Saturday, May 24, 2008

My New Toy Part 1.


The desire to own one has been there for sometimes but finance or rather priority just won't allow me to buy it yet. This time I can't hold back the urge anymore especially after hearing the good news that my eldest daughter Azura had been cleared of the dreaded Cancer after a cone biopsy was done on her a few weeks earlier. We just came out of Dr. Nik Mohamed Zaki Mahmud's room at Hospital University Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian for an appointment earlier where the good news was broken to us.
It was with a feeling of joy that we headed for KB Mall in Jalan Hamzah Kota Bharu for a small celebration where we ordered some pizzas from Pizza Hut with all of Azura's children in tow except for one month old Mohamad Aqil. While Azura and family headed for Piza Hut, I headed for Sony Center a few doors away.
This is the third time that I came to look at the cameras in this shop. The first time they dont have the stock of the model that I was interested in but they do have the high end Sony Alpha 700 which cost double the Alpha 350 that I had in mind. They do have the Alpha 200 but I was thinking of getting the Alpha 350 which is one rung higher. On the second visit the stock just came and I had allowed my fingers to caress the beauty. The beauty came with a twin lens package, a standard 18 - 70 mm F3.5 - 5.6 zoom lens and a 50 mm - 200 mm telephoto. The retail price was RM3400 much higher than the advertised RM2999 meaning the telephoto was added on at a price of RM401. Another freebie was the tripod. I will still have to buy the memory card and a soft case of Sony single case iwas offered at RM90. The case was a bargain and it comes only with the set. I love the telephoto lens to shoot at faunas from afar. I have often failed to get close up shots of many animals so far without it. All in I will have to fork out RM3600 to get going. Not a bad package really.
Other standard accessories that came with the set were:

  • Battery Charger
  • Rechargeable battery pack (NP-FM500H). At first sight the battery looks similar to my batteries for my Sony Handycam. This will be a big plus as I can interchange the batteries when on a trip.
  • USB Cable
  • Video Cable
  • CD-ROM
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Eyepiece cover

The model boasts of the following features:

  • Quick AF Live View - a good point since my eye sight is deteriorating and squinting through the viewfinder to get things framed up and focussed is not my forte anymore
  • Super steadyshot inside the body and not in the lens, another excellent feature as coming close to 58 years in age, my hands aren't as steady anymore.
  • 14.2 mega pixels is a feature not found on even the high end Alpha 700. Such resolutions of course can only mean that zooming in on the captured image isn't a problem (anyway that's my perception)
  • Bionz Image Processing Engine. I don't if this is the best engine to process an image.
  • D-Range Optimizer which is an image enhancer.
  • High sensitivity range ISO 100 - 3200.
  • 2.5 Frames per second exposure using viewfinder mode. Slower if Live mode is used. Good enough exposure speed for me.
  • 9 point AF (Still blur on this point, may need Ted Adnan or Steven Lee to explain).
  • Creative Style
  • Anti-dust - an important feature to keep the mirror dust free especially when the lens is frequently changed in dusty condition.
  • 2.7" Clear Photo LCD. Great size to use clearly the composed picture to be taken and to view pictures taken. The tiltable screen suit me fine for taking overhead shot or low angle shot without having to lie on the ground if I were to use the viewfinder. With a bulging tummy such position is of course difficult for me.
  • Alpha mount- quick mounting and release on a tripod.
  • Smart teleconverter. I must check with the retailer what this feature is about.

With those informations with me I told them that I would be coming back tomorrow after I have made my decision on whether or not to buy it.

I have read the advertisement of Alpha 350 somewhere and with any advertisement, I am easily impressed.

It was only almost a week later that I returned to the shop to buy the Sony Alpha 350K. I was shocked to hear that the old package was already sold out and they now have a new package. The new package is without the telephoto lens. What a disappointment! At the price of RM2999 it now comes with a single lens, the Sony SH0006 Standard Zoom Lens. The only consolation was that it now comes with a bigger capacity 8 GB Memory stick Duo with a CF adaptor and a simple tripod will be thrown in for free. The tripod wasn't to my satisfaction as I will be using it alot. Another disappointment was the battery for the Sony Alpha 350 came with a grrove at the back of it to accomodate a ridge in the battery housing rendering my Sony Digicam battery useless despit it being similar in everything else.

