A post! A post!

Wow! I suddenly remembered I had a blog... My multiply site is taking up my posting time so I'm thinking of migrating everything there. Maybe I'll reserve my blogger pages for 'work' related stuff.

Anyway, added a flickr badge on the blog for easier access to my flickr pictures. I still don't have a pro account but that'll change once I have more content to upload and need the capacity.

Hopefully I'll have a blog-worthy moment soon with the F1 season 'hotting-up' as the brits love to say. =)

I can't believe my last post was the iPod Touch... LOL...


GoTM 1.2 - An Apple (or three) a Day...

Damn you Steve Jobs!

I know it's a strange way to start a post but the guy is evil incarnate and has the goal of world domination through the use of little white earphones... To those who might not know him (or of him), he's the big boss Apple guy... Yep. He's the brains and financial brawn behind all the marketing hoopla that launched the iPod name to unbelievable heights. And what has Apple done now? They've launched three, yep, count 'em... three new iPod models! Temptation thou is thine name!

While I don't give a hoot about the new Nano (though it is cute with the video option at 320x240), it is still an attractive offer from Cupertino. It won't supercede my current iPod Vid (though a measly 30gb) any time soon but this product isn't aimed at current iPod video users. More likely they targeted this for those who are waffling about getting either a Shuffle or the Vid. This slots right in between the two in terms of price, capacity and capabilities. Yes it does have video but it's sort of useless at that size. You won't be watching the latest season of House on this... It does have Cover Flow (new iPod interface) though and this is a huge improvement over the screen-less shuffle and the older Nano with the generic ipod interface. It retails for $149 and $199 for the 4GB and 8GB models respectively.

The iPod video refresher is... nice. It isn't revolutionary. They lost the iPod classic white color scheme (which is a + or - depending on your tastes), changed the material to anodized aluminum (which is very good since you'll no longer want to keep the thing in a case all the time to prevent your silk boxers from scratching the extremely fragile surface a'la the previous gen iPod videos), added the Cover Flow feature and... here's the kicker for you Music whores... it goes up to 160GB! That's around 40,000 songs or 200 hours of video! No one I know has that many songs. If ever I get this thing then it'll probably split the storage into 20-30GB songs, 50-80GB video and the rest as a portable hard drive for pictures and etc... It's cheaper than the older gen too! The 80GB goes for $249 and the 160GB for $349.

Here's what's exciting for me though. There were a lot of hints for this product the past few months and even days after the original iPhone launch, rumors were already circulating about this product's existence. Experts have said that many would abandon the iPhone for this since most just want the iPhone for the interface and the looks. Many people scoffed and said Apple wouldn't kill it's iPhone sales by releasing a competitive product that might eat into it's numbers, but here it is!

They call it the iPod touch. It's a baby iPhone essentially, but without the phone. From a press release:

"The iPod touch will use the same interface as the current iPhone and will have battery life sufficient for 22 hours of audio playback and five hours of video playback, according to Jobs. The iPod touch will come in two sizes—8GB for $299 (roughly PhP 15,000) and 16GB for $399 (rougly PhP 18,000)and will ship later this month."

Using the same screen, larger storage and smaller/thinner form factor as the iPhone and with WiFi (and apparently Bluetooth but it wasn't announced) capabilities, you'd think that this baby would be a helluvalot more expensive but they actually cut the price by about 1/3 from the iPhone (it used to sell at $499 for the 4GB iPhone and $599 for the 8GB). The original is being transitioned into la-la land apparently since the 4GB has been phased out and the 8GB model just got a $200 price drop. That might indicate a newer model on the horizon but you never know with old Steve-o... I wish they'd make this with SanDisk's new 32GB SSD superdrives as an option. 16GB just isn't enough to load up all the videos you'd want to stuff in this thing. Curiously though, they called this the 'Touch' which is a name already associated with HTC's Touch smart phone launched almost a year ago. So right now I'm torn between getting an HTC Touch which is already available or waiting for the Touch to be locally ready for retail which might be in, oh... six months to never.

