Sony A7 Camera

I got this urge over the weekend to finally go and upgrade my camera.  I decided to purchase Sony’s full frame mirrorless camera, the Sony Alpha 7 or Sony A7.  This is the model with the smaller megapixels, the bigger megapixels one being the Sony A7R.  I decided to get the A7 model because of three things:

  1. Budget – The Sony A7 and A7R are pretty much the same and the main difference is the megapixels.  Because I had to limit my expenses I decided to go for the cheaper model.

    The Sony A7 was selling at Cathay Photo for S$2,159 (with kit lens) and the Sony A7R was at S$2,499 (body only).

    The same models were selling at Sony stores around the island at S$2,199 for the A7 and S$2,549 for the A7R.  The Sony stores have a “Cash Rebate” promo until the end of June 2014 wherein they reduce S$200 and S$250 from the A7 and A7R, respectively.  The prices I have mentioned already have the “Cash Rebate” reduction.

    Online, I checked Digital Rev’s website and the price was similar to the pre-“Cash Rebate” amount from Sony.

    I did not look at other stores – I’m not really the type who canvasses a lot.

    I bought mine from Cathay Photo.

  2. Lens Availability – Although the Sony E-mount can be fitted with Nikon or Canon lenses, you have to purchase an adapter to do so.  At the time I bought the camera, Cathay Photo was selling a Metabones adapter for S$590.  I do no have budget yet for this so I settled for the kit lens.  It does have a good enough focal range for my personal taste and it would suffice for the things that I plan to use the camera for.  I am however in the process of acquiring an adapter for only S$75 that is assuming I don’t get bombarded by shipping cost.

    The Sony A7R is not sold with any lens.

  3. Speed – Of the two models, the A7 was said to be the faster of the two.  Websites mention it going 5fps compared to the 3fps of the A7R.  Most websites say that A7R is for those who take photos inside studios or do portraits.  That’s not me.

I am satisfied so far with the purchase.  I like how light it is compared to my old D90 camera.  Also, the size of the cam is a relief.  Tourist do not approach me and ask that I take a picture of them which often happens when I have my D90 with me.  I guess the bigger the camera the more “pro” you look to most people, right?

I did feel some uneasiness with the way the semi-auto functions like aperture priority and shutter priority operated.  It’s as if there is something wrong with them, which led me to use the camera mostly in manual.  I am not used to going all manual but it somehow felt easy with this camera.  I’m thinking it is probably because of the electronic viewfinder.  Whatever changes you make to your settings you see it right away in the viewfinder.  Unlike my D90, which has an optical viewfinder, you won’t see the changes.

The battery sucks though.  With my Nikon D90 I don’t have to worry about battery drain.  For the Sony A7, I started at 100% and ended my day at 20%.  I only took around 100 shots!  It was published that one full charge would last 304 shots.  I guess the suggestion from most websites are true then – get an extra battery.  It might be related to the software of the camera much like your usual smartphone.  Normally you see Apple release updates that say fix their battery issues and I feel it will be the same for any mirrorless system.

I loved having the ability to share my photos from my camera to social media in an instant.  This camera has wifi capabilities and getting your photo from the camera to your phone is easier compared to having to download your photos to your computer then upload your photos to either an online site like Flickr or directly to your phone.  However, the Sony proprietary software to download the camera, PlayMemories Mobile, is not too user friendly in the iPhone.  I noticed that for me to be able to copy pictures from my camera to my iPhone I had to constantly turn my phone’s airplane mode on and off again – basically resetting my network.  If I do not do the camera and the iPhone, even if you put them right next to each other, will not be able to find one another.

It has an NFC chip so I assume getting the pictures to your phone will be easier for most Android phones.  Apple still has not introduced NFC to the iPhone at the time of the writing of this post.

Overall, I am happy with the camera especially the connectivity it offers.  I am hoping that Sony will find a way to reduce the battery drain and also to improve their PlayMemories app.  As for the lenses, Sony is reported to be releasing 14 or 15 lenses within 2014 – currently they already have 5 including the kit lens.  The lenses are not cheap though but they are Carl Zeiss lenses.

