Digital Camera Focus Accuracy Test Method – INDEPTH FOCUS TEST

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Mar 20, 2008 Under Photography

After testing over hundreds of lenses…I have come out with a focus test method that I felt is most convincing to myself. I call it:

INDEPTH FOCUS TEST

There are many focus test chart flying around in the internet, I have printed out some and test them using my Nikon D200 DSLR. However, I found those test chart to be NOT ACCURATE, as it mainly influenced by the position and accuracy of the focus sensor of your DSLR. Some DSLR tends to focus on the subject that is of higher contrast or nearer to the sensor. Some differs.

In order to eliminate the camera focusing sensor position “error”, I developed the INDEPTH Focus Test method, there the camera focus sensor will have no problem in locking focus onto the target, and can give accurate focus photo for evaluation.

Below is how I tested lenses that I ordered for my customers at ShaShinKi.com.

Put two cards (with wordings, eg. namecard, so that you can check sharpness of the wordings later) on your table, one with a lens cap at the bottom so that it is around 1cm higher than the other. Focus on the lower card and take a shot (make sure your shutter speed is above 1/200s, or use flash to freeze motion). Take another shot with focus on the upper card.

Distance between card is around 5mm, separated by a lens cap.

img_0011.JPG

When you focus on Card A, Card B should be blurred (out of focus).

When you focused on Card B, Card A should be blurred (out of focus).

Check the sharpness of both shots. It should show sharp on your focused card and blur on the opposite one. Same as the second shot.

Repeat the above test at different focal length if your lens is a zoom.

After the close distance test, try take a few shots at infinity or far distance. Again, choose a subject which have some clear wordings on it so that you can check the sharpness and clarity on your camera LCD screen later.

If your lens is good, all should be sharp. :)

(Updated on 20th March 2008 with picture. A picture is worth a thousand words…)

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Toshiba quits HD-DVD

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Feb 20, 2008 Under Computer / IT

Yes…this might be the hottest news in the technology world recently. Toshiba has announced that they are officially quiting the HD-DVD format, leaving few others players behind.

hd-dvd.jpg

In case you are wondering…this it the world for the next generation high storage DVD format, between HD DVD and Blu-Ray (Sony).

Toshiba’s HD DVD is backed by Paramount, Universal Pictures, Microsoft, Sanyo, and NEC.

Sony’s Blu-ray is backed by Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Dell, Panasonic, and Philips.

In Japan, the TV news even conduct a very comprehensive war analysis between the two formats…but my memory not so good to remember all. In summary, Sony Blu-Ray seems to have more promising future, with HD DVD dying slowly. PlayStation 3 is definitely playing big help in promoting Blu-Ray format.

You can read CNN news on Toshiba quiting the HD DVD format at:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/02/19/toshiba.hdd/index.html

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I have been using Paint Shop Pro program since version 4…that was more than 7 years ago…and I just love this program.

Why not photoshop? One of the main reason for me to go for Paint Shop Pro during the early days is because it is a FREEWARE. Yes, free to download and use on your computer. That was in version 4 and version 5. Version 9 and later is a paid software, but later Corel bought JASC and the last version from JASC was version 10. Version 9 was later given as a free software together with Lexar professional memory card, which is definitely a very very good value!

How is Paint Shop Pro as compared to Adobe Photoshop? For me, it does everything I needed in photo editing. Curve, contrast, brightness, unsharp mask, crop, border, layers, etc. It also is much easier to use and less resource hungry like photoshop. I can start and use my PSP within 5 seconds after launching, but for PS, I have to wait for 10s or more. Of course, if you have very fast PC, you might not notice the difference.

pspx2.jpg

Today, I download the 30 days trial version of PSP from Corel website. I was already about to BUY already (already in the PayPal page, one click away from paying), but since there is a 30 days trial, I thought why not? I clicked the cancel order button and went back to download the software to try out first. The latest version is Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and my experience with PSP is mainly based on version 6. I want to see how much improvement it has after Corel bought over JASC, and the US$89.99 is worth spending or not.

What I am expecting from the latest version which I think is lacking in the dated version 6:

  • Better noise removal
  • Faster processing
  • RAW file processing (version 6 can process raw file but loading takes ages…)
  • More features on borders, templates, effects…etc.
  • Smarter one step photo fix (available in version 6 as well, but I wonder if there is any surprise in the latest version)

Basically, that’s it. I don’t really need a software that has tones of features that I don’t use but burden down my computer.

