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18
AUG
2014

The Power of 14mm – Rokinon/Samyong 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Lens Short Review

It was only my first week with the 14mm Rokinon/Samyong 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Lens, and I’m a believer!  The build quality of the lens is above average, it is mostly metal with the build in lens hood constructed of plastic (lens hood is non-removeable)

The picture came out sharp and clear.  The down side of this lens is that because it is a manual lens without any electronic parts, focusing though the viewfinder is tough, as I have to constantly switch to live view mode and press magnifying button to zoom in on the picture to focus.  So it’s not a lens for action photography.  But if your subject is relatively still, you can definitely get awesome shots with the lens.  I even managed to snap a few pictures of our cats.

Enjoy a few shots I’ve took with this incredible lens below.

Update:  It is on sale at Adorama’s eBay store (Brand New In Box with Warranty) for just $270 shipped.

23
JUN
2014

Broken Filament

I’ve received a strobe modeling light bulb with broken filament, snapped a photo because it looks pretty interesting.

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16
APR
2014

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga Review

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga Review

I’ve recently got the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga for business travel, and I absolutely love the design.  The Macbook Pro I’ve had before just don’t feel right in hand, and the keyboard and trackpad on the macbook pro is absolutely horrendous for prolonged use, not to mention the utterly ugly low res non-touch screen (exclude the overly priced retina models)

What I really like about the thinkpad yoga:

  • Brilliant flip design, the Thinkpad Yoga can also be used as a tablet
  • Super comfortable keyboard
  • Wacom pressure sensitive pen for retouching in photoshop
  • Excellent touchpad.  I miss the legendary physical buttons, but this touchpad is workable.
  • Speedy performance (top of the line model features a Intel Core i7 4600u processor)
  • Superior build quality (coated magnesium exterior and magnesium roll cage throughout)
  • Anti-Glare IPS 1080p HD LED Screen with excellent viewing angle.

What I want to see improved:

  • Speaker is sub-par
  • Memory tops out at 8GB and it’s non-user serviceable
  • Wacom pen is not very comfortable to hold (too thin and short)
  • Just a tad bit heavy compared to the competition

Enough said, here are some photos that shows the beauty of the Thinkpad design.  And as always, you can purchase one directly from Amazon

09
OCT
2013
11
AUG
2013

In Love with Micro Four Third Camera

Been a photographer, you kinda gets tired of lugging around a heavy piece of metal everywhere you go.  I’ve always thought the genius idea of a Micro Four Third sensor design would solve most of the problem we face (weight & size), and be suitable for 95% of the situation we need (all but the most low light situations and sports photography).

So I bought a used Panasonic GF5 Kit with 14-42mm lens to give it a shot.  And it didn’t disappoint!  Check out some images taken from last couple days with the Panasonic GF5.

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06
MAY
2013

Butterfly Closeup

Butterfly resting on a woodblock. Photographed at Fairchild Botanical Garden.

Butterfly resting on a woodblock. Photographed at Fairchild Botanical Garden.

07
APR
2013

Washington DC Trip Images

 

I’ve had the privilege to travel to Washington DC for a few days, and I’m quite impressed by what I saw.  The city is full of energy, and the amount of attractions that the city has to offer, there is no way one can finish the tour in just few days.

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29
JAN
2013

Chicago

 

Images from my trips to Chicago few years ago.

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02
JAN
2013

Deal of the day – Micro Four Thirds kit for Under $230

Deal link is here:

http://www.cameta.com/Olympus-PEN-E-PL2-Micro-4-3-Digital-Camera-14-42mm-II-Lens-Black-Factory-Demo-59722.cfm

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Cameta Camera has an awesome deal for Olympus E-PL2 micro 4/3 mirror less camera with 14-42mm interchangeable zoom lens.  Price is cheaper than some sub-par performance point and shoot.  Grab it while it lasts.  It also comes with a full 1 year warranty.

01
JAN
2013

Canon EOS 5D Mark III review – A personal view.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera (Body)

I have recently switched from All Nikon gears to All Canon, after 12 years using Nikon bodies and lenses.  And the Canon 5D Mark III is my first Canon DSLR body.  Below, I will try to list and compare some key factors between Canon 5D Mark III and my last camera, a Nikon D700.

Pros of Canon 5D Mark III compared to Nikon D700:

  • More lens choices and selection. There isn’t a wide angle Nikon Tilt/Shift available for architecture photography.
  • Great Auto White-Balance results most of the time.
  • Beautiful LCD Screen.
  • Quick Dial – 10 times easier to use than Nikon’s navigation pad.
  • 1080p HD video recording, 2 compression modes, ALL-I or IPB
  • Intuitive video controls, all exposure settings are adjustable during recording.
  • Intelligent and fast autofocus
  • Great high iso noise performance.
  • Silent shutter mode, very quiet.
  • IR Remote control can trigger Bulb mode with one click, and stop B-mode with another click, instead of having to hold the button all the time to keep shutter open.

