Tag / Photography
Throughout the years I’ve had the chance to own quite a number of mobile phones, and gotten my hands to try on even more. The one feature that has always interests me is the camera.
Ever since I had my very first “camera phone”, the next phone I looked at has always been the one with a superior camera. So when I had a chance to give the Huawei P9 a test drive, I was pretty excited.
Huawei P9, sleek design, USB C, Leica dual lenses
You see, the P9 isn’t just any regular Android phone with a camera. It is the first that comes with a dual-camera sensor designed by Leica. For the uninitiated, Leica makes the most legendary cameras & lenses and almost every photographer would love to own a Leica in their arsenal, including myself. By having Huawei tapping into over 100 years of Leica photography expertise to design & optimize, the expectation of its performance is rather high.
The dual sensor set up at the rear is rather unique, one to pick up RGB (color) information, while the other monochrome (B&W) sensor picks up details. Information from both sensors are then combined using Leica’s merging algorithm to create an output that has the best of both worlds.
swiping left, right, or bottom up on camera reveals different options
That is the technical aspect of the camera, two 12 megapixel sensors working together, but what really impressed me more was the user interface of the camera.
Most Android phones utilizes very simple camera UI, with some having a few modes or features accessible in the menu. What Huawei has done with P9’s camera UI is very sleek. Swiping left, right, up, and down reveals different sets of features/short cuts that allows anyone to take pictures just the way they want without having to fiddle with different settings which may require in depth photography knowledge.
film/filter mode, and pro mode
Swiping to the right brings out the different shooting modes, such as monochrome, night shot, HDR, video, slow-mo, time lapse, and even Huawei’s signature “light painting”.
Swiping left shows the different camera settings, including adjustments for resolution, photo grid, GPS tag, different film modes, and so forth.
Bottom up brings out the PRO mode. This is a feature every serious photographer would appreciate. Here you can adjust shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, and even focusing mode. These are features that used to only available on a semi-pro SLR set up.
On top of the camera UI screen have yet a few more short cuts allowing access to wide aperture effect (my favorite), flash settings, slow-mo video, and swapping for front camera.
wide aperture effect is one of my favorites
works very well in low light condition too
In all, these make for very fast operation in getting to what you want the camera to do. There’s no fiddling with multiple levels within the menu to adjust one setting. Everything is available within a swipe and a click or two, to me this is the strongest point of the phone, one which I learned to really appreciate.
Impact B&W mode is great for street photography
The photo quality from limited shots I took were pretty good, my favorite features of the camera were the “impact monochrome” and the “wide aperture” mode. The monochrome is very useful taking street photography while the latter allows simulated “bokeh” effect that can make a subject really standout in a photo, similar to one taken with expensive fast professional lenses on an SLR.
close up shots are very good too
Since this is actually a phone and not just a camera, several other important specification you may be interested in are as follow:
- Screen: 5.2″ 1080 x 1920 pixels
- RAM: 4 GB
- Battery: 3000 mAh, fast charging
- OS: Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
- CPU: Quad-core 2.5 GHz Cortex-A72 & quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53
- Storage: 32 GB, microSD slot
- Connectivity: USB-C, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Sensors: fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
As promised, here are some photos taken from our diving trip to Anilao last Junuary (post on accommodation). These pictures were taken from the first two days of diving.
For anyone who’s interested, these is my underwater set up:
- Olympus EPL3
- PT-EP05L underwater housing
- Sea & Sea YS-01 strobes x 2
- Inon UCL-165 M67 macro wet lens
- Ikelite tray & i-Das arm system
blue ribbon eel, Sombrero
I did a total of 11 dives over 4 days. We visited a number of dive sites but also went back to a few that we really liked.
Anilao really has quite a lot to offer. On the surface it is quite an unassuming peninsula. There isn’t any great beach nor excellent landscape, but underwater it’s a very different story altogether.
clownfish in anemone, Sombrero
While lacking bigger marine life such as turtles and sharks, Anilao is teeming with huge variety of smaller underwater creatures. You can always expect a big variety of fish, shrimps, crabs, cephalopods (octopus/cuttlefish/squid), searhorses and various types of nudibranches basically in every other dive.
juvenile cuttlefish wasn’t very pleased
Underwater landscape at most of the dive sites aren’t spectacular either. Arthur’s Rock by the resort offers perhaps the best seascape with more hard corals and rock formations, while sites such as Basura is shallow with sandy and at some parts, grassy bottoms.
