Saturday, July 17, 2010

DSLR drama

To my valued readers, I'm currently in the time of my life wherein I am pursuing a more evolutionary process (not physically as I am no insect) but with regards to my maturity and intellect, as I am currently in my first year taking up a master's degree in business administration (MBA) meaning I wouldn't be able to blog more about places and other things though I'll definitely blog more about food/dining perhaps as long I don't devour all of the serving before I begin taking photos to review which is why I am about to deliver to you a personal review of this magnificent piece of gadgetry.

The Sony Alpha A700 was released late in 2007, at it's time the camera's main competitor was Nikon's D300 and Canon's 40D as these cameras are within a segment called "prosumer" by others, more or less called because of their features and built-material.

The Alpha 700 takes a lot of it's looks from it's predecessor the Konica Minolta Dynax 7D which was a powerful camera back in it's time, it also shares a lot of it's features as well.

Now what makes a Sony function is basically a lot of marvelous engineering as I believe Sony is indeed the leader or the "electronics giant" the following I would list are very interesting features of the Alpha 700

(By the way I always forget about labeling my images but I assure you all of it are mine even the studio photos with very white BG)

- 12mp pixel resolution APS-C sized CMOS (one of the first to incorporate an APS sized exmor sensor
-11 AF points
-5 frame per second burst shooting
-dust reduction system
-Sony's Super Steady Shot (CCD Shake technology)
-Compatibility with legendary Minolta Lenses
-Ultra High Res screen 3" with 920k dot resolution
-Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) found only in Sony Alphas
-Rugged weather resistant body (magnesium I think)
-HDMI output

A lot more you can check Dpreview for more info and check under Sony

The A700's front view along with an 18-70mm lens (the lens to tell you the truth sucks) although I have better lenses I'm just lazy to change the darn thing.

Back view with lots of buttons and the very big 3 inch screen as well as dual command dials for quickly changing settings like shutter speed and aperture value, only thing I don't like is that a camera of this class should also include a secondary status lcd on top of the camera but this one uses the big 3 inch screen for stats and settings making it a bit power hungry.

The most superb accessory for a Sony Alpha is The HVL-FM58AM flagship speedlight by Sony and actually by Sony it replaces the previous FM56AM flagship that was a Minolta re-badged speedlight, as you can see the most astounding feature of this flash is it's ability to point at any given direction especially when using it in portrait mode.

View a video sample from youtube

Sample Images (originally taken by moi, these are just impromptu moments)

As you can see in the photo above the color rendering is very vivid and actually I did not do any post processing whatsoever, I just set the camera in Manual, set the color to vivid and set the DRO (dynamic range optimizer) to level 3

What DRO does is it adjusts the level of contrast to match the whole picture so as not to give a washed out look or overly dark contrasty look, in other words it is highly synonymous to that term HDR (high dynamic range) current generation Sony Alpha changed the term DRO to HDR mode as it is more consumer recognizable

More sample images ( again this are my photos so please report it to me if ever you saw it on the internet, I know it sounds arrogant of me but I'm a great photographer HAHAHAHA)

The lens I used is a legacy Minolta 50mm F1.7

All in all, I really love Sony for making a truly magnificent, easy to use and stylish camera, the story behind this is that I actually got it on sale, AV Surfer sold it to me at 50xxx with the inclusion of a Sony portable printer and a bag, the previous SRP was around 60K without lens but they gave me a kitlens and a watch as well.

My advise, before buying something you want make sure to scurry around and about every store you know on selling your given item and good things will surprise you.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Flip and the Filipino

Ok so I think the title is really inappropriate for this blog entry but here's the thing I was able to land my hands on a Flip pocket camcorder and so while preparing for this review, I happen to come across a person adding me in his YouTube friends list, I'm not sure who he is but the first thing I noticed are his uploaded videos, one of them concerning a very funny yet in a way a little offending movie titled "How to Act Around Filipinos"

Anyways it's just me some might get offended some might just laugh it off (it's not OA naman)

Anyways that doesn't concern my review on this fabulous piece of gadget. Now the Flip video measures around 4inches in height, 2inches in width (front/back), 0.7inch (side) other features and accessories would be;

- 1.5inch TFT LCD display
- built in memory around 1GB or 2GB (non-expandable) in this case the 2GB gave roughly 1 hour of recording time
- SD or standard definition video recording 640 X 480 at 30 fps
- F2.8 lens
- automatic Gain
- mono sound (mono mic?)
- digital zoom
- pop-up USB port
- 3.5" TV out port
- Suede cloth like pouch

Photo above shows the Flip's front, you'll see a standard D-pad, record, play and delete button it's that simple no fiddling of the unit, even the menu interface is dead simple the idea is to turn it on hold it and shoot away, it's actually aimed for the "no brainers"

Photo above shows the back of the Flip video, you'll see that the thing surrounding the lens is a huge chunk of plastic in Tagalog (nakaumbok) or beveled it's a bit of an issue concerning that some people are of course irresponsible making this a bit dysfunctional most especially when dropped faced lens wise.