Damn you Steve Jobs...


WoW - World of Whatdafuckwasthat?!?!

As I wrote in my last post, I am now firmly lodged into the wonderland known as World of Warcraft. WoW as it's known to it's rabid fan-base has this peculiar trait of making anyone involved in it lose countless hours of sleep with questing, levelling, farming, crafting and whatever else can occupy your time while immersed in this virtual playground.

It's a fun romp usually but with rare unexpected shocks. You're usually just trundling along the cities and forests looking to finish your quests to get an item or gain more levels when suddenly; "WHAM"! You get knocked on your arse by something you never even saw coming.

Undead zombies with rotting flesh can do that.

So can vapor-like beings, giant life sucking bats, huge sabertoothed cats, cow-sized spiders, other races, kappas, ghouls and so many more beings that you'll encounter in your daily travels.

That sounds disheartening to some but most treat it as a challenge. There are those who'll wade into a fight just to check if they can survive it which in my opinion is rather silly but I'm more of the clinical warrior than most... Charging into a fight with only the opponent's level as a guage will cost you not just your life, it'll also take a few coins from your pocket for armor/weapon repair, time for getting back to your corpse and of course there's the abject humiliation of getting slain by a fluffy little cat... Some fighters will choose the bully route and level up and come back to take the monster down when they can dominate and crush that eight-legged abomination beneath their "Rare, +2 Strength, +3 Stamina, 400 Armor Plate Mail Boots".

My take is the more analytical yet somewhat boring to some approach.

I look at the web.

Yes, I research. I look up the monster's stats and abilities then compute the possibility in my head if I can kill it with a good chance of surviving intact. Maybe even factor in a "pop" (where a monster spawns right beside you and joins the fight) for increased survivability. So far it's pretty effective. Useful and obvious but I only learned to do this after a disastrous quest which left me with my jaw on the keyboard.

I was level-12 then and was on a quest with a level-11 monster as the target. I buffed all my stats, walked up to it, mana-tapped (sucked it's magic) and whacked it with my piece-of-crap cutlass. Crit! I hit it with 36 damage. Not a whole lot but that's all my character can sustain at this level. I whacked it again and then it retailated...

Ouch! One-hit and I was a disembodied spirit.

Damn. Running back to your corpse isn't fun.

I figured it was a glitch or some error on my part so I ran back and tried again. WHAM! One-hit and I was down again...

So I hit the web. I surfed at WoWWiki, Allakhazam, WoWHead and Wikipedia. I found a bestiary there listing all monsters and stats. What did I see? "Elite". Yup, it was an elite monster and had spells, a lot of physical power and a lot of def. Most would scoff at the stats but considereing I was a noob, how could I have known.

So what did I do? I became a bully. Levelled up to 17 and came back for the bastard. With new armor, weapons, buffs and skills the thing couldn't put a dent in me!

Take that you misbegotten son of a discolored pixel! If I could have pissed on it's decapitated head and done a cabbage patch on it's rotting corpse I would've been mighty satisfied.

Have you had any strange encounters with beasts on your romp though the world of Azeroth?


Appropriately "WoW"!

I have fallen off the face of the planet. Sucked into the desert sands. Faded from existence. I am unreachable.

I started playing WoW...

To those living under rocks and have never heard of the internet, "WoW" stands for "World of Warcraft". It is Blizzards billion-dollar MMORPG and that stands for "Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game". These are games played online with hundreds, often thousands of people running around the wonderfully detailed maps, adventuring with you. "Massive" is apt! With over 300,000 subscribers, WoW is probably the biggest online game in the world!

I first got into the MMORPG genre with DiabloII several years ago. While that was more an adventure game than an RPG, it sorta initiated me into the online experience. Countless nights doing Bhaal runs hoping to score an ultra-rare item. Grinding levels for nine hours a day were also commonplace... Next was Ragnarok Online. While having more of an RPG flair, it paled in comparison to the single-player experince of Final Fantasy with it's childing graphics and simple backstory. Then there was Rising Force Online where I played as a Bellato Ranger and Sentinel. With the three different factions, it was a more exciting experience due to the PvP areas and being under constant threat from the other races. I was into "RF" for two years but put my characters on hiatus pending the release of the next major expansion pack.

