Life in the Fast Lane


My Latest Photography Find

By 9:39 AM , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The last time I really invested in anything photography-related was several years ago. Admittedly, over the past few years, photography took a backseat (or to be more accurate, inhabited a corner spot in the trunk of my metaphorical car) to a lot of other pursuits such as triathlon, which really takes up a lot of my time and resources, and traveling.

However, I've always, always been a photoholic. I'm not a photographer by any means, because this was never my profession or calling, but I've always enjoyed taking pictures; at one point in my life, I was even a borderline obsessed photography hobbyist. Most of you who've known me, or even followed me on social media through the years, have been witnesses to my incessant snapping, whether it be of food, my training and races, my family and friends, my work, and even mundane things like what's on my desk in the office.

So in my recent trip to Hong Kong, I decided that it was time to add another piece of equipment to my rapidly plateauing camera gear line-up. I wanted something that was "mid-range" in the sense that it could function like a digital SLR, but had better features than a regular point-and-shoot. My reasons for this rationale were:

  1. I already had an SLR and several lenses;
  2. I already had a regular point-and-shoot (which I hardly ever used, because my iPhone pretty much became my everyday camera);
  3. I wanted something light enough to bring on trips and when I race (I'm the unofficial photographer of my team's races, so I needed something portable enough for on-the-go shots, but something that could capture motion and zoom in on subjects from afar);
  4. I wanted something that gave me creative freedom in terms of manual manipulation (ISO, aperture, white balance, etc.) as well as the "idiot proof-ness" of a digital camera.
After scouring Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui area and comparing prices in different shops, I came upon this particular camera; ironically, in the same shop where my DSLR came from five years ago.

Meet my "new" friend, the Canon Powershot SX160 IS. I say "new", because this isn't the latest model. In fact, it's at least two years old. But I still chose it because the shop owner sold it to me for a very good price, and after testing it against other models in the shop, it just felt right (you'll know something is yours after trying it out; same principle applies to other major purchases like road bikes or even instruments). 

Here are some initial snaps taken with it from my trip to Hong Kong last week:

It was pretty rainy all throughout our stay in Hong Kong (except for our first full day there, which was extremely sunny; the total opposite). We would wake up to overcast skies and end up buying raincoats and umbrellas, seeking shelter in malls and other establishments. I quite like the wide angle lens of this camera and how it captured the rainy, gloomy vibe of Tsim Sha Tsui.

Prior to this trip, my nephew had already flown out of the country twice (once to Hong Kong, once to Singapore), so this trip was his second one to Hong Kong. But this was my family's first time flying out with him, which made it extra special. This shot was taken from a food court in Harbour City, zoomed in from the other end of a long table. I was happy that my camera could: 1) zoom in that closely; and, 2) capture motion (toddlers will be toddlers!) in dim lighting. I just wasn't able to adjust the white balance since the food court had really warm lighting fixtures all around, making this shot look like it had an orange-y filter.

An attempt at showing depth of field, taken from Tom Lee, which is my youngest brother's version of Disneyland. Every musical instrument imaginable can be found there, and coming from Manila (which, according to my brother, has a lot of catching up to do in terms of sourcing and selling instruments), a place like Tom Lee is as intimidating as it is overwhelming. I'd have loved to see more depth of field, but with a supposed aperture beginning at f/3.5, I guess this is acceptable enough.

One of the first things I experiment with when it comes to trying out cameras is a panning shot, for several reasons: 1) to test the speed of the camera; 2) to test its burst/continuous mode; 3) to see how sharp the shot/s will turn out. This was a random photo taken in Carnavaron Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, and I was happy that the camera was able to fire (pun intended) on all three counts.

Posting this photo also because I like how the camera captured the "wide angle-ness" of the scene (I don't mind distortions, personally), and I also like the colors of the dishes. My previous cameras would give me either dull, unflattering colors, or extremely warm ones that had to be toned down. In this photo are two kinds of noodle soup dishes (one with wonton, the other with beef strips) and a savory one reminiscent of Thailand's pad thai. We couldn't really identify the names of the dishes since there was no English menu and the restaurant's owners didn't speak a word of English, but all these dishes were insanely good. Hole-in-the-wall finds are my favorite places, and this random, unidentifiable (the signage was also not in English) one happened to be located right beside the store where I bought my camera from.

So far, I'm happy with the performance of this camera. I've yet to mess around with its other features (one of which being a fisheye effect, and since I like distortions, I'm definitely going to play with this feature), though, so I can't give this camera a comprehensive rating just yet.

I will, however, say that I'm not digging the fact that it only makes use of AA batteries. I'd prefer rechargeable Lithium-ion ones, which definitely last longer.

I'm also not too thrilled with the fact that I have to keep resetting the date and time of the camera settings, every time I turn it on. After much confusion and digging through photography forums, I found out that there's a separate battery within the camera just for its internal clock, which I have to replace. Once that's sorted out, I hope that I won't have to be bothered with further resets of the date and time.

I'm just happy that I have something to play with once again, and it's been years since I've been this excited about something related to cameras and photography. I feel like I'm back in the early days of owning my very first SLR more than a decade ago, when all I wanted to do back then was click, click, click.

More photos to come in succeeding entries; hopefully I'll be motivated to blog more regularly.

(Thank you to Chang of Echo Photo & Audio on Hankow Road for this great bargain and even for the freebies that came with my camera!)

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  1. Ohhh, I like it! The AA batteries threw me off for a bit but after seeing that shot of the car, that detail is forgivable. Haha!

    Mateo is sooo big na. Parang kelan lang na baby pa yan. :)

    1. Yeah, that's the only downside! After a zillion years, I'll have to invest in rechargeable AA batteries again! Hahaha!

      I know, he's so big now. I forget that he's already a year old, approaching two in a few months! :(


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