Pros compared to 5D Mark II (which I borrowed for comparison purpose):

  • Better high iso noise performance
  • Bigger buttons
  • The quick dial is touch sensitive during video recording, you don’t have to rotate the dial, all you need to do is just lightly tap up/down/left/right and settings change during video recording. This reduces camera generated noise.
  • Dedicated video recording/LV button
  • Wider range selction in auto-iso
  • Faster continuous shooting
  • Slightly better ergonomics
  • Better AF system/AF speed
  • Better (only slightly) exposure metering.

Cons of 5D Mark III (compared to Nikon D700):

  • “Spot” metering is only for center focusing point, you can not assign spot metering to any other focusing point. Which makes composing a photo in difficult lighting situations more time consuming.
  • Highlight gets easily blown out if highlight tone priority is turned off. If you turn highlight tone priority on, shadow detail gets very noisy.
  • Horrible metering system, it’s extremely hard to get a perfect exposure during tricky lighting conditions. Where Nikon’s sophisticated 3D matrix color metering would always get you exactly what you want. (For example, people in shadows, people/objects against very bright/dark background, in the snow) In this case, manual exposure is the only way to go, except it’s much slower to adjust for settings.
  • There is no way to turn quick dial to go back to previous photos during image preview, immediately following taking a photo. One extra button needs to be pressed to view previously taken photos, where on Nikon I can just press left and right to immediately view previous photos taken.
  • Opening CF/SD card door turns camera off.
  • JPG performance is horrible
  • In camera HDR is pretty much useless and generates sub-par results, better do it in software than in-camera.
  • No interval-timer build in.

In the end, whether a Nikon or Canon will get the job done, it ends up been which system do you feel most comfortable to use with.

I honestly think that the 5D Mark II is a much better value, if you don’t need the faster continuous shooting rate or improved video recording functions.

I hope my review can help you in deciding for the correct camera to own.

29
DEC
2012

Everglades National Park

We traveled to Everglades National Park during the holiday season, and had the chance to test our new Canon 5D Mark III for it’s performance.  Quite pleased most of the time, with the exception of exposure metering system where Canon still lacks far behind from Nikon.  Enjoy the photos!

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27
DEC
2012

Deal of the Day – Nikon D800 36.3MP Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body (refurb) for $2299

Excellent deal for today, Adorama has the ultra high resolution Nikon D800 camera body (refurbished) for only $2299 with free shipping.  To my understanding the refurbished item from Nikon is indistinguishable from brand new items that Nikon has to offer.  I would totally grab one if I’m a Nikon user.

The link to the deal is here

The D800 is overall well received by the photography community, and the ultra high pixel count is great for studio photography and/or landscape work.  While the continues shooting rate is a bit on the low side, it is not well suited for wedding/sports photography.  You may still look into D700 for such application.

20
DEC
2012

On Sale: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

The awesome Canon 5D Mark II full frame digital SLR camera is on sale at Amazon for just $1529, cheapest price around, and lowest price around for a brand new USA model.  It’s the camera of choice for my wife, she liked the ergonomics of the 5D Mark II more so than my 5D Mark III.  And for this unbeatable low price, it would be wise to grab one quick before they are all gone.

High ISO noise is well controlled on 5D Mark II, and compared to the similarly priced Nikon D700 (which I used for the past 4 years) full frame camera, 5d Mark II offers 1080p HD video recording functionality where the Nikon D700 completely lacks.

11
DEC
2012

Fairchild Botanical Garden Butterfly Conservatory Grand Opening

Last week was the grand opening of a brand new wing in Fairchild Botanical Garden.  The Fairchild Butterfly Conservatory.  We went over and snapped a few photos.  Fun place to explore for the entire family.

Having just recently switched from Nikon gear to all Canon gears, I was also able to record a video using our new gear. Check out the video below.

11
DEC
2012

Our sister website for portraiture work is up and running!

After months of preparation, our sister website zzfoto.net is finally up and running.

Come over and take a look, if you are interested in booking with us, contact us.

20
NOV
2012

Friend’s Birthday Impromptu Photo Shoot

I attended my friend Bi Yu’s birthday party this past weekend.  Since the party was near the beach, we decided to walk over to the beach and have some impromptu shoot, and I think we all were quite happy with the results.

 

05
NOV
2012

2012 Wings Over Homestead – Air Show

Had some fun at the Homestead, FL air show

 

 

The thunderous roar of the United States Air Force Thunderbird’s F-16 demonstration team will be tearing through the skies over Homestead Air reserve Base during the 2012 Wings Over Homestead Air Show, Nov 3 & 4. The event is a FREE family event and open to the public. There will be numerous performers, various static displays to see, a variety of food and beverages for sale, and plenty of fun for the whole family.

For More Information Visit:
www.WingsOverHomestead.com

27
SEP
2012

Green Leaves In Black & White

Photoshop’s “Black and White” adjustment can readly convert a colored photograph into that “Ansel Adams” look.

12
SEP
2012

Jacob & Co Diamond Sands of Time Cufflinks In Action Video

Made a video of the Jacob & Co Sands of Time cufflinks.  The sand in this case is actually diamonds.  Very cool interactive cufflinks.