Sony RX1, A User Report

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Sony RX1, A User Report
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Image by kern.justin
Sony RX1 User Report.

I hesitate to write about gear. Tools are tools and the bitter truth is that a great craftsman rises above his tools to create a masterpiece whereas most of us try to improve our abominations by buying better or faster hammers to hit the same nails at the same awkward angles.

The internet is fairly flooded with reviews of this tiny marvel, and it isn’t my intention to compete with those articles. If you’re looking for a full-scale review of every feature or a down-to-Earth accounting of the RX1’s strengths and weaknesses, I recommend starting here.

Instead, I’d like to provide you with a flavor of how I’ve used the camera over the last six months. In short, this is a user report. To save yourself a few thousand words: I love the thing. As we go through this article, you’ll see this is a purpose built camera. The RX1 is not for everyone, but we will get to that and on the way, I’ll share a handful of images that I made with the camera.

It should be obvious to anyone reading this that I write this independently and have absolutely no relationship with Sony (other than having exchanged a large pile of cash for this camera at a retail outlet).

Before we get to anything else, I want to clear the air about two things: Price and Features

The Price

First things first: the price. The 00+ cost of this camera is the elephant in the room and, given I purchased the thing, you may consider me a poor critic. That in mind, I want to offer you three thoughts:

Consumer goods cost what they cost, in the absence of a competitor (the Fuji X100s being the only one worth mention) there is no comparison and you simply have to decide for yourself if you are willing to pay or not.
Normalize the price per sensor area for all 35mm f/2 lens and camera alternatives and you’ll find the RX1 is an amazing value.
You are paying for the ability to take photographs, plain and simple. Ask yourself, “what are these photographs worth to me?”

In my case, #3 is very important. I have used the RX1 to take hundreds of photographs of my family that are immensely important to me. Moreover, I have made photographs (many appearing on this page) that are moving or beautiful and only happened because I had the RX1 in my bag or my pocket. Yes, of course I could have made these or very similar photographs with another camera, but that is immaterial.

35mm by 24mm by 35mm f/2

The killer feature of this camera is simple: it is a wafer of silicon 35mm by 24mm paired to a brilliantly, ridiculously, undeniably sharp, contrasty and bokehlicious 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens. Image quality is king here and all other things take a back seat. This means the following: image quality is as good or better than your DSLR, but battery life, focus speed, and responsiveness are likely not as good as your DSLR. I say likely because, if you have an entry-level DSLR, the RX1 is comparable on these dimensions. If you want to change lenses, if you want an integrated viewfinder, if you want blindingly fast phase-detect autofocus then shoot with a DSLR. If you want the absolute best image quality in the smallest size possible, you’ve got it in the RX1.

While we are on the subject of interchangeable lenses and viewfinders…

I have an interchangeable lens DSLR and I love the thing. It’s basically a medium format camera in a 35mm camera body. It’s a powerhouse and it is the first camera I reach for when the goal is photography. For a long time, however, I’ve found myself in situations where photography was not the first goal, but where I nevertheless wanted to have a camera. I’m around the table with friends or at the park with my son and the DSLR is too big, too bulky, too intimidating. It comes between you and life. In this realm, mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras seem to be king, but they have a major flaw: they are, for all intents and purposes, just little DSLRs.

As I mentioned above, I have an interchangeable lens system, why would I want another, smaller one? Clearly, I am not alone in feeling this way, as the market has produced a number of what I would call “professional point and shoots.” Here we are talking about the Fuji X100/X100s, Sigma DPm-series and the RX100 and RX1.

Design is about making choices

When the Fuji X100 came out, I was intrigued. Here was a cheap(er), baby Leica M. Quiet, small, unobtrusive. Had I waited to buy until the X100s had come out, perhaps this would be a different report. Perhaps, but probably not. I remember thinking to myself as I was looking at the X100, “I wish there was a digital Rollei 35, something with a fixed 28mm or 35mm lens that would fit in a coat pocket or a small bag.” Now of course, there is.

