Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gift from Bro: SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 for PlayStation Portable®

Thanks to my bro, Laurens, for springing a 'Surprise Visit' on me, catching me in the midst of some 'funny' business (just kiddin') and giving me this PlayStation Portable® UMD™ title for my birthday!
Really good choice! I was definitely having the thought of owning this UMD™ when I saw it on the shelves that day. My bro knows that I am a sucker for SNK NeoGeo games during my teenage years. I can remember vividly that I would join my classmates for hours on a rental NeoGeo console in a secluded shophouse, jamming on games like Samurai Shodown and King of Fighters' 94! I was so into King of Fighters' 94 that I was even into cosplay before it was even popular here! Remember it bro?


Laurens, my bro, has a History of Violence!
Learn about it here

SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1
UMD™ for PlayStation Portable®
by SNK® PLAYMORE®
Volume 1 includes 16 of the best games from the SNK catalog in one compilation:
Art of Fighting
Baseball Stars 2
Burning Fight
Fatal Fury
King of Fighters '94
King of the Monsters
Last Resort
Magician Lord
Metal Slug
Neo Turf Masters
Samurai Shodown
Sengoku
Shock Troopers
Super Sidekicks 3
Top Hunter
World Heroes





It is gonna be endless button jamming on my PlayStation Portable™ and SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 for my birthday and many months to come! This UMD™ makes a fine collection!
THANKS LAURENS BRO!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

EATZ: Tung Lok Signatures 同樂經典

"Tung Lok Signatures (同樂經典)" is one of many reputable restaurants under the Tung Lok Group of restaurants. "Tung Lok Signatures" features a comprehensive selection of dishes from Tung Lok Group restaurants such as "Lao Beijing", "LingZhi Vegetarian", "Zhou's Kitchen", "Club Chinois" and "Garuda Padang". Diners can now get all the best under one roof.

It was wife's birthday last week and we decided to treat ourselves to something good. We picked "Tung Lok Signatures" at VivoCity.

BBQ Peking Duck (Half)
北京片皮鴨 (半只)
S$28
Sweet and crispy duck skin wrapped in a steamed pancake served with spring onions and sweet Hoisin sauce.


Duck Cutlet (Half)
鴨二度斬件
The remaining duck meat from the BBQ Peking Duck is not wasted and is re-prepared and served with a sweet citrus sauce and served. Alternatively, the duck meat can be served in the form of fried rice (at a charge).

Signature Daily Boil
經典老火湯
S$12
The daily boil was a stew of pumpkin and almond nuts. The thick and flavorful soup is separated from the tender, juicy pork when served.

Broccoli Sesonal Vegetable with Fish Maw
蚧肉鱼鳔扒西花
S$22

The pick of seasonal vegetable, Broccoli, prepared with fish maw in an egg gravy.


Signature Fried Chilli Crab
同樂辣椒螃蟹
S$38

A gigantic crab cooked in a very authentic Singapore-style Chilli Crab.


Verdict
美食當前, 無法抗拒! Generally, the dishes are very well-prepared and definitely stands at a notch above average restaurants, in terms of taste. The portions are definitely worth the price that you are paying, when you are also paying for excellent service and great ambiance. The BBQ Peking Duck is a rather common dish in most Chinese restaurants, but doing this dish right means barbecuing the duck well. "Tung Lok Signatures" definitely ensures that the tastiest and crispiest duck skin is served. This is the first time that I am having such a pumpkin stew and it definitely kept me craving for another bowl. Though hardly anyone will have the pork meat used to flavor the stew, but I adored the texture on the tender meat along with the soft cartilage. The essence of the stew has already infused into the meat. The Signature Chilli Crab is definitely two-thumbs up and they have used the freshest and best crabs to prepare their Chilli Crab. The crab meat comes of from the shell in chunks and does not stick to the shell. The crab I had was one of the biggest Sri Lanka crab that I have ever had! The crunchy chunks of broccoli is a nice addition of roughage into this meal.
Overall, good food, great ambiance, excellent service, worth the price!

