rtwx

...a blog of musings and mildly interesting things...

Current setup and how I started out

After looking for several years and working out I need to spend more than initially anticipated, (isn't that always the way!) in June 2019 I finally pulled the trigger on some photography gear. I realised I didn't know what I didn't know, so relied a lot on advice from others. My basic requirements were weather-sealing, and I was looking at #microfourthirds for it's smaller size and weight, as I planned on it going in my Osprey Escapist mountain-biking backpack so I could capture nice scenery as I come across it while riding.

Auckland Camera Centre put up with my noob questions over several emails back and forth, and suggested the #Panasonic #Lumix G85 for it's focus subject tracking as I also mentioned I'll likely be using it for motorsport and mtb duties. I wasn't keen to go for the G9 flagship model as I wasn't sure if I'd stay with the system and figured I should get the cheapest model with weather sealing.

I ended up getting from them the G85 kit with 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 lens.

I needed a longer lens

After photographing a few events, I quickly realised that the 60mm long end of the kit lens wasn't long enough for motocross or car club sprints, to keep me out of the way enough. At 4x4 trials I was at the limit of zoom and keeping myself safely out of the way. 4x4 wheelspin up hill from 2019 Mt Egmont 4WD Club Pairs Event Full resolution on flickr

I was eyeing up the 35-100mm f2.8, but realised the 100mm isn't much longer than 60mm... but keep in mind that m4/3 has a crop factor of 2, so to compare with 35mm full-frame it would be 200mm compared to 120mm. I found a cheap second hand as-new condition 45-150mm f4-5.6 for half the retail price ($300 new) so figured that would at least let me work out how much reach I actually need even if it turned out to be a rubbish lens. After a firmware update. this lens has actually done very well for the couple of months I've had it, and I've had great results especially for a really cheap lens.

I realised I still wanted a little more reach, so the 35-100mm was pretty much out of the picture now... I really did want the 2.8 for more subject separation, but ended up shooting at the extended lower ISO100 (native is ISO200) just to keep aperture low-ish around f7.1-f8 so I could expose correctly and run 1/200-1/400 second shutter speed in order to get wheel blur and motion. Motocross bike wheelie at bottom of hill, TMCC Motocross Practice- Oct 2019

Apparently that's really “old-school” technique, but I really dislike static frozen wheels and crisp tread as it looks like they're parked. For the most part. Anyway, that's not relevant to this I guess.

So, my options in the pro level lenses made in conjunction with Leica, are the 50-200mm f4-5.6 and the 100-400 f4-6.3. Thinking back to how I use the camera, I think I can get away with the 100-400mm (200-800 full-frame equivalent), which seems is massive reach on the long end, but for most stuff 100mm on the short end will be fine – and I can get the 35-100mm down the road to full the gap if needed where the 12-60mm doesn't have the reach.

G85 Continuous Autofocus

Something I've been considering is the focus breathing when in continuous autofocus (AF-C), the kit 12-60mm is actually worse for this than the 45-150mm, but that still has the effect. What happens is due to the contrast-detect focus system, it needs to breathe the focus a little to determine the focus direction. Usually this means that when I'm doing a burst of a car or bike coming at me on an angle, there are a few shots in the burst that aren't in focus. Frustratingly, it's often the best composed shot in the burst that is out of focus.

Changing brand/system...?

This started me on my journey looking at various brands and how the focus, and led me to Fujifilm, specifically the X-H1 as it is DLSR style body like the G9/G85, which I prefer. It seems a good compromise of price versus full-frame DLSR bodies and lenses, and still very good quality glass.

So I thought I had better do the sums for changing:

X-H1 w/booster grip $2730 16-55mm f2.8 24-83 eq. $1998 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 152-608 eq. $3478 Selling G85 & lenses –$900 Total $7306

Hmm, more than I wanted to spend... alright, lets compare to changing to the good Lumix stuff:

G9 & extra battery $1699 12-60mm f2.8-4 Leica 24-120 eq. $999 100-400mm f4-6.3 Leica 200-800 eq. $1697 Selling G85 & lenses –$900 Total: $3495

Well, that looks better, and I don't have to do it all at once. I can get the 100-400mm and keep shooting using my G85 for a while yet, then change to the G9 for it's better autofocus. Oh, I haven't talked about that yet.

G9 Autofocus

So, I found and entire manual on settings for the G9 autofocus while looking online. It turns out that 2 of the 3 variable options aren't available in my G85, so it would make sense that the autofocus of the G9 will perform better when tuned to suit the subject matter.

Conclusion/Decision...?

Hmmmm... based on the severe price differential to the Fujifilm, it means I'll likely stick to Lumix gear at least in the mid-term. Bang for buck for someone at hobby level, I can not complain at all – even if we always yearn for the next best thing that doesn't make it practical.

I am open to comments on this :D

Follow the directions found at wiki.voidlinux.org/Raspberry_Pi to get a working system.

I then did the following over ssh, as the display that I used didn't have ethernet handy. ssh is already set up as a service.

