Panasonic Lumix LX7 review

julie woon

Yes, this is the latest incarnation of the wildly popular LX3/LX5! I managed to get hold of the new Panasonic Lumix LX7 – it’s a super premium compact camera that has a lot of features that even professional photographers would appreciate.

lumix lx7

BTW, that’s Julie Woon, the 8TV host that also had the LX7 and showed her photos during the event.

lumix showcase

I was at the Panasonic Lumix Photonista campaign cum launch on the 19th November which unveiled several of their new cameras and lenses. There’s the two high end Lumix G series – GH3 and G5 which uses the relatively new dSLM (nope, not a typo, it stands for digital single lens mirrorless) cameras.

fuzion
Lunch @ Fuzion before the event

Lumix came out with the world’s first dSLM cameras in 2008 – the technology which allows for a more compact body and lens while still producing the high image quality of dSLRs. The flagship GH3 is even splash and dust proof. There’s also the accompanying 12-35mm, 45-150mm and 35-100mm lens.

panasonic lumix lx7

The new Lumix range was also unveiled – with the ultra high zoom “prosumer” FZ60 and FZ200 leading the pack to bridge the high end G series with the compact and new LX7. That leaves the lifestyle targeted SZ5 which has WiFi that allows you to use a smartphone to connect with it to shoot remotely and upload direct to social media avenues.

professional photographers

That’s a total of 6 new cameras and 3 lenses announced that day and there were also two female professional photographers who used the newly launched Lumix G cameras to take photos and record videos. I found the one which featured the capoeira video to be quite intriguing – the quality was so good I though it was taken with a dedicated camcorder.

lumix tx7 top

Anyway, back to the Lumix LX7 review, it’s a 10.1 MP high end compact camera that you can just point and shoot with it’s Intelligent Auto Plus with a full range of manual shooting modes and RAW file support. The body is made of metal, which gives it a premium feel and a nice solid weight. I really like the feel of it.

creative control

There’s also a bright 3 inch LCD screen with a 920,000 dot resolution which provides a really clear view of what you’re about to shoot. The ISO goes from 80-6400 (there’s also an option for ISO 12800 but that results in a lowered resolution) and it’s a lot like a dSLR with all its features.

defocus

I like the option of going all the way to the fastest f/1.4 maximum aperture which is essential for shooting in low-light conditions and producing that signature dSLR depth-of-field effect with out of focus backgrounds.

depth field

It’s very friendly for beginners but the best part about the LX7 is the toggle switch at the side that allows you to switch from manual to auto-focus (with the addition of macro thrown in).

food

It’s these little manual controls that makes it simple enough for photography enthusiasts to use yet allows full manual flexibility for more advanced users.

lumix tx7 back

Shooting in manual mode is surprisingly easy with the 3-step ND/Focus lever (very nifty, this one) that allows you full control over shutter speed. Focusing, exposure, bracketing area and all the essentials are ready at hand when used with the buttons and jog dial.

lumix lx7 front

There’s also a manually adjustable aperture ring that allows direct control over the light source to the sensors as well as a switch to change aspect ratios from 16:9, 3:2, 4:3 to 1:1. You can even shoot in ALL the aspect ratios at once!

level gauge

The MF Assist feature helps enthusiast photographers to understand how things work too. There’s also useful features like Level Gauge which helps you align your shots – the horizontal/vertical lines are yellow until they register as level with the accelerometer, at which point they turn green.

lunch

The remarkable Leica lens on the LX7 more than makes up for the relatively small sensor – it takes impressively sharp photos.

panorama
Panorama shot that allows all four directions!

The other strong point of the LX7 is in the video recording – it allows for full HD video at 1,920 x 1,080 60p at 120 frames per second for NTSC (50p / 100 fps for PAL). That produces extremely smooth and detailed videos. The microphone is placed on top and there’s an Auto Wind Cut function to block out noise. Best of all it records in stereo from it’s two mics!

