Saturday, 18 September 2010

Sony a55 Hong Kong Presale

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Sony Hong Kong has started the presale of its a55. During the presale period, purchasers will be given the accessory kit, including a camera bag, a filter and an extra Sony proprietary battery, for free. The delivery will be from 6 to 12 October.

Details here.

(Nevin's note: The "filter" is a multi-coated lens protector. An unboxing report showing the presale freebies is here, in Japanese.)

(Further Note: During the presale period, purchasers are entitled to 20% discount on Sony's photographic accessories, not including, regrettably, the lenses)

Mysteriously Green

the green (Large) 

This photo was taken with the TC-1 mounted on the GX200 using the Macro mode.  The TC-1 was fitted with a CP filter to facilitate a better control over the contrast.

The subject is a palm tree.  These are the leaves.  The exposure combo was made to highlight the outlines and the heavily sunlit parts of the leaves.  The mysterious atmosphere reminiscent of an underwater shot of the coral is intended.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Culture of Signboards

Shanghai Street This view to the old Shanghai Street is reminiscent of the Hong Kong in the colonial times in the 50's as depicted in the recommendable memoirs Gweilo.
Gweilo: Memories of a Hong Kong ChildhoodSignboards are seen in many countries, predominately in this part of the world, not the least Hong Kong.  There is something special about signboards in this city but they themselves are not what characterise the so-called signboard culture here.  What is special about signboards in this city is, apart from being aglow in neon lights when the sun retires at night, how they clutter up the skylines.
Whenever you look overhead in the city area in Hong Kong, there is no chance that you don't see signboards.  There are not just a few of them, but a great number stretching out as much as can be, fighting for space and climbing over one another.  It seems as if there would never be enough signboards to show people what they can expect along the streets and up in the buildings where whatever unthinkable kinds of shops you can think of are doing business.   Any observant readers should have noticed that the signboards are in various shapes, and surely sizes too.  As Chinese writing can be understood from top to bottom (traditional style), right to left (contemporary style) or left to right (modern style), the designers are only limited by their imaginations.  Probably for this reason, visitors to Hong Kong find the views of the signboard-jampacked streets exotic in their own rights.  These signboards definitely paint a unique picture for the streetscape which is unmistakenably Hong Kong.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Associations of Camera Lunches

OSA_8875 (Large)
...are young ladies who rock!  When they appear, the camera immediately becomes the prima donna no longer!
RSK_7307 (Large) RSK_7324 (Large)  RSK_7323 (Large) EHC_9788 (Large)
Pretty enough for today.  Now get back to work.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

NX100: HK Pricing + Product Shots

NX100 group_3_1024x768

Samsung people have replied GX Garnerings that the NX100 bundle set, including the camera body, the kit 20-50mm lens and the SEF15A flash (GN 15!), is priced at HK$5,290 (about US$678 or £480).

Roll down for more product shots and the spec table.

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NX100 case17_1024x768NX100 case15_1024x768NX100_T3_W_1024x768

NX100_W1_Bk_1024x768 NX100_F2_B_1024x768NX100_F1_W_1024x768NX100_BS1_Bk_1024x768

NX100

Image sensor

14.6 Mega-pixels APS-C size CMOS sensor

Useable lens

Samsung Lenses

Display

3.0" VGA AMOLED Display

ISO Equivalent

Auto, 100 - 3200, Extension settable : ISO 6400

Shooting modes

SmartAuto, Lens Priority, Program, Shutter Priority,

Aperture Priority, Manual, Scene, Movie

Scene mode

Beauty shot, Children, Close Up, Text, Sunset, Dawn,

Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Night, Portrait,

Landscape, Sports, Sound Picture

Movie recording

720P HD Movie Recording (H.264)

Storage media

SD, SDHC (Up to 32GB)

EVF

Optional

GPS

Geo-tagging w/ Optional GPS Module (GPS10)

Battery life

Still : 420shot , 210min (CIPA Standard) Movie : 130min

Dimensions (WxHxD)

120.5 x 71 x 34.5mm (excluding the projection part)

Weight

282g (without battery and Memory card)

SAMSUNG Standard Zoom Lens (20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED)

Focal Length

20 - 50mm (equivalent to 30.8-77mm in 35mm format)

Elements in Groups

9 elements in 8 groups

(1 Aspherical lens, 1 Extra-low Dispersion lens)

Aperture

F3.5 - 5.6 (Min. F22), (Circular Aperture Diaphragm)

Minimum Focus Distance

0.28m

Filter Size

40.5mm

Dimensions

64 x 39.8mm

Weight

Approx. 119g

SAMSUNG Pancake Lens (20mm F2.8)

Focal Length

20mm (equivalent to 30.8mm in 35mm format)

Elements in Groups

6 elements in 4 groups (1 Aspherical lens)

Aperture

F2.8 (Min. F22), (Circular Aperture Diaphragm)