Now…let’s see some examples that I run through PSPPX2 just now. The photos below are taken using Nikon D200 at IS3200, I set the camera at high ISO the night before and forgot to set it back to low ISO. My wife used the camera the next day to take Megumi’s photos… :P Originally posted at: 看我笑得见眼不见牙

(Take note that the before images are already of some processing previously…which used automatic batch process…hence the quality still not so good and some sharpness already lost)

Before

kkk_0211_before.JPG

After PSP

kkk_0211_after.jpg

Before

kkk_0229_before.JPG

After PSP

kkk_0229_after.JPG

You have to click the photo to appreciate the difference. There is a nice Skin Smoothing command in PSPPX2 which I find it delivers good results. The above is just a quick test…I will have to get some RAW files to test it further, but I think I am definitely going to buy one before the 30 days trial period ends up. :)

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Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo!

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Feb 4, 2008 Under Computer / IT

Yes…you read it right. In fact, this is not the first time…last year Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo! as well, but was turned down by Yahoo!. Now, Microsoft tries it again after the old CEO just stepped down (due to poor performance in directing Yahoo!).

Is Yahoo! for sale? Is Google for sale?

Yahoo is not performing well…in fact, you can use the word BAD. The reason is simple, Google. People are switching to Google for their internet browsing and using habit. I use Gmail now as my main email (Google space outgrow my email growing space), Gchat for chatting (not the only one though, together I use Live Messenger as well as Skype), Google Earth when I need to find a location, Analytics for my website statistics, Adsense to get some $, etc. Eh…I left out the most important one…I use Google to SEARCH!

How about Yahoo!? I don’t use Yahoo Messenger nowadays, I don’t use Yahoo mail nowadays…I don’t use Yahoo to search nowadays…Yahoo? Hmm…I don’t remember using any Yahoo service now.

So…is Yahoo dieing? Not yet…but I believe Yahoo is definitely in trouble. Microsoft sees it. In fact, Microsoft is worrying that they might be the next Yahoo and get swallow up by Google…so they want to get Yahoo now in order to retain some market share to fight the “don’t be evil” Google.

How much? US$44 billions. I don’t know exactly how much that is…but I remember Youtube was sold at US$1.65 billions few years ago by Google. I guess Microsoft should have bought Youtube…as it is definitely the most successful online video sharing site nowadays. Yes, I use Youtube service. When Google bought Youtube, many asked if Google overpaid…but now it seems cheap to me (seeing how much influence Youtube has on the internet).

Back to Yahoo…so is it sold? Not yet, for now. Yahoo share up nearly 50% after Microsoft announced the buying news. Those insiders must be laughing all the way to the bank now… :P

Rumors that Yahoo might seek other buyers alternatives, e.g. Apple. Yes, I think Apple has a more healthy image than Microsoft…and people like Apple. Yahoo + Apple = New Life. Steve Job is definitely one of the smartest guy in the world. With him guiding Yahoo, there might still be chance to survive. Microsoft? They can’t even survive on their own now…not sure how they can inject new life into Yahoo.

By the way…Yahoo…if you are listening…you should launch your Publisher Network to people outside USA. I have been waiting for more than a year…and you still not including internet users from other country to join. There are many people who can’t use Adsense, or have been banned by Adsense, they want alternative and I am sure Yahoo is the best alternative to Google. You should grab this chance, opportunity…but after one year waiting…you are still not progressing. What a shame…what a disappointment… :(

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Memory card speed test

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Jan 16, 2008 Under Computer / IT, Photography

How fast is your memory card? How fast is your camera writing and reading speed? How fast is your computer writing/reading speed? How fast is your card reader?

Does it really matter? :D

A friend of mine, Aaron Kok took up the trouble and spent time to do the test below. Hope you will find it useful.

Camera – 1D Mk3

PC – Sony Vaio notebook – Centrino 2ghz

Card Reader Tested

- Buffalo PCMCIA CardBus (RCF-CBA)

- Buffalo MCR-A27

CF Card Tested

- Sandisk Extreme IV 4GB

- Sandisk Extreme III 2GB

- Lexar Pro 2Gb 80x

- PenDrive 4Gb 155x

SD Card

- Kingston 2Gb Elite Pro SD

Tests are NOT scientific, just done to satisfy myself to purchase cheaper cards ;) . Tho keep in mind on reliablity. So far only cards have failled me is kingston CF and Lexar Pro. Kingston was exchanged for Sandisk and Lexar was replaced. Lexar works fine now.

Buffer Clearing Tests. 6 shot burst. Time calculate from 1st shot till camera stops writing via the write light..

Test done by taking photo of a clock and taking final shot when buffer clears. Error of approx +-1 sec. All these are done via eyes and just the windows clock, not an actual timer.

Compact Flash

- Sandisk Extreme IV 4GB - 6 seconds

- Sandisk Extreme III 2GB - 6 seconds

- Lexar Pro 2Gb 80x – 10 seconds

- PenDrive 4Gb 155x – 20 seconds

SD Card

- Kingston 2Gb 50x Elite Pro SD - 6 seconds (it feels as it it clears much faster, will need to do more bursts to test)

There are differences in some card when it clears the buffer. Some will show the buffer dropping smoothly, some clears 1,2, then wait, then clears another 3, then wait and clears ones.

