Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sony A750 Leaked!

Once again, Sony through it’s massive marketing arm, has leaked out the new Alpha 750.  I guess the specifications would not be far different from my earlier posting about the A730.  Although the site below thinks that the A750 will be a 14.2MP full-frame, I am not too sure (of course, I have not idea but logically speaking, I can’t see why Sony would launch a barrage of Full Frame DSLRs unless they are trying to kill off the profit margins of N & C).

[Source: Engadet, LetsGoDigital]

Sonya750-2The site thinks that it is unlikely to be an APS-C type sensor as 14.2MP on an APS-C would also increase noise and thinks that a Full Frame with less MP to make it really attractive.  However, maybe it’s a new sensor that’s in between APS-C and Full Frame?  Like the newly launched Canon!  Hmmm …

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snap & Win: Canon 1000D Kit for grabs

This is an interesting competition in that you need to take a picture of an URL creatively!  That’s kinda interesting and I can imagine quite a lot of different variations but I think I can’t think of an interesting angle.


Oh ya, the competition is slightly different.  It is not the best photo that will win it but the person who submits the most number of creative images (I guess they do qualify it with the word creative).  The competition is being held by Exa Bytes Network and you can get the details from here.


An excerpt from the competition site:

Time to snap, snap, snap and show off your photography skills by joining our Snap and Win Contest to stand a chance to win (are you ready?) . . . a stylish Canon EOS 1000D worth RM2199 for you to flaunt!

How to Join?
  1. Take a picture of any ads (from the magazine, newspaper or signboard) which contains a valid website URL.(It does not need to be exabytes url)
  2. Upload the picture in your blog/website/photo sharing application (e.g.: flickr, photobucket, etc)
  3. Submit the URL of the uploaded picture in our forum.

Remember, to join as Exabytes forum member before submitting.

How to Win?
  • Submit as many entries of different ads as you possibly can.
  • Contestant with the most creative entries wins.

A creative way to promote their forum and a creative way to collect more images for them to use in their marketing materials.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My friendly red dragonly … close-up 1:4 again!

Today, I visited my neighbourhood friendly dragonfly, who sometimes likes to pose for the camera.  Unfortunately for him, I am still not able to take it’s handsome eye shots as I don’t have a MACRO lens … or maybe it’s the photographer actually.  These shots were taken with the Sony Alpha A200, with the SAL1870DT kit lens.  Most of the shots were taken at 70mm focal length and at ISO100.

A head on shot of the little fella.

DSC04508 A 100% crop of the above on the details of the eyes (well, rather “non-details” of the eyes).


Focused on the wings (below).


Focused on the back of the body (below).


100% crop of the back of the body.


Another attempt at trying to focus on the eyes, 100% crop.


I am not sure whether I am actually suppose to be able to get better close up shots than these or I really do need a lens that is suitable for MACRO shots.  What do you guys/gals think?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch

About 12 years ago, I was very impressed with what we then called the “Wacom Tablet”, and we sold them together with very high-end Silicon Graphics workstations.  Although the price of the Wacom then was not considered very expensive when compared to the Silicon Graphics workstations, it was however, priced beyond the casual users’ affordability.


Recently, I was brought to the understanding that these “Pen Input” devices are reasonably affordable, and are priced around the same as high-end mice.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind was Wacom.  Off I went “shopping” for one thinking that it’s going to be affordable.  I then came across the brand Genius, which is quite a well known for input devices and the smaller units (3.5” by 5”) are priced around RM200-250 depending on where you get them and the medium sized ones (4” by 6”) are priced around RM300-350.  As the packaging of the devices are not that impressive, I held out on getting a unit as I wasn’t sure whether I needed it.


I then found a retail shop that sells Wacom devices and there was a unit that cost RM5,000++.  This is an impressive unit as it is actually also a screen and basically you can write and draw on it without needing to look at the monitor.  Anyhow, it is obvious that I am not going to spend that kind of money on an input device.  At the other end of the price range, they also had the Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch, which is actually a Pen input device with a Multi-touch surface that’s similar to those found on the Macbooks.  It’s priced at RM419!


The packaging of the device is quite impressive and gives the impression of a high quality product. The inside box (below), a very elegantly designed black box.


The content after the wraps were taken off.  Note, the wrapping method was also quite impressive.


The actual device itself is very thin!  I think slightly less than 1cm in thickness.


The “pen”.


The box containing the CDs.


Another picture of the main device.


I have yet to give it a try but the reason why I finally bought this device (with a slight discount) is that for photo editing, nothing beats using a pen type device (as oppose to a mouse or worse, a trackball!) and since I can’t yet afford a Macbook, this can act as a nice multi-touch for me to view my photos =)

I bought this in the All IT Hypermarket, top floor of the Digital Mall in PJ.

Participate in a Photo Exhibition titled “Hopes & Dreams”, the largest online photography community in Malaysia, is organizing a Photo Exhibition to be held at the end of February 2010.  The theme of the exhibition is “Hopes & Dreams”.