Below are some samples of the photos I took with the Sony A7.

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Let’s All Press the Reset Button – Now Let It Go

It’s been four months now since I took on my next challenge here in Singapore.  I had to temporarily abandon my plans to continue my life back home because of an urgent thing that came to my life last February.

I will still go for that dream though – to have my own restaurant.  I already have the concept, recipes and menu down but I haven’t yet prepared a business plan.  This is where I am severely weak.  Anything related to business even at work.

One of the main reasons why I hated my last job was the need for my role to know the business side of our application.  That was just not me and so there I went and left the company I worked for almost half a decade.

But that is the past and for people to succeed we must learn to let go and so I must, I will and I have let go.

My next goals in life is to just take it easy.  Not to pressure myself and to just watch life go by.  Learn from what I observe.  Improve myself based on those observations.

In short…CHILLAX…

Singapore is a good place to relax in because of all the convenience it brings.  Yes it is expensive but you have to pay for good service and Singapore does provide good transportation, safety, overall status of living, and a good future for anyone willing to work well in this fast and evolving country.

I have reset my weight loss goal.  I abandoned that aspect of my life for several months because of more pressing matters but I have come to a point already that I told myself the best thing I did while I was jobless was to improve my health.  So here I am committing again to the challenge to lose weight and to reach my target weight.

So wish me luck!

Only One Life

Wong Fu’s latest video which they uploaded to YouTube on 6 January 2014 asks the question “which life will you live?”.  The premise of this short is about the possibility that in different worlds there is a less successful version of yourself and a more successful version of yourself.  This was the thinking of the main character, a street performer, so he was settled at who he is – only a street performer.  A girl asked him why not be the megastar he could be trying to convince him that his face could be on billboards using some sort of feature that HTC has in the US.  The girl also talks about her dream to be a journalist some day and she was even willing to relocate to Shanghai just do reach that dream.  Watch the video since my storytelling will NEVER give it justice and only Wong Fu can give justice to their product.

This video struck a chord in my own life.  I’m now approaching my midlife years and I might be on the verge of suffering some form of midlife crisis.  The thing about this video that struck me is its message that we only know one life and that’s the one we live.  Why settle for something less?  Why not go for what you really want to do?

I personally am in that part of my life where I am thinking of doing what I really wanted to do which is to come up with my own restaurant, no matter how small or big it is, and then do my best to make it successful.  In a few days I’ll be going back home to my home country and from there I will kickoff activities to look into what could possibly be the fulfillment of my dream.  For so many years I’ve been putting off this urge to be more than just an IT guy working abroad so that I can provide for my parents’ medical needs and my own needs as well.

Of course I’m not a fool.  I know starting a restaurant is a big gamble.  A famous actor back home who was also an entrepreneur but passed away too early, his name was Rico Yan, once said that restaurants normally don’t break even in the first three years of operation.  This is why I’ve been putting off my dream.  I’m scared!  But I’m not getting any younger.  I am also not a gambling man.  So there is the conflict.  But how will I fully live my life the way I want to live it if I don’t try so I told my parents, my mom in particular, that this year will be the year we try.

Now, since I’m not a gambling man, my plan is to of course kick off the activities that might lead to my dream and at the same time keep my day job…an IT guy.  Having the capability to still work as an employee for me seems a good way to put some sort of buffer between me and the big gamble.  I guess having a backup plan should always be the norm and being the usual IT guy is my backup plan.

So there I am approaching a big fork in my life.  This big fork brought along an even bigger challenge and possibility to fail which I am admittedly scared to take on but I am willing to try.  If I don’t try it’s even worse than failing.

