Photo Album 2016 Week 18: Seoul – Metro Hotel Myeong-Dong Lobby

Myeongdong Metro Hotel Lobby (2016)Myeongdong Metro Hotel Lobby
Nikon D610, 29mm, f/8, 1/40, ISO 2500

I last visited Seoul in 2014. I certainly was not expecting a return this year. Nevertheless, here I was. Fortunately, things did not go the way of “more of the same” – a pleasant surprise!

Interesting note – the two hotels we stayed with do not provide any dental accessories to guests. This was surprising considering this is rather common practice among most Asian countries and how well developed the tourism industry ought to be in Korea. In fact other than that lack, every other facility of the hotels we stayed in are modern and comfortable. I suppose this would be a trait or practice unique to the hotels here.

Here we have the lobby of the Metro Hotel Myeong-Dong. While it is no luxury hotel, it is clean, comfortable, affordable, pleasingly-decorated, offers adequate services and provides a really good internet connection to guests. Convenient location within the Myeong-Dong shopping and F&B paradise plus close proximity to a subway makes it a really good deal. The default guest room could be a slight squeeze for two, but nothing that seasoned travellers could not handle. There is always an option for a larger guest room at a higher price though.

More to come on Seoul 2016.

Long-term User Review: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5 – 4.5G ED

Descending Escalator In X ShapeDescending Escalator In X
D610, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/40, ISO 100

I will start this review with a glimpse of the conclusion: Sometimes, you buy into a particular camera brand for certain advantages that you are looking for that is not available in the ecosystem of other camera brands. The AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5 – 4.5G ED (abbreviated 18-35G) is a wonder that deserves this honour in the current Nikon lineup. There is no other camera system that offers a wide-angle zoom lens covering a full-frame sensor area that can fulfill a 3X criteria of being so light-weight, so high-performing, and so affordable. Nikon FX users who are looking for a wide-angle zoom and know that you will be stopping-down most of the time, just get the 18-35G now. Continue reading “Long-term User Review: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5 – 4.5G ED”

Long-term User Review: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Lighted Path In The DarkLighted path In The Dark
Nikon D610, 50mm, f/4, 1/125, ISO 1800

To repeat myself in all my long-term review articles: This is not a scientific review with detailed graphs, charts, numbers and corner crops. There are already plenty of these on the internet. I believe those kinds of reviews fulfill a necessary function, but we don’t use our equipment in a laboratory. We use lenses to capture all manners of three-dimensional subjects in a multitude of environments at different distances under myriad lighting conditions. Since I always find myself looking for such actual end-user experience impressions, I decided to do one myself. šŸ™‚

I bought the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G (abbreviated 50G) together with the AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G ED (reviewed here) at the end of 2013, so I have been using it for more than 2 years prior to this review.
Continue reading “Long-term User Review: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G”

Long-term User Review: AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G ED

Dongdaemun Design Plaza 8Dongdaemun Design Plaza: The Most Photographed Stairs Outside
D610, 28mm, f/8, 1/100, ISO 100

To state the obvious, a long-term user review is a late one. There are already abundant reviews of this lens with detailed graphs, charts, numbers and test shots. I agree that these testing methods fulfill a necessary and much-appreciated function, but solely relying on them is too-narrow minded. We use lenses to capture all kinds of three-dimensional subjects in a multitude of environments at different distances under myriad lighting conditions. Not just in a laboratory of limited size with mundane lighting. There are also questions about rendering aesthetics, which are characteristics that cannot be scientifically measured. When searching for lens reviews, I always find myself looking for end-user-experience articles to supplement those laboratory results.

Hence I figured I should do one of my own. šŸ™‚ Continue reading “Long-term User Review: AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G ED”

Photo Album 2016 Week 2: From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

It was not a leisure trip. Just a business trip with some unfortunate long periods of waiting between transits. Throw in a 3-hour plane delay and I found myself waiting in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport for nearly 6 hours. Ouch!

Man Waiting At Airport Viewing LoungeWaiting At The Airport Viewing Gallery
Nikon D610, 28mm, f/8, 1/50, ISO 100

Continue reading “Photo Album 2016 Week 2: From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport”

Brief Review: FastStone Image Viewer, One Of The Best Free Image Viewers

FastStone-Image-Viewer-5.1
So after I upgraded to Windows 10 and ViewNX-i stopped rendering NEFs and TIFFs even though Windows Photos could. šŸ˜¦ Uurrghhhh. So for a while I was using NX-i for viewing JPEGs only, while using Windows Photos to view NEFs and TIFFs. Not an ideal solution, as the rendering is not optimized and it is slower.

Eventually I found FastStone Image Viewer. I will get to the conclusion right away – if you are looking for a fast, free and well-designed image viewer, just get this now. Continue reading “Brief Review: FastStone Image Viewer, One Of The Best Free Image Viewers”

Photo Album Week 44-2: Two From Singapore’s 50th National Day. And How Good Is The Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G?

Yes, this post is horribly belated. After all national day is on 9 August. I didn’t have a lot of good pictures from national day, since most images look too clichĆ© and the weather was relatively poor – cloudy, hazy with light drizzle. Only two images from SG50!

Tribute To Lee Kuan Yew In SG50 National Day Parade

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew In Singapore National Day SG50 CelebrationsNikon D610, 50mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 450

The founding leader and first prime minister Continue reading “Photo Album Week 44-2: Two From Singapore’s 50th National Day. And How Good Is The Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G?”

Review: Migration To Windows 10 For Photography

While watching some online photography videos, I noticed that several photographers are still running Windows 7 even though the Windows 8 travesty has been officially buried by Windows 10, which has been available as a free upgrade for a while. Perhaps they are wary of the compatibility and stability of their post-processing software in the new operating system, so caution is chosen as the best course of action.

It could be sheer recklessness. It could be healthy confidence after hearing all the success stories from other users. It could be just stupid curiosity. At any rate, with an unexpected dose of bravery and nonchalance, I upgraded my PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Continue reading “Review: Migration To Windows 10 For Photography”

How Many Megapixels Are Enough? A Look At 24 MP

I recall that less than a decade ago, a DSLR with 12 megapixels of resolution was regarded as an object of wonder. Today the highest megapixel resolution on a 35mm body has reached a staggering 50+ megapixels. Like a cult of lemmings, photography gear-geeks are already positioning the new number as the new objective their next camera should attain to, or overcome. Continue reading “How Many Megapixels Are Enough? A Look At 24 MP”

Comparison Of RAW Converters For Nikon

2018 July update: We have a new winner. DXO PhotoLab is my new RAW conversion champion for Nikon NEFs! See the details here.

2016 November update: Added observations for DXO Optics Pro 11

A RAW file contain so much more image data than a JPEG file. Most serious enthusiasts and professional photographers shoot in RAW to extract the most out of a photographic imageĀ during post-processing. RAW conversion is the very first step in the work-flow with raw files, so it should be obvious how important this initial process is. Get a flawed result from thisĀ initial step at the start and the implications will affect all subsequent post-processing efforts. Continue reading “Comparison Of RAW Converters For Nikon”