Canon ME20F-SH and ME200S-SH Multi-Purpose Cameras

Canon recently announced two new multi-purpose cameras to Canon’s diverse range of cameras and lenses, the Canon ME20F-SH and ME200-SH. Being a multi-purpose camera, they can be used for videography and photography purposes.

At a recent media presentation by Canon Singapore, I got the opportunity to attend, to witness for myself, the Canon ME20F-SH in action inside a studio whereby it was pitch dark and the human eyes can’t see what was in front, yet the Canon ME20F-SH was able to see it and projected the image on a 4K TV. The low light sensitivity is amazing!

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A multi-purpose camera, that can be put to great use by both filmmakers, videographers, documentary producers, photographers, institutions. Coming from a photographer perspective (the 2 multi-purpose cameras can attach EF lenses, makes it easy for photographers to use them), it would really be awesome to use these multi-purpose cameras in photography exploration inside the world’s largest cave in Vietnam, Hang Son Doong, there would be a really amazing photography and video adventure with the Canon multi-purpose cameras! Imagine a scenario with the Canon ME20F-SH on the ground level taking photography stills/videos and the Canon ME200-SH mounted on a drone doing the other half of the action in the air!

Here are two videos on YouTube that shows the Canon ME20F-SH in action, take a look at them!

Exclusive AURORA SkyCam

Video produced by Canon Marketing Japan

Let me share key information of the two multi-purpose cameras ME20F-SH and ME200-SH from the press release information below:

Canon ME20F-SH

This high-sensitivity camera is capable of delivering exceptional imaging performance when capturing Full HD video, even with a subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux[1] (near pitch dark). This is made possible with its impressive gain setting[2] of up to 75 dB, and an ISO sensitivity of over 4 million.

ME20F-SH (5)

Canon’s multi-purpose camera employs an enhanced version of the 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor for Full HD video usage that was developed by the company in 2013[3]. While capturing videos in low-light conditions often require the use of infrared illumination – a technique that only yields video in black and white, the ME20F-SH achieves impressive low-light performance retaining Full HD videos in colour with reduced noise in low-light conditions without the need for infrared illumination. This makes the ME20F-SH uniquely suited for situations such as shooting wildlife documentaries or surveillance. By enabling video capture in low-light scenarios under which subjects are difficult to discern with the naked eye, the ME20F-SH makes image capture possible even in challenging environments.

“The ME20F-SH is a game changer with its unrivalled ISO sensitivity of over 4 million, capable of capturing full colour HD footage of scenes too dark for the naked eye to discern. This spells limitless possibilities for users who require top-of-the-range equipment to capture high quality professional footage in environments with minimum illumination, such as wildlife documentaries or underwater videography.” said Edwin Teoh, Head of Marketing, Singapore Operations, Canon Singapore.

Ultra-sensitive CMOS sensor enhances colour video capture in low-light conditions

The ME20F-SH’s CMOS sensor has pixels measuring 19 μm square[4], which is more than 7.5 times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor featured in Canon’s top-of-the-line EOS-1D X (released in June 2012), and other digital SLR cameras. The sensor’s pixels and readout circuitry uses Canon proprietary technologies to achieve reduced noise, enabling it to detect subjects illuminated at less than 0.0005 lux[5].

Similar to Canon’s Cinema EOS System professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH is equipped with Canon Log and Wide DR gamma, enabling it to deliver excellent image quality videos consistently, across a range of lighting situation.

Canon ME200-SH

With its compactness, the ME200S-SH can be accompanied with a range of drones and gimbal systems. It can also be used as a sub-camera for video production in locations where portability is important. Easily compatible with peripheral equipment such as pan tilt zoom remote heads, the multi-purpose camera is also suitable for use in surveillance applications as well.

ME200S-SH (4)

“Crafted with versatility in mind and geared to meet the needs of professional users, the ME200S-SH combines stunning imaging performance with its compact design to create the perfect camera for shooting a myriad of scenarios and styles. With the flexibility to link up with a variety of peripheral units, the ME200S-SH will deliver high quality professional footages, even in challenging environments.” said Edwin Teoh, Head of Marketing, Singapore Operations, Canon Singapore.

Enhanced video imaging quality

Equipped with Canon’s Super-35mm CMOS image sensor (effective pixels of approx. 8.29 megapixels) and DIGIC DV4 for enhanced arithmetic processing capacity, the ME200S-SH produces excellent video quality with fewer occurrences of colour artefacts, moiré, and jaggies[6].

With a minimum subject illumination of 0.015 lux or less[7] and a maximum gain[8] of 56 dB (equivalent to ISO speed of approximately 200,000), the ME200S-SH is able to shoot clear videos with significantly reduced noise in low-light environments. Furthermore, the use of Canon Log with its wide dynamic range and Wide DR gamma allows users to shoot with smoother gradations while alleviating blown-out highlights and loss of shadow details.

