatively small) 24V-12V step-down converter, 2kW 24V pure sine inverter, and a 120VAC->24VDC charger for emergencies. Keeping the bank at 12V allows me to still use the van's alternator to charge the bank in an emergency, which I've had to do once when it was left in a shop unexposed to sun for a week for maintenance and I forgot to turn off the marine fridge, otherwise the solenoid is always disconnected. I found the new panels for $300 each a couple hours away on Craigslist and knew this was my best shot at an air-conditioned summer. Austin, Texas has had a abnormally mild & rainy summer so far, so it hasn't been tested in 100F heat yet; I really need to add a heavy insulation blanket between the van & coach, as well as insulating the bubble skylight. I did already add insulation to most of the non-moving upper sections of the cabin windows plus the entire rear window; naturally it's coldest on the bed. Currently in the central desk/kitchen area, it’s really never cold, just cool enough to not drown in sweat, and I do run two directional fans inside 24/7 (not the roof vent fan while A.C. is on obviously). Sealing up door gaskets and vents could help too. I’ll also note that the microwave and stock electric water heater are used regularly too, but never all at the same time (I have a Prowatt 2000 inverter wired into the breaker panel). Not pictured in the photo album is the hole cut in shelf where the intake ducting is ported into the air conditioner's enclosure.

The lightly used digitally-controlled 5kbtu A.C. is rated at 490W, but it actually draws 700W running all day on any given unlevel street. I may test others to see if I have a lemon, but in reality, a couple hundred watts saved might only allow me to run it an extra half hour per day. Anyone out there know if this is a common problem? Ultimately, I’d try a 20+SEER 9kbtu mini-split A.C. with heat pump, but that’s a lot more money.

Yes, it's way over the weight capacity, especially with the 290lb WR250X plus maybe 70 lbs of steel in the hydraulic hauler; no problems so far and I’m impressed with the heavy duty rear leaf springs even without the (leaking) airbags. I baby the Rialta when driving and go slow over bumps and entrances. Like everything else, the hauler is custom built, but it operates similarly to Ultimate MX Hauler. The WR250X has a 6-speed transmission, fuel injection, a dual sport motor (not a high-maintenance racing engine), and is one of the lightest bikes I could find that had those features that can still do highway speeds. With basic upgrades, it can cruise at 90mph and get 60mpg. It's not the devilish V4 VFR I desperately miss, but it's more practical and makes parking the RV much easier without the old swivel-wheel hauler.

The waterless “composting” toilet works great and truly does not stink, only when urine isn't drained for a several days or some diarrhea nastiness is happening. I built it to save water, save trips to a dump site, and to solve the smell of my old toilet. I built it rather than buying the Nature’s Head model because I have a hard time believing that N.H. owners effortlessly aim poo through the small (3”?) diameter shoot and never have to clean poo-skids, and I wasn’t keen on paying $1000 to find out for myself. Solids are mixed with cedar or pine shavings that I get for free (anything like sawdust or coco coir would work fine too). No agitator is used; solids and shavings are deposited in a grocery bag that lines the bucket, which is simply tied and tossed when full. The urine is stealthily dumped in unoccupied areas with a valve from the 2.5 gallon container to the ground behind the curbside rear tire (just like the shower). I had to run a separate line for each the shower and urinal (not shown in the pictures). For extra measure, I do hit everything with Lysol after each use and dump bleach in the urinal periodically.

I may try to link my black and grey tanks together in the future since the black isn't being used. Anyone have tips for that? Relatively harmless grey water is simply dumped in appropriate, convenient, and unoccupied areas instead of paying dump sites, and I turned the dump outlet to face the curb so it doesn't spew out towards me.

Other mods I may look into include a Chilipad electric cooling & heating pad for the bed. My old Wave 3 heater wasn’t enough for my liking, so I traded it up for a vent-free blue flame convection heater (non-directional) with a digital thermostat and fan; though now, I may be able to run a small electric heater during winter days depending on sunlight. Any other ideas for using excess electricity? Hah, how many hours might a Bitcoin miner operate before it pays for itself? The idea of running a dehumidifier to fill the fresh tank would be awesome; the water would need filtered I imagine; please share any other thoughts. Hah, if the “HHO” electrolysis voodoo actually worked, I could maybe create my some engine fuel :-P I’ll likely be installing a subwoofer and a couple exterior speakers before long.

I'm open to any questions & comments; give me a shout if you’re ever through Austin. I’m fairly confident I own the world’s most powerful array ever installed atop a Class B, maybe even a Class C; it’s a bit silly I know, the big investment to run an air conditioner for 7 hrs/day, but I was able & excited and have fun with the experiment. Hopefully solar technology, advanced supercapacitors, lithium & aluminum-carbon batteries, and high-SEER mini-splits will all become more affordable in the coming years to expand HVAC possibilities. Also, let's hope that MIT personal climate control wristband device can work some real magic too.

