Marius Masalar

Photographer, Technology Writer, Podcaster

Page 2


Eight Months With Things 3

Long-term use notes and the workflow I’ve settled into

1*iuKMSzxpsgZ75axkH6lxsQ.png

I first wrote about Things 3 in May, shortly after I got access to it.

At the time, I was still swept up in its good looks, smooth operation, and refreshingly non-punitive take on carrying over incomplete tasks to the next day.

Nearly a year later, I’m still using Things. This makes it the only task management app to have successfully dethroned Todoist for more than a couple of months.

It’s given me time to settle into a workflow and analyze the long-term nuances of the app, especially in terms of how it compares to Todoist.

 How I Use Things

In a word: very simply. Over time, I’ve whittled away a lot of unnecessary busywork in my usage pattern:

  • I use Areas to segregate tasks into broad “containers” like Personal, Blog, Work, Photography, etc. I have only six Areas, and part of my New Years re-organization will likely reduce

Continue reading →


LoupeDeck

A review of the editing console for Adobe Lightroom

MariusMasalar-20171219-E-M1MarkII-012-squashed.jpg

I like dedicated hardware.

Instead of reading on my iPad or iPhone, I use ereaders. Instead of gaming on my computer, I buy consoles. So it’s not surprising that the Kickstarted LoupeDeck editing console for Adobe Lightroom caught my eye when it was first announced.

Having now spent several months with it, I wanted to share some thoughts on how it’s affected my workflow and whether or not it represents good value for money.

 The Promise

LoupeDeck’s appeal is that you have dedicated hardware knobs to manipulate controls in Lightroom.

Everything from catalogue-based tasks like picking and rating, to Develop module work involving HSL adjustments, Highlight/Shadow, etc. can be accomplished without mousing around.

MariusMasalar-20171219-E-M1MarkII-015-squashed.jpg

Critics have pointed out that this has been possible for years using cheap MIDI controllers that you map yourself. This

Continue reading →


Ulysses vs. iA Writer: A New Comparison

Perfecting the minimal writing environment

1*5-sea8-d4QVYAtcCKcoa7w.jpeg

It’s novel season, which has me thinking about the ways we write and the tools we use to get it done.

A couple of years ago, I compared the two front-runners: iA Writer and Ulysses. These continue to be, in my estimation, the finest plain-text writing environments out there. And each of them has come a long way in the intervening months.

With everyone sharpening their digital pencils, I figured it was time to dive in and see how their respective changes have improved the experience of using and trusting them with our words.

 My Approach

To make it easier to follow along with my impressions, it helps to understand where I’m coming from as a writer and what my priorities are.

When I last compared these two, I identified my criteria as follows:

  1. Beautiful, clutter-free interface
  2. Flexible, cross-platform workflow
  3. Powerful export options

I

Continue reading →


Canon 1D Mark III Review

10 years on, yesterday’s flagship is still capable and reliable today

1*nkVnHCks4UydFAsQmvfgRA.jpeg

I don’t know why, but something about the 1D camera bodies from Canon has always held a strange appeal for me.

As the flagship model designation, the 1D series has remained firmly out of reach of most non-professional photographers, myself included. But it’s not like you have to buy the newest and most expensive version. When an opportunity came up for me to snag a 1D Mark III, I took a chance on the old thing to see how it fares in the modern camera landscape.

It turns out that even ten years after its release, the 1D Mark III remains a powerful, quick, and virtually indestructible imaging tool.

MariusMasalar-20171008-Canon EOS-1D Mark III-047.jpg

 Colour & Output

When this camera hit the market, Canon was still working on convincing film shooters that digital could replace the colour fidelity, detail, and character of their film bodies.

1*pwCHNnWZ498k5enioDpR2Q.jpeg

The original 5D is

Continue reading →


Kenya & Tanzania: A Travelogue →

From the Masai Mara to the Serengeti: stories from my two weeks camping across East Africa’s most amazing natural wonders

1*eVVuePqWyFoP2y83BDyvAQ.jpeg

Continue reading →


TP-Link Whole Home WiFi

Simple, secure mesh networking

a.jpg

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Network setup and maintenance used to be something that required a tech savvy person. Port forwarding, QOS, bridge mode—oh my! Modern networking has different priorities: reliable throughput, stability, and security.