Product Specifications

ME20F-SH

Image sensor 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor (single), effective pixel count: approx. 2.26 million pixels
Minimum subject illumination Less than 0.0005 lux (at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4 million)
Lens mount Canon EF mount (Cinema Lock type)
Optical filters ND filter with 2 density levels (motorized manual / auto)

IR cut filter (motorized manual)

Frame rates 59.94P / 59.94i / 50.00P / 50.00i / 29.97P / 25.00P / 23.98P
Gamma Canon Log, Wide DR, etc.
Video output terminals 3G / HD-SDI BNC jack (output only)

Terminal count: 2

1080P / 1080i / 720P

HDMI HDMI[1] connector (output only)
Genlock terminal BNC jack (input only)
Remote terminal φ2.5 mm stereo mini-mini-jack (Canon-proprietary protocol)

Round 8-pin jack (for RS-422, Canon-proprietary protocol)

Microphone terminal φ3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
AF One-shot AF
Auto-exposure Combined interlocking (iris / gain / ND / shutter)
White balance AWB, color-temperature setting (setting range: 2000 to 15000 degrees Kelvin), natural light, light bulb, Setting A, Setting B
Digital teleconverter 2x, 4x
Power input 4-pin XLR DC11-17V

Terminal block 2-pin jack DC11-17V

Operating temperature 0 degrees C to 40 degrees C
Body dimensions Approx. 102 mm (w) x 116 mm (h) x 113 mm (d) (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx. 1.1 kg (body only)

[1] HDMI, the HDMI logo and the High-Definition Multimedia Interface are brands and registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing, LLCT

ME200-SH

Image sensor Size: Super 35 mm CMOS image sensor
No. of effective pixels: Approx. 8.29 megapixels
Minimum subject illumination Less than 0.015 lux (at maximum 56dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of 204,800)
Lens mount Canon EF mount (Cinema Lock type)
Optical filters ND filter with 2 density levels (motorized manual / auto)

IR cut filter (motorized manual)

Frame rates 59.94P / 59.94i / 50.00P / 50.00i / 29.97P / 25.00P / 23.98P
Gamma Canon Log, Wide DR, etc.
Video output terminals 3G / HD-SDI BNC jack (output only)

Terminal count: 2

1080P / 1080i / 720P

HDMI HDMI* connector (output only)
Genlock terminal BNC jack (input only)
Remote terminal φ2.5 mm stereo mini-mini-jack (Canon-proprietary protocol)

Round 8-pin jack (for RS-422, Canon-proprietary protocol)

Microphone terminal φ3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
AF Continuous AF(Dual Pixel CMOS)/One-Shot AF
Auto-exposure Combined interlocking (iris / gain / ND / shutter)
White balance AWB, color-temperature setting (setting range: 2000 to 15000 degrees Kelvin), natural light, light bulb, Setting A, Setting B
Digital teleconverter 2x, 4x, 8x
Power input 2 inputs (4-pin XLR or  2-pin power connector)

DC +11V to +17V; power consumption: approx. 11W (body only)

Operating temperature 0 degrees C to 40 degrees C
Body dimensions Approx. 102 mm (w) x 116 mm (h) x 113 mm (d) (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx.1.0kg (body only)

 

Price and Availability

The Canon ME20F-SH will be available from May 2016 at a recommended retail price of $31,029.

The Canon ME200S-SH will be available from August 2016 and its pricing will be advised at a later date.

I would like to thank Canon Singapore for the invitation to the media presentation and to catch a view the Canon ME20F-SH in action.

* Information and pictures courtesy of Canon Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations *

[1] Compliant with the specification method for CCTV devices (TTR-4602B) issued by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). Theoretical value based on the following shooting conditions: colour, no light accumulation, f/1.2, 30P, 50 IRE

[2] Gain represents the level that the output signal from a pixel has been amplified, measured in decibels (dB). Increases in gain value enable image capture in darker conditions

[3] For more information, please refer to the press release announced on March 4, 2013, available on the Canon Global website: http://www.canon.com/news/2013/mar04e.html

[4] 1 μm (micrometer) equals one millionth of a meter

[5] (E.G.) Environments lit by artificial illumination or under a moonless night sky

[6] The informal name for artefacts in raster images, most frequently from aliasing, which in turn is often caused by non-linear mixing effects producing high-frequency components or missing or poor anti-aliasing filtering prior to sampling.

[7] Compliant with the specification method for CCTV devices (TTR-4602B) issued by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). Theoretical value based on the following shooting conditions: colour, no light accumulation, f/1.2, 30P, 50 IRE

[8] Gain indicates the power of amplitude of a signal output from the pixels. Units are in decibels (dB). Increasing the gain setting value makes it possible to shoot in dark locations.

It’s been 10 years!

