Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Octopus Pop Up flash diffuser simple review

This shouldn't be call a review. I call it a tryout as I'm not that good in giving reviews especially when it comes to cameras and its technical stuffs. Anyway, I just bought this diffuser for RM30. It comes with the diffuser legs that attached to the hotshoe and three diffuser of different colours; white, blue and orange. What is the use of this diffuser if you may ask. It's a device that helps diffuse or scatters light, to give a soft and even light to the subject. It's useful for most shots that uses flash, especially when taking potraits. A good, diffuse light will produce nice images with balanced colours.

What's in the package.

How it looked when mounted on the camera.

There's some space in between the pop-up flash and the diffuser.

Here's some test shots. First shot without, second one using the diffuser.


Even lighting produce good details on the Gundam's parts. Colours produced is exactly like the original.

Tamron cap.

Less harsh light on the cap especially at the edges.

WD-40 aerosol tin.

Warmer colours(white diffuser used), and better details especially on the cap.

Better looking.

The only downside of using diffusers is that it will take a lot of the flash power. As from my photos, I had to lower down the shutter speed to get the subject well-lit. Apart from that, it will a good addition for photographers who depends much on their pop-ups.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Arios and the wild

Tried something different with my Arios. Normally Gundam poses would be menacing and tough looks equipped with poses just like what you see in the anime itself. I'm looking for a softer side of it. Maybe a playful one too. Besides, it is controlled by humans so it could deliver some emotions.

Place : My little backyard. Full with grass, and some small flowers. Big normal flowers will make this 1/144 Arios looked tiny. Not good. Took out both my flashes and fired away!

Meeting the flora for the first time.

Ain't no place safe from this 'monkey'.

Big 'furballs'!

Laying on the grass.

Got into a hole and trapped underneath the rock. Arios managed to punch the rocks with great might and style!...............Okay, I made that up. :D

I'm starting to like this Gundam thing and the process of building it. Maybe I would get a new one soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enjoying an old hobby...Arios Gundam

I'm 31 this year, but still young at heart. If I'm walking alone at the shopping mall, I would stop by at the toy shops to look at nice little things. Yesterday I bought my first Gundam, the Arios 1/144 scale manufactured by Bandai for RM80. Quite expensive, but the amount of detail are there to be appreciated.

Took me few hours to finish assembling all the kits, and quickly it is put into various poses. Now I have a new free model for my future photoshoots.

He ain't heavy...he's my brother.

Loving and playful Gundam.

Tell me a story!

When will they ever learn?

Shot these when I was at Limbang this morning. The Purnama Hotel is under renovation. It's repainted to a new colorful scheme which I do find it nice and interesting. Besides, it's the only tall building in Limbang which serves as its landmark. But, what I do find disturbing is that I saw some workers doing the renovation process, but without the safety net covering the platforms. I don't see any safety harness used by them too.

A life's at risk, for the comfort of other people.

Dude, where's your safety hat?

I think I read somewhere that it is compulsory for these workers to use safety harness, and the platforms are covered by safety nets. You wouldn't want to see people on ground being hit on the head by a fallen tool, or somebody having serious injuries due to a fall. That would be nasty.

It's for decoration purposes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thing you don't often see is sometimes beautiful...or scary

Today I searched around the house looking for voluntary models. All shots taken with Tamron SP90mm f2.8, with F58 for lighting. Aperture ranging from f18 t0 f22 with low shutter speed.

Ants. I used sugars to stop them from moving.

A species of spider crawling under the electric cable.


A yellow fly.

It loves damp places!

A Man United fan?

Fiery red!

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Alpha journey continues...finale...for now.

What began as a mere hobby to kill off some time, I am seeing myself invested substantial amount of money for upgrading purposes. Not that I regret about it, just that I can't believe what poison I had consumed in obtaining good gears. I had few interesting hobbies before entering the digital photography. I had my share of remote control cars, PS3 and PSP which I sold off everything because it didn't give me the excitement and satisfaction that I needed.

Going down from Bukit Mas, Sabah after the rain stopped.

I started off photography with the Yashica FX3 Super slr. It looked cool and gave the impression that you're more than just a photographer with a automatic film camera. I was amazed with digital photography when a friend introduced me to a Casio digicam somewhere in 2000. In today's standard, it was lousy with pixelated display and meagre functions, but it opened my eye to a new format. The ability to delete unwanted shots was great. No more worries about wasting films.