Tung Lok Signatures
同樂經典

1 Harbour Front Walk
VivoCity #01-57
(S)098585
Tel: 65 63769555

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Canon PowerShot G9 Review

Canon PowerShot G9
Canon PowerShot G9 Gallery
12.1 MegaPixels (1/1.7" CCD sensor) prosumer-class compact digital camera equipped with a 6x optical zoom with Optical "IS" (Image Stabilization). The trademark processor "DiGiC III" and iSAPS (intelligent scene analysis) provides incredibly fast start-up, operation and well-controlled noise. The 3.0" high resolution "Pure Color LCD II" displays crisp & bright pictures under the sun and viewable from all angles. The multi-control dials and buttons makes the operation a breeze. "EOS" users will find the Scroll-Wheel familiar as it makes its way onto the G9. G9 sports a Hot-Shoe that supports Canon "Speedlites EX" for more creative lighting during photo-shoots. The arsenal of this PowerShot G9 can be upgraded with optional tele-converters or wide-angle converters.
The PowerShot G9 is feature-loaded to provide photographers a truely professional experience:

  • "Multi-Face Detection" with AF/AE/FE as well as Red-Eye Correction
  • "Face Select-&-Track" allows users to select, track and focus on the face even during subject motion
  • "RAW" format records images without any loss of data compared to conventional JPEG compression. The supplied "RAW Image Task" software allows users to take post-processing to a next-level, like a professional
  • "Flexi-Zone AF" allows the desired AF points to be selected, instead of an automatic "9-Point AiAF" or fixed "Center AF".
  • "Auto ISO Shift" removes the hassle of rotating the dedicated ISO command dial.Built-in "Neutral Density" (ND) filter, gives more creative photography opportunities.
  • "1-cm MACRO" mode captures more than what the naked eye sees and adored by Digital SLR users without an expensive MACRO lens.
  • With either "Tv" (Shutter Priority), "Av" (Aperture Priority) or even "M" (Manual), G9 users can now shoot like an "EOS" DSLR user.

    Professional photographers are using it as back-ups for shoots (Portraiture, Travel, Weddings etc.). Consumers have used it for all purposes from work to travel. It is adored by anyone who expects and wants more than just a digital camera.
    The Canon PowerShot G9 is all about the power of a DSLR in a slightly more than compact body.

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PowerShot G9 Packaging
The Canon PowerShot G9 is packaged in a very familiar style as any Canon PowerShot digital still cameras. The glossy box clearly illustrates all the key features of the G9.

PowerShot G9 Contents
The contents in the package includes: 32MB High Speed MMC-Plus Card MMC-32MH, Lithium Battery Pack NB-2LH, Battery Cover, Battery Charger CB-2LW, Neck Strap NS-DC6, AV Cable AVC-DC300, USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU, Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM, Starter Guide, Camera User Guide, Direct Print User Guide and Warranty Documents.




The NB-2LH battery pack gives 240 shots (with LCD on) or 600 shots (with LCD off), based of CIPA Standard. This battery is compatible with certain Canon EOS digital SLR models.

Due to the construction and weight of the G9, manufacturer actually recommends immediate use of the Neck Strap NS-DC6 to prevent dropping.

The NB-2LH battery pack takes approximately 105 mins to be fully charged when used with the provided Battery Charger CB-2LW.


Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM includes CameraWindow DC, ImageBrowser (MAC), ZoomBrowser EX (PC), PhotoStitch, Raw Image Task, Remote Capture Task, EOS Utility.

Canon (Singapore) provides 1 year local warranty plus additional 3 months of online registration.

Canon PowerShot G9 Product Portfolio
In my eyes, every deserving product deserves a photoshoot of its own, even when the product is one that takes photos. Here is the PowerShot G9 in its pristine glory.
Stow-Mode
The G9 measures 108 x 74 x 28mm and 320g, in a solid metallic cuboidal black body.
The G9 accepts SD/SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus Card, HC MMC Plus Card storage medias.