Minimum Focus Distance

0.17m

Filter Size

43mm

Dimensions

62.2 x 24.5mm

Weight

Approx. 89g

SAMSUNG GPS10

Dimensions (WxHxD)

53 x 66 x 31.8mm

Weight

Approx. 61.7g

Battery

2 AAA batteries

Battery duration

Approx. 13 hours

Internal memory

128MB

SAMSUNG Electronic Viewfinder

Dimensions (WxHxD)

49.7 x 29.7 x 38.5mm

Weight

Approx. 23g

Resolution

QVGA (300x224), 201k

Magnification

Approx. 0.83x (APS-C, 50mm, -1m-1)

Coverage

Approx. 98%

Eye relief

17mm

Diopter

Approx. -4.0 ~ +1.0m-1

SAMSUNG Flash (SEF15A)

Dimensions (WxHxD)

55 x 45.5 x 73.6mm

Weight

Approx. 80.4g

Guide Number

15

Covered focal length

18mm (APS-C) / 28mm (35mm)

Flash mode

A-TTL / Manual

Battery

2 AAA battery : Alkaline, Ni-MH

SRP

HK$5,290

NX100 Kit 20-50mm + Flash SEF15A Bundle Package

Sam's NX100

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Hong Kong - September 14, 2010 - Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd today announced the launch of the unique Samsung NX100 - an innovative mirrorless camera equipped with the world's first i-Function lens, putting the perfect picture at the fingertips of all photographers through a completely new way of controlling your camera.

The NX100 is set to dominate the new mirrorless camera category. The innovative new product has benefited from Samsung's expertise across multiple technology areas, meaning that the camera's key components are 100% produced internally. This unique process has been combined with Samsung's detailed and extensive program of consumer research, which provided valuable insights that the company's designers and engineers have incorporated into the NX100. Finally the unparalleled product is complemented by an extensive line up of lenses and accessories which give photographers the full package to explore their creativity.

The launch of the NX100 follows the success of the NX10, Samsung's first mirrorless camera and the first in the world to feature an APS-C size sensor, which has already changed the way millions of photographers across the globe take pictures, and raised the bar for the industry as a whole. The NX100 shares the industry leading technology of NX10, such as an APS-C size sensor for quality images and a 3-inch AMOLED screen for easy and clear viewing. However, with the NX100 Samsung takes the mirrorless camera to the next level, by incorporating the innovations of the NX10 and improving other areas of the camera's performance and design. The body of the camera is slim, sleek and stylish, and the NX100 also features the intuitive i-Function lens which allows users to control their camera through the lens for the first time. The NX100 also boasts one of the fastest AF on the market today, which ensures that users never miss a moment, and an ISO that is raised to a maximum of 6400 for action shots.

The design of the NX100 is inspired by the simple shape of dew forming on a leaf, which can be seen on the camera's shutter button and curved body, which comes in four different colors; black, white, brown, and silver. The lightweight, compact and modern design makes the camera extremely portable, allowing users with a creative flair to carry the NX100 with them anywhere and for any occasion. The NX100 is more than just a camera; it is both a creative tool and an artistic object that makes a bold style statement everywhere it goes.

Mr. Sang Jin Park, President of Samsung Digital Imaging Business, Samsung Electronics, commented: “Our aim is to dominate the mirrorless camera market in the same way that we do in the DualView category, and the new NX100 is the embodiment of that goal. Nobody else has brought together this high quality of imaging technology with intuitive consumer insights based on our in-depth consumer research, which is why we believe that, alongside the NX10, the NX100 will cement our leadership in this growing field. Our unique and pioneering i-Function Lens on the market stand out from the competition as examples of our unparalleled innovation which will appeal to every photographer.”

While conventional lenses were passive in controlling camera settings, the unique i-Function Lens is a proactive lens that communicates with the camera body. It delivers total image control with fast manual settings to ensure quick and easy image capturing, and also provides customized settings optimized for the lens being used. The lens incorporates a conveniently located i-Function button which allows users to scroll through manual settings, and a focus ring which is used to easily change parameters for each setting. This unprecedented control system is clever, intuitive and fast, meaning the perfect picture is now at everyone's fingertips.

Because a typical camera user wraps their hand around the lens when holding the camera, the new system means that photographers can naturally use their left hand to change settings through the intuitive i-Function lens without the need to take the cameras off the target. Users can toggle between shutter speed, aperture, EV, WB, and ISO quickly and easily by simply using the i-Function button and ring on the lens, meaning easier and quicker configuration while shooting.

The NX100 also has a lens priority mode which makes switching between lenses to guarantee the perfect shot easier than ever. Firstly, each lens is clearly marked with icons that illustrate their main usages, so beginners can quickly understand which lens they need to select for any given scene. The lens priority mode provides scene options optimized for the lens being used – for example when a landscape lens is attached the camera will immediately display the landscape mode. Also, when users change to a specialized lens, the camera would recognize the lens type and automatically configure the settings that would best match with the attached lens. This latter feature would work with specialized Samsung lenses in the future.

