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The Apple “Cathedral” in Shanghai. With a fish-eye lens.

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Spotting the Apple logo from afar.

Spotting the Apple logo from afar.

Last week I was staying at a hotel in the Pudong area of Shanghai.  In my routine photowalk I happened to notice the Apple logo. Being a partial Apple-phyte, I walked over to the glass structure curious of what it might be.  As it was in the middle of the plaza, I was a bit mystified until I got closer and noticed that the structure was the entrance to the Shanghai Apple Store located below the structure and the plaza.  I did a quick walkthrough and then came back out for a few more photos.  One quick spin around the store told me the Apple phenomenon is as strong in Shanghai as in many other locales around the world.    It bodes well for Apple’s future.  And by the way, it’s design appeared similar to some modern cathedrals.  Just substitute another icon for the apple and you get my drift.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor Fisheye 16mm f/2.8 lens.

Look into the store.

Look into the store.


Shot from the spiral staircase.

Shot from the spiral staircase.

Other direction.

Other direction.

Shanghai icon dwarfed by another "icon".

Shanghai icon dwarfed by another "icon".

Enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

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Written by leolaksi

August 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 on Panasonic Lumix G1

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Leica Noctilux lens attached to Panasonic Lumix G1

Leica Noctilux lens attached to Panasonic Lumix G1

Last week while I was in Osaka I spent some time looking for the Rayqual Leica-M to M4/3 adaptor so that I could use my M-mount lenses on the G1.  It turned out to be somewhat of a difficult task as every shop I checked in Osaka and every Japanes website were out of the adaptor.  One website offered to put me on a waiting list and that perhaps in a week or so they could send one to me.

Voigtlander 28mm f/2.8 lens on G1

Voigtlander 28mm f/2.8 lens on G1

Well, those answers didn’t satisfy me so I had a friend contact Rayqual directly.  Guess what?  We ordered the adaptor directly from them and the next day it arrived at the hotel.  It came with instructions for use only in Japanese but I was about to figure it out.  One interesting thing about using M-mount lenses on the G1, is that you can opt to focus using the G1’s magnified focus display.  I didn’t find it necessary with wide angle lenses but with the Noctilux, it did come in handy.

With the adaptor, you have to use manual focus.  And the G1’s image stabilization does not work.  For those of you wedded to modern technology, it will take some time adjust to these differences.

G1 with Noctilux used to shoot this photo

G1 with Noctilux used to shoot this photo

In the coming weeks, I intend to use the G1 and the Leica lenses everywhere and take as many photos as possible.  I am expecting the G1 to perform admirably although I don’t expect it to outperform the M8.  If it did, then Leica would be in trouble.

Shot with G1 with Noctilux lens

Shot with G1 with Noctilux lens

Written by leolaksi

February 7, 2009 at 6:32 am

Posted in Photography, Tech

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BlueAnt Z9i v. the “New” Jawbone Bluetooth Headsets

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BlueAnt Z9i with iPhone 3G

BlueAnt Z9i with iPhone 3G

Over the last year, I purchased both makes of headsets, each with their own their own unique noise suppression technology.  I first purchased the Jawbone mainly based on countless reviews I had read.  I wore the Jawbone daily for about two months.

Size about the same

Size about the same

The Jawbone is a beautifully designed headset and comes with several earloops of different materials and sizes.  The most beautiful ear loop is made with leather and contrasting white thread as shown in the photos.  The Jawbone exudes design and style although at times it’s appearance felt a little over the top when compared with the utilitarian Z9i.  Nevertheless, it is eyecatching and unique.

There were some things I disliked about the Jawbone.  First, I had a hard time finding a comfortable earloop in the selection that is provided in the kit.  The beautiful leather bound earloop become uncomfortable in a short period of time and I ended up tossing that loop aside for the plain plastic earloop.  More comfortable.

Second, the end of the loop that inserts into the hole on the body of the headsets can break and one has to be careful when inserting the loop in the headset.  Once you know that, it’s not a problem although I did break one of the supplied earloops.

Third, you can only pair the Jawbone to one phone at a time.  This is not a problem if you only carry one phone, but if you use more than one, then you end up having to unpair and then pair to the second phone.

Fourth, in the beautiful minimalist design, the controls are hidden and so it’s  learning process to remember the location of the controls.  Once you do, its not a big deal.

Face off

Face off

A friend turned me on to the Z9i and after looking at it’s specs, I bought one to test.   The Z9i is versatile mainly becauce it can pair with 5 phones and be connected to 2 phones at one time.  Although the design is ordinary, it was very functional with all controls easy to access with very little confusion.  And the reception was clear on both ends of the conversation, similar in sound quality to the Jawbone and possibly a little bit better based on a couple month’s worth of conversations with very few complaints.  Although my testing method is not scientific, I felt that the reception/tranmission was better.

In its design, the Z9i also has a built in clip, similar to a pen clip, that you can use to clip it to your pocket or placket of your shirt.  I found this very handy.  (You can see this in the above and below photos.)

Now, its weakness.  The metal earloop is substantial and one does not have to worry about breaking it.  It’s also very comfortable and one can forget they are wearing the headset.  And like the Jawbone, it weighs next to nothing.  The problem is the hard rubber nib that the loop is inserted into.  By the second month of use, this nib tore through and as a result I could not use the loop anymore with the headset.  And the clip fell off.  That’s right,  the Z9i became a worthless artifact.

Broken BlueAnt Z9i

Broken BlueAnt Z9i

However, because I was very satisfied with the Z9i, I bought a second one.  This one I’ve used for six months with no problems, although I have to treat it with some care.

So which one is better?  I think its a tossup although I prefer the Z9i because of its ability to pair with more phones and its obvious controls.  It was also very comfortable.  On the downside, the original one, broke and I had to replace it.

Right now the Jawbone is doing backup duty should the Z9i break.  However, it’s likely that if the BlueAnt died, I would buy another one.  And the Jawbone  to remain in reserve duty.  Maybe forever.

blueantorangestripeAbove photographs taken with Panasonic Lumix G1 with 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 zoom lens and Leica M8 with Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.

Written by leolaksi

February 1, 2009 at 7:01 am