Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Colours of Wanchai

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A customer with a satisfactory grin at the "Toy Street” of Waichai where shops selling cheap toys old and new franked the open-air market

I walked the NX10 (Did I think that it's a dog?) today in Wanchai, definitely one of my favourite district in Hong Kong.  It is a place filled with exotic yet modern atmosphere, always bustling with as many expats as locals for business in the western and eastern ways.  It is a place of colours, literally so (check open the photos to see'em in colour), mixed with new and really old things.

_SAM2725 (Medium) A typical side street in the district where you find surprises for food and shopping

 

_SAM2729 (Medium) The colour of these stalls gives this image a very atmospheric touch

 

_SAM2732 (Medium)Such a fairly pastel scene is not uncommon in Waichai, which I think is one of the elements making the place unique among all other areas

 

_SAM2724 (Medium) This is rather girly to me but very comfortable to look at


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 _SAM2686 (Medium)Waichai is a place to see old buildings; these ones are older than grandpas 

_SAM2727 (Medium)  Old but happy cake shop


_SAM2685 (Medium)A shot at the open-air market; there are several in Waichai in the side streets

Friday, 9 April 2010

Believe It or Not

_SAM2346 (Medium) A defocused shot with the NX10 at the critical moment. It looks good for its unintended dreamy effect though.

While I truly admire the hard work to produce a lengthy multi-page review of a camera (you know who, don't you?), I still think that the best choice can be made not other than trying it out oneself if there is a chance.

However meticulously an effort is made to produce an unbiased review, a review is by nature subjective. Sometimes, it is exactly because a review is so scientific in most parts that it leaves little room for suspicion, let alone objection, regarding the subjective parts.

The tester says that several crew members have tried the NX10 for an extensive period and have no complain about the focusing speed. The NX10 is even comparable to Nikon D5000 in this regard, he states.

I have been shooting with the NX10 for a week with all of its three lenses (now nearly 1,000 shots), which makes me more circumspect in reading such a conclusion.

No, I am not implying that someone cooked up the conclusion. There is no need to smear its own reputation. And the big sites are not being popular for nothing. But there are questions on what the tester shies away from: How extensive the period is? How do the crew member test the focusing speed? Is the conclusion applicable to all of the three lenses; whatever subjects; and whatever AF area in use?

As far as my experience goes, the NX10's focusing speed varies rather drastically under a combination of different factors. I am still trying the camera out and keeping my figures crossed for the time to produce a decent field report. The focusing speed will certainly be a topic on the table.

To put it briefly for now: with certain combinations, the NX10 locks the focus in a split of a second (faster than GF-1 IMO). In other cases, it has missed quite a number of shots when I just needed it to stay focused and shoot (at worst feels like the GXR A12 with the Marco mode on).

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Insight of the Year!

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Netted insights and opinions are galore. Self-styled experts (like me!) are offering advice on this or that. The how-to advice on photographing sports I stumbled into recently was truly jaw-dropping.

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Hold onto the armrests of your chair and be prepared for this greatest photographic advice of all ages (and put down your camera or you may drop it out of scare):

QUOTE

8 Tips for Photographing Sports

1) Acquire a DSLR (Eek!)

2) Acquire a lens (Urk!)

3) Learn how to use a DSLR (*@*) 2454 (Medium)

4) Find a place to take pictures (......)

5) Set Your Camera Mode (Let me guess: the next one is Press the Shutter Release?)

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6) Set Your ISO (Oh!)

7) Set Your Shutter Speed (Brilliant!)

8) Set Your Auto-focus to Continuous (Bravo!)

UNQUOTE

I didn't make these up. The brilliant advisor? HERE!

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Note that the tag for this post is HUMOUR!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Selected Excellence: Fair Face in Cafe

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The photos featured today were the works of DaDa'r from Taiwan. In her camera cabinet, there is the new acquisition: Ricoh GXR.

I have found the 16:9 mode of the GXR exceptionally impressive. As discussed eariler on, the 16:9 images took with the GXR boast an unspeakable Japanese-style aesthetic quality.

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These few photos taken by DaDa'r caught my attention because of this same aesthetic quality. The second thing is that the model looks really relaxed with a good natural expression on her fair face, giving the portraits the atmosphere just what one may feel in a cafe.

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I am really fond of the tone of the image below even though it is a bit blurred. The tone and the ignorant look of the model match the overall mood of the image which seemingly belongs to a certain historical time.