Operational-Mode
When the G9 is powered up, the lens automatically extends out faster than you can count "1". The depth in operation extends to a 43mm.



Details of PowerShot G9
Let us now take a closer look at the PowerShot G9.

Left: Accessory Hot-Shoe allows the use of optional flash units like Canon's 220EX, 430EX, 580EX, MR-14EX and MT-24EX Speedlites.
Right: Mode Dial with positions for Auto, Program (P), Shutter priority (Tv), Aperture priority (Av), Manual (M), Customs (C1 & C2), Movie, Stitch Assist, and SCN. The Mode Dial is a 360degree knob. The silver knob is the shutter release which sits above and in the middle of the zoom lever.


Left: ISO Mode Dial (Auto, HI, 80 - 1600) allows selection of ISO settings, but the G9 is not restricted to these ISO settings. When set to Auto, the G9 automatically selects ISO at smaller stops (e.g. ISO 125) up to a maximum of ISO 400. These settings can be tweaked in the camera. Like the Mode Dial, the ISO Mode Dial rotates freely at 360 degrees.
Right: The optical viewfinder with approximately 80-85% coverage and dioptric adjustment helps user to frame and save power by eliminating the use of the LCD. Next to the finder are two LEDs that indicate the flash and focus status.

Left: The 4-way controller allows navigation of settings, the FUNC/SET button in the middle accepts menu selections. This control is vary familiar on all Canon digital compact cameras. The FUNCtion/SET button also gives you access to the Function shortcut menu (White balance, ISO, Color effects, Quality and Image size). When shooting, press "Up" to change to Manual Focus mode, "Right" to toggle the Flash mode, "Left" to enable Macro Focus mode, "Down" to change the Drive mode.
Surrounding the 4-way controller is the Scroll-Wheel dial which is familiar for an EOS DSLR user. This dial rotates and allow quick navigation of the menu, sets aperture/shutter speed values, switch Program Shift, etc.
DISPLAY button toggles the LCD on/off and controls the amount of data displayed on it (such as shooting settings and live histogram). The MENU button toggles the menu screens.
Right: The AF Frame shortcut button brings up the AF type selection menu (AiAF, Face Detection, FlexiZone) during shooting and Deletes images in playback. The Exposure Compensation button allows the setting of EV values during shooting and also serve as the Jump function button when using Av, Tv or M.
The top right hand corner is the AE Lock/FE Lock button, which also serves as the Microphone button.

Left: A dust cover reveals the I/O ports include the AV output and USB 2.0 port.
Right: A small speaker is found beside the Mode Dial. The neck strap eyelet can be seen here in chrome.


Left: Below the other neck strap eyelet, the speaker can be found.
Right: A adaptor ring release button at the bottom corner releases the dress ring and thus allowing attachment of auxiliary Canon lenses (Optional Conversion Lens Adapter along with Canon WC-DC58B 0.7x Wide Converter lens, TC- DC58C 1.75x Tele-converter lens, or 250D 58mm Close-up Lens). The LA-DC58F adapter also allows the use of 58mm filters or lenses. This neat feature greatly expands the capabilities of the G9.


Left: The built-in flash allows various modes of fire: Auto, Auto w/ Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On w/ Red-eye Reduction, Flash Off; FE lock, Safety FE, Slow Synchro, Second- curtain synchro.
Flash range at ISO Auto is: Normal:1.0-13 ft./30cm-4.0m (W), 1.6-8.2 ft./50cm-2.5m (T)
This is a Light-guided zoom flash which changes its angle according to the lens' focal length.
Right: In stow mode, the lens is stowed inside the body and protected by a built-in shutter.


