Monday, 30 November 2015

Louis Vuitton Series 3 Exhibition at Singapore Marina Bay Sands 28 Nov - 23 Dec 2015

"Louis Vuiton Series 3" is a modern and unexpected reinterpretation of a fashion show, this exhibition, following on from SERIES 1 and SERIES 2, invites visitors to discover Nicholas Ghesquière's inspirations for his Fall Winter 2015-2016 ready-to-wear collection as the Artistic Director for women's collections at Louis Vuitton.


The exhibition will be held at Crystal Pavilion South, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, adjacent to the Louis Vuitton Marina Bay Sands Island Maison [Take the South side lifts to B2 and the entrance is next to it and Zara] and will be open to the public with free admission from 11am to 11pm on Sundays - Thursdays and 11am - 11.30pm on Fridays - Saturdays, from November 28th to December 23rd, 2015. You can register for a visit or guided tour here LINK



on level 2 before you exit, they are giving out some cool stickers. 2 themed ones and 2 alphabets. R for me and E for the missus :) oh and posters are available here too

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LV logo in neon at the entrance area

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very cool 365 degree video wall in the first room
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the trunk
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& i chance upon a beautiful sculpture. this sculpt is based on model Marte Mei van Haaster
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closer
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one of the staff there admiring the piece too (nothing staged here ;)
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headin to the next room.. artists'hands
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the screens show artisans creating le petite malle and the dora
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i loved the lighting throughout the exhibition and this room was tres cool too
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next up infinite show and you have an exhibition area with models on screens
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wonderful lines in here
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me
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some pics from the walk in wardrobe room... the beckham

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marine creatures on the lovely dress

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and the super white room
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which is the accessories gallery
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hmm reflecting me

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that lovely sculpt again
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last bit... one of the artisans creating some le petite malles on site which was cool
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all the parts present to assemble it
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another shot with the bag
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& one shot in the shop
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final shot of the wall
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and the sculpt :) 
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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Hands On Take of the Sony RX1R Mark II & Some Pix From Sony Digital Workshop

Origami Tobiichi cosplayed by Trixie @ Sony Digital Workshop [Shot with A7S and Leica Summicron] 
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[other shots from this shoot below but first let's have a quick look at the Sony RX1R MkII]

The Sony RX1R Mark II is an amazing technological feat [full frame in that size and lot of new functions/features from trailblazing tech] and a camera that takes great images, just noting what was achievable with the excellent Mark 1, but you already knew that ;) 


Interested snappers descended on objectifs for the chance of test driving the new RX1R MkII
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objectifs is a centre for photography and film
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cool and interesting films and books there for film and photography buffs but i digress
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sony staff got us registered and invited us to catered food
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and Sony staff Esther and pro photographers Kevin Wee from IPA LINK and Danny Santos II LINK shared 
about the Sony RX1R Mk2. Kevin almost becoming invisible in the dark :)
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and then to some hands on time with the camera... BUY BUY BUY!
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As you know (or may not), I am no stranger to fixed lens cameras having both the Fuji X100T LINK and Ricoh GR LINK. From an image quality (IQ) standpoint, i would think the Sony RX1R MkII bests both these APS-C contenders and it goes toe to toe with the Leica Q in the full frame arena. Sony allowed us to fondle the cameras but unfortunately no SD card insertion means no pix to do comparos with. 

Side note, I did have a chance to get Leica Q raw and jpg files from test driving the Leica Q and honestly wasn't super impressed. There was significant distortion for the 28mm focal length lens (even after in-camera correction) and was one of the reasons I went with what Leica was good at, which is to many the ideal 35mm film cameras and lenses, the M system. 