So, for those of you who said, “I would buy the RX1 if it had interchangeable lenses or an integrated viewfinder or faster autofocus,” I say the following: This is a purpose built camera. You would not want it as an interchangeable system, it can’t compete with DSLR speed. A viewfinder would make the thing bigger and ruin the magic ratio of body to sensor size—further, there is a 3-inch LCD viewfinder on the back! Autofocus is super fast, you just don’t realize it because the bar has been raised impossibly high by ultra-sonic magnet focusing rings on professional DSLR lenses. There’s a fantastic balance at work here between image quality and size—great tools are about the total experience, not about one or the other specification.

In short, design is about making choices. I think Sony has made some good ones with the RX1.

In use

So I’ve just written 1,000 words of a user report without, you know, reporting on use. In many ways the images on the page are my user report. These photographs, more than my words, should give you a flavor of what the RX1 is about. But, for the sake of variety, I intend to tell you a bit about the how and the why of shooting with the RX1.

Snapshots

As a beginning enthusiast, I often sneered at the idea of a snapshot. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to appreciate what a pocket camera and a snapshot can offer. The RX1 is the ultimate photographer’s snapshot camera.

I’ll pause here to properly define snapshot as a photograph taken quickly with a handheld camera.

To quote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So it is with photography. Beautiful photographs happen at the decisive moment—and to paraphrase Henri Cartier-Bresson further—the world is newly made and falling to pieces every instant. I think it is no coincidence that each revolution in the steady march of photography from the tortuously slow chemistry of tin-type and daguerreotype through 120 and 35mm formats to the hyper-sensitive CMOS of today has engendered new categories and concepts of photography.

Photography is a reflexive, reactionary activity. I see beautiful light or the unusual in an every day event and my reaction is a desire to make a photograph. It’s a bit like breathing and has been since I was a kid.

Rather than sneer at snapshots, nowadays I seek them out; and when I seek them out, I do so with the Sony RX1 in my hand.

How I shoot with the RX1

Despite much bluster from commenters on other reviews as to the price point and the purpose-built nature of this camera (see above), the RX1 is incredibly flexible. Have a peek at some of the linked reviews and you’ll see handheld portraits, long exposures, images taken with off-camera flash, etc.

Yet, I mentioned earlier that I reach for the D800 when photography is the primary goal and so the RX1 has become for me a handheld camera—something I use almost exclusively at f/2 (people, objects, shallow DoF) or f/8 (landscapes in abundant light, abstracts). The Auto-ISO setting allows the camera to choose in the range from ISO 50 and 6400 to reach a proper exposure at a given aperture with a 1/80 s shutter speed. I have found this shutter speed ensures a sharp image every time (although photographers with more jittery grips may wish there was the ability to select a different default shutter speed). This strategy works because the RX1 has a delightfully clicky exposure compensation dial just under your right thumb—allowing for fine adjustment to the camera’s metering decision.

So then, if you find me out with the RX1, you’re likely to see me on aperture priority, f/2 and auto ISO. Indeed, many of the photographs on this page were taken in that mode (including lots of the landscape shots!).

Working within constraints.

The RX1 is a wonderful camera to have when you have to work within constraints. When I say this, I mean it is great for photography within two different classes of constraints: 1) physical constraints of time and space and 2) intellectual/artistic constraints.

To speak to the first, as I said earlier, many of the photographs on this page were made possible by having a camera with me at a time that I otherwise would not have been lugging around a camera. For example, some of the images from the Grand Canyon you see were made in a pinch on my way to a Christmas dinner with my family. I didn’t have the larger camera with me and I just had a minute to make the image. Truth be told, these images could have been made with my cell phone, but that I could wring such great image quality out of something not much larger than my cell phone is just gravy. Be it jacket pocket, small bag, bike bag, saddle bag, even fannie pack—you have space for this camera anywhere you go.

Earlier I alluded to the obtrusiveness of a large camera. If you want to travel lightly and make photographs without announcing your presence, it’s easier to use a smaller camera. Here the RX1 excels. Moreover, the camera’s leaf shutter is virtually silent, so you can snap away without announcing your intention. In every sense, this camera is meant to work within physical constraints.

