Miami Product Photographer

CyberSync CST2 Wireless Transmitter Review & Compare to 1st Gen CST

Just got the CST2 second generation CyberSync Wireless Transmitter from Paul C Buff, and decided to do a quick comparison video with the first generation CyberSync CST.


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


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

Deal link is here:


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.


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.


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.


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.


How better photography could change your brand image, especially in online retailing.

Photography is a key factor in online retailing business.  Choosing a bad photographer could literally ruin your reputation and drive customers away from you.

Taken for example, a recent photo retouching request I was assigned to for some high value designer cufflinks.  The photography is so so,  the path cutout was okay, and it was just dull and seems unedited.   Somehow the designer decided to just use these un-edited images for all their online presentations.  It took me a good amount of time to at least correct them as best I can, so we can use them for our online product page.

You be the judge, were the original images good enough for publishing, or my edited versions (diagonally placed) better?



Nikon Professional Services Membership

Just got my Nikon Professional Services membership card in the mail.

The membership allows professional photographers (me) to have priority purchase privilege and have special tech support and repair services.



I am already thinking about the fall.  It is one of my favorite seasons along with snowy winter.  It always gives me a nostalgic feeling, a certain sadness, a bit of happiness.  A song I’ve heard over the youtube further enhances that feeling, just look at the photos and listen to the beautiful song (even though it is in Chinese.)  There is no boundary in music when certain emotion is delivered.


Tony – the Owner of “Tony Salon” in Nanjing, China

Tony just opened his bar about 3 month ago near Zhu Jiang Lu in Nanjing.  He sat and started chatting with us, it turns out that he was from the same high school as my cousin and her friend before he went to Australia for his college study.  What a coincidence!  Stop by his salon if you are ever in Nanjing.


Marlene and Kim

I asked the sisters – Marlene and Kim to pose for a few shots out in the woods.


Best Way of Contact

I will stay in China till July 26th.  The best way to reach me at the moment is though my email (

I will return all phone calls once I’m back in States.

Thanks for your understanding.


Nanjing, China. 6-19-2010

It’s all about food in China.  Pictured below are some random street food vendor’s offerings.

Lamb Kabob

Chickty Chicken

Friend is choosing dishes.


Freshwater Shell Thingy

Fatty Pig Tripe


Photoshop CS5 – HDR Toning On Individual Image

In Photoshop CS5, the HDR Toning command lets you apply the full range of HDR contrast and exposure settings to individual images, to achieve a look close to real HDR merged images.

Before:Before HDR Toning Effect

After:After HDR Toning Effect Is Applied

HDR Toning Dialog:


The new website is up.

I’m still tweaking it here and there, but the site is up and running and should be compatible with 98% of desktop web browsers out there..

Future update include compatibility with non-flash browsers and to complete the “China” portfolio… namely mobile devices like iPhone which does not support flash.


A complete website makeover is coming!

Within a week, the look of my website will be completely revamped!

The new design will improve overall speed and usability for visitors.  I have completely re-written the code in CSS, optimized in loading speed and shrink a lot in size compared to the old coding.  This will be the website’s third major make over since the site up and running in 2004!

Here is a little history of my website, which was build single-hand all by myself!

The original 2004 design can be seen here: I wrote and designed the website in Microsoft FrontPage 98 and it was made using entirely Tables!

In 2007, the website received a new look which removed two side columns and simplified the portfolio selection: This time around I got my hands on dreamweaver, but I still used tables to build the site.

In 2008, I took a basic web design class, and learned to use basic CSS to simplify my web design, which I put into good use, and is reflected in the current design of the website.

I currently own 2 domains for my photography website: as well as, I can not get because a famous chinese motorcycle company called “Li Fan” registered the domain ahead of me.

I find joy in web design, as much as I do in photography.


Li Fan Photography Will Have A Brand New Logo!

Thanks to my good buddy designer Sascha Mombartz, Li Fan Photography will soon have an official logo!

Here is a sneak preview of the logo that I will soon integrate into my website.  The simple yet effective design reflects the nature of photography, the 4 corners suggest a camera’s viewfinder.



China, View

Grandma in her kitchen.  She is the most lovingly person you can find on earth.

Cousin crying after eating lunch, for some silly reason that I forgot.


High school reunion – After 9 years away from China, I finally had a chance to reunite with most of my old classmates and my teacher in high school.  People in China often celebrate the joy on the dinner table.

A random motorcycle passed by my lens when I was trying to photograph this scene.


More SB-600 remote flash (CLS) samples


Instead of bouncing the flash off the ceiling for a very soft, even and wide flash bounce, what you can do also is to utilize the SB-600/SB-800’s manual zoom function to create a “Snoot” effect (along with a wide angle lens), which creates a spotlight that would make your subject stand out.  This is great for that moody effect you want to achieve with your subject.

Note in the example above, the flash is mounted off camera on a stand (or you can just handhold the flash,) thus creating a cast shadow at an angle.


Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Remote Bounce Flash Samples(CLS)

Simple lighting techniques that works.

The Nikon SB-600 speedlight flash’s build-in wireless firing system is one of Nikon’s distinctive features that stand out from it’s competitor Canon.  With SB-600’s very affordable price,  everyone who owns a modern Nikon digital SLR can have fun firing their SB-600 remotely and effortlessly. Bounce flash always produces better results, softer shadows, and better skintone than a direct flash.  Provided there is a neutral roof that you can bounce your flash on.

Plato, with a SB-600 set 45 degrees to my left on the table, and bounced up towards the ceiling.  The catch light around him from the ceiling nicely differentiates him from the surroundings.

Zigi sleeping in a long tube.  The flash is placed about 20 degrees on left side of camera, bounced towards upper part of the box in front of him, the light bounces inside multiple times thus reduce the shadow cast on the back wall of the box.

Imagine if you mounted the camera directly on your camera and shoot them, these images would be made with the cats horribly lit up while the background rendered almost completely dark from lack of ambient light.