In awe of Netflix

To say I’m in awe of Netflix is truly an understatement.

They started over 15 years ago by sending us plastic disks in the mail, in red envelopes no less. Those DVDs came in to us with fast delivery, in typically excellent condition and without late fees. Their website was beautiful. 

It was love at first sight. 

They focused on the user and have never forgotten their priorities. 

When they made the big switch to streaming shows there were haters a mile long. Probably longer.

I recall talking to executives at cable companies and big media companies about Netflix at the time. Their take on Netflix new initiative: “they don’t have compelling content. It’s all library stuff. We have all the good, new stuff”.

All the while, Netflix kept focusing on the user. They put their product everywhere. In DVD players, connected TVs, Apple TV, Xbox, iPad, and iPhone etc. They offered something easy & ; ubiquitous which is pretty much the opposite of how we experience cable or HBO. 

Netflix on demand quickly became a favorite with both tech early adopters and folks like my mom, who is 72, and loves watching Netflix shows on her iPad. 

Then Netflix delivered their own show — the hit series House of Cards. They gave it to us without restrictions and without commercials. Watch all of our shows anytime you want and anywhere you want it. We will make it easy for you. Season 1 was fantastic. I can’t wait for the next season. 

And now the numbers speak for themselves. Netflix has more paying subscribers than HBO. That is a big fucking deal.

Back in 2010 the head of HBO made this snark about Netflix:

“It’s a little bit like, is the Albanian army going to take over the world?” said Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the chief executive ofTime Warner, in an interview last week. “I don’t think so.”

Then, a year later he offered this gem:

“I would say it [Netflix] is like a 200 pound chimp — it’s not an 800 pound gorilla,” Bewkes told CNBC in an interview on Thursday.

The naysayers need to stop protecting the status quo and get with the program. 

Because the 200 pound chimp is pretty damn awesome and making you look bad. 

What kind of camera should I buy?

I get this question frequently since I wrote this post.

It’s nice to see fellow enthusiasts wanting to push their photography skills farther along their journey.

Right now, there are so many fine cameras it is hard to go wrong. But since I’ve written this down for a number of friends lately, I thought I would just share it on my Tumblr.

(note: this post isn’t meant to cover point and shoot style cameras. It’s likely true the best point and shoot is the iPhone 5s).


I think there are less and less reasons to buy a DSLR these days thanks to high quality, compact mirrorless cameras. But there are a few reasons to still buy one, namely:

-If you are a professional photographer
-if you want to make large prints
-if you seek highest quality images and don’t mind carrying around a big camera and big lenses
-if you want (very) fast autofocus
-if you want telephoto lenses

If you want something that is more compact and still high quality, here are my recommendations at this time.

1. Olympus OMD EM-5. This camera came out last year. The image stablization is sick. I’ve been able to handhold photos at 1/15th of a second. Some of the lenses for this camera are simply stunning like the Olympus 17mm f/2, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4. Autofocus is very fast with any of these lenses. The camera is small, lightweight and responsive. It’s a great system. Olympus is shipping a new model next month called the EM-1. It’s bigger and more expensive than the EM-5 and the image quality is significantly better.

2. Fuji X-E2. The X-E2 is coming out next month. It replaces the Fuji X-E1 which has amazing image quality. The image quality is better than the Olympus but the autofocus is slower. The X-E2 promises faster autofocus speed than it’s predecessor but still a slower camera than the OMD EM-5. Fuji makes a gorgeous 35mm lens for their X systems.

3. Sony RX1R. This is a full frame, autofocus compact camera. The image quality is the best of this bunch and rivals full frame pro DSLRs. The build quality is extraordinary. The UI isn’t my favorite but that’s a personal preference. There are two drawbacks with this camera in my mind. First, it doesn’t come with a built in viewfinder. So you need to either attach a clunky external one or just shoot using the LCD on the back. The other drawback is the lens is fixed and attached. You can’t switch it. But that built in lens is a beauty. Absolutely gorgeous.

* * *

4. Leica M. This is my favorite of the group but it really is a different type of experience all together. It’s a full frame rangefinder system and requires manual focusing. Leica lenses are the best in the world. It’s not for everyone but I had to mention it. It also costs significantly more than the other camera systems mentioned above. A Leica M body is about $7,000 and lenses range from $2k-$10k. I am in love with this quirky, camera that feels like nothing else I’ve ever held.

I hope this helps some of you.