Peugeot RCZ – Changing Tyres

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Jul 1, 2014 Under Car

After sending in my wife’s Peugeot 407 for servicing, I decided to might as well do mine (RCZ) as well. It is already overdue by 2 months… :p

Normal servicing, RM495. Using Total engine oil. Petronas oil will be cheaper, but I prefer Total, since it is what recommended by Peugeot France.

The service centre asked if I wanted to rotate my tyres or not, since the two front tyres are quite worn out. I said NO at first, since I thought rear is more important than front (there are many confusing arguments out there in the internet), but the mechanics there said front is more important, as it hold the grips and steering. They asked me for 2nd time, and since they are the expert, I said OK. Free of charge.

After they removed the front tyres, then only I realized how bad the condition is. The one on the left is already have the metal shown, definitely NOT recommended for driving any further. So a change is a must, no more waiting.

RCZ-tyres-worn

(This pic was taken at tyre shop two days later)

I went to two tyre shops to ask about the tyre – Continental 235/40 R19, this is a weird size. No shop keep stock of such tyre, and they said they will get back to me after checking with supplier.

I got phone call the next day. One quoted me RM1250 per piece, and they other RM1200. Of course I chose the cheaper one, and I am going to change TWO. Coincidentally they have two units available in Johor, year 2014 model. So not too old. I make an arrangement to go change the tyre the next next day.

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It took about an hour for them to change the tyres and do the balancing and alignment. One think I doubt on the alignment is that they do not have Peugeot RCZ in their system, so they use 407 as reference. No good. Anyhow, no choice.

One thing to note. There is a Pressure Sensor in the tyre. So extra care must be carried out when removing the tyre from the rim. They didn’t realized it on the first tyre (which I also forgot until I saw the sensor for the first time), and they make extra care on the 2nd tyre. I was observing them and I think no damage on both tyres.

Anyhow, bad thing. After driving my car home, there is WARNING LOG on my RCZ. Both front tyre are deflated as told by the onboard computer. Initially I thought maybe the tyre pressure is too low, so I went to petrol station to pump to the correct 240psi. Anyhow, at the petrol station I saw the pressure inside is already 250psi, so it shouldn’t be under pressure. Bad…

I went back to the tyre shop, they have no idea as well, and asked me to check with Peugeot centre if a resetting is required after tyre change. Peugeot service centre is closed on Sunday, so I can’t get hold of them.

Today, I managed to call my local Peugeot service centre, and got confirmation from them that a resetting is required after tyre change. I will head for the resetting later, hopefully it is just a simple reset and no more error/warning log.

Update 01 July 2014

I went to Peugeot service centre at Bukit Indah wanted to reset the pressure sensor in my tyres. Upon reaching there, I noticed that the fault warning is no longer there. Could it has been automatically reset by itself ? (as what I have read in Peugeot UK forum)

Anyhow, I still ask the service centre about the resetting. Too bad, they said they do not have such tool to reset. What?! When I called in the morning they said they can do.

Nevermind, I think the reset has been done automatically by the car. No warning, no fault now. :)

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Discus Growth

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Jul 1, 2014 Under Fish

This photo was taken on 21st April 2014.

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This is taken just today, 30th June 2014. Two months 10 days.

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Bulldog gene is showing more on the discus now. Fin has grown bigger. Too bad his partner has gone from illness… :(

 

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Peugeot RCZ and Military Aeroplane

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Jun 30, 2014 Under Car

Which one is faster?

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Peugeot 407 – Service and Maintenance 3 years 2 months Old

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Jun 30, 2014 Under Car

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My wife’s 407 was having problem starting few days ago. Initially I thought battery is fine, and must be some other causes. I checked the power steering fluid, looks EMPTY to me (below the minimum line as per the indicator). I can hardly start it…but still able to drive it to Pasar to buy some food.

The next day the day couldn’t be started at all. So I called Peugeot Service hotline. Too bad, they said their free tow service is only for the first year of purchase. They suggested me to call my car insurance company for free tow service. My 407 is insured under KURNIA insurance, googled for their contact number and got it. Kurnia Auto Assist. Free tow service is for the first 50km.

kurnia-tow

http://malaysia.kurnia.com/Insurance/KAABenefits/Default.aspx

RATES/CHARGES
Assistance within 50 km radius from service provider’s workshop to breakdown scene
(30km for Sabah & Sarawak)
FREE
Beyond 50km
(beyond 30km for Sabah & Sawarak)
RM2.00 per km (for day and night)

In less than 10 mins, the tow driver called me and said he is from Johor Jaya, which is around 30-40mins drive from my place. Good service I must say.

The two truck came at around 10am, and the nice driver help to put my 407 to his tow truck. I told him where to head to, and I drive my other car leading him to Peugeot service centre in Bukit Indah. One thing I really like is that the driver drove VERY CAREFULLY at I think 30km/hr! I have to constantly slow down or wait for him, and I was only driving at 40-50km/hr! Good and careful service and I like that! (I have seen a tow truck break down at a traffic light where the car it towed got left behind…)

At the service centre, the mechanics checked my car few half an hour, and told me is just Battery Problem. Oops…too bad, and I was wrong, but I am glad that I was wrong. Changing battery is so much cheaper and simpler than the power steering fault! Of course I didn’t change the battery at the service centre, as it costs RM500 to change there, while I can get it done outside at RM290 (I did it two days later with my usual mechanics came over to my house to fit a new battery). Still, I decided to do my normal car service there, which costs me RM400+. I think is OK since they are the expert and they know what to do and what to check. I didn’t wait at the service centre there, as I have an appointment later, and it took an hour + for them to do the service.

