Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Great Camera (so is the price)


Thanks to Samsung Hong Kong, GX Garnerings has been playing with the NX100 for a few days.    Before the field test posts are ready, our first impression can be given in one word: impressive.  For sure a week later we will be able to figure out the flaws hidden from us at the moment, but no one will believe in the hypothesis of one perfect camera.

We are having a black one with a decent manly look, which appeals to us – well, men.  If you are a control-freak, the NX100 definitely suits you.  And if you don't feel rich enough for the dearer choices, Samsung is graceful enough to make it really affordable.  The camera body with  the 20-50mm (oddball focal coverage though) kit lens is selling for a price in the area of G12's price tag in Hong Kong.

It asks for less but gives lots.  But do expect the same inadequacy in the focusing speed for low-light and low-contrast scenes as in the case of all such mirrorless cameras.

The commercials feature the Korean star, Hyo Joo HAN.  The first ad shows scenes of Hong Kong.  The global launch of NX100 actually took place here.

Samsung is catching up real fast with cameras of great features and unbeatable value-for-money.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Talking about Image Quality

RIMG0004 (Large)
(Camera: Ricoh CX3)

Who would you prefer as your model? Isn't it that image quality is more than just about cameras and lenses?  IQ is certainly also applicable to people's personal image.

I would pick the lady on the far left cos everything on her is in matching colours.  Her dress just covers where the one next to her exposes: the fluffy, meaty upper arms.  There is an exact colloquial Cantonese term for such arms, "Seelai's arms".  "Seelai" is sort of a playfully derogative way of calling a housewife.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A Quiescent Moment

R1230801 (Large) (Camera: Ricoh GX200)
The desolate road, the empty wooden carts, the waiting man and the dim yellowish light from the street lamps combined to give a dark, gloomy and philosophical quality to the scene.  To faithfully render such a quiescent moment was the main concern of this shot.
 
The lowdown on the technique: a quick tweak to correct the camera's white balance to bias towards bluish green, thanks to the most intuitive WB Correction function probably found only in Ricoh cameras, adding a ghostly tint to the final image.  The trick to highlight the centre subject – the man – and blur the peripheral ones was achieved by pushing the camera forward (just) a bit while fully pressing down the shutter release.  The effect is to urge viewers to focus on the main subject; hence to think more intensely on his body gesture of loneliness.

Finally, the 16:9 format was chosen to crop out a few irrelevant spots of lights at the upper-left corner, making the image emotionally more intense.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Freedom and Work

SAM_1526 (Large)
(Camera: Samsung WB600)

"I am ashamed of my rootlessness, " sighed Freedom when floating over Work.

"Fact is, " responded Work to Freedom, " I know how tied up I am when I see you."

(The smears are not caused by artifact, but the dirty window. :))

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Quick Impression

SAM_8136 (Large)
(Camera: EX1)

I was impressed by the atmosphere of the colourful little shops around the corner.  The shutter speed was dragged a bit and the camera pan slightly downwards for the shot, enriching the final image with a sense of blurred motion both vertically and horizontally.  The image would have looked commonplace if the blurred motion was in only one direction.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Fighting for a Share

P1080722 (Large)[10]
(Camera: GF-1)

It is a safe bet that Pany is repositioning the GF-2 to the market of point-and-shooters who want a tool with interchangeable lenses.  The reason why it wants to do that is questionable, not least because this is more like walking away from the huge success of the GF1.

A possible guess is that Sony has created a new market segment with its adorable (not the pink one) NEX series, eating up the profit margins of Pany's and Oly's products.   So the GF-2 is a comeback to grab back the market share.  I hope that this is not true because a follower can never be a leader.  Leaders always lead with creativity and followers always follow with indistinguishable copycats. 

Copycats are second best unless they are really selling at a critically cheap price.  Fact is, the MFT is doing very good.  For example, it has brought into the fold Cosina with its Voigtlander lenses which, like the GF1, suit enthusiast photographers best.

P1090509 (Medium)

At any rate, it's a shame that the GF-2 is such a dumb-down upgrade to the fantastic GF-1.  In Hong Kong, the GF-1 has been selling like hot cakes across a wide spectrum of users from newbies to enthusiasts.  It has captivated the hearts, and purses, of many ladies too.  Apart from the few design flaws which I found during the field test, the GF-1 is an all-round camera from size to handling.  In the realm of serious compacts, the paramount consideration should go to the size and handling provided that the pricing is right.  For the GF2, the first impression is that it is not tailor-made for fantastic ergonomics.

Take for example the gimmickry touch-screen thingy of the GF-2.  It  is more suited to a camera with an articulated LCD, which the GF-2 lacks.  It does not take a reviewer's scrutiny to conclude that the downside of taking away the control dials is a non-starter for photographers.

Thus, with the same sensor and in a bit bigger size, the GF-1 is simply a wiser choice over the GF-2 especially when the GF-1 is offered at a reduced price now – something like HK$5,000 for an either-lens kit set (I am thinking that if there are enough buyers, maybe we can even bargain for a cheaper price).  It is not a dealer's item, not the grey merchandise.

Let's figure it out when GX Garnerings tries out the GF2, if we manage to get one.

Keep Going

SAM_1957 (Large)

(Camera: Samsung WB600)

Or you'd rather pause and think it over? This is Sunday.   Pause and think.