It is when you look closer that you’ll start to marvel at what Anilao has to offer. Hidden amongst the corals, rocks, or sea fan are tiny creatures such as emperor shrimps, transparent shrimps, and and nudibranches.
play time with an octopus in a half bottle
Here, even what looked like floating debris could turn out to be ghost pipefish and other creatures. We were lucky as our guide Richard was great in spotting these and pointed them to us.
an unsuspecting scorpionfish
One of the strangest creatures I saw was this (I’m assuming) algae octopus that went bipedal and started walking away on the sandy seafloor with two tentacles acting like legs. It was both weird, wonderful, and slightly scary, like something you’d see in a B-grade sci-fi. Luckily it was no bigger than a tennis ball.
algae octopus going bipedal
As for diving condition, there is usually very little current underwater. Other than the sites involving pygmy seahorses (maybe on another photo set), dive sites are generally rather shallow, which meant relaxing dives.
the elusive ghost pipefish
The only little problem we had was that the temperature can get a little chilly (about 25-26 C), having thicker neoprene or extra hoods/gloves should solve this problem.
Now this is making me miss diving again. We have a trip scheduled this October, but lets see if there’s a way we sneak one in between.
nudibranch – Nembrotha kubaryana
A few weeks ago we were invited to a photography session held by Le Meridien and the KLPA. After a short briefing session we spent about an hour or so taking photos mostly at the lobby of the newly renovated hotel.
The new lobby is beautiful, and I noticed that there were many different types of chairs used here, so I thought of emphasizing them in my photoset. These photos were taken with Olympus EPL-3 and the 45mm F/1.8 lens. \
Criticism and comments most welcomed. Thank you for viewing.
relax, we have your neck
side by side
through the tunnel
seated up high
Over the years, I must have had more than a dozen different cameras in my life. Most are digital, a couple of them aren’t. There were point and shoots, SLRs, prosumer models, mirror-less cameras, GoPros, camera phones, you name it.
None of them had the same response as when I showed off the Samsung GALAXY Camera – “Is that the Samsung GALAXY Camera? Can I see it?”
And sometimes when I hand it over, I don’t see it again for a very long time.
It’s not difficult to understand why. This is the first truly connected camera from Samsung that runs on the Android Jelly Bean Operating System and comes with 3G data and WiFi capability.
Already packed with loads of features, you are able to further enhanced it by installing various preferred applications. This is really a camera that is virtually limitless.
With the instant sharing capability of the Samsung GALAXY Camera comes This is My Moment, Live. A photo-sharing social website created for those who love taking photos.
The site features four bloggers, with yours truly among one of them that participates in contributing to the many photography themes being showcased on the site. There’s a different theme every day for 28 days. Check out the site at thisismymoment.com.my
Anyway, lets talk about the camera, I want to highlight some of the features that I really liked about it
Panorama shooting mode:
The panorama features is perhaps the most fun to use, and one that is super easy too. Switch to panning mode on the on-screen dial and then just start clicking and snapping. I liked the fact that you can pan all ways, and in both portrait and landscape modes.
Batu Caves photography trip, Dec 2012
Arthur’s Place at Anilao, the Philippines
Sunset shooting mode:
One of the tricky things about getting a good shot of sunset is the short amount of time you have to get everything right. With the sunset shooting mode, the camera set the proper exposure and color balance to get a perfect shot every time. Brilliant.
sunset at Anilao, the Philippines
The other very handy feature of the camera is the 21 x optical zoom. Compare the photo below to the one above. One was captured at 23 mm equivalent, and the other at 172 mm (at 7.5 x zoom). This example showcases how flexible you can be when it comes to composition.
taken at around 7.5x zoom
this taken while seated in the cafeteria upstairs, full 21 x zoom (483 mm equivalent)
Closed up shots:
While not 100% macro by any means, the GALAXY Camera does a good job in taking close up shots. Details and color reproductions are impressive, as with its resolutions. Look at the bottom photos of the coffee, and try to spot the tiny reflections on each individual bubbles.
beach made of corals & pebbles, Anilao, the Philippines
breakfast coffee, Meal Station
Full Manual Control:
Other than the various automated modes, the Samsung GALAXY Camera also comes with the three most crucial modes in any camera – Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, and Full Manual modes. With these, you can be as creative as you want in the control of the camera.
The panning shot of the Porsche Cayenne below is an example of what the Shutter Priority mode can achieve.
To make shooting simpler, there are a total of 15 smart modes in the camera (a few of which described above). They are – Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot, Best face, Landscape, Macro, Action freeze, Rich tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace.
This makes getting the right setting for the right photo capture easy and fast. I’ll let you find out what exactly is the “Best Face” mode, it’s one of the biggest innovation to me.
Instagram on Camera!
Of course, one of the most important features of the Samsung GALAXY Camera is that it runs Android Operating System, which also means Instagram anywhere and everywhere with the WiFI & 3G connectivity.
If you have an account, follow me at @kyspeaks
Click on Samsung GALAXY Camera to check out the various other features and full specifications.
After attending MIDE (Malaysian International Dive Expo) a few weeks prior and ended up spending quite a chunk of change on gears, Haze and I decided that a dive trip must follow. After all, the last trip was some 4 months ago at Lang Tengah.