Now those bastards at the office whom I call my friends have robbed me of a social life, sunlight and fresh air. They got me hooked on WoW. I'll never see the light of day again...

More on WoW soon...


GOTM 1.1

Gadget of the Month

DVDs are ubiquitous in our daily lives. Walking through Greenhills, once can't help but encounter the guy with a strange accent chanting "dibidi, dibidi-x, sunshine, 300, dibidi-copy" or some other version of that litany. With rampant video piracy in this country, every person has his or her DVD collection, supplied by these modern-day pirates, plying their wares on the unsuspecting buyers. Pirated DVDs used to be a secret cult-only phenomenon, only attainable by the wealthy few who had their own high-end computers with expensive DVD burners. One would bring a DVD they wanted copied to the friend's place, copy the DVD ISO and burn the image onto a blank DVD. It took ages to finish since those old burners worked at 1X, meaning a full 4gb DVD-5 disc would take an hour or more to copy properly. The long burn times also contributed to a large error percentage with these early pirated DVDs. This made piracy a contained thing, with only a few people with the resources and the patience to pull it off.

Now though, every street corner, train station and mall basement is crowded with people peddling these pirated wares. Every computer system is equipped with a 12-16x DVD burner. Laptops and even some DVD players and TV's come built in DVD rippers. CDR-King sells blank DVDs by the thousand per day...

Due to this explosion of easily accesible DVD media, the portable DVD player market has also boomed. NEXT-Base, Sony, Sanyo, JVC and a horde of knock-off players are invading the market with affordable and user-friendly electronics. Prices range from P15,000 for the basics to more than P40,000 for the higher end models.

I found a gem though.

Philips DCP750

I first saw a preview of the Philips DCP750/37 at the Gizmodo gadget blog. Priced at $US147 (roughly P7,000+), it's a definite bargain. It has a 7" LCD screen, twin neodynium speakers, a CD/DVD drive, SD-card slot, iPod Video dock, IR remote control, twin headphone jacks, video input jacks, brightness/contrast controls, an AC-adapter and a 12V car charger kit. That's certainly a lot of stuff for a price well under the norm. Also in the box was a cable kit that doubled as a connector to an external video device for when you just wanted to use it as a player and display the video on a larger screen and as a video-input cable for when you wanted to display stuff on the 7" LCD from an outside source.

I was contemplating buying an iPod dock or a DVD/DivX player at the time I saw this so I couldn't help but compare the specs, features and prices of the more popular ones on the market with this unit. I looked at JBL, JVC, Altec-Lansing, iLuv, NextBase and Logitech docks and did a personal gadget shoot-out by testing the products at different sotres. Nothing matched up to what the Philips was capable of on paper.


None of the other devices has an LCD screen besides the NextBase unit but that one didn't handle DivX nor did it have an iPod dock. The NextBase unit also was about double the cost of the Philips dock. For DivX functionality, the price spiralled to over P20,000 for the NB-SDV77-BD! I felt it was too much buck for too little bang so wrote NextBase off my list. JVC units were of the same ilk as the NextBase lineup with similar price-ranges and didn't have DivX functionality either. So off the list it went as well...


JBL On Stage

JBL docks look cool. The JBL OnStage looks really good and would look great on a nightstand. The circular base looks like a flying saucer and is really a nice design that wouldn't be out of place at a design-studio. It could be called art in an electronic package if you're so inclined. So yeah, I liked it. It sounds good, looks good and packs many features that any iPod user would like. Typical iPod dock features are there like the remote control, audio/video outputs, decent sounding speakers, a clock and alarm timer. While it lacked an LCD screen and DVD player, it was an option that I considered while looking at the different choices. IT had a fatal flaw though. The price! The OnStage costs around P11,000 at your favorite mall electronics store. Yeah, the name costs a lot since JBL has a noble pedigree when it coms to audio products but P11k for speakers? You can replicate the effects on thousand-peso speakers and a twelve-hundred peso knock-off ipod dock. I simply can't justify the added cost of the aesthetics here... Maybe I'm too much of a function-over-form kind of guy but it's just too much...

