Tag Archive | expensive

Blind Test, Nikon vs. Sony, Confirms Why I Plan To Switch To Nikon.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to access ‘BLIND TEST’. It is in Japanese. Get Google to translate. Site is RATHER slow. You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.


Some of the ‘Blind Test’ comparison pictures.

Click to ENLARGE.



My Contention.

Doesn’t matter which one is better. They are pretty close.

The DAMN Sony lens is 2.2 MORE EXPENSIVE.

I can pay 2.2 less and have the same image quality!


I read about this ‘blind test’, Nikon z7 vs. Sony a7RII, on the ‘DPReview‘ ‘Nikon Z’ forum.

Since I have a Sony a7II and plan to switch to a Nikon z6 (early next year) I was curious. The test was close enough — just a difference in resolution to my gear.

The test is in Japanese BUT, luckily, Google does an excellent job translating.

I did NOT have to do the whole test.

By the time I looked at 4 pictures I knew that my CONTENTION re. Sony was proved — BIG TIME.

My only gripe about Sony has been the prices of their lenses — especially full-frame, FE-mount lenses. They are ridiculously expensive. Yes, I could afford them BUT I would have a hard time justifying their prices. That is the reason I want to go with Nikon.

Until now, I couldn’t because Nikon didn’t make mirrorless, and I committed myself to mirrorless over 3-years ago.

The Nikon z6 is thus the ideal camera for I. Full-frame mirrorless, 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization and affordable lenses (though I am not that convinced that the new lenses are superlative).

So, here is the CRUX of the Blind Test.

By definition, a Blind Test, compares similar offerings.

So, the image quality Nikon vs Sony was going to be CLOSE. And it is.

But, here is the kicker. The lens on the Sony is 2.2 MORE EXPENSIVE than that of the Nikon.

2.2 MORE Expensive and you can’t tell the DIFFERENCE.

Give me a break. I will have the CHEAP Nikon PLEASE.

Q.E.D.


Related Posts:
Check Categories ‘Nikon’ & ‘Canon’.


by Anura Guruge

Cape Cod Central Railroad: The Good, The Bad & The UGLY.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution will be strictly enforced.

Cape Cod Central Railway Anura Guruge Sony a7II




On Thursday, August 10, 2017 Teischan & I took the ‘midday’, 2-hour Cape Cod Central Railroad excursion.


BOTTOM LINE: It is indeed a railway excursion, in historic carriages, pulled by a very well maintained and attractive EMD GP28 diesel engine (in our case, #2009). If you have never been on a train and are itching to do so, and this is your one big opportunity, by all means go ahead and do it — but unless you are ‘rich’ don’t bother paying the premium for the Dome. Yes, get the cheapest tickets. Notice that they never refer to this as a ‘Scenic’ ride — since the scenery is pick-a-boo. 70% of the time what you will see is this ⇓ (below) and they will tell you that that will be the case once you are on the train and it is moving. Yes, overgrown, dense foliage wreathed in thick vines (a feature of the Cape Cod landscape).


The station in Hyannis, the only one of the route, is NOT much of a station and as such there is NO railway station experience. Ditto when it comes to the engine. So, do not expect to see other engines, carriages etc. as you would do, say at the ‘Conway SCENIC Railway‘. This is NOT for the true railway enthusiast —  as in my case.

The onboard staff, especially an OLD (like in his late 70s), grossly obese conductor we had, are downright HOSTILE! That was something new. It was like being in a prison. No you can’t stand, no you can’t walk, no you can’t look out of the window. It was NO, NO, NO. I did not enjoy the experience. It reminded me of the joke about the Italian, on honeymoon with his new wife ‘Virginia‘, on a sleeper train out of New York heading down to Florida — when the conductor, early on in the evening shouts out, over the speakers ‘Norfolk, Virginia‘! (Say that out loud and try to imagine what an Italian married to a ‘Virginia’ might hear if he is in bed.)

So, this is my recommendation: only do it if you must and if so keep your costs down.