Personally, the best feature is the ability to take a still image while you record a video. I’ve often struggled with two cameras while recording a video in case there’s a scene where I want a photo too. Now I can do both with a single camera. Heh.

quick af

The most amazing thing I’ve realized about this camera is the super fast AF – it can even shoot at 4 fps with full AF tracking!

glass through
Glass Through scene

through glass
Resulting photo

1 aspect ratio
1:1 aspect ratio

sepia
Sepia

cakes
Creative Control

desserts
Food

expressive
Expressive

miniature effect
Miniature Effect (love the irony ;))

Things I like:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Insanely fast burst mode at 11 fps full resolution
  • Speedy auto-focus
  • Plethora of Instagram-like digital filters (called Creative Control)
  • Amazing HD video

chocolate fountain

The LX7 is a very good compact camera that has a lot of professional features you’ll be hard pressed to find in other compact digicams. It’s a perfect backup camera pros shooting with a dSLR – it’s portable enough and has stellar quality for a point and shoot, which also makes it an ideal choice for enthusiast photographers who wants a compact digicam.

hdr

It’s been called a “real photographer’s compact camera” – the Lumix LX7 is not an entry level camera but one with a lot of features. I loved playing around with it and I imagine I’ll be carrying this instead of my bulky dSLR around from now. :)

Camwhore Level Asian

sony center

I was walking through MidValley on the weekend when I saw that the Sony Center over there had a contest for the Sony NEX-F3. This is exactly the very same camera that I used to take awesome photos like this in Germany:

germany profile pic

This incidentally became my profile photo for Facebook, Twitter and my other social media sites. Heh.

I also took quite a few in Sibu, you can see the sheer quality of photos here:

sibu backyard

My backyard. It used to be bigger and filled with mango, rambutan and apple custard trees but it was chopped down and paved with concrete to make way for parking. There were five cars at one point before my dad sold one off, junked one and I drove mine to KL.

largest temple asia

The biggest temple complex in Asia or South-East Asia. I think it’s the former and it’s located in Sibu.

snail

One large garden snail. We eat this in Sibu. It’s considered a delicacy. I’m kidding, just took a photo of it to show the incredibly low noise in low light conditions. I snapped this after midnight when I went out back for a smoke.

I’m telling you, it sure was hard to return the review unit, I really fell in love with the dSLR quality images with easy shooting modes that the Sony NEX-F3 affords.

promoters

Thus, I tried to enter the contest. It’s quite easy, really. Just head into any of the 10 participating Sony Center outlets on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday) and go to the counter where the Sony NEX-F3 is.

sony nex f3

You won’t have any trouble finding it – there are promoters there to help you with the process.

sony nex f3 promoters

Basically, what you do is to take a photo of yourself using the 180 degree tilt function (a camwhore photo self-portrait in other words ;)) and they’ll help you upload it to the official contest website.

sony nex f3 launch

I did mine at the Sony NEX-F3 media launch with Kim, Rachel and Shah – didn’t win anything though – and asked the promoters if I can do this again at the Sony Center.

camwhore

It turns out that you can – just take a self-portrait of yourself and upload it to The Ultimate F3 Photographer Contest. The contest requires you to upload shots taken with the camera at the Sony Center itself. However, you can also bring your own SD card and slot it into the Sony NEX-F3 if you want to keep the photos. :)

One of three Sony NEX-F3 units awaits you! I hope one of them is mine, this is really a nifty camera to bring traveling.

Camwhoring Level 0

fail

Fail

fail deux

Fail

pass

Pass

I only managed to get it right on the third shot and that’s coz I flipped the LCD screen 180 degrees so I could see myself and frame the shot. I was aiming for a dSLR look with a heavily defocused background. I’m really bad in self-portraits – I think the technical term for this is camwhoring. ;)

protestant church

That’s the most famous Protestant church in Dresden right there. I travel around quite a bit – I just came back from Germany and I went to Jakarta before that. I couldn’t make it to another one this month due to a conflicting date but I’ll be heading to Nepal and the Philippines next month.

bratwurst

I’m what the industry call a FIT (Free and Independent Traveler). Basically, what that means is that you’re the adventurous trailblazing type who tends to go backpacking alone. That perfectly describes my two previous trips to Europe. This is the third.

I’ve had no problems with people running away with my camera, not even in the slums of Sri Lanka (don’t ask) or going on a totally badass adventure in Georgia with strangers. You need someone to take your photos when you’re traveling alone and while I’m not a huge fan of camwhoring, I concede that it’s very useful sometimes.

sony

The picture above is of the Sony Center in Berlin – the only one that has a cinema which shows English movies without subtitles. I brought the Sony NEX-F3 to Germany. All the photos in this post was taken using that. I wanted to see if it would make me take better shots. I have a dSLR but I wanted a more compact camera that I can stuff into my windbreaker pocket. You can try that with a dSLR – but be prepared to get tackled by the London Metropolitan police. ;)

The Sony NEX-F3 uses a large, high performance Exmor APS CMOS sensor that allows it to capture dSLR quality photos even in low light. It has interchangeable lenses and it’s very easy to use.

