Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Jane's @ Amici

We visited Amici at Holland Village today for a 'get-together' lunch and as well to celebrate Jane's Birthday in advance.

Not to forget the delicious food that we had, not to comment too much on the slow service though.


Seems like the Melbourners have really missed the kinky-drawings on cards, so I have decided to give them a treat! Never knew that this in turn spurred an onset of creativity in everyone else. Here goes!

The card face

The envelope art

Jane receiving the card

The Greetings

The theme for the day is MILK!

Request only!
'Cos it got really messy and.... mmm.... WET!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Novena Square 2

I was just debating with nexus about Novena Square 2 being the Novena Velocity.
But apparantly, there is indeed a new mall/extension behind the old Novena Square (now called Novena Velocity after an extension along Novena Road) and this extension to the rear towards Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) is Novena Square 2.

Apparantly, Novena Square 2 is a Seoul themed-mall with only a few shops opened at the moment and the top floor resides an NTUC Fairprice. Seems like NTUC is expanding fast, especially after the recent opening of NTUC Xtra hypermarket at AMK Mall.

Revoltech: Dangaioh #023

The latest addition to the Revoltech series is Dangaioh as #023, by Kaiyodo.
Now a bit fan of the 1980s animation, but it does look rather cool!
Here it is:

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Launching alongside is #022 Patlabor Type Zero.

MG Hi-v Gundam

Finally, after a long wait,
Bandai decided to release Hi-v Gundam in Master Grade (MG).
The Hi-v has always been available via conversion kit.
Now it is a dream come true for all those who have not ventured into the costly conversion kits.
Here are some pictures of the kit.


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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Photography: Animals

Tamron Test Session #2
27th January 2007
Photography & Digital Darkroom by mybearbrick

It was a bad day for outdoor shooting, so I ended up shooting animals in a void deck.
After this session, I have noticed significant light fall-off around the corners at 50mm, that is not good, one flaw on the capability of this lens.
Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Olympus Super Prosumer SP-550 UZ

The most powerful prosumer to date has landed on earth!
SP-550 UZ by Olympus is literally translated as Super Prosumer Ultra Zoom.
This prosumer beats the Panasonic FZ50 and Fujifilm S6500fd to pulp with its outstanding performance in its own class.
It is also possible that the SP-550 UZ is going to make many entry-level DSLR users drool and trade their setup for this hassle-free camera.
Let us see how powerful this prosumer is ...

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• 18x wide optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm camera) 1:2.8-4.5
• Dual Image Stabilization
• 7.1 Megapixels
• 6.4cm/2.5” LCD with 230,000 pixels
• High burst rate (up to 15fps*)
• Super Macro mode (from as close as 1cm)
• P/A/S/M exposure modes
• BrightCapture Technology for better low light photography – also available in movie mode
• 23 scene modes (including Portrait, Sports, Night Scene)
• 25 languages on board
• Internal memory plus xD-Picture Card slot
• Supplied with Olympus Master software and four AA batteries


Imager 7.1 Megapixel (effective), 7.4 Megapixel gross, 1/2.5” CCD
Lens 4.68 – 84.24mm (28 – 504mm equivalent in 35mm photography), 14 lenses in 11 groups; 4 aspherical lenses, 2 ED lenses
Zoom 18x Optical + 5.6x Digital (Seamless to 100x)
Aperture Range f2.8 – f4.5 (adjustable in 1/3 EV step)
LCD 2.5” (6.4cm) Color LCD, approx. 230,000 pixels
Viewfinder Electronic (dioptic correction)
Focus System CCD Contrast Detection
Focus Range Normal Mode:
(Wide) 3.94” – infinity (.1m – infinity)
(Tele) 47.24” – infinity (1.2m – infinity)
Macro Mode:
(Wide) 3.94” – infinity (.1m – infinity)
(Tele) 47.24” – infinity (1.2m – infinity)
Focus Mode iESP Auto, Spot AF, Selective AF Target, Manual
Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec. – 15 sec., Bulb
ISO Auto, High ISO Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200*, 5000* (*approx. 3MP)
Metering Mode Digital iESP Auto Multi-Pattern TTL, Center-Weighted Metering
White Balance iESP2 Auto, One-Touch, Presets (Sunlight, Overcast, Tungsten, and 3 Fluorescents)
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV steps in 1/3 EV increments
Recording Modes Still Image: DCF Exif 2.21, JPEG, PIM3
Movie: AVI Motion JPEG
Adjustment Resolutions 3,072 x 2,304, RAW / SHQ / HQ
3,072 x 2,048, 3:2 / SHQ / HQ
2,560 x 1,920, SQ1 High, Normal
2,304 x 1,728, SQ1 High, Normal
2,048 x 1,536, SQ1 High, Normal
1,600 x 1,200, SQ2 High, Normal
1,280 x 960, SQ2 High, Normal
1,024 x 768, SQ2 High, Normal
640 x 480, SQ2 High, Normal