The sales rep of Megacity Electronics reworked the package to include the following items:

  • RGB 55mm UV Filter
  • Octagon 55mm lens conversion which is a fish eye.
  • Digital Eye TR - 288 Pro Tripod.

The above package would cost me RM3600. I wanted the Sony soft casing for single lens but the price of RM120 seems abit steep for now.

I came for the camera and so I bought the camera. After paying for the camera I rejoined my daughters family at Pizza hut before the pizza gets cold and the people at Megacity Electronics repack my camera back into the box

After a good meal of pizzas I collected my camera and headed for home feeling satisfied that at last I have in my possession a DSLR camera to enjoy the hobby called photography.

The Tripod, the camera and the fish eye lens.

Part 2 will be about the Sony Alpha 350K's performance. Hang on there will ya?

49 comments:

Akmal said...

Waah, DSLR 'olredi'? That explains the model remarked in your picture's EXIF data in the Flickr.
With fisheye and polarizer as well, RM3600 is a nice bargain.
Now Pak Zawi's gonna shoot things like a pro :)
BTW, I rarely use AF on the lense whenever I am toying with DSLR (like I have one), just to train my sense on the ring control. But today's DSLR AF pointing is speedy, so I wonder does that skill still useful :S
To bad you lose the 50-200. I tried it, and it can be used to stalk people around hehehe.

Rusdi Abu Bakar said...

Tu baru kemah Pok Wi.
i do not know much about sony DSLR.
cant wait for ur next entry with photo from Sony DSLR!

Zawi said...

Akmal,
The pictures in Flickr were mostly if not all were from the Olympus AZ1 era so I don't think it has anything to do with the Alpha 350.
I have yet to learn the full functions of the camera and most times use the automatic mode just to be on the safe side. Will only use the aperture, speed and focus control manually when I am comfortable with the baby. Just acting like a pro but never a pro hehehehe. When I did the MDPM opening I wore a semutar around. It was a bright yellow semutar and it sure did attract attention. The camera didn't.
Missing the 50 - 200 mm was really a sore point but I guess I am fated to be using a better lens than the standard Sony provided. Only need a bit of time to sort out my finance. Another investment will be for a good flash. All spells out M O N E Y.
When you are back in Pasir Mas do come over and teach me a few tricks with it OK?

Zawi said...

rusdi,
Bini tanyo lepah ni nak beli gapo pulo. Ambo royat nak beli lens lagi. Dia kejut sakan. Dia ingat habih RM3600 cukup semo doh.
Digital Camera 29th issue for May 2008 did a test on the Alpha 200. It was just a so so camera especially the standard lens provided. They have yet to test the Alpha 350 though. Maybe they will review it in the next issue.

Pak Idrus said...

Zawi, That is Man or rather a Boy. Never without a new Toy. Why not!!, the child in us is still there. So makes hays while the sun shines. Enjoy it.

Have a nice day.

Zawi said...

Pak idrus,
Yes there is always a child within everyone of us. When we were boys we couldn't afford such expensive toys, not even our parents could. Why not make oursleves happy? Afterall we don't have too many years to enjoy it before our eyesight and shaking hands will not allow us to enjoy the hobby.
Thanks for the encouragement and kind words.

Nik Bahrum Bin Nik Abdullah said...

Pak Zawi, kalau ada program menarik untuk tangkap gambar, cakap yee. Kamera saya tu nak berkulat nampaknya.

Zawi said...

Nik,
Saya sedang mengenali camera saya jadi buat masa ini belum lah ada apa apa progrem. Mungkin Raykinzoku boleh membantu Nik. Tunggu la bila saya dah cekap sikit nanti dan cukup accessory, saya akan beritahu Nik.
Sebagai percubaan saya akan ke Labuan dari 14hb Jun hingga 2 Julai dan kemudian berada di Pulau Redang pada 17 hingga 19 Ogos bersama anak cucu jadi mungkin lepas tu saya boleh kira bersedia la untuk program photo session bersama kumpulan.

yeappie said...

Pak Zawi,
What a great toy you got there. Enjoy.

J.T. said...

Hi Zawi

The difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toy. :D

I am not well-versed with cameras and its accessories so I am not able to comment much on it. But being the slightly talkative person that I am, I have managed to go into two paragraphs. hahaha

Enjoy your toy, Zawi.

NaNa said...

