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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

22 June 2011, Wednesday
Bought something else in London!

I bought a digital compact camera yesterday, here in London. It is a Samsung PL201. Singapore does not sell this model. Its either that, or the same model is given another model name.

For the past week, there were numerous times I wanted to take pictures when I was outside. I often brought my Canon DSLR with me, but there were too many times when it wasn't convenient for me to whip it out. Outside of London where we stay, there are some places that are quite dodgy, where you would not want to be walking alone at night. Even in the day, there are people there that'll look at you twice when you are walking along holding a DSLR. It happened to me a few times on the first week when I carried my DSLR with me. 

Therefore I have to detach the lens from the body and store it like that in my sling bag. But when I came across something and want to take a picture, I had to take out my camera, uncover the lens and attach the lens on the camera body. That's a huge hassle, and many times I missed the shot, or the other guys in my group would have gone on ahead (YC walks very fast), and I'd have to miss the shot and catch up with them.

So as a compromise, many of my pictures were taken with my Galaxy Tab, or my iPhone 3sg. Galaxy Tab is truly not a good camera at all. The lens tend to be blurry (mostly due to my failure to wipe it clean of my finger prints before taking the picture). When there's a light source in the picture, the bloom and glow is almost unmanageable. There'll also be a light streak when there's a visible light source in the picture. The direction of the streak is oblique. It isnt vertical or horizontal as I expected. The Galaxy Tab only had a 3 megapixel camera. The area that determines exposure is in the centre of the frame -- you can't lock the exposure then frame up, like a DSLR, and you can't tap on another area in the image to set your exposure to, like on the iPhone's camera application. I've also found no application on the Andriod market that allowed me to do this.

The camera on my iPhone is also 3 megapixels. Image quality is better than the Galaxy Tab, and the camera application is also much stronger than that of the Tab. However, the camera is only 3 megapixels, nowhere close to the 15.1 megapixels of my Canon 500D. I wanted a camera that can sort of "replace" or come close to replacing my DSLR.

I thought of getting a new phone, because phones can now do 8 megapixels with crips images and accurate colours. Also because mobile phones cameras are more flexible, only limited by the apps that power them. But mobile phones are too expensive here in London. Prices are comparable or slightly more expensive than in Singapore.

Finally I decided to buy a digital compact camera, where I can whip out and take pictures without drawing too much attention like a tourist. haha.

After work YC, Raymond, Francis and I went to Argos at Holborn Station. YC went to buy a £4 coffee maker can you believe it? Here it is:
A happy man with his unbelievably cheap coffee maker!

Here's the documented process of opening the packaging for my camera:
The box does make the camera look a bit cheap, but I'd rather they spend more money to make the camera better than on the packaging :)

Here's how it looks on my desk at work:

I've written yet another blog on this on my VFX blog: Week 2 in London - Grabbed a Compact Camera Today!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

12 June 2011, Sunday
Life in London - Take Two - Going around

Second day (Sunday) was a very wet day (even for rainy Singapore). Nevertheless, the four of us (YC, Francis, Raymond and myself) went on and travelled around a few touristy places, including going to Trafalgar square, the Big Ben, Chinatown, Ministry of Defence building, Buckingham Palace and Picadilly Circus. 

We woke up early in the morning and went to Morrison's, the supermarket near our place, to stock up on necessities and our food supplies for the next few days. After that, we went home to put stuff down, then went out and do some touristy things.

Before all that, we went to Shaftesbury avenue, where Double Negative London is, to test out the route we'll be using come Monday. There was a Three Mobile store just beside the Curzon theatre, so we went over to get ourselves some pre-paid mobile voice/text/data plan. It was the £15 plan that gives 3000 sms and unlimited plan. Later we found out that Three mobile was the only provider that gives unlimited data at the moment. I was already using Three the last time I was in London.

After that we went for lunch at Taro , a Japanese restaurant just behind Double Negative's Shaftesbury Avenue office. 
My Curry Rice
Francis' pork chop bento (or was it chicken?)
After the meal, outside the restaurant, Francis assessing the damage
Grabbing a coffee at Costa
My ice cappucino
The Shaftesbury office taken from across the street
Hello again, London Chinatown

Ship in a bottle...

... at Trafalgar square

Me standing up but looking like I'm lying on grass :)

Francis deep in concentration
Really rainy on the second day. I gave up on using the DSLR in the end because I am worried it'll spoil in all this rain
The weather was really cranky. It rained and stopped and rained again. Overall it was cloudy the whole day. In the end all our feet and socks were soaked and my DSLR and lens were coated with rain in spite me trying to hide them under my coat.

All our shoes were soaking in rain water
Under a bridge
Shops under a bridge

Saw a London bus parked by the road
Raymond at the bus
Me in front of a London bus parked by the side of the street

Ministry of Defence building
After a few rounds of rain then shine, we decided to have dinner.
Francis was very tired
But he was happy (because food was coming)
The restaurant and cafe we ate at
My dinner - Lasagne
What Francis had (I took this because he was sitting across from me)
The restaurant / cafe from outside
Just beside that cafe
We turned a few corners and came to the Big Ben
Big Ben again
Just when we thought we were done, at Victoria train station where we take the National Rail back to Streatham, we made one last detour, to see the Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace
Gates into the Palace

The Royal Guard

Francis, like a star!
Francis is happy with his camera

Day 3 and Day 4, we went to work. First day we went through the induction with the new hires. Gave us some time to recuperate from our jet lag.

So its day 5 now, and it looks like I'm going to be more awake than the last few days.