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Old Dec 6, 2006, 9:34 AM   #31
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Hello guys,

Returned from my trip to HK and mainland China. Was definitely an eye opener. In mainland China I visited Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Shanghai.

HK, for the most part looked like a new city. With a brand new airport. Very efficient system of trains that take you to/from the airport and 4-5 individual stations around HK. Where you can check-in your luggage. The airport was like a massive shopping galleria. Complete with "moderately priced" shops/restaurants to the hi-end boutique stores and Benz AMG/Ferrari dealerships (e.g. Gucci, Ralph Lauren clothing shops...etc.).

Places I had been to before (been to HK 13x) looked totally different. Most streets, shops and buildings looked new to me. And in the one area I did recognize (my grandparents old area) were replaced with new shops, refaced buildingsand redone sidewalks/roadways. Using tiles similar to what you would seeon the streets of Lisbon, Portugal.

Mainland China...of the 4 places I visited, they all totally blew me away. In terms of the modernization of the cities, urban planning, plasma/LCD TVs all over the place (indoors and outdoors...you actually had to look hard to find CRT TVs...heh), unique street lamps, tons of bright signage, all the gorgeous hotels, subdevelopments....etc.

One of the last things I expected to see in Hangzhou werePorsche/Ferrari dealerships side by side. Or even in Hangzhou period. And, according to the tour guide, they had a Porsche club rally ride with the HK owners in Hangzhou. Obviously, there's quite a market for Porsches...even in mainland China.

I knew Chinawas growing as a world power but till you actually visit you don't truly see it's might. And it's really only in it's infancy. Made Toronto seem "plain" and almost "backward". Did I mention the MAGLEV train that takes you to the Shanghai airport or from the airport to the city center? WHOOOOOA!!! 433 km/h (or approxiamtely 270 mph)!! Now I have a roughidea of what it feels like to ride in a F1 car.

What I missed seeing was "old China". Amazingly enough. Old men bikng with massive loads on the back of their bikes. Or using ox carts. Guess I'll have to leave that for my next trip. :-)

As for the pictures I took a little over 400. A record for me for a "single outing". Keeping in mind the majority of the time I was in a tour group. So time wasn't really on my side. Never mind the rain and the dark weather when I was in mainland China. Though, when I was in Guangzhou/Macau there was sun...which was early in my trip. But overall I was fairly happy with the pictures I did get.

My first pair of Powerex 2700 mAh batteries gave me a little over 300 shots with the first charge using my Sony H1's "dumb" charger. Not bad IMHO. Love to see how many shots I will get on average once I get a Maha 801D or S charger and the batteries are at full capacity (after having charged them 3-5 times as recommended).

On a few of my pics I did see some obvious vignetting. I was using a long focal length and there wasn't much light. Perhaps if I raised the ISO to maybe 100 (left the camera on "auto ISO"...likes to stay at ISO 64) and had the aperture wide open. Usually 2.8 or 3.5. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/8s to 1/60s. Here is an example...


Shot at f/3.5, 1/40s, ISO 64 at Xihu Tiandi Park in Hangzhou, China.

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Old Dec 6, 2006, 9:37 AM   #32
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Another example of vignetting...which is more obvious seen at full resolution (as some of you might already know).

It was fairly dark and it was raining. This pic was taken while I was on a boat ride in a pond just a little ways away from the famousXihu TiandiPark in Hangzhou. A pagoda type structure that I believe was being used as a radio tower.

f/3.5, 1/40s, ISO 64

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Old Dec 6, 2006, 9:45 AM   #33
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And here is a picture taken while I was walking aroundXihu TiandiPark in Hangzhou...

f/3.5, 1/40s, ISO 64
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 9:48 AM   #34
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Another pic taken at theXihu TiandiPark...

f/4.0, 1/80s, ISO 64.
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 9:51 AM   #35
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Also taken inXihu TiandiPark...what it is? I'll have to get back to you guys on that one day. :-)

f/3.2, 1/30s, ISO 64
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 9:54 AM   #36
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And one more pic from just "down stream" of Xihu Tiandi Park...

f/4.0, 1/60s, ISO 64
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 12:38 AM   #37
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Hi Dark,

It sounds like you had a blast over in China. Considering the wheather conditions, your pictures look pretty good. I'm a bit surprised by the vignetting specially on the first shot. Were you using filters or converters? Raising the ISO to 100 or even 200 should definitely help. I usually try to shoot in Av mode at 4.0 (it seems to be the best aperture for the H1 lens), so I adjust the ISO as needed. However, I avoid ISO 400 at any cost. As for the POWEREX 2700 battery life, 300 pics is very good indeed. I guess I'll get myself some, specially if I end up buying the Pentax K100D dSLR.

