Monday, December 20, 2010

Hot and Heavy Techlust UPDATE: Olympus E5

I was walking around the mall today after work (forgetting to do what I needed to, which was do actual shopping VS window shopping) when I happened across the Olympus promo booth in the 5th level of SM Annex. It seems like the newest in the E series of camera bodies has recently been launched. It's chunky, it's solid, and let me tell you, it's what I want! True, I said the same about the E3 way back when (about 2 years ago), but when technology moves forward, your tech-lust must move along with it.

I've only just read the preview at, and while the E-5 isn't leaps and bounds different than its predecessor, like the E-3 was with the E-1, it's a sensible enough upgrade. Key differences include a newer sensor (12.3MP vs. 10MP), a wider flip and swivel rear LCD, SD card storage instead of the harder to find XD, and movie mode (720p 30fps). You could say they took the advancements and changes that they made in the lower end models and applied it to the leader of the pack.

I want one. Anyone who loves me more than life itself can get me one of those for 85k pesosesoses, body only. However, if the E-3 suffers a drop in price because of its newer brother, I'd be happy with that too. Hahahahaha.
   The unit that they had for folks to handle had a 50-200 lens attached to it. I was surprised with the quality and the fact that it had an SD card instead of the usual Olympus XD option. I thought that the image quality was a bit dirty, and attributed it to the smudgy lens. When they demoed the video mode for me, I was like "why is it choppy?" but through my fiddling I discovered that the soft-focus quality and choppy vid was due to the art filters feature it has (a feature they took from the E-620 if I remember correctly). Art mode off, the video was decent.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Hardware Update plus Store Name-drop: Yong Nuo 560 via Tay Hua Trading

It's arrived! It's here!

I ordered a YN-560 from Tay Hua trading corporation the other day. Used their order form, paid through the bank in the morning, then they shipped it same day. It arrived Friday afternoon.

Some back-story for the interested:

I've fiddled with Yong Nuo flashes before, though mostly with YN-462 (which is a fully manual guess-what-intensity-I'm-on kind of flash) which I either bought for my friends, or for myself which I eventually sold to friends and/or relatives.While the YN-462 basically satisfies a person's need for off-camera lighting, it's lack of zooming capability, and the guesswork nature of its intensity input leaves much to be desired. I personally think it gives you bang for the buck though.

Having sold all of my YN-462s, and being stuck with a burnt out Sunpak and a vivitar with a broken shoe, lighting-wise I was left with my FL-36R. A flash is a flash is a flash mind you, but I'd rather that I keep the TTL-capable flash close at hand instead of mounted on a stand where I can't use said capability (since I'm using PT-04 flash triggers). Earlier this week though I decided to give myself an early Christmas present and order me a new, more powerful flash. Here's where the YN-560 comes in.

David Hobby, the man behind Strobist, was able to do a semi-review of the YN-560 in comparison to the LumoPro LP-160 (which, to the best of my knowledge, is not available in the Philippines, and is easily twice as expensive). Unfortunately the unit he was given had two faults: broken zoom motor and no ready-beep. Mine, however, have both working. :) Sorry Dave. 
   Not only that, the folks at Tay Hua also packaged it with a set of 5 diffusers of different colors, where the usual package from Yong Nuo for their other flashes only has one.

I've tested it a couple of times, on the camera and with the PT-04. Seems to be working. Beeps and Zooms and everything. I'm excited to put it to work. And it looks and feels professional. Hahaha.

You can get one from either of 3 sources in the Philippines that I know of: Tay Hua, Filters Exchange on multiply, or The Echo Store. I opted for Tay Hua because I'm a repeat customer of theirs, and while they're the most expensive of the three (4000 VS. Filters Exchange is currently on sale and selling theirs for 3,500, and I've only just found out that The Echo Store is selling theirs for 3,900), Tay Hua is offering 6 months warranty, VS Filter Exchange's 1 month, and I have no idea if The Echo Store will honor any.

Also didn't think 4000 was too big of a deal because if you buy it direct from the manufacturer from ebay, they sell at roughly the same price, though with a 1 year warranty, however if you happen to get a lemon like Dave did, you'll have to send it back to HongKong.

Total damage: 4000 pesos for the unit, 250 php for shipping via LBC.

EXCITED to put it to good use.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Lights, MORE POWER! > Dave Black and his 8 SB-900s

I've previously written about some sites that I wish I authored, or sites that I feel are great resources for anyone who's into photography. I try to regularly read the entries. While I tend to gloss over some entries because they may not apply to me or my situation or my preferred line of photography, I try to glean as much info as I can and apply them, when possible, to my photographic life.

I was reading through Strobist's Monday entry and I was blown away by the videos of this guy, Dave Black, who's using 8 sets of SB-900s, an SU-800 commander, one RadioPopper transmitter, two receivers, two FourSquares and two sets of Michael Bass fiber optic bundles (it'll be the first time I've encountered all of the names of those things save the SB-900s so I won't blame you for thinking "HUH??"). He uses those 8 speedlights as fill lights for action shots at distance. WOW. You can read the actual article, entitled "Hangin' Eight, with David Black" or watch the video below.

All I can say is WOW. And where the heck can I get a FourSquare and everything else??