THE GOOD

1. Nice, well-maintained engine.

2. FREE (to $5) parking on the side of the station, which is great as parking in Hyannis is not easy and is expensive. You can see the parking, through the glass, to the side, behind Teischan.

3. Some decent scenery, including cranberry bogs (which I wanted to see) though interrupted views are not the norm:

4. Good view of the Bourne Bridge and the Cape Cod Canal:


THE BAD

1. Expensive! Overall, you have to question whether their prices are justifiable.

2. There is NO railway experience. I feel bad for the kids. A stark & bare station — badly maintained. It is like getting on a subway. The yard is 1/4-mile away and they don’t allow you to visit that! ‘Norfolk, Virginia‘!


THE UGLY

1. Very badly maintained rolling stock, with peeling paint, cracked window in the dome and totally glazed over windows:

2. Downright HOSTILE onboard staff. ‘Norfolk, Virginia‘! It was NOT a good experience and that is a shame!


P.S., The parked engine in the yard, at top, with a single BIG light, is an EMD F7, one of my favorite U.S. locomotives.


Related posts:
++++ Search ‘train’ >>>>


by Anura Guruge

“RBC Wealth Management”: Incompetent, Disgustingly Expensive & Duplicitous!

by Anura Guruge


I have nothing but total utter contempt for this company and for the world of me cannot understand why an American, living in America, would ever think of investing with RBC. from what I have seen they have NOTHING, but nothing, going for them. They are desperate to cling on, at any and all costs, to the assets they hold and will go to extremes, including outright duplicity, to try and prevent you from withdrawing assets.

I would never have invested with RBC. I am partial to good ol’ American and British institutions, in particular Fidelity Investments, Barclays, Bank of AMERICA and TD Ameritrade.

I only had to deal with this miserable outfit because an elderly relative of Devanee’s had set up two 529 College Funds for her. He died last year and towards the latter part of the year I had to become the Custodian of these accounts since she, at 15, is still a minor. One of the accounts was with Blackrock and the other with bloody RBC.

Blackrock was a delight to deal with. Kudos and thank you. I was very impressed. IF I ever seriously thought of leaving Fidelity (and recently they informed me that I had been a customer for 30 years) I would consider Blackrock.

RBC was the polar opposite to Blackrock.


In December 2015 I had to first start the process of having the Custodianship transferred over to me. That is fairly involved and required ‘Medallion Guarantees‘ (which I had never heard of before in 40-years of financial dealings), death certificates and letters of intent. But finally got it done. Blackrock, on my very first call to them, went about setting up an online account for me so that I would have immediate access to the 529 account as soon as they received and processed the paperwork. Given that I am so used to doing my financial transactions online, that was neat and v. helpful. Not so with RBC. All the time I was with them I never had online access. I, nonetheless, managed to get everything transferred and set up with RBC.

After I took over the accounts my immediate druthers, quite naturally, was to have the 2 accounts transferred to Fidelity. Devanee already had an account at Fidelity and I, as some of you know, have a Fidelity tab open on this PC for 12-14 hours a day. It was just more convenient for me to have everything at Fidelity PLUS Fidelity doesn’t charge exorbitant fees and commissions.

So I set about trying to Rollover the two 529s using the Standard Rollover Form provided by Fidelity. And yes Fidelity helped me, over the phone, fill them in and get them correct.

In addition to the Rollover form Fidelity (quite rightly) requires a current statement of the account being rolled over so that they can make sure all is in order.

Getting a statement from Blackrock was no problem. I just logged on and printed one.

With RBC, as with all my dealings with them, I had to call them. I called them in February 2016 to ask for a statement. They said that they would be sending one to be, automatically, in April, for the first quarter — and that I should wait for that. I waited until the 3rd week in April. Called again. They said my statement was going out that week. I waited two weeks Nothing. Called again. They said they mailed me a statement. So I asked them what address they mailed it to. They gave me the address of the now deceased, previous custodian! I asked them whether that was the name and address they had for the account. They admitted that it was NOT and that this was in error. They also volunteered that this happens quite often. INCOMPETENCE.

