Cameras

4 photography tips for solo travelers

Take the best photos even when you’re alone!

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Traveling solo is a therapeutic activity when you badly need a break. It’s also a good time to immerse yourself in a new place, learn its culture, and take wonderful photos of your adventures.

Most places aren’t safe for solo travelers. It’s even more difficult to take photos of places where there’s a possibility of dropping your camera or having it stolen. Reality check: These are common issues we deal with when we travel, and the risk is higher when you’re traveling solo.


Singapore and Taipei are cities with low crime rates, safe for solo travelers. But even during my travel in both cities, I still find it difficult to shoot and ask a local to take my portraits. I have this constant fear of trusting a stranger with my camera.

Fortunately, Sony Alpha photographer Charmaine Yap of TriPeaksImagery hosted a talk providing tips on taking the best photos during your solo travel. She was using Sony’s newest a6400 and the photos she presented were breathtaking.

Yap knows the struggle of every solo traveler, and more importantly, she’s a photographer. Here’s what I learned:

Bring only what you need

When you’re traveling solo, every pocket of space counts. Instead of bringing different cameras, plan your trip and decide what you need.

 

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Yap highlights the importance of having a flexible setup. As a photographer, it’s tempting to bring different lenses for different occasions, but you don’t really need all of them.

What you can do: Bring a mirrorless camera to remove excess weight in your baggage, and a lens ideal for the place you’ll visit.

Choose a camera that can be your travel companion

Yap took the Sony a6400 on her recent trip to Hanoi, Vietnam and she instantly fell in love with it. The a6400 is a lightweight camera with a flip screen for selfie-takers and vloggers. Its interval shoot function is perfect for time-lapses and taking travel photos of yourself without an additional remote control, as you can set the number of photos to be taken once you press the shutter button.

 

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Since you need to capture scenes quickly, you’ll need a fast camera. Yap’s advice is to make sure you set the autofocus mode to AF-C, expand the flexible spot, and set the drive mode to continuous shooting. Whenever your subject moves, your camera will track it and capture with accuracy.

Photo by MJ Jucutan | GadgetMatch

Check out this video I took when I was in Singapore’s IT SHOW 2019 and see for yourself how incredible the a6400’s real-time eye AF and tracking are.

Go slow, but move fast

The best moments happen in the blink of an eye, but you won’t notice one if you’re quick to look away. You need to observe your surroundings the instant you step into a new place. Take cues and look around. If you’re always rushing from one place to another, you won’t be able to capture a place’s story. However, you need to shoot quickly because once the moment is done, you won’t have another chance.

 

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Have a list for uninspired days

Yap said, “People think photography should be spontaneous and emotional.” However, it’s not always the case. There are days when you can’t get up and bring yourself to express creatively. Take a break, think of the days ahead, write an uninspired list, and see how you can capture the stuff you want to shoot to the best of your abilities.

Remember that life is not a competition of who has the most spontaneous or most emotional photo; rather, it’s a collection of moments savored from your journey. So, where’s your next solo destination?

Cameras

DJI Osmo Pocket Review

Who exactly is it made for?

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Looking back at technological trends of the yesteryears, there are certain patterns that we can see. One example is how devices have a tendency to become smaller and smaller over time — having better functionality in smaller packages.

During the 90s, cellphones were as large as walkie-talkies and later on shrunk when the likes of the Nokia 8210 came about. Fast forward to now, and not much has changed.


Stabilizers for professional cameras started out as huge rigs and were worn around the entire body. The size got reduced for DSLRs, then smaller for smartphones, and now, a full-blown three-axis gimbal with its own 4K camera can now be held and operated single-handedly.

This is the DJI Osmo Pocket. As its name suggests, it’s built for portability and ease of use since it easily slips inside the pocket. We’ve seen it coming, though. All DJI had to do was to take its camera-mounted stabilizer from its consumer drones and turn it into a handheld standalone product.

Having a stabilized camera for video shooting is the main reason you’d want to buy this. Although, there’s more to it than just capturing footage smoother than with your smartphone. For this review, we tested out its features, saw what works and what doesn’t, and compared it to another big name in the portable camera category: GoPro’s Hero 7 Black.

It has a candy bar-sized body

Makes it easy to put away and take out

No built-in storage

Although it readily accepts a microSD card up to 256GB

USB-C port to keep with the times

For speedier file transfers and charging times

Universal Port allows for additional connectivity

Comes with adapters to connect to a smartphone and DJI’s app

Built-in preview screen

There’s a small touch display to tweak settings and preview shots

Guaranteed stabilization

The three-axis gimbal promises stable footage

Feature-packed

DJI has pretty much polished the accompanying app for its drones and once again, they only needed to make a specific app for the Osmo Pocket. Called DJI Mimo, it’s made for this handheld device as an all-in-one software for shooting in Professional Mode and editing clips to produce a short video.

Those who have tried flying the company’s drones through the DJI Go app will feel at home using DJI Mimo. The layout is familiar, even with how the settings are lined up. Through this app, it’s easier to go for the Pro Mode that lets you have control over your settings. Remember: It’s always better to be able to tweak separate values the way you want to so you can achieve the shots you have in mind.

The sensor shoots 12MP photos and videos can go up to 4K at 60fps. You can also choose to go for a high frame rate of 120fps to achieve smooth slow-motion shots. Other features include First Person View mode, Active Track, and Motionlapse. We made a short video showcasing these shooting modes.

Image quality vs GoPro’s?

With its 1/2.3-inch camera, the Osmo Pocket has the same sensor as the first Mavic Pro. And, together with its RAW photo capturing and D-Cinelike color profile, you can turn your photos and footage into a cinematic piece good enough for professional use. Details are sharp during the day, and digital noise — although still present — is kept at a minimum when shooting at night. Recording videos at Full HD resolution is enough for your usual social media posts, although you can always go for 4K if you need a little wiggling room in manual post-production.