Excerpt from their announcement;

23 October 2009 - Its time to look forward, its time to have wishes and to have hopes. Amid the year of the financial crisis and global recession, is proud to announce its 3rd Photo Exhibition, themed, "Hopes & Dreams".

What is your hope and dream for the future? What do you see? How do you dream? What is your dream for the future? challenges all Photomalaysia members to show everyone what do they see beyond the horizon, beyond today's sunset or tomorrow's sunrise.

To be held from 22nd February 2010 to 7 March 2010 at Central Market Annexe, any member may submit photos to be considered to be display in the "Hopes & Dreams" Photo Exhibition.

Besides featuring works from PM members, for this exhibition, we have a "Best of Show" prize for the best image submitted to fit the theme with a cash prize of RM500 …

Visit their announcement page for more information, or you can directly download their registration form here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Automatic Photographer: Sony Party-Shot IPT-DS1 with Cybershot DSC-TX1 or DSC-WX1

With all these technology on face detection, then smile detection, auto white balance, auto exposure/aperture settings … why can’t we have a camera that just take pictures for us without needing out help?

Well, together with the launch of the Cybershot DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1, Sony also launched the Party-shot!  It is literally an automatic personal photographer and it is even intelligent enough for some basic composition, probably using rule of 1/3 to accomplish this.  One wonders how much research and development must have gone into this!  Watch the promotional video below.  You can also find lots of other videos online about this.

One thing to note is that, it would be better if Sony puts it on a robot, much like the iRobot vacuum cleaners.  This is so that the angle of the pictures taken varies a little more automatically.  After all, the Japanese are great at building robots.

Anyone out there probably can modify a cleaning robot, stick a moveable vertical pole on it and have this Sony Party-shot installed on it!

For USD150 without the Cybershot, I think this is quite expensive but heck, I would love to have one!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

GIMP Tutorial: Selective Colouring

I have always used Google’s Picasa to do some minor post processing of my photographs.  It’s a simple tool and doesn’t really have a steep learning curve although it has it’s limitations.


Most photographers use Photoshop to do their post processing and it is undeniably the most common tool used by photographers.  Even most post processing tutorials are using photoshop.  GIMP is an open source and freely available software that’s similar to photoshop although many users feel that it is not as user friendly as photoshop.  You can find out more about GIMP here.

In this post, I will try to show how to convert an image to B&W and then selectively restore coloured areas.  The basic steps are:-

  • Have the original image
  • Duplicate the image, convert to B&W and place it as a layer above the original image
  • Add an opaque mask and selectively hand paint the upper B&W layer to reveal the original colour image below

I guess that sounds simple enough.  I am using GIMP v2.6.7 on Windows.

1) Open the image that you would like to work on.


2) Make a duplicate of the image (Ctrl-D)


3) Convert the duplicated image to B&W (I use grayscale here)


4) Go to the Layer’s dialog (Ctrl-L), create a New Layer (click on the icon circled in red)


5) Name the new layer


6) Select the new layer in the Layers dialog


7) Select the B&W image (Ctrl-A), Copy it (Ctrl-C) and go to the Layers dialog and Paste it (Ctrl-V)


8) Press the anchor button in the Layers Dialog

layer-anchor9)  Right-click on the B&W layer and select the Layer Mask from the menu.


10) Make sure full opacity is selected for the mask.


11) Return to the Toolbox (usually, the floating window on the left) and select either the paintbrush or the pen.  I use the paint brush to remove the parts I would like to reveal the layer (the coloured layer) below.

paint-brush-50 12) For finer control, zoom into the image and continue to “brush” over the areas that you want to reveal. I use 400% zoom factor to do this.

400-zoom 13) Save it when finish.

Good luck and using the mouse can be a tedious process, try to get yourself a Wacom tablet or equivalent.  (Genius makes cheaper alternatives).

Please comment/advise if the instructions are not clear, feedbacks are much appreciated.

Nikon Fair @ Mid-Valley

Just a few shots courtesy of a fellow photographer.  The fair was held in the middle of Mid-Valley’s centre court and hence it is quite a small area.


The fair also had talks organized and most importantly a model photography contest.


If my lens collection looks like this …


D3s is displayed in an enclosure (obviously!) but they do have the D3x there for you to touch.


A picture taken from a higher floor, just love that lens shaped cabinet!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trying out PIXresizer, a free image resizer tool

I have been mainly using Google’s Picasa to do minor post processing and resizing of my images.  Recently, I got to know about this Free Image Resizer tool called PIXresizer.


Since I was about to upload some pictures onto the web where I needed to resize a batch of pictures, I downloaded and gave this software a try.