In the past few months, I was pretty engrossed in business planning for the future and I am also taking a break (physically, mentally and emotionally) from my recent issues that I faced at my previous work place. A milestone in my life took place that I kind of completely forgotten about it, with the help of LinkedIn, I realised that it’s been 10 years! Wait, what is this 10 years all about?

First and foremost, I have been taking photographs for more than 10 years, probably 30 years (Not Out and still counting) since I played with a film SLR camera when I was in primary school. The 10 years is for my photography site – http://www.photojournalist-tgh.tv. My ‪photography website/blog was born on 10th April 2006 when I started off using blogspot. As my photography site grew and expanded, it was time to have my own domain and hosting, officially migrating and starting on 7th October 2008.

Fast forward and in the blink of an eye, my photography journeys and adventures there had took a span of 10 years (not out and still counting!!) An amazing journey, full of ups and downs, good times and bad times. I had grown, learned and improved over these 10 years. Years 2014 (Hokkaido) and 2015 (Straits Times newspaper feature) were two important events in my photography adventures that were very key significant milestones in my photography.

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What does the future holds for my photography website/blog? I am still learning, growing, exploring my photography. This country road in Hokkaido reflects a lot of my thoughts and feelings, the road beyond the bend, cannot be seen from where I took this photograph. Some of my goals are like the beautiful mountain landscapes behind, the various number of mountain peaks are like the different goals that I set for myself. I have to travel past the bend and find my way up to the mountain peaks. The journeys ahead are never easy, the excitement, growth, learning and achievements will be priceless when I conquer the mountain peaks!

This will keep growing and be up to date, an avenue where I share a lot of my personal photography adventures, coverage, news and industry updates. In an upcoming post, I would share about my personal photography projects that I am going to document and photograph in the next few months. In the aspects of my photography business, when the time is ripe and appropriate, I would make the announcement.

I am very thankful and grateful for all my family,relatives, friends and supporters that had played an integral and important part of my photography adventures here. These 10 years had been a very humbling experience, from both a personal and photographer perspectives. I met many different kinds of photographers and people from many different walks of life. Over these 10 years, I had made, grown and established some great friendships and partnerships with photographers, friends and institutions, all in the name of photography, documentation and sharing. Although I had some small success and achievements, I will always remind myself to stay grounded, be humble, keep learning and improving as a person, as a photographer.

Thank you everybody once again from the bottom of my heart!

You’ll Never Walk Alone!

The story of my second hand Canon EOS 1DX

My first encounter with the Canon EOS 1D series family DSLR cameras took place many years back, with the Canon EOS 1D Mark I and II N models. I was amazed by their powerful technical specifications and capabilities. The 1D series is their flagship DSLR camera and I was mesmerised by them. Over time, I managed to get hold of a second hand Canon EOS 1D Mark III in mint condition around November 2010.

That was the beginning of some very exciting and interesting photography adventures and journeys. The 1D Mark III was my workhorse camera, pushing it to the limits in sports, events and wildlife photography. On 18th October 2011, I still remember this day when I witnessed the announcement of the Canon EOS 1DX. When it was launched, I was blown away again, I told myself, I hope to own it one day in the future. I also had a great opportunity to review the Canon EOS 1DX, at the end of it, I was convinced this is the DSLR camera that I really wanted. Although I can’t afford it during that time, I always wanted it inside my heart.

Even though mirrorless cameras made quite a bit of headways into the camera markets over the years, in my personal humble opinion, they were still unable to take over and replace the role of the DSLR camera in my own particular photography adventures and journeys.

As time flies, the rumours came flying in during the year 2015, on a new Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. Therefore, I started saving my money for about 1/1/2 years from late 2014 till February 2016. My plan was to own a second hand Canon EOD 1DX eventually. The Canon EOS 1DX Mark II was announced and this was a real beauty, a powerful monster camera! It would be really awesome to own the latest Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, however, with budget constraints and prudent planning. I decided to opt for a used Canon EOS 1DX (It’s still just as good for my usage!)

I began to start looking around for people selling off their Canon EOS 1DX, there weren’t many of them to start off with also. Some of their prices weren’t attractive and it took them a while to go down even with the announcement of the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. I continued waiting and searching for that 1DX that meets my price and requirements. I wasn’t sure when I would be getting it, I just waited. The omens and signs were beckoning towards the arrival of the 1DX, at the most recent Canon Seminar 2016 on 16th April, I collected some free gifts, a Canon PhotoMarathon 2014 polo tee that has a 1DX printed on it and somehow, I was lucky to get a 1DX camera strap!

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On a Wednesday 20th April evening, I was tipped off by a fellow photographer friend that he was going to buy a second hand 1DX and the seller has a friend that was also selling a 1DX too! The price was within my limits and it came with some free gifts too! Some quick liaisons and I was on my way to take over the Canon EOS 1DX on the next day, Thursday night. A very special Thursday 21st April night for 4 photographers, 2 that sold away their 1DX sets, 2 of us that took over them.

