V8 Vantage – the Farewell Review

Ottawa Fall Colors '09 #78 by rdonovan
Ottawa Fall Colors ’09 #78, a photo by rdonovan on Flickr.

I admit it. Jeremy Clarkson was right. Those who bought the V8 Vantage would probably just end up wishing they buying a DB9. I can now count myself in that boat, having worked a trade of my V8 Vantage for a DB9.

There are many things to like about the Vantage. First, the sound. It sounds like a proper sports car. Nothing else sounds like it. Second, the handling – it’s brilliant and like playing a video game. You can feel every nuance of the road.

The performance is very good – but you have to push the car psychotically hard to get at it. This is a matter of preference. I am in the camp where I would prefer something more fluidly available.

The lack of front park distance control makes parking a challenge. As you can’t see a bloody thing out the front. But the sie makes fitting into narrow spaces a breeze.

However, what absolutely, totally did it for me was the transmission. It is an Italian-designed F1 paddle-shift with computer controlled clutch. And it’s horrible.

Yes, it can shift in milliseconds. But that isn’t that useful in every day life. The fact that the clutch burns and grinds in parking lot or stop-and-go-traffic is annoying. Even more annoying is when you can’t get at the gear you want.

More annoying still is stopping – and starting – while you agonizingly wait for the clutch to engage. And hope it does before the car coming in the opposite direction nails you. Or, when it engages – it ENGAGES and you are off with a huge streak of burning rubber.

But what absolutely did it was a catastrophic failure to proceed leaving the car stuck in neutral – and a $550 towing bill to get it to the dealer in Montreal from Ottawa. And finding out this kind of failure isn’t at all uncommon. And costs $10K+ to rectify out of warranty.

So with a year left on the warranty, it’s time to find something else. And that something else will be a DB9 – with an automatic. The Vantage is a great car – but if you get one, get a 6-speed.

Advertisements

Hot Dog!!!

One of the rarest of rare photographs – the elusive dachshund known as Otto. Otto personifies why I don’t like to photograph living things. They move. And are very hard to compose. Otto in particular is extremely camera shy – even of camera phones. If he sees a camera, he bolts. I finally managed to capture him catatonic on the patio on a hot day with my iPhone. The only reason I managed to do this is that he was sound asleep and had no idea I was there… 😉

Secret Agent Man

For most of 2010 – and so far all of 2011 – I have been working on special projects as my primary focus day-to-day. A lot of the details of which will never be known – except to a select few involved. It has provided for a vexing and at times lonely corporate existence. And not a lot of interesting things to blog or tweet about.

Hence, my focus on photography and travel – and a break from technology. This in and of itself has proven to be a fun interlude. As I have accomplished a lot of my personal goals with respect to improving my photography from the last five years. Low-light and well-composed landscapes no longer represent the challenge that they once did. Hopefully you agree! 🙂

Now, I have to set even higher bar for my photography. And in a few months hopefully I will be out of special project mode and back into the kind of customer or engineering focused action that I truly enjoy. Be seeing you.

Fun with Lightroom and RAW – Part 2

San Miguel Dusk #32 by rdonovan
San Miguel Dusk #32, a photo by rdonovan on Flickr.

Now, here is the exact same photograph as from last week/last post – but with considerably different color and tone settings utilized.

Because all of the data is there – and it can be processed quite differently – I have been able to re-render the same image very differently.

The only problem with this – is that I end up spending way too much time in Lightroom now deciding what I actually like…