I got a phone call from Peugeot service centre an hour later, informing me that the brake pad of the car is about to wear out. Asking me if I wanted to change or not. RM400+. I asked if it can last till next service, they said most probably no. So I decided to just proceed and change.

Total cost for the 407 service and change of brake pad = RM920. Happy that the car is now fine to serve!

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Nikon Announced D810

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Jun 26, 2014 Under Photography

With Extreme Resolution, Powerful Video Features and Enhanced Performance, the New Nikon D810 is the Essential Asset for Pro Photo and Video Applications

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MELVILLE, NY (June 26, 2014 at 12:01 A.M. EDT) Today, Nikon Inc. announced the D810, the next benchmark in D-SLR image quality for professional photographers and cinematographers. The D810features a brand-new 36.3-megapixel, full-frame FX-format sensor without an optical low pass filter (OLPF) for extreme resolution and staggering dynamic range. Bolstered by Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processing engine, the D810 delivers enhanced response and performance for a wide variety of photographic, cinematic and broadcast disciplines. Whether photographing weddings, fashion or landscapes, shooting documentary-style cinema or video for broadcast, this is the one D-SLR that provides the ultimate in versatility and capability.

“Once a user experiences the intense level of fine detail they are able to render using the immersive resolution of theD810, it will be hard to imagine a project without it,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “When coupled with the amazing imaging capabilities of NIKKOR optics, the D810 becomes a powerful storytelling tool to create images and broadcast-quality video with unprecedented detail, dynamic range and sharpness.”

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Nikon’s Greatest Image Quality Yet
The Nikon D810 is the pinnacle of D-SLR image quality, continuing to rival medium format cameras thanks to a variety of Nikon technologies engineered for professional image capture. At the core of the D810is a brand-new, 36.3-megapixel FX-format (7360 x 4912 resolution) CMOS sensor that lets photographers wield the benefits of extremely high resolution, with rich tonality and a broad dynamic range. This super-high resolution gives professionals the power to capture with stellar sharpness, make massive prints or crop liberally with confidence. The OLPF has been removed to maximize the potential of every pixel, resulting in outstanding resolution and sharpness, yielding images that render subtle details with striking fidelity.
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Image quality further benefits from the application of Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 4 image processing engine, which also provides enhancements to overall performance while suppressing instances of false color and moiré. Photographing in the field or in the studio, users will see the difference with the ability to create stunning images with unprecedented clarity in gradation rendering, expanded dynamic range and high accuracy white balance. Additionally, EXPEED 4 enhances noise reduction performance, and helps to achieve a wider ISO range, from 64 to 12,800, to improve low-noise image capture in a variety of lighting conditions. The ISO range is also expandable from 32 (Lo-1) to 51,200 (Hi-2) letting the photographer shoot with maximum fidelity under studio lighting or confidently capture a faintly-lit wedding reception or other subjects in even the most challenging light.

Nikon has also implemented a myriad of new features aimed at improving overall image quality for all types of photographers. Nikon’s Advanced Scene Recognition System with the 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III provides unbelievably balanced exposures in difficult scenes. The system analyzes each scene to recognize factors such as color, brightness and human faces with startling precision to determine what type of subject a user is shooting. The system then compares all the data using an image database to adjust exposure, AF, auto white balance, i-TTL flash control and enhances subject tracking.

Further enhancing the D810’s image quality, a “Clarity” setting has been added to the available Picture Control adjustment parameters, which adjusts mid tones to enhance details within an image. To help preserve the most amount of detail in shadows and highlights, the new “Flat” Picture Control Profile is now available. This Picture Control Profile allows both photographers and filmmakers to get the widest tonal range out of their cameras for maximum flexibility in post processing. For further customization of Picture Controls, users are now able to make adjustments in .25 step increments for the maximum level of custom color, saturation and brightness levels. Additionally, the D810 employs a new highlight-weighted metering option, which detects the brightness in a scene and determines optimum exposure, preventing blown-out highlights, which is ideal for stage and performance capture.

Video Features Fit for Production

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TheD810 has powerful video features that make it a valuable tool for any production environment. Whether a user is looking for manual control for pro video application or portability and lens selection for episodic broadcast, the D810 delivers a truly cinematic experience with a wide range of professional-oriented features:

  • Broadcast quality video: Full HD 1920 x 1080 video capture at a variety of frame rates, including 60/30/24p.
  • Versatile crop modes: FX and DX crop modes give users a telephoto boost when needed, a feature that has been very popular with camera operators because of its added flexibility on set.
  • Flat Picture Control profile: This neutral color profile is ideal for video and gives the user maximum flexibility in post-production.
  • HDMI output: The D810can relay uncompressed digital video to an external recorder via HDMI, while simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and external LCD monitor. Operators can now also record both to the internal card (compressed) and to the external recorder (uncompressed) simultaneously.
  • Smooth in-camera time-lapse and interval timer: Like the Nikon D4S, the D810uses an auto-exposure setting to help create super-smooth exposure and tonal transitions for professional results with time-lapse and interval-time shooting.
  • Audio control: The D810 features a built-in stereo microphone, and an external microphone can also be attached, such as the Nikon ME-1. Additionally, wide and voice frequency ranges are also now available for audio capture.
  • Expanded ISO for video: The ISO range is expanded for video, now encompassing a clean ISO 64 to a versatile 12,800. The Auto-ISO function is also available while recording to adapt the exposure as the light changes, which can eliminate the need to adjust the aperture (in manual mode, ISO 200- 51,200).
  • Zebra stripes: A zebra pattern can be displayed during live view, making it easy to spot overexposed areas.
  • Highlight weighted metering: This new setting helps to prevent blown-out highlights in video. This is especially useful when capturing spot-lit stage performances or shoots with harsh directional lighting.
  • Full manual control: With the innovative Power Aperture setting, it is simple to adjust the exposure and depth of field on the fly while recording to an external recorder or SD/CF cards. In manual mode, users can also control shutter speed and ISO while recording. Additionally, white balance and   exposure compensation can be adjusted prior to recording.
  • Full time AF: The Live View AF has been improved, and now provides faster full-time AF (AF-F mode).
  • NIKKOR lenses: Cinematographers and filmmakers are supported with more than 80 NIKKOR lenses, many of which are a popular choice for cinema applications because of their brilliant optical quality and characteristics.

