EyeEm vs Instagram

In the beginning, there was Hipstamatic. Later on a host of mobile photo apps came onstream, with Instagram taking the lead as the most popular among them. Then, along came EyeEm, dubbed as among the very few legitimate competitors to Instagram.

EyeEm is indeed more snappy to use, particularly when selecting frames for the photos. Besides, it allows you to apply filters to photographs in their original dimension (without having to square-crop them). Alternatively, you can crop pictures in 1:1 aspect ratio if you so prefer.

Overall, however, Instagram is still in the lead in terms of the number of filters — it has 20 compared to EyeEm’s 12. Which has a better-looking rendition? You judge. Below are the EyeEm gallery:

And here are the Instagram gallery:

Why I Won’t Buy A Camera In 2013 … Part I

Despite my meagre fund, I had been buying photography-related gears since 2007. The last gear I bought was the Sony RX100 last year. This year, despite the many tempting gears out there, I won’t be buying any.

Instead, I want to concentrate on utilising whatever gear that I have right now. I have an old Canon Power G6 compact, a Pentax K-7, a Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 lens, a Pentax 18-250mm lens, a Lensbaby Composer with double glass optics and two macro conversion lenses, a Pentax 100 WR f2.8 macro lens, a Raynox DCR-250 macro conversion lens and a Sony RX100.

Doomsday preppers and road builders

Doomsday preppers and road builders

For someone who takes only casual snapshots, these are good enough, don’t you think so? Furthermore, I am not a photographer and haven’t earned a single cent from my pictures; so, what’s then with this constant urge to buy a new gear.

Doomsday

For those of you who have emailed me to ask what is the best compact camera for macro photography and whether shooting macro in RAW is any good, maybe you need to ask someone else because I doubt I could answer these as good as someone with a technical competence does.

Jaywalker

Jaywalker

Bubble Macro Photography

Ever feel as though you are suffering from a photographer’s block, the time when nothing seems interesting enough to photograph at? Try bubble macro photography. Yes, bubble. However, if you make it more dramatic and interesting, here’s how you do it.

Close-up Action Shots of Hornets in Mid-Flight, With Sony RX100

I have had the Sony RX100 for more than a month now. After taking it for a spin at a hornet-infested coconut farm in Borneo, here’s what I can say: “Wow, I never thought this is possible with a point-and-shoot camera.”

But the Sony RX100 is not just any P&S. It’s the undisputed king of compact camera at the moment and probably in the many months to come, perhaps until someone comes up with a a large-sensor compact camera with a faster shutter speed (the RX100′s maximum is “only” 1/2000) and a faster lens (the RX100 has a range of F1.8 to F4.9).

But that is still some time in the future. What we have here is a fixed-lens compact camera with a one-inch sensor and a bright lens at wide end. The combination allows for a shallow depth of field, which many compact cameras are struggling to achieve.

Hornet in Mid-Flight with Sony RX100 (1)

A hornet flies away after taking a pinch of food.

This is not to say that these shots had been easy. They are difficult even when you have dozens of hornets hovering and buzzing around you. This is sort of a hit or miss thing, but with the RX100 firing away at 10fps and at the shutter speed of 1/2000, you can have some in decent focus.

Hornet in Mid-Flight with Sony RX100 (2)

Hornet

The trick is pre-focusing. Get the camera in macro mode, focus at an object and then point it at the general direction of the wasps and fire away when you feel they are within a striking distance, which is about two to three inches from the lens.

Hornet in Mid-Flight with Sony RX100 (3)

Hornet in mid-flight with Sony RX100

And of course, I had the good light to thank, for had allowed me to shoot at a fast shutter speed.

Hornet in Mid-Flight with Sony RX100 (4)

Mortal enemies … a weaver ant reaches out as a hornet hovers overhead

Weaver ants hauling a dead hornet

And… they manage to pull one down

Hornet in Mid-Flight with Sony RX100 (5)

Hornet in mid-flight

All in all, it was a good experience, one that makes me forgive myself for having spent a good amount of money to acquire it.

Wild Borneo With Sony RX100

Last week, I went for a long drive heading towards a remote village in Borneo. The place I intended to reach was Kampung Sungai Magandai in the hinterland of Tandek, in Sabah.