Card to PC – 200MB Multiple RAW Files

Buffalo PCMCIA

- Sandisk Extreme IV 4GB - 20 seconds

- Sandisk Extreme III 2GB - 20 seconds

- Lexar Pro 2Gb 80x - 25 seconds

- PenDrive 4Gb 155x – 30 seconds

Buffalo USB

- Sandisk Extreme IV 4GB - 15 seconds

- Sandisk Extreme III 2GB - 13 seconds

- Lexar Pro 2Gb 80x - 20 seconds

- PenDrive 4Gb 155x - 18 seconds

Credits to:

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BlogMalaysia.com – Malaysia Bloggers Directory!

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Jan 12, 2008 Under Blog

BlogMalaysia.comMalaysia Bloggers Directory!

What’s the hottest thing on planet now?

Yeah…blogging…

A new phrase in the late of 20 century, so very popular now in the 21st century.

What is blog? It is more like a diary, a personal webspace to post one’s thought and sharing. Blog becomes so popular with the boom of internet and many free blog space given out by big companies (eg. Google).

For those who have their own domain, the most popular free blog management software out there is probably WordPress. Yes, free but so feature rich! Yes, I am using WordPress for my blog as well. It manages my blog nicely, and the new version has some simple but practical WYSIWYG features for me to type my blog entry sufficiently.

Now…back to the title of this post – BlogMalaysia.com!

blogmalaysia-com.jpg

I got this domain from Brian (founder of PhotoMalaysia.com) last year, after Brian decided to discontinue free blog offering and let the domain expired. The domain was registered by Brian in July 2004, and was expired on July 2007. Brian has to pay a little extra money to renew the expired domain after it expired (US$10 or US$15 penalty?) and renew with one year fee (US$8.99) to get back the domain, and later transfer it to me. For me to receive the domain at my registra, I have to add another year of subscription. Of course I paid all the suspenses. For me it is still very cheap to get a nice domain name. Quite impossible to register such domain name again nowadays, as most are already grabbed by others. :P

So, what am I going to do with the domain? My personal blog? Nah…I don’t want to use that domain name as my personal blog. I actually plan to make a Malaysia Blog Database or Directory, with as many Malaysians blog URL as possible. I found a nice software for the project, and found a nice template design for it…but not as perfect as I hoped. Modification and study structure of the software are a must, if you want your site to be unique and looks good, you need to pour in your effort.

I did a basic design for it few months ago…and try to gather as many bloggers info as possible to key into the database. But one thing I knew, I can’t survive like this. I don’t want to key in the info myself, I want bloggers to come and register their URL themselves at BlogMalaysia.com!

How? Honestly I have no idea. It is hard to promote a new site…very hard actually. Online forums will definitely not allow me to promote BlogMalaysia.com for free, and I do not have a budget for advertisement (maybe I shall find some budget for advertisement…). :(

Today, since I was quite free and have the mood (most importantly), I revisited BlogMalaysia.com and did some changes to the template design. Below are some of the improvements that I have done in the last couple of hours (yeah, learn something new too):

  • Edited site preview with previews from new source (previous girafa preview is no longer available).
  • Make site preview image clickable to the actual URL. I have wanted this feature since day 1, but don’t know how to do it. Today I manage to solve it out myself. :)
  • Make Latest Links clickable to the actual URL. Was having problem previously with broken links.
  • Added favicon.
  • Added little “http://ecmalaysia.com/links/templates/Atman/images/arrow_right.gif” mark to each line in the right sidebar. This makes the side bar easier to view and click.

I shall think of what to add next…if you have any suggestion, feel free to comment. :)

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Fujifilm F40FD firmware v1.10 update to SDHC memory card

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Jan 9, 2008 Under Photography

If your Fujifilm F40FD can’t work with your SDHC 4GB memory card (or larger), you then need to update the firmware to the latest version v1.10.

Download at:

http://www.fujifilmusa.com/JSP/…

Please read the instruction in details. Connect to power socket when upgrading the firmware, fail in the middle will result your camera NOT USEABLE anymore!

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Goodbye Netscape Navigator…

Posted by Dr Koh on Wednesday Jan 2, 2008 Under Computer / IT

AOL has announced that it will stop providing support for Netscape Navigator browser after 1st February 2008. Last version of Netscape Navigator is v9

netscape.jpg

Once a rival to Microsoft IE and once the best internet browser and most user used browser…its day is to be remembered…hence I just have to post this in my blog.

Netscape has went through many changes, from a freeware to a paid software then back to freeware. I think the PAID stage is killing it off. Sueing Microsoft for monopoly…etc.