Accuracy and Speed

With the ability to brandish the results of such staggering resolution, accuracy and precision become paramount as the need for razor-sharp focus is critical. The D810 renders every subtle detail and nuance in epic clarity, with the enhanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module that utilizes new AF algorithms for fascinating precision, even in challenging light. The focus system also has 15 cross-type AF sensors for enhanced accuracy, and works with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to provide accurate face detection even through the optical viewfinder. The camera also utilizes 11 cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters (aperture value up to f/8), which is especially useful for wildlife photography. In addition to normal, wide area, face tracking and subject tracking modes, the D810 also features the new Group AF mode for enhanced accuracy, even while tracking subjects.

Despite the D810’s immense imaging power, it will astound with its rapid response and speedy performance, thanks to the implementation of the EXPEED 4 image processing engine. The addition of EXPEED 4 allows for an overall 30% boost in performance, as well as a faster burst speed and enhancement to overall energy efficiency. Now the D810 is capable of shooting at 5 frames-per-second (fps) at full resolution and 5:4, 6 fps in DX or 1.2x modes,  (15.4-megapixel, 25.1-megapixel, respectively), and 7 fps in DX mode (15.4-megapixel), with battery pack. For full workflow versatility, the D810 also gives users the option to shoot in full resolution 14-bit RAW/NEF file format or the new RAW Size Small format. This 12-bit file format is half the resolution and approximately 1/4 the file size of full RAW files, for increased flexibility when speedy downloads are desired or memory space is at a premium.

Refined Controls and Construction

From all day in the studio to an extended assignment in the field, the D810 has been engineered for superior comfort and operability. When looking through the wide and bright viewfinder with 100% coverage, users will see shooting data displayed on an organic EL display element for maximum visibility. The viewfinder now also features a prism coating for enhanced clarity. In addition, the grip has been refined for comfort and ergonomics, and the “i” button has been added for quick access to common mode-dependent settings.

Both photographers and videographers will clearly see the benefits of the new high-resolution (1229K-dot)  3.2-inch LCD screen, which makes it simple to check focus, review images or compose a scene. The color space of the LCD screen can now also be fully customized, a feature that is useful for matching monitor or print calibration settings. Using the high-resolution LCD screen, users can also activate the new Split Screen Display Zoom function. This new mode magnifies two separated points on the same horizontal line, making it easier to confirm the two points are both level and in focus; a true advantage for architecture, industrial and landscape photographers.

Inside the durable magnesium alloy structure of the D810 improvements have also been made, including the use of a redesigned mirror sequencer / balancer unit, which minimizes vibration during shooting to increase sharpness during multiple frame bursts. Additionally, the electronic front curtain can now act as an electronic front shutter when using live view or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode. This new feature is useful to attain exacting sharpness when shooting slow-shutter landscapes or astrophotography. The shutter unit has also been tested to 200,000 cycles for years of maximum reliability. For further durability, the body of the D810 has been thoroughly sealed and gasketed to resist the elements, reinforcing this camera’s role in extreme production environments.

Superior System Support

Such extreme resolution requires that no compromise be made on glass, and NIKKOR lenses are the perfect choice to complement the D810. With more than 80 FX and DX-format lenses available, NIKKOR lenses offer the ultimate in image quality with sharpness and faithful color representation that is second to none. To light a scene imaginatively, the D810 has a built-in flash and is compatible with Nikon’s acclaimed Creative Lighting System, including a built-in Commander mode for controlling wireless Speedlights. The MB-D12 battery grip is also available to give users both extra grip and extra power when it is needed most.

For wireless control, the D810 is compatible with a full range of Nikon’s remote systems, including the new wireless remote system with the WR-1 to trigger the camera remotely. This system uses radio frequency rather than infrared, eliminating the need for line of sight communication.

Nikon will also be making a Software Developers Kit (SDK) available in the near future for the D810. This SDK will give third party developers the resources needed to create applications and enhance the flexibility of the D810.

Robust New Software Suite: Nikon Capture NX-D

Capture NX-D is Nikon’s new software for processing and adjusting RAW images captured with Nikon digital cameras. Capture NX-D is a free software application that will replace the current Capture NX 2 program, and adds interface and performance enhancements. In addition to RAW images, the program can also be used to adjust JPEG and TIFF files. This new software will support many functions needed by professional photographers, including batch image processing, filtering and an enhanced user interface with a variety of displays and floating palettes that are ideal for multiple monitors. Additionally, photographers will also have the ability to adjust parameters including exposure and white balance in RAW files, and can adjust tone curves, brightness and contrast, as well as functions for correcting lateral color aberration and vignetting in JPEG and TIFF files. The software also features a new “sidecar” format, which retains and saves the adjusted image as a separate file.