Left: 6X optical (35-210mm in the 35mm format), f/2.8-4.8 (max) and f/8 (min) all-glass aspherical zoom lens with "Lens-Shift" Optical Image Stabilization (IS) which gives around 3 to 4 stops advantage.
Right: A metallic tripod mount.

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Canon PowerShot G9 V.S. Canon Digital iXUS 40
Here is the Canon PowerShot G9 compared to the Canon Digital iXUS 40. Size does matters, but having all the power of a digital SLR in small frame, worth it!



PowerShot G9 V.S. Others
How does the G9 compare to other products in terms of size?
The G9 is bigger than Fujifilm FinePix F50fd, LG KS20, iPod mini, standard pocket card.

PowerShot G9 V.S. Toys
These toys had always been the subjects, G9 now joins them as the subjects.

Canon PowerShot G9 is bigger than a Canon EOS 5D!!

G9 compared to the REVOLTECH.

G9 compared to a Gundam 1/144 Model Kit.

G9 compared to 12-inch Leo as an EOS photographer.

G9 in the Hands
The G9 gives a very solid and sturdy feel in the hands. I love the cool metallic touch with crinkle finish on the body.




Remote Shooting
The Remote Capture DC software can be installed on the MAC or PC. With this application, user can control the G9 connected to the MAC/PC via the USB cable. User can then change settings such as size, quality, zoom, flash mode, macro mode, aperture, shutter speed, metering mode, ISO, effects, WB, EV, etc. The Remote Capture function is a real neat feature unique to Canon cameras. Nevetheless, not all Canon camera models support Remote Capture.


Selecting Aperture Like A Pro
The Scroll-Wheel Dial allows user to select Aperture (up to f/8) by turning the dial.

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G9 'Lab' Tests
Click on images to enlarge full resolution pictures.
Images are either resized to 3.9 times to 1024x768, otherwise are cropped at 100%.

Test #1
Widest Angle @ 35mm
(image resized to 3.9x)


Test #2
Maximum 6x Zoom Telephoto @ 210mm
(image resized to 3.9x)


Test #3
ISO Map
ISO settings selected on ISO Mode Dial:
80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
(image cropped at 100%)


Test #4
Selective Focus
AiAF auto selects the closed subject.
Manual Focus mode allows manual selection of Focus Distance.
(image resized to 3.9x)


Test #5
FlexiZone AF Area Selection
FlexiZone allows manual selection of the AF Area using the 4-way controller.
(image resized to 3.9x)


Test #6
"IS" in MACRO mode
Testing the Image Stabilization handheld
(image resized to 3.9x)


Test #7
1cm MACRO mode


Test #8
Remote Capture
(image resized to 3.9x)


Test #9
Night Scene with Manual Mode
Widest Angle at 35mm and Aperture f/2.8


Test #10
Night Scene with Manual Mode
Widest Angle at 35mm and Smallest Aperture f/8


Test #11
Night Scene with Manual Mode
Maximum Telephoto 6x Zoom at 210mm with ND Filter ON


G9 Field Test
There is no better way to test out the PowerShot G9 than to head out to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, VivoCity and the Singapore Flyer.
Note that all shots are taken handheld without the use of flash and tripod.

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Verdict
The Canon PowerShot G9 is a remarkable digital camera with a good selection of features to play with. My first impression is that it had a really solid build and the feel of the metallic body in the hands is fantastic. I can feel the immense power packed into this compact prosumer body!