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A new 2nd hand to take over the old 2nd hand. The handing over of an era for me. The wait was worth it and it took me approximately 1/1/2 years to save up for this new 2nd hand investment.

Thank you very much, my Canon EOS 1D Mark III, thank you for your service, hard work, sweat and battle scars. You have served me very well over the past 5 years and 5 months from November 2010. It’s time to retire you and let you go.

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Now let me introduce the Canon EOS 1DX, that is taking over the workhorse DSLR role for my photography adventures and journeys ahead.

Fiery Sunset in Singapore – 15th April 2016

On the 15th April 2016, I was planning to catch the Violah! French Festival Singapore 2016 opening performance – Lumineoles Ballet at the Marina Bay Sands area. I decided to drop by Marina Bay and Marina Bay Sands earlier to capture some landscape shots of the area even though I had been photographing and documenting for more than 10 years and still counting!

The weather was great, beautiful blue and gorgeous clouds, it was just as hot and humid in the late afternoon leading up to the sunset. I had managed to capture some nice Marina Bay landscapes with this great weather, the sunset in Singapore on 15th April 2016 left a deep impression inside me. The sunset was magnificent, it was fiery, it was really beautiful. Such great sunset moment don’t come often, I was really blessed and happy that I managed to witness and photographed this fiery sunset in Singapore on 15th April 2016.

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This is a priceless moment and I am there to witness it! Another awesome addition to my sunset collection! When would I get another priceless sunset moment again? I don’t know, I would just keep photographing and let the moment appear!

Canon EOS 80D Review (Part 1)

The Canon EOS 80D is one of the most recent Canon cameras releases in 2016, it was announced on 18th February 2016, grabbing some attention and limelight from the photography community. The Canon EOS 80D is now available in the market and I had the chance to have a short hands on experience to do a review of the EOS 80D. Since I only had it for a short period of five days, I couldn’t do a much more thorough review of the Canon EOS 80D and I have to wait for another opportunity in the near future to continue with the part 2 of my EOS 80D review.

EOS 80D kit lens (4)

Source: Canon Singapore

In this part 1 of my Canon EOS 80D review within a short period of 5 days, I tried my best to cover a few different areas with the EOS 80D, with emphasis on the following areas for my part 1 review –

1) AF Speed and 45 cross-type AF points

One of the key improvements in the Canon EOS 80D is the 45 cross-type AF points and the AF speed. The AF is significantly faster than the EOS 70D, the predecessor to the EOS 80D. Along with the 45 cross-type AF points, it makes the job of the photographer a lot easier and faster to track, lock focus and capture the moment. This would be very ideal and useful for events photography.

For my part 2 review, I hope to test out EOS 80D capability on Dual cross-type focusing at f/2.8 with center AF point.(AF group: When Group A lenses are used)

2) 4 types of AF area selection mode

Inside the Canon EOS 80D, there is a new AF area selection mode, the large zone AF beside the other three AF areas selection mode that are present in the current/newer Canon EOS DSLRs line up.

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Source: Canon USA

I like the large zone AF, selected this AF area selection mode with AI servo AF on moving objects, coupled with the AF speed, I had mixed experiences with this, large moving objects had no issue and it was locked focused pretty fast. However, for small objects such as a small bird and at a far distance away, it was a challenge and sometimes it couldn’t lock focus properly on the small bird. For this aspect, I hope to explore this area in more details during my part 2 review, applying in evetns/sports/fast moving and on birding photography (big and small birds).

3) 24.2MP CMOS sensor with Digic 6 imaging processor

The beauty of the Digic 6 imaging processor and the 24.2MP CMOS sensor, clean, sharp, colours and details.

4) Noise level @ ISO 16,000

I took the EOS 80D out on night photo walks, testing out at ISO 16,000. The noise level is visible yet it is not too noisy in my personal humble opinion. I did a comparison with the EOS 70D, predecessor to the EOS 80D, the noise level performance is a lot better than at EOS 70D ISO 12,800. Photos at ISO 16,000 shot with the Canon EOS 80D can be seen in my 500px and Flickr photography collection.

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5) Interactive and informative LCD screen

The LCD screen of the Canon EOS 80D gets much clearer, sharper, easier to navigate (touch screen) and use for the photographer. There is also a good amount of information on the LCD screen display that you can scroll up and down when viewing the photos that you took.

6) EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, the bokeh, sharpness and softness at 135mm @ f/5.6 wide open

The EF-S family of lenses had improved a lot since I first used the EF-S lens 18-55mm lens on the Canon EOS 300D. The EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens is a pretty good and affordable lens for travel and events usage, not too big and heavy too. The IS capability is good when taking photographs in low light situation with a slow shutter speed (in the absence of a tripod). I hope to a produce a short video clip using this lens, showcasing how it would perform in videography/movie making mode.