Pak Zawi,

Have fun with the new toy. Looking forward to see more pics!!

Zawi said...

yeappie,
I will enjoy it as long as I find fun with it. As with everything else there will come aday when we get tired of our toys hehehehe.
Thank you.

Zawi said...

jt,
You presence alone has made my day. You can even come in and just leave an empty comment space and still I won't mind.

Zawi said...

Nana,
Thank you, I will surely be having some fun with it. The pics are all in the pc just waiting for the appropriate time to post it. It wont be long I guess.

Rusdi Abu Bakar said...

Hahaahaha, banyok lagi tu nak beli ghoyak ko dio. kalu nok ambik wild life keno ado 500mm-1000mm baru kemah hehehehe. berhantu goni....

tokasid said...

Salam Pak Zawi:

Alhamdulillah,finally dapat juga apa yg di hayati.

Trip ke Labuan dan Redang boleh di gunakan sebagai lokasi utk menguji A350 dan kecekapan Pak Zawi.

Waiting for A350 products.....

Berisman said...

Pak Zawi,
Alhamdulilah,I am so happy to hear that your daughter has been cleared from the BIG C.
WOW,a new toy!I look forward to shoot some photos with you when I am back in Kelate on 29/5-2/6.

-Adib

uncleawang said...

Pak Zawi,
Macam mana ni...belum celebrate father day .dah pun dapat DLSR.Apa-apa pun takniah..jangan tak lena tidur pulak maklum lah..kalau dah kena racun DLSR .So kena tunggu Part2..yes i read about Sony A200 good toy with Carl Zeiss lenses.
Happy Shooting.

Zawi said...

Rusdi,
Ambo nak lens sampai 350 mm je. Nak ambik natang hok jinak jinak kat rumah jah. Buleh boh umpan dulu. Lo ni burung kat rumah tu dah jinak jinak dah. Mapuhla kalu nak bui ado sema.
Mahal wei goni. Mahal tali pada beruk.

Zawi said...

Doc TA,
InsyaAllah akan saya gunakan peluang sepenuhnya untuk mengasah sedikit sebanyak bakat yang ada dengan apa jua peralatan yang ada.
Next post will put in the first few pictures taken with it. This post is juat a teaser hahahahaha.

Zawi said...

Pak Adib,
Alhamdulillah segalanya adalah kehendaknya.
InsyaAllah kita akan bersama mengambil gambar cuma saya malu la dengan kelengkapan yang serba kurang ni.
Please give me a tinkle la 097903785/0199125647

Zawi said...

Uncleawang,
Ni bukannya Father's day nya present la cuma beli sendiri hehehehe.
What? A200 comes with Carl Zeis lens mine came with the Sony SH0006 je.Well I guess the package is different for A350, better kit but lesser lens.
Will try to get as much happiness from this toy hahahaha.

Rusdi Abu Bakar said...

hehehehehe, ikut keperluan Pok Wi, ambo baru beli tadi OM Lens 200mm F4 Muroh jah USD116. beli dgn ebay. setakat ni puah hati dgn OM Lens, colour dio natural & focus dio mmg superb!

Zawi said...

rusdi,
Bawa kelik nanti ambo tengok hok demo beli. Kalu padan 200 mm F4 tu ambo pun nak setara tu jah. Cuma ambo takut tak match ngan Sony ambo tu. Sony ni based om Minolta Contax nya body je so rasanya la tadok masalah nak cari lens.
Kemarin ambo gi rumah Wan Hamzah bekas ketua Pos wakaf Baru. Dia classmate ambo. Rasonya dekat jah ngan rumah demo kat belake balaisah tu. Mudahla kita nak jupo.

mrs.lim said...

Good morning, Pal Zawi. I am amazed at your energy.... :)

My father had a studio right infront of the KB town bus stop. I was able to talk about cameras, photography, developing, printing 40 years ago.. But now, I am only relying on auto.. :(

However, I am sure you are going to have a wonderful time putting memorable and happy moments into pictures. :)

Have a nice day.

mrs. lim

Berisman said...

Pak Zawi,
I only have the kit lense and nothing else.What matters more is the man behind the camera;-)IMHO, it is our passion!(and patience)

~Pak Adib

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
My idea of taking photographs is to point and shoot.
So I bought myself a little gadget from Japan, Lumix DMC-FX55. Now my Nokia N95 can concentrate to being a communications tool the Lumix for taking pictures and the Ipod Touch (also bought in Japan) for internet wi-fi purposes.

