Nikon D810

I’m fed up with the autofocus failing me on my D600. On Christmas Eve, with my Fuji X100T down due to a smashed shutter release, my D600 just wouldn’t take the shot on multiple occasions. The light was reasonable, the camera was set to prioritize getting the shot over getting perfect focus (a feature it seems simply doesn’t work well) and it just let me down.

Add to that that the shot I missed (completely out of focus) of the bride’s father at a good friend’s wedding a little over a year ago, I’m done. I think this missed shot was with my D600, not my Fuji, but I can’t be sure without checking. Anyway, lowlight autofocus matters.

For $1,550, I found a “Used – Very Good” (Adorama grade “E”) D810 body from Adorama via Amazon. It arrived at the office today. I took one shot to get a shutter count. Including that shot, the count is 9,385 shutter actuations. That is a good deal.

The D810 has the autofocus system of the D4s, which I have no experience with. I’ve read in multiple places that the D600 has crap low-light autofocus and that the D810 has excellent low-light autofocus.

I paid $1,320 for my D600 in May 2014 with a 24-80mm lens included. I sold that lens for $325 in October of 2016, so let’s say I paid $1,000 for the D600 body. I hope to get $700 for my D600. $300 for two and a half years of rental is not a bad deal at all. That’s provided I get what I want for it.

First night comment at 22:10: AF-S and AF-C seem to mingle their sub-modes. That is, if I change AF-C’s sub-mode (Group, Dyn, 3D), it changes the sub-mode of AF-S. That sucks. And it seems that if I change AF-C to a mode AF-S doesn’t have, AF-S reverts to its default. I don’t like this. I want to leave AF-C on 3D pretty much always, or so I think today. But I want to leave AF-S on a different sub-mode.

5 January 2018 Update: I tried my Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Ai-S lens on my D810 today. To my surprise, Auto ISO worked! What? I had looked into this and believed this would be like on my D600 — no Auto ISO for non-CPU lenses. Confirmed by a stranger here, too. This is a massive, unexpected D810 bonus for me.

3 February 2018 Update: The autofocus is pretty good. I sold my D600 last week and didn’t do any A/B autofocus comparisons. But I did do some controlled conditions comparisons between my D810 and my D600 with my 50mm f/1.8 and my (since returned due to center softness) 50mm f/1.4 D. The photos were pretty much the same between the two bodies. Doesn’t matter. I bought this D810 because the autofocus on my D600 let me down one too many times, refusing to lock and fire. The autofocus on this in similar conditions is awesome. I hope the autofocus at school shows is equally impressive. Could really improve what I get at those shows while also increasing my enjoyment and reducing effort.

17 February 2018 Update: I bought a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G AF-S lens for use with my D810. I really like this combination.

Raspberry Pi Zero

For years I’ve wanted a Raspberry Pi, but I didn’t have a practical application.

The other day, I decided to use one as a whole-home ad-blocker via the PiHole project. I ordered a Pi Zero W (wireless) kit via Amazon for $36.

Despite looking at photos of the Pi Zero with human hands for scale, I was still suprised at how teensy this thing is!

Anyway, the setup was super easy. The OS came on a micro-SD card via NOOBS and that was a smooth process.

I plugged it into my main TV and it properly determined the resolution.

My AirPort Extreme change involved just changing its DNS servers. Nothing fancy and no troubles whatsoever from that corner.

2 January 2018 Note: Turns out my Airport Express, which extends my home wireless network’s range, has its own DNS settings. I set these to point to the Raspberry Pi this weekend when I discovered this.

There were just no problems with anything.

Now I’m going to get a Pi 3 B as a retro gaming (Nintendo) station.

IMG 0872 1

3 February 2018 Update: Going strong as my whole-home ad blocker.

9 March 2018 Update: No problems. This thing just runs. I’m a little sickened by how often my Amazon Echo Dots phone home. So much accumulation of blocked attempts that it was skewing my block stats, so I whitelisted the site. Geez.

Squale 20 Atmos Militaire Impressions 1545-ORIG

I just picked up a three-month-old Squale Atmos 20 1545-ORIG Militaire for a fair price from a seller in forums.watchuseek.com. I thought I’d write down some impressions.

This is the “vintage” diver from Squale. Product page: https://www.squalewatches.com/Squale…/1545-orig.htm

Images link (not my images): https://duckduckgo.com/?q=squale+154…ages&ia=images

First Impression
Looks nice. Feels good in hand and on wrist.