Nikon will also make available at no charge the new Picture Control Utility 2 software. This new software allows users to create custom Picture Control profiles, which can be easily loaded into the camera.

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Price and Availability

The Nikon D810 will be available in late July for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $3299.95.* The MB-D12 battery pack is currently available for $616.00 SRP. The new Capture NX-D software package will be available mid-July for download at no additional cost. For more information about these products, NIKKOR lenses or to download the new Capture NX-D software, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Additionally, Nikon will be offering two kits designed for videographers and filmmakers; the D810 Filmmaker’s Kit consists of the D810 body, AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G, AF-S NIKKOR 50mmm f/1.8G, AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lenses, 2 additional EN-EL15 batteries, ME-1 Stereo Microphone, Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder, and Tiffen® 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops). For stop motion applications, the D810 Animator’s Kit features the D810 body, AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G ED VR lens, EH-5b Power Adapter, EP5B Power Supply Connector and Dragonframe™ Stop Motion Software plus Dragonframe USB Keypad Controller. For more information and pricing for these kit configurations, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Nikon D810 specifications

Price
MSRP US$3299.95
Body type
Body type Mid-size SLR
Body material Magnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution 7360 x 4912
Other resolutions FX: 5520 x 3680, 3680 x 2456; 1.2: 6144 x 4080, 4608 x 3056, 3072 x 2040; 5:4: 6144 x 4912, 4608 x 3680, 3072 x 2456; DX: 4800 x 3200, 3600 x 2400, 2400 x 1600
Image ratio w:h 5:4, 3:2
Effective pixels 36 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 37 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor size notes RAW (NEF) available at 12 or 14-bits, lossless compressed, compressed, uncompressed, large or small size.
Sensor type CMOS
Processor EXPEED 4
Color space sRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
Image
ISO Auto, 64-12800
White balance presets 12
Custom white balance Yes (6 slots)
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levels Fine, normal, basic
File format
  • JPEG (Exif 2.3, DCF 2.0)
  • RAW (NEF)
  • TIFF (RGB)
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 51
Lens mount Nikon F
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3.2″
Screen dots 1,229,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT-LCD (WRGB)
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Optical (tunnel)
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 12.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flash Yes (via hot shoe, flash sync terminal, wireless)
Flash modes Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction w/slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync
Flash X sync speed 1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single-frame
  • Continuous low-speed [CL]
  • Continuous high-speed [CH]
  • Quiet Shutter Release
  • Quiet Continuous Release
  • Self-timer
  • Mirror-up
Continuous drive 5 fps
Self-timer Yes (2, 5, 10, 20 secs for up to 9 shots)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Highlight-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes (2-9 exposures in 1-3 increments)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Videography notes Uncompressed output over HDMI with simultaneous writing to memory card
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant)
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMI Yes (mini-HDMI)
Wireless Optional
Wireless notes via WT-5A or Eye-Fi
Remote control Yes
Physical
Environmentally sealed Yes
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 1200
Weight (inc. batteries) 980 g (2.16 lb / 34.57 oz)
Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm (5.75 x 4.84 x 3.23″)
Other features
GPS Optional
GPS notes via GP-1 or GP-1A
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Megumi 7 Years Old Birthday, 14th June 2014

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Jun 14, 2014 Under Family

It was Megumi’s 7 Years Old Birthday! We didn’t get Secret Recipe cake this time, as there is not much choices left in the last minute, and the price is HIGH! So we bought a simple small cake, but surprisingly very delicious as well!

The SHOCK expression from Megumi, when Emmanuel blow the candles first!

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Oh no! Emmanuel seems pretty satisfied…

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It is OK, we will light up the candles for you again…

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Emmanuel is waiting for 2nd chance…

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This time my wife moved the cake further away from Emmanuel, so that Megumi has the chance to blow the candles.

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Happily cutting the cake now.

 

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Megumi and her grandmother

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Xiao Mi Mi3 Review – Malaysia Set

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Jun 2, 2014 Under Rojak

Managed to order the 2nd batch of Xiao Mi Mi3 from www.mi.com/my website last week (2014-05-28). Got the order keyed in on around 12.12pm, and it was sold out at 12.16pm. 16 minutes after launching.

Received my Mi3 yesterday (2014-06-01), so total is 5 days including the ordering day to receive the Mi3. It was shipped  from an address in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, unlike iPhone which was shipped directly from Sheng Zhen, China. It comes with Sirim Sticker, and packed in a hard solid paper cardboard. Recycled material? I think so. Have the environmental friendly feel, but not elegant feel like Apple packaging.

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Since the phone is using Lithium battery, so it is important to declare that in shipment, which is required under FedEx shipment.

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Inside the box there is the Mi3 box, UK style power adapter and invoice.

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Going into details you will see the below:

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The adapter at the lower part of the above photo is the MicroSIM adapter. The photo comes with MiniSIM adapter by default.

Mi3 is sitting firmly inside the box.

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It is not small, and I have my Samsung S3 laying next to it as a comparison. You can’t see the screen of the Mi3 now, photo after power ON later.

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Holding in hand comparison.