Altec Lansing is an established name when it comes to computer speakers. I've had my Altec ATP2.1 speakers for more than seven years now. I bought those to better experience the audio in Final Fantasy 7 after putting together a PC that could play it. They still sound as good today as they did back when I took them out of the box. Sicne then I've gotten the ATP3 for Patti, the 5.1 system for a mini-home theater and a portable set for back when I was still in college and wanted my "tunes" with me. I know they make good stuff and have a great background when it comes to audio peripherals so their iPod speaker docks were definitely at the top of my list. I looked around, researched on-line and tried out a few units and came to one conclusion... "Meh"...

A proper description wouldn't need more than one word. Different words convey different meanings though so here are a few that are applicable here. Vanilla. Generic. Basics. Standard. Typical. Unimaginative. Sum it all up and it amounts to "meh"...

Admittedly, they sound rather nice and are pretty simple to operate. The ones with the remote controls are easy to operate with just the next, previous and volume buttons on them but they work for basic audio requirements... What else do you need anyway? The bad part is that they're just that, basic speakers with a docking port instead of a headphone jack to plug in your speakers to an iPod. It's basically the same gripe as with the JBL system. You can duplicate the effect with cheaper speakers and a mini-dock. Consider that the Altec systems cost from P6,000 for the Nano docks up to P12,000 for the higher end iPod video docks then they seem less appealing by the second...

Now we get to the iLuv i199, i188 and i177 docks. These seem like cheap Taiwanese knock-offs of the Altec systems. They cost maybe 1/3 or half as much as the equivalent Altec device and on paper seem more than alike. Having it in front of you is a different sotry altogether though. The plastics on the iLuv look cheap... The finish is flat, the seams are uneven and the whole thing is just too light. It feels like a toy in my hands. That's not the worst part though, it's when you turn it on. For an iPod dock, it makes a great impression of a free transistor radio that you get with a McDonanld's happy meal. It sounds dreadful! The sounds assault you like an asthmatic speaking through an underpowered megaphone with accompanying crackles and pops... The interface to your iPod isn't even through the docking port, it uses a short wire that plugs into the headphone jack for the audio signal. The dock itself is flimsy enough to sap confidence in product but coupld with all the deficiencies, I just wrote this one off completely.

We're all familiar with Logitech. Makers of anything and everything related to PC peripherals. they make mice, keyboards, game pads, steering wheels, webcams, headsets, speakers and now iPod docks. They have a limited selection of iPod compatible stuff but the selection isn't bad at all. the worst of the bunch is the mm32 speaker dock. At $75 it pretty cheap but having tried it myself, I can honestly say that you should just spend that money on a good set of earphones. The sound from this dock is tinny and lacks any acoustic quality that you'll appreciate. You'll just end up dissapointed with this, stick to the higher models.

The Audio Station Express and the mm50 speaker docks are much better than the previous one. At $100 and $150 respectively, they're much higher on the price scale but with that higher price comes higher quality too. The sound is much fuller and it comes with a wireless remote that the previous model lacks.

they have another model called the Audio Station priced at $300 but I haven't seen one of those, much less tested one so I'll hold judgement on that till then.

Here's where it gets interesting though... Logitech came out with a 2.1 speaker kit called the X-240. It's a typical speaker set for a PC or for your room with the generic headphone plug, 2 satellite speakers and a subwoofer. the extra feature in this thing is that it comes with a cradle for an iPod or an MS Zune with corresponding adapters that should hold the device in place, charge it and play hiugh quality audio all in one package. The best part is the price; $50, that's around P2,400 which makes this the cheapest iPod dock on the market. Considering Logitech's reputation when it comes to audio, this should be good! I haven't seen one locally but all reviews of it have been nothing but complimentary.