The NX100's innovations aren't confined to the lens - the camera also provides a very creative feature called 'Smart Filter'. In playback mode, users can apply seven different effects to the picture, such as the vignette, soft focus, fish-eye or miniature effects. The 'Smart Filter' provides not just high quality images, but also features that are fun to use.

The fun doesn't stop with the still image options - the NX100 supports HD movie recording at 720P, so that memories can stay alive in its finest details. The NX100 also contains a 'Sound Picture' mode that can record audio when a photo is taken that enriches the experience. To ensure each image is perfect quality, even when lenses are being regularly changed, the NX100 also features a supersonic dust reduction feature to remove any foreign particles from the lens before shooting.

The NX100 will be equipped with a range of innovative lenses and accessories to further enhance the user's experience. At launch the lens line-up includes a compact zoom 20-50mm lens to provide both high image quality and portability. A small and light 20mm wide angle Pancake lens will be introduced shortly after. Two additional specialized lenses will be available in the first half of 2011 - a 60mm Macro lens and 18-200mm Super Zoom lens. To expand the lens line-up even further, three more lenses will be introduced by the second half of 2011, including 16mm, 85mm, and 16-80mm lenses. The NX system will be further enhanced with more accessories, including an Electronic Viewfinder, Flash and GPS tracker to capture your exact geographical location.

More at Samsung HK.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Kowloon West

SAM_1507 (Medium)

Kowloon West is the best place for doing sunset shots in this territory. When the old Kai Tak international airport was still in use, chances were that the photographer could get in the picture a plane flying out to this direction.

Here in the image the wash of pinkish orange tinging the sky is peaceful. The silhouettes of the cranes springing up from the barges rightly balance and complement the tinge on the upper half of the image while the dots of street lights break the otherwise monotonous swath of darkness at the bottom.

In the film era, the surefire way to get the 'right' exposure combo for sunset shots was to spot-meter the area right below the sun without including it. In the digital age, this technique does not rule such shots as the moon rules the tides, so to speak, because the photographer can tweak the shutter speed and the aperture value while monitoring the real-time result on the screen. But if you know this trick, doesn't it give you a sense of "Well, I know what I am doing and how I do it"?

Just as last year when I was back from the UK trip, I still find this true after the OZ trip: Hong Kong is probably a better city, if not one of the best, to do outdoor photographs. There are simply opportunities galore.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Poll Result: The Next Purchase

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The last GX poll was concluded last week and a total of 150 votes had been casted. Probably because our readers are fans of Ricoh cameras, the champ is Ricoh GXR, winning over 30% of the total votes or 46 aspiring buyers. The first runner-up is, again, Ricoh's very capable camera – GRDIII. The second runners-up, Samsung's EX1 and Oly's E-PL1, are a bit further down the road, closely followed by the E-P2 and Sam's NX10.
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However, recently, we have seen launches of many new cameras. So there are probably many more pent-up fancies to be tickled and a new poll, if put up, can end up with different results. Now that the so-called EVIL serious compacts are selling at cheaper prices, the rationale and temptations behind buying a smaller-sensor serious compacts, like the EX1, GRDIII and G11, with a marginally cheaper price tag and a slightly less bulky size have lost much grounds. Unless, maybe, the camera can be critically downsized to like Canon's S95.
So, if the budget is a factor, and it is, the survival of the Nikon's "mammoth" P7000 announced of late is highly questionable. That sector of the market is fast shrinking.
18200Sony NEX5 mounted with the new 18-200mm lens
Of all the serious compacts, the NEXs seem to be perfect size-wise. And Sony is surely going to give the higher-grade NEXs a better user's interface. It is not that Sony doesn't know how, it is pretty much on the marketing roadmap to avoid the overlapping of its products, which is evidenced by the recent launches of the a55 and a33 boosting fantastic user's interface. But honestly, I have tried the NEXs and the user's interface doesn't seem to pose a big problem as it is widely suggested. It's not superb and that's is it.
The real problem of the NEX is, paradoxically, its small size which is encapsulated by using the camera with the new 18-200mm lens. Initially, the NEX cameras are pretty small for the hand of most male photographers. Now the camera weighs roughly 250g, the 18-200mm lens is double as heavy, making the camera tilting heavily forward and the waist ache when holding the combination for like 5 minutes which is not helped by the mediocre grip. This deficiency in ergonomics also renders the turning of the rings on the lens awkward.
And before closing, a few words on the GXR. So far, Ricoh has only produced one lensor with the APS-C size sensor which doesn't do well in low light focusing. The GXR unit with the VF set alone now costs HK$3,200 (about US$ 390 or £ 320). Adding on the cost of a lensor, the GXR is with so vast a price gap away from the potential competitors, which perform better and better with their 2nd generation, that its pricing strategy absolutely needs a rethink.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Pelican's Question

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Pelican: "Where is the fish?"

Fish: "Hey, I'm up here!"

SAM_0127 (Medium)

Flying, back to Hong Kong.  This is Sunday.  Have a good day!