Mi3

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Samsung Galaxy S3

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Side by side comparison

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Back view

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Samsung S3 is using plastic casing, which I have no problem with, and is actually quite light and durable to withhold impact damage (drop, hit…etc.). Mi3 on the other hand is metal casing, which I am worrying of scratching and knocking. I have a slight regret that I didn’t add the bumper case for it when purchasing. Maybe I will get that later.

Powering up the Mi3 required SIM card. After setting up (for Android system, Google account is essential…so that you can fully utilize the functions of cloud data storage), the screen of Mi3 is beautiful! Very high resolution and I can see no dot or pixel on the screen.

Side by side comparison to my S3

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In term of real estate (screen size), Mi3 is slightly larger / longer than S3. The icons appear to be larger than S3. Colour is vivid, vibrant and sharp.

At RM889 (purchase directly from www.mi.com/my), I think it is a great buy! The current Samsung S5 might be a great phone (love the leather back), but I don’t think it is 2.5x better than the Mi3 (S5 is still selling at RM2000+ in the market).

My biggest complaint on the Samsung S3 is the slow response on the camera function, which I am not impressed even on my wife’s latest Samsung Note 3, but I am happy with the Mi3 camera function. It is fast, responsive and instantaneous in photo capturing and reviewing! No more waiting for the photo to appear when you press the view photo button on the phone. It comes out immediately, just like iPhone!

Below is the original photo taken using Mi3. Click for full resolution.

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Being still an Android phone, there is not much different in terms of user interface as compared to Samsung. Mi3 is running Android 4.3.

In Conclusion, I am satisfied with the money spent. At RM889, you can only get a “normal” grade Samsung Galaxy Grand phone, but Mi3 is of Galaxy S5 standard. :)

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Update of my Discus fish

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday May 23, 2014 Under Fish

Took some photos of my discus fish today after water changed.

Bought these 4 discus from Forrest last week, and they are doing great!

This is a rare straight line red turquoise. The shape is nice, the pattern is nice, and the colour is nice as well!

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This is the Forrest Giant Red Turquoise. It is really huge, mainly due to the high fin. Forrest said it has the GIANT gene inside it, which means it will grow to much bigger size than normal discus. Judging from the size of its eyes, I think the fish is only 1 year or less of age. Discus can live upto 10 years as per documented, so this one can really go into GIANT! It is already reaching 5.5″ now!

This one is having straight line pattern as well, though not as straight as the one above, but is still a nice one.

 

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This is Scorpion Blue discus. I like the fine patterns on it.

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This is has less pattern, but the blue is nice.

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When the fins open up, the fish is really nice!

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Visiting Forrest Discus on 15th May 2014 (Thursday)

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday May 17, 2014 Under Fish

I have the chance to visit the famous Forrest Discus farm in Johor few days ago (15th May 2014 (Thursday)). It is about 1 hour drive from where I live, and the journey is a smooth drive via highway. Total distance is around 55km as per WAZE GPS.

For discus lovers, the farm is like a paradise. So many great discus in different strains at one place, and the best thing is…they are all very healthy! I spent several hours at the farm, looking at the fish and chit-chatting with Forrest, who is a very nice and humble guy to spend time with!

No, he is not into selling. In fact, he asked me not to buy, as I already have many discus in my tank. Still, I want to bring back some nice discus, so I insist. Forrest is sincere in telling me the quality of each fish, and below are what I got at the end.

Two Blue Scorpions, One Straight Line Red Turquoise, and One Forrest Giant Red Turquoise.

The two blue scorpions are 4-4.5″ each. I love the fine patterns on this one.

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While this one is more clean, it has a nice shape as well.

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Love this red turq on first look. Very nice straight line pattern! It is a 5″ fish! The photo doesn’t do justice to the fish, as the fins are clamped after I changed water.

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I wanted to get another turquoise, so Forrest brought me to another farm of his (yes, he got two farms), to select his own breed Forrest Giant Red Turq, and he chose this straight line one for me. This one is huge, 5.5″!

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All the fish are extremely healthy! I quarantine them for 2 days in a small tank, and noticed that the Giant Red Turq was bullying the others (chasing and causing fish to jump and splash the water around and hurting themselves), so I join them to my bigger tank with others.

Really happy with the quality of these fish, and most importantly, make a new friend. :)

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Golden Discus at my local fish store

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday May 12, 2014 Under Fish

Saw this today, no, didn’t bought as the fish in the tank don’t look healthy…so the risk is too high in contaminating my current HEALTHY tank…which I have gone a long way in keeping my fish health.

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The fish looks quite nice shape to me, but colour is not as solid (not yellow enough on the body).

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It’s her day! It’s Lydia’s Birthday! It’s Mother’s Day!

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday May 11, 2014 Under Family

Today, 11th May 2014, is my beloved wife, Lydia’s birthday! Today is also the 2nd Sunday of May, celebrating Mother’s day worldwide!

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She said no need cake…but I still decided to go get a small cake for her, and also for the two kids. Kids LOVE cake!

Also got 3 roses for my wife, means “I LOVE YOU”. Hahaa…

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Megumi made a little prayer.

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Candle blowing…

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Cake cutting…

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Enjoying our dinner… :)

 

Everybody wants to cut the cake. We didn’t get Secret Recipe cake this time, as it is too big, no good cakes left, and too expensive. So we get one from Season, small one, which is surprisingly quite delicious! Cheese cake…my favorite! Hahaa…and Megumi’s favorite too!

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Blue Diamond Discus at RM100

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday May 3, 2014 Under Fish

Saw this one in my lfs, RM100 per fish. No, I didn’t get it. I like the blue but the shape to me is so so. I prefer more rounded fish.