They sent me a statement. I forwarded it to Fidelity, along with the 529 Rollover form in early May. A couple of weeks later, mid-May, I had a letter from Fidelity saying that they had sent to Rollover form to RBC and that they expected the proceeds to sent over within a couple of weeks.


Here are extracts from the Rollover form sent to RBC. Fidelity helped me, as they did with the Blackrock form, to fill this in and they, OBVIOUSLY, checked it, diligently, before they sent it over to RBC. Fidelity does not screw up often.

Click to ENLARGE and see …
(Sorry I wiped out account numbers etc.)
rbsrollover1

rbsrollover2


I waited, patiently, until June 20 before I called up Fidelity to ask why the funds had not arrived. They asked me to call RBC. I did.

RBC said that on May 19th they had REJECTED the Rollover because the Rollover form did not contain Devanee’s name!

That is a bold face lie. See the proof above. Plus Fidelity has copies of what they sent. Devanee’s name and social were on the Form, in the right place.

They just did NOT want to execute the Rollover because they didn’t want to lose the assets.

They claim that they sent a rejection letter to Fidelity on May 19th. Well Fidelity never got it.

DUPLICITOUS and INCOMPETENT.


I was beyond livid my now. Told them to liquidate the assets and send me a check. Said they couldn’t because there was a BLOCK on my account! Why was there a BLOCK on my account. Because they had received mail saying undeliverable. And why was that? Because they sent it to the P.O. Box of a deceased person! INCOMPETENCE.

I finally got a check. They charged $149.94 to sell 148 shares of a U.S. company! In totally this SCUMMY company charged me $351.94 to sell 184 shares! In essence they exploited a 15-year old child. Their commission came to 6.15% of the proceeds. That is disgusting.

So BE WARNED. RBC is scum. Stay clear of them. Why an American would want to deal with this outfit when WE have world class institutions — like Fidelity and Blackrock — defies comprehension.

That is it. Nothing more that needs to be said.


rbsstockprice

From ‘MarketWatch.com’. Click to ENLARGE.


rbsdowngrade

Well RBC was recently DOWNGRADED to ‘negative’ by S&P. Click on image to access the full original.


Related posts:
++++ Check Category
 ‘Investments’ for related posts >>>>


by Anura Guruge

Sony RX10 III — “Engadget” Contends (Provocatively) That It Is too Expensive.

by Anura Guruge


sonyrx103engadest1212

Click image to access “engadget” post.


One of the ‘engadhetSony RX10 III sample pictures.

I like it. My quality. Now I don’t feel as shaky as I did when I saw these 2 from a RX10 III.

sonyrx103engadestsample111

Click to ENLARGE study & admire. From ‘engadget’.


Interesting. Of course this has crossed my mind.

In the end it all BOILS down to the 1″ sensor. I, with my Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, which also has a 1″ sensor, fully understand the pros and cons of this compromise sensor size.

Unlike Nathan Ingraham, the ‘engadget’ reviewer, I do use and like long zoom. So that is the trade-off. Yes, my plan is/was to get a Fuji X-T2 with the APS-C sensor. But I am not going to be able to get a 600mm zoom for that — not for the money I am willing to spend.

So that is the choice.


Related posts:
++++ Search ‘images’, ‘Sony’, ‘Lumix’ & ‘Fuji’ for other posts >>>>

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>


by Anura Guruge

Sony RX10 II — Way Overpriced At The Final Reckoning!

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:samsungnx1
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Shy away from Samsung NX1.
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Sony a77 II on Amazon.
>> Decide to DITCH Sony a77 Mk II.
>> ‘Unable to Display’ error!

>> 1st pics with Sony a77 II from Cameta
>>
Sony a77 II from Cameta Camera?

>> My review of Sony a77 II Bundle.

>> Search ‘Sony’ for other related posts >>>>


Push comes to shove, the Sony RX10 II
is NOT cost justifiable.

fz1000vssony

Click to access the very useful ‘snapsort.com’ comparison of the Sony DSC-RX10 II vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000.


