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

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.

Deli, er…Darliefrance


Let me present to you Darlie’s new (at least I haven’t seen it on
the shelves before) toothpaste – Hydro Fresh Gel! It contains spring
water from France (or so it says on the packaging, I am unable to
independently verify these claims).

darlie hydro pack

I can tell you one thing though…this ain’t your grandma’s dental hygiene product.

darlie france water

It says that Darlie Hydro Fresh Gel is “the very first toothpaste
that contains spring water from France”. This gives us much pause as to
where the manufacturers of toothpaste in France get their water from.


This is what the product looks like. I tested it and sure enough I
did feel a “pure fresh sensation” from the “HydroCool molecules”,
whatever they are.

darlie france paste

The toothpaste itself is translucent light blue with dark blue
specks. And if I close my eyes while brushing my teeth, for just a
second, I can actually feel that I’m in France…

Use Darlie Hydro Fresh Gel and drench yourself in spring water freshness that lasts and lasts!

Procession down Bukit Bintang (Nikon 5700)


I’ve just taken photos of the parade (?) down Jalan Bukit Bintang
(caught it at Bintang Walk) with my new Nikon 5700. Yeah, I’ve finally
decided on that, managed to find a store selling it at RM 3100 (cash
only) or RM 3168 (with 2% credit card charge). It’s a graduation
present from my dad. Anyway, I can’t actually show you all the photos I
took of the parade because this Internet cafe is running Windows 98 so
it won’t detect a USB digicam connection and mount it as a new drive.

I didn’t bring the driver CD out and Nikon View supports a minimum
of Windows 98 SE (this cc is running the first edition) and I can’t
find the drivers on the Nikon site for the life of me. Anyway, that
long assed explaination is why I can’t post up the photos today. I can
do something a little unorthodox though…I’m using the webcam to
capture the digicam’s LCD screen during play, so that blurry photo
above is supposed to be of this guy wielding this very long stick with
Sharp Things on both ends while in a trance.

Anyway, I don’t know what’s going on, I just saw a lot of police and
Rela members to control the crowd and traffic while I was walking back,
and saw that there’s a procession going on. I got quite a few photos,
it’s like the procession that happens at Cheng Beng, where people piece
theirselves and walk down in a trance. I’ve always wondered if they
took anything…does anyone know? A deleriant perhaps, or a psychedelic
of some sort?

Well, I could only see two groups in the procession, Chinese and
Indian. The Chinese ones were mostly pierced across the cheek and they
wield all sorts of things like meat cleavers, saws, and all that and
walk around in a trance guided by the front person. The Indians had a
lot of limes on their bodies, and there’s this guy who was being hooked
by well, hooks and pulled by another guy. Lots of blood, very nice. The
procession puts the fun into photography, great event to break in the
digicam with.

Anyway, I can’t upload the photos today, so tomorrow it is then.
Well, regarding the Nikon 5700, I think it’s great – been thawing on
getting either this or the 5400 and finally decided to forgo portablity
(the 5400 fits in a pocket) for the additional 4x optical zoom (5700 is
8x optical). I could fit the 5700 in my pocket if I were wearing cargo
pants, but otherwise not, so I slinged it around me, that would
probably be the way I’ll be carrying it now.

Well, that’s it for today…going back to the hotel now. I’ll be
moving to another hotel near Petaling Street starting tomorrow. My
apologies for not being able to upload the photos, I hope the Petaling
Street Internet cafes would have a newer OS, because I’ve filled the 32
MB CF Card and most of the 128 MB one.

P/S – Jasmine, thanks for your SMS, I couldn’t reply because the cell phone didn’t save the message after viewing. Sorry!

