Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Real Google Store

Rumours farms have recently been abuzz with reports stating that Google the company behind Android Operating System are poised to start selling A Nexus-Branded tablet to the masses through their own online site. As reminiscence of the launch of the “not-so-successful” Google Nexus One phone back in 2010,  this comeback strategy by Google seems to me they are trying to introduce a low cost great experience tablet for consumers as what the Nexus One did to the phone market.

Mind you, before Nexus One was introduce, the specs and experience of smartphones running Android were dismal and bad at best. What the Nexus One did was hasten or propagate the seemingly a better experience Android phone would be if pegged with a phone with sufficiently better hardware which at that time was a 1Ghz Snapdragon CPU and Amoled displays. Soon after the introduction, the Android running smartphone market was swarmed with similar specs phones and the proliferation and use of Android phones really started off. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy (1st generation/ Galaxy 1) was introduced in the summer of that year. So, essentially what Google did was one of 1st Torch Relay runner, whom then passes the torch to other manufacturers to finish the race.

I must admit though, I am quite surprised to see that Google will instead sell this rumoured Nexus tablet under their own online store instead of collabrating with existing manufacturers like what they did with the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus and even Motorola Xoom tablet(not theorectically a Nexus tablet). Seeing the fact that they themselves admitted that their selling proposition of Nexus One through a non-physical store was a dud as they claimed that consumers at that point of time were not ready for a online store. So seeing them embarking on this method again seems abit juxtaposition to what they did. Nonetheless, the rumoured tablet is set to be strategically priced meaning it is set to be sold sub $200 price or even lesser. This is obviously to target the success of Amazon Kindle Fire tablet which ironically is running a brewed version of Android which has been devoid of Google’s framework and Play Store features but replaced with Amazon store. The tablet is also rumored to be in the 7″ size with propably a watered-down specs to justify the lower price just like the Amazon Fire.

All these directions and moves Google is making in selling a Nexus branded device makes me wonder? Will there be a physical Google Store in the future?
For your information, Google does have physical store selling Google memorabilias and T-shirts located at their Mountainplex California though the store is only accessible via invites and to Google employees only. But the interesting part is all these direct selling method by Google makes think that propably in the not so distant future, they might be a Google store in the pipeline and Google may even start selling their own device with their own hardware makers. They already are making non-human self driving car systems and other interesting gizmos so it won’t be a surprised they will collate all these ideas into one store in the future.

But the question is, will you visit one?

A Different Perception of a Reflection

30s . f/11.0 . ISO 100 . 12.3 mm

A 5 shot stitch panorama of the Lotus, Art Science Museum…

Notice the different blue reflection, as this was shot during the daily laser show which shone blue lights on the facade at one point. The top portion was a long exposure to capture the moving clouds.

Chose this shot for the Elia Photowalk contest and wish me luck for the win..
Had a great time listening to the advice and tips given out at the start of the photowalk with Elia Locardi of Blame The Monkey site (www.blamethemonkey.com). As you know, Elia is one the masters of HDR  photography and blending. His works are really detailed and concise that it seems out of ordinary and surreal. Check out his site for infos on HDR techniques and such. It was a priviledge to join this photowalk jointly organised by Landscape Hunters Asia. Hope more of such events will be held in the future.

 

The Crossroad of Photography

As an avid and passionate hobbyist photographer myself, I am delighted and looking forward to the technology and advancement of photographic equipments in this space. The reason I’m stating this claim of “Crossroads of Photography” article is to pinpoint the obvious direction photography is taking these past few years. Even though, I am still what they called young in the photography world as I started this passion only 3years ago, I can safely see a distinct trend in the photography equipment evolution over the years.

The first obvious observation one can see is the proliferation of mirrorless or compact interchangeable lens system camera. These cameras when they were first introduced in 2008, were first seen just as a replacement to the point & shoot camera. As sensors and auto-focusing systems improved, lately, they have been seen as an ideal replacements for crop sensor DSLR and this is what manufacturers lately has been doing, trying to target the low-end or spare body DSLR users to switch to these systems. In terms of image quality, these m4/3 or micro four thirds, and even nikon One(2.7x crop factor) systems, are somewhat comparable to crop sensor DSLR. These compact system has the added advantage of being small, lighter and a more appealing design than the bulky, heavy and brick black DSLR. Though, the focusing and speed in these systems are somewhat more lacking nonetheless recent upgrades has improved it tremendously such as the Olympus Pen series.

