Thursday, 28 January 2010

Wristlounge Watch Forum Azimuth Back In Time Forum Watch Launch!

A Singapore based watch forum Wristlounge("WL") recently got round to doing a forum watch together with a local Singapore watch company that manufactures and sells Swiss Made watches, Azimuth... I was unable to stay for long but it was nice to see the efforts of the mods to get something unique and fun out for their community. my congrats to all the owners of their 1st forum watch :) to join in the forum and discussions, pop by http://www.wristlounge.com/

oooh i wonder if anyone will know if i just snagged one of em luvlies ;)
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azimuth's newest watch dealer ;) kidding... its a WL mod with pretty varied taste in watches... amongst other things...
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azimuth founders and owners alvin and chris sharing about their latest watches and projects and it looks to be an exciting year ahead for them... wishing them all the best in their ventures...
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some of the folks listening intently...
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hmm perhaps some wondering 'when will it end so i can molest my watch' ;)
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a few shots of other azimuth creations... this looked interesting...
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the roboto series is something that can definitely be built on imho
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a boutique special... i like the idea about the engraved mop dial but not so much the current look as it is...
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and finally the WL BIT special... i must say the dial color is really nice. i find the date a tad small, the fact that the seconds run clockwise while the minute and hour goes counterclockwise a bit off... but otherwise a pretty nice piece... reading the time may be a challenge though :)
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a good size as well for both boyz and girlz...as shown on the wrist of one of the happy lady owners ;)
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hope u enjoyed the short post. cheers, raph

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

There's Some Talk About A Whirlwind... Raphmeister takes on Thomas Prescher ;)

Reap the Whirlwind...
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one of the pieces i like... the tempusvivendi dragon... with retrograde jumping hours and retrograde minutes... the crown has an activation button to make the hands jump to the time, and on pressing it again, they go back to their original position at the zeroes as shown...
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and in the tempusvivendi series, these appeal too...
u know wat they say, behind every successful samurai
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is a gorgeous lookin geisha... and behind her... is his wife ;)
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Thomas came by Singapore for a couple of days before the Tokyo Watch Fair to meet up with collectors and enthusiasts here. One of the watches that he brought with him is his latest creation, the Mysterious Automatic Double Axis Tourbillon... [to read up more about him and his beautiful timepieces, do drop by his site... www.prescher.ch ] a high level of customisation is catered for with his pieces and a lot of hand craftsmanship by Thomas in the making of them...
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an innovative timepiece with the movement parts hidden in the case... the parts that are visible are the time, the double axis tourbillon with constant force and the oscillating weight which very cleverly has the date on the front of it...
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and the piece number for this limited edition on the back...
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i would just like to mention that all watch lovers & folks who appreciate fine watchmaking should drop by the Tokyo International Watch Fair from 27-30 Jan 2010 (click this link for more info). Four AHCI members are presenting their pieces there this time, Thomas Prescher, Svend Andersen, Frank Jutzi and Pita and you should definitely check what they have to display and to meet with them.

To the rest of the photos then (warning its A LOT of photos) click below..

tempusvivendi qatar watch

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movement of the tempusvivendi series is the same thruout... a heavily engraved 2824 base

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QP

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pieces in the tempusvivendi series...

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Thomas very kindly winding and showing me the setting for his double axis tourbillon pocket watch... the first piece that he made and which was the beginning for him on his journey from the established brands to the world of Independents...

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single axis tourbillon...

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double axis tourbillon...

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triple axis tourbillon...

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Thomas and the raphmeister... journeymen :)

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Sunday, 24 January 2010

Panerai Got It Right...

13+ years ago that is... The Mare Nostrums...
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the more funky / derivative / contrived stuff they come out with the more i look at the older releases... here's one that came out Pre-V, followed by Pre-A & A. [the V in Pre-V is for Vendome which bought over Panerai from the family in 1997. Vendome is now the Richemont group and the A is just somehow seen as the 1st series of Panerai that was released by Vendome in 1998. So the Pre-As are panerais that they released prior to the A series ie sometime in 1997. Part of the pre-A lineup consisted of a chronograph model with 3 different colored dials, blue, white and black, the pam6, pam7 and pam8, the mare nostrums (latin for our sea, which is what the Romans called the Mediterranean sea)... all in about 400 of these were made in all.

photos don't do these watches justice... in the metal and with a good patina going, these watches KICK A$$!
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it was made with deck officers in mind for wwii. the proto was 52mm... and well they came out with one this year thats... 52mm... but 52mm is pretty damn big even for big boyz so the 42mm that these ones were at just make a whole lot more sense...

