Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review of Panasonic LX7 - Part 5

The LX7 has a lot of fun built into it. I am sure other competing models will have many of these features too, but I am not sure each of them will work as well. The following are some of the features I think will be useful to me.

Panoramic Mode:
I like the way the panorama mode works. A framing guideline appears on the LCD display to help you frame the shot. The image is captured buy panning from left to right, right to left, top to bottom, or bottom to top. You can hold the camera in portrait or landscape mode. 

HDR Mode:
It captures three images when you press the shutter release. The resulting image clearly shows HDR at work.

Burst Mode:
The LX7 has a plethora of burst options: 2fps, 5fps, 11fps, 40fps, 60fps. The menu clearly indicates the resolution that the image will be captured in. Just hold the shutter release down and it fires away like a machine gun! 

Movie Mode:
The movie mode is great. It has a choice of AVCHD (50fps on my PAL version) or MPEG4 (25fps). Movie resolution is up to full HD 1920x1080 pixels, or in VGA if so desired. There is a dedicated movie button, which can be used at any time regardless of what setting the camera is set at. Audio is recorded in stereo, with wind cut ability. Basically it does a fantastic job recording video; perhaps even better than a regular videocam. You can even capture a still picture while recording video. 

Low light photography:
The image stabilizer is rock solid. I can shoot down to 1/10s handheld with no problem at all. Coupled with the cutting edge bright lens, this camera literally shines in low light and night photography.

ISO 800

Flexible Creative Modes:
The creative modes can be set before taking the shot, thus allowing you to visualize it on the LCD screen. Or, it can be added after the shot has been taken; the original image is preserved.

Be aware.....
The comparatively small-ish sensor of the LX7 does put a limit on image quality when pushed to extreme conditions, when compared with the likes of a DSLR. If one can accept this limitation, the LX7 is simply one of the best compacts there is at this time.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review of Panasonic LX7 - Part 4

This is the first time after a long hiatus that I have taken night shots with a compact camera. Back then, night shots in Auto mode were always a disaster. Here is how the LX7 performs. All the images below were taken in fully Auto mode, handheld. I have not compared it with any other cameras. Such may be the standard capability of modern day compacts but I do not know for sure.

Verdict: I can only say I am impressed with the night shot capability. It captures a night scene as it actually looks, rather than trying to over-brighten a night scene with extremely high ISO or extremely slow shutter speed. My guess is that it has something to do with automatically invoking the Night Scene mode when it detects one.

ISO 400
ISO 400
ISO 1250

ISO 800

ISO 1000
ISO 400

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review of Panasonic LX7 - Part 3

I thought it might be interesting to see how well a compact camera can shoot in a studio set up. The following shots were taken in Aperture Priority mode with spot metering.

For the shots, I had a continuous light source from one direction and a black backdrop. The photos were shot handheld. All images shown are straight out of the camera.

Verdict: Images are sharp, backdrop is successfully darkened, tonality is good. The white balance is not consistent, however. But that can be easily corrected. Perhaps I should attempt Manual mode or Portait Mode next time. I guess the question is, would I ditch my DLSR and start doing studio shots with this camera? It is too soon to tell, but the prognosis is good.

ISO 100

ISO 80

ISO 80

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review of Panasonic LX7 - Part 2

This time I want to see how well the Panasonic LX7 does in zoom. The LX7 has a 3.8x optical zoom, which can "zoom" a further 2x in digital zoom, giving it the 35mm equivalent of 180mm lens. The result is very satisfactory.

Here are the images taken in my garden with receding daylight in my garden. The first image is shot wide open at 24mm. The second is shot at full optical zoom. The last is shot at the full optical+digital zoom, giving the equivalent of roughly 8x. The last image is shot at 1/125s, ISO 125. All three images were shot handheld in fully automatic mode.

Verdict: The zoomed-in image is sharp, in focus, and well exposed.  



Review of Panasonic LX7 - Part 1

So far so good.... I have got my Panasonic LX7 for four days now. I am testing out the images to see if it meets my needs for lightweight travel photography. (I've decided to go on my next trip with minimum photography gear)

Tested out the LX7 for low light photography. The subject is visible with a bit of light coming from other rooms. I compared the LX7 against the Samsung S2 smartphone, which normally takes "good enough" photos in restaurant lighting. All imahes were shot handheld in fully automatic mode, without a flash.

Verdict: The LX7 is outstanding in comparison with the other two. The S2 has dropped the ball on this one. The very old Canon IXUS 50 is unsurprisingly just as bad.