Let me show you my awesome photos!

night

This is a view of Dresden late at night. I was surprised at the low noise and incredible detail. I used this as my Facebook cover photo. Heh.

retro

Old school cash register. Appropriately shot in Retro mode. I normally wouldn’t get a good photo in the lighting conditions of the restaurant but this turned out very well.

view hotel

Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski in Dresden – a view from my room. President Barrack Obama also stayed here when he visited. I doubt it’s the same room though.

defocus

I like how you can set manually adjust the Background Defocus, Brightness, Color (compensate for Warm or Cold), Vividness or just let it go on auto in Superior Auto mode. It usually gets it right.

There’s also scenes presets and settings inside to let you easily shoot in a wide range of picture effects with the full time continuous auto focus:

flowers

Pop color. Flowers in summer. It was unusually cold for the first few days, which was why I had a windbreaker on and just a shirt for the last few days.

These are all shot on the Autobahn from a fast moving vehicle to demonstrate:

red

Partial Color: Red

green

Partial Color: Green

blue

Partial Color. Blue

yellow

Partial Color: Yellow

backlight

Back-light auto compensation of a faux stained glass window. There’s also a built in flash that pops up if the scene is too dark! :)

Videos are shot in HD and you can use the modes available – this is shot using Retro mode. :)

Schloss Charlottenburg

Schloss Charlottenburg (Schloss means Palace) in Panoramic Mode. You can also do this in 3D (it saves in an MPO file) and display it on a 3D TV.

Automatic scene detection and Auto HDR makes skin tones amazingly natural. I literally shot this from the hip so you can get a sense of how fast the auto-detect works:

kids

Imagine the stuff you can do with this! There’s lot of customization possible. You can make the sky bluer for example.

Please…tell them, I am God. ;)

Do you want your very own Sony NEX-F3? Join The Ultimate F3 Photographer Contest and get a chance to win one of 3 cameras! It’s very simple – all you need to do is drop by any of the 10 participating Sony Outlets on a Saturday or Sunday, take your own photo using the Sony NEX-F3 and upload it (the promoters will assist you). Click on the link above for the Sony Outlet closest to you.

I love it! The Sony NEX-F3 makes me look like a better photographer than I really am. ;)

Please do not try this at home!

stealth

I’m quite fond of pranks of the practical nature and once I get an idea into my head, it’s nigh impossible to push it out. I’ll just keep thinking about it until I do it.

left for dead

Anyway, while my parents were out, I got a friend to take a photo of me lying prone on the ground. This by itself is nothing to write home about but what I’m about to do is – mischief. ;)

cctv

I sat at the home CCTV monitoring screens until my dad and mom drove up the street and rushed out and projected this image right in the middle of the road:

prank

ZOMG I could literally hear the ABS kick in as my dad braked HARD to avoid hitting what he thought was a person lying dead in the middle of the road. smirk

I got a good earful from my parents about practical jokes taken too far but it just shows how amazingly vivid and realistic the projection is.

dad car

I repeat – Do not try this at home or at all! No homo sapiens or vehicles were harmed during the prank but it’s still a stupid (but funny) thing to do.

You might be wondering how managed to lug a projector with such speed and grace to catch them just before they pulled in and the answer is…I didn’t.

nikon s1100pj

I used the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj to do it. This compact digital camera has an awesome built-in projection feature that allows incredibly clear photos to be projected onto any surface.

There are a lot of applications I can think of for this:

inducement

Projecting an image of your favorite dish when you only have leftover rice to eat. This is psychologically like the story of the poor man who ate his bowl of rice while savoring the aromas from his rich neighbors’ cooking from outside the kitchen. You know how the story goes – the rich man (being an ass) demanded compensation and the wise judge agreed that gold coins should be paid in reparation…except the rich man only got to hear the clinking of the coins. LOL! Justice at it’s best!

airline

You can also use it to project images of food on the flight back from a long vacation after you used up all your money and can’t afford to buy an in-flight meal but I suspect this would make your hunger worse.

nikon s1100pj projection

What the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj really excels in is showing vacation photos to friends and family. There is a retractable kickstand which you can use to tilt the camera and an IR remote to flick through the photos but I like manually going through the images with the touchscreen – it’s just personal preference.