But back to the RX1R MkII (which could have been just called RX2R?) 
Positives
+ Resolution: 42.4 mp full frame glory. You can blow up huge prints if u want to! good for pros and photographers selling their prints
+ Size and weight: the body on this is tiny but the lens has some girth and depth to it which means it's not pants pocketable. For the best pants pocketable compacts, I think the RX100Mk3 and Mk4 and Ricoh GR are it.  
+ In-built EVF: the separate EVF accessory on some camera models put me off them and it's a good 0.74x evf
+ Variable Optical low pass filter: u can adjust for detail or address moire with this. quite an interesting feature
+ 399 phase detect af points and 25 contrast detect for overall faster AF - Continous AF and tracking focus can give you 5 fps which is very cool 
+ Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f2.0 fixed lens so it's paired well with the body
+ Super quiet leaf shutter: Produces very little shutter sound on clicking the shutter button. imperceptible to i think anyone other than the photographer

Negatives (note these are just my personal opinions which may not ring true for you)
- Ergonomics: as mentioned a couple of times already it is a really compact camera and it has a sizable lens on the front so that means not much real estate for people with big paws to grab and have a good hold of the camera. if u have smaller hands than this is a non-issue. just handle it for yourself to assess this. Comparing with the Ricoh GR then, I can hold that one handed no problem but I would have trouble holding this one handed.
- 80+ mb RAW file sizes and >10mb jpg files... u need a LOT of storage and a LOT of processing power 
- Launch price is S$4,999 which may be on the high side for some but is kinda justified with what it offers. I believe the street price for a new Leica Q is now S$5.6k and of course in terms of the APS-C contenders, a used Fuji X100T is about S$1.1-1.4k range (i think) and  Ricoh GR is around the S$600 level with the new GRII in the S$900 range. 


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Gerald from SDW closing a sale? 
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and some random shots from the outing with the A7S below... 
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Ta Sony!
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Just talking about digital cameras, having owned Nikons (APS-C DSLRs), Fujis (compacts), Ricoh (GR), Olympus (micro four thirds), Canons (compacts), Panasonic Lumix (compacts and M4/3), I am extremely impressed with what Sony has done with it's Alpha 7 / A7 series of cameras with the A7, A7R (for high megapixels and resolution) and A7S (for sensitivity and good high ISO and available light shooting) and look forward to more coming from them in future. Oh and in terms of the SDW courses LINK, it's a great benefit for the photographer community in Singapore too (although the registration/login system can be improved). 

Sony is definitely showing the way right now and making all the right moves and if u want to argue about it... i know some ladies who might just set u straight on that ;) cheers, raph


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vocaloid... 
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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

This is the Leica M I was looking for and a new digital M... The Type 262 in the news

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" Leonardo da Vinci
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So in my wanderings to finding a great film camera, i dabbled in a couple of film cameras [one of em being the cool contax t2 which i blogged about here LINK] before deciding to give the Leicas another go :) The Leica M rangefinder system is a little different and when I first tried out the M7, which a cool mate loaned me [LINK ~ that was sometime back so i was wrong about a great many things then but not anymore of course ;) ], i decided that it wasn't for me [as uhm i was spending way too much on watches then anyways] but this time around, i wanted to give it more of a try and own something special as Leicas do have a little magic to them. 

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a very quick note on the Leitz Camera company then: They were primarily a microscope maker [check out the Leica M80 if u scroll down this post LINK] at the time and one of their employees, Oscar Barnack, wanted a camera to take around with him on his treks but he was asthmatic so he sought to create a light camera to take with him. that first need sparked the first cameras created at Leitz who went on to manufacture them and it has evolved over time, and has been a winning formula in the film age. It has since evolved to the current digital rangefinders (with a more mixed path) but many, many great photographs have been taken with Leicas through the years for good reason.


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So i first targeted a Leica M2 (which came after the iconic and purist's choice, M3, by the way) because it has the 35mm frame lines vs the M3 which starts off at 50mm but through sensible advice and knowing that i am a numpty when it comes to assessing exposure manually through some archaic sunny 16 rule, i knew i needed the M6 which comes with a light meter and tells me where to turn me knobs to get the right exposure [sounds a bit naughty... hmm] anyways the M6 it was and I managed to get a decent deal on a well used one. so with dead batteries or without em, the light meter won't work but you can still take photos as it then reverts to a fully manual camera. yes on a desert island and with a lot of film on hand (and maybe some models on the beach) you can take loadsa pix not worrying about a dying battery turning your camera to a brick. the Leica M3 and M2 though are solid beasts with brass used for the top plate instead of zinc for the M6. they are wonderful cameras too of course but as mentioned, i don't wanna be carrying an external light meter around. 

