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Collection of random rants and photos from my life experiences shared to the world.

Filtering by Tag: gear

Excited over Nikon new goodies

I was offline most of the day and when I reached home in the afternoon I saw that Nikon has announced a few goodies before Photokina. 

Nikon D7000 DSLR - http://www.nikon.com/about/news/2010/0915_d7000_02.htm

AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 & AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VRII - http://www.nikon.com/about/news/2010/0915_af-s_35_200-03.htm

What excited me the most was the announcement of the new Nikon Speedlight SB-700. According to the press release its suppose to be a replacement for the Nikon Speedlight SB-600.

Nikon Speedlight SB-700

September 15, 2010

A wide variety of functions with simple operation for digital-SLR camera users of any skill level

TOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the Speedlight SB-700, a compact Speedlight offering multiple functions with simple operation in a compact size.

While the majority of digital-SLR cameras are equipped with a built-in flash, as these built-in flashes are only able to light a subject from one side and angle, user creativity and expression is strictly limited. External flash units are tools for increasing creativity by maximizing lighting possibilities. However, many users still find external flash units difficult to use and think of them only as a way to capture images of dark or dimly scenes.
So that even those inexperienced with external flash units may enjoy the benefits of more creative lighting, Nikon has developed the easy-to-use SB-700. The new SB-700 incorporates functions inherited from the SB-900, which has been so well received by professional and advanced amateur digital-SLR camera users, in a smaller size comparable to the SB-600. This makes the multi-functional SB-700 extremely easy to use, even for beginners. The SB-700 readily responds to the needs of Nikon digital-SLR camera users with a broad range of skills who want to increase their individual power of expression through photographs that make the most of light.

SB-700 primary features


Speedlight SB-700

Speedlight SB-700

 

1. High-end model functions in a compact body

The SB-700 is equipped with wireless lighting capability, a feature that is indispensable to creative lighting. Until the SB-700, the SB-900 has been the only Speedlight equipped with a Master function*. However, a condensed form of this function has been built into the SB-700, which is also equipped with accessories such as a bounce card and a diffusion dome.

*The Master function controls flash output from other Speedlights with multiple flash photography.
Switch layout and LCD

Switch layout and LCD

2. User interface with intuitive operation

A control layout and LCD panel design that make operating and applying settings simple, even for beginners, have been adopted. All settings can be applied in just three easy steps, and the LCD panel display is clear and easy to understand for intuitive operation.

3. Quick wireless control mode enables simple control of flash output for two remote flash groups

This is a new feature that allows the Master flash (SB-700) to control flash output levels for flash units assigned to two remote groups, making multiple flash photography setup simple.

4. A function that automatically detects and controls increases in the temperature of the flash head

The flash head is equipped with an internal temperature sensor that controls and suppresses significant increase in the temperature of the flash head that may occur in situations such as uninterrupted firing of the flash with wide-angle shooting to prevent damage to the flash panel.

5. Automatic detection and identification of dedicated hard color filters (fluorescent/incandescent) attached to the flash head

The color filters supplied with the SB-700 (fluorescent/incandescent) have been modified from the gel filters supplied with previous Speedlights to a hard type for greater durability, heat resistance, and ease of use. In addition, when one of these filters is attached to the flash head, the SB-700 automatically identifies it and transmits information to the camera for the optimal white balance setting.

Other SB-700 functions and features

  • High-speed recycling time (time required between flashes) of approximately 2.5 s*
  • A multi-position power zoom function that automatically adjusts the zoom head position according to the lens focal length. Focal lengths of 24-120mm are supported.
  • Three illumination patterns—Standard, Center-weighted, Even—to suit any scene
  • Automatic switching between FX and DX formats
  • Equipped with SU-4 type wireless multiple flash photography function so well received by professional and advanced amateur photographers. This enables wireless multiple flash photography suited to a variety of situations.
*When NiMH or alkaline batteries are used.