Most internet users are now using IE or FireFox. Personally I am using FireFox 99.9% of the time, occasionally I open up IE for some testings or plugin support. FireFox is a freeware, booming for its simplicity and great features and of course the speed.

Netscape last version will be v9, AOL has removed the download link but you can still download it from various other websites. Take note that SUPPORT will no longer be provided.

AOL / Netscape suggests turning to FireFox for replacement browser. ;)

News of Netscape Navigator discontinued at:

http://blog.netscape.com/2007/12/28/end-of-support-for-netscape-web-browsers/

Download FireFox at:

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/

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Christmas eve…2007…

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Dec 24, 2007 Under Church

In a few minutes time…it will be Christmas day!

Christmas is not a celebration for santa clause, not a celebration of receiving presents, not a celebration of holiday…Christmas is a remembrance of the birthday of Jesus Christ, son of God who came to earth 2000 years ago to complete the plan of God.

Christ was born, as promised by God to the Israel people. Not just Israel people, but also a savior was born for all the people who believe in God.

Christ was born, not in the glorious place, no in palace, not in the softest bed.

Christ was born, in a manger. Closest to man, to earth, to the poorest, to those who need him most.

Christ was born, not for the saints, not for the good man, not for the rich, not for the rulers, but for those who admit sinners.

Christ was born, from heaven to earth, from the highest to the lowest, from the richest to the poorest.

Christ was born, a savior was born, a king was born, God came in fresh on earth.

Christ was born, for you, for me, for us.

Does Christmas means anything other than holiday to you? You can make Christmas a meaningful day…if you have Christ in you. Having Christ be your Savior, your Lord, your King, your God. Make every Christmas a celebration of Christ Jesus, his birthday for you, not for me or others, but you.

Merry Christmas,

Christ was born!

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Canon EF Lens Work III – The Eyes of EOS

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Dec 21, 2007 Under Photography

Canon EF Lens Work III

The Eyes of EOS

01.jpg 16.jpg

  • Hardcopy
  • Over 232 pages
  • Printed in Japan
  • Black hard cover with Red colour sleeve
  • With almost all Canon lenses information inside
  • Stunning photos accompany with each lens
  • Optical Technology and Terminology
  • MTF graphs for all the Canon Lenses

I used to sell this book at RM50 per copy in year 2004, over 100 books I have sold…long before I started up ShaShinKi.com business. This is such a great book that I wish Nikon has such a book for me to keep and collect. Canon Malaysia doesn’t sell this book, but give away during the promotion time (road show, introduction of products, events…etc.). Every Canon users or even Nikon users (I don’t own Canon system now but I still keep a copy myself) should own and get one of this book. There are PDF downloadable version available in the internet, but nothing beats the real hardcopy book which you can keep on your bookshelf, bring to your toilet, laying on your bed reading before you sleep (hope to catch a good dream?)…etc.

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Sony Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70mm F/2.8 ZA SSM

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Dec 20, 2007 Under Photography

Saw photos of a interesting lens today, Sony Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70mm F/2.8 ZA SSM!

Sony DSLR has been of interesting mainly because it inherit the previous very high quality Minolta legendary glass, and of course not forgetting the partnership with Zeiss to specifically produce ZA series of lenses for Sony Alpha mount. Zeiss lenses in autofocus! Something like a dream comes true for many! German glass (Leica, Zeiss, Schneider…etc.) has always thought to be more superior than Japanese glass. How true is it I am not sure, but I sure am interested in this Zeiss if my pocket is deep enough.

Let’s see the two photos I saw in PhotoMalaysia forum (original source unknown):

za24-70mmf28zassm-01.jpg

za24-70mmf28zassm-02.jpg

A few things I found interesting in this lens.:

1. SSM

SSM in Sony means silent wave motor, which means the lens has built in motor, which is great! First in Zeiss!

2. 24mm

Yes! Latest zoom lens in this focal length in Canon and Nikon and now Zeiss has gone wider to 24mm! Great!

3. Full frame lens

Yes, this is a full frame lens. Very possible that Sony will come out with a full frame DSLR soon. Rumors that Nikon D3 full frame sensor is co-design with Sony, so very possible Sony will use the same 12.1MP full frame sensor in their full frame professional DSLR. Minolta has a 9 series professional SLR in their range, Sony will definitely utilize the technology and design from Minolta. My prediction is that we shall see full frame professional DSLR from Sony within year 2008 before Beijing Olympic.

4. Boxed

Yes…if you notice the box in the photo above, which means that the lens should already been in production or available to some! (if the photo is genuine).

5. F2.8 Aperture

Yes, F2.8 constant aperture. I just love fixed aperture lens, which immediately shout to you: PROFESSIONAL GRADE!

I must admit that the design and look of the lens is very sleek and clean. It looks simple, fat but clean. No busy badge or sticker here and there. I wonder how long will the lens extend from zoomed, it would be a dream lens if the length of the lens remain constant during zooming, which I hate in Nikon and Canon similar lenses.