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During the cherry blossom event inside Flower Dome at Gardens By The Bay, I brought it there for a night sakura flowers shoot, the Canon EOS 80D with EF-S 18-135mm lens. Shooting at full open f/5.6 and focal length 135mm, this combination produced some nice photos of the sakura flowers. The bokeh is pretty smooth (not at the top end “bokehlicious” level that some photographers would define it) and the photos are quite sharp (not tack sharp though, some signs of softness).

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You can view some of my photography works on 500px and Flickr that I shot with the Canon EOS 80D review unit and the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. I am looking to continue with part 2 of the Canon EOS 80D review at a later date when I am able to have the EOS 80D for a longer period of time for review.

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During my short 5 days stint with the Canon EOS 80D, I managed to get a grasp of some of the capabilities, pros and cons of this DSLR camera. If you are currently using an entry level DSLR and wish to upgrade to the next level, the Canon EOS 80D is highly recommended.

I would like to thank Canon Singapore for this review opportunity and Ogilvy Public Relations for the review opportunity arrangement.

The Canon EOS 80D is now available at all authorised Canon dealers at the following prices –

Equipment Price
EOS 80D kit III (EF S18-200 IS) $2,299.00
EOS 80D kit II (EF S18-135 IS USM) $2,249.00
EOS 80D kit (EF S18-55 IS STM) $1,849.00
EOS 80D body $1,649.00
EF S18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS USM $899.00

Created with flickr slideshow.

OBS @ Coney by 2020

Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) recently announced that they will be embarking on an expansion plan to increase their current capacity, facilities and students intake with the building of the new OBS campus at Coney Island, just across the waterway from Pulau Ubin where the existing OBS Camp 1 and 2 are located.

It is great news to hear that the government is going to expand the capacity of OBS, encouraging more students and young adults to join the OBS outdoor activities whereby they can learn life skills, such as leadership, teamwork, friendship, independence etc through outdoor experiential learning activities. Coming from me with a love for outdoors and outdoor experiential activities from my Scouting days with the Dragon Scout Group, outdoor recreation and experiential activities need to have greater significance and importance because our current generation (and future generation) is more into technology/gadgets than going to the outdoors. While I love my technology and gadgets, I do try to strike a balance by going to the outdoors as much as I could!

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Source: OBS/NYC

With the expansion of OBS @ Coney by 2020, this will allow OBS to handle 45,000 youths every year from the current 14,000 students. Having more youths learning at OBS outdoor adventure education is greatly beneficial for them and their future personal development.

Outdoor adventure education (OAE) can help our youths become future-ready by:

  1. a) Building their confidence and resilience;
  2. b) Enabling them to value diversity through in-depth interaction opportunities;
  3. c) Forging camaraderie through common challenging experiences; and
  4. d) Laying a foundation for active and healthy living.

Source: OBS/NYC Factsheet

The OBS @ Coney campus will occupy a 12ha or about 10% of Coney Island, located in the Southeastern part. It is going to be rustic and blend in as much as possible to the natural surroundings. Even though OBS is going to build a campus at Coney Island, this beautiful island is still open to the public!

Check out the pictures below for more details –

OBS @ Coney 1

Enlarged aerial view of OBS @ Coney Island

OBS @ Coney 2

Artist impression of OBS @ Coney Island

Source: OBS / NYC

Not too long ago, I went along for two OBS activities, OBS Nature Appreciation Programme – Ubin Trail and SGFuture at Coney Island. OBS programmes don’t just do confidence courses, rope courses, they are also teaching the youths on the importance of the environment, to take care of the environment, to be responsible for the environment and the future.

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I sincerely hope that more youths can attend OBS with the expansion of OBS @ Coney by 2020, especially for those students/youths that do not join uniformed groups in their schools. The beautiful outdoors and outdoor adventure experiential education can help a person grow, mature and develop their personal development, leadership, friendship, resilience and independence.

F-Stop Loka Review

Photographers, let me ask you a question, how many different types of photography bags do you have? I realised that I do have a number of different types and sizes of photography bags over the years, from sling/messenger bags to backpacks.

First and foremost, let me consolidate my very own photography bags listing that I had used over the (probably last 10?) years that I had been photographing

  • Crumpler Wonder Weenie Messenger Bag with Crumpler bunion insert (still around after more than 10 years already!)
  • Crumpler photography backpacks x 2 (gave away)
  • Crumpler Messenger Bag (gave away)
  • Safrotto photography backpack for big prime lens (traded away)
  • Manfrotto Bravo 50 camera backpack (gave away)
  • Kata 3N1-33 DL photography backpack
  • Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Bag (Messenger Bag)
  • Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag
  • Manfrotto Roller Pro VII Black Case
  • F-Stop Loka camera backpack

* Camera bags listing correct as of, when this article was prepared and written*

There is a camera bag for each different photography purpose/assignment/requirement, a camera bag for each occasion. While I do have extra bags in certain areas e.g. camera messenger bags, it is still useful to have backups and rotate the bags! Camera bags are like big and small accessories for the photographer, we really want to have more different kind of camera bags!