I think I’m forgetting something but I don’t know exactly what…anyway, I’ll update tomorrow.

am pm ezone, Low Yat Plaza

I’m currently eating a chicken sandwich and drinking peach tea at
AmPm ezone at Low Yat. It’s supposed to be the largest cybercafe in
Malaysia (it says so on the outside). Anyway, I dropped in to recharge
my cell phone battery again and I’ll be surfing around to read digicam
reviews later. am/pm ezone
[] also has a phone beside each terminal and they allow
free local calls within the KL area. Interesting. Anyway, I was
supposed to go to Petaling Jaya today, but I called beforehand and
Nikon says they need 1-2 WEEKS just to give me a price quotation (that
time does not include repair), so I thought I’ll get another digicam
and leave my old one as a spare. That’s one reason I’m at Low Yat,
another is I’m getting the price lists for computer accessories.

I can’t get it today though, there’s too much luggage, so I plan to
come here sometime at the end of this week and get all the stuff I need
to assemble a box and put it at my new place first. The room I’m
renting is not vacated yet and won’t be until the 1st of September, but
I’m putting the bulky stuff over first, probably just chuck it in a
corner of the house or something. I won’t be having my own connection
on my own box until next month, but photos of stuff would be up
starting next week or maybe even earlier, going to get a digicam in
these few days.

I find myself reaching for a non-existant digicam in my pocket
everytime I see a scene that warrents a shot, but alas, my fingers are
always grasping at air. :) Yeah, a digicam would be my first priority.
Thanks for all the price comparisons everyone, the cheapest price I
found for a Nikon 5700 is RM 3500 and that comes with a free 128 MB CF
Card. It’s not the RM 2800 I’m expecting, but it seems to be about as
good as it gets, considering most shops retails it at RM 3999.

Now that has got me thinking whether I should skimp on the box or
skimp on the digicam…probably the former. :) The Nikon 5700 does give
me pause though, I tried to fit it into my pants pocket (which is where
my digicam usually goes) and it didn’t fit so well. There’s a
rather…hmm, disquieting bulge around the general area when I
put it in, so yeah, perhaps I should go for a more portable one,
although the 5700 seems to be a delicious morsel. The 5400 retails for
a bit less and it’s smaller, due to the 5700’s 6x zoom lens but they’re
basically the same.

Oh speaking of bulges, I can’t walk 10 meters in Bukit Bintang
without someone asking me “Eh, yau loi yan mou? Yau hou sang ga.”.
That’s “Hey, are you interested in girls? I have young ones.”. It seems
that the ah, adult entertainment industry is alive and well in BB,
perhaps prospering even, I don’t recall being prepositioned with such
frequency last time I stayed at BB. I usually don’t bother replying,
but this one time yesterday, just for shits and giggles, I replied
“Hmm…loi yan wo mou hen choi, nei yau feng tau yuen mo?” which
translates as “Well, I’m not interested in girls, do you have any
“ecstasy” pills?”.

Well, what transpired was rather interesting…the pimp (or
middleman to be polite) gave me a funny look and said “Wo lei to mai
loi yan ga, wo moi mai yeun” – “I sell girls here, not pills”. :) I
guess you had to be there, it was kinda funny. It’s interesting though,
coz I thought the two businesses are somewhat interrelated in Malaysia.
I’m glad it’s not. Disclaimer: I was only asking for fun, I do not possess or consume any illicit drugs.

I digress too much, I should be looking at digicam reviews now. I
saw a couple of Sony models that looked okay, and the prices are cheap
for a 5 MP digicam, I’m not a big fan of Sony due to their proprietry
MS storage format, but I saw several new ones that accepts CF cards
too. Well, I’m off, gotta decide on a digicam soon. Thanks for the
suggestions everyone. :)

Royal Blunts Cognac Flavored EZ Roll Tube

The front of the packaging with a see thru window.

The back of the packaging.

I purchased this blunt wrapper from Off Ya Tree a couple of days ago. It’s made by Royal Blunts
[] and I decided that today was a good day as any to
smoke a blunt, being Chinese New Year and everything. :) A blunt is a
cigar with cannabis inside instead of tobacco. It retails for A$3.95
and Off Ya Tree has several other flavors besides cognac. Cannabis sold
separately, of course.

Inside the packaging is a single leaf of tobacco and a plastic tube.

