Sunday, August 22, 2004

Digicams to be obsolete soon?

In my quest for a super compact digicam, I seem to have come across the idea of a mobilephone with built-in camera, which seems to be the latest fad in the market these days. However, while researching and reading feedback from forums and what not, the picture quality leaves much to desire compared with the many megapixel quality pictures that I've been used to. So far, the norm is 0.3 megapixel built-in cameras within those phones. But this year seems to be the introduction of the first generation of >1 megapixel built-in camera phones. Amongst them is the Nokia 7610, Sony Ericsson S700, Siemens S65. Way into the future is the Korean release of Samsung SPH-2300 (3.2 MP and 3x optical zoom!!) camera and phone... will it come to Malaysia or GSM arena?... time will tell. Looking thru the reviews, I kinda got my eyes set on the Sharp GX series ie. GX22 and GX32 (not yet available) shown respectively below..... Or maybe a Samsung E715..... sigh... just too many possibilities .... Will I get these gadgets instead of a compact camera? Fate will decide. Update: 7th November 2004 Ok.... fast forward a few months. Have demoed the few camera phones with >1MP built-in cameras ie. Nokia 6670 and 7610, Siemens S65 and Sony Ericson S700. Found all to be dissapointing. Despite the feedback from forums and sample photos from, I'm kinda skeptical towards the cameras' capabilities. This is due to the samples I took over the counter, which were hopeless and totally different from what I've seen from feedback so far. Could it be samples in the past were in perfect photo environments ie. good lighting? Could it be I'm bad at using the camera phone? Nevertheless, if it doesn't pass my over-the-counter photo expectations, these phones remain a no-no purchase of mine so far. The strange thing that fuels my skeptism the most are the way sellers shy away from demos involving downloading photos from phone to pc/notebook. Their excuse? No pc/notebook or no time. Yeah, right .... in this day and age, everyone has a pc/notebook. And to think some actually tells you that once you have purchased the phone, they will upload free softwares, mp3 and what nots to your phone..... DUH!! .... you need a pc/notebook to do that, right? And wouldn't these uploads be even more time consuming than downloading a photo from phone? Ironic is when they try to prove the camera capabilities by displaying photos taken supposedly from the phones. Right..... to me, seeing with my own eyes and clicks is believing. Doesn't matter...... I'll just hang on to my RM1900 budget for the next wave. After all, technology catches up eventually ..... some day I'll have one in my pockets and be happy.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

My external flash - Canon 420EX

My precious Canon 420ex flash (RM780) has been in the Canon service center for the last 2 weeks, due to possible wear and tear problems. My camera detects the presence of the flash but somehow the auto-exposure couldn't adjust properly ie. it was as though there was no flash... strange. And it powered off by itself after a while of not using. Well, it's now back in my hands.... yes! Seems like they have to replaced the EPU.... hmmm... sounds like a chip or processor (CPU) maybe. Anyhow, it seems to work now.... thank goodness for the warranty, otherwise I would have to pay RM550!!! That's about the price of a new one... imagine the importance of this particular part needing replacement. Can't imagine what it's like without an external flash and rely on the built-in flash only.... urrghh. I know it seems strange why I feel that way when everyone else is just satisfied with the built-in's. After thousands of shots with my external flash, I really can tell the difference ie. less shadows, less harsh lighting, more natural shots, better illumination at fore/background, etc.. And with the swivelling and twisting head, the possibilities of flash photography are endless. Before I go on, the following are the specs and features of the flash :-

Flash Modes


Bounce / Swivel


Max. Power

G.N. 138

AF-assist Beam

All Elan 7 points

Wireless Triggering


W x H x D

2.8 x 4.8 x 3.9 in.

Weight (w/o battery)

10.6 oz.

  • Maximum Guide Number 138 (ISO 100, feet) at 105mm setting; G.N. 101 at 35mm setting
  • Approximately 1 / 2-stop less powerful than 550EX
  • Full E-TTL flash operation with "Type-A" bodies* (EOS-1v, EOS-3, Elan 7/7E, Rebel 2000, etc.)
  • E-TTL features include high-speed FP sync mode, and FE Lock (spot / partial flash metering)
  • Fully compatible as an affordable Wireless "slave" flash, with EOS-1v, EOS-3, Elan 7 / 7E, & D30
  • Taller than previous 380EX flash, but head is 30% smaller, and both width & depth are smaller
  • Powered by four AA-size batteries (alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd, or Ni-MH)
  • Totally TTL-compatible with all "Type B" EOS cameras, and the manual-focus T90 SLR body.
  • * "Type-A" bodies: EOS-1v, EOS-3, Elan 7 / 7E, Rebel 2000, Elan II/IIE, and Rebel G; EOS IX and IX Lite; and digital EOS D2000 and D30 bodies. All other EOS bodies are "Type B" cameras (as of August,2000)

Now, why did I get a RM780 flash for my Canon G2 camera? Why not use any cheap external flash that I already have? To answer that, 2 words ie. voltage and auto-exposure compatibility. Check out Botzilla for a comprehensive list of flash voltages and auto exposure info.