Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Sony HT-ST5000 7.1.2ch 800W Review

When using a dedicated surround sound system is not feasible in your home, then a sound bar is the next best choice. There are a lot of brands out there but the Sony HT-ST5000 7.1.2ch 800W can stand out from the rest.

Find out why in the link below:

The photo was made with the Canon G7x Mark II. You can find my review of that camera here!

The Tern Link C7 Review

I have always been fascinated by bicycles. I have had one for most of my life. And so I got greatly surprised by how much I enjoyed riding the Tern Link C7. However, for me, the folding bike is something that I greatly enjoyed using for short rides. For long rides, I still prefer using my road bike.

Though don't be fooled by this bike. A lot of people have used it cycling for more than 60 kilometers! It can function as an endurance bike, as well as a leisure bike. The choice is up to you!

Check out my full review at the link below.

The video was made with the Canon G7x Mark II. You can find my review of that camera here!

Photos edited using the iOS app VSCO

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Philippine Launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note8!

The long wait is over for Samsung fans. Samsung's latest flagship phone, Galaxy Note8--successor to last year's unsuccessful Galaxy Note7--has been revealed.

Presenters at the Galaxy Note8 launch are Kevin Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Phlippines (third from right) and Melanie Lok, Product Marketing Manager for Flagship Smartphones (second from left).

But of course, the highlight of the event is the launch of the Galaxy Note8. And to read my thoughts about it, check out my post on EsquirePH at the link below:

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Falling in Love with the Fujifilm X T20

When I read the Verge article regarding the Fujifilm X T20, I felt as if the writer, Vlad Savvov, was actually writing a love letter. It's as if he fell in love at first sight, but, instead of another person, he fell in love with a camera. Well, at least that's how I interpreted it.

So, I grew really curious about the Fujifilm X T20. I felt that I really had to see it for myself, if it really was worth falling in love with. So, one weekend, the wife and I went to a camera store near our place here in Metro Manila (I couldn't say it was a local camera store for it’s a franchise - I miss being in a traditional, small camera store, like the ones on Nassau Street in Princeton, NJ and on State Street in Chicago, not the big box ones. I hope those Mom and Pop stores are still in existence. But I digress...). Again, the wife and I went to a store near our place and we looked at the Fujifilm X T20.

When I held the T20 for the first time, my initial reaction was... "Meh... Is this camera really worth falling in love with?", I told myself. It didn't feel impressive in the hand. It felt like it was just a gimmick that will not last.

The wife and I went out of the store and I left the store unimpressed. The wife suddenly said, "That is not the lens you were looking for, right?" And I said, "Yeah, it wasn't." So she said, "Maybe we should ask the sales guy for the lens that you were looking at last night online…”

So, begrudgingly, I agreed to go back to the store. I asked the guy if I can look at the T20 with the 18-55mm lens. He said yes and he got the lens and put it at the T20. After he did that, the wife said she saw sparkles in my eyes!

The first time I looked at the camera, I didn't even spend 5 minutes with it. With the 18-55 lens, I spent at least 30 minutes looking, feeling and examining the camera. I asked for the battery so I could switch it on. And boy did I test it. I peered through the electronic view finder and I was blown away by what I saw. It's so realistic that it felt like I was really looking at the real world, not a miniature screen.

I asked a lot of questions and it was such a blessing to find a seller that really knows what he was selling. Coming from a different brand, I really didn't know how to, for example, get out of full auto. But the guy was really knowledgeable and he was able to answer all my questions, including that one! He even showed me his shots with a different Fujifilm model. That greatly impressed me more. He said that those shots were made with a consumer model X-series and he said I'd be able to get more from the T20. All of his shots were so clean even if they were taken in really low-light conditions (note though that he was showing me his photos on his mobile phone so things may be a bit different on print and on a computer monitor). He showed me his long exposure shot and it was really clean! Again, he reiterated that he took it using a different X-model and he said I'd be able to get more out of the T20.