Pre-Vendome... differences between this and the A and Pre-As is the flat bezel, the km/h instead of tachymetre, fonts and indices... both though are really really nice :)
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i would like to thank the owner of these watches for sharing them with me over a meal and good conversation... its always nice to meet other cool folks along this journey and there are some fine ones indeed in the paneristi crowd... shout out here to Gabriel... a cool watch/panerai collecting dude indeed... starting out young too :)

all current or future classics impo ;)
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[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

the pam300 then is what they came out with this year for SIHH 2010... a hommage to the proto at 52mm and with the same looks but cooler lookin movement in a sapphire back thing... the ones above are much much nicer to me though...

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Camera Review: Canon G11 vs a great P&S(F31fd) and a great APS-C DSLR(Nikon D90)

SHOOTOUT!!!
the G11 takes on the F31fd and a DSLR??
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The Canon G11 is the recent release in the G line for Canon. The G series has more or less tried to sit between the compact p&s digicams and the full featured DSLRs and had been the go to choice for many a photog who wanted something more portable than a DSLR but not sacrificing too much control and image quality in the process.

Canon though didn't foresee the rise of the panasonic LX3 which more or less took up a huge piece of the market share of folks interested in the G10 (at the time it launched). There are rumors the LX4 will be coming out in Feb 2010 but not sure if its true. What i do hope is that the LX4 will have a slightly better focal range, a proper lens cap and better high iso results(one can hope :)

So we come to the G11... Canon launched this and the S90 after the LX3 came on the scene so they should be LX3 beaters no? [less megapixels so more of the sensor is used for light gathering] Its a game of one ups-manship with the camera companies so one would expect this to be the case. but are they? unfortunately at this time i do not have an LX3 handy to do a indepth head to head with it (sorry boyz) but that may change in time and i sold off the s90 for the G11 after looking at all 3 of em (read about the rationale here)

Ok so what do we have here today? a head to head of the G11 with a once 'king of the hill' point and shoot the Fuji F31fd and my Nikon D90 with 18-105 kit lens...

Some key specs(in the following order) - focal range(35mm equivalent) ~ aperture range ~ sensor size ~ megapixels
1. G11 - 28-140mm [6.1-30.5] ~ f/2.8-4.5 ~ 1/1.7" ~ 10MP
2. Fuji F31fd - 36-108mm [8-24] ~ f/2.8-5.0 ~ 1/1.7" ~ 6.1MP
3. Nikon D90 with kit lens -27-160mm [18-105] ~ f/3.5-5.6 ~ 23.6 * 15.8mm ~ 12.3MP

so to the different scenes then... (all pics here have had no post processing done except rotation and cropping if needed.

(A) Widest view from the same spot (resized to 880 pixel width) Bright day - In order of goodness to me, its D90, G11, F31 and as below...

D90 [1/640" f/5.6 ISO200] the DSLR showing why its worth the $$$
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G11 [1/640" f/4 ISO160] very good result... checkout the dynamic range
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F31fd [1/500" f/5 ISO100] as u can see still a contender :) just not wide enough starting at 36mm
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(B) From the same shot as above ~ 400*600 crops of center - In order of goodness to me, its D90, F31, G11 - the F31 was a bit dimmer in the center but it seemed to capture more detail. note that it has the same sensor size as the G11 and only caters for 6.1mp vs the G11's 10.1mp...
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(C) Bokeh using slow lenses on the tele end (which means aperture is also not hot)...

D90 at 160mm [1/1000" f/5.6 ISO200] it was never gonna be that good but i am happy to find reasonable bokeh quality at 5.6 from the kit lens... of course if u break out a 85 f/1.4 thats a different story altogether...
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G11 at 140mm [1/640" f/4.5 ISO80] reasonable noting the small sensor size
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F31fd at 108mm [1/750" f/5 ISO100] very little blur, lack of depth of field on the f31 due to tiny sensors... (same as the G11 so the G11 has some magic going on in its processing :)
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(D) Closeup of some ixora