If only Zeiss can make AF lenses for Nikon, that would be my dream lens to get!

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My wife said “anytime”…

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Dec 3, 2007 Under Photography

I have the chance to try out a Nikon D3 yesterday. Yes, this is the currently hottest and most anticipate DSLR in the market. Stock is so limited that everybody is searching for one.

nikon-d3-back.JPG

Thank God I managed to get one unit for my customer from Japan, else I would be in trouble. :P

The camera is so heavy…but feel good in hand. Grip can be hold firmly. LCD is big and bright, viewfinder is bright and large! All buttons are nicely laid out…I asked my wife to hold it for a second…she said dare not.

I checked the condition, took 2 frames of test shots, then put the camera back into the box. Yes, my standard procedures of checking the DSLR as requested by customers. This is to make sure that the camera received by my customer is in perfect order instead of them having to send the camera back to me only realizing it is defect upon arriving. Still, D3 as the professional DSLR from Nikon should have very high quality control and check. Made in Japan man… ;)

After putting the D3 back to the box and packed it, I asked my wife when can I get one for myself? As a dealer of Nikon in Malaysia, I can get pretty good price of the D3 for myself. Of course not now as I still have many customers in my waiting list…guess what my wife answered?

Anytime!

I guess she is not serious at all… :’(

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ShaShinKi.com Christmas Logo

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Nov 27, 2007 Under Church, Photography

Just spent some time for the Christmas logo design of ShaShinKi.com. Not the greatest, but at least meaningful to me.

shashinkilogo_700tm.gif

This logo will be available both at ShaShinKi.com front page and in shop.

http://shashinki.com/

http://shashinki.com/shop/

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Olympus E-3 AutoFocus – WOW!

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Nov 26, 2007 Under Photography

I have the chance to try out Olympus E-3 professional DSLR today in DEODEO electronic superstore in Japan. That was a surprised actually, as my main purpose going there wasn’t for the E-3 (didn’t expect they have one) but Nikon D300.

dsc_0009.jpg

I spent some time checking out Nikon D300, while finding subjects to focus…I spotted the E-3. After fiddling the D300 for an extra minute, I went to take up the E-3 and ON the power.

I remember Olympus users talking about E-3 having the world’s fastest Autofocus system…I thought that was just a marketing gimmick until I tried it out myself just now.

Just how fast is it?

LIGHTNING FAST!!!

I test the E-3 by focusing to close and then to far subjects, making sure that the camera and lens have to travel some “long” distance in order to get focus. The result is just amazing! The lens snap into focus almost instantly!

I can’t remember which lens was mounted on the E-3, if I am not mistaken, it should be the “12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD” (confirmed the lens, just update with photo). The lens extend quite long (almost double the original length after zoom to telephoto).

Bare in mind that I was just testing the D300 with AFS 18-200mm lens before trying out the E-3. If I can explain the speed of E-3 AF better…it is like the sound of Zop while D300 is like ZOoooop. Yes, the difference is very obvious. On the viewfinder of E-3, you can see the focus change is instantly. You don’t see from blur to sharp in progress…but instantly change!

To be honest, I must say I am impressed with the E-3 AF system. Definitely deserves the title of “among the world’s fastest AF” if not already the world’s fastest!

On the side note of E-3 physical built, the camera does feel good in hand with firm grip design. It is definitely a very big size camera as compared to the E-510 or other E-DSLR. There are lots of buttons at the back of the E-3…which I am not familiar of, so I didn’t try it out. The Flippable LCD screen actually makes the E-3 looks a bit cheap…discount the professional feel of the E-3 in my humble opinion. Of course, this is just my personal feel, in terms of practical use, it is definitely better than those fixed LCD. Yeah, imagine shooting from above your head or on the ground.

That’s all from my few minutes try of the E-3. If I got the time, I will go try it out again. By the way, I notice the price of E-3 is around RM1k cheaper than Nikon D300, so it is definitely a very good competitor to the Nikon system.

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Nikon D300 First Impression and ISO Tests (versus D200)

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Nov 26, 2007 Under Photography

I went to a local electronic shop in Japan today – DeoDeo. Main purpose is to try out the Nikon D300 system but I have found another surprised of Olympus E-3 professional DSLR. :)

Thanks to my wife, she helped me to take care of Megumi for nearly an hour, so I have the time to try out the D300 and pull out my D200 and insert my memory card into the D300 to test and get the photos I want.

(I find the photo below kinda cool…D300 is considered as a little brother to Nikon D3, sharing many similarities.)

nikon-d300-d3.jpg

Before I go to the ISO comparison shots, let’s share a bit of how I feel about the D300.

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Mirror Lock Up – How useful in handholding shots?