In the last year, we’ve seen quite a few mesh systems emerge from major consumer electronics brands, and TP-Link’s take on the system is called Deco. Described as a “Whole Home WiFi” system, Deco is a focused, attractive proposition. They want to empower everyone to set up and manage their own network without hassle, while keeping homes secure in an era of smart devices.

Simple and secure…let’s see how they did.

 Mesh Networking

In the past, you’d likely have a modem connected to a single router that distributed the internet service throughout your home. This works perfectly fine in apartments and small

Continue reading →


Travelling With the Fujifilm GFX System

Medium format mirrorless on the move

MariusMasalar-20170704-GFX 50S-212-squashed.jpg

Here’s how to fall in love with Fujifilm’s G50S: slap the 110mm f/2 prime on, find a model, go outside or in a well-lit studio, and shoot away.

Here’s how to fall out of love: carry the body and 3 lenses with you on a 5 hour hike up a mountain or otherwise try to use it the way you would use a typical mirrorless camera system.

I’ve done both of these things, which leaves me somewhere in the middle as far as my impressions are concerned. This was my first encounter with medium format, so I went into it without any preconceived notions of what this sort of tool can and cannot do, and unburdened by a need to justify an extravagant purchase.

I was free to simply experience it—a good thing and a bad thing, as I discovered.

Quite frankly, I’m not qualified to review this camera in terms of how it fares in the medium format realm. What I can do is

Continue reading →


Panasonic GX8 & 15mm ƒ/1.7

Exploring the other side of the Micro Four-Thirds coin

MariusMasalar-20170622-DMC-GH4-004-squashed.jpg

I’ve been shooting Micro Four-Thirds cameras almost from the beginning of my mirrorless switch. My first was an Olympus E-M10, and as a result I stuck pretty close to the Olympus side of things for photography.

Video is a different story.

Today, almost all of the agency’s video output comes from a pair of Panasonic GH4s. They’re robust, compact, and extremely capable cameras that I look forward to upgrading to GH5s as soon as we can.

Still, I’ve neglected to put them through their paces for photography, and most of the reason for that comes down to the lack of IBIS. Without it, one of the central attractors to the Micro Four-Thirds ecosystem was missing, so I kept using the best tool for the task at hand: Olympus for photos, Panasonic for video.

Recently, after a great conversation on Candid with the folks at Panasonic, I had

Continue reading →


Fujifilm XF 50mm ƒ/2

Tiny telephoto in your pocket

MariusMasalar-20170616-DMC-GX8-013-squashed.jpg

It’s not that I doubted its appeal, but like the X70 before it, the XF 50mm ƒ/2 lens was one of those products that I wasn’t excited about until I got it in my hands and started shooting with it.

It’s an unusual field of view, one that sits somewhere in between the two classic telephoto focal lengths of 50mm and 85mm (FF equivalent field of view). I had never shot anything in this range before, and it took some getting used to.

By the time my second week with it rolled around, I found myself just leaving it on my X-Pro 2 all the time. Its unexpected versatility and exceptional optical characteristics won me over.

 Build

Short and stocky like the rest of its ƒ/2 brethren, the Fujifilm XF 50mm ƒ/2 is a comparatively tiny telephoto lens.

MariusMasalar-20170616-DMC-GX8-016-squashed.jpgMariusMasalar-20170616-DMC-GX8-015-squashed.jpgThe XF 35mm and 50mm ƒ/2 pair, shown with and without their hoods attached.

Physically, it feels just as sturdy as

Continue reading →


A Weekend With the Canon 5D Mark IV

My brief encounter with Canon’s most versatile flagship

“I’d like the 50mm f/1.2L and the 35mm f/1.4L Mark II, please.”

“I’m afraid those are already out.”

“That’s okay, I’ll take the Sigma ART equivalents instead!”

“Also out—sorry!”

“Oh.”

I’m on the phone with the rental place and feeling the consequences of my impulsive decision. I’m renting a Canon 5D Mark IV for the weekend, but almost all their lenses are already rented out. It’s Friday afternoon and demand is high.

“So all your 35s are out, all your 50s are out, all your 85s are out, and you have no zooms left either?”

“We do have the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 ART! And actually we just had someone return the 85mm f/1.8.”

“I’ll take them!”

“The 85 won’t be anywhere near as sharp as the 24…”

“I know.”

And so it was that I began my weekend with Canon’s most versatile flagship camera and a very strange pairing of lenses covering the

Continue reading →