SB-700 primary specifications

Guide number (at 35mm zoom head position,in FX format,standrad illumination pattern,20°C/68°F) 28/92 (ISO 100, m/ft.), 39/128 (ISO 200, m/ft.)
Effective flash output distance range(in i-TTL mode) 0.6m to 20m (2 ft. to 66 ft.) :varies depending on camera's image area setting, illumination pattern, ISO sensitivity, zoom head position, and lens aperture in use)
Illumination pattern There are three illumination patterns;standard,even and center-weighted
The light distribution angle is automatically adjusted to the camera's image area in both FX and DX formats.
Available flash mode - i-TTL
- Manual flash
- Distance-priority manual flash
Multiple flash-unit photography operation - Advanced Wireless Lighting
- SU-4 type wireless multiple flash-unit photography (in remote mode)
Bounce capability Flash head tilts down to 7° or up to 90° with click stops at -7° ,0° ,45° ,60° ,75° ,90°
Flash head rotates horizontally 180° to the left and right with click stops at 0°,30° ,60° ,75° ,90°, 120°, 150°, 180°
Power source Use four AA-type batteries of the same brand from any of the following types:
- 1.5 V alkaline AA batteries
- 1.5 V lithium AA batteries
- Rechargeable 1.2 V NiMH AA batteries
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 71 x 126 x 104.5mm
Weight Approx. 360g (Speedlight only)
Approx. 450g (with four 1.5V alkaline AA batteries)
Accessories supplied Speedlight Stand AS-22, Nikon Diffusion Dome SW-14H, Incandescent Filter SZ-3TN, Fluorescent Filter SZ-3FL, Soft Case SS-700
  • These performance specifications are applicable when fresh batteries are used at normal temperatures (20°C/68°F).
  • Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice.

Looking at the information it looks like it really packs a punch. Sure it does not have the reach of the Nikon Speedlight SB-900 but its predecessor the Nikon Speedlight SB600 was not bad either. Only issue with the SB600 and SB800 was that many functions where hidden deep within the menu.

Photo from DPREVIEW.COMLooking at the above image we can see many more buttons compared with the SB-600 below.

As you can see it has become more like the SB-900 than anything else. 

Now if your familiar with Nikon Speedlights you will know that there are limited things that the SB-600 can do. For Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) functions, the SB-600 can be used as a slave unit. But with the new SB-700 you can use it as a master or slave, meaning to say you can use it to control other CLS enabled flash units. Given that it only allow the users to control two groups but, that should be sufficient for most people. On average I also only have two groups of flash units most of the time. 

Another thing I like about the SB-700 is the short-cut buttons! On the left of the LCD, you have TTL mode, Manual or Gain. On the right its Standard, Center Weighted (LOVE THIS), or Even illumination. 

One thing I'm not a big fan of as far as I can tell from the photo of the LCD, is the thermal cut off, a feature to safeguard the flash tube from overheating. It shut down my SB-900 when I was shooting wedding in Penang. I was on manual mode and I already had my ISO up to ISO1600. And I was not even bursting all the way, I was shooting multiples of two. Maybe I should try different batteries tomorrow and see if it makes a difference. 

Other than that, it looks good. There was no price announced when Nikon announced the flash unit. Currently the SB-600 is around RM 8XX range. So I'm expecting this flash unit to be slightly above that. Hopefully not more than RM 1100. 

Hopefully after launch someone would buy it and I can test it xD any volunteers ?

 

[g]

Long day in June

The day started off quite early at around 7am. There was a portrait session at 8.30 am. With some friends. The shoot was quite interesting as the portrait is of Affy, and some how every time shoot her the back drop will be green and stuff. I wonder why! 

Anyways I got to see something I only have read about and seen on videos. 

Elinchrom Ranger QuadraThe kit was a set of transmitters, the power pack (photo above) and flash (with the coil exposed). The guys were getting interesting results, so I too had to whip out my flash units. I only had speedlights. So it will have to do. CLS! I LOVE IT! Looking at the results from the day shoot, I'm quite happy with the results.

At around 5pm we drove to Pasir Pandak. Upon reaching we continued another round of portrait session with another model. This time round after getting a few shots, I got to test out the Elinchrom Ranger. While I was only testing it for about 5 mins. It was working fine, the color temperature was good. But for some reason I got this.

SilhouetteThe Elinchrom Ranger Quadra was suppose to light her up. But in vertical mode it seem to have failed for no reason. I guess its a beautiful blunder ? It was working fine after that, with out any change of settings on the camera body. 

 

Oh well, time to rest, another shoot tomorrow!

 

[g]

Bubbles

Last Sunday went to a portrait session in the morning with the guys. Desmond brought a long a prop. Bubble maker. heh~ Anyways he was playing around with it (we all did) and few of them flew up and stayed in shape for a fair bit. I was using my Nikkor 17-55 f2.8 lens and had set the Auto Focus (AF) point to where the bubble actually was. I was expecting the AF to fail as the bubble was transparent. 

Note : I cut the dimensions to 16:9 ratio but no zooming in, unless stated :P. Trying out something Pazuzu mentioned.

AF point on the bubble!

Was still expecting the AF to failAlso I do not have the habit of using continuous focus, just because I like to have it lock on to the subject and shoot because I know its at its sharpest.

I ran closer, I think this was the sharpest~ everzoom crop from image above to see the reflections, sweet!Still following itIt was kind of hard to move and navigate between the tables and chairs.