4478529870_8dc6e53b38_o (Medium)Responding to the question about her impression of the GXR, she says, " GXR is a handy piece of photographic tool to me. It produces images of great quality. To me, it is positioned as a tiny DSLR.

"But," she continues, "there are some unstable drawbacks about the camera. Maybe the newer module will improve in those areas." She gave no details of the drawbacks but the focusing speed could be one of the shortcomings she talked about.

4478541434_9abe303610_o (Medium) (Courtesy and copyright of DaDa'r)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Good Morning, Folks!

The best time to observe a place for its people is in the morning, especially with a camera mounted with a 19mm wide-angle lens (or a converter in the case here with my GX200).

An old lady has just done shopping from a supermarket and am curious about whether my camera would take her in the shot.  "Yes, it did, ma'am.  Too late to duck."

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This folk is going to buy a newspaper at the magazine store.  Fact is, most people buy newspapers from the convenience stores which offer a discount on even newspapers.  The most popular newspaper is the Apple Daily, a gossip kind of newspaper with a marked stance leaning towards the democratic camp in the local political arena.

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Some people are having breakfast at a sort of daipaidong.  If you're not sure about what a daipaidong is, search this site by using the search bar in the left column.RIMG8393 (Medium)

Some may feel like paying more for a nicer breakfast at a posher restaurant.  Here, a breakfast set costs just 20 HK dollars.  Not expensive at all.

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Monday, 5 April 2010

Will We have Classic Digital Cameras?

R1229112 (Medium)Leica M series: saw the light of the market since 1954. This legendary M6 is selling for HK$24,000, or US$3,000 or UK$2,400.

Photography was invented 170 years ago or, to be exact, 171 years ago. The development of cameras have taken several quantum leaps in the last century. The advent of digital cameras was one of the big leaps forward.

Some photographers, whose number is dwindling though, have a penchant for film photography. There are good reasons. First, film photography represents a history and a time-honoured value. These photographers may have grown up or been first taught about photography with film cameras. Sticking to a film camera is a nostalgic act to ascertain themselves of the good old days.

R1229115 (Medium)Rollei 35 series: first produced in 1966 and production ceased in 1996. What is special about it is that this Rollei 35 is by far the tiniest 35mm mechanical camera in the world. It looks very German.

Some believe, rightly of wrongly, in the texture of images reproduced by films. To them, films boast a higher latitude than digital sensors. They also think that film images are finer in details and colour transitions. The solid reproduction of darkness and brightness, not least the graininess, in film images simply suit their taste better.

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« Rolleiflex: first produced in 1929. The most popular model is the Rolleifles 2.8/ 3.5 series. For sure, film photography differs the most from its digital brother in terms of time consumption. Digital images are instant in a sense while film images are "non-linear". That is to say, in essence, film images involve the process of calculating more carefully at the time of shooting, choosing the developer with a good reputation/ the right development procedures if the photographer develops the photos himeself, laying the final images on the table for selection and do bigger prints for the keepers. Film photographers enjoy both the shooting and the printing process. Waiting is a virtue to them.

R1229117 (Medium) There are many classic film cameras. Will we have any digital camera that can be called classic in 50 years, and in what sense?

Of course, they are boastful about the wide range of films giving unique characters to the final images. Now looking at our digital cameras, what makes them different from each other? The layout of controls? The count of pixels? The unique functions? Yes, they all make a camera unique. But, at the core of a digital camera – the imaging sensor – is there really a difference big enough for making a preference to this over that camera of the same class?

R1229119 (Medium)Leica, Oly, Ricoh and no matter which camera makers are still making use of the historical names of classic film cameras to lure photographers to their yet another new-wine-in-old-bottle digital cameras.

Most of us may be bothered by the performance of high ISO images, or the latitude performance or the bleeding of certain colours given by the digital cameras we're contemplating. But, honestly, the difference is far from being huge. Now that digital cameras become the embodiment of a light box plus a film, the point is actually whether the image sensor can give a unique character to the final images that make the camera an exclusive choice, like what we have in the film era: a responsive camera and a wide range of films with different characters; just that it is combined into one product now.

The answer is largely negative by now. I think this is a direction which the camera makers should think about. If we have such a digital camera, we are nearer to seeing classic digital cameras in our lifetime.