You'll also need to do things like wpa-supplicant set as a service ln -s /etc/sv/wpa_supplicant /var/service/ if you use wifi, dhcpcd should already be set but you can do it the same way if needed. You'll need a user account, only has root by default. I recommend checking out daveeddy.com for general Void setup stuff like wpa_passphrase and adding a user. It's a great guide.

oh also, edit /etc/hostname to whatever you want your pi to be called instead of void-live or whatever it is by default... or maybe later once you have nano installed.

Once you have that done, we can install i3.

Installing i3 on your Void Pi

Update the system first sudo xbps-install -Suv as you always should.

Install xorg and display driver for the RPi, and i3-gaps (because gaps are fancy.) i3status for the info bar, dmenu for launch menu, and xterm so we have a terminal when we actually get into X. And also nano, so we can edit stuff without getting trapped in vim. sudo xbps-install -S xorg-minimal xorg-fonts xrdb xf86-video-fbturbo i3-gaps i3status dmenu xterm nano

you can do xbps-query -Rs xrdb to find out about what a package is, subsitute xrdb for another search term.

Copy default .xinitrc to home folder: /cp /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc ~/.xinitrc

Comment out the last lines at the bottom after the last fi with # and add exec i3 at the bottom after them Save and exit

If like me, you borked something up and didn't get a usable screen first time, you can copy the default i3 config: cp /etc/i3/config ~/.config i3/ Ideally you can skip this for now, and it'll prompt you for mod key to use and to import the default config once you launch.

type startx and hopefully you end up with a usable i3 screen!

###todo: I actually don't have a usable i3bar yet, will update when I get it sorted!

Also: actually, I cheat...

I use my existing dotfiles and mod them as needed for each system, for example Xft.dpi as not everything I own is HiDPI. Mine are at pastebin.com/u/ignitionigel, and I also share them and fonts & wallpapers between machines with syncthing. I also change out dmenu for rofi, but it does the same thing.

~rtwx~

  • let me know if anything needs correcting here, I hate finding guides and they skip over stuff :) You can find me on the fediverse @rtwx

Installing Lutris

I had heard Lutris was the latest hotness for gaming on Linux, so proceeded to the website to find out how to install it.

I am trying out Kubuntu 18.04, because I hadn't tried KDE before and the screenshots looked okay. I admit I'm a bit DE agnostic; oh well.

I copied the first line into my terminal... and got an error. Well of course I did. Did I really expect it to just work?

I'm no expert coder*, but it appears that ver=$(lsb_release -sr); if [ $ver != "18.04" -a $ver != "17.10" -a $ver != "17.04" -a $ver != "16.04" ]; then ver=18.04; fi is simply saying that 14.04/etc should all use 18.04 where $ver is in the following commands.

So the next line, I copied into my terminal, but where it said $ver I put 18.04 instead. Yay, that step now worked!

The third step to add the key worked as advertised. So that was nice.

Then apt update and apt install lutris, and now I have Lutris in the launcher to click on and... oh, I have to install a game I suppose.

Installing Guild Wars 2

I opened Lutris, created an account (this annoys me a little, as that should not be necessary), and selected “Browsing Lutris.net for games to install”. This did nothing, so I went back to the Lutris website and searched for Guild Wars 2, clicked the link that loaded which opened the page for the game. I scrolled down the page to “WINE 64 bit” and clicked install. Easy!

Wrong.

The address wasn’t understood Firefox doesn’t know how to open this address, because one of the following protocols (lutris) isn’t associated with any program or is not allowed in this context. You might need to install other software to open this address.

But of course.

Did some quick DuckDuckGo-ing and found this forum thread which contained this useful post:

What worked for me was adding a boolean to about:config (right click and select New > Boolean) named network.protocol-handler.expose.lutris setting it to false. Then when I tried to install a game Firefox asked me what application to use and I set it to lutris.

So I return to the Lutris Guild Wars 2 page, and click install again. Yay! It prompts me for which program to use!

Oh wait – I don't know where Lutris is installed...

So I open the Application Launcher, start typing Lutris to bring it up, the right click Lutris and select Edit Application. A window opens, which shows the application location to be /usr/share/applications. Alright, so now in the Firefox pop-up to select which program to run, I navigate to /usr/bin and select lutris (because I'm an idiot and that's where I found it first – unsure if the application path above is better or the same?).

Now I OK Lutris option in the Firefox popup, and at last Lutris prompts for install version and location! I OK the defaults (64bit, ~/Games/guild-wars-2) and let it do it's thing. Downloading https://lutris.net/files/runners/wine-esync-3.13-x86_64.tar.gz Well okay then. I wait.

After downloading, WINE pops up and says it can't find a couple of things. I let it install them.

Once that is done, it prompts to ask if you want to set up an application launcher shortcut and a desktop shortcut. Select as you wish (you can launch from inside Lutris also), and launch Guild Wars 2! The Launcher will update and launch, then will start downloading the game. I cheated as I dualboot, and copied from my Windows partition to the GW2 directory in ~/Games.

It runs surprisingly well, I tested on my laptop which is an i5-6200U with integrated intel gfx, and it is very marginal. I drop approx 5-10fps over running on windows with the same machine, which unfortunately as it's borderline in Windows makes it a bit frustrating for myself. On a remotely gaming spec rig it'll run amazingly I'd say, so give it a go!

~rtwx~

*I'm not a coder at all actually, just in case you didn't pick that up.