Sunday, 31 July 2016

Emergence of Sevenfriday HDB! review & shenanigans to follow [HDB = Heavy Duty Box]



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The HDB changes the nature of the original sevenfriday and transforms it from uber cool and great looking timepiece into... war zone ready, extreme sports capable, torture test wannabe, COWABUNGA! crazy, cash test dummy cool lookin' time machine. ok i'm not sure how it will hold up to all of that but it kinda feels that way :) 


Initial impressions - Who should buy the HDB?

  • Current sevenfriday owners who want to change things up - effectively getting a super sporty NEW watch from what they had before 
  • People who don't own a sevenfriday, who should first buy a sevenfriday and the hdb :) there's a combo out there but it's only for the one watch model
  • folks who are buying big watches and want a training watch for the wrist presence so they don't bump that other more expensive watch so much *kidding* :) 
next couple of pix answer the 'what's in the box question?' and some of the box 
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side of the box
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some instructions
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a box in the box
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in the hdb, there's an orange sponge thing and this P series adaptor
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& the back of it tells s it's size... 73mm by 71mm EGADS! that it's made of C5H8 which i believe is Nylon
& that it transforms your 3atm (30m) sevenfriday watch into a 10atm (100m) capable watch
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other observations
  • it closes like one of those super air tight container tupperware style lids (or am i getting confused with the weapon munitions box i had to use in the army) whatever the case, it's easy to figure it out. 
  • some folks think it looks like a go pro :)
all it needs now is a sevenfriday watch... which i happen to have (still lovin it of course)
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& then the water treatment began... "I don't have to take this abuse much longer!" [Guess the movie... it's got lots 
of water in it ;) ] oh and which sports watch are u reminded of when looking at the  pic below? begins with an "N"
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and here's how it fares with sea monsters... another movie quote comes to mind...
''luca brazi sleeps with the fishes''
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don't ask what's the smoke coming out from the case is about... u don't want to know ;) 
"Extreme ways are back again" wearing it to watch Jason Bourne tonight
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after all of that... the watch inside is unharmed and superdry 
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& that's it for now. hope u thought it was fun as it was fun for me :) will be doing posts in future with this of course and subjecting it to other possibly extreme situations. cheers, raph

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Leica Marina Bay Sands Boutique Opening ... Beauty Watches Cameras Lenses Wristporn

first up a shot with viktoria. this was off an excellent photography lighting workshop
by chaoxangel aka richard chen & i managed to snag some shots with the RM
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unbeknownst to me, the next day i would see the same pretty lass again... thanks to Leica SG for the 
invite and the opportunity to play with some excellent bodies and lenses. it was packed and it's pretty hot 
inside with so many bodies and spotlights... regular days should be fine though... great they have a place
 at mbs which is near my workplace. hmm actually that may not be a good thing...
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Hey Mrs DJ put the record on... i wanna dance with my baby...
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the marina bay sands limited edition comes in 18 sets with a summilux
a beautiful set.
here is viktoria looking to get a shot
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i managed to pry the camera from her hands though and this shot is done by the MBS limited edition camera 
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and i managed to get my hands on the leica sl for a little glimpse... with the kit lens it's a bit on the
heavy side but the grip is great. determining settings were a challenge though. the pics done by the SL 
with it's kit lens are as expected... wonderful
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again? she really wants that shot of me ;)
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let's share some more shots of viktoria then from the lighting course... 

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& that's all for now :) have a good weekend. cheers, raph

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Where to buy Seiko in Singapore & Sea Turtle Rises

Per earlier posts, a recommended Seiko dealer is Mr Goh at K2 so if he has it, buy it from him. I get nothing for recommending him and that's fine by me. He deserves all the business that goes his way as he is honest and a gent. He also happens to have these watches on hand and if u be craving for turtle soup turtles... u got to head down to Uncle. 

Recommended Seiko seller/servicer/modder ;)
  • K2 Watch Company run by Mr Goh since 1982 (30+ years... It's a local horological institution ;) 
  • Add: 845 Geylang Road, #03-K1 Tanjong Katong Complex, Singapore 400845
  • Tel : 67460270 
  • Opening Hours: Weekdays and Satday 2-9pm, sun: 3-7pm, public hol: best to call to check if he'll be open
  • If you have the model name/reference on hand, check if he sells it and if he does, then buy it from him 
Now let's see some turtles!

first up is my old turtle... vintage-y and wonderful :) serviced at K2
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now joined by 4 new turtles! (note there's a cool padi version but i think that's a bit overpriced. 
apols for the shoddy iphone pix that follow too) these regular versions are not though and are 
around S$360 to $400 for the Made in Japan J versions. SRP779, SRP773, SRP777, SRP775 from left to right
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so the original contenders for my $$$ were the blue and the one with gold bits... 
which on the net looked pretty cool
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& the old adage applies... try before u buy :) based on in the metal views, the blue does it for
 me but as it is sooo close to the original black i am not sure i needs it...
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the pepsi-ish bezel version
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Uncle modded this piece with a sapphire dome crystal... Very nice. i think it adds $60 to the cost
 (u check with him) and he can do the swap on the spot
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diving in the ocean... 
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hmm should I buy the watch just for the blue bezel? i think i won't as i have my old trusty turtle and 
may swap the bezel in future for the fun of it (when these blue bezel pop up for sale)
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that's it for now. hope u enjoyed this turtle power(!) post :) cheers, raph

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Sony G-Master 85mm f/1.4 & 24-70mm f/2.8 FE Lens Quick Review


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as with most things in life, photography gear is about compromises, tradeoffs and what matters to you most as a photographer. so there's no one ultimate camera and/or lens that does it for everybody, it's a personal decision. factors like image quality, size, weight, autofocus speed or manual focus (if that's your thing, it is mine) and cost are key considerations for lenses and as we all know, fast lenses nearly always equal BIG $$$. 

trying out lenses for yourself is a great way to determine what's the one that checks the boxes that matter to you and to that end, i would recommend you loan what u are considering to get and give it a go before plonking hard earned cash for it. reviews from trusted sources can help as well but trying it out for yourself beats that flat. furthermore we all have to figure out which sites can be trusted when it comes to reviews.

