Gear


My wife and I spent a few days in Tokyo for the New Year, our first trip there with our 5-year-old in tow. Between taking him to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka and Disney Sea, I managed to do a quick run to the camera store to get these: Instax Mini Chrome film and a Lomography Light Painter. Eager to test them out and hope to post the results within the next two years – HAH! Bad blogger!

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Dropped by the annual Photoworld at the Glorietta Activity Center today to pick up some supplies at promo price.  Bought two twin packs of Instax Mini at  5 percent off and a four-pack of original Eneloop Pros for just a thousand.

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I was also able to get sample prints off the Instax Share printer.  It’s an old products but the first time for me to try it out.  I want one – best Instax prints ever. 

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My last camera purchase for 2014 was Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8, bought new for half the retail price because,  I suspect,  it came in a shade of pink only JPop stars can pull off –  even Sanrio fans might balk at buying this color camera.  A handy shooter,  no doubt,  but doesn’t quite go with my beer gut or personal aesthetic.

It is fitting that I start the year with another instant camera,  the Lomo’Instant in immaculate white.  Like the Fuji,  this uses Instax film,  but is far more versatile than the Mini 8. With exposure compensation,  multiple exposure,  bulb,  color gels and four creative modes,  the Lomo’Instant can certainly give the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic a run for its money.

I’ll be testing this camera out for the next few days and I hope to do a proper unboxing video. I will have to put everything back in the box though,  hah hah,  and do it all over for the video.  Couldn’t resist taking it out as soon as I got it. 

Be back in a few.

What do you think? Seems weird but might have some interestingĀ applications. Let’s hope OTTO gets funded and we see a commercial unit. You can find details on the OTTO Kickstarter page.

Argus C3 Matchmatic

I’m usually the guy who goes camera hunting but, in this case, I’ll be the camera pimp. I’ve got a handsome Argus C3 Matchmatic, produced from 1958 to 1966, that needs an owner. One of the best-looking cameras in my collection, this well-maintained specimen is something I’d like to keep for myself. But, I bought this a while back with the intention of trying it out then selling it. I have to keep discipline and not dip into my own stock, heh heh.

The Argus C3 rangefinder was the world’s most popular-selling camera for three decades. It was made popular by photographers like Tony Vaccaro, who brought back haunting images of WWII taken using “The Brick.” Indeed, it feels like a brick: hefty, sturdy, solidly built, and you can imagine Vaccaro using this to bash in the heads of any Axis soldiers caught unawares. Recently, the camera was made popular again by being featured in the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in the hands of student reporter Colin Creevey.

A couple of things make the Matchmatic slightly different from the other C3 models available on Ebay and in thrift shops and antique stores around the world. Most obvious is its two-tine tan and black leatherette finish. The other is its proprietary exposure indicators. Both shutter speed and aperture are measured out in a system that would have made sense if I had the accompanying light meter (which also used the proprietary system). Alas, that didn’t come with the camera, so I had to come up with a chart to help me keep track of the equivalent values. It’s easy to get used to, but a step that isn’t necessary with the other C3 models (which use standard notation).

The camera itself is a fine piece of optical engineering. The lens is pin sharp, the controls are bombproof, and all the mechanicals work as they should. Good, because this is an all-mechanical camera. None of the controls are coupled, so you can MX (multiple exposure) to your heart’s content. The rangefinder needs a slight alignment on the vertical axis, but no biggie.

Here are a few sample shots taken around Metro Manila.

City Sweeper

Flyover Frenzy

The Armpit of Ortigas

Ladies’ Day Out

Greenbelt Blues

So Wired It Shakes

A Passion for Botany

Oh, and if you want it, you can buy it here.

I recently came home from Davao, where I attended FUSION III: The Epson-Media Adventure 2012, an annual Epson-sponsored event that lets the tech press get to know the folks who run Epson Philippines, see its new products and find out about the company’s business roadmap for the year. One of the products they are launching is Epson’s Labelworks line of label printers.

Consider them the DYMO of the 21st century, but with much less stress on the wrist. No stress, in fact, unless you go label-crazy like me and my wife. Then, you’ll develop something very similar to BlackBerry Thumbs. Kidding. Slap in some batteries and the supplied cartridge of black-on-white label tape and you’re good to go.

Each media participant came away from the event with a Labelworks LW-400, the kawaii unmistakably Japanese-designed mid-range model. Here’s an unboxing video.

My wife was thrilled, of course, she who has a special place for everything, she who has to contend with my kalat, she who is a practitioner and fan of zakka. She’s already plotting what color tape she wants to get and what objects she wants to tag. I’ve a feeling we’ll burn through the bundled cartridge in just a couple of days.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a few rolls of film from FUSION to get developed. Gimme a few days.

Video shot and edited entirely with an iPhone 3GS. Scoring via YouTube.

One of the perks of being a magazine writer and tech columnist is the regular opportunity to attend press events: product launches, press conferences, media parties and such. This means I get to find out about, see and experience new things earlier than most folks. I get the scoop for my stories, which makes my editor very happy, and, sometimes, I win at raffles.

For my upcoming May column in the Philippine Edition of Esquire, I write briefly about the HTC One X being something I was keen on reviewing. The darling of the recently held Mobile World Congress, it was HTC’s flagship phone for the year and its first Quad Core smartphone. I was invited to the local launch and, lo and behold, I won it.

While I haven’t yet been able to put it through its paces (yes, this will go through the wringer), I can already say that I love its on-board camera. The usual Android camera apps haven’t yet been updated to run smoothly on Ice Cream Sandwich, but I’m glad to say I’m pretty happy with the native app.

Here’s an unboxing video I whipped up.

And some sample shots.

Roadside Mango Stand

The Gates of Kung-Fu Death

Chthulu in Green

Shroom House

Filtered Baby

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