Crystal
Dome has a great roundness to it. I like to just feel its roundness with my thumb, with the watch in my hand.

Crown
Screwing the crown back down winds the watch. I find this weird. Is this normal for this watch? [Follow up: Apparently, this is normal.] Do any other watches do this? I did not like the feeling of the crown being “engaged” while screwing it down.

But it is easy to get a firm purchase on the crown. It is large and rough enough to be very practical. Quite different from the slippery, polished bezel.

I prefer no shoulders (no crown guard). But this watch does look nice with shoulders in person.

Bezel
The bezel is slippery, but it is usable once you get the hang of how to turn it.

But the bezel edge/teeth are polished, which I still find inexplicable. Sure, I knew this would be the case from pictures, but why did they do this? It ruins the watch for me in person.

I love how the angle of the bezel continues naturally into the dome of the crystal. Wonderful.

The bezel insert looks good. Nice fonts, glossy black. No engraved numbers or marks, but it’s nice looking.

Bracelet
Disclosure: I wear watches on the underside of my wrist. And my watch is for me to enjoy — I don’t like to advertise.

Bracelet is comfortable and substantial. I prefer 16mm bracelet width at clasp, which I’ve mentioned in some other replies on WUS. But I will say that some 18mm-at-clasp bracelets feel more okay to me than others, for whatever reason. Perhaps it is because this has solid links. Maybe stamped (thus generally somewhat lighter) links have a less substantial feel at the clasp. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I am of the opinion that this bracelet is too wide and slightly too tall at the clasp for me. My NTH Nacken Modern, Black and MWW No. 4 are examples of 18mm-at-clasp bracelets which I find okay.

The links are thick/tall. Some people will love this. I prefer the somewhat flimsy feeling of my thinner yet still solid NTH Nacken links.

When it is on my wrist, I like that the end links push the near-lug ends of this bracelet down toward my wrist. When it is piled on its bracelet on a desk or dresser, I don’t like how rigid the bracelet is.

Clasp
The clasp requires a fingernail to open, for both the safety thingie and the clasp itself. I find this unusual but not a negative.

I love how deeply etched the Squale shark logo is engraved in the clasp. My favorite of all clasp engravings I’ve seen so far.

Dial Indices
I like that there’s a simple, white minute indicator for every position. Good job on that point.

The minute lines don’t match those in the photo on the site. This pic: 1545-ORIG-2T.jpg Maybe that’s a MK1. This one was represented as a MK2 when I bought it and I have no reason to mistrust the well regarded seller.

On my specimen, the minute markers go to the very end of (and, I suppose, under) the dial. In the watch in the product page pic, there’s a gap after these lines before the end of the dial.

And I think the round yellow, lumed five-minute markers are bigger in the pictured watch than on mine. I guess the circles on mine are “Maxi” size.

Logo
Is it ridiculous that it says “Squale” twice on the dial? Yes, this is ridiculous. But I knew that going in. And who approved the off-center crown drawing above the top, uppercase “SQUALE”?

Dial Text
The dial text is too small. But at least it is finely printed so you can read it if you get close enough. Why does it need to say “Y1545”? Please relegate that stuff onto the case back, guys.

Date
The date kills the face of this watch for me. I knew going in that this was possible. I’ve considered replacing with with a black-background/white-text date ring, but it would still mar the dial — it’d just be a black gap instead.

My specimen lacks the white rectangle around the date window shown in the photo of this watch on the Squale web site linked up top. Probably a MK2 thing to drop the white rectangle/outline.

Hands
The hands seem very close to the dial, in a good way. The blacked out shaft of the seconds hand is nice, though I’d prefer that the yellow arrowhead be a little bigger.

Height
This is a nice, not-too-tall watch. A lot like the NTH Nacken.

Wife Says
“It looks like all the other ones. And I don’t like it. I like the other one [referring to my MWW No. 4 that’s been glued to my wrist].”

Keeper?
Nope. This watch is not a keeper for me. Even if it had my dream bracelet, I can’t abide the polished bezel edge. In person, I think this factor ruins the watch.

Epilogue
This post is inherently subjective. If you love something on your own Squale 1545-ORIG which I dislike on mine, I hope you enjoy your watch for the same reasons I dislike it. No worries, friends.

I’m just popping this review off. I may add to it later. I welcome questions.

Here are some photos.

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Postscript: I first posted this here: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f74/squale-20-atmos-militaire-impressions-1545-orig-4563127.html