I just returned from another vacation in Europe so I was showing off the photos of my travels to my parents (to make up for the prank I pulled). They’re heading to Europe later this year too so I thought I’ll give them the heads up on where to go when they’re there.

There are other things I liked about the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj:

The HD movie recording feature

tilt

The tilt sensor that knows when you’re holding it horizontally or vertically and adjust the menu orientation automatically

The 14.1 MP sensor and the option to shoot in traditional (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) aspect ratios.

projection

However, the best thing about the Nikon Coolpix S1100pj is still the built-in projection feature. I’ve shown this to numerous friends and they were all amazed by the bright and vivid projected images. You don’t have to crowd around to sneak a glimpse at the LCD screen anymore – that’s so 2008 – just project it for everyone to see.

You can project it on almost any surface – even on the ground! :)

lainey

I’ll be the coolest kid on the block with this!

Reclaim the night!

zouk

phobia /f’oʊbiə/
Synonyms:
noun: fear
phobias (plural)
A phobia is a very strong irrational fear or hatred of something

twin towers

Remember my post entitled Fear of the dark? BTW, for red blooded men “hatred” is a synonym for “fear”. ;)

party people

I just thought you’ll like to have an insight into the XY Chromosome brain.

sony tx7 touch screen

I managed to get my grubby paws on a Cyber-shot TX7 and decided to take it out for a night out of clubbing!

intro

I wasn’t disappointed.

cheers

I’ve always been apprehensive (Read: afraid) of taking photos at night due to the tragic results that inevitably happens. I’ll take 10 photos in a row and ALL of them will turn out bad. >.<

camwhore

However, ever since the Cyber-shot TX7 I have faced my fears and conquered them! Here’s my awesome night out at Zouk in KL with friends the previous weekend.

b52

I love the rich and textured quality of the photos. There’s Intelligent Auto Adjustment – perfect for the lazy ones among us.

the girls

Hand-held Twilight is another Godsend from the good people at Sony. A lot of clubs don’t allow you to bring in dSLRs so a compact that can rival a dSLR in night shots is your best bet.

night out

There are also heaps of Scene Selection options – from Twilight Portrait to Gourmet (for taking food photos) in addition to whimsical features like Pet.

food

Food, glorious food! It finally looks like what it should be!

panoramic

A panoramic shot! Easy peasy to do.

our family

The thing that really takes the cake in terms of the Cyber-shot TX7 is the option of taking 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio photos.

velvet

You won’t know how useful widescreen is until you’ve used it in a club with people jostling you around and elbowing you to get some dance space. You can also take 8 photos in a row – perfect for OCD people like me who likes to choose the best possible picture from a range.

photos

Personally, the feature I like the most in the TX7 is the ability to shoot in HD quality video, so I’m going to show you how well it performs in low lighting conditions with multi colored strobe lights messing with the sensor.

I have had a lot of problems with shooting videos in my previous digicam and with the HD quality video recording with this, it’s really tempting me to go back to Cyber-shot digicams. It’s sleek as hell and easy to slip into your pocket or purse for a great night out. The touch screen works wonders too in getting a lot of appreciative glances from the people around you. ;)

Check out the full product specs here. All photos taken with the TX7, except the ones featuring it, obviously.

I only have one complain about the Cyber-shot TX7. I’ll have to return it tomorrow. :(

sony tx7 model

Can I keep it please?

Fear of the dark

overexposed fire

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark, I have a constant fear that something’s always near. You know that Iron Maiden classic? I always get reminded of the chorus whenever I have to take photos at night. It always comes out terrible – noisy if I set the ISO too high, overexposed if I use flash.

Case in point(s):

jestina

Birthday karaoke session gone wrong due to low lighting

overexposed

Flash fail

beach

This pristine beach in Kota Kinabalu looks like a sandbox in a playground

fire

Overexposed…and not in a good way

mystery meat

WTF is this? I can’t even tell if it’s chicken, beef or pork. I am forced to caption it as Mystery Meat.