My inspection of the Fujifilm X T20 didn't end there. I took shots. I felt the camera in my hand. I imagined myself using the camera. I suddenly saw myself using a different camera brand…

The 18-55mm lens made the T20 a more impressive camera. The lens felt solid and not plasticy. The lens matches the quality of the camera body itself. And it makes the camera more professional-like. With that lens, you can control the aperture from the lens itself, something that pros and semi-serious everyday users always look for.

I tried the model with the silver/metal accent and it really looks beautiful, though I would have liked to have seen the all-black model also.

Is the Fujifilm X T20 worth falling in love with? With the right lens, it is. Anyway, it is the lens that makes a camera, any camera, great! So if you are looking at buying your next camera, I suggest you go to a camera store and feel the emotion that I, and the Verge reviewer, felt when I held the camera in my hands. You won't regret it.


In the photos also is the T20 predecessor, the T10. Despite its age, (around two years old?) it still looks awesome with the 18-55 lens. If you are reading this and if you want to save some cash, then get the T10! It's still a very good camera and its a really great bargain!

I was in awe of the T20 that I forgot to take pictures of the it. Good thing the wife saw that "sparkle" so she did the photography at that time.

Also, CameraHaus manager or higher ups, if you're reading this, please promote the Fujifilm guy in SM Aura and the lovely ladies in Bonifacio High Street. We need more guys like the one in SM Aura, someone who knows how to use the product they're selling and someone who has actually used the product. And the ladies in Bonifacio High Street are so helpful and so accommodating. For me, they are the best!

Keep the conversation going! Contact me via my Twitter or Facebook account. You may also email me here!

All photos made with an iPhone 6s and edited using the iOS app Hipstamatic

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Verge's Fujifilm X T20 Review Struck a Nerve...

If this isn't a love letter, I don't know what is...

Some excerpts from the Verge's review of, according to the writer, the camera that I didn’t expect was that the X-T20 would rekindle my love for this old-fashioned method of taking photos.


"I can’t explain why I was more patient with the X-T20 than I was with the far faster Sony a6500. Fujifilm’s camera just made me much more willing to forgive its shortcomings than Sony’s did, and that has to do with the imperceptible aspects of good design.

"It’s tough for me to decouple the pleasure of shooting with the X-T20 from its eventual results. The process of capturing images with this camera is more satisfying than any other I’ve known (except maybe Fujifilm’s own X-Pro2, which I’ve only flirted with). Smartphones feel impersonal and, if I’m honest, kind of half-assed, like I don’t really care about the photo I’m taking. Full-fat DSLRs, on the other hand, would suggest that I care too much.

"If there’s any problem for this camera, it’s in convincing people that it’s worth trying — because I’m confident that once they do, they’ll fall in love with it just as I did."

You can read the full article in the link below:


Note: Photo of the Fujifilm X T20 is also from the Verge article cited above.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Motorola Z2 Launch in BGC

My coverage of the latest Motorola mobile phone, the Moto Z2 is now live on the GMA Network News!

Click the link below to see it.

The Motorola Z2 Launch in BGC.

Also, more photos here!

The event was spearheaded by Vince Dela Cruz, Marketing Manager, Philippines, and John Rojo, Country Manager, Philippinesboth of Lenovo Mobile Business Group and Motorola Mobility.

Keep the conversation going! Contact me via my Twitter or Facebook account. You may also email me here!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The First Wacom Philippine Product Launch

A true creative, as the saying goes, does not use a mouse to draw, to edit photos, nor to edit videos. To be a really productive artist, one needs to use, in a computer, a tablet for drawing. As another saying goes, “drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a bar of soap!” It can be done, but it isn’t easy...

One of the best brands when it comes to tablets is Wacom. Ever since I’ve started my digital photography, I’ve never been without one. And it has served me well!

So it made me really happy that they are officially launching here in the Philippines! On July 13, 2017, at the Draft Gastro Pub in Greenbelt, Makati, Wacom held their very first press launch! At the said event, they launched their line of Cintiq tablets, Intuos tablets, Bamboo Slate and Bamboo Styli. Every artists of every inclination will have something that will make them happy; and more productive!

Company officials from Wacom also made official Wacom’s partnership with the Philippine Society of IT Educators (PSITE), an institution that promotes IT education in the country.