Anyway, the package is air sealed and has a single blunt wrapper
inside and a plastic tube, which serves the dual function of preventing
the leaf of tobacco from getting squashed in the package and to pack
weed into the blunt you’re rolling. The blunt wrapper was surprisingly
fresh, it didn’t reek like stale cigars do.

Rolling the blunt.

The blunt wrapper was easy to roll too, and it sealed by itself. I
did give the side of the wrap a lick to make it seal better though. I
used the plastic tube to pack the cannabis tightly, as I prefer the
draw of a tightly packed cigarette as opposed to an unpacked one. In
lieu of a roach (a cardboard piece you put at the end of joints as a
filter), I folded the end of the blunt and it works just as well. I
didn’t inhale any small bits of plant material even when I toked hard
on the blunt.

The blunt.

And the taste of the blunt…oh my God, it was simply divine! Very,
very tasty indeed. It will be hard to go back to smoking bowls after
this. The cognac flavored wrapper achieves this synergy with the choof,
providing this rich, satisfying smoke that tastes pleasant and smells
wonderful. It tasted like a good cigar with the sweet, sweet smoke of
cannabis instead of tobacco. The burn rate was very controlled too, the
tip burns slowly when you’re not toking on it and even when you draw on
it, it doesn’t burn that fast either, just a slowly moving red rim that
produces a nice lungful of that rich, satisfying smoke. It gives a
slightly different high too, there was the added stimulant high from
the tobacco leaf wrapper. Highly recommended!

"Waterfall bong bath" review

I bought this at Off Ya Tree for A$5. It’s supposed to be a bath for
bongs that will “neutralize all those nasty bong-water smells”. That
would be quite an impressive feat, so I got one to try it out.

Trial #1:

I emptied one cap full into my dirty bong water like the
instructions said and sloshed it around. The dirty bong water + bong
bath mixture did not froth much. There were very minimal air bubbles at
the water line.My bong was filled with the bong water from last night’s
session, and lets see how well this bong bath attacks it. I was
supposed to leave it there for 5 minutes and then clean it with a brush
and water. I forgot about it though and didn’t get around to it until
40 minutes later. The smell of the dirty bong water + bong bath was
particularly nasty. It smelled like the worst of the bong bath (kinda
musty and dull) and the worst of dirty bong water (all that charcoal-ly
ashtray smell). If you try really hard you could smell the mild perfume
of the bong bath, but it didn’t mask the bong smell much. I washed it
out with cold water and a brush, but the smell was still there. I had
to wash the bong again using my A$3.29 blast dishwashing liquid and it came out smelling like lemons.

Trial #2:

I emptied one cap-full into the dirty bong water from the night
before and shook the bong. I never get around to cleaning the bong
after a night’s session until the next night’s session. :) Anyway, I
timed myself and left the mixture in for EXACTLY five minutes. I
figured the dismal results from Trial #1 was due to leaving the
mixture in too long. After the 5 minutes were up, I cleaned it again
with cold water and a brush. It did smell slightly better, but there was a musty tone to it, which doesn’t make it smell very nice. blast, on the other hand, makes it smell lemony fresh.


blast or any other dishwashing liquid would be cheaper and
produce better results. Waterfall Bong Bath is probably geared towards
the novelty market and simply doesn’t work as well as common
dishwashing liquid. Save your money, unless you want one for the
novelty of it.

Days till I get my digital camera: 0

I got my digital camera today! It’s a Nikon 885, 3.2 Megapixels with 3x optical zoom. Took it to
the library today and took some test shots. I didn’t manage to go to Flemington shooting range or
Chocfest today. Decided not to go to punish myself for waking up to late yesterday. I need to get
my assignments done first anyway. I’ve changed the webcam picture above with a Picture of the Day.
The image quality today is pretty bad coz I couldn’t tweak it. I used Logitech’s Quickcam Editor, a
really basic graphics editor. I’m currently downloading the warez version of Photoshop so expect
the quality to improve. As the name suggests, there will be a new one everyday, so hit Ctrl + D.

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