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Nov 19, 2007 Under Photography

Previously in the film days, only the best Nikon SLR has mirror lock up (MLU) feature. That’s in the Nikon single digit F series. Even the F100 which is considered as the little brother of F5 doesn’t has MLU feature.

So, how useful is MLU?

With the advancement and convenient of digital photography, I can now take shots and experiment shots easily. Nikon now has MLU in their single digit D series and also in the Nikon D200 (D80, D70, D100…etc. all doesn’t have MLU). So, now the question is…how useful is MLU?

Many people have the mis-conception that MLU is only used when you have your camera on tripod. Quite true during the film days where one have to turn a lock manually to lock up the mirror manually, and this required quite big movement and will definitely change/move your subject composition. However, now with better technology and design, Nikon MLU shots can’t be done any easier!

On my Nikon D200, change the drive mode to MLU (there are S, Cs, Ch, Timer…etc. and MLU is on the farthest right on the dial – not seen in the picture below, but is just next to the timer symbol).

When you have set your drive mode to MLU, then the rest is easy. Half press your shutter button to focus, then full press your shutter button to Lock Up the Mirror. Full press again to then take the actual exposure, the mirror will go down after taking the exposure.

So, how does mirror lock up helps in taking photos?

When taking a shot in SLR (Single lens reflex) camera, the reflex mirror will go up, the shutter blade will then open to expose the film/sensor to the light. After that, it shutter blades close and mirror return down.

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Free Nikon Capture NX with Nikon D300 and D3 (first 300k units)

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Nov 1, 2007 Under Photography

Nikon Capture NX photo-finishing software to
be bundled with D3 and D300 digital SLRs
during special release campaign

October 29, 2007 Tokyo – Nikon Corporation has today announced that they will conduct a special promotion in conjunction with the release of the new D3 and D300 digital SLR cameras, bundling the next-generation Capture NX (ver.1.3) photo-finishing software as an accessory to be included in the camera body packages.

Nikon Capture NX is a high-quality image editing and processing application that enables versatile, highly intuitive image adjustments using innovative U Point Technology.

Image adjustments can be made simply by positioning a Control Point on a given image, without having to deal with special tools or layers. Using Nikon’s original RAW and NEF (Nikon Electronic Format) image files, you can edit images while retaining the original file and without decreasing image quality.

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ASKA Tripper V Firmware V1.23

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Oct 23, 2007 Under Computer / IT, Photography

ASKA has just announced a new firmware for their Tripper V portable storage device – version 1.23.

Changes:

  • A part of mis-display of Exif information generated by the image of which it took a picture with the camera was corrected.
  • The mis-display of the update time of the file was corrected.
  • Trouble concerning the voice output was corrected.

Download:

http://www.aska-corp.co.jp/support/download/dl-trv03.htm

I have emailed ASKA about a month ago, suggesting some update via firmware to their Tripper V, I am curious if they do listen to customers feedback and change the Tripper V functionality based on that or not.

DO NOT TRY TO SHUT DOWN THE TRIPPER V YOURSELF! Tripper V takes around 10 mins to update the firmware. Be patient

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Cushion Chair for Megumi

Posted by Dr Koh on Monday Oct 1, 2007 Under Family

My wife bought a cushion chair for Megumi last week. Might be a little bit too early for Megumi…we tested a few times and decided to keep it aside for future use, since Megumi is only 3 months “young” now…worried about her backbone.

Here’s some photos with Megumi sitting “in” the chair. She just like to sit up, doesn’t like to lay down nowadays…

All photos taken by my wife. :)

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God is good…all the time!

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A wedding photographer test driving Nikon D3

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Sep 25, 2007 Under Photography

See the link below:

http://cliffmautner.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/09/ok-its-after-1a.html

http://www.cmphotography.com/blog/D3test/mendoza1.jpg

Though the files/photos are small, but it still amaze me that the photographer used very high ISO is most of his shots. If he dared to use it, I am sure the quality is just going to be stunning and very usable for his clients!

Now my new dream camera…forget about the D300…let’s dream for D3! :D

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ASKA Tripper V – Packaging & Extra Battery

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Sep 8, 2007 Under Computer / IT, Photography

Previously I thought ASKA Tripper V is just having a white box packaging as stated in my First Impression post. Which is quite unprofessional and not so appealing for such a high end and expensive product.

I WAS WRONG!

Today I received the stock that I ordered from ASKA (SHASHINKI is ASKA Official Dealer in Malaysia). I ordered the 120GB in quantity, which I think is the best value for money as compared to the 160GB version. Here’s the photo of the nice REAL packaging of ASKA Tripper V, which is actually very professionally designed, and they even have the 120GB stated on the box. Officially ASKA only selling 120GB and 160GB to dealers.