I cut my photographic teeth on film and I will always have an affection for it. There is a sense that one is playing within the rules when he uses film. That same feeling is here in the RX1. I never thought I’d say this about a camera, but I often like the JPEG images this thing produces more than I like what I can push with a RAW. Don’t get me wrong, for a landscape or a cityscape, the RAW processed carefully is FAR, FAR better than a JPEG.

But when I am taking snapshots or photos of friends and family, I find the JPEGs the camera produces (I’m shooting in RAW + JPEG) so beautiful. The camera’s computer corrects for the lens distortion and provides the perfect balance of contrast and saturation. The JPEG engine can be further tweaked to increase the amount of contrast, saturation or dynamic range optimization (shadow boost) used in writing those files. Add in the ability to rapidly compensate exposure or activate various creative modes and you’ve got this feeling you’re shooting film again. Instant, ultra-sensitive and customizable film.

Pro Tip: Focusing

Almost all cameras come shipped with what I consider to be the worst of the worst focus configurations. Even the Nikon D800 came to my hands set to focus when the shutter button was halfway depressed. This mode will ruin almost any photograph. Why? Because it requires you to perform legerdemain to place the autofocus point, depress the shutter halfway, recompose and press the shutter fully. In addition to the chance of accidentally refocusing after composing or missing the shot—this method absolutely ensures that one must focus before every single photograph. Absolutely impossible for action or portraiture.

Sensibly, most professional or prosumer cameras come with an AF-ON button near where the shooter’s right thumb rests. This separates the task of focusing and exposing, allowing the photographer to quickly focus and to capture the image even if focus is slightly off at the focus point. For portraits, kids, action, etc the camera has to have a hair-trigger. It has to be responsive. Manufacturer’s: stop shipping your cameras with this ham-fisted autofocus arrangement.

Now, the RX1 does not have an AF-ON button, but it does have an AEL button whose function can be changed to “MF/AF Control Hold” in the menu. Further, other buttons on the rear of the camera can also be programmed to toggle between AF and MF modes. What this all means is that you can work around the RX1’s buttons to make it’s focus work like a DSLR’s. (For those of you who are RX1 shooters, set the front switch to MF, the right control wheel button to MF/AF Toggle and the AEL button to MF/AF Control Hold and voila!) The end result is that, when powered on the camera is in manual focus mode, but the autofocus can be activated by pressing AEL, no matter what, however, the shutter is tripped by the shutter release. Want to switch to AF mode? Just push a button and you’re back to the standard modality.

Carrying.

I keep mine in a small, neoprene pouch with a semi-hard LCD cover and a circular polarizing filter on the front—perfect for buttoning up and throwing into a bag on my way out of the house. I have a soft release screwed into the threaded shutter release and a custom, red twill strap to replace the horrible plastic strap Sony provided. I plan to gaffer tape the top and the orange ring around the lens. Who knows, I may find an old Voigtlander optical viewfinder in future as well.

Sony RX1, A User Report
best way to increase internet speed
Image by kern.justin
Sony RX1 User Report.

I hesitate to write about gear. Tools are tools and the bitter truth is that a great craftsman rises above his tools to create a masterpiece whereas most of us try to improve our abominations by buying better or faster hammers to hit the same nails at the same awkward angles.

The internet is fairly flooded with reviews of this tiny marvel, and it isn’t my intention to compete with those articles. If you’re looking for a full-scale review of every feature or a down-to-Earth accounting of the RX1’s strengths and weaknesses, I recommend starting here.

Instead, I’d like to provide you with a flavor of how I’ve used the camera over the last six months. In short, this is a user report. To save yourself a few thousand words: I love the thing. As we go through this article, you’ll see this is a purpose built camera. The RX1 is not for everyone, but we will get to that and on the way, I’ll share a handful of images that I made with the camera.

It should be obvious to anyone reading this that I write this independently and have absolutely no relationship with Sony (other than having exchanged a large pile of cash for this camera at a retail outlet).