Wacom was represented by Mr. KS Ong, Wacom Senior Director for Marketing in Asia Pacific, while PSITE was represented by Dr. Neil Balba and Dr. Rolando Lansingan, President and VP External of PSITE respectively.

Of course, the Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the signatories on a Wacom Cintiq tablet.

Keep the conversation going! Contact me via my Twitter or Facebook account. You may also email me here!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Sony Alpha 9 Philippine Launch

It is not everyday that I get to attend a product launch in a gym. But on June 20, 2017, at the posh Kerry Sports at the Bonifacio Global City, Sony Philippines launched their latest mirrorless camera: the Sony Alpha 9.

The reason for the gym setting, as one of the Sony executive present intimated, was to highlight the new camera’s prowess in capturing athletes in their natural environ - in sporting events. In such a setting, speed is critical because things can happen really, really fast. And the sports photographer should be ready to capture such moments. With its fast focusing speed, plenty of autofocus points, and high buffer rate whether one shoots in RAW or JPEG make the Alpha 9 a very capable sports camera. And the fact that it is also weather-sealed means even outdoor sports can be covered by this.

A Sony representative demonstrated the prowess of the camera by shooting two boxers that were sparring at the event. Media people were able to get some hands-on time with demo units and the Alpha 9 surely impressed. It not only focuses on what I wanted to shoot quickly but, once it’s locked, even if something crosses in front of the subject, the Alpha 9 still retains what it was focused on. Sadly, I don’t have sample photos to show you since we were not provided SD cards that we can take home. Instead, all the photos that appeared here were taken with my iPhone 7.

(Note to camera brands: why not give media people a small SD card, say 512MB, so that we can take home sample photos of your cameras instead of us bloggers just saying that your cameras can do such-and-such? Thanks.)

Ergonomics-wise, the Alpha 9 felt good in the hand. It felt as if all the knobs and buttons are in the right place and within one’s reach. And it felt rigid and solid that I felt that the camera can take a beating.

The Sony Alpha 9 will be available in the Philippines at Sony Centers and authorized distributors starting on July 1, 2017. It will retail for 239,999 pesos.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The SM MoA Fireworks and the Canon G7x Mark II

I absolutely love fireworks. And photographing them has been one of my most favorite thing to do as a photographer.

So, around March, whenever there is a fireworks display in SM MoA, the wife and I, together with my niece and her boyfriend, trek out to the Manila Bay area to watch the spectacular fireworks show.

Also, it was a good chance to test the mettle of the Canon G7x Mark II (my review) in capturing the fireworks display.

I must say, the G7x Mark II performed admirably in capturing the fireworks show. Set in a sturdy tripod, the camera took shot after shot of the spectacle.

A few caveats though...

One of the weakest points in the Canon camera experience is the iOS app. (As I don't have an android phone, I cannot comment on the status of the app in that system...) I always like to geotag my photos so that I will know precisely where I took my photos. But with the app, sometimes, the recording of the geo-locations stops. I don't know why... So, on my iPhone, I have the app open all the time. Even if the screen turns off, when I open the phone up, the app would be the first thing I will see. So far, this has worked out for me.

Also, with the latest version of the app, geotagging photos takes a really, really long time…

Another thing, I tried taking photos using this same app as my remote control. However, the time it takes for me to take a photo using the app to the camera actually taking the photo takes a measurable amount of time! By the time the photo was taken, the fireworks has already dissipated out and all I got was a dark sky. So, I ended up activating the the touch shutter where touching the screen triggers picture taking. I was worried though that touching the screen would shake the camera, but, as you can see, my photos did not come out blurred.

Another downside to using the app to trigger picture taking was, it turned out, the app stopped recording geo-locations! So, when I geotagged my photos using the app, some of the photos didn't get any geo-locations.

And, oh, if I transferred the photos via wifi, the photos I end up getting don't have geo-locations. If I transfer the same photos using the Apple SD-to-Lightning adopter, the photos are geotagged. I don't who has the problem here, if it's Apple or Canon, but someone has to look at it...

Anyway, the Canon G7x Mark II has proven time and again, for me, that it is a very capable camera. I just wish the iOS app is improved soon...

As always, the Canon G7x Mark II is Highly Recommended.

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