Panasonic LX7
ISO 400
1/6 sec

Samsung Galaxy S2
ISO 400
1/17 sec

Canon Ixus 50
ISO (not registered)
1/8 sec

Saturday, December 1, 2012

When someone pays you a compliment

The next time someone says you are very nice, don't start flattering yourself! There must be a reason why describes the origin of the word as "1250–1300; Middle English: foolish, stupid < Old French: silly, simple< Latin nescius ignorant, incapable, equivalent to ne- negative prefix+ sci- (stem of scīre to know; see science) + -us adj. suffix."

In a service environment, the word "nice" is used to compliment someone when the customer is very happy with the service. So if you want to be called nice, just keep pampering your customer by providing extra care and service with no extra charge. Is that being nice.... or perhaps that is being overly generous with your company's time?

In truth, when a person says you are nice, it really means he likes your service, not you. To prove this point, imagine that you make a serious mistake involving the customer. Will he still think you are nice? Or if you simply carry out your duties without providing first class service, will he still think you are nice?

By all means, be nice to everyone at all times. Just don't let it go to your head if you receive a nice compliment. If a compliment comes from doing something for someone, that person is just complimenting you for the benefit he has obtained from you.

So when someone pays you a compliment, he may be paying you in compliment. And compliments are free.  Are you nice or are you used?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why widgets make a difference

There is one feature that I find sorely lacking in the iPad, which is the widgets feature. Unless Apple fan boys have used it, they wouldn't know what they are missing. Many Android users are not even aware they are using widgets, which they think are mere shortcuts.

Widgets are more than just shortcut icons. Some people describe the widget as an offshoot of an app. Some people see it as a shortcut (icon) that is placed on the "desktop" of a mobile device. A widget actually does more than just launch an app. Some apps come with widgets, ready to be moved to the main display screen. Others apps do not have accompanying widgets.

A useful widget, as opposed to a mere shortcut icon, displays information that is active and is working whenever the device is powered on, regardless of whether the app is launched or not. For example, a clock widget displays time. A weather widget displays the weather A news widgets gives you the news feed. All these things happen as soon as the device is powered up. There is no need to launch any of the apps.

To further illustrate, I have a Sticky Notes widget. The note appears as a post-in note on my desktop. Simply click on it to edit, or to add another note. On an iPad, one will have to launch the Sticky Notes app in order to see the notes.

I have an alarm clock widget which is active all the time, whenever my smartphone is switched on. There is no need to launch the alarm clock. It can never be accidentally closed. In contrast, the alarm clock on an iPad has to be launched and running in the background all the time in order for the alarm to ring at the appointed time.

I am convinced that widgets sets the Android platform far apart from the iPad/iPhone platform. Apple cannot afford to ignore this feature for long. The lack of widgets puts Apple in the same era as PC's, where every application must be launched before it does something.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Emerging feature in digital cameras

There is an increasingly common feature in digital cameras: connectivity. As more and more people take to photography, albeit using their smartphones, many non-techies are expecting to be able to post their photos to the social media effortlessly. That means, directly from the camera.

Here are some of the ways and means: 

1. Samsung and Nikon introduced their Android cameras (i.e the Galaxy Camera and the S800c, respectively  just less than 6 months ago. It was a great idea at that time, but now it is looking dated.

2. Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, and perhaps a few others have also included a built-in wifi in some of their cameras even before the Android cameras came out. The idea was good, but the implementation was too cumbersome to catch on seriously.

3. Eye-fi introduced a new technology several years ago where wifi is built into the SD card. This works only on a select number of cameras. While it is able to transfer images automatically to the smartphone or the PC, I find it to be too cumbersome to use regularly. Transferring images is an all-or-nothing affair. You either set it to transfer all images or none. You can also set it to transfer from camera to smartphone for immediate viewing after a shot, either in full resolution or none.

Fortunately, technology keeps evolving. Last week Transcend announced their SD Wifi memory card that promises to do a better job. Working like the Eye-fi, the smartphone app is much more straightforward  It is a lot easier to set up for connecting to the camera. You can choose to "shoot and view", or "browse" after a shooting spree. How well it actually performs remains to be seen because at this moment there has been no reviews yet.

Wifi built into the camera is not dead. Canon's latest DSLR announcement, the Canon 6D (full frame camera) has a built-in wifi feature that does an impressive job. You can view-focus-shoot straight from a smartphone app, or browse the shots residing in your camera directly from the smartphone or PC. Then you can select which ones to download and send to social media. When downloading to a smartphone, it reduces the RAW or JPEG image to 1920x1080 resolution, which increases the transfer speed and also makes it more suitable for social media. This is the most impressive camera wifi implementation I have seen.