In the end I did NOT need the above head-to-head comparison by ‘snapsort.com‘ to tell me that the RX1o II was NOT worth the money — BUT it was the final straw.

When the Sony RX10 II was announced in June 2015 I drooled over it for three months. I genuinely thought, till well into August, that the RX10 II would be my next camera — when I treated myself to a new camera in September, for my birthday, as I have been doing yearly of late. I researched the RX10 II for months. I really wanted to convince myself that this was THE right camera for me. Then right at the last minute I decided that I did not want to go down from an APS-C sensor to a 1″ sensor. That is when I went with the Sony a77 mk II. I loved the Sony a77 mk II — once I got used to it. On Sunday, September 20, 2015, at the NH Highland Games, in Loon, it was taking some awesome pictures. I could see that just on the LCD display. It was all that I wanted from a camera. I felt vindicated. I had made the right choice. It just happened that it was THE 989 images that I took that day at Loon that I lost — off the card. But, fortunately I had downloaded the images before they went ‘poof’.

I could NOT live with the a77 mk II after that ‘lost image‘ episode. So I returned the entire kit and started again looking at cameras.

Given the TON of research I had done over the Summer it made sense to go back to what had been my short-list cameras — bar the Pentax K-3. The Pentax no longer had any appeal. I want to be mirrorless — or at least get away from a MOVING mirror. So I want back to the Samsung NX1 and Sony RX10 II. Samsung NX1, on second look, proved not to have the right glass at the right price. Plus there are still questions about its AF even with the firmware at 1.4.

I then went back to the RX10 II willing to compromise down to a 1″. But then I realized that IF you discount 4K video — and video in general only has tertiary appeal to me — then the RX10 II is WAY overpriced given that its optical zoom only goes up to 200mm. Yes, it is fixed aperture, at f2.8, across all its range but a camera with 200mm range should not cost $1,200+. In the end, weighing the ‘competition’, I came to the conclusion that the RX10 II should be in the low $900 range. So, I am NOT going to get a Sony RX10 II — and remember that I BOUGHT SNE shares because I was so enamored by the RX10 II. That is how the cookie sometimes crumbles. So here we have the paradox of a Sony shareholder eschewing a flagship Sony product because it is too expensive! 


Fidelity Investments New Account Look — Now In Preview, Permanent In Mid-Nov. 2014.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
>>
Fidelity online training.
>> Grossed by Gross.

>> Alibaba IPO
>> GoDaddy IPO

>> Resisted ‘FKU’ but bought ‘EROS’
>> OptionMonster option trading book
>> Facebook has bigger market cap than IBM

++++ Check Category ‘Investments’ or search ‘Fidelity’ for other related posts >>>>


fidelitynewlookoct22

Did YOU REALLY think I would let you look at my account? Wow. Give me a call. I have some great real estate I can sell YOU.


Starting yesterday they want us, i.e., Fidelity online customers, to test drive the new user interface. I was in a hurry yesterday, BUT did.

I kind of like it. LOTS of information on one busy screen BUT I like data. I am a strong believer that you can never have enough data. So in that respect I am a believer.

All the columns are also sortable. That can be handy, BUT be aware of it. IF you accidentally did a sort, all your positions will be in the ‘wrong’ places, BUT there should be a THICK underline below the column that is currently active in terms of the sort. IF the thick underline is NOT under ‘Symbol’ then your positions will not be in alphanumeric order. Remember that.

Yes, ‘Pending Activity’ is also still there BUT not as prominently. Look for it below. You can click on the ‘+’ to expand it.

The ‘Options Summary’ is neat. I could get addicted to that.

The one thing that really sucks. ‘Current Value’ & ‘Quantity’ are columns 5 & 6 respectively. That is awkward.

I called up Fidelity and, as ever, spoke with a very nice Rep. He ‘confessed’ that I wasn’t the first person to complain about this. Even he didn’t like it.

We agreed that the BEST solution would be to give us the option to reorder the columns. That would be REAL neat.

