Precision Equipment

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by cliveh, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Reinhold recently posted a thread “Waste your Money Here” about dodge tools. But for people who love precision equipment, that is not always the case. For instance I have often contemplated taking up fly fishing. Not because of the fishing, but as an excuse to buy and use an Orvis fishing rod and reel. Am I mad, or do others have similar obsessions?
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I use whatever works and feels good in my hands. If I can't afford the best, I buy the best quality I can with the funds that are available to me, and it should be something that can be repaired if necessary, and serviced regularly. Brand doesn't matter, and I don't buy into what other people tell me - I'm a 'show me and I'll believe' kind of person. Function has to live up to reputation.

    But I would be a total hypocrite if I didn't confess to wondering what it would be like to drive a Ferrari or a Bugatti instead of my Hyundai Sonata. While I have driven high end Porsche vehicles, like a 911 GT2, it's always alluring and tempting to think of the very highest echelons of any type of industry. I love music, a lot, and have nothing but good memories from my highly modified Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, upgraded Scott 299-B tube (valve) amp, and hypersensitive speakers. That system was well composed, and all the individual parts gelled so well and I really enjoyed music played through it, but that didn't stop me from wondering what a Walker Proscenium turntable (USD 200k) would sound like in my living room, perhaps paired with a pair of Von Schweikert dB100 speakers or similar.... You get my drift. I think people dream about once owning those fine jewels of engineering, using them, and enjoying them. But 99.999% of the population has to settle for something far more reasonable, and the trick is to still enjoy yourself.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Well said Thomas, how about a Quad with electrostatic speakers?
     
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  4. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    I love precision tools, and the precision results they enable, for the simple reason that they prove that somewhere in the world there still exists someone who gives a damn.

    It's their existence that counts, regardless of whether or not I personally can obtain and use them.

    Ken
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I used to own a pair of Quad II amps once. They were beautiful amps. Never got along with electrostatic speakers of any kind, though. I like rhythm a lot, and most, if not all, electrostatic speakers I have heard fall flat on their nose when you play reggae or ska. :smile: That includes the Martin Logan CLX, by the way...
     
  6. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    It's the chief reason I have a Contax 35mm system; not because I need it, but because it is one of the best, and the assorted parts I have so far accumulated were available and affordable. (Two points against my ever acquiring a Leica R system, by the way.)

    I like to play with b&w processing; instead of using whatever plastic bottle is available, I have a set of one liter pyrex lab bottles. The indulgence wasn't at all necessary, but I could, so I did. (The square bottles are easier to hold than the round ones, by the way.)

    Years ago I played a Yamaha trumpet in college; when it was time to replace it, I chose a top-of-the-line Schilke, an instrument I could barely afford. But it had better playing characteristics than a Strad 37 (the industry standard at the time) so I allowed myself the indulgence. And it's been worth it.
     
  7. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    There is precision equipment and then there are "mechanical objects". While I deeply appreciate fine engineering and fine design --- I am an adherent to design elegance, and worked for Apple for some time back in the cube days--- I really enjoy mechanical objects seeing them as a means to an end rather than the final product.

    What this means is that I would rather buy 5 cameras for 5 bucks each rather than a 5000 dollar camera, knowing that I am going to be mixing and matching parts and drilling new holes and by the time I am done, who knows what I will have built. With a 5000 dollar camera you don't want to scratch it, with a 5 dollar camera you want to know how it works.

    We live in a perfect time-- I am able to buy what just a few years ago would have been thousands of dollars of equipment for pennies. This makes it easy to want to dig into it. I have boxes of enlarger parts for that I mix and match and build with-- 20 years ago no one had boxes of enlarger parts because they were very expensive "precision" machines. -- Now I think nothing of drilling a couple holes in something that 20 years ago would have caused multiple heart attacks if other photographers saw what I was doing.
     
  8. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I get where you are coming from..... Precision made equipment of any sort has an allure, or attractiveness that is not always explainable. I find that a lot of it comes down to how tactile the 'thing' or object is, how it feels in your hands, function, form and all that. Well made things usually have great design, heft, feel, and importantly forgiveness, they are not harsh, or garish in either looks, sounds, or feel. How all of that comes together evokes the emotional response we have with well made devices. While some may view them as tools, others may view them as art in and of themselves. I have had my fair share of nice 'stuff' in my journey so far, and likely bled more than i needed to instead of bleeding once. So sometimes it pays to eat the cost of a nicer, higher quality 'thing' than to have a few cracks at finding something cheaper... But its the journey right, and we never stop learning. If it floats ya boat, and you can afford the scratch, then why not. Regardless of whatever it is, do what feels right.
     
  9. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thanks Andrew, I'm a little nearer to ordering that Orvis fishing rod.
     
  10. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Check out Ross reels first. Had an Orvis, went back to my Ross. Been fishing my whole life and that one reel has been with since I learned and even with a 'better' reel available, it still feels more precise. As rods go, Orvis cannot really be beat unless you start playing in the field of bamboo.

    I think they hype over precision tools isn't necessarily overstated. If it gives you the confidence (whether or not it actually effects skill or accuracy), the confidence will help you achieve higher results regardless. That's my feel.
     
