Posts Tagged ‘Panthip’

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Penguin Adventures

November 21, 2008

I love gadgets.  In fact, I am a sucker for gadgets.  You guys should see the “junk” I have in the house.

4 watts of pure joy

4 watts of pure joy

 

 

 

 

From my IPOD to my affinity to cheapo watches (I have about 30 watches now) to the Heathkit 4 watt vintage amp, I just can’t get enough of this stuff.  I consider myself a typical gadget freak.

With two kids and mortgage payments, I am also a cheapskate gadget freak.  

I have, like any respectable geek, set aside a “slush” fund for my gadget addiction habit.   First of all It is not a lot of money and I can choose to save for months and blow it all of on the latest, newest greatest, or buy small buy lots of it.

I actually have not bought anything for the past couple of months and my slush fund was aching to be spent.

Enter Headphone Amp…  : )

I was always intrigued by headphone amps.  I always wondered why one would want or ever need a headphone amp.

Many of the audiophiles and the purist suggest that in products like the IPOD and other portable MP3 devices, suffer from being under powered.  They say it is like driving a Hummer which was fitted with a Honda Civic engine.

I had searched online and given my massive shopping budget, I was drawn to the CMOY headphone amp.

Quote From Wikipedia.org

(some technical jargon… bring out the aspirin)

A CMoy is a pocket headphone amplifier originally designed by Chu Moy on the headwize.com Headphone Resource Site and public discussion Forums.

 

The headphone amplifier is designed around single or dual-channel op-amps such as Burr-Brown‘s OPA2134 or OPA2132PA, however, a wide variety of op-amps have been successfully implemented.

The amplifier’s design is quite simple. It consists of only a few components, can be assembled on a small section of protoboard, has a lower parts cost than other headphone amplifiers, and can run for many hours on a single 9 volt battery.

Inspite of this, a well-made CMoy amplifier can drive even demanding headphones, like Sennheiser’s HD600 or low impedance Grados quite well. These characteristics have made it very popular among DIY hobbyists, especially those who have not built an amplifier before. The CMoy headphone amplifier can be fit into Altoids tins and can often be found for sale on eBay (search CMoy).

 

That intrigued me.  I can on the cheap, get my curiosity for headphone amps satisfied and spend some time at home doing this, therefore making the wife and kids happier.

But….  I have not held a solder in years and my soldering skills is less than stellar.

Enter the Penguin

penguin-tin

 

There are actually quite a few reviews of this headphone amp.  But I really did like the one done by the Headphone Addict from http://www.head-fi.org

Apart from the really cool designation of Headphoneus Supremus, his avatar was what convinced me.  It was a turntable wielding yoda…

 

headphone addict

headphone addict

 

Seriously, the Headphone Addict had the most comprehensive review of the Penguin Caffeine Amp.  Check it out here at this address http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-penguinamp-caffeine-portable-headphone-amp-w-bass-boost-aka-headstage-lyrix-262751/

My curiosity had turned into lust… I just had to get one.  Checked online and looked for other options and finally found that www.ebay.com was my best bet to get my hands on these puppies.

I just got to have it.

Many of you know I live in Bangkok… Bangkok is a place that never ceases to surprise me.  On my lunch break, I had wandered off to Panthip Plaza yet again and surprise.  A small hole in the wall shop was actually selling The Caffeine Ultra Amp!!!

 

p-ampp2p3

The shop was also selling a range of great fun and fantastic headphone related gadgets.  The shop is located on the ground floor of Panthip Plaza towards the back as you enter.

The shop owner / keeper hardly spoke any English, but despite this he was extremely, extremely helpful.  He had let me try stuff and to his best ability, answer my headphone newbie questions.

Needless to say.  I bought my headphone amp right there and then.

Everything was which was written by the Headphone Addict is true.   I will not rewrite what he has written so just head on over to his site here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-penguinamp-caffeine-portable-headphone-amp-w-bass-boost-aka-headstage-lyrix-262751/

 All I can add to his review is.  It is worth getting a headphone amp be it the Caffeine or any other headphone amp as it really improves the listening experience way beyond a mere swtiching of a loud button.

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the Generic Asian

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Why I like the Canon G10

October 29, 2008
Canon G10

Canon G10

First of all, this is not a technical review of the Canon G10, but more of a user experience review with some non-technical review of the technical aspects of the camera.

One of the many challenges I have in having photography as a hobby is you would always want to be ready and you had to lug a bunch of stuff around.