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Finding my ideal camera bag took me quite some time before I am kind of settled down with camera bags that I really wanted and suits my photography assignment and needs. The F-Stop Loka photography backpack is at the moment my best camera bag investment till date. Although the F-Stop Loka that I bought was a used camera backpack that I took over from fellow photographer friend Weili of ByTheWei, this camera bag was something that I never regret buying (not like some of the other camera bags).

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The Loka camera backpack is well designed and well thought out. It is also very comfortable with its back padding, making it ideal and excellent for carrying my Canon DSLRs, big prime lens (300mm f/2.8) and my other lenses (70-200mm f4 and 17-40mm f4) during my wildlife/birding/sports photography. These equipment setup can be really heavy and taxing on my shoulders, neck and back, therefore, a sturdy and reliable camera backpack like the F-Stop Loka really does the trick and work for us “heavy duty” photographers.

IMG_9135It is ideal for overseas travel, the size and length of the Loka camera backpack fits the carrier hand-carry luggage size (just don’t squeeze too many stuff and fill the Loka camera backpack to the brim). Currently, I am considering to use it for my local photography usage and not just overseas travel usage because of its excellent padding and support for my shoulders and back (even though it does look a bit big when I use it for the smaller events photography coverage here). The Loka camera backpack can be configured with the purchase of additional internal compartment units (ICU) that can be fitted into the F-Stop Loka camera backpack. I currently have two ICUs for my Loka camera backpack, for lightweight/travel and heavy duty photography requirements.

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Photography by Renhao

Since I like my F-Stop Loka camera backpack so much, I did two photography profile shoots by fellow photographer friends Renhao and Jensen, docked in my wildlife photographer gear setup and outdoors clothing/hat. I might have just created my own photographer branding and trademark profile with my F-Stop Loka camera backpack, outdoors apparel and my Canon photography gears setup! At the moment, the F-Stop Loka has met most (if not all) of my different types of photography needs and requirements, maybe in the future, I might have the need for the F-Stop Mountain series camera backpacks. Sometimes, I found that unzipping the back padding and followed by unzipping the ICU, it can be quite a hassle since the ICU is designed to fit in very nicely inside the Loka camera backpack. I hope I can get used to unzipping it without too much hassles! The F-Stop Loka camera backpack is an excellent and lightweight, ideal for most photography assignments and travel photography. If you are planning for extra heavy duty and extreme outdoors photography, do take a look at their F-Stop Mountain Series camera backpacks!

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Photography by Jensen

The prices of the F-Stop series of camera backpacks can be pricey and on the high side, on top of that, you still have to factor in the costs for additional ICUs for your F-Stop camera backpack. Personally, in my humble opinion, the F-Stop camera backpack is worth the (photography accessories) investment that you will not regret. For your information, the Loka has now been replaced by the Loka UL!

In Singapore, F-Stop equipment are not that common and it can be pretty hard to find a retail outlet that carry F-Stop equipment and also have stock. Therefore, it might be easier to purchase it online from F-Stop website. Alternatively, if you are traveling out for holidays, you can check out the camera shops in the country that you are visiting (they might have it).

I am excited with my F-Stop Loka camera backpack investment and I am looking forward to many photography adventures together with it!

Canon launched imagePROGRAF PRO-500

Canon recently launched a new professional printer, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500, an A2 professional photo printer. This would definitely interest photographers, both professionals and serious enthusiasts if they are looking for a photo printer that is able to print up to A2 size. I personally reviewed the Canon PIXMA PRO-1o photo printer before and owned the PIXMA PRO-10 too! Therefore, I do have experiences with the Canon photo printers that would cater to both professional and serious enthusiast photographers.

Let me share with you more information and details on the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-500 A2 professional photo printer from the press release information below ~

Canon launched the new imagePROGRAF PRO-500, an A2 professional photo printer capable of delivering exhibition-ready prints using Canon’s latest printing technologies. Equipped with a new print head, improved ink set, and extensive support for Fine Art paper media, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500 ensures stunning image quality for photographers who demand the highest print quality. Coupled with its Wi-Fi capability, photographers can easily transfer files for print directly.

“With its top-of-the-line capabilities and advanced photo printing performance, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500 is designed to bring out the intricate details and rich hues in images taken by professional cameras. This will enable imaging professionals to achieve premium quality large format print outs while maintaining colour stability,” said Edwin Teoh, Head of Marketing, Singapore Operations, Canon Singapore.