Before we get to anything else, I want to clear the air about two things: Price and Features

The Price

First things first: the price. The 00+ cost of this camera is the elephant in the room and, given I purchased the thing, you may consider me a poor critic. That in mind, I want to offer you three thoughts:

Consumer goods cost what they cost, in the absence of a competitor (the Fuji X100s being the only one worth mention) there is no comparison and you simply have to decide for yourself if you are willing to pay or not.
Normalize the price per sensor area for all 35mm f/2 lens and camera alternatives and you’ll find the RX1 is an amazing value.
You are paying for the ability to take photographs, plain and simple. Ask yourself, “what are these photographs worth to me?”

In my case, #3 is very important. I have used the RX1 to take hundreds of photographs of my family that are immensely important to me. Moreover, I have made photographs (many appearing on this page) that are moving or beautiful and only happened because I had the RX1 in my bag or my pocket. Yes, of course I could have made these or very similar photographs with another camera, but that is immaterial.

35mm by 24mm by 35mm f/2

The killer feature of this camera is simple: it is a wafer of silicon 35mm by 24mm paired to a brilliantly, ridiculously, undeniably sharp, contrasty and bokehlicious 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens. Image quality is king here and all other things take a back seat. This means the following: image quality is as good or better than your DSLR, but battery life, focus speed, and responsiveness are likely not as good as your DSLR. I say likely because, if you have an entry-level DSLR, the RX1 is comparable on these dimensions. If you want to change lenses, if you want an integrated viewfinder, if you want blindingly fast phase-detect autofocus then shoot with a DSLR. If you want the absolute best image quality in the smallest size possible, you’ve got it in the RX1.

While we are on the subject of interchangeable lenses and viewfinders…

I have an interchangeable lens DSLR and I love the thing. It’s basically a medium format camera in a 35mm camera body. It’s a powerhouse and it is the first camera I reach for when the goal is photography. For a long time, however, I’ve found myself in situations where photography was not the first goal, but where I nevertheless wanted to have a camera. I’m around the table with friends or at the park with my son and the DSLR is too big, too bulky, too intimidating. It comes between you and life. In this realm, mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras seem to be king, but they have a major flaw: they are, for all intents and purposes, just little DSLRs.

As I mentioned above, I have an interchangeable lens system, why would I want another, smaller one? Clearly, I am not alone in feeling this way, as the market has produced a number of what I would call “professional point and shoots.” Here we are talking about the Fuji X100/X100s, Sigma DPm-series and the RX100 and RX1.

Design is about making choices

When the Fuji X100 came out, I was intrigued. Here was a cheap(er), baby Leica M. Quiet, small, unobtrusive. Had I waited to buy until the X100s had come out, perhaps this would be a different report. Perhaps, but probably not. I remember thinking to myself as I was looking at the X100, “I wish there was a digital Rollei 35, something with a fixed 28mm or 35mm lens that would fit in a coat pocket or a small bag.” Now of course, there is.

So, for those of you who said, “I would buy the RX1 if it had interchangeable lenses or an integrated viewfinder or faster autofocus,” I say the following: This is a purpose built camera. You would not want it as an interchangeable system, it can’t compete with DSLR speed. A viewfinder would make the thing bigger and ruin the magic ratio of body to sensor size—further, there is a 3-inch LCD viewfinder on the back! Autofocus is super fast, you just don’t realize it because the bar has been raised impossibly high by ultra-sonic magnet focusing rings on professional DSLR lenses. There’s a fantastic balance at work here between image quality and size—great tools are about the total experience, not about one or the other specification.

In short, design is about making choices. I think Sony has made some good ones with the RX1.

In use

So I’ve just written 1,000 words of a user report without, you know, reporting on use. In many ways the images on the page are my user report. These photographs, more than my words, should give you a flavor of what the RX1 is about. But, for the sake of variety, I intend to tell you a bit about the how and the why of shooting with the RX1.

Snapshots

As a beginning enthusiast, I often sneered at the idea of a snapshot. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to appreciate what a pocket camera and a snapshot can offer. The RX1 is the ultimate photographer’s snapshot camera.

I’ll pause here to properly define snapshot as a photograph taken quickly with a handheld camera.