To cut the long story short, I did not manage to reach my destination due to the bad road condition. Below are some of the pictures I took with the Sony RX100. If they appear soft, it is because they have been resized using the simple photo editor IrfanView.

Borneo Natives

The Natives of Borneo in an old Land Rover

Not A Wild Boar

A swine by the road side

Wild Road

Off the beaten track

Uphill

An uphill task

Camera One-Liner:

Going by the trend of camera announcement this crazy month of September, I can safely say that full frame (FF) cameras are climbing down the stairs as compacts make their way up, trying to meet FF cameras half way, leaving the mayhem at the shop level to camera phones.

RX100 Dusk

Sony RX100 night shot

Will someone build the first medium format compact?

Nikon D600 Price In Malaysia

You know how much is the price of Nikon’s “entry level” FF camera, the D600? If you order from Shashinki, the price is RM6,998 (body only), plus you’d get two 8GB Ultra SD cards for free and a Nikon DSLR bag to boot.

Nikon D600 SLR Digital Camera (Body Only) (24MP FX Format, Expeed 3, 3.2

Nikon Malaysia has yet to announce the MSRP for the D600 so we can’t really compare the price.

If you have RM8,388 to spare, here’s what you can get: Nikon D600 SLR Digital Camera with AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens (24MP FX Format, Expeed 3, 3.2″ LCD) (Free 2 x 8GB Ultra SD Card & Nikon DSLR Bag)

Bokeh, Shallow Depth-of-Field With Sony RX100

Getting a decent bokeh and achieving a shallow depth-of-field with a point-and-shoot camera has always been a challenge in the past. This is due to the small sensor in this type of camera.

Do not ask me the physics behind small sensor and depth-of-field because I would not be able to explain. I just accept it as a given that a small sensor will invariably result in difficulties in getting a shallow depth-of-field.

With the advent of large sensor compacts, however, that challenge has somewhat been surmounted though it will still be a struggle to get the desired effect compared to using a DSLR with a bright lens. Sony’s new offering, the RX100, will be able to offer a considerable amount of bokeh especially when shooting up close at F1.8, which is only possible at wide angle.

Here are several attempts in getting bokeh and shallow depth-of-field using the RX100.

Here is a bonus picture of yours truly’s Ford Escape, parked by a rural home deep in the interior of Borneo.

Nothing got to do with bokeh; just a night shot at ISO 1600, F1.8, to demonstrate the RX100′s high ISO capability.

Camera One-Liner

There is one better camera other than the best you have with you — the one that has yet to be invented.

Dusk to dawn… taken with a Nokia N8, edited using Camera Bag app

Sony RX100 Night Shots, Low Light Samples

I was on a trip to Kuala Lumpur to attend a forum and had nothing better to do after it ended at 5 pm. Browsing the Internet seemed the next best thing to do. A mug or two of a cold you-know-what would have been nice but I haven’t had that you-know-what thing since 1969, so that would be out of contention.

Long story short, I ended up browsing photography sites and the next thing I knew, I was at a Sony store at KLCC, a short distance away. After fiddling with an RX100 on display, I told the shop assistant, “I want this.”

The guy hurried away and returned shortly after, with a devastating news. “I’m sorry sir,” he said, “But we only have one unit left.” I could see he was apologetic.

“Well, what’s the problem with that?” I said. It’s not that I want to buy two of this, I didn’t say. “It’s not that,” he said. “Someone has actually booked this. But let me call him and ask whether he still wants it. If he says no, then that camera is yours.”

It turned out that the guy wants the camera. Sigh. So I went to another shop and thankfully they said they had two of it — one on display, and another still in an unopened box. Needless to say, I bought the one in the box. Man, this camera is selling, and selling fast.

It was already dark when I made my way out of KLCC. I switched on the camera and shoot my way back to the hotel, using Auto and Program mode.

That picture above — straight out of camera — is that of my wallet which I took with the RX100 when I reached my room. It looks as though it was stuffed full of cash but it is not (there are 1001 things in there other than cash). The yellowish cast is from the room light.

Here are some of the pictures I took during the short walk back to the hotel. These have been resized and sharpened (using IrfanView). Everything else is straight out of camera.

ISO 250, F1.8

ISO 1000, F1.8

ISO 500, F1.8

ISO 400, F1.8

Now I need to think how am I going to save money to repay the credit card charges.