Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fujifilm X-M1 hints and tips - part 1

Recently I bought a Fujifilm X-M1, and as I've gotten to grips with it, here's a few tips and tricks.

Firstly, where to buy. I got mine from and here is the bundle I got

They are in Adelaide, South Australia. The above kit is a bargain at AUD999 and since they send you a proper GST invoice you get your GST back if you travel overseas within 60 days of purchase

Secondly, check your firmware. Even though mine was brand new, it had v1.00 firmware for both the body and the 27mm lens.

  1. Check which firmware you already have by holding down the DISP/BACK button as you turn the camera on. This also checks the (mounted) lens firmware.
  2. Install new firmware. Download the appropriate .dat file, place onto the SD card, start the camera by holding down DISP/BACK and turning on. Then follow the prompts. Takes only a few moments. Although my camera was at v 1.00 and the instructions suggested I needed to be on v 1.10, going direct to 1.20 worked OK.

As of August 2013 the current firmware is:

  • body - 1.20
  • XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6 lens -  1.12
  • XF27mm F2.8 - 1.10

Thirdly, change the image capture mode to Raw and JPEG:

Press 'menu' and then down to  1 > IMAGE QUALITY > FINE + RAW

Fourthly, install a couple of apps on your Android smartphone:

  1. Photo Receiver” from Playstore. This allows you to send single images from the camera to your Android phone. It might be available on iOS, I don't have an iPhone handy to test.
  2. Camera App” allows you to browse the photos on the X-M1 from your Android phone, and retrieve the ones you want. The other features are not supported. As above, this App might be available on iOS, I don't have an iPhone handy to test. More on this when in the next part I discuss taking photos on the X-M1 and putting them onto Instagram NB “Camera Remote” only supports the Fujifilm X-T1 of the current range, as far as I can tell.

Fifth, remember that in common with other Fujifilm cameras the flash does not operate if you are in silent mode

Sixth, the most useful mode I've found is "P" since you can adjust the exposure, you get a histogram, and also easy access to settings like ISO
Seventh, the lens caps do not seem to fit very tightly, so consider getting a lanyard or other thing to hold them to the camera. Certainly mine came off in my bag a couple of times.

Thats about it for now. Part 2 will be here soon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cycling: Do more expensive wheels make you go faster?

Cycling: Do more expensive wheels make you go faster?

When its possible to spend huge amounts of cash on wheels, does it make any difference?

When I got my new bike it was supplied with dirt cheap Shimano Alex wheels. I'd already budgeted for better wheels, initially Mavic Krysiums, but when they were not available, Fulcrum Quattros.

Before I fitted the Fulcrums, I'd done 40 rides with no changes to the bike, so how did the first 40 on the Fulcrums compare?

Shimano Alex wheels - $100 (40 rides):
Av moving: 25.84
PWR Av: 168.53
HR Av: 118.75

Fulcrum Quattro wheels - cost $350 (40 rides):
Av moving: 26.24
PWR Av: 169.5
HR Av: 114.7

Average moving speed is up 1.5% from 25.84 to 26.24. Hmmm not much...

Power has gone up a mere .5%.

More interestingly the heart rate to produce that speed and power has gone down from 118.75 to 114.7, a decrease of 3.4%.

Maybe it stems from being a mainly social rider, the speed I ride requires a certain power, and the "benefit" I get is from a lower heart rate.

However.... it means really I get less benefit, so a double edge sword. Its ironic that improving your bike leads to a reduction in its benefit to you.

Time to get a single speed steelie ie a worse bike!

In the meantime, I decided to focus on working hard by trying to keep my heart rate up.

In the last 40 rides (same bike with the Fulcrums):

Av moving speed: 26.82 up 3.8%
Av power: 182.2 up 8.1%
Av heart rate: 120.9 up 1.8%

NB: heart rate from Garmin Edge, moving speed and power from Strava

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cycling: SPDs vs Clips - which is better?

I'm sure its a question asked many times... As it happens I can do a small test.

When I first got my current bike I wore toe clips, and did 25 rides using them. Then, changing nothing else on the bike, I switched to Shimano SPDs. In that configuration I did 40 rides.