Still goingslightly out of focusedThe AF system got cheated by the contrast behindBy the time I got behind the column / pillar it was coming down to the fence. I focused twice, and the above was the last picture I got before it popped! Well it was fun chasing the bubble! 

 

[g]

New Gear

It was something unexpected. Yesterday I came home after going out to have breakfast, and saw Yeo's facebook status saying something about the Sony Cybershot DSC-T90. I was looking to buy a compact a few months ago, but decided against it during that time as it there was no good deal around.

When there was a pre-launching sale at the Sony Center, where by the purchase of the newly launched Sony Cybershot DSC-T90 and a free Sony Ericsson w595 was given. I could not pass up on the opportunity. The catch was that it was only for the first ten buyers. The eleventh till the fifteen would get a J series phone.

I went to the Sony Center at Boulevard to queue, when I arrived at 12:45pm Yeo was the first in line(he was there since 10am), and I was the ninth in line. So I had to sit and wait for about two hours, not being able to leave the seat. Because if anyone who leaves the seat to go pee, eat or what ever, the place would be lose and others would gain it! What a gimmick. Well thankfully Kuching people were not so kiasu. So in the end, only about twelve people were in queue, some were just sitting down to watch the Blue-ray movie.

This was taken at home with my DSLR.

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T90

Specs (stolen from DPreview):

Max resolution 4000 x 3000
Low resolution 4000 x 2672, 4000 x 2248, 3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 640 x 480
Image ratio w:h 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 12.1 million
Sensor photo detectors 12.4 million
Sensor size 1/2.3 " (6.16 x 4.62 mm, 0.28 cm²)
Pixel density 43 MP/cm²
Sensor type CCD
Sensor manufacturer Unknown
ISO rating Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Zoom wide (W) 35 mm
Zoom tele (T) 140 mm (4 x)
Digital zoom Yes, up to 8x
Image stabilization Yes, Lens
Auto Focus TTL autofocus (9-point)
Manual Focus Yes, 5 steps
Normal focus range  
Macro focus range  
White balance override 10 positions
Aperture range F3.5 - F10.0
Min shutter 1 sec
Max shutter 1/1600 sec
Built-in Flash Yes
Flash range 2.9 m (Auto ISO)
External flash No
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync
Exposure compensation -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV Steps
Metering Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, Spot
Aperture priority No
Shutter priority No
Focal length multiplier  
Lens thread No
Continuous Drive Yes, 1.8 fps 100 images
Movie Clips Yes, 1280 x 720 @ 30 fps, 640 x 480 @ 30 fps
Remote control No
Self-timer Yes, 2 or 10 sec
Timelapse recording No
Orientation sensor Yes
Storage types Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, Internal
Storage included 11 MB Internal
Uncompressed format No
Quality Levels Fine, Standard
Viewfinder None
LCD 3 "
LCD Dots 921,600
Live View Yes, (LCD)
USB USB 2.0 (480Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes
Wireless Unknown
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Lithium-Ion Battery & Charger
Weight (inc. batteries) 148 g (5.2 oz)
Dimensions 94 x 57 x 15 mm (3.7 x 2.2 x 0.6 in)

 

I was quite excited about the DSC-T90 because of the Super Macro mode and the 720p movie mode. Heh~ for all the wrong reasons I guess. In any case I think I will have a lot of fun with this purchase. The camera did not come with memory card. It uses the Memory Stick Pro Duo. Lucky for me, I have 2 Memory Stick Pro Duo for my  PSP. Both 4GB but one is not original one. Was using the original one on my  PSP, the non-original one is usable but transfering stuff from PC to PSP takes 30 mins while the same files takes only 5 mins on the original Memory Stick Pro Duo.

Here are some images taken last night.

As you can see from the pictures, the colors are quite natural. Unlike the previous Sony CyberShot that I had which had really strong reds and greens. This one overall seems to be less saturated. I had to slightly increase the saturation in one of the pics. Everything was shot in full auto mode. I want to test how well it copes. It even detects what sort of mode it should be in best to shoot in. From twilight mode to protrait in twilight to macro mode and many more. With face detection and smile detection. It even told me that a BLINK was detected(!!!) when it captured the smile and my mom blinked. ~_~ Do I need to have a camera tell me that the person in the image blinked?

Sony Ericsson w595

 

Specs can be found at Sony Ericsson website. Well, I'm not so impressed with this Walkman phone as compared to the w800i which I bought many many years ago. In terms of packing, presentation and build. I would not say much about the phone as I gave it to my Dad. LoL

Well time to go get ready to go to the airport. I'm leaving Kuching for about a week. Hopefully will have time to update during the week!

And happy birthday to me! HAHA!

[g]