Found something else and just conveyed it to Fidelity. Screens do NOT automatically resize. So if you move an open tab from one screen to another, as I can and will do — with my dual-monitor set up — the tab doesn’t automatically resize. YOU have to manually hit the Windows resize button at the top. Fidelity now knows about it.

So that is about it. I like it. It is a LOT. I will get used to it. IF they give us movable columns it could be real nice.


Fidelity Investments (New) Online Training Events With On24 Webcast Technology — Quite Cool.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
>> Grossed by Gross.

>> Alibaba IPO
>> GoDaddy IPO
>> Resisted ‘FKU’ but bought ‘EROS’
>> OptionMonster option trading book
>> Facebook has bigger market cap than IBM

++++ Check Category ‘Investments’ or search ‘Fidelity’ for other related posts >>>>


fidelty0n24ss671a

Click to ENLARGE. This afternoon’s ‘On24’ Webcast technology based Browser pane I had for my online training event. I was impressed. Worked well.


As I have alluded to before, multiple times, I do play options and have done so for nearly twenty years. But, I just do covered calls. That I understand how to do, quite well, given that over the years I must have written hundreds of them.

But, I have no clue about any of the other option strategies. Today I heard ‘Iron Condor’. I have NO CLUE.

Over the years I have promised myself that I will teach myself options. Knowing who I am and what I can do, I do know that I will be able to master options and even be pretty good at it. BUT, I have yet to set out to learn options. I always appear to have some excuse — mainly that I am writing a book. Well, I am writing a book again …

I get a fair amount of e-mails from Fidelity — which is fair enough because I do have a fair amount of transactional volume a week through them. Quite a few of the e-mails have to do with informational or training events. Fidelity no longer calls me to offer me financial advice or access to financial advisors. They have access to my record and performance. They know that I muddle through … and that muddling through is all that I am interested in.

Last week I got an invite for this “Generating option trading ideas using Fidelity’s tools and resources” event — today, at noon. I knew I really should ‘attend’ because Fidelity’s option ‘platform’ totally baffles me. I don’t use it. Good ol’ option-chains is all I need or at least all I use.

I registered, which was not a problem. I got e-mails with a link. This morning I had yet another reminder — which was good. At 11:45, within the 15 minute pre-event window, I clicked and was automatically ‘enrolled’ without having to type in anything.

It was slick. It was seamless. No glitches. Very smooth. I was impressed.

I have, over the years, going back maybe 15 years, used various online Webinar technologies. I am sure this was the first time I had used ‘on24‘ Webcast. I was pleasantly impressed. It did what it had to do with no fuss and to me that is the beauty of a good Webinar tool. It should not get in the way. It should facilitate without getting in your face. That it did.

It was a decent educational Webinar. Yes, after 30 minutes I lost interest. But that is par for the course. I am NOT good, never have been, at any ‘classroom’ based education and training. I have to do it on my terms on my pace. But now I know some places to look.

I am going to bite the damn bullet and get the damn book EVEN if it is not available online. I know that that is what I should start with.

But, I am pleased and impressed with Fidelity and On24 — but, 99.6% of the time I am always impressed with Fidelity. They try and they are good.


Two Of Last Week’s ‘Hot’ IPOs, Vivint Solar & Yodlee, Plummet Within First 72 Hours.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
>> Grossed by Gross.

>> Alibaba IPO
>> GoDaddy IPO
>> Resisted ‘FKU’ but bought ‘EROS’
>> OptionMonster option trading book
>> Facebook has bigger market cap than IBM

++++ Check Category ‘Investments’ for other posts >>>>


Click to access “MarketWatch” coverage for each.

Red track on chart is that for SPX — S & P 500 index.

ydlechart45a1a
vivantsolarchart1a


Two classic examples that all IPOs don’t do well. Even Alibaba is down from its first day — albeit not from the $66 that some lucky buggers were able to get it at, that being the IPO price.

I was aware of both of these IPOs and ‘tracked’ them given that Fidelity told me that I might have a slim chance of getting an IPO allocation.

