The drone that I’ve been waiting for is finally out. Delivery will only start in mid October. In which I think will be here in November. But the hype and craze is already up and about for the past one week. This is the best consumer drone in the market as of now.

In a sentence:

The first high quality imaging smart drone that you can bring along for travel without carrying extra luggage.

High quality imaging – capable to take good picture and video.
Smart drone – active tracking, follow-me, smart cinematic camera movement (dolly, crane), one-man operator camera
Easy on luggage – foldable, small in size

There’s tons of review being made. DJI made a smart move by handing pre-launch units to quite a number of highly-rated youtubers and vloggers. The normal marketing strategy would be to hand out to journalist of famous sites such as CNET, TECHRADAR, etc. But when its on the hands of youtubers and vloggers, the hype became much more than expected.

If you’re considering to buy one. Head to DJI Store.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Elite Edition

Dear readers,

Just before the new year, I ventured into this new hobby. I’ve always wanted to buy an RC helicopter, and finally I took the leap of faith and bought one. This is not a heli per say, its quadcopter.


Parrot AR. Drone 2.0

This was an impulse purchase. I didn’t make any survey prior to purchase. That was so not me.. So as you can see from the picture above, included were the drone itself, indoor hull, outdoor hull, charger, battery, GPS recorder device, special tools to replace propellers and 4 extra propellers.

There’s no physical hardware for control. This drone must be controlled via phone or tablet. So its either iPhone, iPad, or any android devices. I’m using android so I downloaded the apps and straightaway jumps into playing.

Started with basic manoeuvre inside my house and one flight just outside my house. The drone was capable of video recording. I got so excited at first and was doing lots of aerial recording.

Few days later, as confidence level grew, I brought the drone to a nearby open field by the lakeside. I was thinking to get a better aerial footage. Started with low level control, then I moved further front and back. And then I decided that its time to take it to a greater height. I increased the elevation. It was almost 50 metres above when suddenly the drone flew to my right side as if following the wind direction. Then it rapidly decreases elevation and down in the nearby swamp. I can’t see the drone. Must’ve been floating but I can’t get there. Its too far from the lakeside. I can’t exactly see where the drone is.

It was just few seconds and there’s nothing I could do to regain control. I can still see the video feed coming from the drone but I can’t get there. It was only my 2nd flight outdoor. Pure stupidity.

Here’s my view based on less then a week with AR.Drone 2.0.

The drone: For that price, I was expecting a higher built quality of the hull. But once started, the hull’s presence can just be ignored. Some prefers flying without the hull attached. This helps the drone to accept heavier  load.

Control: Smartphone with gyro sensors and capacitive touchscreen looks an interesting combination. But controlling with this features were such dismay. Its hard to control it especially using the tilt function. At the end I opted for the on-screen thumb stick control. And that wasn’t best either. Control over WiFi was another issue as this drone flyaway situation is common amongst ARDrone owners. Surprisingly I’m not the first to experience this. Most users would’ve modified their drone to accept normal RC controller with physical sticks and buttons. This would also be using radio frequency to control hence allowing better control.

Video: The main reason I bought this was for the aerial videography ability. Despite the poised 720p HD capable, the image wasn’t anywhere near good. The video was grainy. Jello effect due to vibration was badly affecting the footage. The colour was not as sharp as I expected. But perhaps I was expecting too much out of a simple hobby drone. The video can only record straight ahead from the drone. This actually gives good fpv (first person view) while controlling the drone but quite useless in recording aerial to ground video. Hooking up the drone with a small camera, the likes of Go Pro Hero cameras, is not that recommended. Some users did the modification but since the drones limited max load ability hampers this approach. No audio recording was available with this drone but that’s not quite important as the motor’s noise would’ve been the most it would capture.

A bad start to a newfound hobby. Yet this won’t stop me from venturing further into this. Perhaps one day, a more careful approach before purchase and a more detail study on drone control before I clock hours on flights.

100 Tips from a Professional Photographer

1. Just because someone has an expensive camera doesn’t mean that they’re a good photographer.

2. Always shoot in RAW. Always.

3. Prime lenses help you learn to be a better photographer.

4. Photo editing is an art in itself

5. The rule of thirds works 99% of the time.

6. Macro photography isn’t for everybody.

7. UV filters work just as well as lens caps.

8. Go outside & shoot photos rather than spending hours a day on photography forums.

9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning photograph.

10. Film isn’t better than digital.

11. Digital isn’t better than film.

12. There is no “magic” camera or lens.

13. Better lenses don’t give you better photos.

14. Spend less time looking at other people’s work and more time shooting your own.

15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.