So the two configurations were the same, apart from the pedals.

Here's a table

SPDs "better" ?

total distance km

overall av move speed kph
stdev ride move speeds kph
watts / hr mean
average power
average heart rate

So how about do they make me faster? Well, taking the total distance ridden and dividing by the moving time, nope, almost no change.

Here's a frequency breakdown of the average moving speed of those rides, normalised to take account of different sample sizes.

Did they cause me to produce more power? Well in terms of watts / hr the answer is, again, no. Maybe this is a function of the kind of riding I did?

What about average power (as given to me by Strava) ? Actually average power went down - shouldn't it go up?

And finally, heart rate (as measured by the Garmin HRM) to produce that power and speed... well I guess good news is that it went down over 3 bpm, though that could be just ascribed to increasing fitness?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Minoura LR340 Live Ride Mag Trainer - part 3 - riding a course

Part 1 of this review / quick start / how to dealt with setting up the Minoura Live Ride LR340 trainer and the bike. Part 2 was getting the iPhone to see the HRM, Cadence and Wheel sensors, and general setup of Live Training.

Part 3, this one, is how to ride a pre-defined course. The reason for calling all this out separately is that the instructions are firstly in Japanese only, and secondly wrong. For example, Minoura say there are some pre-loaded courses, well there aren't.

First off, getting a suitable ride file. Live Training can accept either KML or GPX. If you use Strava and you want to ride something you already rode, or someone else already rode, GPX is the way to go. You can use Google Earth to create a KML of course.

Assume for the minute you want to re-ride one of your own rides, and you uploaded it into Strava, so you've got access to the data. The easiest way I found was:

  1. Create a new Strava account - the reason is we want to crop the ride, but leave the original, else we'll lose the KMs, and that would never do, right?
  2. Then either:
    • Download the ride from your 'master' Strava account. This gives you a GPX file
    • Find the original Garmin .fit file
  3. Upload this file into your secondary Strava account
  4. Crop it to the bit you are interested in
  5. Export from secondary Strava. This gives you a GPX of that climb, or TT, or whatever.

Here's an example from a recent ride

Then we need to get this GPX onto the iPhone so Live Training can see it.

The only way I know of is to use iTunes to sync the GPX file.

Open iTunes:

  1. Select your iPhone on the left hand side
  2. Select "Apps" at the top
  3. Scroll down and select "Live Training" at the bottom on the left
  4. Drag the GPX file you created above into the window bottom right
  5. Sync changes

To make this into a Live Training course, go back to the iPhone, open Live Training, and:

  1. Touch "Course"
  2. Touch "New Course"
  3. Give it a name
  4. Touch "Load KML/GPX file"
  5. In the lower part of the screen you see "Documents Folder" and you should see the GPX you just uploaded. It helps if you gave the GPX a friendly name
  6. Save all that, and when you go back to the Course screen you should see the course and a little thumb nail.

To ride this course, make sure you are on the Course screen, touch the course you want, and it loads up. Get yourself ready, start pedalling, confirm the HRM, cadence and wheel sensors are online and responding, set the remote control to the value in the Live Training window, and when ready touch "Record".

And off you go!
If the video above doesn't play, try this
Part 4 is next: how to create courses for the Live Training App so you can ride them.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Minoura LR340 Live Ride Mag Trainer - part 2 - getting the Live Training App and ANT+ sensors working

In part one of this review / getting started guide for the Minoura Live Ride 340 magnetic trainer, I showed how to physically get it to the point of being ready to ride.

With the bike itself ready, we turn to the big selling point: the Live Training software. You'll recall that the Minoura Live Ride trainers have neodymium magnets which basically means we know how much power is required to turn the unit. This means we can use the iPhone App(s) to have calibrated rides, or if your prefer, you can re-ride existing courses. Yes eventually I can tackle, virtually, Mont Ventoux.