I believe this trend in camera connectivity has taken a serious turn and will be a standard feature in the next Photokina exhibition.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Packaging in style

Good packaging implies that due care and attention is given to the product. I recently bought a used DSLR (the Nikon D700) on eBay. The packaging was as sloppy as it could get. As soon as I saw the parcel, my heart sank. Sure, the camera was bubblewrapped for protection; carelessly, I might add. Yes, all the components were delivered as expected. The camera came in a patched up D90 box (not even the original D700 box). This box was placed in a much larger mailing box, with a completely unopened roll of bubble wrap thrown in, in a lame attempt as stuffing material. The good news is that the camera is working fine after some rigorous shootings. But I'll never forget the callous attitude of the person who shipped the item to me.

So here is a lesson for Christmas, if you are buying a gift for someone: wrap the gift with lots of love and seal it with a kiss wrap the gift with due care and attention if you want it to convey that you do care about the gift and the person receiving it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Digital post-processing for competition

In my observation, all the images entered for high level competitions in photography have been post-processed in one way or another. Gradually, I have come to accept that SOOC (straight out of camera) images are simply not going to cut it for competition. There are many arguments "for" and "against" post-processing, but the fact remains that even during films days, the best images have always been manipulated in the darkroom. That is why we have photoshop terms like dodge, burn, unsharpen mask, etc.

If you can't beat them, join them; so they say. My quest to discover the secrets to successful post processing techniques was finally rewarded after attending a talk on this topic in the camera club. Here, a long-time photographer showed his images and introduced the software that he used. I installed Nik Software and Topaz, ran through the online guides and tutorials, then tried them out for a few days.

Below are some before and after post-processing images I did yesterday. No heavy lifting with Photoshop was required. By applying appropriate presets and using minor adjustments in a combination of Lightroom, Nik Software, Topaz, and Photoshop, I was able to get the result in a cinch. Voila!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ararat Masonic Centre

 This is a drive-by shot of the Masonic Centre in Ararat. As we were driving through on the way to Adelaide,  I took a number of shots from my moving car (I was a passenger). By chance, I shot this building almost square on. The first picture is "as shot", while the second picture has been post-processed. The post-processing took just a couple of minutes but a lot of software firepower: Lightroom, Photoshop, and Nik Software plug-in.This is the first time I am using the Nik Software and it is great!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wilson's Promontory images

Here are some pictures I took at Wilson's Prom last weekend on the club outing. It was an opportunity to test out my newly acquired D700. Needless to say, the camera has a lot more "oomph" than my D90.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wilson's Prom weekend away

The greatest lesson in photography I have learned in a long time is not about tips on one of the many aspects of photography (lighting, composition, lens settings, etc). It is about the power of visualization.

Last weekend I went to Wilson's Prom for a photography workshop with Peter Walton. There were about 20 of us there from our camera club. Peter did not actually conduct any sit-down lectures, unlike Ian Rolfe when we were in Mt Buller last time. Instead we just went out to shoot with him and talk to him as we shot our images. At the end of the day, Peter showed 4 images that he took. What I saw took my breath away because I was there with him on each of the 4 shootings and my images were nothing compared to his. Below are my images.

Thus I have learned one of the most useful lessons in my photography journey: the power of visualization. To put it another way, the lesson I learned was how little I knew about visualization.

 Many people say you cannot take a good photo in mid afternoon. They say the light is too contrasty. I thought this image wasn't too bad, but Peter's image really had the "wow" factor.
 I asked Peter what to aim for in this rather ordinary looking sunset. Peter took one shot, and then he told me to do the same and shoot. This shot doesn't look like much. Wait till you see what Peter did with his.
With the sunlight almost gone, and as I was ready to leave, I turned around and shot this silhouette. I was surprised to see later that Peter also took a similar shot. Only his was a better composition.

I shot this image of Mark after Peter had done the shooting. Peter managed to get a much sharper image and a more suitable background. (This image had more to do with technique than with visualization)

Notes to myself: starburst effect and rainforest

 Just a couple of tips I picked up from the Wilson's Prom weekend with the camera club.

To create a starburst effect, set the aperture to f16 or f22. Wait till the sun is just peeping out. The pattern of the starburst depends on the lens in use.