To quote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So it is with photography. Beautiful photographs happen at the decisive moment—and to paraphrase Henri Cartier-Bresson further—the world is newly made and falling to pieces every instant. I think it is no coincidence that each revolution in the steady march of photography from the tortuously slow chemistry of tin-type and daguerreotype through 120 and 35mm formats to the hyper-sensitive CMOS of today has engendered new categories and concepts of photography.

Photography is a reflexive, reactionary activity. I see beautiful light or the unusual in an every day event and my reaction is a desire to make a photograph. It’s a bit like breathing and has been since I was a kid.

Rather than sneer at snapshots, nowadays I seek them out; and when I seek them out, I do so with the Sony RX1 in my hand.

How I shoot with the RX1

Despite much bluster from commenters on other reviews as to the price point and the purpose-built nature of this camera (see above), the RX1 is incredibly flexible. Have a peek at some of the linked reviews and you’ll see handheld portraits, long exposures, images taken with off-camera flash, etc.

Yet, I mentioned earlier that I reach for the D800 when photography is the primary goal and so the RX1 has become for me a handheld camera—something I use almost exclusively at f/2 (people, objects, shallow DoF) or f/8 (landscapes in abundant light, abstracts). The Auto-ISO setting allows the camera to choose in the range from ISO 50 and 6400 to reach a proper exposure at a given aperture with a 1/80 s shutter speed. I have found this shutter speed ensures a sharp image every time (although photographers with more jittery grips may wish there was the ability to select a different default shutter speed). This strategy works because the RX1 has a delightfully clicky exposure compensation dial just under your right thumb—allowing for fine adjustment to the camera’s metering decision.

So then, if you find me out with the RX1, you’re likely to see me on aperture priority, f/2 and auto ISO. Indeed, many of the photographs on this page were taken in that mode (including lots of the landscape shots!).

Working within constraints.

The RX1 is a wonderful camera to have when you have to work within constraints. When I say this, I mean it is great for photography within two different classes of constraints: 1) physical constraints of time and space and 2) intellectual/artistic constraints.

To speak to the first, as I said earlier, many of the photographs on this page were made possible by having a camera with me at a time that I otherwise would not have been lugging around a camera. For example, some of the images from the Grand Canyon you see were made in a pinch on my way to a Christmas dinner with my family. I didn’t have the larger camera with me and I just had a minute to make the image. Truth be told, these images could have been made with my cell phone, but that I could wring such great image quality out of something not much larger than my cell phone is just gravy. Be it jacket pocket, small bag, bike bag, saddle bag, even fannie pack—you have space for this camera anywhere you go.

Earlier I alluded to the obtrusiveness of a large camera. If you want to travel lightly and make photographs without announcing your presence, it’s easier to use a smaller camera. Here the RX1 excels. Moreover, the camera’s leaf shutter is virtually silent, so you can snap away without announcing your intention. In every sense, this camera is meant to work within physical constraints.

I cut my photographic teeth on film and I will always have an affection for it. There is a sense that one is playing within the rules when he uses film. That same feeling is here in the RX1. I never thought I’d say this about a camera, but I often like the JPEG images this thing produces more than I like what I can push with a RAW. Don’t get me wrong, for a landscape or a cityscape, the RAW processed carefully is FAR, FAR better than a JPEG.

But when I am taking snapshots or photos of friends and family, I find the JPEGs the camera produces (I’m shooting in RAW + JPEG) so beautiful. The camera’s computer corrects for the lens distortion and provides the perfect balance of contrast and saturation. The JPEG engine can be further tweaked to increase the amount of contrast, saturation or dynamic range optimization (shadow boost) used in writing those files. Add in the ability to rapidly compensate exposure or activate various creative modes and you’ve got this feeling you’re shooting film again. Instant, ultra-sensitive and customizable film.

Pro Tip: Focusing

Almost all cameras come shipped with what I consider to be the worst of the worst focus configurations. Even the Nikon D800 came to my hands set to focus when the shutter button was halfway depressed. This mode will ruin almost any photograph. Why? Because it requires you to perform legerdemain to place the autofocus point, depress the shutter halfway, recompose and press the shutter fully. In addition to the chance of accidentally refocusing after composing or missing the shot—this method absolutely ensures that one must focus before every single photograph. Absolutely impossible for action or portraiture.