  11. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Glad that you are picking up the fly rod.... I'm in a similar spot myself..... I have been re-introduced to guitar playing after leaving it alone for 30 years or so! So a year ago, bought a used acoustic/electric.. A lightly used Fender Malibu acoustic electric actually..... Then in June of this year, i bought a jumbo Epiphone EJ200 acoustic electric..... Now i have a used Fender American made Strat on 30 day hold at guitar center.. They do that near me so as to make sure its not stolen. This purchase was not something i was going to do at first as i was in the market for a telecaster nashville (made in mexico) for a lot less.. When the sales guy said we are out the nashville's but check this out.. It was used like once or twice at most. Just finger prints, and strap still in bag, case as new for only $100 more than the Mexican made telecaster was going to be... $599 It was a little more, but saved me having lay out over $1100 to buy the strat new. I lucked out in being in the right place at the right time for once.. Not something that happens a lot to me! When something quality comes along at a price that is a no brainer.... Seize the day as they say...... Now I've gone and played a Martin acoustic...... That was a mistake and realized that with my first two acoustic purchases, i could have bought the Martin guitar and be happy... Sigh.
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Andrew, how about a black Les Paul?
     
  13. PentaxBronica

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    The other way is to buy used top-of-the-range kit.

    I have a 1/2" drive ratchet from the wonderfully named "King Dick" (made in Britain in the days when we still did heavy engineering). I merely stripped it down, cleaned everything with WD40 and then washing up liquid as a degreaser, and reassembled it with a fresh dollop of axle grease in the mechanism. In terms of feel it's spot on, precise, solid, but not too heavy and not at all difficult to use. I don't use it anything like as much as the manufacturer evidently intended (I'm not a pro, but do as much of my own car servicing as I feel comfortable with). Wonder how many of these are lurking at the back of old sheds while young mechanics pay mad sums for Snap-On or similar!

    As for turntables you can often find something which would once have been very upmarket for pennies. I have a direct drive GEC one (A3000-P) which includes fine adjustment and a built-in strobe to set the speed perfectly. I did have to replace the cartridge as I couldn't find a stylus, and I might well replace the headshell in the end as it seems to have the same fitting as much newer ones. Cost about £25 as it doesn't seem a particularly well-known name, but works superbly, plays at the correct speeds, and sounds good even with a cheap stylus on.
     
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  15. markbarendt

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    When I was 16 my family took a trip to Mexico and Baja California. For the trip we bought really nice high tech fishing gear.

    At Cabo San Lucas at the time there was a cannery pier that the locals fished on, we decided to give it a try there. The water was beautiful and clear, we actually watched the fish "sniff" and "chase" our hooks but we couldn't get any thing to really bite.

    Given the lack of success the morning turned into people watching mostly, the locals were doing better using little more than sticks. That was bad enough but then another local wanders up with 2 Coke cans (steel) wrapped in line, big hook on one, medium hook on the other.

    This gentleman borrowed a piece of chum from a buddy and baits the medium hook. Inside 5-minutes he pulls in a Perch that would have made a fine meal for four, nope. Time for the big hook, he sticks it through the body then when the barb comes out the other side he twists it just so, so that the barb comes back through the other way. Twice around over his head like a lasso and the Perch is on his way back to the ocean.

    Inside another five minutes there is a struggle going on, at the end of 20 there is a grouper being gaffed and pulled from the water, maybe 100 pounds of fish flopping on the pier inside thirty minutes.

    Since that day I have spent very little on fishing gear.

    That said I do enjoy a nice machine, especially when it is a good tool. I even include my modded Holga in that group. :D
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I have always thought this is why we became photographers and not painters. Cameras are such beautiful examples of precision equipment compared to paint brushes.
     
  17. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Mark, what an amazing story. I love tales like those, just goes to show the ingenuity of people with limited means can do.

    I love precision tools, and the feel of them in the hand, as well as the things that they can do. But it's always really cool to see something do the same job in a totally different way, but at the end accomplish the same task.

    Nowadays the things you can see online, either video or though sites like instructables ( though not everything seems like a good alternative) is just overwhelming. Lots of info and tech out there which is really a great time now for people who like to tinker and build.
     
  18. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    That's such a great story. I was going to remark and build on it.... But I thought maybe I'd be wrong about whatever point I might try to make. And it would just detract.

    Great story.
     
  19. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Well if that isn't depressing in some way... I was once fishing the mouth of the Columbia river at Buoy 10. Awful, awful day out past the sand bar in our 24ft boat. Finally, after nearly being run over by a barge in the fog and having the tide shift and the waves come crashing through, we called it quits and gave up without a single sniff on the line. My father at the wheel, I was rigging the anchor at the bow and I see a dolphin under the water and SPLASH! here is a full Coho right in the bottom of the boat.

    Damn dolphin came in with the sea water and scared that sucker to jump right in. Might as well have buckets out there.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The point of sharing was to show the futility of chasing magic bullets.

    Tools that solve real problems, don't need to be fancy.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Mark,

    I'm sure that if you used your fancy fishing equipment for years in the same location, you'd catch fish like that too. You'd arguably enjoy it more too, because of that nice equipment. But at the same time, I think I enjoy it more when I accomplish something special with modest tools.
    This is part of the reason I so enjoy a good old Pentax Spotmatic. When I get a really good 16x20 from it, it feels better, because I feel like I applied a lot more skill to get there.
     
  22. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thomas, I thought you used an M2.
     
  23. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Hmm. My S8 Beaulieus reek of quality, are much much too fragile.
     
  24. markbarendt

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    Thomas, I agree that nice tools are a pleasure to work with.

    As to the fishing rod you pine for Clive, as an art piece a $1500 fly rod might make sense.

    There are other good reasons too. One of my co-workers has a son who is in the fly fishing guide business who picked up one of these rods this summer. It provides two things that his old rod didn't, 1-he can catch more high dollar client trips because of the magic bullet BS brag line he can spin around it and 2-he gets bigger tips from clients & favors from the shops he refers his clients to.
     
  25. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

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    Did you ever see really good brushes?
     
  26. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I use an M2 also, and it's amazingly enjoyable. The Spotmatic keeps it real.