Monday, November 22, 2010

My Everyday Camera

I really like the quote

"The best camera is the one with you".

But after a few years of using a digital SLR, I find them too bulky for everyday use. I started looking for a compact camera which could give me a decent image quality with some options of manual adjustments. There are tons of cameras to choose from, but only a few got my attention. So right now am choosing from the following cameras:

1. Panasonic LX5
2. Canon S95
3. Canon G12
4. Samsung EX1

These are very good cameras, good enough for most situations. Choosing the best one depends on your priorities, that is portability, focal length, opening, video and price.. I do think image quality on these cameras are the same unless you pixel peep which I bet most of us don't that's why I didn't put it on the list of priorities.

Am leaning towards LX5 because of its great video features which might be useful. I would have gone over S95 for its portability but the lack of hot shoe is a big deal for me plus the wide lens. I do like to do some landscapes and studio or controlled lighting from time to time..

One thing  I don't like about Lumix cameras is their out of camera(OOC) pictures. I like Canon's color over the Lumix that's why the G12 is still on my list. And I do love those external controls if not only for the 24mm F2 lens of the LX5.

Right on time, my friend just recently published his review of the highly anticipated Panasonic LX5. He was a previous owner of the older model, LX3, which was one of the best point and shoot before.. I think even now.. :)

You can read his entire review here

But the prices of these cameras are too steep right now.. Hopefully I get to have one of these soon! If not I'll settle down with the TZ series which might cost below US$200.. ;D

Maybe I should have bought that US$77 Canon A495 on sale.. hahaha

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Glimpse Of The Chinese Culture

Although I accepted a job in Dalian, my stay there was for a brief period of time only. I stayed there for a couple of weeks and I started to like it. Then I had to move again for a project which for sure is gonna be a new adventure.
Next Destination

A couple of weeks in Dalian was enough for me to see that China have so much to offer. Being in a different culture is indeed interesting and fun at the same time specially when you're staying in a place where spoon and fork is not common and that you don't know how to use chopsticks. Hahaha.. I occasionally spill food during my lunch time specially when I tried to eat noodles.. :))

Language barrier was the hardest thing to overcome.. I do CHARADES, a word guessing game, most of the times. But for those who always play this game, imagine someone who doesn't know English, no sounds like and syllables.. hahahah.. Thanks to Google translate, it made life easier.. to some point that is.. :D

Google Translate FTW!

Medicine Translation

Of course, you need to learn a few Chinese words. I already know "Thank You" - "Xie Xie" so the first thing I learned was "Timpudong" which means "I don't understand what you're saying". The very next word was "Sháozi" which means spoon. The waitresses at the hotel couldn't understand me when I tried to ask for spoon. I even tried to do charades  to no avail. :(

Basically, you can't go on living there without knowing numbers unless you bring a paper and pen with you most of the times. I didn't include zero, Líng, because they don't use it often. Here it goes.. 1 - 10.

1 - Yī 
2 - èr 
3 - sān 
4 - sì 
5 - wǔ 
6 - liù 
7 - qī 
8 - bā 
9 - jiǔ 
10 - shí

The worst part of learning Chinese is their tones, they have four. 

Chinese Four Tones

A single word could have different  meanings depending on how you pronounced it. Once, when I went to a bar, I said something to a girl. I wanted to say YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL but I ended up saying BEAUTIFUL COW. Good thing she knows that I'm just  trying and it turned as a joke.. Hahahah!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dalian - A Century Old City in North East China

I have always wanted to see the world, even just a part of it. So when an opportunity for me to work in China suddenly showed up, I just grabbed it. Well it was not that fast since I have to weigh things out because the offer was not that great. Hahaha..

I was hired in Dalian, a city I've never heard neither read. I have read a few about it in the net but not as much as Beijing or Shanghai.

Dalian.. A Century Old City, North East of China

Knowing only a few things about the city, expectations are down. I even lowered it more when I arrived in Hongkong, wherein the gate going to Dalian was like a ghost town. You could count the number of people waiting there.

Hongkong Airport - Gate 508 to Dalian

When I arrived in Dalian, it was already half past nine in the evening so I couldn't see anything through the plane's window except for the road lights, the Highway itself. The streets were  almost empty on the way to the hotel. I could only see few people probably waiting for the bus on their way home. Only one thing was clear, this is a very small boring city. Add to that my lonely hotel, homesick is kicking already.. hahah

XinBanDao Hotel - The Room

Easiest way out of boredom.. Self Portrait!

But as days go by, things are changing. Am starting to like the city specially their transportation. I really like their bus and tram system. It's convenient and very cheap. For just one Yuan you can travel the whole stretch of Dalian from North to South. Some of my office mates said that the tram is very crowded, but for me it's normal specially when you're accustomed to our MRT crowd.

My first photo with the Tram at the background

My first weekend was a blast. I get to stay at a very good apartment, a welcome party, a taste of Dalian bars and a good stroll at the Asia's largest Park.

It was thanks to these guys.. although Briggs, the main man is not in the picture.. heheh