In the photo above you'll see what I meant about the popup USB connector so no need for fiddly USB wires etc and below the popup thing you'll see a small black hole (haha) that's the TV out port.

And finally the photo above shows the side wherein located is the on/off switch and also you can place a string or neck strap whatsoever on the loop hole thing below it.

The Flip pocket video camera or better yet pocket camcorder is very useful in quick or sudden occasions or if you're an aspiring "videographer" or reporter, also for fun short movies like the YouTube video link I posted and likewise if you're a peeping tom who uses this while stalking somebody could be a girl or a guy?

Whatever, it's really simple and fun to use.

I tried capturing myself on Video but I feel shy hahaha! Besides you'd probably want a sample video quality, do remember it was already 5:30pm and it was cloudy outside also the mixed lighting environment so take note on these conditions while judging for yourself.

Anvaya Cove

When we received a call from our insurance handler (that what you call them) or better yet our family friend that we were invited to check out a newly develop high-end residential community out of town then we were the least excited family members to appreciate the invitation because not only did it meant loosing precious sleep especially if you came home at 3:00am and was about to leave at 6:00am but also feeling cranky and shitty first thing in the morning is not a good idea for a road trip.

Anyways it was a rainy Sunday morning when me and my family went to this place called Anvaya Cove, it was a three hour drive from Manila to Subic and it wasn't a very good morning for me anyways (try driving while you feel shitty for 3 straight hours)

Anvaya Cove is a seaside residential community that encompasses 320 hectares of land and they have their own beach (hooray!) anyways it's owned by Ayala Land and it's located further away from SBMA (Subic) almost in Morong Bataan.

Not only does it have a few residential lots but also condominium units and cluster like houses for living, these are for those who're looking for variety.

The Beach is pretty ordinary, it's supposed to be a man-made cove (or so I was told) and they have at least two or more man-made coves. It pretty much does the job as a beach getaway.

In the photo below you'll see me and my Family (my brother and father) on the background shown is the so so beach and the area contains a lot of lush greenery and almost a forest like environment since it's like super far away from Manila.

Anvaya has a recreational center that consists of the following facilities:

- An infinity pool
- Sports center (Tennis court, Basket ball court etc)
- Restaurant (for guests and members of the club)
- A club house (the view from the mezzanine is fantastic)
- Spa
- Bookstore
- Wifi cafe
- of course the beach and beach activities (they have lifeguards and stuff)
- etc

Pretty convenient place right? But it doesn't end with happiness and Glee because such a place is very high to maintain and owning a unit/house/cluster in this area is also very expensive, the prices vary form 7M, 10M to 20M and the point is that this is a property not located in an urbanize or well developed areas, it's very impractical and would only give you financial scars.

Plus membership to their club can only be obtained when a person is a unit owner. That for me is a bit unfair because the place is too far, maintenance will be very hard to find, it would've been easier for those uninterested with owning another house to have a club membership instead of an out of the way expensive house and lot.

Photo above shows the many guests invited to take a look at the newly develop resort/residential community, good thing they had WiFi to compensate for the ill-tasting pasta sauce I just consumed.

A view of the club house's ceiling, it's nice and high and also pretty.

Photo above shows a sample unit of the cluster like houses, I think this is how the house will look like if you bought one from them, this one is specifically around 14-16M I think.

More photos below;

Of course the interior decorations are your responsibility, sadly there is no mall near in the community or even a gas station it seems like a few kilometers away from one and even the entrance to Anvaya from this house is a few kilometers away the community is freaking huge!

All in all it would have been a very nice place to relax, unwind and socialize, but it is not for the average Filipino families nor even for those with highly capable budgets, I guess it's for those with a lot and I mean a lot of cash to spare.

Of course my dad has no intentions whatsoever in purchasing a house and lot in Anvaya unless they give us a huge discount as huge as the place haha!