16. Girls dig photographers.

17. Making your photos b/w doesn’t automatically make them “artsy”

18. People will always discredit your work if you tell them you “photoshop” your images. Rather, tell them that you process them in the “digital darkroom”.

19. You don’t need to take a photo of everything.

20. Have at least 2 backups of all your images. Like they say in war, two is one, one is none.

21. Ditch the neck strap and get a handstrap.

22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better.

23. Be a part of a scene while taking a photo; not a voyeur.

24. Taking a photo crouched often make your photos look more interesting.

25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography.

26. Tape up any logos on your camera with black gaffers tape- it brings a lot less attention to you.

27. Always underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop when shooting in broad daylight.

28. The more photos you take, the better you get.

29. Don’t be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.

30. Only show your best photos.

31. A point-and-shoot is still a camera.

32. Join an online photography forum.

33. Critique the works of others.

34. Think before you shoot.

35. A good photo shouldn’t require explanation (although background information often adds to an image). *

36. Alcohol and photography do not mix well.

37. Draw inspiration from other photographers but never worship them.

38. Grain is beautiful.

39. Ditch the photo backpack and get a messenger bag. It makes getting your lenses and camera a whole lot easier.

40. Simplicity is key.

41. The definition of photography is: “painting with light.” Use light in your favor.

42. Find your style of photography and stick with it.

43. Having a second monitor is the best thing ever for photo processing.

44. Silver EFEX pro is the best b/w converter.

45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.

46. Never let photography get in the way of enjoying life.

47. Don’t pamper your camera. Use and abuse it.

48. Take straight photos.

49. Shoot with confidence.

50. Photography and juxtaposition are best friends.

51. Print out your photos big. They will make you happy.

52. Give your photos to friends.

53. Give them to strangers.

54. Don’t forget to frame them.

55. Costco prints are cheap and look great.

56. Go out and take photos with (a) friend(s).

57. Join a photo club or start one for yourself.

58. Photos make great presents.

59. Taking photos of strangers is thrilling.

60. Candid>Posed.

61. Natural light is the best light.

62. 35mm (on full frame) is the best “walk-around” focal length.

63. Don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO when necessary.

64. You don’t need to always bring a tripod with you everywhere you go (hell, I don’t even own one).

65. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose.

66. Shooting photos of homeless people in an attempt to be “artsy” is exploitation.

67. You will find the best photo opportunities in the least likely situations.

68. Photos are always more interesting with the human element included.

69. You can’t “photoshop” bad images into good ones.

70. Nowadays everybody is a photographer.

71. You don’t need to fly to Paris to get good photos; the best photo opportunities are in your backyard.

72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons.

73. Cameras as tools, not toys.

74. In terms of composition, photography and painting aren’t much different.

75. Photography isn’t a hobby- it’s a lifestyle.

76. Make photos, not excuses.

77. Be original in your photography. Don’t try to copy the style of others.

78. The best photographs tell stories that begs the viewer for more.

79. Any cameras but black ones draw too much attention.

80. The more gear you carry around with you the less you will enjoy photography.

81. Good self-portraits are harder to take than they seem.

82. Laughter always draws out peoples’ true character in a photograph.

83. Don’t look suspicious when taking photos- blend in with the environment.

84. Landscape photography can become dull after a while.

85. Have fun while taking photos.

86. Never delete any of your photos.

87. Be respectful when taking photos of people or places.

88. When taking candid photos of people in the street, it is easier to use a wide-angle than a telephoto lens.

89. Travel and photography are the perfect pair.

90. Learn how to read a histogram.

91. A noisy photo is better than a blurry one.

92. Don’t be afraid to take photos in the rain.

93. Learn how to enjoy the moment, rather than relentlessly trying to capture the perfect picture of it.

94. Never take photos on an empty stomach.

95. You will discover a lot about yourself through your photography.

96. Never hoard your photographic insight- share it with the world.

97. Never stop taking photos

98. Photography is more than simply taking photos, it is a philosophy of life

99. Capture the decisive moment

100. Write your own list.

some useful tips captured from Gizmodo. i’m much more into videography but this helps in getting the right shot at the right time. either is an art..

syafeerul: Lenovo Ideapad Y470

a new addition.. welcome to our newest member of syafeerul’s family – the Lenovo Ideapad Y470.