Sensibly, most professional or prosumer cameras come with an AF-ON button near where the shooter’s right thumb rests. This separates the task of focusing and exposing, allowing the photographer to quickly focus and to capture the image even if focus is slightly off at the focus point. For portraits, kids, action, etc the camera has to have a hair-trigger. It has to be responsive. Manufacturer’s: stop shipping your cameras with this ham-fisted autofocus arrangement.

Now, the RX1 does not have an AF-ON button, but it does have an AEL button whose function can be changed to “MF/AF Control Hold” in the menu. Further, other buttons on the rear of the camera can also be programmed to toggle between AF and MF modes. What this all means is that you can work around the RX1’s buttons to make it’s focus work like a DSLR’s. (For those of you who are RX1 shooters, set the front switch to MF, the right control wheel button to MF/AF Toggle and the AEL button to MF/AF Control Hold and voila!) The end result is that, when powered on the camera is in manual focus mode, but the autofocus can be activated by pressing AEL, no matter what, however, the shutter is tripped by the shutter release. Want to switch to AF mode? Just push a button and you’re back to the standard modality.

Carrying.

I keep mine in a small, neoprene pouch with a semi-hard LCD cover and a circular polarizing filter on the front—perfect for buttoning up and throwing into a bag on my way out of the house. I have a soft release screwed into the threaded shutter release and a custom, red twill strap to replace the horrible plastic strap Sony provided. I plan to gaffer tape the top and the orange ring around the lens. Who knows, I may find an old Voigtlander optical viewfinder in future as well.

Tagged: 16 factlets about RL me
best way to increase internet speed
Image by moggs oceanlane
This picture was taken when logging into SL at dial up speeds thus the utter emptiness and half rezzed look – I’m standing in SL nothingness :). I’m on the equivalent of dial up speed for a week… it’s a killer. (The RL component of it changes from time to time )

I have plurked the challenge here.

16 random facts about RL Moggs that you may not know

1. I once rode a mechanical bull for about 3 seconds. Three times in a row. I kept getting back on. My nemesis from school was at the controls … taking me from 0-full speed in seconds.

2. Moggs is a nickname from real life.

3. I twirl my hair when I get tired. Which is probably better than ripping it out in handfuls like I used to do as a baby to make myself to cry so I’d sleep.

4. I love people and think you can never have too many GOOD people in your life… something I don’t regret but which means trying to keep up with people can get interesting at times. I randomly mix my various (and quite different) groups of friends who live locally once or twice a year and never pause to think about who gets along with who or worrying about compatibility – it’d never happen otherwise. My friends are diverse in age, sexuality, religious and moral beliefs, culture/sub-culture and I love them all. (I believe you have to be a little bit in love with all of your [true] friends.)

5. I try to use my powers for good – unless someone ‘makes’ me do otherwise. (I’m relatively easy going and easy to get along with but don’t like bullies. I will stand up for what I believe – vocally, in writing and with my feet.)

6. I love the city and the country. I hate the suburbs. I’ve been living in the outer ‘burbs for the first time EVER for the last year and a bit and I HATE it (and my suburb smells like toilet – for real. I’m not making that up!). I’m currently plotting my return to the inner ‘burbs or city. [Note – this woeful situation was rectified in March 2009… I’m closer to the city but aiming to move closer still… reasonably happy where I am but have a lot of my stuff stored so this place is just temporary]

7. I hate political correctness. I much prefer bluntness. I blame political correctness and the over use of weasel words for exaggerating a number of issues in our society. I don’t ‘get’ discrimination based on gender, sexuality, religion, skin colour and I think that bluntness and common decency are not incompatible (BRUTAL honesty, however, is unneccessary… the regular kind of honesty is just fine and can be served with kindness on the side). I believe common decency is more important that being politically correct. (See also Soft Language by George Carlin).