In Singapore, I have rented from a few companies but the camera rental center LINK has most of the time gotten it right. some little misses but overall I have been happy with their offers and services. [Note: i get absolutely nothing for the thumbs up here, it's just me recommending them from my positive experiences with them] 

To note: Sony is having a promotion of loaning these and some other G lenses out for FREE but as I type this many of the lenses may be loaned out. go here to see if you still can get some LINK

first up, we have the 85mm G-master f/1.4 and it's a whopper of a lens. if i were an autofocus guy and didn't mind carrying big and heavy gear, this lens would do it for me and i would pay the price for it. 

pros
- wonderful creamy bokeh and lovely out of focus quality
- sharp sharp sharp for what you want sharp 

cons (general)
- It's HUGE!
- it's tremendously heavy (sorry i'm not sure how these Trump oft used terms came in ;) 
- It costs a little... but u knew that when looking at a fast AF prime

cons (specific to it on my A7S which may not apply to A7II and A7R Mark II) 
- AF can miss at times with flexible spot (medium) and me selecting the specific focus point. it sometimes it decides what it wants to focus on... in a series of shots suddenly the focus goes someplace else. 
- not sure if it's coz of my A7S metering but i got some situations when the same scene when shot, would have some pics ok and some blowing out, showing strong highlights and overexposure. 

Straight out of camera jpg crop resized, standard settings. f/1.4 ISO100 Shutter 1/1000 
+0.3exp Sony A7S & Bodies: Sony A7S and lovely Russian babe
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Straight out of camera jpg crop resized, standard settings. 
f/1.4 ISO100 Shutter 1/1600 +0.3exp 
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Jpg crop resized, standard settings. converted to black and white and 
some touchup around the eyes. f/1.4 ISO100 Shutter 1/2000 +0.7exp
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Straight out of camera jpg grayscaled crop resized, standard settings. f/1.4 
ISO100 Shutter 1/8000 -1exp 
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conclusion 
it's a great lens impo and right for the Sony A7 series owner who doesn't care about it's size and weight, loves AF and is fine with the price.  

street portrait on orchard road [Straight out of camera jpg crop resized, 
standard settings. f/1.4 ISO100 Shutter 1/200]
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did I say it was sharp?
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subway shot. out and abouts... [some light color editing, ISO160 f/1.4, 
1/100 shutter. cropped and resized]
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NEXT UP: 24-70mm f/2.8 [this is a work in progress... don't have time to process the images i want to share for this but will do so probably by end of the week]

Sony is late to coming out with f/2.8 zooms so this and the 70-200mm were highly anticipated. [still waiting for the 70-200mm f/2.8]

while i loved the 85mm, the 24-70mm f/2.8 didn't wow me enough to replace my primes. My primes focal lengths are 15mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm currently.  i am not a paid reviewer and not sponsored by any brand so I don't have canon and nikon f/2.8 zooms lying around to do a test against this but i do recognise that you would be better served knowing how it fares against the same competitors' lenses. i can't offer that but will just be sharing my experience shooting with it for about 1.5 days. 


yes it's pretty sharp
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pros
- versatility of the zoom with key focal lengths (35mm and 50mm) covered and u can go a little wide with 24mm and a bit tight with 70mm. don't have to switch lenses around which can get pretty tired, pretty fast. 
- better light gathering than slower kit zoom. reasonable speed

cons
- not enough bokeh! too much depth of field at f/2.8 for my purposes (this is for me personally)
- not conclusive but my bokeh balls weren't round wide open... there were some edges to them :( i saw this in several differently shot scenes and though i'm no expert on testing these, based on what i've seen, it's just not good enough
- the big, heavy, pricey thing also applies here 
- the missed AF also applies for this on the A7S. i found more challenges nailing focus with this than with the 85mm G-master

some lines and edges for the bokeh balls of the 24-70mm at f/2.8
pic is just cropped and resized. straight from camera, no additional processing
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zeiss planar f/2.0 at f2... round bokeh balls
pic is just cropped and resized. straight from camera, no additional processing
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conclusion
the zoom lens was good but not great impo and not for me as i wouldn't trade the convenience of the autofocus zoom for the bokeh and image quality of my manual focus primes right now. but it is the versatile option for the sony shooter who wants to replace their kit lens with something better and who shoots primarily with AF zooms. I have never used the f4 version so no comments on that. 

ending off for now... more pix to come. cheers, raph 

Saturday, 30 April 2016

F P Journe at Malmaison The Hour Glass

It's been awhile since i brought a camera into Malmaison (check out the posts i did from before here Link1 Link2) but i had some time yesterday and there was something new about the place... there were Journes in da house! :) [Side note: the luxury sector has been hit pretty badly with the market downturn and it's quiet at many of the high end luxury shops. there are still buyers of course but fewer and far between]

well if u're rolling in excess cash and liquidity then this may be a way to spend some of that... a gorgeous, refined F P Journe! i have owned one of the earlier, non-gold movement ones myself and enjoyed owning it. sharing some love of Journe watches in these links Link3 Link4 Link5


pix about the place and some Journes follow... 
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