Lenovo Ideapad Y470

Lenovo Ideapad Y470

after months of search and surveys, finally i came to a stop when i saw this. it fits my needs and my budget. although this actually exceeds my needs but it surely meets the budget. hence that comes to a worthy buy..

so what’s all that so special about this lappy? it seems normal though only that this monster packs numerous high specs. enough to woo a person like me. im not looking for a monstrous gaming laptop like alienware which costs a bomb. im looking for something useful for at least some simple HD video editing. its best if i go towards apple’s brand but here in Malaysia, using Apple is way too hard. im going to also need this for work. that’s a big minus point if i chose mac OS.

so what’s under the nice lovely keyboard (owh it’s worth to mention that the keyboard do feel very nice and very convenient to type)…

processor: i7-2630m
i was looking for i5 in the first place. that would be sufficient enough for video editing. dual-core i5 would be somewhere within my budget. but Y470 packs in i7.. plus its quad-core.. 😀

dedicated graphic module/car
i do not need a very high and powerful dedicated graphic card. sufficient with just a moderate with 1GB of VRAM. perhaps an NVIDIA GT520 would be good enough. yet Y470 packs in NVIDIA GT550. and did i mention 2GB?

lappy’s these days mostly came in equipped with a 4GB of RAM. so did Y470. but when u did some extensive research and survey, u’d come to shops that are willing to pack you with an extra RAM. i got this to 8GB.

those are the 3 most important things that i look and search for my new lappy. i also took a peek to get a 7200rpm HDD but the price was way out of budget for lappy’s equipped with this. there’s HDMI port and there’s 2 USB 3.0. might not be that useful today but in the near future, this could be one of the nicer things to have. owh it’s 14″ anyway.. i was looking for a smaller and lighter lappy but none with the proper specs stayed within my budget. the Y470 came in pre-loaded with windows 7 home premium. good enough for my daily usage. i chose not to take any free gifts to reduce the price. even if i took those gifts wouldn’t make my life any easier. mouse, mousepad, cooler and some small simple stuff which i don’t bother to have any.

my first two days so far have been very good. and hopefully much more wonderful years ahead..

syafeerul: Panasonic HDC-SD60

presenting the latest addition to my gadget zone: Panasonic HDC-SD60 HD Camcorder

Panasonic HDC-SD60 HD Camcorder

yup.. the black one. there’s few other options of colors but i chose black. after almost 3 weeks searching and looking for review plus a week of price survey from various places from The Mines to Digital Mall to Lowyat Plaza, finally it comes down to this black Panasonic HDC-SD60.

almost a month back, in the month of puasa, i decided to look into camcorders. i didn’t know the price range back then. so i’d survey and make a rough estimation before deciding on buying it. there was no urgency. the need is there but it wasn’t that critical. back then it was still a question of either a DSLR or a video camera a.k.a camcorder. i still miss my FZ28. that was my first camera. its a prosumer type. superzoom. very much fits the purpose of me having a camera. but my FZ28 was stolen and was lost forever. friends and family both suggested a DSLR for me as i’ve been into DSLR type camera for quite sometime already. with some small knowledge on camera functions i might and could develop more from having a DSLR. but somehow it came to my mind that almost everyone now owns a DSLR. if there’s a need of a good picture i can always ask them to shoot for me. 🙂 but there’s too few who knows video shooting. with this i’d have the opportunity to embark on videography.

after the short survey i found that purchasing the camcorder was within my budget. from then i set a budget limit and specs identification. specswise i only require HD recording capability, manual focus coupled with good auto focus, long zoom and anti-shake. it came down to this three:

  1. Panasonic HDC-SD60
  • Pros: OIS and bigger CMOS size. although i have no idea how the size might affect on videos but from reviews i’ve read across the cyber space, those experts suggests to buy a camcorder with bigger CMOS size. perhaps this is similar to DSLR as having bigger sensor size gave better picture quality. on OIS, its stability control. pretty smooth on max zoom.
  • Cons: No built in memory.
  1. Canon Legria HF-R16
  • Pros: 8GB built-in memory.
  • Cons: at max zoom, video seems shaky. no camera flash.
  1. Sony HDR-CX150
  • Pros: steady and smooth at max zoom. 16GB built in which captures almost 4hrs of HD video. the ability for Direct Copy to transfer video to HDD seems pretty cool and user friendly. perhaps this camcorder have the most features of all.
  • Cons: holding the camcorder feels too light. and most significant drawback was the price tag. not to mention with only 1 year warranty by Sony. coz usually all products would do well in a year and starts to fail after that.

finally after weeks of search and tests, i decided to buy the SD60. the price was slightly above my budget. just slightly which is still acceptable. the package comes with additional battery, a tripod 8GB memory card and a small case for the camcorder. i’ve just registered with Panasonic Online and that gave me additional 1 year warranty. for reviews, Google the HDC-SD60 and there’s tons of reviews on the net. for the links above, they are directed to TestFreaks for direct comparison. there’s also direct comparisin being done at Camcorders-Only. see Legria HF-R16 vs HDC-SD60 and HDR-CX150 vs HDC-SD60. for quite an in depth review see this and its also wise to visit the Panasonic Official Website on the SD60.