My M6 is the classic black with the 0.85x magnification which means it's 0.85x of what i would see of reality. framelines for the 0.85 are 35/135, 50/75 and 90. the 0.85 works for me as i don't wear glasses. for those who do or want to go broader than 35mm the 0.72x or 0.58x would be the way to go.


My M6 [M for Messsucher perhaps which is German for rangefinder] 
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let's get a lens on this... ah that's better
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the Summilux was rented and i decided to go for the Summicron in the end. m happy with the cron
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as simple as it gets... iso on the back, shutter on the top and aperture and focus
on the lens. 1/1000 max shutter is fine for me. 
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and the achilles heel...
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if you think all Leicas are built like tanks and can last through wars & tough handling etc, think again. this thing has some fragile bits to it and one of the parts be the film rewind crank. the expression 'don't get bent out of shape' applies to this literally as when it does, which can happen if you knock it/drop it etc, than you either get a new part (if available) or if the metal is strong enough, you may be able to knock it back into shape. Enter Mr Philip Tay at De Camera Consultant in Grandlink Square...

I see a future CLA (Clean Lube Adjust) for my M6 here... [A Rolex wearer of course :) ]
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remove the part to be fixed? done
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let's see where did i leave that screw...
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some hammering should do the job!
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so after a couple of months of owning it, some of my thoughts on ownership... 
  • it's a wonderful looking tool. Leica does make some great looking cameras and lenses and while they are tools, it doesn't hurt for them to look this good :) doesn't make your photos any better though yuh... but maybe holding something beautiful in your hands inspires you to capture beauty? :) 
  • it's gonna cost me a lot to take pics on film [cost of good films and processing is on the up and up]. should i get a digital M instead and should that be a M9/M-E with the old skool and weak high ISO CCD sensor or the CMOS sensor'ed M240 or the newly announced M262 (more shared on this new camera below) 
  • i do love some of the film pics compared to the digital pics using the same lens on a sony digital body [i need to compare how much better a M9 and M240 is to the Sony A7s with Leica lenses too.. more to do here and i will get to this some day] but overall i am a happy camper with shooting film on the M6
  • one of the complaints about the M6 is that the finder may be prone to flare and it's happened to me before because of bright light sources. an upgrade path here is to upgrade it to the MP finder which will cost a fair bit... may consider in future if this bothers me more but right now it's not too much of a bother. 
  • other great reviews, one by Japan Camera Hunter here LINK
Onto the Digital LEICA M Typ 262 then ~ A digital M in its purest form?

[Note: SG retail price is S$8,745 at the Leica boutiques]

Since the launch of the rangefinder system in 1954, Leica M cameras have been valued by many photographers as the perfect tool for capturing the fascination of a moment discreetly, quietly and spontaneously. We began writing a new digital chapter in the success story of the M-Camera - then analogue in 2006. Today, it is the Leica M (Type 262) that embodies the M-Philosophy in its purest form: with a focus on the functions essential for photography combined with clear and intuitive handling, it is one of the most compact, full-frame system cameras available, and offers you access to lenses acknowledged as being the best in the world. It is the essence of M-Photography. The perfect camera for experiencing the fascination of the M in its purest form.

So the main differences from the M240 are:
- it's a little lighter ~ 100grams lighter on account of aluminium top plate vs brass. it comes in at 680gm and same dimensions [139 x 80 x 42 mm]
- it's a little lighter on features :) ~ just manual rangefinder focusing, no video and no live view... and just 2 pages of menu settings which is pretty cool
- it's a little lighter on the wallet ~ entry level takes on a whole new meaning. US$5,195 for the Typ 262 vs the US$7,250 [now discounted to US$6,996]
- it's quieter ~ softer shutter is great to be unobtrusive and for street photography
- oh and the red dot is a little smaller [was wondering if it was going to eclipse the camera body one day but thankfully they've gone more subtle]

otherwise same full frame 24Mp resolution as the M240 with a maestro processor... to read more click this LINK  and some pix of this beauty below
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that lens on this press pix is the APO Summicron which comes in at a whopping US$7,240.05 just for a 50mm f2.0 lens... but it's a Leica :) 
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