Shooting Modes (30): Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, My Modes, GUIDE, Scene Presets (Portrait, Landscape, Landscape & Portrait, Night Scene, Night & Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self-Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select1, Shoot & Select2, Beach, Snow, Underwater Wide1, Underwater Wide2, Underwater Macro), Movie
Panorama Modes Up to 10 frames automatically stitchable with OLYMPUS Master Software when using Olympus brand xD-Picture Card™
Sequential Shooting Hi-Speed2: 15 frames per second for 20 frames (1.2MP)
Hi-Speed1: 7 frames per second for 15 frames (3MP)
Normal Speed: 1.2 frames per second for 7 frames (7MP)
Bracket: Exposure bracketing up to 5 frames
Interval Shooting
Shooting Assist Functions Histogram, Frame Assist
Movie Mode AVI Movie with Sound: 640x480/30fps, SHQ; 640x480/15fps, HQ; 320x240/30fps, SQ1; 320x240/15fps, SQ2
Image Processing TruePic TURBO™ Image Processor
Pixel Mapping Automatic Pixel Mapping (APM) available via menu setting
Noise Reduction Set automatically at shutter speeds of 0.5 second or longer
Image Playback Still Image: Single, Index, Enlargement, Slideshow, Calendar, Album, Histogram, Rotation
Playback Edit Effects Still Image: Lighting Fix, Red-Eye Fix, Black & White, Sepia, Crop, Resize, Rotate, Brightness, Saturation, Frame, Label, Calendar, Layout
Direct Printing Options PictBridgeTM and DPOF
Flash Built-in
Flash Modes Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-In, Fill-In & Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Off
Flash Working Range Wide: 14.8 ft. (4.5m), Tele: 9.2 ft. (2.8m) at ISO 200
Wide: 42.3 ft. (12.9m), Tele: 26.2 ft. (8.0m) at ISO 1600
Selftimer 12 Seconds/2 Seconds, AUTO
Setting Memorization On (stores changes) / Off (restores default settings)
Date/Time Calendar Automatically recorded with each image (up to 2099)
Memory 20MB internal memory
Removable Media Card xD-Picture Card™ (16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512MB, 1GB or 2GB)
Outer Connectors USB Connector, Audio/Video Output, DC Input
Auto-connect USB 2.0 Full Speed
System Requirements Auto-connect USB: Windows® 98SE/ME/2000PRO/XP/VISTA with USB port, Mac OS® 9.0-9.2x/OS X 10.1-10.4 with USB port. Software: Windows® 2000PRO/XP/VISTA, Mac® 10.3 and higher
Operating Environment Operation: 32° – 104°F (0° – 40°C), 30% – 90% humidity
Storage: -4° – 140°F (-20° – 60°C), 10% – 90% humidity
Power Supply (4) AA Batteries, AC Adapter (C-7AU)
Size 4.6” W x 3.1” H x 3.1” D (116mm x 78.5mm x 78mm)
Weight 12.9oz. (365g) without batteries and media card


The 18x super-telephoto zoom brings you closer to the action than any other compact digital camera on the market, and at the same time, the wide-angle lens allows more in your frame. The SP-550's 100x total zoom capability is perfect for indoor shooting, landscapes and group shots.

With a burst rate of up to 15fps, you can freeze moments in time to get the shot you want. And the new Pre-Capture technology works as soon as the focus is locked, it automatically archives five frames in the camera's buffer memory prior to the shutter release. You'll capture the perfect shot even if your reaction time is slow.

The SP-550 is as versatile as you want it to be. It allows advanced creative control, yet it's easy enough for any family member to point-and-shoot beautiful images.

Olympus' new 2-in-1 anti-blur solution. Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization keeps your shot steady by compensating for camera shake (ideal for shooting in low light and zooming), and Digital Image Stabilization freezes the action with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds. These two technologies combine to help you capture crisp, clear images in any situation, even at longer focal lengths..

ISO 5000
The SP-550 UZ offers the highest ISO sensitivity of any ultra zoom for superior low-light and fast-action photography. Combine this with shutter speeds of up to 1/2000 second and you'll capture fast-action photos, at the game or in your own backyard, with ease.

Even when it’s too dark for your eyes to see, you can preview your subject clearly on the LCD, then capture an image that’s clear and bright without having to use a flash.