In the past,  my primary gear was my Olympus OM1, the legendary Zuiko Prime Lenses (all 7 of the primes), my analog sekonic Light meter (no battries needed) and bag full of film.

Forward a little bit to the future in 2001.  I had my first endevour to the digital age with the Fuji 6900Z.  It had many issues as I began my move to digital age, but as a whole I loved this camera for what it can do.   It was small, it was light, it had all the bells and whistle and most of all it produced great images even printed well at A3 sized prints.   The main issue I had was that it was slow and it used lousy batteries.

The glorious Fuji 6900Z

The glorious Fuji 6900Z

I loved the Fuji for what it can do, but it still was lacking in many ways.

However, from then on, I was hooked in the digital era.  I got the Fuji S2, then the Canon 10d – 30D and now I use the 40D. 

Ok some of you probably know that in my real life work, I do travel.  A lot less these days, but when I did in the past I would lug around whatever DSLR I had at the time and then I would go about my business.  There were times that I would bring the camera around, but would never get a chance to even shoot a single frame.

It was either I was too rushed to bring the DSLR out or it was too dangerous for me to bring out a DSLR as it would just stick out too much.

I have been hearing a lot about the great new cameras such as the Canon G10 and The Panasonic Lumix L3.

Beautifully designed and highly regarded camera from Panasonic

Beautifully designed and highly regarded camera from Panasonic

A full review from 60 HZ productions was made comparing the Canon G10 and the Lumix LX3 was made on their website.  Please click link here for the article.

Furthermore, I follow a podcast called This Week in Photography or TWIP where one of the more interesting hosts had purchased both the LX3 and the G10 for his review and had said he had returned the G10 because the LX3 was much better.

On other, websites like Luminous Landscapes, they also had some mind boggling reviews of the Canon G10 and had great reviews on it.  Click here for the article.

Heck I was more confused than ever!

So, I did whatever sane person would do is for me to find out for myself.  I currently live in Bangkok and in Bangkok, there are very few places where you can buy cameras, let alone newly launched ones.

I headed for a mall called Panthip Plaza where everything from copy DVDs to rack servers are sold.  I had gone to the 4 or 5 shops that sell cameras. 

The best price I could get for the Canon G10 was around Baht 16,000 or around US$ 460.  Comes with the standard set with 2 gig SD card.  The Panasonic LX3 was also around US$ 460.   These products are most likely gray market products and would probably not have the usual warranties.

In terms of form factor, I liked the G10 better.  It just felt better on my hands.  The LX3 was just a bit too glossy for me.  And I also did not like the idea of having a lens cap which I can and will most probably lose in a heartbeat. 

There were many reasons and it took me about 3-4 hours of looking, playing around with the camera in various shops and to cut a long story short, I went with the Canon G10.

The main reasons are as follows:

1. It felt great on my Asian sized hands.  Not too small, not too big;

2. It was made by Canon.  And I have never had any issues with Canon and I trust them.  My consumer experience with Canon and their service is 1 billion percent positive;

3. It had a viewfinder and the LX3 did not have it.  From experience on shooting outdoors with just using an LCD screen as you main feedback I can tell you its not the easiest thing to use.  Or maybe its just me.

4. Nice video capture.

5. The layout of the dials and controls seem to be logical and felt like a photographers camera

6. My Canon flash works with it.  I have 3 Canon 550 EX.

7. Shoots raw

Great logical layout and I really like the exposure compensation dial

Great logical layout and I really like the exposure compensation dial

Big LCD screen with nice colors.

Big LCD screen with nice colors.

 

The main thing I disliked about the G10 was that the dial to move either the aperture or the shutter speed was too small for my taste.  I guess I am just used to the way it was layed out in the traditonal DSLR.

I chose the Canon G10 simply because I like Canon.  I like the workflow I have with the DSLR and I can use the same workflow with the  Canon G10.

I was thinking of doing a side by side comparison of the images, but really there are many of these out there who would be more competent than me.  Websites like DPReview, Ken Rockwell and many others would provide a more technical and a more comprehensive review of this camera.  I have linked them here for you to see.

Having said that I did a side by side vs. the 40D used the 28-80 F2.8 L lens. I had set up my studio strobes and did a quick setup.  Downloaded the files and did my pixel peeping….  and I really can’t tell the difference.   If at all the G10 was bit on the warm side but not much.

At the end of the day for me, the reason for my choice was simple.  It felt good on the hand and it is made by Canon.  I guess for normal consumers like me. 

My experience with the Canon brand has really won me over. 

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the Generic Asian