D90 at 160mm [1/80" f/5.6 ISO200]
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G11 at 28mm [1/60" f/2.8 ISO80]
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this is cool on the G11... u can zoom in a lot more and focus a lot closer to get images like this... very good quality impo (i pixel peeped this and the details were excellent at 100%)
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F31 at 36mm [1/140" f/2.8 ISO100] not sure if it was a setting gone wrong but the colors have blown out in the shot and its too light... put it down to photog screwup ;)
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(E) Chromatic aberration & Flare (crops from originals and resized to 880 pixel width) - In other of goodness to me, its D90, G11, F31

the D90 with the kit lens did awesome on CA and flare control... check it... [1/500" f/6.3 ISO200] the details retained in the leaves and the control of the CA and flare are excellent to my eyes
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the G11 did very well considering its small sensor [1/400" f/4 ISO160]
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the F31 was struggling with this and loadsa CA & flare comin out... and loss of details [1/450" f/5.6 ISO100]
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(G) I did wristshots of all the cameras with this watch and all turned out alright... in fact what was surprising was that my htc hd2 wristshot quality was pretty decent but the colors are pretty icky... shooting in sepia or b/w will sort this out though (but of course u may not want ALL your handphone photos to be in sepia or b/w :) condition is shady place in a bright environment. the G11 did the best and F31 came next, the d90 kit lens has too long a minimum focusing distance so was no fun for taking wristshots...

as the HTC HD2 did awright for this, the only shot from it in this post... 5MP [exif read shutter at 1/205" and aperture at f/3.2]
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(H) The plant and Mr Roboto

In a dimly lit room, D90 rules on light gathering. the G11 comin second and F31 not doing so well in this test...
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On Mr Roboto... the G11 rules... ISO 800 f/2.8 smoked the rest. [did a fair amount of pixel peeping on this] the D90 not being able to get a decent shot off at ISO800 or at 3200...i had to go to max iso6400 to get a worst off shot then the G11... note the apertures though yuh :)

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(I) now the most important test... as you know, you are on a watch blog... i love watches and am into photography as well so when i do go for watch events(lesser and lesser now though due to other commitments), i need a decent shooter to take pics of the watches that are either passed around or are on display in dimly lit environments... so here goes...

best in hand shot with no flash - f31fd at f/2.8 ISO400 and 1/4"
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best non-flash shot of a watch on display - G11 at f/2.8 ISO400 and 1/4"
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with bounced flash... you get this from the D90 [1/50" f/8 ISO200]
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FINDINGS & VERDICT:
  • G11 is a strong contender in the day for sure but its strengths come out when the lights go down. I would say that ISO800 produced very good images from a range of pix i've taken/seen and that you can use ISO1600 without worrying too much, ie u can get usable images from a couple of pix taken, but ISO3200 is definitely pushing it. handholding and getting decent shots for up to 1/4" is very cool. wish the lens was a tad faster, eg. 2.0, on the wide end but otherwise a very good camera. Highly Recommended!
  • F31 is a great camera but it is showing its age. the new fangled processors and Canon imaging capabilities are showing it up. but that said for a (more) compact point and shoot, and for not alot of $ second hand, about S$220-280, its still a winner. Recommended!
  • the D90 rocks!!! nuff said ;) ok it didn't do well for mr roboto but perhaps a faster lens or bounce flash is needed for it for that shot... it does well on all other levels. Highly Recommended!
  • Bounce flash is needed though for evening events. The G11 will be paired with the 270EX for evening/nite/indoor events/occasions, watch flash shots & macros and when other flash photography is required. I will be getting the flash within the week and will see how this combo matches up with the D90 & SB600 then :)
THE VERDICT THEN? All are winners, not a dog among them :) it depends on what you need for your purposes. if u don't mind the weight and size and want better image quality and a good selection of interchangeable lenses, the full frame and crop sensor DSLRs are the way to go...Both Nikon and Canon have great bodies and lens lineups so either choice is great just note pros and cons before diving in... [why i say no to m4/3 (GF1 and EP-2) right now] & [why i say no to Leica film & digital Ms]

if u want small and compact and don't need an external flash hotshoe, the f31fd is a great camera from a couple of years back... the s90 on paper seems a strong contender but i didn't enjoy having it(distortions and flaring). the LX3 and G11 being larger, having more control settings & hotshoes for external flashes. to end off, if i were to sum the G11 up though in one word then, it would be 'versatile'... it is a very versatile performer :)

Hope this was helpful or of interest to most. till the next time i get up to camera hijinks then :) cheers, raph

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