The other useful tip was getting the white balance right while shooting in a rainforest. I recall several years ago I tried all sorts of ways to get the white balance right in the camera. I even used an Expodisc to try and calibrate the white balance setting, but was not successful. The right way is to use a polarizer and turn it until the setting is right. Images below are without and with polarizer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An alternative to the Android camera

I recently wrote about the Android cameras which have just been announced - the Samsung Galaxy Camera and the Nikon S800C. I was so smitten by the idea then that I couldn't wait to get one of them. I must say my enthusiasm has diminished by now. It is a mistake for companies to announce products without being able to sell them immediately. In my case, the longer I wait, the less likely I am to make an impulse purchase.

I ask myself why I thought I needed an Android camera. Well, it seems to be a great way to play with all the camera-related apps out there, and it is much easier to share photos on a social website. But realistically speaking, all I ever wanted was to be able to selectively upload some photos after a shoot.

So here is Panasonic's answer to the challenge of providing connectivity to the camera. The newly announced SZ5 features wifi connectivity. It costs about $200 and is designed for the casual shooter. By installing a free app called Lumix Link on your iOS or Android device, you can view, control, and shoot wirelessly with your tablet or smartphone.

I believe it is also possible to shoot first with the SZ5, and then use your mobile device to view the pictures and upload to your tablet, or your computer or straight to one of the popular social websites.I prefer this wifi feature to having a full-blown Android on my camera. Really.

I hope more camera manufactures will equip their cameras with wifi. It will be so useful. Imagine being able to immediately email off an image straight from the camera, or simply post it on Facebook. It should not add a lot of cost, and it will make the camera a more connected device. Will there still be a market for an Android camera? Maybe not, if there are more wifi cameras around.

Unfortunately for the SZ5, the reviews on its image quality are not too good, although this camera is packed with quite the latest features in low end point-and-shoot cameras. I hope to see some higher-end cameras touting this wifi.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Next: Motorola CloudBB Android computer

After my excitement of seeing the Android cameras (re: Samsung Galaxy Camera and Nikon S800C), here comes another Android gadget. This time it is from Motorola. Well done, Motorola! Finally, Motorola has pioneered what could be a game changing product, like the first time when it pioneered the mobile phone. Hopefully, this time this product turns into a money spinner for good old Moto.

This new Android gadget is called the Motorola CloudBB. It is basically an Android-based desktop computer, with wireless keyboard and mouse. I hope it doesn't stop at just being an entertainment device for viewing video and surfing the net.

I like working on a desktop environment when I write my blog, reply emails, or search the web for information. I also prefer to do word processing or spreadsheeting on a desktop with a proper keyboard and mouse. I am sure the Android apps are powerful enough for me and I don't really need any PC-based Microsoft office suite. PC-based computing is unstable, prone to malware, hard-disk crash, and system slowdown (unless you do regular housekeeping). It is so last-decade.

Unless you use heavy-duty PC-based software, an Android computer should be able to replace the needs of  a typical home user. What do you think?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Growing old vs growing sick

I just came back today from a brief stay at the hospital. I have not logged on to my Facebook (something I have not been doing for a long time) but I'd like to thank all my friends for their well-wishes. Thank you, all of you! Here's a little blog to share my experience with you.

My thyroid removal operation (nothing deadly serious!) was on Friday. Soon after I woke up, I felt the urge to urinate. Here is Lesson No.1. When they tell you to fast before an operation, you'd better do it. It is no small matter if you have any urge at all to empty your bladder or your bowels immediately after the operation.

Well, that would have been the end of Lesson No.1 if I could even use the urinal and do it on the bed, even with all the tubes running across my body. But that was not meant to be. I could hardly squeeze a few drops out despite a great urge. I was told it might be due to the anesthesia or the painkillers. Painkillers?!! That's it. I recall that when I woke up the nurse asked if I was in pain. Desperate for any bit of pampering, I nodded yes. I must have been given another dose of painkillers. Lesson No.2. I didn't dare complain of any more pain after that. Each time a nurse asked "do you have any pain?", I cheerily said no. Nothing is worse than the urge to pee and still not able to.

That night, I heard the other chap in the room telling the nurse how he couldn't pee and how it hurt when he did. Apparently he had this problem longer and much worse. I thank God mine was only temporary. Lesson No.3: no matter how bad, there is always someone else in greater pain.