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I can only say that the box can only be BETTER design than the Epson P-5000 and P-3000 (made in China). Very nice quality, matches the product (ASKA Tripper V) inside. Read More

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Nikon D2X versus D200 at ISO800

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Sep 7, 2007 Under Photography

I got the chance to test out a Nikon D2X today. It was a dream camera for me long time ago…whenever I saw people using it…my eyes would just follow the camera. Yeah…a handsome nice piece of art technology machine.

People were complaining about the NOISE of D2X photos, so I thought of checking and seeing it myself. :)

Original photo but resized to fit the web (D2X):

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100% crop (D2X ISO800):

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100% crop (D200 ISO800):

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D200 seems to be sharper with more details, but it could be due to my handholding shot that moved the focus area differently.

Both D200 and D2X have about the same noise. D200 might be even smoother than D2X.

During the test, I do fine D2X focusing to be more accurate and faster than my D200. Shutter sound is also very different. Shutter count is very short, my guess is that the reflex mirror returns to its original position FASTer than D200. D200 sound is a bit longer, and as if there are two sounds. D2X is just like having ONE sound. This is quite hard to explain, one have to listen to both to differentiate and know the difference. :)

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Nikon Vibration Reduction Test

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Sep 7, 2007 Under Photography

In my opinion, a very important new technology in photography these few years is Vibration Reduction or Image Stabilization or Shake Reduction. It makes shooting at low shutter speed possible, with acceptable sharp and good results.

I got the chance to test and try out one of the Nikon best telephoto zoom today. The Nikon Zoom Telephoto AF VR Zoom Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8D G-AFS ED-IF Autofocus Lens!

http://shashinki.com/shop/images/NK-AFSVR70200F28-W.jpg

I did a simple test on a easy to identify subject in my room, a wall clock. :)

Here’s the results:
Camera: Nikon D200
Lens: Nikon Zoom Telephoto AF VR Zoom Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8D G-AFS ED-IF Autofocus Lens
Shutter Speed: 1/2s
Focal Length: 200mm
ISO 100
Hand-holding, took a deep breath and hold it when clicking the shutter.

VR OFF

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VR Normal

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VR Active

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No editing was done other than resizing the photo to 700 pixels width for web purpose. VR really does make a BIG difference. This kind of shot would be IMPOSSIBLE in the old days without a tripod, but now VR has made hand-holding at low shutter speed on long focal length POSSIBLE!

For 70-200mm focal length, VR does prove itself to be very useful. A definite must have and must upgrade for those who are still planning on those without VR. :)

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ASKA Tripper V Speed?

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Sep 4, 2007 Under Computer / IT, Photography

One of the most important aspect of a Photo Storage Device is the download speed of photos to the device or so call backup of memory card during shooting. Some device can take upto 20 mins to backup a 1GB memory card, while the fastest that I have known to date is NEXTO Ultra ND-2525 which can backup a 1GB memory card in less than a minute. Since I got some extra mood today, so I tested the speed of ASKA Tripper V. Backup memory card data to Tripper V is very very easy. Insert the memory card and press the COPY button, copy will start immediately.

Once it finished, it will play a nice piano sound twice (no, the sound is not disturbing). Then it will show a message Completed. You must press the OK button before you can continue. There are two types of COPY function in ASKA Tripper V: Normal or Quick Copy. Normal copy is the slow type. During copying, the LCD screen will still remain ON and you can see the copy status bar showing in real time how many files or data has been copied. Quick Copy is also called as High Speed Copy. During Quick Copy, the LCD screen will go black and the Copy button will flash the blue light. Default is Normal Copy, but can be changed in SETTING to Quick Copy.

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80 Files 988MB Data (Imation CF memory card, 2 years old, maybe around 60X):

  • Normal Copy = 3 mins 12 seconds (http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp shows similar results of 3 mins 23 seconds in their test. Not extremely fast in today’s standard.)
  • Quick Copy = 1 min 52 seconds (http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp shows similar results of 1 mins 34 seconds in their test. Pretty good by today’s standard.)
  • ASKA website claims the time to be 88 seconds with high speed CF memory card, which must be in Quick Copy mode. Memory card does play an important role in backup/download speed, so with faster card, the time should reduce. Read More
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First Impression – ASKA Tripper V

Posted by Dr Koh on Friday Aug 31, 2007 Under Computer / IT, Photography

This should be the world’s FIRST ASKA Tripper V review in English. I couldn’t find much information about this product in the net…as I have posted in here. So I took the chance to order one unit for myself…as I plan to sell and offer this product to the world at ShaShinKi.com, so must try and test it out myself first.