Gurindam Jiwa said...

Beli doh? Jeles la ambo ni nyooo...

Pok Zawi, since you can afford a rm3,000 plus package, please also buy a Polarize Filter (PL Filter) for your lens. You can just let it stay there on top of your UV filter. It does wonders, but the technical explanation can be lengthy and winding. Basically you'll get more saturated colors (such as really really blue sky).

In case the salesgirl asks, there are two types: linear and round filter. Either one is fine.

Zawi said...

Mrs.Lim,
Now I know which is the shop you were talking about before as to being your father's shop.
Photography isn't a tough hobby. The fun is really worth it.
Used to do the developing of black and white films and printing of blackand white photos during my school days. I can still remember using microdol X to develop and the fixer was so volatile that I often cough after a session in the poorly ventilated darkroom of the school camera club.
Have a nice day yourself

Zawi said...

Pak Adib,
How true with what you said. Passion, patience and preserverance will help. But sometimes when shooting wild birds and squirrels even around the house, I still need a telephoto to get them. My old 200 mm telephoto for my old Pentax was a screw mount one and they are collecting dust and currently displayed as future antiques in my cabinet. So are my old cameras however cheap they were, I still keep them.

zabs said...

Salam Zawi,
Kalau dengan kamera biasa pun gambarnya sudah luar biasa, tentu dengan DSLR ini kita akan lebih terpegun dengan hasilnya.

pakpayne said...

saya suka hati mendengar berita pak zawi ...!

nampak gaya nya, kena buat trips photo shoot tu...ke taman negara nanti pasti hebuh kita ye!

apa kata trip photo shoot bersama dubai photo club di padang pasir dubai!

pakpayne

Zawi said...

fauziah,
Todays compact cameras are very advanced. They come with very high features such as very high resolution, powerful zoom and definitely surpass ease of use over DSLR. Having a DSLR means lugging another small baggage and if aq bagful of camera with accessories is slung across your shoulder, it will easily make your life miserable.
The Lumix is very slim and will be very handy for you. Is it any cheaper in Japan?
I will be having my compact around as back up.

Zawi said...

Mazle,
Jeles gaponya.
Thanks for the tip about the polarize filter. Will look into it after midterm budget review. The telephoto lens is bugging me now. There are several species of birds around this area that I would like to capture on camera and the standar lens is not able to do it for me.
I will take note of the type of filter and give a better inpression to the sales girls hehehehe.

Zawi said...

pakpayne,
Kita bawa la camera ke Taman Negara Merapoh tu. Peluang nak tengok wildlife lebih tinggi di situ dari di Kuala Tahan. Bawa 500 - 1000 mm telephoto ya? Boleh ambil close up gajah hahahaha.
Ya photo shoot di padang pasir Dubai would be the ultimate, a perfect contrast from the tropical rain forest of Malaysia.

YeeBody said...

Zawi,
You are not a newbie to photography. I remember way in late 60's we had the dark room to use anytime as we wished. I still keep the black n white photos we together developed. Of course you the master, me the student.
One thing though, master misused the dark room for something else!!! student just drooled...
Love you.

Zawi said...

Yeebody,
Welcome back. You promised me to find out where the etak was found in Rawang but thus far no news about it.
I lost all of my old black and white photographs. Do you still have them? If you do why not scan and share them?
Misuse of the darkroom? I am blur there. Maybe you mistook our other friend for me. I remember he left his developer stained paw mark on the back of his GF's shirt. The darkroom was just a suffocating cubicle full of acid fume from the fixer. I wouldn't stay in there a minute longer than necessary hehehehe. Those were the days right?

louis said...

Hello Zawi,

One can well imagine your jubilation and relief at learning that your daughter is free of cancer.

On my cruises to Alaska there have always been considerable numbers of passengers with very professional-looking SLR's with huge lenses attached. So you seem ready to join one of those cruises :)

Enjoy your new "toy"

Louis

Azmy Omar said...

Awie,

Waaduuh! Dah berjinak dgn DSLR pula dah! Bini tak marah? Kalu kena marah gak, kena tidur luar laa.

Sounds good. I must have a look at your new toy. Forking out RM3,600 for a brand new SONY DLSR is something to shout about.

