Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

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Posts Tagged ‘Canon

Roaming Bangkok – “Leica Gallery” at Camera & Lens

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Taken with Leica M8 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens

Taken with Leica M8 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens

Camera & Lens is part of the Fotofile family of camera stores in Bangkok.  The shop is located in the Central Plaza Rama III shopping center and is home to the “Leica Gallery” which is an extensive collection of Leica cameras and accessories.  It’s an interesting exhibit and one can spend a couple of hours looking at the equipment.

Camera & Lens stocks an inventory of Leica M accessories including Leica, Carl Zeiss and Voightlander lens.  Although the shop doesn’t stock every Leica-branded accessory, it’s close.  It has probably the most extensive selection of UV/IR cut filters for the M8 this side of Japan.  For example, they have both the 58mm and 60mm filters in stock, both of which are in short supply worldwide.  And the prices are good.  I purchased the 60mm in Japan last fall and Singapore last week and Camera & Lens sells this filter for between 40-60 USD less.  (And don’t forgot that you will receive 7% VAT refund at the airport upon departure.)

They also offer a selection of used lens.  Not quite the selection I’ve seen at shops in Japan, but not bad.  Prices are competitive with other countries.  For example, I looked at two used Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lens.  One was priced at 1700 USD and the other at 2200 USD.  The more expensive one was a complete kit and in superb condition.  (And again 7% VAT refund.)

Of course the key to a good deal is to do research before you buy.  And remember, most camera shops in Thailand will give you a discount.

They also carry Canon and Nikon cameras and lens, both new and used, as well as, most other accessories you would expect from a pro-level camera shop.

If you’re traveling in Thailand and need to buy Leica accessories, this is the place to come.

Taken with Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens

Taken with Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens

Written by leolaksi

March 22, 2009 at 6:35 am

Billingham bags and lens adaptors. In Singapore.

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singaporek13outside1

One of my mandatory stops when I’m in Singapore is K-13 Marketing.  This small store is located on the second floor at Peninsula Plaza and is a dealer for Billingham, as well as several other accessory manufacturers including Manfrotto, Lowepro. I’ve been coming to this shop for ten years.

They have a good supply of Billingham products and the prices for the bags and accessories are good.

As an aside, they also have a good selection of used equipment, both German and Japanese, and one is never bored with looking at their offerings.

Further, they carry a supply of lens adaptors so that if you are so inclined to use one manufacturers lenses on another’s body, they may be able to accommodate.  I checked out the Contax (Carl Zeiss lens) adaptor for the Canon EOS.  I also tried the adaptors to  fit Nikon and medium format Carl Zeiss lenses on a Canon EOS camera.  But they’ve got more adaptors than that.

They are located at Peninsula Plaza, 111, Northbridge Road, 2nd floor, #16/17.  Ask for Tony.

singaporek13inside

Written by leolaksi

March 18, 2009 at 6:02 am

Upclose on Thonglor with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens. Leica M8 too.

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Leica M8 with Summicron 90mm f/2 lens

Leica M8 with Summicron 90mm f/2 lens at f/2 and 1/360 second

I don’t normally use my Canon 5D as I am thoroughly dedicated to my Leica M8.  I decided to break it out and give it an airing.  Today I attached my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L lens and did a walk around my neighborhood in Bangkok.

However, before I got started I met the guy in the above photo who had recently purchased a 5D Mark II and 24-105mm f/4 L lens. We chatted a bit and we got around to the subject of “bokeh”.  While we talking up a storm, I took the above photo with my M8 and Summicron.  Afterwards, he left  on a motorcycle and I continued on my walk.

Some people think that a medium zoom lens is made to bring distant subjects closer.  I look at this lens in a different way.  I think this zoom lens is in its element as a longish portrait lens, great for those photos within ten meters.  Because my experience with the M8 and  lens has taught me  to judge most lenses in two ways: how they perform as a wide angle lens and as a portrait lens, I look at all lenses in this way.   Obviously, the Canon lens is not a wide-angle lens.  As a lens for use at portrait (or just beyond distances), it’s pretty good.

However, is it a good as the Leica for closeup portrait work?  Although I didn’t take a comparable photo of him with the Canon equipment,  I think the answer is in the above photo. Exceptional Leica optics.

And oh, by the way, I took only that one photo.  No multiple exposure “gone wild”  photography for me.

Obviously the photos below are not portraits but I have found that it is difficult to take “candid” unrehearsed photos with the Canon body and lens.  It’s the sheer size of the kit that’s the impediment.  People notice the camera and almost always comment.

On the other hand, the M8 is almost never noticed.  With the above photo, I turned on the M8, focussed the lens at 1.5 meters and pressed the shutter.  The camera was not noticed and therefore the subject was entirely relaxed.  (Afterwards, I showed the photo to him to explain the concept of bokeh.)

The following photos were taken with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L lens. All photos were shot at f/2.8.

