20 Mar

Digital Camera Focus Accuracy Test Method – INDEPTH FOCUS TEST

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…)

20 Feb

Toshiba quits HD-DVD

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

8 Feb

Photo Editing Program – my favorite Paint Shop Pro!

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… 😛 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. :)

4 Feb

Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo!

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… 😛

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… :(

16 Jan

Memory card speed test

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? 😀

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:

12 Jan

BlogMalaysia.com – Malaysia Bloggers Directory!

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. 😛

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. :)

2 Jan

Goodbye Netscape Navigator…

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/

24 Dec

Christmas eve…2007…

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!

21 Dec

Canon EF Lens Work III – The Eyes of EOS

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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