8. I was a bridesmaid for someone I met in rest rooms at a pub – I’d raided the men’s toilets for toilet paper and handed it over the cubicle… the person recognised my watch later while we were at the bar ordering drinks at the same time. We started chatting and went on to become good friends. Oh… did I forget to say that I meet people in strange and unusual circumstances?

9. I did the ‘get to know you thing’ with a guy who turned out to have 64 aliases (we didn’t get to know each other too well – he was a little strange… even for me. We wouldn’t have got to know one another at all but I’d made up this dumb rule for myself that I had to at least make an attempt to get to know the next guy who asked me out – something I’d regret a whole lot more if the resulting story wasn’t so good!). He was a magician who often wore a bobby policeman outfit which, retrospectively, was very amusing. When the news hit the local papers my phone rang hot. One friend rocked up at 4am at my door, having walked from the city totally drunk and hardly able to speak. He held up the paper and then fell into my house (literally!) in a drunken laughing mess. When I shared the story with my grandma in a letter, she wrote me back a fictional letter – thinking if I could make stuff up, she could too!

10. My favourite colours are red and green. I love particular shades of green. I’m a Leo. I was born on a Thursday at either 00:43 or 00:46. I’m a ENFJ Jung Personality Type – E 11%, I 44% F 88% J 11% (well, according to an Internet based test on the humanmetrics site that I did thanks to Laleeta’s plurk back in October 2008).

11. In my own opinon, I’m equal parts serious and nutty. I like to play. And I like to think.

12. I am not really into large parties but attend them and host them anyway because I love catching up with people. I much prefer catch ups when you can have actual dialogue rather than a range of greetings and short superficial topics. My parties generally go quite well despite the random mix of people and the fact I tend to let things evolve rather than try to direct proceedings. When I’m tired I revert to childhood shyness but few people believe me if I explain why I’m not so social – I had to learn to be outgoing and meet people when I moved to a new town when I was 12 or 13; it was hard work but now it’s like second nature, except when I’m really tired.

13. I love sharing things that impress me (make me laugh, think or propel me to action). I love promoting the people I love… or those whose skills I respect. Many of my friends jokingly call me a pimp – but then ring me when they are after people or information. I compulsively share new finds with friends and aquaintances and go out of my way to email people with trivia or recommendations if I know they are interested in a particular topic. I’m an information junkie and sometimes think I absorb things by osmosis.

14. I believe it’s important to tell people the good stuff as well as the bad. I will offer criticism (that I hope is constructive) but I’ll also offer compliments. I don’t understand why most people don’t hestitate when it comes to the negatives but many find it so hard to share a compliment, pass on something good or to say I like/adore/love you.

15. I’ve never had a broken bone – even though I was a bit of a tomboy as a child and probably should have broken any number of them.

16. When it comes to people, music, tv, movies and books I’m very eclectic in my tastes and like a bit of everything… I think this comes back to the fact I’m insanely curious and hate not knowing.

Supplementary facts inspired by other people’s posts

S1. I sometimes shop for shoes with my sense of humour ON (something you should never do but I can’t help myself!) – inspired by Vixie Rayna (11)

S2. I’m not a fan of city beaches having grown up with beautiful country beaches. I like the beach best when it’s relatively empty… and I love being near the sea when it’s raining or there’s a storm inspired by Serene Footman (6)

S3. My youngest sister (there are three of us) once told me if I wanted to punish someone, I should sing to them. – inspired by Bunny Brickworks (3)

S4. I’m seriously addicted to people watching – – inspired by Vixie Rayna (15)

S5. I have a dog-made-dimple on one of my cheeks… I fell over and during my fall my hand met with the dogs tail and bent it back the wrong way, he turned around and bit me (as a natural reaction) and stopped as soon as he realised he’d bitten one of his humans. The dog and I were both fine and I got a dimple. In other crazy ventures with pets – as a child I was annoying the dog, he gently grabbed my arm with his teeth in warning. Being a stubborn child rather than take the hint and let go, I bit the dog back. They tell me that the dog increased his pressure a bit… and then I did the same and the battle of wills continued until finally I let go. (My parents were watching and ensuring that I wasn’t hurt – obviously I wasn’t too scarred as I love all animals and have no fear at all of dogs) – inspired by Trinity Dechou (7)

