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Erik De Koster "erikdk" (belgium)

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Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention
Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention
by Stanislas Dehaene
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute joy to read, 13 Mar 2011
wonderful book. Spot on in the difficult task of being technically correct and yet understandable to the lay public. Everything is patientely explained in detail, from the expermental psychology of reading to the neuroanatomy, and beyond. Absolutely fascinating, and a joy te read.

Echoes of Life: What Fossil Molecules Reveal about Earth History
Echoes of Life: What Fossil Molecules Reveal about Earth History
by Susan M. Gaines
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful marvelous book., 28 Sep 2010
This book is probably a publisher's nightmare: it contains chemical formulas - and organic chemistry for that -, the subject is not really 'sexy' (biomarkers, petroleum chemistry, paleontology) - yak. And yet, it reads like a detective novel. I've read it almost uninterrupted for 2 days, and for me this is the standard any popular science book should aim for, for it's all documented, founded in the scientific litterature, it doesn't shy away from controversy or what is unkown today, and all the while it stais extremely readable. The tricks are that serious science is introduced in a narrative, showcasing real people, real scientists, and second, that it has a logical order where the oldest science is used as a stepping stone to introduce more recenty developments. This happens because the main author is a writer with a scientific background in this matter. And if you are ready and accepting to immerse yourself in this wonderful world of technical developments in analytical chemistry and its application to geology, boy what a wonderful world it introduces it you to. You can follow step by step how analysis developed, where these strange molecules came from, and, most of all, what they tell us about earth's history. You understand on a new level what popular science tells you about, say, the oxygen content of the aerth's atmosphere, because the science that backs these data up is explained. The subject of this detective novel is earth itself, how it developed, what strange creatures inhabited it, ande what traces they left. You don't need to be a scientist to read this book, any interested amateur can read this. There are indeed formulas, but they are well explained, you don't need any knowledge of organic chemistry to understand them, and they are not necessary to read the book. If Steven J Gould's story of the Burgess Shale (a wonderful life) interested you, or if the earth's history interests you, ot if simply you want to know how science works and builds up its knowledge, you will love this book.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens
Price: 1,315.00

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mindblowing, 27 Sep 2008
this is an absolutely incredible lens.
Its intended use is on a Full Frame camera like the D3 or the D700, but you can of course use it on any Nikon DX camera; it would however be a waste on a DX camera, because the 14-24F4 is smaller, lighter, and wider (on DX) than the 14-24. On an FX camera the 14-24 is of course wider than the 14-24 (equivalent 18-36 on FF).
Its optical performances are stellar. This is with absolute certainty the best ultrawide lens for DSLR cameras. It is better than Nikon's wide primes, and it is at least as good or better than some very expensive exotic lenses like the Carl Zeiss manual focus lenses. It has been optimized for digital cameras, implying less lightfall in the corners. It contains Nikon's fabulous N-glass which certainly contributes to its performances. Some Canonians will buy an adaptor ring and accept the fully manual operation of this lens on their canon bodis to be able to fully exploit its performances.
Be aware, this is a BIG and heavy lens. There is no way to put filters on it.


Nikon D700 Digital SLR Camera Body Only (12.1MP) 3 inch LCD
Nikon D700 Digital SLR Camera Body Only (12.1MP) 3 inch LCD