You get the best from the Live Ride trainer, you'll need the following:

If you have these already, then great. If not, you have just approached a major fork in the cycling accessories road ie Bluetooth LE or ANT+ ? I'll address this conundrum separately. In the meantime, I'll assume you are going with ANT+, since most folks who ride for real and have a Garmin GPS unit eg Edge 500, 800 etc, will already have ANT+ since that what they use.

The Minoura instructions say that nearly all ANT+ sensors other than Garmin will work. Actually I found the Garmin HRM and GSC-10 worked fine. YMMV of course.

So you'll need:

So this will cost about $250 to do in ANT+.

When you plug the iPhone into the case, its all plug and play: nothing to install. 

Next suggest you install the Wahoo iPhone app. Its free and allows you to connect the sensors and confirm all is working OK.

Then start the Live Training App. Touch "Settings" and work your way through each field.

You can then go back to "General" and do a quick ride. If all is OK you should see your data:

Here's a screenshot (not mine... I don't get SoftBank LTE in Sydney :-) ). The "9" at the bottom in the middle is the resistance. For general rides you set it to be whats on the Live Ride trainers remote control. For riding a "Course" you set the remote to what it says on the iPhone's screen.

If all is good, move to Part 3 to see how to ride your first Live Ride Course.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Minoura LR340 Live Ride Mag Trainer - part 1 - setup

Recently I got a Minoura LR340 Live Ride indoor mag trainer. Its has two features that sold it for me:

  • The Live Training iPhone App. More on that aspect in part 3.
  • Its has newly developed magnetic resistance magnets, which are sufficiently accurate that you can set it up to provide specific, calibrated resistance eg 300W.

The trainer arrived in a solid box, and after opening it of course I read the instructions. The words and explanation are clear enough, but that pictures less so.

So here are some actual photos to help anyone wondering how to get started.

  1. Get the tools you'll need: a spanner and 4mm hex key

  2. Spread the legs of the unit. Mine had the rubber feet on already, while the instructions say you have to fit them.
  3. You have to remove a bolt

  4. And then attach the unit. You don't need to make it massively tight. If you over tighten the unit won't pivot correctly when you put your bike on.

  5. Next put on the adjuster bolt. This is required to allow for different wheel and tyre sizes

  6. And here's what it looks like, from the side

Next part is attaching your bike and the remote controller.

Replace your quick release skewer with theirs, and then turn the handle on the right hand side so you can get the bike on. Tighten up the handle, and here we are

Then attach the remote control to the handlebars.

And thats it.

Well one more thing... you'll need to lift the front wheel up, so here's a 1 cent piece of wood doing the job.

Next, in part two we see how to get started with the Live Training App, the iPhone, Wahoo ANT+ adapter, HRM, cadence and speed sensor

Monday, December 23, 2013

Final thoughts on sprocket use - pedal cadence and overall accuracy

From my two previous posts (#1 and #2) on my actual use of the 11-28 cassette, I had decided to not include data points where the recorded cadence went below about 50. My reasoning was that actually its quite hard to pedal that slowly and would likely only occur as I was rolling to a stop and changing gear ie soft pedalling.

Is this a sensible limit? Well I tried various values, and 48 seems about the best. Here's teeth vs speed for a 4.25 hour 125km ride. After I removed all the data points with either zero speed or zero cadence, I still had over 13,500 data points:

You'll see the fairly sharp cut-off on the lower side of the data cloud - thats the 48 rpm cut-off at work. When I adjust that value, the data either gets messier (ie noisier) or the line gets too sharp ie I'm removing signal.

So, 48 it is.

Next question, how does the actual data compare to modelled data? I created a matrix of teeth vs cadence, where the intersection is speed (in kph):

And a chart:

Now, if I scale and overlay them (I've drawn in lines to represent what my cassette offers):


Another thing you might notice is that that the lines of cadence are quite distinct, which we see zooming in:

What we're seeing here is that the GSC-10 only records integer values for cadence.

The cloud we see is thus where two imprecisions from sampling frequency and data recording surface:

  • cadence to 1 rpm only
  • speed and cadence recording at 1Hz intervals

If, in the example here, the number of teeth boils down to 17 ± .25 then that works out to be about 98% accuracy.