The real epiphany came when I realized that as we grow old, it is not the balding head or the wrinkled skin that will concern us the most. It is the pain that comes when we have to suffer certain conditions. Like the inability to pee when under an increasing urge. It was torturous. I thank God I am now back to my fully functional body and health.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How America can regain its dream

I have just read an article that says Mitt Romney has no plans on how to deal with the country's crisis. That set me thinking; what would I do if I were the president?

I think the answer is very simple, but to get it legislated would be impossible. Digressing a little, I believe America is no longer governed on the principle of  "of the people, by the people, for the people." Instead, it is run by a group of very rich and powerful people who are more interested in protecting their wealth and their way of life, than to  work for the common good.

Back to the question; what would I do if I were the president? I would cause the pendulum to swing back towards more socialism, as I think capitalism has gone too far in the US. I would use both carrots and sticks to bring manufacturing back into the country. If that fails, I would set up government-run factories to manufacture goods that all government departments will have to buy from. That itself would create a size-able internal market, as well as creating jobs.

I would expand, not reduce, the civil workforce. However, the pay scale will have to be revised downwards, especially for those in the higher rungs. Basically, I would use the same payroll budget to spread over a larger number of people. Yes, there is the economic theory that this will reduce incentive for people to work, as seen in communist countries. However, that doesn't mean it cannot be used as a short term measure to bring relief to the unemployed.

I would introduce compulsory service for new doctors and other selected professionals before they can work in the private sector. During this period, these new professionals will provide service at a much lower pay than they would get in the private sector. For example, they can be deployed to provide low-cost health care to the poor. This will also put downward pressure on fees and insurance charged by the private companies.

I believe America is still a great country and I believe it has the potentials to regain its past glory. It just needs to re-invent the government.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera and Nikon S800C

Some weeks ago I wrote about the idea of an Android camera. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I later read about Nikon's new S800C and then about Samsung's new Galaxy Camera.

First impressions are only first impressions. How well the cameras can actually satisfy a photographer's needs remains to be seen.

The Samsung model looks awfully futuristic and has ample specs to match. However, I just learned from one of the hands-on reviews that the shutter lag is significant. That being most probably true, it really kills off my enthusiasm for this camera.

The Nikon model is more modest in looks but the fact that one can start shooting as soon as the camera is turned on is really a huge one-up over its competition. My admiration for this shooter just climbed a few notches. However, something is very disturbing to me. I can't help but feel that Nikon may not have integrated the camera as tightly into Android as I would like it to be. What I mean is, I want to be able to install any camera app, and use the conventional shutter release to snap. I hope to be proven wrong, but it is possible that the built-in shutter release may not be part of a camera app (like Camera360, Instagram, etc). I have a feeling that the Samsung model is more seamlessly integrated, but I cannot tell for sure. I am still trying to glean this information from the latest news. Please comment on this blog if you have this information.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Implications of Apple's lawsuit win over Samsung

It is a sad day indeed when  anyone can claim copyright over how a device or an appliance looks and operates. Take the case of Apple's lawsuit against Samsung. These are what Apple claims copyright ownership, for which Samsung has to pay US$1bil:

*(i) Apple’s bounce-back effect when a user tries to scroll beyond the end of a list or image; (ii) Apple’s pinching and zooming scroll feature; and (iii) Apple’s tap-to-zoom feature. Regarding design, Samsung infringed: (i) Apple’s iPhone’s face, screen and speaker slot; (ii) the ornamental design and shape of the iPhone’s face, rounded corners and bezel; and (iii) the icon arrangement on the home screen. 

Computerworld has a good article** on the implications of the Apple win over Samsung. I'd like to echo the same sentiments here. As a consumer, I like to see standardization. It actually promotes competition more than it stifles creativity. We are able to readily drive different cars because the brakes and pedals are all in the same place, to quote the Computerworld article. We are not locked in to any one brand of electrical appliances when they all look and work in a similar way. For Apple to claim copyright over how its iPhone looks and operates, this certainly violates our freedom to choose, and it creates a precedence when non-standardization becomes the norm. 

With Apple's win in mind, when you walk into the electrical shops next time, try to spot ANY appliance that does not in one way or the other imitate one another in looks and operating mode. How dare Apple! Perhaps we should all boycott Apple products. It has finally met its match and it wants to stifle its competitor, by hook or by crook. Such a company should not be allowed to exist. Shame on you, Apple.



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Notes to myself: How to unlock the Pocket Wifi

I have a Pocket Wifi E585 which had been locked to Vodafone. I have managed to unlock it using the procedure listed here: . I won't rehash what the author has so well documented. I'll just list down the difficulties I encountered and how to overcome them.

