HIIT

I was reading a blog post about HIIT on Steve H. Graham’s website yesterday when I remembered that Andrew Marr had a stroke whilst doing it (HIIT).

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval training. The general idea is that instead of exercising for long periods at low intensity, you do intervals of twenty seconds or thereabouts at maximum effort.

The main benefit is that you don’t have to train for so long each time, yet you get all the benefits (And more) of prolonged aerobic exercise:

  • You burn more calories overall
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Increased mitochondria count (Not sure what this does but it sounds like it should be good.)
  • Increased endurance
  • Increased telomerase, which protects telomeres
  • Increased production of human growth hormone

A recumbent exercise bike is ideal for HIIT. Fortunately I have one. I just haven’t figured how to use it yet.

My under-utilised recumbent bike.

Anyway, I plan on starting an HIIT programme soon. I hope to see the benefits quickly, particularly the increased sense of wellbeing that comes with regular exercise. I also hope to lose a bit of weight and not die of an electrical cardiac malfunction. I’ll let you know how I get on.

(11)

Buying & selling cameras on eBay

How to buy and sell camera gear on eBay without getting burned.

Buying

  • Valuation
    Before you do anything, go to eBay Advanced Search, check the ‘Sold’ checkbox and search for the camera / lens / whatever you want to purchase. The results will give you a good indication of the actual market value of the equipment you’re looking for, meaning you should be able to avoid paying over the odds for it.
  • Auction Versus Fixed Price
    Auctions are always better than fixed price sales. Items sold by auction are almost always less expensive to buy than fixed price ones. Sellers listing cameras for a fixed price usually list them for top-dollar. It’s true that most decent camera gear is now sold this way on eBay but if you’re not in a hurry, the thing you’re looking for will come up in an auction sale sooner or later. It pays (literally) to be patient.
  • Check Feedback
    Check the seller’s feedback carefully before buying. Less than 99.5% is a bad feedback score. If you’re splashing out on a pricy camera or lens, you want it to be in good condition. Some sellers are less than complete in their description of the item for sale. Past feedback from buyers should point to the honesty or otherwise of the seller. (There’s a separate tab for feedback as a seller and a buyer. The ‘Seller’ tab is the one you should read.)
  • Compacts and Lower-End Stuff
    Be especially careful when buying compact cameras or lower-end stuff: owners tend not to be keen photographers and often won’t realise their equipment has faults. Higher-end equipment tends to be owned by enthusiasts who know what their camera is supposed to do. They also, in my experience, tend to look after their hardware better than happy snappers.
  • Avoiding Bidding Wars
    Sometimes you will find that there’s another prospective buyer out there who wants the same item you’re bidding on. This can lead to a bidding war, where back-and-forth bids raise the price substantially. The way to avoid this is to use AuctionSniper.com. This website lets you decide how much you want to pay for your camera and it then places a bid in the last few seconds of the auction. They take 1% of the sale price as commission but it almost always saves you money in my experience.
  • Check It Over
    When your camera arrives in the post, open the parcel immediately and thoroughly check it over. Any faults that weren’t listed in the advert mean you need to contact the seller and ask for either a partial refund (If you want to keep it) or request a return. Always use eBay’s own messaging system when contacting sellers about faults. If you use personal email, eBay has no record of communication, which is important if you end up having to open a dispute.

Selling

  • Valuation Again
    As with buying, it’s a good idea to look at eBay’s Advanced Search > Sold option to find out what your gear is worth before you list it.
  • Fixed Price is Better than Aucion
    In my experience, you will always get more for your camera in a fixed price sale. Although some auctions raise good prices for equipment,they tend to be hit-or-miss compared to fixed price sales.
  • Long Listing
    The longer your item is listed for, the better your chances of raising the price you want. More potential buyers will view your camera over 30 days than 7 days.
  • Photographs
    The more photographs you can put in your ad, the better. People like to see what they’re getting for their money. I size my eBay photographs to 2000 pixels wide before submitting them. eBay will resize them but 2000 seems to be about right.
  • Cleanliness
    Clean your camera  / lens before photographing it. Little bits of dirt and dust are usually very apparent in big images and will put buyers off. A soft cloth and some compressed air make all the difference.
  • Completeness
    Be honest in your description. If there are any mechannical or cosmetic faults, list them in your ad. Failure to do so will most likely result in a complaint from the buyer. You really don’t want to get into a dispute or receive bad feedback.
  • Pack it Well
    Robust boxes are a must. I prefer double-walled ones. (I once had a film holder arrive broken because I sent it in a weak box.) Scrunched-up newspaper makes good packing. Don’t leave any space in the box for your precious gear to rattle around in.
  • Insure it
    Royal Mail’s Special Delivery gives you free cover up to £500, plus optional cover to £10,000 for an additional fee. You could also use Parcel2Go.com and get your parcel insured there, though their insurance is quite pricey. (They are good for sending stuff overseas though.)

…and that’s about it.

(13)

Canon Pixma Pro-10

This printer actually belongs to my brother. I use it to print short-run brochures for him. I also do the occasional print of my photographs but lately I’ve been thinking that’s a little pointless as I have a good monitor and they look the same on the monitor as they do in print.

This is a nice piece of equipment. It prints up to A3+ (329 x 483mm) and I have actually used it to print some images on that size paper but the problem you then have is finding an off-the-shelf frame to fit. A3 is much more common and not that much smaller.

It uses 10 inks to give very nice colour and black and white prints. If I’m printing photographs, I use Ilford Gallerie Gold Fibre silk, a beautiful baryta paper. It seems to work well with the Pro 10 and has the added benefit of smelling like a true silver-based photographic paper. I’m not sure how archival it is. To my eye, the prints are indistinguishable from a proper darkroom silver print. (Note: Ilford Imaging Europe Gmbh went out of business, so this paper will soon be out of stock everywhere.) Which reminds me that Pixma inks are the pigment type, meaning they should be quite durable prints.

IMG_7780Sample A4 print.

A set of inks is currently about £80 from Amazon, down from about £110 when I first got this printer. The cartridges are pretty small so they don’t last very long. I couldn’t guess how many sheets of full-colour print you’d get out of a set but it’s fairly expensive to run. The print head has never gummed up despite the printer sitting idle for months at a time, which has been a bonus.

This printer has been superseded by the Pixma Pro-10S, which looks to be a similar spec but no doubt has detail improvements.

I tried using the Pixma wirelessly but the connection was very unreliable so I reverted to plugging it into a USB port and it now seems fairly happy. (The only available space for it was on the bedroom floor next to the door so I’ll no doubt be stubbing my toe on it at some point.)

IMG_7782

Anyway, if you’re in the market for a photo-quality A3+ printer with pigment inks, this is a great choice.

(11)

Soligor Digital Spot Sensor

I bought this spot meter some time ago to use with my Deardorff 8×10 camera.

IMG_7756

It was considerably less expensive than the more popular Pentax alternative. For all that, it works just fine.

The readout uses old-fashioned ‘Light-up’ LEDs rather than LCDs, which I rather like. (It reminds me of the first digital device I ever saw, a Texas Instruments LED watch my Aunt Sheila brought over from America in 1977.)

Anyway, this meter is simple to use: you point it at the target and press the trigger. The E.V. value is displayed and you take your shutter speed and aperture from a rotating scale on the lens. Easy peas.

I don’t use it much now that I’ve sold my Deardorff, so I may just put it back on eBay someday soon…

IMG_7750(It proved very difficult to get a decent picture of the LEDs in action.)

(57)