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Pigeon Blood Snakeskin Discus at local fish store

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday May 3, 2014 Under Fish

Amazingly beautiful, especially when they are in school!

The local fish store referred it as Vietnam Pigeon Blood Snakeskin, some called it Honeycomb discus.

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Size is around 4.5″ US Size (from tip to tail), or 4″ Asia size, selling at RM280 per fish (USD90). Too expensive for me, so I didn’t get any.

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Bought them! Not it…but them! :)

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Apr 21, 2014 Under Fish

Cannot resist the shape, so brought them home. I think is BRILLIANT strain, or mix of snake skin with leopard. Should be interesting when they grow up. Size is around 3.5″ to 4″ now.

Got it at RM45 per piece, from original RM49.90. The boss’s brother not willing to discount on Sat, so I waited till the boss was in shop on Sunday to bargain, and got some discount.

This one caught my attention initially.

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But I got attracted with another one that is very round as well.

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I think both of them have the bulldog gene, where the vertical black lines on the eyes are of < shape towards the mouth. Not as ugly as bulldog, but have the nice round shape.

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A nice shape Discus I saw

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Apr 20, 2014 Under Fish

Some like it…some might not…

But I like it… :)

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No, I didn’t bought it…not yet…as the shop is asking RM49.90 for it…I was hoping RM38…

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Big Size Red Melon Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Apr 6, 2014 Under Fish

Saw this in the local fish store today. RM79. Quite nice colour. Clean and perfect fins.

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Lost Six of my discus fish

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Apr 4, 2014 Under Fish

My discus tank has been a disaster  since 2 weeks ago. Tried many methods, changed water daily, use RO water, medicinessss…and till today I removed the sands in my tank to keep the water cleaner.

I have lost 6 discus in this event. Four adults and two juveniles. The adults are blue super eruption, Penang eruption (one of my favorite fish), snake skins fine lines, and golden crystal (I like this one too). The two juveniles are one giant blue snakeskin and one red turquoise. The Golden crystal and snake skin fine lines died today. The snakeskin is already in bad condition last night, didn’t expect it to be able to last till today’s noon. The golden crystal showed bad sign this morning, and after water changed, it left at 2.45pm.

I got really tired with the condition of the fish. Quite helpless feeling when seeing the fish dying, as I have run out of idea and solutions.

At the moment, another adult fish red super eruption is not showing good sign. It tilt to one side, and laying on the floor. I hope it can make it and get back to health.

I am left with few more fishes. Adults: Snakeskin, leopard, super eruption, blood pigeon. Juveniles: giant blue snakeskin, red turquoise, 4 x red melon, 2 x red snakeskins, 3 x checkerboard. These are all in my 4 feet tank.

i have another two adult fish in my small tank. They are one pigeon blood and one albino Snow White. These two are not mixed with the other fish, so they didn’t get sick. Good news today…after changed the water in the small tank, they spawned again. This is their third round, hopefully they can succeed this time.

Back to my main tank. After water change and removing the sands, most of the fish look fine and active now. I shall get the water clean up again tomorrow or Sunday, remove the leftover dirt at the bottom.

 

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Discus Fish 31st March 2014 (Monday)

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Mar 31, 2014 Under Fish

The fish condition seems to have improved, after I added some medicine to the tank last night.

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Tried feed them bloodworm this morning, most still have no appetite. No rushing over the food. Just two cubes and still the fish can’t finish them. (In old days, they can take 6-9 cubes!)

This is the very first Snakeskin discus that I got, my daughter called it the “BRAIN fish”, as the patterns on the body looks like brain. :p The fish has gone through many sickness, and this time he is recovering well.

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My Giant Blue is still dark and clamped fin…

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The Leopard Snakeskin (Penang Eruption) still sick, but much better than last night. You can see the whitish slim on the skin is peeling off…should be in the recovering stage.

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Just a reminder how great my fish look like when they were all healthy! Photo taken on 12th March 2014 (19 days ago).

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My Discus Fall Sick

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Mar 30, 2014 Under Fish

All my discus fish fall sick since 3 days ago.

This is how the fish look like 3 days ago. All of them started to group together at corners. Some even laid flat at the bottom. I was so worried and regretted that I might lost all the fish. :((

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I was shocked when I first saw this! After waking them up with net…then only I am a bit relief. No, they are not dead…but resting flat at the bottom…they must be really tired or sick…

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Not really sure what caused it, but I have a few possible suspects…

1. Disease from new fish?
This is the highest possibility, as I have added 1 new fish to the tank 7 days ago, and another one 4 days ago. I suspect the small fish I added 4 days ago is the culprit. Too bad…I didn’t quarantine them before adding them to my fish tank. Never will I do that again, as the risk is simply too much for the 27 discus I have in my tank!

This is what I added 7 days ago. A Golden Crystal – 5.5″.

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This is what I added 4 days ago. An Albino Golden Crystal. This is just a juvenile, around 2.5″. I bought it because it is cheap for an albino (RM30), but I shouldn’t have put it into my tank without quarantine, as it already shows sign of sick in the local fish store. All fins clamped.

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2. Medicine poisoning?
I added some medicine to the tank 4 days ago when I noticed one of the fish is sick. I added Befuran to the tank, and this is the usual medicine I use. I am not sure if this caused all the fish to fall sick or not.

3. Chlorine poisoning?
I changed water 4 days ago. I did use anti-chlorine, but then I added water quite fast into the tank. Could it be the reason?