True-to-life images perfect for exhibits

The imagePROGRAF PRO-500 is powered by a new 1.28-inch print head and equipped with an incredible 18,432 ink nozzles, enabling it to produce a colour A2 print in just six minutes on the ultra-glossy Canon Pro Platinum photo paper.

Coupled with its enlarged (compared to Canon’s A3 photo printers) ink cartridge capacity of 80ml, photographers and artists can easily and efficiently produce high quality A2-size photos with true colour fidelity in reproduction that stands up to the rigorous standards ideal for gallery exhibitions.

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New inks for smooth, detailed gradations

Equipped with the new LUCIA PRO 11-colour plus Chroma Optimizer ink system which features a new pigment ink formulation, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500 has an expanded output colour gamut of up to 19 percent over the PIXMA PRO-1. The density of ink droplet placement brings about greater gloss uniformity and reduces bronzing. The inclusion of four monochrome inks – Matte Black, Photo Black, Gray, and Photo Gray deliver enhanced black density, better colour gradient consistency, and shadow detail reproduction in darker areas for a vivid and intense print. With the addition of a dedicated Blue ink, reproduction of dark blue areas are also enhanced. Similarly, matte Black and Photo Black inks also have dedicated channels now. This eliminates the need for the printer to switch between ink cartridges when changing media types, thereby improving efficiency and the usage experience when printing.

To support the work of photographers in creating dynamic photo expression with different textures and substrates, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500 supports an extensive range of paper media from Canon and other media partners, including Hahnemuhle, and Canson Infinity fine art media types.

When paired with select Canon photo papers such as the Photo Paper Pro Platinum and Photo Paper Pro Luster, the LUCIA PRO ink system delivers extended print longevity and colour stability of up to 200 years when stored in an album.

Advanced processor and engine design for greater efficiency

The imagePROGRAF PRO-500 boasts Canon’s next generation processing engine L-COA PRO, which improves overall balance of inks, and precision in placement of ink droplets. This powerful processor enables high speed processing of very large image files for high resolution prints quickly and efficiently.

The printer comes with an integrated Air Feeding System that creates a vacuum under the media to prevent papers from rising during printing. This results in greater accuracy of paper feeding and ink placement, which reduces incidences of print head strike especially for thicker media, where there may be a possibility of adverse impact on print.

With a built-in Colour Density Sensor, users can easily perform colour calibration without the need for any additional peripheral devices. This helps to prevent colour variation differences caused by normal device aging or hardware differences. The process can be initiated through the printer’s LCD display, or through the included software suite.

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Print Studio Pro plugin for Adobe Photoshop

To assist the print process following post-editing work in applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Digital Photo Professional (included with Canon EOS digital single-lens reflex cameras), Print Studio Pro v 2.0 plug-in is bundled with every imagePROGRAF PRO-500.

The 16-bit processing engine transfers image data seamlessly to the printer while retaining original image characteristics. The printing workflow is highly streamlined, keeping productivity at optimal levels by maintaining a familiar user interface that offers immense ease of use, ensuring a superior user experience from shoot, post-editing, to print.

Flexible device management

For professionals, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500 can be managed remotely using the Canon Device Management Console. Detailed settings may be exported for configuration to other units and ensure consistency of print quality. The Accounting Manager allows users to track the cost of every print job by accounting for every sheet of paper and volume of ink.

With its combination of speed, power and precision, the imagePROGRAF PRO-500 stands as a perfect complement to the true craftsman, bringing the finest of inkjet printing technology into the modern digital darkroom for professional photographers and digital artists.

Pricing[1] and availability

The imagePROGRAF PRO-500 is now available at Canon authorised dealers at the recommended price of $1,899.

[1] Prices are estimated retail prices and are subject to change at any time without notice. Actual processes are set by individual dealers and may varies.

Product specifications

Dimensions (WxDxH): approx. 723 x 433 x 285mm
Photo Print Speed (A2): approx. 6 mins

(Borderless: Photo Paper Pro Platinum PT-101)

Photo Print Speed (A2): approx. 3 mins 35 secs

(Borderless: Photo Paper Pro Luster LU-101)

Mobile Printing[1]: AirPrint, Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY, PRO Gallery Print
Cloud Printing: AirPrint, Canon PRINT Inkjet/SELPHY, PRO Gallery Print

Cloud Printing: PIXMA Cloud Link

Key features: LUCIA PRO 12-ink system, L-COA processor, Wired/Wireless LAN*¹, 3” LCD display, 80ml ink cartridges, air (vacuum) feeding, non-firing nozzle detection and compensation, built-in colour calibration, straight paper path feeding

[1] Wireless printing requires a working network with wireless 802.11 b/g/n capability. Wireless performance may vary based on terrain and distance between the printer and wireless network clients.