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I just received my ASKA Tripper V this morning! What a surprise! I thought it will never came…thought of dropping an email to the supplier already. :( The ASKA Tripper V came in an envelope style of packaging. Knowing how Japanese handle their parcels with care, I have no worry. Pierce open the envelope and I saw a big white box inside. Yeah, no printing or marking at all, just plain white box. Read More

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Tamron SP 17-50mm F2.8 lens ~ Front / Back focus problem

Posted by Dr Koh on Thursday Aug 30, 2007 Under Photography

I have bought many…yes MANY Tamron SP 17-50mm F2.8 lens. Most are in Canon and Nikon mount, a few in Sony/KM mount.

Every unit I tested them myself for focus accuracy. From my previous experience, I found this lens is seriously having QC issue with focus accuracy. My most recent experience testing 6 units of this lens in Nikon mount that I ordered, 2 of them are having front focus problem. I have spent more than 2 hours in testing them, comparing against my own copy that is sharp with focusing.

What is front focus?

Front focus of a lens is when you focus on subject A, in the photo captured, the sharp focus patch is a few cm or even meters in front of subject A. Back focus simply means in actual photo the sharp focus path is a few cm or meters behind subject A.

When testing for front / back focus issue of a lens, one need to test with far subject as well as near subject. This is to make sure that the focus accuracy is not just for close-up shot but problematic on far/infinity subjects.

I use a few methods in testing focus. I find the focus test chart in the internet is not entirely accurate, especially if your DSLR focus sensor is not exactly in the middle or center of your viewfinder, then you might be in trouble. So, I prefer to use top to bottom or depth of field kind of testing technique. With this I can be sure that what I focus doesn’t get affected by the variation of focus sensor. :)

I will share with photos in future my testing technique.

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Aska Tripper V = Epson P-5000 Killer?

Posted by foong on Tuesday Aug 28, 2007 Under Computer / IT, Photography

Aska Japan has introduced a new PSD (Photo Storage Device) ~ Aska Tripper V. Available in 40GB, 80GB, 120GB and 160GB version. 40GB and 80GB are limited edition only available direct purchase from Aska website, while 120GB and 160GB are available from big stores in Japan.

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I tried search for reviews or information online on this product, but couldn’t find any except the “news release”. There is however an interesting comparison of various PSD speed and specs at:

http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/portableHD.htm

Download speed from memory card is an impressive 10MB/s speed, versus Epson P-5000 of 7MB/s. So, theoretically it is 30% faster than the Epson P-5000. :) Read More

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Giant Onion in Japan

Posted by Dr Koh on Saturday Aug 4, 2007 Under Family, Photography

Have you seen such a big onion before? I have not…and it really surprised me when I first saw them…yeah…have to buy them home to take some photos.

Those onions in Japan during Summer time are really SWEET! Yes! You just got to test it yourself to understand the sweetness of them! Fried with eggs are just Yummy! :D

“My wife wearing PhotoMalaysia Polo Shirt holding the onions in the kitchen”

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Nikon AF 85mm F/1.4D versus Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 USM L II

Posted by Dr Koh on Sunday Jun 24, 2007 Under Photography

I have the chance to see the Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II lens for a while, at the same time having the Nikon AF 85mm F/1.4D lens myself.

Both of them are said to be the BEST portrait lens in its own brand (Nikon and Canon). I do not have Canon DSLR, so not sure how is the image quality. Still, I thought of taking some photos comparing their physical size and share them with you all.

Nikon one is 551 grams while Canon one is 999 grams! When holding the Canon 85mm L II lens in hand (with glove), it felt considerably MUCH heavier than the Nikon counterpart.

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When putting these two lenses side by side, the Nikon becomes so small and considerable “cheap”. The Canon version is like a totally different class!

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The Canon lens is F/1.2, the brightest 85mm lens in 135 format! It needs lots of light to enter the lens, hence the very big glass at the rear element, till no place for the electronic circuit and has to be built onto the glass itself. I guess the process require very high precision cutting, hence adding extra cost to the production of the lens.

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The Canon 85mm L II lens is really the lens to own. If I were a Canon user, this would definitely be the DREAM lens for me. The price is nearly double as of the Nikon AF 85mm F/1.4D, only for those “RICH” or “HIGH FEVER” Canonians.


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My prefered Photo SlideShow Program

Posted by Dr Koh on Tuesday Jun 5, 2007 Under Computer / IT, Photography

ProShow Gold

I was still using the old version. It changes photos into slideshow with great effect! You can add music, slide transition…etc. You can save your output file to VCD, DVD, EXE…etc. I am not sure how good other programs are out there, but ProShow Gold has proven to be very useful to me and definitely my choice of slideshow creation program.

The latest version of ProShow Gold has gone 3.0. Should have many new features added, and price is only US$69.95 (downloadable). Nah…I am not getting anything from Photodex for promoting this program for them, but just happened to have a photographer member asking me about slideshow program, so I thought I just share in my blog as well.

Visit:

http://www.photodex.com/products/proshowgold/
:)

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