First of all, the steps documented in the given website are full and complete. This is my first attempt at unlocking a mobile device and I succeeded, thanks to the precise documentation given.

The only problem after unlocking was the constant connecting and disconnecting that happened over and over again, making it impossible to start using the wifi. A quick google search shows that the key to this is to set the correct APN (Access Point Name) on the Pocket Wifi settings. One of the many useful threads is this:

The website to get the correct APN for your service provider is: For example, for TPG Mobile, the APN is "internet". For Telstra, it is "telstra.internet"

Knowing what the APN is now, go back to the Pocket Wifi dashboard on your PC (with the Pocket Wifi connected) and set the APN in the Profile Settings and Connection Settings. You can set more than one profile. Apparently, only the correct one will be automatically selected and used. I had to do the APN settings many times before I finally got the right one to work. So don't give up if it doesn't work rightaway. You probably did not get the right APN into the right place.

Here is how I did my Profile setting (See image. Click to enlarge)

Notes to myself: Installing a micro SIM to an iPad

When I inserted my TPG micro SIM card into the iPad, I expected it to work right-away when I turned "Cellular" to ON in the iPad "Settings". However, it was not quite so simple.

First, I had to go to my TPG account, click on Mobile Service Control Panel for my designated phone, and ensure that "GPRS (data)" has been enabled.

Next, on the iPad cellular settings, I had to enter the APN, as well as the correct ID and password for my TPG account. APN stands for Access Point Name. For the different service providers in Australia, refer to: The APN for TPG is "internet".

(Disclaimer: I do not know if the above is repeatable. I got to this point after I successfully unlocked my Pocket Wifi E585, which had been previously locked to Vodafone. In the process of getting the Pocket Wifi to work, I also managed to get the iPad to work using the same micro SIM card.)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What it really means to love Christ

Who do you think of when you try to imagine what a Christ-loving person is really like? What does it really mean to love Jesus? In some of the contemporary Christian songs (e.g. In Moments Like This, Lord I Give You My Heart, Draw Me Close To You, and Hear These Praises (Love you so much)), the lyrics sound like a person singing for his or her lover. This can lead one to think that to love Christ is to be in love with Christ.

Here is what Christ himself says about loving him. It is so important to get it right that he mentioned it several times in John 14. In this chapter, Jesus was comforting his disciples, knowing that he will soon be leaving them (to be crucified).

John 14:15: (Jesus said) "If you love Me, keep My commandments"

John 14:21: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me....."

John 14:24: "He who does not love Me does not keep My words ....."

From the above, Jesus clearly says that loving him is not just about saying "I love you". It is about keeping his commandments. He emphasized that to his disciples several times during the same session. Clearly, a person who loves Christ is a person who has Christ's commandments and keeps them. It is not a person who adorns images of Christ all over the place, who sings romantic love songs to his Saviour, and who has that love-struck look in his face.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My little camera shootout

I passed by a Harvey Norman shop last week and I saw an attractive looking camera on sale for AUD$52. I was really tempted to buy one just because it was too good to pass. I thought about this the whole week: how many people really need to have anything more than just an ordinary camera for 99% of their shooting needs? I am talking about happy snappers, of course. Think of people on vacation, parents photographing their babies, and grandparents recording every visit of their grandchildren. In such cases, will a very entry-level digicam suffice, or does one really need a mid-range or a high-end camera?

To satisfy my curiosity, I used three different cameras to shoot the same image under the same lighting condition. This is not a scientific experiment. I simply put all the settings to auto, focused on the same point, and tried to maintain the same focal distance and viewing angle. All the images shown here have not been post-processed or cropped in any way. They have only been sized down for posting to this blog.

Conclusion: All three images are sharp and the colours are good enough, although I must say the image from the 7 year old Canon Ixus looks less vibrant than the other two. I am satisfied now that I have a good reason to believe that most people do not really need anything more than a simple camera these days.

Image 1: Nikon D90 with kit lens (introduced 4 years ago)

Image 2: Samsung Galaxy S2 (introduced 1 year ago)

Image 3: Canon IXUS 50 (introduced 7 years ago)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pictures for instant gratification

It is fun to add effects to an image. The original shot is the one in the top left corner, shot using my Galaxy S2 phone. This is followed by the other Instagram-like images, which were made using Pixlr-o-matic and Aviary I like to use Instagram too, but it is not unique. In this particular case, the other apps did a better job. (Note: Click on the image for magnified view)