Another beef (no pun intended) I have with my digicam is that it can’t record in High Definition. HD is the way of the future, even YouTube supports HD uploads now. I feel like I’m in the Stone Age (okay maybe not, Bronze Age can?) whenever I take videos with my digicam – the details are lost and with a lot of people connecting their computers to large screen LCDs now you really need to film in HD to keep up.

This is what my videos look like currently:

640×480 – VGA. It’s a marvel…back in 1994 when that was the resolution of most monitors. Now with large LCD monitors running on high resolutions it just looks like a postage stamp. :(

Enter Sandman! (another song reference)

Cyber-shot_DSC-TX7

The new Cyber-shot TX7 is loaded with the BIONZ IPE (Image Processing Engine) which I am really familiar with. I can vouch for the image quality. Combine it with the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens and a respectable 10.2 MP “Exmor R” CMOS sensor that reduces noise and you have the perfect digicam for night photography!

blurry

Blur be gone!

The Cyber-shot TX-7 has features like sweep panorama and anti-motion blur in addition to the impressive Handheld Twilight mode. You won’t have to worry about shaky photos and with the AVCHD Full HD movie recording mode, you’ll be able to present your nights out in full glory!

At 1920 x 1080 @ 50i movie mode, you’ll be hard pressed to find another digicam with similar qualities. It’s a touch screen digicam too, and having had 3 Sony digital cameras in the past, I have to say that it’s very nifty. The best part about it is that you only have to touch the LCD screen to focus on the subject.

uncover-the-night

Alright party people! You’ve had nights out where you think you captured awesome photos but when you go back home and upload it to your computer, you find out that it’s crappier than a lavatory full of excretion. Right? Right?

Don’t be ashamed of them photos – play “Uncover the night” or submit the pics to the “Night gone wrong” contest and stand a chance to win your very own Cyber-shot TX7!

fire eating

Enjoy your nights out without worrying about taking horrible photos!

My new dSLR – Sony alpha 350 14.2 MP

sony alpha dslr

I went to 1U with Zoe yesterday to get a new digicam. I figured I would be better off getting a dSLR this time, despite the bulkiness. Correct that – it is because of the bulkiness. It would be really hard to lose a dSLR and the neck strap offers some level of protection against water hazards – I dropped a digicam into a waterfall last year.

I got the Sony a350 package with a double zoom lens kit – DT18-70mm F3.5-5.6 / DT55-200 mm F4-5.6. No, I don’t know what the numbers mean either. ;)

The salesperson also offered a Sony bag for RM 160 or a Sony bag + extra battery for RM 350, of which I took the latter. He then proceeded to go on about screen protectors:

Sales guy: The Sony alpha LCD can be easily scratched. You should probably get a screen protector for it.
HB: You’re trying to sell me more stuff right? Is this your third pitch now?
Sales guy: Er…well we can give you a discount…
Sales girl (interjecting): No, we’ll give it to you for free.
Sales guy: She’s such a nice person.
HB: Yes, she is. Thank you. :)

alpha zoe

It cost me about RM 3,800 for everything. I am officially broke for the entire month of January. The first shot of Zoe above is the first ever shot by the sixthseal.com Sony alpha 350.

alpha zoe me

This is the second. Heh!

Props to Suanie for your generous offer to teman me when I was down.

Cheers Eiling for driving 45 minutes down to teman me.

zoe extra hot

Thanks Zoe for teman-ing me!

You three get an unlimited lifetime voucher redeemable 5 times, anytime, anywhere, anything (within reason – terms and conditions apply). ;)

P/S – Zoe, your heart will not stop beating unless you have a cardiac arrest. It’s really painful when that happens so you won’t be able to talk. The medulla oblongata ensures that our hearts (and breathing) is regulated automagically. ;)

I lost my digicam at Sunway Lagoon :(

lost digicam

I have got to be the unluckiest person around. I was at Sunway Lagoon with my ex-boss from Sibu and his friends yesterday and dropped my digicam at the very last roller coaster ride. I think they have signs against loose items for a reason. I miss all the wonderful photos and videos (especially the AJ Hackett G-Force X one – it looks better taken from the outside, though I have the DVD which I will upload soon) that’s lost – two days worth.

I miss The Apartment set of photos and the G-Force X video the most. Oh well, at least I have a temperamental Sony T-70 as a backup while I go hunting for a dSLR later. You can’t very well lose a dSLR, it being the size that it is.