The Philips DCP750/37 is right here with me now. Staring me in the face, asking me to compare it's features with everyone else in the market now. Quietly confident that it has an edge over the others... It's right you know?

First of all, it has an LCD screen. Seven inches of 16:9 real estate showing you video from either your iPod, a DVD (DVD format or DivX), an SD-card or through the video-input port. Next is the iPod dock itself. It charges the iPod, interfaces with it perfectly using the included IR remote and it's really easy to access which makes docking and undocking a mindless single-step endeavor. The speakers aren't bad and while they don't pump enough sound to let everyone in a 50-foot radius know what you're watching, it's perfectly acceptable for personal viewing which is what devices like this are for anyway... The DVD functionality is great as well since it gives you all the features and options a full-size DVD player does with the same intuitive controls of my home DVD player. The SD-card is a nice bonus since like the DVD drive, it lets you view photos and DivX video using a similar meñu. The Philips is also the only one of the tested units that has a rechargeable baterry. From testing, it lasted around eight hours with just audio playing and more than 4 hours for video. That's more juice than you get from the iPod itself so the iPod will conk out well before the unit does... A Lord of The Rings movie can be wathed without fear of not having enough power to finish up the movie... Cost was also a great point since this cost much less than most of the others with only the Logitech units beating it out and the unacceptable iLuv.

So there you have it. I'd recommend this for anyone with an iPod video. The 7" model is perfectly fine and an 8.5" model is also available for $50 more. Either is a great bargain and you'll surely enjoy using it.

I'll go watch CSI now so stay back... I have a new toy and I'm not afraid to use it!


Gadget Madness

A few weeks ago, I went to a party and they had a "bring-me" game where the host calls out an item/s or a theme and if you have it, just run up and you win a prize. The host was a tech-geek so he called out "the one with the most gadgets on him now". I won hands down... It took a while to show everything but it was worth it, I got a stack of blank DVDs as a prize... He was a geek as I said (not that I'm against geeks or anything like that as I am one myself).

As I got home today from work, walked up to my bedroom and started unloading all the crap that I got out of my car the question struck me;

Do we have too many gadgets?

I start by putting my Crumpler camera bag down. This contains a Nikon D70s, several lenses, chargers, a Nikon-iPod adapter, an iPod Shuffle and a Nikon SB-600 flash. That gives me at least four different electronic widgets. With this bag is a Case Logic case containing a portable Philips DVD-player/iPod dock, along with chargers, cables and etc for this thing.

I start emptying my pockets and I pull out an HP iPaq 3750, an Apple iPod Video, a Nokia 6600 and a Nokia 2626, an HSBC electronic ID thingy, a watch and a small LED flashlight. That's seven more.

On my bedside table is a digital alarm clock, a clock radio, a Sony DiscMan, a USB charger and a Nikon F60 and Konica Acom-01 film camera. Add six more to the tally.

In the bathroom is an electric shaver. That's it for the bathroom.

Once you get to my other room, it's a whole different story. There's a Sony 25" TV, a Philips DVD player, a Pioneer amplifier, Pioneer and Mission speakers, a Sony PS2, lots of toys, two PCs, two flat panel monitors, one CRT monitor, a wi-fi router, a network switch, a wireless keyboard and mouse kit, dozens of spare PC parts (enough to build two or three more PCs), at least three UPS systems (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), at least two voltage regulators, a dozen or so cooling fans for the PCs and network stuff, several chargers, several docking units for the iPaq and iPod, remote controllers for the TV and DVD players, remote for a PC TV-tuner, Icom two-way radios, calculators, a toaster oven, a waffle maker, a fridge, power converters, a bug zapper, two HP printers, several subwoofers and two Altec Lansing PC speaker systems. In short it's a madhouse. I figure at least thirty to forty items in there...

The total tally/estimate so far? Around 50 units of electronic bits and pieces...