As for the point and shoot category, I reckon we will also see a demise in its popularity as camera phones become as ambiguous as the P&S camera itself. With camera phones such as iPhone4s and Sony Xperias, having capable 8mp sensors with Next trend I would like to pinpoint to you is the fullframe DSLR market. As it seems now, every category of camera system has jumped one stage above the other. Fullframe or 35mm format sized sensors are now at a stage where it is becoming as affordable as mid-range DSLR body if you take into account the market rate during the 05-09 period. We are literally transiting from a crop body to fullframe and in maybe 3years time, fullframe sensors will be de facto or common DSLR sold to the masses. And where does this lead for cropped sensors? My guess it will be extinct and fullframe bodies will absorb the feature and cropped sensors will be mainly used on compact/mirrorless system instead. And where does this lead to for current fullframe users? Most propably many will start go into the MF/ Medium format systems. Just like the dropping price of fullframe bodies, medium format has also seen dropping prices as shown by the recent prices of Pentax 645d, Mamiya, & even Sigma’s SD1 and Nikon latest D800. The latter 2 are not traditionally classified as DSLR but their high megapixel count of 46mp and 36mp are rightly in this category. Which now leads to my 2nd part of the article, the shifting technology crossbreed.

The year was 2008. Nikon introduced its D90 in late August. What’s so special about this camera you might wonder. It was essentially the first DSLR to infuse video into its body. It was a revolutionary introduction as this completely changed the market and from then on every DSLR produced had video capabilities. Such was the impact of D90, that till now, some retailers are still selling it , and that’s 4 years after it was first produced which is ancient in this fast ever changing technology world. Another revolutionary tech we are seeing is the introduction of high megapixel DSLR such as Nikon D800 and Sigma SD1. These high megapixel bodies are encroaching on the resolution of medium format cameras but with aless bulky frame. And just like when the Nikon D700 and Canon 5DmIII was introduce the market, it will propably make the market more friendly to those who want to enter commercial, advertising and portrait segment of photography. These equipments make the segment more affordable to aspiring photographers and will propably see a large influx of fullframe users upgrading or crop sensor users switching to these systems.

Besides these revolutionary technology advancements, we are also seeing a trend of retro looking cameras making a return into the arena. This trend was largely due to the introduction of Fuji X100 “rangefinder-ish” camera. The camera was somewhat a replica looking of the very expensive fullframe Leica series of cameras. Though the x100 is equipped with a crop sensor, this has not dampen its popularity with the masses who are searching for a more affordable replacement or replica of the Leica. Fujifilm also recently announce the X1, amirrorless interchangeable lens camera to the market. The camera has received rave reviews from critics whom has claimed that the camera cropped sensor is actually comparable to fullframe sensors such as Canon 5DmII. Having tested and hold the camera myself, I am fully impressed with the body, design, the hybrid viewfinder tech and image quality although focusing can be quite tricky in some situations. Other manufacturers are also actively jumping on the bandwagon as well such as the introduction of Olympus OMD-5 and even a rumored Samsung NX201/300?…

As you can inevitably see, the photography camera world is seeing a real rejuvenation and penetration to the masses not seen in the past. Cameras such as Fujifilm pro-X1, Nikon D800 and even the iPhone 4s has brought photography to a whole new level and popularity which was seen in the past as only for those are knowledgeable and can afford these cameras. Photography is no longer restricted to a few and soon enough will as common as the everyday item like handphones. Differentiation, creativity, composition and execution of the exposure will propably be the determining factor if you want your shots to be as good as the pioneers of past photography masters such as Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

“If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough” – Robert Capa

Spectacle

Spectacle by Scholesville
Spectacle, a photo by Scholesville on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
A great sunset in 2012, more of such please…

Ah, has been quite a long time since I blog here. Partly due to my laziness but also have been busy these past few weeks, with alot of stuff…

Finally, added a massive 2TB worth storage to my desktop. I can comfortably upload and process my photos now with a peace of mind.

Ok, now on to this photo. This was taken yesterday,15th of March or as the Romans would say the Ides of March(yes, I took Literature when I was in high school). I actually came very late to the spot, Upper Seletar Reservoir which has become my favourite sunset spot due to its close proximity to my home. As I had shot this place a few times before, I decided to focus this time around on shooting the partially submerged staircase/walkway.

The picture you see above was truly a spectacle, easily one of the best sunset I’ve seen so far in 2012 and it was actually quite quick, I reckon it was over within a span of 2minutes. With a scene like this right before your eyes, I just had to take a few bracketed shots in case I didn’t get the right exposure and I also did not had much time to prepare my GND filters. The final shot is actually a composite of 2 exposure, one for the sky and the other was the long exposure to smoothen the water. The shots then went through several exposure, levels and curves adjustments in PS with a final touch up in LR.

Hope, you enjoy this short write-up, due stay tune for more and also great skies such these in the near future.