I lost/dropped four (4) digicams in less than a year. That’s not good. Okay, I’m officially pokkai this month.

lost city

Ironically, I lost the digicam at the Lost City roller coaster ride. Hmm…

Sony T-300

sony t300 box

I just got my new digicam from Mary whom, due to her tau keh nio connections, got me a special price which I’m not allowed to disclose. I was actually pondering about getting the Sony T-300 and the Olympus 10 meter waterproof digicam but I concluded that the latter would be too bulky for everyday carrying.

sony t300 mary

She got it for me at the dealer’s price (which is much cheaper than retail) but with strings attached. Not very simple this Mary. ;)

sony t300

Thus, I am now the owner of the Sony Cybershot T-300 digicam with 4 GB of memory (with the additional 2 GB from the defunct Sony T-70 and the battery).

Nikon Coolpix 7900 review – my latest digicam

nikon 7900

I just bought a Nikon Coolpix 7900 (the March 2005 newly released
model) two days ago for RM 1,888. My primary digicam, the trusty Nikon
5700 has been out of commission for a while due to a CCD malfunction. I
love that camera, it has a nice solid weight and the features are
great. It also looks good – I’ve always preferred black magnesium alloy
SLR type bodies to the silver ones for practical and aesthetic reasons.

Alas, it had to be sent to Nikon in PJ to be fixed coz every picture
that I took had chroma distortion at the top, so I figured it’s
probably the CCD sensor. I’ve been looking around for another digicam
while I wait for the 4 week turnaround time and decided upon the 7.1 MP
Nikon 7900. I’ve been waiting for it for a week, and no one in Kuching
had any, until I went to Hock Lee Center on Sunday and saw one on
display. It just got in that very morning.

Unfortunately, I had also seen the Sony Cyber-shot DSC V3 7.2 MP
digicam which looks a lot like my trusty Nikon 5700, except the Sony is
slightly smaller. It retails for RM 2,588, and did I mention that I
love black SLR-type magnesium alloy digicams? I’ll put on my flame
retardant suit and share the reason behind this – the silver digicams
looks cheap and unprofessional. I’m sorry; it just had to be said. ;)

Thus, I was caught in a predicament – should I retain brand loyalty
and go for the Nikon 7900 or should I get the Sony V3 which looks
fucking great and is only a RM 600 difference? Did I mention the Sony
can take CF Cards too? I don’t know if I mentioned this before but the
Sony V3 also has the SLR-type magnesium alloy body like the Nikon 5700
that I have and I love these d-SLR type digicams. It’s like a digital
SLR…except you don’t need to lug expensive specialty lenses around
and worry about breaking that RM 10,000 lens.

I’ve always gone for Nikon digicams (the 7900 is my third) due to
the stellar macro performance (people always ask me how I manage to get
such detailed pill shots) and also coz I have three CF Cards, two
EN-EL1 Nikon batteries and two chargers. Plus, I like Nikon. That was
before I handled the Sony DSC V3 though…and I just couldn’t decide
which one I should get. Actually, I had already decided to go for the
Sony, but I had to consult my gf, coz apparently, my finances are
audited by her. :p

She had very sound advice – go for the Nikon 7900. It’s technically
an upgrade since its 7.1 MP compared to the Nikon 5700′s 5.1 MP. The
other reason was because (and we’ve discussed this before) I already
have a d-SLR type (she calls it “bulky and unwieldy”) digicam (the
Nikon 5700), which is due to come back from repairs soon. Thus, common
sense dictates that one should own a “main” digicam (that would be my
Nikon 5700) and get a new “portable” one instead (which would be the
Nikon 7900).

It does make sense…there’s no point having two d-SLR type cameras
to lug around when you can have one to carry around and a portable one
to…well, pocket. Thus, I got the Nikon 7900. It’s a new release, it
just came out this month and it has a lot of new features, most of
which I find annoying, like the blurred shot warning (be damned if a
digicam starts to nag me). It’s pretty much useless except for newbies
coz experienced photographers would know a good shot from a bad one
right away. There is also no “burst photography” (rapid fire continuous
shots for a limited amount of time to increase the probability of
getting that hard to shoot scene) mode unlike my Nikon 5700 (which
photographers like for various reasons ;)) since it can only manage a
paltry 1.7 fps continuous.