So in my normal day, I encounter around 40+ electronic gadgets. Do I need all this crap? The ones from my pocket are of course indispensable since this is my survival gear. I have music, movies, ebooks, passwords, communications and etc. The camera bag is also a mainstay since I hardly go through a day without taking several shots of something interesting (to me at least). The shaver? Hmm... maybe 2x a week max. The DVD player and the PS2 I hardly touch these days, maybe as little as 3-5x a month. The PCs i use almost the moment I get home and they're running even when I sleep or I'm at work (either downloading, converting videos or running a game or two). Speakers are of course part of the PC experience so let's just lump that in there. Alarm clocks, the discman and other necessities are of course a given.

To think that with all this crap I'm still planning to get a Nintendo Wii and a DS-lite soon, possibly another Nikon camera body, another flash, a laptop, a new PDA, a light meter, a 100gb iPod (when it comes out maybe in late March) and a host of other things.

So, do we have too many gadgets? The answer would be a resounding "it depends". Like with most subjective questions, it's always an if-then toss up. For me, it's just right. While the TV, DVD player and PS2 are largely unused, my girlfriend uses it so it's not wasted. To most people, my daily hundred-lbs of gear would be overkill and will probably be intolerable on their backs. A pro photographer will probably have 2-3x more photo gear than I do, with heavier lenses, bigger flashguns, several tripods and reflectors. An auto-mechanic would carry a dozen tools, a butcher would carry several knives and I carry my body weight in gear. Not much difference really.

So if anyone ever asks you why you carry around so much crap, tell them to bugger off.

Or maybe you can just mutter "it's exercise" and be done with it...

Pinoy Ako

Philippine Flag Small

Philippine National Flag Week


Flickr Tools!

Flickr users, ever try flickrtoys? There are a bunch of different applications to enhance your flickr pages here. Try them!

Here's a sample...


Photoworld! And I'm supposed to be saving up...


I've never seen so many gadgets that I'd love to own in one place before.

I went to Glorietta earlier today to check out PhotoWorld Manila 2007 with a few friends who were also camera nuts (in Am's case, just plain nuts). We wandered around for a bit looking at the things on display, lingered in the more interesting booths, played around with some of the toys on display and exercised out right to lust over equipment that we'd likely never own.

It's sad really...

The JT booth had lots of gear and we stayed there for some time with me coming back over and over to ogle a bit. They had SIGMA lenses, but sadly the 10-20 Nikon mount wasn't in stock. If it were, I might have had difficulty controlling myself from buying the damn thing... I'll need it next week for my Bohol trip after all... I'd like to experiment with an ultra-wide soon so I wanted to get this lens. I seem to always miss out on the opportunity to get it though.

JT also had LowePro bags, Stofen diffusers, SIGMA flash guns, waterproof/shockproof cases (which had the funniest commercials i've ever seen) and tripods. Velbon tripods to be exact.

I've been looking for a decent tripod for the past few weeks. I have a really old Velbon aluminum tripod that's fit for holding up small vehicles if you judge it by how it looks and weighs. This thing is heavy! So heavy that if you forget to lock the legs and it moves and manages to clamp your hands between the legs then it will HURT! To top it off, it has no quick release platform for your camera so you're forced to thread the tripod mounting screw every time you want to play around with it. I wanted to purchase a Manfrotto ball head at PWM2k7 earlier today but they didn't accept credit cards at the Manfrotto booth so tough luck for me... Anyway, I was looking for the Velbon 400-series tripod but JT only had the 600R. The price difference isn't much, only around 500 or so but I kept thinking about the Benro tripods at 24k in Hidalgo. Roughly 3-4k price so it might be a better buy overall. So my new tripod will have to wait.

In the Island Multi booth, they had Manfrottos, Cokin, Mamiya, Hasselblad and other known name brands. they also had National Geographic stuff and it was cute! Imagine running around with a Manfrotto tripod with leg neoprene covers with the NatGeo logo, NatGeo emblem on the ballhead and NatGeo equip bag? You'll probably get into events a bit faster and be revered in travel shoots... Maybe. Heh...