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Friday, January 26, 2007

S&K Jeans

I decided that it is time for me to do some New Year shopping of my own.
I haven't really been spending on clothes for myself, so I decided to do a little shopping during TGIF with nexus.
I was attracted by the huge signboards of Levi's Engineered Jeans going for 50% on 2nd piece, but I never believed that a Levi's Jeans is worth that price.
I moved on and saw 40% off all jeans at S&K aka Samuel and Kelvin (a brand inititaive by F4 members),
I swallowed my pride of 'never-to-buy-from-the-F4-fanatic' shop.

I have earlier tried their bermudas and their sizes were all around 28-29,
then I felt discriminated for wearing 32.
Later then I realised that all their jeans are unisex designs, thus explaining the range of sizes.
Still I could not fit in a 29!
I picked up a 31 and asked for a 32.
The attendant made a remark, "32? You want 32???"
He took down size 32 from the mannequin whom was wearing a 29 in a 32 (two jeans tugged together, now you imagine the size of 32?).
I went to try it and realised that 32 is too baggy!
I don't even have to unbutton to fit it.
It simply slips off!
I tried 31, fits but still loose, need a belt.
Finally, a 30 that fits me fine!

S$59.00 x 40% off = S$35.40
For a rugged looking piece of jeans for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

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The tag says Low Rise, Slim Fit and Straight Cut. Does that mean that its gonna ride up my butt-crack!?

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Rugged eh!?

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Be Cool!

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Now I feel like F4!

Bandai Action Base

Despite rumours saying that I have quite Gunpla for Photography,
I say that that was just a lie!
Look what I've got for myself yesterday?

Bandai Action Base for Gundam (S$8)

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Fly

I was browsing through the pictures from my Tamron In Action! collection when I came across this:

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The Fly
Did a 100% crop and a little photoshop

Monday, January 22, 2007

Photography: Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park
Tamron Test Session #01
21st January 2007
Photography and Darkroom by mybearbrick

How exciting it was to bring my new Tamron prime lens out on a photoshoot at Fort Canning Park alongside Desmond. The overall experience was fantastic! This lens is an excellent 'walk-about-lens' that performs very well in most conditions. It is indeed very fast and gives very sharp images yet giving good bokeh too. I have no regrets for choosing this in replacement of the inferior kit lens. As what Benny had said, "Get all the lenses now, and then concentrate on shooting only."
Let's get to the juice of the post, pictures!


Click here to view complete gallery of Photo-shoot at Fort Canning Park

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After I have gotten the AF 50mm f/1.8D prime lens, I started to feel the limitations of the D50 kit lens. I needed something faster. I have grown to a point where I can start to appreciate good lenses. Hence, I started searching for a standard range zoom lens to replace the kit lens. I was considering the D70/D70s kit lens and D80 kit lens. But later narrowed down to the D70/D70s kit lens. Though that lens is older, it have a faster aperture and a sturdy metallic mount.

Another is the TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR DII LD ASPHERICAL (IF). It is one powerful standard zoom prime lens with a fixed and fast aperture of f/2.8. Though the range is shorter at 2.94x zoom, I do not really appreciate anything more than 50mm (as of now).


The next critical consideration is price.
A D70/D70s kit lens retails at S$420 and resale at around S$270 (cheapest quote), while the Tamron retails at S$660-688, HK grey set at around S$570 and resale at around S$600 (cheapest quote). Basically, if I fork out S$300 more, I can go for the prime Tamron and I need not worry about upgrading anymore. The Tamron beats the Nikkor lens (S$2100) with same specifications, two hands down, in terms of price. So the Tamron is definitely a worthy prime lens. Nevertheless, third party lenses are never as 'GOOD' as original Nikkor lenses (which I shall not go into here).

I was trying the Tamron again at MS Color, when I succumbed to temptation and influenced Benny to fall to the dark side alongside me. We told ourselves, "It is worth it!"
Thanks to Benny for poisoning me, while he claims that I was the one poisoning him.
Nonetheless, thanks for letting me slash my card and earn a huge chunk of points (= more rebate vouchers)!


Product Gallery

(Quoted from Tamron)
The new SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] is a lightweight, compact, fast standard zoom lens designed exclusively for digital SLR cameras, expanding the product concept of the popular SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di zoom lens.

Two years after the SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di was launched as the standard for lightweight, compact, fast standard zoom lenses, it remains highly popular with advanced amateur and professional photographers alike. Now Tamron, moving with market trends, has unveiled a new design for fast standard zoom lenses used exclusively for digital SLR cameras that covers the easy to use angles of view: the focal length is equivalent to 26-78mm* when converted to a 35mm format. In particular, the wide-angle focal length is established at 17mm (26mm equivalent) to obtain a wider angle of view than ordinary standard zoom lenses, while maintaining the remarkably lightweight and compact size of the earlier full frame zoom lens model.