After a bit of calling about different dive operators both in Tioman and Tenggol, we settled on diving with the operator at Tenggol Resort, the establishment situated on the far right of the beach if you are facing the island.
our resort is located at the far right of the beach
Due to schedule constraint, we only wanted a 2 day 1 night trip, and the package we got quoted was RM 580 per pax, which includes 4 guided boat dives. However, we also had to pay a RM 250 surcharge due to the fact that they had to use a 24-seat ferry to fetch just two of us from Dungun (other divers were all on the 3D2N option).
Fair enough I guess, hat made it a tad more expensive than normal for 4-dives, but we were pretty adamant on diving last weekend, so we went ahead with the arrangement anyway.
jelly fish, and note the inhabitants within it
Ferry was to depart at 8:30 am in the morning, we started our drive from PJ at around 3 in the morning and it took us about 4.5 hours including a sahur stop at highway R&R to cover some 400 km.
obligatory shot of a family of nemo
Dungun is actually the closest place to get to for any decent diving, unless you actually consider Lumut/Sembilan islands a valid diving option, which I don’t and hence hasn’t bothered to pen down the trip there earlier this year.
I just wish they didn’t delay the opening East Coast Highway to 2015 from the original 2011, that would cut half an hour off, hello JKR!
can you spot the tiny shrimp?
The room we had at Tenggol Resort had 2 single bed on each side of the smallish room, with no table or closet, and an attached bathroom with surprisingly good heated water (works from 7 pm till 8:30 am, as with electricity). Air conditioning didn’t really work well for us but temperature at night on the island is usually pretty comfortable anyway.
We didn’t have any problems with insects or bed bugs but a mat salleh in another room had his back bitten pretty bad. This is definitely not a 3-star or even 1-star type of place, but it will get you through the night if you’re not too fussy.
a pair of nudibranch, Hypselodoris bullocki, yes, coitus
As with any trip at Tenggol (and with most islands), all meals are provided. We were lucky as there was an actual professional chef working (part time) at the resort for that particular week, so we ended up having pretty awesome meal. Your mileage may vary.
a white nudi wandering around – Chromodoris coi
We did 3 boat dives on the day of arrival, and another morning dive on the next day. Our dive master Salleh was a very “chilling” type of guy, but perhaps one that is more suited for seasoned divers than beginners. Briefings were actually very brief, and the DM also didn’t dictate what we were doing underwater for the most part, we were also allowed to stay as long as we wanted instead of some who can’t wait to get out of water once it’s over 45 minutes.
My experience with the DM is a positive one.
Short dive logs, check this image for dive sites:
- Moon Wrecker – 11:26 am 21/6/2012. 43 minutes drift dive with plenty to see and pretty decent 15 meter visibility. Saw some huge jelly fish, and one being attacked/eaten by a Titan Trigger fish, a 5 foot long black tip shark swam by 15-20 meter away too, good stuff. Slightly challenging dive for Haze in the beginning but she cope well. DM led us with another 2 guys – Thomas & Trud (spelling?).
- Rajawali Reef – 2:54 pm 21/6/2012. Plenty of nudibranch in this dive, there were no current, nice and relaxing. Spotted stingrays too, 54 minute dive time.
- Tanjung Gemuk – 5:53 pm 21/6/2012. We spent another 55 minutes on the last dive of the day, nice calm evening water with more nudibranch, stingray, eel, and pipe fish. It was just Haze, myself, and the dive master in this dive.
- Tokong Timur – 8:41 am 22/6/2012. One of the better dive sites at Tenggol that is also a bit more challenging, Tokong Timur is a very small island with a light house atop. There was a bit of a mild current and slightly choppy surface water, saw one really big batfish, and as with anywhere Tenggol, more nudibranch, sea fan, and nemo. Not a bad way to end the trip.
Our maximum depths in all those dives were capped at around 20+ meters, and at one point we touched 27 meter I believe.
Haze’s imitation of a sky dive, or something
With this short Tenggol trip I’ve logged 28 dives in 4 diving trips this year. Diving can be an expensive hobby, I justify it with not having a car loan.
hello stingray, look who’s looming behind
My current set up for underwater photography is the Olympus E-PL3 with the in-house EP-PT05L housing. I have an ikelite plate for it and a single Sea & Sea YS-01 underwater strobe to light up the subject. All photos taken with Inon UWL 100 & Dome port.
My gears are almost complete, I just need to upgrade it to dual YS-01 (or trade this in for dual Inon z-240 and be RM 2-3k poorer), and add a stacked Inon UCL-165 lenses for macro to complete my gears. Perhaps some floats will help too, the equipment is getting heavy.
normal camwhore is so mainstream, this is underwater camwhore!
I think there’s another 1-2 trips to be done in this year, bring it on!