Then, I stopped photography because it was expensive. The films and the processing cost was out of my budget as a student. Four years later, at the school where I'm working now, sometimes I was given the task to take photos of events using the school's Sony digicam. There I learned the art of panning, burst shots, rear flash, iso's etc. I enjoyed photography again. It took me few years more then I bought my first PnS, the Canon Ixus 860IS in 2007. A good camera, but still I wasn't impressed. It was sold to a nice gentleman needing a camera for his underwater photos.

The real poison came when a friend shot some photos of me in action on his bike with his Nikon D60. I saw the photos and noticed the differences between digital and optical zoom. And the bokeh...yummy. I was literary "popped out" from the photos. That's where I decided to grab a dslr fast. With a small budget, I was left with Nikon D40/D60, Canon 1000D or the Sony A200. I read all the reviews that I can find about each cameras, the pros and cons. Best bet, value for money would be the A200. Twin kit lense that cost me in the range of RM2k. Sweet. Still, I wasn't sure if I was making the right decision until I encounted Sony's own Alpha community, Alphanatics. I read and saw what the A200 can do, and I immediately made my choice.

I actually borrowed mum's money to get my A200(which, I paid off already lah...:D) last November. I had great moments with it, producing some good photos and capturing all the nice moments that I encountered. It had it limitations though, but I think that makes me a better photographer. The last three weeks had been a 'lens-hunting' job. From the kit lens 18-70 and the 75-300 that came with the camera, I bought five lenses, three new and two used ones and another flash. Why? Personally I'm not sure. I don't earn much from this. To date, only RM200 from Pancras's wedding. And I don't use much of my lens especially the Sony SAL 16-105mm. It does give me great joy to own those lenses, and to expand the camera's and my own capabilities. The new addition, Tamron SP90mm Macro 1:1 lens was a joy to use. I see things that I would never see with a naked eye.

The A200 body with Tamron SP90mm f2.8 attached, Sony 16-105mm f3.5-5.6, Minolta 50mm f1.7, Tokina 28-70mm f2.8, Tamron 70-200mm f2.8, Sony 18-70mm f3.5-5.6(still no buyer so I'm gonna keep it), Sony HVL F42 and F58 flashes.

So what's next? A new body? A Sony G or Carl Zeiss lenses? Only time will tell. Not all can get the excitement, joy and pride when taking a good or unique photos. As for my D60 friend, he already upgraded to D90, a new Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 lens and a SB900. Those are way more expensive than my Tammy and Cobra. Till then, I just have to raise up my poison shield and shoot more. Cheers!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Poison unresistable...Tamron SP90 f2.8 Macro 1:1

I told myself that I wouldn't invest in another lense after I got my Tamron 70-200mm. I want to explore all my lenses capabilities before looking for another. The Tokina was sharp at f4. Tested it at a friend's daughter birthday party and it perform flawlessly. The Sony SAL 16-105, although most of the time it's in the bag, but I would need the wide 16mm(24mm on my a200) for group shots. The Tamron 70-200mm is indispensable. I love shoooting with that lens at 200mm, giving nice bokeh with good sharpness. I wouldn't let go the Minolta 50mm f1.7 for its low-light capabilities and a good potrait lens too.

With the hood on.

The focus limiter switch.

But, the poison was all over for macro shots. I was testing my luck when I went to the same shop in KK and playfully asked if there's SP90 for Sony mount. There it was, the last copy there and I told myself it's now or never. Tried some shots and I was hooked. Take out my wallet and I am a very happy dude(and a super poor photographer too).

Why Tamron? It's cheap. And the image quality sometimes surpasses some other macro lenses. Capable of taking 1:1 macro shots with superb details. But it comes with a price. The AF hunts when taking subjects at very close distance. Go for manual focussing and you get your macros.

Some details about this lens.

Model 272EM
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) 9/10
Angle of View 27°
Diaphragm Blade Number 9
Minimum Focus Distance 11.4in.(0.29m)
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:1
Filter Diameter ø55
Weight 410g (14.3oz)
Diameter x Length ø2.8 x 3.9in.
(ø71.5 x 97mm)
Accessory Lens hood, Case

There's a switch at the side of the lens for activating the focus limiter. For normal, not so close distance from the subject, switch to 'limit' and it will focus faster. If you are going very near to the subject, use the 'full' mode and the lens will extend further.

The lens itself is nicely weighted for single handed operation. Getting a sharp photo is a little tricky when I extend the lens to the fullest. It doesn't look that sharp when viewing through the viewfinder but the output is different. There's a little margin in the getting a sharp focus. So a lot of practice is needed for this. Otherwise, let this lens amazed you. I for one, can't get enough from this macro thing.

I see dead animal!

What's with that lighter?