I stayed clear of VSLR because it was solar and I had read enough bad things about that sector. I am GLAD I did. But there was something very scary about what happened with that IPO. The day after the IPO, “Seeking Alpha” (which is a bunch of unregulated, amoral, unethical cowboys as far as I am concerned) published an article saying that VSLR was “destined to destroy shareholder wealth“. The stock plummeted. They claim that they could not publish this article, i.e., that it was on embargo, till after the IPO. Please. I feel bad for all those that got 3rd degree burns.

I was interested in YDLE. Most IPOs to do with ‘the cloud’ have a pop — because people think the cloud is sexy and strategic, though in reality we have been exploiting cloud for the last 10 years, IF not more. Some of you, I know, can’t even remember ‘the network is the computer’. I do. I decided to beg Fidelity for 2 shares at the IPO — that being all that I could afford at $12 a share.

Well they didn’t give me those 2 shares — probably because you have to ask for allocations in blocks of 100!

I am GLAD that Fidelity didn’t give me those 2 shares.

I can buy YDLE in the open market now — without any flipping restrictions.

So I am just giving YOU a heads up because unlike the clowns on “Seeking Alpha” I am not out to get you so that I can make some money. Maybe that is where I go wrong.


I Am Grossed Out That Janus Stooped So Low As To Hire Discredited Bill ‘the’ Gross From PIMCO.

bjbhxchartaa34Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


woman-grossed-outRelated Posts:
>> BJHHX has decent 2013

>> Alibaba IPO
>> GoDaddy IPO
>> Resisted ‘FKU’ but bought ‘EROS’
>> OptionMonster option trading book
>> Facebook has bigger market cap than IBM

++++ Check Category ‘Investments’ for other posts >>>>


janusanus


Up until about 7 months ago when I sold a fairly large (at least for me) holding in JAHYX (viz. Janus High-Yield Fund) I had been a very content and loyal Janus mutual fund customer for well over 20 years. I swore, but always in a positive sense, by Janus. In a way I still feel I have some ownership of Janus. A ‘relative’ of mine who INSISTS on basing all of his investments, rightly or wrongly, on my recommendations has been in JATTX (Janus Triton) [and VILLX (Villere Balanced)] for the last 4 years or so. He, risk averse and reluctant to ‘churn’, has done well …

I owned ‘Janus Twenty’ for close onto 20 years and did reasonably well. There were times when I had more money in Janus funds than with any other fund family.

I liked Janus. Not anymore.

But hiring the gross Gross was utterly gross.

Yes, I know Gross is richer than God and likes to talk like the next Messiah on drugs. Yes, given that I do watch quite a bit of CNBC I have had to listen to him talk his sheer drivel for too long. I have never found him convincing let alone credible. Yes, of course, you can be richer than God if you resort to practices like this …

That the SEC is investigating his flagship fund for false pricing sums
up everything I have always felt about Gross and PIMCO.
pimcoetfwsj

Click for WSJ coverage. Google ‘PIMCO EFT’ for much, much more. Gross is just gross.


Yes, Janus has had a nice POP both in terms of financial gains and PR. But this is blood money. This move will hurt Janus in the long run.

I do a LOT of research into mutual funds, stocks and ETFs. I have done lots of research into mutual funds, stocks and ETFs for a very long time. When I do my research, using multiple ‘Guruge-special Excel spreadsheets’, I am very thorough. I have NEVER found a PIMCO fund for which I could NOT find a better alternative. PIMCO funds is for the rich and lazy. Gross got so much wrong. He even admitted that he got bonds and stocks mixed up in 2013. Well I did exactly the opposite of what Gross was telling people to do and I did quite well in 2013 — THANK YOU.

Janus you have just made a FOOL of yourself. I will never invest a cent with you AGAIN — even if you wire ‘the Gross’ tomorrow, like PIMCO were planning to do.

This was one heck of a GROSS move. Even from where I sit, with no Janus holdings, I feel violated and cheapened.

Gross, Gross, Gross.


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