I got a Cokin circular polarizer from Island and it was pretty reasonable in price. 1.4k compared to the Fujiyama or Tiffen which are 2-3x more expensive. Reviews n the Cokin aren't bad so I'll try it out and see for myself soon.

After playing with the VRs, 2.8s, 1.8s and etc in the Nikon booth, I bought the cheapest thing they had but something I really needed. the BC-5. It's the plastic LCD cover for my D70s. My cover's bottom latch snapped off after multiple removals so this was a nice find for the day. At P350 it wasn't too painful on my pocket either.

We wandered over to the Canon booths since Pacs (office mate/photonut) was a 350D user. Lusting after lenses apparently isn't restricted to the Dark Side (Nikon). While I love the Nikon lineup of lenses, Canon's L-series lenses are impressive. If you see a white Canon lens it's an automatic mark of respect since he's either a pro or filthy rich (which doesn't entail much respect now that I think about it).

I played around with the 400D, the 1DS and finally the MkII. The MkII is huge! Seems bigger than the Nikon D2H in my hands... but maybe that was due to the 100-400 L lens on it. This combination is heavy enough to require the tripod mount be on the lens collar since extended use might stress the mount rings... I can't imagine this lens on a 350D since the camera will be dwarfed by the humongous optics.

Sony had a booth as well with their new Alpha dslr, video cams and Cybershots. I looked at the alpha. I lifted the Alpha. I looked through the viewfinder and focused. Conclusion, I hate the alpha. It's too light I think to damp down shutter vibration and hand tremors. While it's true that Sony's version of VR will alleviate much of this issue, it still won't cure it completely. You'll still have to go through the trial-and-error approach by taking multiples hots and picking the sharp one. This could make you miss a critical shot that happens once in a lifetime. Also, the lightness of the body with a lens already attached (18-55) makes it feel like a cheap toy. Honestly, I might be biased towards my tank-like D70s but the Alpha just feels too flimsy for my tastes.

Pentax had a booth right next to Sony. Doesn't matter much since I know jack about their camera except for pricing which is comparable to Canon/Nikon so I'd rather go with the brands with more support with it's installed base and with a better 2nd hand market.

So how was Photoworld for me? Not bad. I saw some interesting things on display, saw stuff I'd like to buy but can't afford, saw stuff I can afford but don't need to buy right now, saw things I was curious about and will research on in the next few days and other things...

I would've preferred that they had more vendors attend. I only saw one Quiapo store represented and I really would have liked to see Mayer, 24k, Henry's and others represented there. It would have given the photographers more options, more things to gawk at and generally liven up the event a bit more.

Instead of going here though, maybe you can just trek on down to Hidalgo... They've fixed up the streets, cleared the vendors and generally made the place as good as in it was in it's heyday. You'll likely find great bargains in the unseen corners of the little stores there. You can haggle with the shop owners. You can canvass prices next-door. There are an infinite number of things to look at, purhcase and fondle while in Hidalgo for us camera buffs. Don't let the harassing travel get to you. It's part of the experience of getting to Quiapo. =)

Photoworld is a great place to showcase your latest and greatest products for the big names. It's a venue for displaying your noteworthy and strange items and somewhere you can get your name recognized if you have a shop. It's a place to entice non-photographers into the "dark side". For buying your preferred lightsaber and other tools of the trade though, head on down to Hidalgo.


New Toys

Did you ever really want a toy when you were a kid? Something that you swore would be the last thing you'd ever ask for?

I said that when I purchased my Nikon D70s. It would be the last DSLR that i would buy, with the condition that if it broke, got stolen, or became obsolete then I could get a new one (you never know...). I realize that I can't afford it right now but I really want a D200... Do I need it? Well the 70% increase in pixel count wouldn't hurt. The robustness of the body is a plus as well since it's made of magnesium. The metering is much more versatile as well as the white balance controls. The photos are a bit warmer than the D70s' without needing a warming filter.

Will I get one? Well I want one... Should I get one?

Probably not.