Koi at 85mm at 1/320 second

Koi at 85mm at 1/320 second

Grilled port at 160mm at 1/500 second

Grilled pork at 160mm at 1/500 second

Mangos in the sun at 130mm at 1/5000 second

Mangos in the sun at 130mm at 1/5000 second

On the other hand, it’s a huge rig to carry and can’t compete in terms of agility and ease of use with my M8 and lens.  And I am not sure that’s its any quicker on the draw to use, even with auto-focus.

Oranges at 85mm at 1/1000 second

Oranges at 85mm at 1/1000 second

Steaming congee pot at 70mm at 1/1000 second

Steaming congee pot at 70mm at 1/1000 second

Written by leolaksi

March 16, 2009 at 6:44 am

Two Billingham Hadleys in comparison – Hadley Pro v. Hadley (small)

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billinghamblackovertanfront

Recently I was asked about the size difference between these two Billingham bags.  The tan Hadley Pro is large enough to hold a Canon 5D with 17-40mm f/4 L and a 70-200mm f/2.8 L lenses.  As the 70-200mm is a large lens, both length and diameter, it consumes all the extra room.  Optionally, the bag will hold a Canon 5D with attached 17-40mm f/4 lens, as well as two other lenses, a 24-105mm f/4 L and an 85mm f/1.8 lens.  The two front pockets will also hold your accessories.   See my two previous postings on this subject.  Here or here.

billinghamblackovertan45

The small Hadley will hold a DLSR with attached lens and one other small to medium sized lens, like the 24-105mm f/4 L lens.  And if you DSLR is on the small side like a Canon 450D, you have a little more room.  See my other posting about the small Hadley.

billinghamontable

Comfortwise, I find the small Hadley one of the most comfortable bags I have.  I can carry this bag all day and never notice any discomfort.  On the other hand, I don’t find the Hadley Pro comfortable at all.  Perhaps it had to do with the overall stiffness of the bag with insert in place.  It’s not one of my favorite bags and I usually use the Crumpler “seven million dollar home” or the Lowe Pro Inverse 200 AW if there’s a need to carry a larger bag.  The Hadley Pro stays at home.

Removable inserts

Removable inserts

Both Hadleys are versatile.  Their inserts remove and you can use the bags in other ways.  The Hadley Pro can be used as a daily work bag and will hold an A4 sheet of paper,  even with the insert in place, you can place A4 size docs in the space behind the insert.  Also, the snap shown in the above photo creates a divided area in the space in front of the insert.

Quality-wise, both bags are extremely well-made and can be expected to last a lifetime.  The leather trim also adds to the appearance of the beautiful canvas material.

Written by leolaksi

March 8, 2009 at 7:50 am

Scenes from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Looking up

Looking up

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport isn’t the world’s most beautiful airport, however, I find it one of the world’s most interesting from a design perspective.  From its use of elliptical curves in the design of the glass paneled walls and it’s minimalist approach to support columns, it’s design is thoroughly modern.  It’s use of voluminous open space gives the airport a sense of modern elegance that few airports possess.

Tunnel of alternative light

Tunnel of alternative light

The play of light and shadow, even at night, also enhances the structure so that a sense of calm permeates an otherwise cold concrete structure.

The view as you clear immigration upon departure

The view as you clear immigration upon departure

Curved framing

Curved framing

Shopping along the way

Shopping along the way

In the clouds

In the clouds

Sunlight

Sunlight

Waiting for the plane

Waiting for the plane

Written by leolaksi

January 30, 2009 at 6:45 am

Panasonic Lumix DMC G1

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Photo taken with M8, Summicron 50mm f/2 lens

Photo taken with Leica M8, Summicron 50mm f/2 lens

I’ve had the G1 for a little over a week and I am impressed with this camera.  There are some things that I don’t like about the camera but will note this later.

This is not a comprehensive review of the camera.  If you looking for that, check out DPReview for their recent full-blown review.

The first thing you notice about the camera is it’s size.  It’s absolutely tiny for a camera of this type, that is, a camera comparing at the lowest rung of the DSLR tribe.  It’s not that much smaller than a Canon 1000D however when you attach the 14-45mm zoom lens to the camera, it is one size smaller.  And if you attach the 45-200mm zoom, well, it’s a very compact combination.

G1 in all it's glory (above photo crop of this photo)

G1 in all it's glory (above photo crop of this photo)

Right now there are only two available lenses for this camera in its micro 4/3 mount, the kit 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens and the 45-200mm f/4-5.6 zoom.  As the sensor is cropped 2x, these lenses have a 35mm focal length of 28-90mm and 90-400mm.  That’s enough reach for anyone.  With the optional Panasonic adaptor, you can mount the standard 4/3 lenses on the micro 4/3 body.

Panasonic is currently developing additional lenses in the micro 4/3 family.

