Scanning softwares (Silverfast 8, Epson scan) – Use it or not is entirely up to the workflow.

Whenever I have new developed film to scan, I would quickly fire up the Epson scan software that came bundled with my Epson V700, never giving another thought to it and proceed to scan my film.

Occasionally though I find myself thinking of using the other software that came bundled with the scanner as well – Silverfast 8 (actually, it was Silverfast 7, I was given a free upgrade to it when they offered a limited time upgrade for their bundled Silverfast 7). It is not that I haven’t tried it, but every time I have, the results were less than I had hoped.

Disclaimer: This is not a exhaustive review of Silverfast 8 – this is just to show why my film scanning workflow is setup to still use Epson scan instead of Silverfast. I know of many others online who have mastered Silverfast, and I do hope to eventually learn how to use Silverfast. 

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Last roll — Remembering the first and last one.

A beautiful symphony of red could be seen — signally the arrival of autumn and with it, all its glory. I felt the sun’s ray cast it warm glow, it felt wonderful even as the cold wind blew against my face. Its warmth filling my heart with such joy. The sky was finally clear after 2 days of gloomy weather — Today was special.

It was November in Kyoto, Japan.

It was special for other reasons too, not only was it the first break in poor weather, today would be the end of a story of mine. One that started many years ago, with pains and anguished but ultimately rewarded with joy and satisfaction. Tried as I may, there would be nothing stopping  today — both good and bad.

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Gear Review: Nikkor AF-S ED 70-300mm VR

The Nikon 70-300mm VR AF-S

Not too long ago I owned a Sigma HSM 70-200mm f/2.8, it was fast, silent and light considering the level of quality though now there are cheaper lenses with comparable features.

But even with all of that it was a burden to carry around, heavy on the shoulders and terrible on my back. After many years of use I just couldn’t bare the burden anymore and decided it was time for a change. I sold the lens and use the proceeds to buy its smaller brother while pocketing the difference for a rainy day.

Here is my review of this lens and what I think of it so far.

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Leica M9-M: First impresssions

The new Leica M9-M

I’ll be honest, I love to look at camera gear so when the chance to see the new Leica M9-M in Malaysia presented itself, I leapt at it.

Thanks to Paul who let me tag along to the latest unveiling at the Leica shop in Avenue K. It was mostly an invite only event. A lot of rich and powerful people were there and like any events with lots of rich and powerful people there was food and wine along with a lot of showing of camera bling bling. Needless to say I wish I was a grifter so I sucker them all but I disgress, the camera is the main topic.

Actually, they were unveiling 2 cameras! The Leica M9 Hermes edition and the Leica M9-M camera both at the sametime, oddly it wasn’t going sale yet. It was just an unveiling for people to looks and hopefully, reach deep into their pockets and place pre-order.

So what’s so special about the Hermes edition? It was basically a Leica M9 that comes in a nice box, has a very nice lens, and a special vulcanite and wiz bang! Here is the making of video

So now you know why they’ve justified the price tag of  USD25,000 (no that’s not a typo).

But anyway, getting back to the Leica M9-M, what about this? what’s so special about it? Well, it’s basically, Leica M9 that only shoot’s black and white but because of this and thanks to some engineering feat, it can be pushed up to ISO 10,000 (my D700 can only go up to ISO6400 as one of the regular settings but then it’s more than 3 years old). Some interesting tidbits as we were hovering around it as it sat inside it’s glass casing for all to see, they mentioned that this camera was designed to match everything Henri Cartier-Bresson would have wanted in a Leica camera (well I don’t know about that since he died more than 6 years ago and had stopped shooting photography long before then). But what would he have though of this camera? They believe so strongly that he would have loved this camera so much they even gave it the project name Henri as I was told by one of the Leica staff.

As luck would have it, I was the first one who managed to get a feel and hands-on experience after someone had accidentally spilled some wine on the glass casing and some of it was starting to seep into it so cleaning was in order and while they were doing that, I was handed the pleasure of holding it and shooting it. I noticed  the shots seems to show jagged edges when you zoomed in close enough (actually, not that much) so I supposed the sensor doesn’t have anti-aliasing filter like the D800 and Xpro-1.

The camera has literally no distinctive marking to indicate a Leica but anyone who has read about camera should more a less be able to tell that it’s a mile away. Aside from that, body wise, the handling is the same but I think it’s my imagination but the body felt lighter  than a regular Leica M9 even when using the same lens.

So what is my opinion? Does it justify it’s price tag? Does it mean it is the pinnacle of a black and white camera? Hard to tell without extensive testing and the fact that the unit I was holding now was actually heading off to China the next day. The serial number on it was “007” (heh, you really need to be Bond to own one, matches the style). Anyway, if you love black and white and have a great liking to perfection (along with heaps of cash) then yes, otherwise look else where or even the Leica MP which I had a chance to hold and try as well while I was there. Felt much nicer than the Leica M7, more heft.



the story so far in Cyprus

Been shooting film…

I’ve been meaning to do more updates but because of training that hasn’t been possible and because of that, I’ve also had very little chance for any shooting. And any shooting I do is mostly with my minolta CLE which show far has been a gem to use since it doesn’t attract so much attention so taking shots is pretty easy without anyone knowing.

Yesterday (Friday was actually a public holiday hence a long weekend), I had original opt to join a group of the other trainees from India but I pulled out last minute when I wasn’t feeling too well.

Sure it would have been cheaper to go with them yesterday but feeling down and so fourth would not have been a good idea.

Anyway, I figure since I brought so many rolls of film it would be best I try to use them instead of bringing back unused.

So far, I’ve only explored the city of Nicosia and frankly I find it rather simple, nothing really stands out and it’s pretty run down and really old.

Hopefully with the money I’ve saved so far, I can rent the car myself or hire a driver with it and head up to troodoos myself next week.

Will let you know til then.