The Nikon 7900 has some amazing features though – like the 2.0 inch
amorphous silicon TFT LCD screen. Fuck, that screen is HUGE. It’s also
clear, detailed and bright as fuck. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I
saw it. The size is awe inspiring as well – it’s 120 x 57 x 69 mm.
That’s the exact size of a pack of cigarettes. The
Nikon 7900 is portable, alright. If you can carry a pack of Marlboros,
you can slip a Nikon 7900 in and you won’t even notice the difference.

The neutral point of the Nikon 7900 is that it doesn’t get a second
glance from passer-bys. Everyone and their grandma (and her pet cat)
own a digicam nowadays, and this looks just like the miniature ones
that are flooding the market nowadays. I don’t feel like I’m covering
an event when I use it, unlike the large Nikon 5700. It’s good for a
compact digicam in a sense…it attracts less attention. It also
attracts less respect. It can be argued that only true d-SLRs command
the respect they deserve, but we’re not going there due to budget and
practicality issues.

The downside to the few days I’ve been using the Nikon 7900 is the
weight of the digicam…or rather, the lack of it. I’m used to the
comfortable weight (more than 1/2 kg) of the Nikon 5700 (bought it at
RM 3,100 and have been using it for two years, daily) and the
featherweight Nikon 7900 (about 180 g) requires delicacy during
operation, a trait I do not possess. I also didn’t like the shallow
“grip outcrop” to the right of the digicam after using the solid grip
of the Nikon 5700 for so long.

The best feature of the Nikon 7900 is the new “Face-priority AF”
function which does facial recognition and focuses on faces and people.
Nifty. The movie mode can record 640 x 480 @ 30 fps (unlimited) which
is great – it’s an upgrade from the Nikon 5700. It also has “Electronic
Vibration Reduction” which seems to work. I can see myself using the
two different digicams for different situations.

The other good thing is that there’s no learning curve to speak of -
once you’re familiar with a Nikon digicam, you can operate any Nikon
digicam without problems. I still have to practice being gentle with
the Nikon 7900 to avoid blurring the shots due to the light weight, but
that would come in time…and I definitely need to turn off that damned
Blur Shot Warning indicator.

Plus, the Nikon 7900 TTL is fucking amazing too – I strap it to my
belt using the original leather pouch (which looks pretty good
actually) and the opening mechanism is magnetic in nature. That,
combined with the dangling strap I keep allows me to tug on the strap
to snag the 7900 clear of the magnetic clasp while hitting the
appropriately placed power button and the Nikon 7900 boots up and is
ready to go by the time the digicam is leveraged into the right hand
(I’m right handed) via the strap rebound.

TTL (Time to Live) is a speedy 2 seconds, faster if it’s in standby
mode (so it doesn’t have to go through the Nikon intro which takes a
second).

How fast is that? Well, I’m not going to post a photo, but there was
an incident at a certain escalator at The Curve which is of an
ephemeral nature, and I managed to whip out the Nikon 7900 and caught
the scene in time. I’ll leave you to think about the nature of the
scene, but I’m telling you, the TTL is fast. ;)

I also liked the new D-lighting feature which adds detail to dark
areas of the scene composition. *cough* This feature alone justifies
the upgrade. The huge 7.1 MP photos that comes out at 3072 x 2304 gets
a big thumbs up from me too. I got a 256 MB SD Card with the purchase
of the camera, and I have another SD Card around but the other great
thing is the Nikon 7900 also has internal memory so you can take shots even when the SD Card is not in.

Imagine this scenario – you’ve just filled the SD Card and you’re
swapping it out when this shot of a lifetime comes along and there you
are, stuck in between reloads! Well, I can say without any shame that
the recurring nightmares that I have regarding this scenario is a thing
of the past. ;)

The nightmares that I’ve been having has now morphed into dream like
sequences where I just drop the SD Card, fuck reloading, point the
digicam at that shot-of-a-lifetime and press the shutter button and I
get the shot, all due to the internal memory of the Nikon 7900. I can
sleep easy now. Thanks Nikon! ;)

nikon 7900 buy

It’s definitely a great buy, but I’ll wait till the price drops if
you don’t need one right now. RM 1,888 is a little steep for a consumer
grade digicam. I still love it though, it’s pocket able so I won’t have
to strap my sling bag, which I’m told is a fashion faux pax when I’m
wearing a coat. ;)

I like the leather belt strap though…that’s how I’m carrying it now.

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