The 6x optical zoom is a bonus to give extra reach. The G9 also intelligently calculates the 'safe zone' to compensate the loss of quality when using digital zoom. The only drawback is that the widest angle is at 35mm while other manufacturers are already going for 25mm. Having Live histogram and framing grids is a small bonus but useful feature. The built-in Neutral Density (ND) filter is a another feature that is appreciated by a trained photographer. The 1cm MACRO mode is the feature that really got my attention on the G9. Not many digital cameras offer such a close focusing distance. Even a high-end digital SLR requires an expensive MACRO lens to be able to perform what the G9 can at the touch of a button. The MACRO mode sure captures more than what the normal eye can see! Another fantastic feature is the capability to capture images in RAW format as well as JPEG. We all know that RAW format allows maximum post-processing manipulation, such that no scene is wasted! Canon has developed their Face Detection algorithms to a level where you can only be impressed! The Face Select-&-Track makes face detection easier in scenes when the subject is constantly moving, since it will track its movement and retaining focus locked on the face. While most digital cameras have CCD-Shift or Digital Picture Stabilization, Canon incorporated Optical Image Stabilization (IS) in the G9, where it compensates camera shakes by using lens shift technology found in digital SLR lenses. The G9 has a three modes of "IS" for different scenarios. With the "IS", firing the flash and killing the pictures is already history.

In terms of controls, any Canon camera user or EOS digital SLR user will find the interface and buttons familiar. The interface has been faithfully conserved across all Canon digital still cameras, making upgrading an ease. The addition of the Scroll-Wheel gives a professional level of control to it. The Mode Dials are rotates freely at 360 degrees and does not stop at either ends, making the operation a breeze. No other camera manufacturers makes the controls as comprehensive as Canon. The ergonomically positioned controls and buttons shows that Canon is consistently understanding consumer needs.

In terms of image quality, images captured on the G9 are very impressive! The quality of the pictures are definitely places the PowerShot G9 among the ranks of digital SLR and far above those of digital compact cameras. I could not believe my eyes that the pictures are very sharp and clear, noise is also well-controlled, matching that of a digital SLR! This sure puts my Nikon D200 to a good challenge, but of course my D200 is the best! The image appears very clear on the bright "Pure Color LCD II" display under strong sunlight and at most angles.

In terms of timing, the G9 impressed me with its incredibly fast startup time, such that no shots will be missed! Thanks to the DiGiC III image processor, the operation of the camera is generally very fast and smooth, only limited to the speed of your fingers.

In terms of expandability, the G9 utitlizes the affordable Secure Digital format as storage media. The option to use the Canon "Speedlites EX" external flash units and auxillary lens (wide angle convertors and tele-convertors) makes the G9 a formidable compact camera. There is just endless creativeness to using the expanded PowerShot G9. It is no wonder professionals are using the G9 alongside their EOS digital SLRs.

The softwares included in the G9 are very useful. However, I find the lack of Canon Raw format (.CR2) support in Photoshop, disturbing. Luckily, the RAW Image Task application, which can be launched from Canon's ZoomBrowser EX, is able to edit the raw files and save them as TIFF or JPEG formats. Over the years, ZoomBrowser EX application has evolved from a simple image viewing software to a rather advanced and useful tool for photo-keeping, editing and browsing, yet is made easy for Grandma to use. The RemoteCapture DC is another fun and unique application that turns my room into a mini-studio, all at the touch of a mouse button!

My praises of the Canon PowerShot G9 just goes on and on. In conclusion, I strongly recommend the PowerShot G9 to anyone who intends to take their photography hobby seriously. After all, who does not like to have a compact camera with the power of a DSLR! For me, I don't mind having a spare "pseudo-DSLR". Yes, I consider this prosumer my substitute for an EOS, since I only use Nikon digital SLR.

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Related Website

Canon
Canon PowerShot G9 Special Site
Steve's Review
DPreview
Digital Camera Resource Page


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This is a non-profit review, for sponsorship of any kind or commercial assignments, please email
mybearbrick@yahoo.com.sg


Canon PowerShot G9


DISCLAIMER

Please respect the copyrights of the photographs and content in this post. Please support my work by linking back to this post via this add
ress: http://mybearbrick.blogspot.com/2008/09/canon-powershot-g9-review.html
This is an individual and independent user review, for more information on the official product, please refer to:
http://www.usa.canon.com/app/html/PS_G9/g9.html
Many thanks to my 'sponsors' for giving me this opportunity to review this product.


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