S6. I am not a member of any organised religion. I strongly believe in the right to choose. I believe there are things that can’t be explained and haven’t decided whether to attribute them to god, science or our lack of knowledge of the human brain. I once house sat in a house I swore was haunted. I lasted there a whole week where as anyone who came to stay with me lasted a night or less. I ended up leaving a week early and just popped by morning and night to feed the animals and water plants (explaining to my family why I was home early was embarrassing). – inspired by Dolly Voom (7)

S7. I don’t like the bed linen tucked in at the feet. My feet seem to be the master control for my body temperature and I like to be able to move them in and out of the covers. – inspired by Denise Rowlands (13)

S8. I have an excellent memory – which my friends often curse. Don’t tell me stuff you don’t want me to remember. BUT if you tell me anything about cricket (one of the few things that holds zero interest for me) I won’t remember a bit of it. My dad likes to tell me about cricket highlights just to torment me 🙂 – inspired by Bunny Brickworks (10)

S9. Caterpillers gross me out. (My favourite insect is the praying mantis). Not a lot else grossed me out – though if I’m going to be squeemish, it’s generally in response to a sound or to a smell more than visuals. I have friends and family in the medical industry so very little phases me or grosses me out as a topic of conversation while eating – inspired by Madame Maracas (2)

S10. I’m a non-smoker but people often think I am a smoker because many of my friends smoke. I am probably one of the few non-smokers that will look at smoke fanners with reproach. – inspired by Vixie Rayna (17)

S11. The people in a range of cafes I frequent know my face, order and a number of factlets about me (though generally not my name – unless they specifically make a point of asking). I’ll talk to anyone and I love coffee. I am fussy about coffee and am not a fan of chains like starbucks and hudsons – I’d rather go to small cafe with a skilled barista. If my sisters don’t have real coffee and only have instant they won’t bother offering me one. – inspired by Denise Rowlands (2)

S12. My legs are extremely ticklish. Which would be fine if no one knew. Kids, especially, are ruthless if they find out. – inspired by Trinity Dechou (7)

S13. I used to watch ‘tear jerkers’ with my mum when the rest of the family was out so we could sob without being mocked. These days I cry or laugh without shame in the cinema – I cry quietly and just let the tears stream down my face. I laugh whole heartedly and not particularly quietly. (BUT People who talk in the cinema during a movie drive me insane). " […] , you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater." (Book, Firefly) – inspired by Bunny Brickworks (11)

S14. I have many (nick)names and they make me smile. I once read some quote that said, ‘a child with many names is a much loved child ‘ – inspired by Vixie Rayna (18)

S15. I’ve only been on fire once… oh … twice (that I can remember) – once was my thumb due to a flaming sambucca – I was in a crowded pub so couldn’t just drop it either… months later I was at work assisting a client and he said, ‘I know you from somewhere…‘ as soon as I mentioned the suburb where I hung out.. he said, "you were the girl with your thumb on fire!!". another time I caught my pants alight via a tea light candle my friend had artfully sat on the ground – much to the amusement of my friends. – Inspired by gr33ncat

S16 I hate chain letters and junk email. When I receive them and have time, I’ll go through and harvest everyone’s email and send (using BCC) a reply to them all – starting with, "now I have your email addresses, I can subscribe you all to porn lists…" – but then go on to reassure I won’t really do this and provide advice about using the BCC field and sharing some basic email/web etiquette. I really hate junk email and figure if I tell people why, they might stop (or at least might leave me off their spam list :)). (moved up from my comments).

The challenge

Post your RL pic and 16 random facts about your person. But you needn’t if you don’t feel like. It’s not that bad karma will hit you. // Post a pic of yourself on flickr and write down 16 random facts about yourself, funny, quirky, weird stuff then send on to/tag 16 other people.

I didn’t tag anyone else… but if you do it…. or have already done it, please leave a link to your own post here in the comments as I’d love to see yours too. You’ll find a number of other people’s responses to this challenge by browsing my favourites or by visiting the ‘You Got Tagged’ flickr group.

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