Questions for you:
- Know of a similar 1000W high-efficiency, ultra-quiet, electric-start generator or a hack to modify the Yamaha to e-start?
- Do window air conditioners normally draw significantly more power than they’re rated for? Or could it be my application with the enclosure (possible heat build-up) and unlevel street parking?
- Ideas for using excess electricity?
- Hours needed for a Bitcoin miner to pay for itself?
- Know how I might link the black and grey tanks together? It’s likely simple, I just haven’t dug around yet.
- Any thoughts on using a dehumidifier to fill the fresh tank?

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Fri, 10 Jul 2015 02:41:46 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/1210653
The Fifteen Minute Hug http://tynan.com/community/30803 I used to be uncomfortable with maintaining eye contact. Then I did an exercise where I looked into a stranger's eyes for fifteen minutes, and we'd call each other out every time the other person looked away. It cured me of all eye contact anxiety and now it's no big deal.

I did a similar exercise in rejection therapy to get over the fear of approaching strangers and asking for things, and that worked eerily well--after one hour of concentrated asks and rejections, I got over it.

Like many people, I'm often uncomfortable when hugging someone, especially if it's another guy or I don't know the person well. This is something I want to get over, too. I've heard that if you arrange to hug someone you don't (hardly) know for fifteen minutes, then you're good to go from then on, no matter how awkward a bro hug you're faced with.

Does anyone in the SF Bay Area want to meet up and undertake the scary, useful mission of hugging a stranger (me) and build some hug confidence? We could do the eye contact one, too, if that's useful to you.

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Wed, 22 Aug 2012 16:52:11 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/30803
The Best Mirrorless Camera to Buy Today Is... http://tynan.com/community/11941 This is an email I sent to some friends recently... thought it might be useful to some here:

I've been debating between the NEX-5N and the NEX-7 for a while. I had the chance to borrow an NEX-7 for 24 hours and got to use it a bunch.

Compared to the NEX-5, the 7 has a much faster shutter release (I think it's currently the fastest in the world), a sensor that handles low light significantly better (25% better, measured with a light meter), an amazing EVF, better video recording options, audio-in, and better controls. It also has a weak built in flash, which doesn't really do anything for me.

After using it for a day, I was surprised how little I used the EVF. It is absolutely amazing and would be really nice in sunny settings, but overall the back screen is so good, especially with the angling, that I found it faster to not use the EVF.

I did more research into the NEX-5N, and found that it had every new feature the 7 has except for the flash, audio-in, controls, and EVF.

Interestingly, when shooting with a manual lens, as we do, the controls weren't much of an improvement.  When you're manually controlling aperture, you basically only need to adjust ISO and shutter speed. Most of the time we use auto-shutter, which means that ISO would be the only control we'd need. We already have a rear dial for that on the NEX-5 / NEX-5N.

The NEX-5N has an EVF that you can buy separately. It's not as sleek as the NEX-7, but the combined bulk of the 5N + EVF is still less than than the 7. Unlike the 7, it can also be tilted. Considering those two factors, I don't think the NEX-7's EVF has much of an advantage.

The audio-in is a really awesome feature of the NEX-7, one that I wish I could have on the 5N. The only alternative is a Sony mic that attaches to the top of the camera. I have it and it's high quality, but not as good as something like the Zoom H1, which could be used with the 7. In my mind, this is the biggest advantage of the NEX-7.

The NEX-5N has a better sensor than the NEX-7. It's 16.1mp vs 24.3, which I prefer for the smaller file size. It does about 10% better in low light, and delivers low light performance on par or exceeding any full sized APS-C DSLR. Photos at 6400 ISO are usable, and at 1600 there's no noticeable grain.

Both cameras have extremely fast shutters, go down to ISO 100 (which gives us fast lens people the option to go a full stop lower in sun to get narrower DOF), and can shoot at 10FPS (if not the best in the world, it's close). Shooting video on both is improved with full 1920x1080 at both 24p and 60p. Shooting in 60p and then converting to 24p makes AMAZING cinematic slow motion shots.

After using the 7 and doing some research, I think it's a no-brainer to go with the 5N. Because Sony did such a bad job advertising all the awesome things about the camera, people see it as being an NEX-5 with a touchscreen, so it goes pretty cheap. You can get one for $550 on ebay.

Here's a video shot with the 5N:

Autumn - Getting Cinematic with the Sony NEX-5N


And here's a good review with sample shots: 


Since writing that email I bought a 5N and have been very happy with it. I haven't yet used the more advanced features, but I'll be doing that on a trip a month from now.

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Mon, 11 Jun 2012 21:57:48 +0000 http://tynan.com/community/11941