MJ_NotTrying_Quote

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

Typhoon Haiyan and the Outpouring of Help from Different Countries

Over the weekend the Philippines again saw another natural calamity, at least I hope it is (will get there in a few seconds).  Fresh from a 7.3 earthquake, the same general region of the country now experienced the most powerful typhoon ever in recorded history in the form of Typhoon Haiyan, or locally known as Yolanda.  The immense power of the wind that this monster carried dwarfed those of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina that struck the US in the past.

Is it a sign that Mother Nature is now revolting against us humans because of how we have treated planet Earth?  In the same week, it was reported that the Western Black Rhino became extinct.

Or is this man made as per the video below?  This is why I mentioned earlier that “at least I hope it is” a natural calamity.

Take note in the YouTube video above the person mentioned he is expecting an earthquake.  Check this out – a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck Japan.

Regardless if this calamity is man made or still natural I am happy to see that the Philippines is receiving a lot of aid from all over the world, including Singapore.

Singapore is my second home.  I’ve been here for 8 years living among the Singaporeans and other nationalities that live, work and play in this small but great country.  My time here in this great country might be short now but I am truly and ultimately proud to have called it my second home.  This country will have a very special place in my heart.

In the Strait Times article I have linked to, I was saddened to have read that three young Singaporeans were among those who are missing.  I hope that they cannot just be contacted right now much like majority of the entire region affected by this superstorm.  Globe and Smart, mobile companies in the Philippines, have already established temporary cell sites to replace those that were destroyed by the storm.  I hope these girls can somehow find a way to get in touch with their families through these cell sites.  Viber has also made it possible for those in the Philippines to contact their loved ones outside of the country for free.  If these girls have Viber I hope they can contact their relatives here in Singapore.

Last I heard electricity is still an issue (I may be wrong here – I am so far unable to find articles or news that mention this – only from a friend who has family members in the affected zone).  That sucks because even if you have cell sites if your cellphone has no power how will you be able to use it.  I hope Globe and Smart brought with them cellphones for families to use to contact their loved ones inside and outside of the affected areas.

Singapore is lucky to not be in a region of the world that encounters these superstorms.  I hope that this great country will never experience these types of calamities.  I, however, have a bad feeling that someday Singapore will see this type of natural calamities come to her shore.  Normally, the southern part (Mindanao) of the Philippines is free from typhoons but in the recent years more and more typhoons are going nearer to the equator.  My mom, a native of Mindanao, noticed this as well.  I hope we don’t see a time that typhoons are present on the equator.

If this ever happens I will surely return the help that this country gave my countrymen in my country’s time of need.

Again, to Singapore and to the rest of the world, thank you for helping my country!  I may not have any loved ones in the affected areas but as a Filipino in general I say “maraming salamat”!

7.2 Earthquake in the Philippines

Last Tuesday, October 15, 2013, a 7.2 earthquake rocked the Visayas region of the Philippines.  The main areas hit by the quake are Cebu and Bohol.

A friend of mine recently posted a blog about what she felt about this tragedy especially since she just came from Bohol for a vacation.

I can relate with her because of this video.

This video shows the Basilica Del Sto. Nino and the partial collapse of its belfry.  Earlier this year I went to Cebu and was lucky enough to see this church and its interiors.  It’s right beside the Magellan’s Cross which I posted here in my site a couple of month’s ago.

It’s sad to see these old churches and historical sites collapse or get damaged but in all honesty there is very little that humans can do.  I read somewhere that a 7.2 earthquake is roughly equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.  What are the chances of an old building like this have against that immense power?  If mother nature wants to claim back what is hers she can.

I just hope that one day the people of Cebu and the other affected areas can stand up again like what Filipinos normally do.  We always get up no matter how big the challenge is.  Also, I hope that they can rebuild or fix the damaged parts of the historic sites – yes it will no longer be authentic but at least it will be available for other generations to see and experience.

Plagiarism in Photography

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading some news about photos or articles related to photography being plagiarised.  It’s quite sad that people are running out of ideas and even sadder that it’s in the world of photography where ideas can be readily re-imagined or interpreted differently.

There are two cases I’ll be highlighting – Jasmine Star and Mark Solis.

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