Taken with 45-200 zoom, 158mm at f/4.8

Taken with 45-200 zoom, 158mm at f/4.8

Third party manufacturers are rushing out to fabricate other adaptors for the G1.  Right now there are several who are offering an adaptor to attach Leica M-mount lens to the G1.  And soon there will be an adaptor to attach Canon FD lenses to the G1.  Of course using Leica or Canon glass should render some beautiful images with good resolution.  But remember that there is no AF coupling between these camera systems so you have to manually focus the lenses.  In addition, image stabilization will also be lacking so any camera shake, especially under less than perfect lighting, may cause the image to be blurred.    But fret not, with a little practice, you should be able to manual focus.  And don’t worry about image stabilization.  You can survive without it.

In fact, you don’t have to buy any other lenses other than the two currently available.  They are both capable of good resolution with the standard 14-45mm just a little bit sharper.  But I don’t think the 45-200mm is a slacker in most situations.  But of course, it’s up to you.

Shot with 45-200mm zoom lens, 45mm at f/4

Taken with 45-200mm zoom lens, 45mm at f/4

Another plus is the auto-focus.  It is very accurate and quick to lock on the intended subject.  I had no problems even under less than ideal lighting in getting the proper focus.  I also played with the manual focus and this worked very well.  As you turn the focus ring, the EVF shows a magnified view of the subject so that is it very easy to perfectly focus the camera.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5, no post-processing

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5, no post-processing

The above photo is uncropped and has had no post-processing with software.  And the color is very accurate.  Note the shadows.  The sensor is very good at picking up the details in the darker areas of the scene.

Taken with 45-200mm, 97mm f/4.45

Taken with 45-200mm, 97mm at f/4.45

Again the above photo is a full-frame shot with good shadow detail with accurate color.  This photo is also without post-processing.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at 5/4

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at 5/4

This shot, with the boat partially in the shadow, can be difficult for some sensors to collect details in the shadow areas.  Again good detail.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5

Excellent color rendition of the dragon.  No post-processing.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at f/4

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at f/4

If there are any downsides to the G1, it’s the compactness of the camera.  Although the size makes this camera a breeze to carry, at times, you find yourself hitting switches (and changing settings) by accident.  Usually this occurs with the switches that changes from single to multiple shots, timer etc. and the tiny switch that controls the lens aperture when shooting in “A”.  This switch is built in the the top of the “grip” and it’s very easy to change your setting without realizing it.

The other weakness is that the m4/3 has very few lenses available.  Panasonic is expected to offer several other lenses in the not too distant future .   And there is always the various adaptors that allow you to use other system lenses.

If you buy into the Canon DSLR line you have access to a full range of lenses.  If you want to carry a 1000D with a 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens,  it’s up to you and your wallet.  With the G1, you don’t have that option.

However, don’t let that limitation keep you from considering this camera.  It does many things very well and I’m convinced that this camera is a keeper.

Even though I have two systems built around the Leica M8 and the Canon 5D, I will use this camera regularly.  It’s compactness and ease in use combined with good results will prompt me to carry this camera at times.

Check it out!

Written by leolaksi

January 27, 2009 at 7:20 am

Billingham 555 Camera Bag

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Large capacity

Large capacity

Billingham enjoys a reputation for being the purveyor of quality-made camera bags that should last a lifetime and look good at the same time.   This reputation is well-earned.

And if you’re looking for the ultimate large capacity bag, the 555 is it.  In addition to being well made and detailed, it’s layout and design is capable of swallowing all your gear yet look good and remain comfortable worn on your shoulder or across your chest.  It has numerous pockets that can organize your equipment so you know exactly where everything is.  We talking large voluminous pockets, zippered slit pockets, interior pockets and the Billingham Superflex insert.

Top can be configured three ways

Top can be configured three ways

The top can be configured three different ways.  When you pull back the top main flap, the zippered top is exposed and as you can see in the photo above, there is an additional handle strap.  First, you can carry the bag with the top flap cinched and shut and the zippered enclosure closed.   Or the top flap pulled back and the zippered enclosure exposed. Or the top flap closed and the zipper pulled away from its center position and tucked front and rear.  Billingham refers to this last feature as the Tuk Top.  Sounds a little complicated but in fact it’s not.

Lots of gear

Lots of gear

As you can see from the photo above, its capacity his huge.  In the main compartment is a Canon 5D with attached 17-40 mm f/4 L lens.  On one side of the camera is a 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens and on the other side is a 24-105mm f/4 L lens.  In the secondary compartment is a Canon 1V body and a 10D body.  And there is probably room for one smaller lens and of course, odd and ends.  Bottom line capacity as shown is three camera bodies, four lenses, and and miscellaneous accessories.

The only gripe I have is that in this configuration, you can not keep the 70-200mm lens attached to the camera body without reworking the interior by placing the camera on end with the lens in a horizontal position.  In doing this, the capacity isn’t quite a large and the Superflex insert quite as useful.

That gripe aside, its a wonderfully made bag that I would recommend to anyone looking for a larger bag.

Rear end

Rear end

Written by leolaksi

January 25, 2009 at 6:46 am

Posted in Photography, Travel

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