105 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow - crazy in low light, and then some, 27 Sep 2008
I have had a D200 since 2 years, which has been an absolutely splendid decision. About the only weakness of the D200 was its inability to go high in the ISOs without introducing a lot of noice, which already starts creeping in at ISO 400, is definitely there at ISO 800, and is intolerable at ISO 1600. The D3 which came last year fixed this problem but was very expensive at that time. I have owned a D700 since a month now and I have been absolutely blown away by its performance. The D700 inherits some major systems from the D3, especially the sensor and the autofocus. It is absolutely amazing to be able to go straight to ISO 6400 without any loss of quality: no noice, no loss of sharpness (at variance with the D300 which is less noisy than the D200 but does so at the expense of more softening and loss of detail of the image, like the Canons do).
But there are some other significant goodies. Auto-ISO means that when light gets low, ISO automatically will be increased untill the level you accept. My ISO is set at 200, but may go up to 6400 if necessary. Only when light becomes even lower does the shutterspeed decrease. Another major system is auto-dLighting, which will reduce the dynamic range of the picture by automatically enhancing the darkest parts of a scene which otherwise would be completely blackened out. Full frame is a mixed blessing: wide angle becomes wide again, restoring the intended use of my glorious 28-70F2.8. The new 14-24 F2.8 is an astonishing new lens (the absolutely best in its category, some canonians buy it with an adaptor ring to be able to use it, accepting the fully manual operation of this lens on a canon) which takes wide to new extremes, unattainable with a DX camera like the D200. The larger FF sensor with 12MP as compared to the D300's 12MP on a DX sensor means a lesser pixeldensity, which is the secret for the extremely high ISO sensitivity of this camera. It also implies less DOF (depth of field) with the same focal and diafragm settings, which is good for isolating a subject from its surroundings, but which also means one has to be more careful about focusing. Some inexperienced photographers may be surprised when upgrading from a bridge or especially a compact camera: one needs a better photographic technique with a full-frame camera, so there certainly is a learning curve. On the other hand, my teles are shorter on a FF than on a DX sensor: 200 mm is once again a 200 mm and no longer equivalent 300 mm as on a DX camera, so one loses at the long end. Long tele with perfect light (safari etc...) is probably the only situation in which I would still use my D200, some people also use it for macrophotography because of the gain in DOF.
I could use DX lenses on my D700, but that would be a waste since only the central part of the sensor (about 5MP) would be used. To take full advantage of the FF sensor, one therefore needs FF lenses which tend to be more voluminous than equivalent DX lenses. The D700, like the D200, can however fully use any F-mount lens Nikon ever made, including its mindblowing manual focus masterpieces, or second-hand AF-(D) lenses which can be bought at extremely nice prices these days.
I don't use live view, but it's OK if you like it.
This is a professional camera: it is heavy, weather-sealed and sturdy. The D3 which costs almost double has a double CF-card slot (the D700 a single CF-card slot), a 300.000 rated shutter (instead of the D700's 150.000), a 100% viewer (instead of the +/- 95% viewer of the D700), and better batteries. For me these differences weren't worth the huge price difference. Note that the D700 resembles the D3 much more closely than the D200 resembled the D2x for instance.
I didn't think one second about the D300; I guess only auto-Dlighting would have been an advantage compared to the D200, but that certainly wouldn't be sufficient to upgrade.

Here therefore is a very happy D700 owner.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2008 2:55 AM GMT

Nikon AF-S VR NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED Lens
Nikon AF-S VR NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED Lens

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the überzoom, 24 Mar 2008
this is one beast of a lens, weighing over 3 kg. However it is well worth every euro it costs. The sharpness of this lens is breathtaking, rivaling with the prime fixed-focus lenses it encompasses. The trade-off is that you get an F4 lens in the embodiment of the 500 mm, as compared with the 2.8 primes (200mm - 300mm - 400mm) which are slightly less heavy. This implies the 1.7 and 2.0 teleconvertors become manual-focus. VR works flawlessly, and it is possible to make perfect pictures even with the current mediocre light at 400 mm. This is easily the best zoom ever made.

Nikon Af-S Dx Zoom-Nikkor 12-24 F4 G If-Ed Auto Focus
Nikon Af-S Dx Zoom-Nikkor 12-24 F4 G If-Ed Auto Focus
Price: 839.00

24 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the only genuine nikon solution for ultrawide on a DX camera, 10 Nov 2007
excellent lens and indeed more pro-like than amateur-like in price but also in specs. The new 14-24 promises to be one helluva lens for the full frame D3, but its premium price is no match for the 12-24 wich is DX only. If you're buying a D3 and don't already have the 17-35 2.8, the 14-24 will be the better solution since it also is decent on DX; otherwise, if you don't go pro with a D3, the 12-24 is excellent (and still can be used on the D3 although with obly half of the pixels). You obviously don't have the extreme distorsion you get with the 10.5 DX fiseye.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2011 10:58 AM BST

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect lens - a prime, 10 Nov 2007
great macro lens, and great general purpose lens. I absolutely don't have the chasing the first reviewer complained of. Extraoradinarily sharp. You'll still love this one in 20 years on your D2001 or something.

Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4D Lens
Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4D Lens

16 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mediocre make, made in china, 10 Nov 2007
unfortunately this lens in made in china now, and especially the quality of production is sub-par. Mine has a wobbly focus ring (!) and it generally feels cheap. Not worth its price.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 15, 2010 8:51 AM BST

Nikon 18-200MM F3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX
Nikon 18-200MM F3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars almost perfect, the ideal travel lens, 10 Nov 2007
Even though the lens is not as perfect and as fast as the 28-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 I also own, this lens is a lot better than it should be given the enormous zoom range. They are all made in Thailand, they are hard plastic, they are light, extremely versatile, and incredibly steady with the VR. If you want the 100% perfect shot you go for the pro lenses; if you wanna be sure you have your camera on you and make the shot in all cases without fiddling with your lenses, take this one. The competition is trying hard to get there also, but they have a hard time offering all the features of this lens in one package.

Nikon D2XS  Digital Camera - Body Only
Nikon D2XS Digital Camera - Body Only

7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful body, BUT, 10 Nov 2007
don't buy it anymore at this price! The new D300 which comes out this month has better specs for a much lower price (announced +/- 1900 which should work out to about 1300)...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2008 7:23 PM GMT

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