Just follow the installation instructions.  There is a readme.txt file accompanying it and it basically gives you very clear and simple steps to convert a single image or a set of images.  When you first start the application, it is intuitive enough to know that it just takes 4 steps: (1) Load Pictures, (2) Select New Size, (3) Select File Format (yes, it does format conversions for you too!) and (4) Save Picture.


Click on the “SavePictures” button and just wait for a short while.  It’s so simple to use!  Highly recommended.

Photomalaysia October 2009 Competition

The theme is BLACK!  Somehow this one seems difficult for me to picture it in my mind but a panning shot of a nice shinny black car with clouds reflecting on it seem like a nice picture.

Ah, I do have a friend with a black car that’s always shinny … maybe time to pay him a visit.

Anyway, excerpt from the competition.

9th October 2009 - is pleased to announce the October 2009 photo competition with the theme, "Black".

"Black" needs no introduction, it is simply, well... black... there is no color or shade darker than it is, it is the darkest but that only describes black as a color. Does black have any other meaning for you? Something deeper and more profound?

The submission period starts now till 31st October 2009 and the voting shall start early November 2009.

You can find out more on the competition site.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sanyo Eneloop 2.0!

Sanyo just announced the next generation of their world famous … well, in the photography world anyway … rechargeable batteries.  On the website, you will be greeted with a flash loading page which is quite appropriate as when the page loads, it is “charging” the eneloop.  Cool …


The new generation Eneloop (somehow, it just reminds me of antelopes) can be recharged up to 1,500 times!  and it will retain it’s charge up to 70% over 3 years!  Now, that’s long.  Anyway, if I have batteries lying around for 3 years, I probably don’t need them anymore.  Would be more interested to know how much of it’s charge it will retain over a 1, 2 and 3 month period.


What I like about it is that it has a nice and VERY elegant design which somehow seems to be on the same wavelength as Apple’s whiteness …

Sony Centre Mid-Valley Photo Competition

The theme is “A day in Malaysia” and the brief run-down on the prizes: (1) SAL75300 Sony Lens, (2) DPP-SP65 Photo Printer and (3) 3xConsolation Prize of RM50 each.

The SAL75300 is a Full-Frame lens and for those with the new A850, this is an entry level zoom lens whilst the DPP-SP65 is kinda outdated photo printer but I definitely wouldn’t mind one either.


Submission date is between 10th October 2009 to 8th November 2009.  Announcement of the winners will be on 10th November 2009 and prizes will be made at the Sony Centre in Mid-Valley.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Nikon Show @ Mid Valley, 14th – 18th October 2009

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the Nikon Show, which will be held at the Centre Court of the “already crowded” Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur!  There will be opportunities to enhance your photography skills through the numerous photography talks, or you can bring your Nikon for their service clinics.


In conjunction with the show, there will be photo contest but they have not revealed the prizes yet.  The brief on the competition;

  • Photos from the Model Shooting Session (16th – 18th October) during the Nikon Show.
  • Submission by 21st October 2009, 12 pm (that’s noon to those who are unsure)
  • Maximum of 3 photos in a single entry and only 1 entry is allowed.
  • Photos can be taken by a “digital camera of any make or model”.

On the last note, I just can’t imagine the winner to be from a non-Nikon camera =)

Deep Sea Photographs Exhibition

Some members of the Malayan Sub Aqua Club (MSAC) … yes, Malayan (not a typo here) have over the years collected and/or photographed treasures found deep in the sea.


[picture by Rizal Adnan, used without his permission!]

Of course, not everything photographed are about precious pearls and not everything is exclusively from MSAC members.  Anyway, the invite,


ART+LIVING: By Brush, Through Lens
Treasures of the Deep
on Thursday 8th October, 7.00pm
at Ligne Roset and House of Suzie Wong,
FF1 and FF1a, Muse Floor, Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

I guess I should go and support my dear old friend Rizal.  Don’t remember him having an exhibition before.

As part of the “Treasures of the Deep” exhibition, House of Suzie Wong will also be hosting the following talks;

  • 3rd & 10th October (Saturday) 3pm Conservation of Coral Reefs in Malaysian Waters, by Fiona Kwok
  • 24th October (Saturday) 3pm Underwater Photography, by Ahmad Zaki Embi

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tamron Macro Photography Contest 2009

The competition is titled “Up Close and Personal: Macro Photography Contest”.  In promoting their new 60mm prime Macro lens with maximum aperture of f2, Tamron is riding on their “quite” legendary SP90 reputation in the Macro arena.


Basically, the first prize is the Tamron SP AF60mm F2 Di II LD IF, which they call the “World's Fastest 1:1 Macro Lens”, together with a Metz Ring Flash.  A brief run-down on the terms and condition of the competition.

  • U.S. Residence Only
  • Open to photographers “using any brand lenses”
  • Maximum 3 entries per person
  • Closing date on 15th November 2009


Note that the first prize is for APS-C sized DSLR (only available for Canon, Nikon or Sony), for those who have full-frame cameras, Tamron will provide the Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di lens.