Happy clicking.

Enjoy!

Zawi said...

louis,
Welcome to my humble site.
It was the jubilation of hearing the good news that made me splurge in the new toy.
Those tourists are very rich and could afford anything. Some of them could even be making money by selling their photographs. With just the standard lense I won't be able to join them just yet as the inferiority complex may make me want to hide my own toy hahahaha. Just kidding there. Taking photographs of glaciers with the surreal scenery will ofcourse be the dream of any photographer be it pro or amateur. Please pray that I will be able to afford such a cruise to Alaska one day.
Hope to see some photos of Alaska if it is not yet posted.

Zawi said...

Tuab Haji Azmy,
Beli DSLR tu dengan izin dan bersyarat. Syaratnya jangan minta izin untuk tambah cawangan hahahaha.
Don't worry I will bring my toy to show off to you. Hopefully you will be enticed to buyone too. I know you can afford an even better one.
Pagi besok pegi rumah you OK? Nasi kerabu sebungkus.

svllee said...

Hello Pak Zawi, I bet you couldn't wait to gulp down those pizzas and rush back home to buka your new toys! Getting in to a new system takes time to learn and appreciate the many many options and functions that can come with a modern DSLR. It is mind boggling sometimes, that these designers and electronics people in Japan can come up with so many aids to photography. I remember the days of the basic SLR like the Pentax Spotmatic or Canon FTB!

Now, you will need a good size external hard drive to store your images!

Zawi said...

Steven,
Spot on! I finished the pizzas in record time to get back to my toy.
DSLR's are truly mind boggling in its features, even the sales persons admitted that he didn't know all the functions of the Alpha as it was comparatively new to them too and advised me to read the operation manual to know more.
I had one of the Pentax Spotmatic SLR! Unfortunately it went underwater once when I jumped into a river trying to save my nephew whom I thought was drowning. My other Pentax went underwater too. Even after a good service in KL, the Spotmatic didn't recover from the ordeal due to the damage to the electronics. Both cameras now became part of my antque camera collection.
Yes an external hard drive is now a necessity. The large picture size is eating up my notebook storage in quick time. Deleting shots that you wanted to discard is a difficult task and I ended up with saving several shots instead of just the best one. Modified pictures add up the numbers hahahaha.

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi,
Good to see you happy with the new camera. We will get to see some interesting photos soon.

My sister son who is studying in Germany is also crazy on photography. He put some interesting shots at his sites and now receiving booking to take wedding photos when he came back at the end of the year. Some of them even willing to schedule their wedding until he is back in the country. It’s going to be a lucrative hobby for him.

Zawi said...

D Jaff,
I am quite happy with the camera. Needs the 200 mm lens though since I am missing on many shots of the wilder faunas around here. Saw a very yellow bird yesterday and if I had the right lens I would have stalked it.
If you are a good cameraman like your nephew, the hobby can pay itself in no time. There is money to be made during wedding sesons like now.
I remember at my daughter Azini's wedding we couldn't get the professioanl photographer to come because his mother died in an accident just the night before and I can't get a replacement. My daughter in law Yani used the Olympus did the job. Lucky thing the pictures turned out well.

louis said...

Hi Zawi,

See the Comment from "sue" to my post (with the slideshow) about the Alaska cruise.

She addressed the comment you made about the menu on a cruise.

She mentions how cruise lines entertain special diet requests. Her info should make it easier for you to decide about an Alaska cruise :)

Zawi said...

louis,
I will get there. Thanks.

kbguy said...

hahha..!! that's it Tuan Zawi. I bought my Canon EOS400D from the same shop too. I was just like you too, just can't resist it. I visited the shop many times whenever I go to KB Mall. I think the sales guy already know me by now. Finally I bought myself a gift. Yea, I think you did the right thing too Zawi. One thing good about that shop is that they still allow bargain. I got an extra discount when I bought mine. I read the Star about you and your blog interview. Taniah friend. And I am happy to hear the good news too about your daughter's case. Miracle do happens sometimes. So never loose hope on anything. Just keep on praying to God.

Zawi said...

kbguy,
IfI had known that you bought the camera from the same shop, I would have asked you to come along and help me to bargain.
Yeah miracles do happen and it happens when God wants it to happen. I am glad it happened to my daughter. Now a big load seemed to be lifted from my shoulder.
Thank you for your prayers too.