* Tamron's conversion ratio is 1.55 x.
In addition, portrait shots are made beautiful with the natural out-of-focus effect characteristic provided by the fast F/2.8 aperture. Additionally, a broader photographic expression through the use of faster shutter speeds as a result of the maximum aperture offers enhanced photographic pleasure. The minimum focus distance of 27cm (10.6") over the entire zoom range achieves a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.5 at 50mm. The lens boasts one of the best close-up shooting performances in the class of fast standard zoom lenses designed exclusively for digital cameras and featuring an F/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range, to ensure stress-free photographic shots at all focal lengths and distances.

Model Name A16
Focal Length 17-50mm
Maximum Aperture F/2.8
Angle of View 78° 45' - 31° 11' (APS-C size equivalent)
Lens Construction 16 elements in 13 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 0.27m (10.6") (Over the entire zoom range)
Maximum Mag. Ratio 1:4.5 (at f=50mm MFD 0.27m)
Filter Diameter φ67mm
Overall Length 81.7mm (3.2") *
Maximum Diameterφ74.0mm (2.9")
Weight 434 grams (15.3oz.) *
Diaphragm Blades 7 blades (Circular apertures)
Minimum Aperture F/32
Standard Accessory Flower-shaped Lens Hood


Testing out the Tamron

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Photography: City Night at Singapore River

City Night at Singapore River
Singapore River
20th January 2007

Photography and Darkroom by mybearbrick
It was a drizzling Saturday evening. I was in town for a brief night shoot since the rain has dampened the mood for an anticipated photo-outing.
I was at a place where everyone have been to, Singapore River and my subjects were Fullerton Hotel, Esplanade and the Merlion.
I still have much to learn for night photography.
Photographs were shot with my Nikon D50 on a basic SteinSeizer tripod.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

X-MEN: Iron-Boner

After much persuasion from concerned friends and family members,
I decided to go for an x-ray today.
I spent hours just waiting to get this done, that why I never like to visit a hospital.
I knew that I would never have to worry about my foot injury, because I knew that my bones of steel are strong enough to handle even the weight of a car.
I just did not want to reveal my hidden mutant ability to people.
In actual fact, my nickname is called, 'Iron-Boner'.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hit by car for the 1st time!

I can never believe that such an unlucky thing can happen to me!
First ever in my lifetime!
When I was crossing the road to flag a cab just now, I was hit by a car!


I noticed that there was no more oncoming vehicles when I decide to cross Balestier road like what everyone does and how I do it all the time. I was in the first lane, when I saw an oncoming cab. I was facing the pavement, and flagged the cab with my left hand while continuing to walk to the pavement. Then all of a sudden, I was hit by a reversing car from my right side. I was in a state of shock! The car continued to move back and had my right foot trapped below the rear right wheel. The car came to a halt and the drive alighted to ask, "Are you alright!?"
"Please move your car forwards 'cos my foot is stuck and I cannot move."
The driver got back on and moved his car forwards.

By then, I was already sitting on the floor, not because on the impact, but because that I cannot move when I was trapped. The driver got off and helped me to pavement. I sat down, looked at my tathered shoe and thought that my toe was probably gone.

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I removed my socks and checked. I could still wriggle my toes and there is no visible redness. I felt a slight numb but not too serious to deter me from walking. The driver insisted that I check in to the nearest 24-hour clinic at Balestier Plaza, but they were closed. He insisted that he sent me to the hospital but I felt it was not too serious to go through the trouble. He gave me his card and asked me to contact him while he took down my phone number as well. I insisted that I am fine and will contact him should I need to see a doctor. He begged me to do so and get an x-ray, since he is working as an insurance advisor in an established insurance firm, and only felt that it was proper.

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I walked back up to flag a cab after we split directions. Then he came back to me again and insisted that I take S$100 from him as medical compensation and he will top up the balance should it exceed. I refused as I thought it was not necessary and I never had the thought to visit a doctor at all. Upon persisting that I seek medical attention nevertheless, to give him a peace of mind, I accepted and agreed to do so. He told me that he was not concentrating as he had to fly off to another country to oversee his son's transplantation. I thought that this should really be the last thing that should worry him now. But he demanded that I seek medical attention and if necessary he will get his colleagues to visit me while he is away.

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I understand that both parties have their bad day and are at fault, thus I was not really expecting too much attention on this, since I can still wriggle my toes. The pain is like I have just hit my feet against the wooden door. But nevertheless, I will visit the doctor, since he even offered to send me to the hospital tomorrow which I rejected.

I am no pansy, and I know that this is no big issue!
(should have remembered his car plate number and type... all my mind could register was a silver car... did I hit my head or something?)

Its just my bad day!