The benefits aren't that big a leap over the D70s and while it may turn out to be more resilient to shocks and drops than the D70s, I do believe in something I read somewhere... "metal dents, plastic just bounces". If it doesn't shatter into a million pieces first... Maybe I'll wait for the D73.6s or something or other...

New bodies in the future will probably have better software, hardware, sensors, specs and due to Moore's law might be cheaper for the package. I'm sure we'll hit the 20MP mark in a year or so with the pace of development these days. If so, that'll be twice the resolution of the D200. Prices have continued to drop as well.

Nikon D1, Circa 2000
The D1 launched at around $5500 with 2.7MP and now the D40 with more MPs (6.2), better overall specs and more versatile settings is just $600 with the 18-55 kit lens. That's around 10% of the price of the D1 after around six years. Nikon's baby DSLR does more things better than the D1 so hopefully the trend will continue in the coming years.

Nikon D40, Circa 2006

Enough about camera bodies then. How about lenses? Granted, the Nikon 18-70 "kit" lens from Nikon is pretty much all you'll need for casual photography. It's 18mm is pretty wide but with Nikon's crop factor, that'll end up being the equivalent of 26mm or so on 35mm film, which isn't that wide at all.

I admit, I do have Lens Envy, Lens Lust, LAS (Lens Acquisition Syndrome), OCD (Optics Collection Disorder) and any other euphemism and acronym you can call it. While I only have three lenses now (kit, 70-210 4-5.6 and the 50mm 1.8) it doesn't stop me from wanting to acquire the latest and greatest of the Nikon lens stables.

So which ones do I want? Damn... too many to mention I suppose. In a nutshell, all the VRs and all the 2.8s... That should do. For now...

Realistically speaking though, I can name several that I'd like to shoot for in the coming years.

In no particular order;
18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor
17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S Zoom-Nikkor
28-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S Zoom-Nikkor
10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor
12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor
70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor
200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor
105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor

All that would cost more than a million and a half PhP! Considering that, then I'd probably just reach for the 18-200VR (P45,000-50,000) and the 12-24mm (P40,000-47,000). I don't really need a lens longer than 200mm right now since I have no plans to go into wildlife photography so the 18-200 should suit me just fine for everyday stuff. You can't go wrong with an ultra-wide though so the 12-24 is a must-have. If i'm in dire enough straits, then I'll opt for the sigma 10-20mm which is around half the price of the Nikkor. reviews aren't bad and I've tried one on several occasions... it's not bad.

Nikkor 18-200VR

Some things I haven't tried, but I do want to get, are teleconverters and fisheye lenses.

While TCs (teleconverters) only work on lenses with the largest of apertures (uo to f4 or so), it'll be nice to extend a 400mm F4 to an 800mm F8 for serious in-your-face shooting. that'll make great shots of the moon, sports events where you're on the bleachers, car races and etc... An F4 400mm lens though would cost around P200k, and the TC-20E II (an autofocus 2x Nikon teleconverter) itself is no lightweight at around P25-40k.

Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye

Nikon's new 10.5mm Fisheye is a digital specific lens meaning it'll only work with the APS-C sized sensors. It's a fun lens. the fisheye effect is similar to what you get from looking through a door's peephole. It gives you a very large degree of vision in a 205-deg arc in front of you. That's huge! Also, since it's reallllly wide, focusing on a single point up close will give you strange distortion effects. sort of like barrel distortion magnified a thousand-fold. Taking a portrait gives you an abnormally large nose ith the ears absurdly placed on the side of the subject's head. .It's cute ^_^ In general use though, it's a nice toy and interesting for architecture work since it'll really give you weird perspectives. the total damage - P42k.

Fisheye samples:


Anyway... Photoworld Manila is on right now. I think i'll pop over later today and see what they have there. Last year, they had Manfrotto tripods at 50% off, EOL Canon and Nikon lenses going for 20-30% discounts, off-brands like Sigma and Tamron showing their wares and anything photo related scatterred all over the place.

So see you in Glorietta! I'll be there later today. Maybe I can pick up n 18-200VR for 10k...

Asa... (and I don't mean ISO...=P )