*Information and pictures courtesy of Canon Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations*

OBS Nature Appreciation Programme – Ubin Trail

The March one week school holiday break is a good time for the children, teenagers to have a good break and rest from their studies. This school holiday break is ideal for outdoors activities for the young adults, teenagers, young children and their families too. During the March 2016 holiday break, Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) organised a number of nature appreciation programme from 14th to 18th March 2016, there were all interesting and I managed to set aside time to join one of their nature appreciation programme, the Ubin Trail. The Ubin trail is a short, interesting, interactive and experiential nature walk, covering aspects of Ubin’s history, geography and ecology. The Ubin trail is very experiential in nature, with participants learning through sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

We boarded the boat service from Punggol End jetty to OBS, it was a short ferry ride across the sea from mainland Singapore. Upon reaching OBS, I took a good look at the OBS facilities because this was my first time to OBS! Thereafter, we went into one of the training rooms for a short introduction and briefing on the Ubin Trail programme. At the training room, I was surprised to see a friend, Hang Chong, it was good to see him again! During our chat, I got to know that he would be one of the two instructors for the Ubin Trail. Immediately, I knew that the participants will be in good hands because Hang Chong is very experienced and knowledgable in nature and conservation. The other instructor is Mr Wong, very knowledgable and experienced in nature and conservation too!

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After the introduction and briefing, the participants were split into two equal size groups. Since I knew Hang Chong personally, I decided to follow his group, consisting of a mix of teenagers, young children and their parents. The Ubin Trail was indeed experiential, the group had a number of hands on learning, through looking, hearing, smelling and touching the natural surroundings. Hang Chong was really awesome with the young children, they were attentive, participating and asking Hang Chong many questions on nature and conservation. From learning about the mangrove swamp, its importance and significance to finding rubber trees, tapping the rubber trees to see the sap flowing out from the tree bark, spotting spiders, civet cat poo and wild mushrooms, listening to the birds chirping inside the forest area. It was indeed an experiential nature experience for the group of teenagers, young children and their parents.

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Around 2 hours of experiential Ubin Trail, the group headed back to OBS grounds, into the training room for a short debrief session. This was the time for a rest and tea break, to mingle and chat with friends. Being an outdoors person myself, it felt good to be back in the outdoors, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the nature and outdoors.

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The Ubin Trail, is just one of the Nature Appreciation programmes organised by OBS for the school holidays. For parents with young children and teenagers, the Nature Appreciation programmes for the school holidays are definitely something to look out for, join in, participate and enjoy outdoors/nature activities! Keep a lookout for OBS events and programmes on their website! Here are some of the photographs that I took during Ubin Trail, go check them out on my Flickr photography collection!

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I would like to thank OBS and NYC for inviting me along for the Ubin Trail programme, it was great, fun and enjoyable to be back in the outdoors, along with a mix group of teenagers, young children and their parents!


Created with flickr slideshow.

First Armenian Street Party

On 11th and 12th March 2016, Armenian Street, for the first time, was closed up and transformed into a vibrant, colourful, buzzing with heritage and nightlife activities and performances. The Armenian Street Party is a ground-up initiative anchored by Peranakan Museum and Singapore Management University, with stake holders on Armenian Street playing a part in the first Armenian Street Party too.

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It was nice to see different smaller arts hubs organising their own street party, welcoming and celebrating their respective museum/arts heritage along with their partners/neighbours in the district. In my personal humble opinion, it’s a good initiative and idea for a street party and I hope that this idea/initiative can be applied by other museums in their own respective hub/district too! Each smaller museum/arts hub can have their own street party, celebrating various different heritage events along with their partners/neighbours.

The first Armenian Street Party showcased and celebrated Peranakan Culture, contemporary music, poetry reading and other lifestyle activities. I went down on Friday, 11th March and enjoyed my first Armenian Street Party.

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First up, it was “Xtend the Night”, I witnessed an outdoor yoga/Pilates/ballet class by Upside Motion, the workout known as Xtend Barre, it’s a combination of ballet and Pilates-based workout to sculpt the body. Xtend Barre took place on Armenian Street in the early evening when it was closed to traffic and cars. You probably see more of the outdoor Pilates/ballet classes on grass instead of on the road! It’s kind of unique and refreshing, not a bad idea to organise such outdoor exercise classes on the road!

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Although I wasn’t able to watch all the performances on the programme schedule, I managed to catch The Main Wayang Company in action, they were a great band of singers, mesmerising the audience with their passion and singing, getting the crowds to dance and clap along with their singing and rhythm.

At a street party, how can you not have food and drinks? Food trucks can be spotted at Armenian Street, providing food and drinks options to the Armenian Street party goers.

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This is the first time that the Armenian Street Party is being organised, it wasn’t too bad for their maiden debut! I reckon it would get bigger and better over in the next year and I look forward to the next few editions of the Armenian Street Party!


Created with flickr slideshow.

Photojournalist in Travel, Events and Sports Photography