Thursday, November 19, 2009

More on Amazon, Laser Printers, and the D-Lux 4

The Amazon mystery cleared up a little bit today. It turns out that their sales figures for the book lag reality by several days. Today I went online and found that they had sold 51 books, not just 25, as earlier reports showed. My first three shipments to them (2, 23, and 27) totalled 52 books, so there still is a slight mystery -- what happened to the 52nd book? Maybe they keep one as a reference? Maybe they used it for the "search inside the book" function, which I have signed up for.

By the way, the "search inside the book" function has a glitch I didn't know about. It became active yesterday, and I checked the D-Lux 4 book's listing on Amazon to try the search function. I entered terms such as "infrared," "time-lapse," and "display," and the search found zero results each time. I e-mailed Amazon, and they replied quite quickly, saying it takes about a week for their system to index the entire book. That seems odd, but that's the way it is. I just hope potential buyers of the book aren't scared off by the fact that, based on the search function's results, the book appears to have no words in it. . . .

As for the color laser printers, they are becoming the bane of our existence. Clenise, who is good at getting to the bottom of mechanical problems, has been taking the printers apart, cleaning them, adjusting them, and doing everything humanly possible to maintain them, but they have been putting heavy blue streaks, small magenta blotches, and various and sundry other blotches on the pages. Fortunately, we have enough books printed out already to meet current orders, but we aren't able to print any new ones at the moment. We think the problem may stem from our use of refilled toner cartridges in order to cut costs. We have some more cartridges coming from another vendor soon; hopefully those will produce better results.

I said I would discuss the Leica D-Lux 4 camera, the subject of the book, some more. I think it's a great camera, obviously, and so do many others, based on the comments I have read on, the Leica Forum, and other places. It is remarkable because of its overall quality of images and its excellent lens, and because of its unusually wide 24mm equivalent wide-angle focal length. It is somewhat limited because it zooms only to a 60mm equivalent focal length, but you just have to decide to forego a strong telephoto if you use this camera.

Also, of course, it has excellent manual control of focus and exposure, and it has just about all of the functions an amateur photographer would want for daily use -- self-timer, excellent macro (closeup) shooting (to within 1 centimeter of the subject), a wide range of shutter speeds (1/2000 sec to 60 sec), excellent auto exposure control, and many others. Also, it has a very nice appearance and small, pocketable size, with the Leica logo on the front. It also happens to have a decent capability for taking infrared photos, which many modern digital cameras do not have.

So, as far as I can tell, many photographers are very well pleased with this camera, and will keep using it for some years to come.

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