Cheers,

Tullio.
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 9:24 AM   #38
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Tullio wrote:
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Hi Dark,

It sounds like you had a blast over in China. Considering the wheather conditions, your pictures look pretty good. I'm a bit surprised by the vignetting specially on the first shot. Were you using filters or converters? Raising the ISO to 100 or even 200 should definitely help. I usually try to shoot in Av mode at 4.0 (it seems to be the best aperture for the H1 lens), so I adjust the ISO as needed. However, I avoid ISO 400 at any cost. As for the POWEREX 2700 battery life, 300 pics is very good indeed. I guess I'll get myself some, specially if I end up buying the Pentax K100D dSLR.

Cheers,

Tullio.
Hello Tullio,

Thanks for the tips! I'll make note of them. And yes I was using a UV filter. Was it the filter? And I will definitely raise the ISO to 100 or 200 next time in similar conditions. I was thinking that actually after I came home to Toronto. When the H1 is set to "Auto ISO" it seemed to always stick to ISO 64 (when I was in mainland China and there was low light).

And I will try to keep shooting at apertures of F4 or greater. Again when possible. Even in low light conditions. Just assumed...low light...therefore aperture should be wide open...shutter speed slow.

About the Powerex 2700's...I was impressed. Especially being that I had only charged them once using the Sony charger. Not using a "smart" charger like the ones from Maha (which I plan to buy). 300 shots is good. Comes close to real world numbers you'd get with some DSLRs. And it will be interesting to see how many I will get once I do pickup a Maha charger and have charged them at least 3x if not 5x.

Take care. :-)
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 8:07 PM   #39
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Since you are using filter, are you attaching it to the original lens adapter? If so, I can almost guarantee you that the vignetting is being caused by the filter. The Sony lens adapter is slightly longer than it should be (go figure). So, when you add a filter in front of it, it sits too far from the extended lens, thus the vignetting. Because I bought a Raynox WA converter,which has a 52mm mount, I also bought the Raynox 52mm adapter to prevent vignetting. This adapter is shorter than the original Sony adapter and I have not experience any vignetting with it. You can easily test by removing the adapter/filter and taking some pictures. I doubt you'll see any noaticeable vignetting.

The ideal aperture range for the H1 is between f4.0 and f6.5. Any aperture above f6.5 will cause defraction and images will be very soft (it will almost look like out of focus). I'd sticke to f4.0-5.6 when possible.

Tullio.
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 10:46 PM   #40
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Tullio wrote:
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Since you are using filter, are you attaching it to the original lens adapter? If so, I can almost guarantee you that the vignetting is being caused by the filter. The Sony lens adapter is slightly longer than it should be (go figure). So, when you add a filter in front of it, it sits too far from the extended lens, thus the vignetting. Because I bought a Raynox WA converter,which has a 52mm mount, I also bought the Raynox 52mm adapter to prevent vignetting. This adapter is shorter than the original Sony adapter and I have not experience any vignetting with it. You can easily test by removing the adapter/filter and taking some pictures. I doubt you'll see any noaticeable vignetting.

The ideal aperture range for the H1 is between f4.0 and f6.5. Any aperture above f6.5 will cause defraction and images will be very soft (it will almost look like out of focus). I'd sticke to f4.0-5.6 when possible.

Tullio.
Well to answer your first question...Yes I am using the Sony adpater. And why Sony would offer an adpater with this design...knowing users would get vignetting...who knows.

So basically you're saying that if we use the Sony adapter vignetting will be unavoidable? I mean, I haven't noticed any yet in situations where there is tons of light (e.g. sunshine). Or even moderate amount of daylight. It's only been when it's dark and gloomy have I spotted it. Even then in rare ocations. 95% of my shots taken during my stay in mainland China were good.

Will I buy a Raynox adpater/filter at this point? Also doubtful as I am planning on picking up my first DSLR sometime in 2007. But I "never say never" either.

I wonder if there's a Raynox dealer in Toronto...hmmmm...


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