4. Salt poisoning?
I added some salt to the water after water change. Is the salt I added too much in quantity? Again, not sure…

5. Scared / Frighten
I switched off the light of the tank 4 days ago (at night), but in the middle of the night, I decided to check out on the fish and switch on the light in my dark living room. All the discus got so scared with the sudden light, and hit here and there. Then all of them hided at corners. Bad bad me…however, the next morning all seems fine (or not?)…

6. New sponge in the filter?
I changed the sponge in the filter 4 days. Could this be the reason for the cloudy water? I didn’t notice anything scratch on the filter though…

Or, it could be the combination of several or all the above?

I did water change starting 2 days ago. After a full water change (using RO water, so no more chlorine), I added some medicine again. The fish seems to get better after water change.

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I put a little bit of food to the tank, some started eating, but still not as active.

However, I noticed yesterday that the water becomes very cloudy. So I did another water change (90%) yesterday. This time no more medicine, and just pure RO water. Fish seems to be improving in condition.

This is the photo from today (30th March 2014 – Sunday). Fish started swimming more freely in the tank. They still have no big appetite, eat only a little. A few still at corners and dark.

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The water still doesn’t look that clear, slightly cloudy. What caused the water to be cloudy is still puzzling me. I might do another water change again today.

The good news is…so far no loosing on the fish, and all are recovering…no more new fish to my tank. I shall concentrate on growing them and keeping them healthy!

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(This is my tank on 26th March 2014 before the fish fall sick…hope they will back to health soon…)

Update 30th March 2014, 9.53pm 

Did water change again today. This is the third continuous day of water change. Water was still cloudy even though I did water change yesterday, so I thought it might not be good for the still sick or weak fish. So, though tired, I have to do it again today.

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Done the water change in the afternoon, and now at 9.55pm the water is still crystal clear. Whatever that caused the water to be cloudy should be gone or too minimal to notice now.

Fish still in stressed condition, though water quality seems to have improved a lot by now. Hopefully by tomorrow morning the fish will get free swimming without fear again.

update at 11pm

the fish don’t seems to be improving. Some have whitish eyes…which looks partially blind. Some fish are really dark, seems worse than yesterday. So I decided to use medicine again. Poured in 25ml of magic fluid into the tank. Hope for the best tomorrow…

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My Discus Tank – Done Water Change Today

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Mar 26, 2014 Under Fish

Just done water change today. The fish loves the clean water.

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Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival 2014

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Family

We visited Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival on the 22nd Feb 2014. It is a SUNNY day…yeah…real sunny that the sunshine can BURN skins!

Nevertheless, it is a nice family outing for us.

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Visit to Jusino (Tripod) Factory in China

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Photography

Lydia and I representing ShaShinKi (Jusino distributor in Malaysia) were invited by Jusino (professional tripod maker) to visit their factory in China in Sept 2013. It is a nice trip knowing how the professional Jusino tripods were made.

Purchase Jusino tripods at:

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My Discus Tank – 25 March 2014

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Fish

My 4 feet tank, got around 27 discus fish inside. Yes, a bit too crowded, but is OK. Just have to change water more often, and hopefully the fish will continue to grow healthily.

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Close up…

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Until I get another tank… :p

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Aeroplane Colouring by Emmanuel

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 Under Family

It is good to let the kids do the colouring according to their own imagination.

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Colouring mind expressed in his work.

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Golden Crystal Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Mar 21, 2014 Under Fish

Finally got my hand on this strain. Golden Discus, some called it Golden Crystal.

The one I got is not Albino (red retina) strain, but I love the red ring surrounding the retina! Much nicer than the Albino strain I saw in my local fish store, with uneven red circle on the eyes. Mine seems much more beautiful though the retina is black. Love the body colour, though shape can be better (more disc shape / round would make it perfect).

This shot is taken under RED light.

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This one taken under white light (showing more truthfully the colour).

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Below is the group in the tank at the local fish store…

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I almost wanted to get the other Golden on the left…but at the end decided against it.

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In memory of my beloved Grandma…

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Mar 21, 2014 Under Family

In memory of my beloved Grandma…rest in peace returning to Jesus Christ on 28th February 2014…

These were taken during the 2014 Chinese New Year…

These were when my grandma was admitted to Kuching general hospital…

Goodbye, grandma. We will meet again in heaven later.

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Introduction

I got an email from Panasonic on reviewing their Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm 1:1.2 ASPH. Lens (What a lengthy name! Let’s call it Noct from now on…) few weeks back. Yes, I have expressed my interest in the lens when I got the Panasonic DMC-GM1 for reviewing last month.

To show the best potential of the lens, it must be coupled with the best camera from Panasonic. So, they offered the GX7 together with the Noct. I am happy with the package offered, and receive the set 2 weeks back.

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It is a complete set as per what you will get outside. The lens comes with a hood, which is quite long (as long as the lens itself).

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So I decided not to use the hood, and keep it in the box. All the photos I took in this review is without the hood.

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This is the first image I took with the lens. Very shallow depth of view.

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The power of the lens is definitely at its shallow depth of field, making the subject very 3-dimensional looking.

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One of the really good feature that I love about the GX7 as compared to GM1 (as previously mentioned as lacking in the GM1) is the instantaneous preview of the captured photo on the LCD at the back of the camera. This is really useful and and great for photographer that came from DSLR background. With the GX7, if you decided not to review the images, you can just continuously pressing the shutter button and it will continue shooting and previewing at the same time. I believe it is the processor / image engine inside the camera that makes such a big difference from GM1.

Nocticron Specifications

Focal Length 42.5mm
Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 85 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/1.2 – 16.0
Camera Mount Type Micro Four Thirds
Format Compatibility Micro Four Thirds
Angle of View 29°
Minimum Focus Distance 1.64′ (.5 m)
Magnification 0.1x
Elements/Groups 14/11
Diaphragm Blades 9
Filter Thread 67 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.91 x 3.03″ (74 x 77 mm)
Weight 14.99 oz (425 g)

 

Close Focusing Distance

For my style of photography, I prefer to go close to my subject when taking photos. Though the Nocticron is quite a long lens (85mm in 135 format), but minimum focusing distance is quite short (50cm). This is good as one can go very close to the subject and still able to focus and take close distance shot.

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Very shallow DOF at F/1.2 aperture, yet the focused path is still extremely sharp!

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F/1.2

The reason of getting this lens is for its F/1.2 aperture. This is also the reason why one pay so much more price for such a lens (Besides the Leica name stamped on the lens). Hence in my two weeks shot with the lens, I took most photos with the largest aperture setting.

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Below is a 100% crop view (click to view full size)

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Besides pleasant BOKEH, F/1.2 produces very sharp photo at the focused point. I am very pleased with the sharpness and BOKEH combination from the lens. One can create a very artistic shot with such aperture.

Nocticron Built Quality

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The lens is made by Panasonic, but with a Leica tag on it. Being a lens with Leica tag, it is of the highest quality in Panasonic lens line up. The Nocticron is of no disappointment. The body is made of metal (magnesium alloy?), and even the hood is made of metal as well. Manual focusing is extremely smooth, and the AF/MF button is easy to access. There is also a OIS on/off button below the AF/MF button, I set it to ON though throughout my test.

Nocticron 42.5mm Focal Length

I do find the Nocticron to be a bit too long the focal length when taking shots of the fish in the aquarium and photos of my kids. On a micro 4/3rd camera with 2x crop factor, effective focal length becomes 85mm. Yes, this is a lens for portrait photography.

I have to constantly back away from the subject when shooting, in order to frame and cover the shot that I want. My style of shooting is that I prefer to be closer to the subject in taking shots. However, for portrait of lady, it is just fine. It gives a very pleasant framing of shoulder shot of your subject.

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Very sharp yet retaining a pleasant BOKEH in the background.

The lens has an AF / MF button on the body to allow you switching between Autofocus and Manual Focus. When changed to MF, the GX7 automatically turns on the magnifier at the center of the LCD to show the focus of your subject. A good feature for precise focusing.

GX7 Battery Life

Battery life of GX7 is impressive. I get over 600 shots in a single charge, with around 5% of flash shots. Lens is in Autofocus most of the time.

Video on GX7

I done a short video shooting using the GX7 and the Nocticron, handheld, and the result is quite good.

GX7 records in full HD resolution, which is impressive. Sound quality is so so though (one should get an external mic if you want good sound quality in video recording)…so the above video I used other music to replace it.

Conclusion

This is an expensive lens, so you pay for the F/1.2 glass mainly. If you are looking for a great portrait lens, you will not be disappointed. If you shoot often at F2.8 or F4, then this lens might be overkilled for you (for its weight and high price tag). Pleasant BOKEH combines with great sharpness, Panasonic Leica has created another great lens to their line up.

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Discus in my aquarium

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Mar 11, 2014 Under Fish

Some of the discus strains that I have…

Snakeskin

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Leopard Snakeskin

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Bunga Kertas for my house

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Mar 9, 2014 Under Family, House Reno

Our neighbour has this BUNGA Kertas (paper flower) blossom at their house. Every time when we passed by, my wife would say how nice it is the flower, and how much she loves the colour and if we have such blossom in our house.

I went looking for the tree last Friday, and managed to get one that is of nice looking at the nearby nursery. The tree took delivered on Saturday, and I planted it straight away next to the children swing. Hope my wife will like it.

Beware when buying such tree, as most are transplant at the branches with different colour strains on the main tree, and some trees are already rotten in the main trunk, and surviving only at the transplant area (giving you the false impression that the tree is still very much alive). It will not last long if such is the case. To check is easy, just use your fingernails to scrub the skin of the main trunk and sub-branches a little, if it is still green inside, then it is still a living one. I have seen two at the nursery that were reserved by others with rotten trunk…though the branches still blossom nicely.

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Paid RM300 for it, so it better be a healthy tree that can grow and last… :p

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Meeting Forrest Discus

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Mar 8, 2014 Under Fish

I ordered 4 discus fish from a very famous discus exporter in Malaysia, Forrest (Teo) Discus. He is staying in Johor, about 45 minutes drive from where I stay. So he made personal delivery of the discus fish that I ordered last night.

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A very nice guy, willingness to share his knowledge and experience in discus fish. Am happy purchasing the fish from him and met him personally.

I bought two Forrest Red Turq and two Forrest Giant Blue SS.

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Very quality fish from him, though price is higher than local fish store, but I am still satisfied. :)

Picture below is we checking out the condition of the new fishes after adding them to the tank. No, Forrest doesn’t recommend adding fish to existing tank without quarantine, but since I have no extra tank, he gave me some tips to try minimize the risk.

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Forrest was quite surprised with the quality of the discus in my tank, bought from local fish store. Some are great quality (the red melons got praises from Forrest). :)

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