When you talk about a compact camera that would do great for travels, GoPro’s name almost always comes to mind. I personally have a lot of friends asking me which to go for between these two. I don’t blame them since it’s pretty common to see them as an alternative to the other.

If you simply want a handheld camera that shoots good photos and stabilizes your video clips, then I guess you can compare and choose between the two. For a quick shootout, we took side-by-side shots of a few scenes on both cameras. These were shot in standard mode and some samples were captured in GoPro’s wide mode to show the difference in field of view.

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Now that you have an idea of their image quality, it’s worth noting that these two cameras are not so alike. Sure, they both have great video stabilization and offer a compact form factor, but a GoPro is more for adventure and sports with its wide selection of mounts and accessories. The accessories for the Osmo, since the product is still fairly new, are mostly sold out or not available in stores. Either way, these do not provide the same flexibility of use the GoPro mounts offer.

Another major difference is that the Osmo Pocket is not water- and dust-proof, unlike the Hero series that always has water resistance as part of its offerings. You could say the target market for these two cameras could be represented as a Venn diagram showing two different devices that slightly overlap with one another.

So who is it made for?

If the Osmo Pocket isn’t direct competition for GoPro, to whom does DJI target this device? To answer that, let’s first see where the Osmo Pocket delivers.

It’s very handy and easy to use. I went on an interstate trip in the US with the Osmo Pocket just in my… well, pocket, and taking it out and powering it up when I needed it was easy. Because of that, I’d say it’s definitely made for sightseeing during out-of-town trips.

Battery life is also satisfactory. During my travels, I made sure that the camera was fully charged before leaving the house. This would usually last me an entire day’s stroll — shooting photos and videos of the new places I visited.

Although, I’d still recommend bringing a dedicated powerbank since the battery isn’t removable like GoPro’s. And the battery understandably drains a lot faster when you shoot hyperlapse and other special modes.

Switching its camera from forward-facing to selfie mode happens in one swipe plus a tap, so it should be easy for vloggers to shoot while talking and even walking. Do take note, though, that audio reception through its built-in microphones can get tricky at times since it’s easy to cover the pinholes for the mic when you grip the entire body.

The company has already rolled out a firmware update that lets you access Pro Mode on the device itself without needing a smartphone to attach. This is an appreciated update since it’s not all the time you can afford to connect an extra smartphone just to go to the advanced settings.

However, having two ways to shoot would be a lot easier whenever you want to take your time and perfect your shot. This makes the Osmo Pocket a good tool for cinematic videography, as well.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you require more robust and flexible shooting equipment, you might want to look at GoPro’s selection. But if you find yourself doing the things mentioned above, the Osmo Pocket would fit your needs, undoubtedly.

I had a Hero 7 Black with me during the same trip and I only brought it out whenever I needed a wider shot or when I used a specific mount to capture a timelapse from a compromising spot.

The DJI Osmo Pocket is available internationally for US$ 349, but you can get one from Philippine retailers for around PhP 23,000.

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Cameras

Southeast Asian vloggers unite at Singapore through #VlogWithSony event

There are a lot of reasons why these vloggers choose Sony

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I can still remember that “blogging” was just another tech-related term that people were not that familiar with when I was a kid. Little did I know, it was really destined to become the next big thing. With the continuous growth of people using the internet, the popularity of blogging made people experiment on it even further — specifically blogging through videos. Thus, the birth of the “vlogging” generation.

A couple of days ago, Sony held an event at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, which gathered vloggers around Southeast Asia, particularly those from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.


It wasn’t just about Sony displaying their existing cameras in front of the crowd; they talked more about how creating these imaging solutions (specifically the Alpha, RX, and Handycam lineup) paved the way in helping vloggers capture quality content, and get recognized for the vlogs they have been doing for the past years.

What surprised everyone, however, was the sudden announcement of the Sony RX0 II during the event. After the product announcement, this happened:

There were queries answered by the General Manager himself, including questions about certain devices, plus the lack of ports and features on select devices. He was also asked about choosing his own camera if he were a vlogger himself. He bravely answered that he would choose the Sony A9 as his vlogging companion. It was even said that the reason why Sony focuses on the Southeast Asian market is all because of the steady popularity of vlogs that you can’t find elsewhere — not even in their home country, Japan.

Female vloggers from the Philippines (left to right): Ana Victorino, Ella Gatchalian, Rei Germar, and Avelovinit

There were also presentations made by some vloggers about how the use of Sony cameras and equipment helped them in making quality content. One talk was presented by beauty vlogger Rei Germar.

More talks happened:

Cutting the story short, these vloggers choose Sony cameras for their performance, portability, usability, and even durability over time. The fact that Sony also listens to its customers is what makes them a reliable imaging brand over anything else.

After all the talks, the event was successfully concluded by Sam Tsui, a globally renowned YouTube superstar with more than three million subscribers. Talking about how this popular brand showcased a lot of popular icons, these vloggers lined up to have a star-studded photo opportunity with him.

Sam Tsui singing his own title track “Shine”; beside him is the newly announced RX0 II

At this event, I realized that vlogging isn’t just about taking videos; it also leans more on self-expression. Vlogs may focus on beauty, travel, lifestyle, and fun, to name a few.

Bottom line is these people don’t do vlogs just because they are bored; they do it because it is their passion and they want to express themselves more to those who are watching behind their screens. After all, people are getting more invested in vlogs as another form of entertainment, and at the same time, they serve as helpful information for most people.

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Cameras

Sony debuts the RX0 II, world’s smallest and lightest 4K ultra-compact camera

Small in size, but definitely not terrible in performance

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During the #VlogWithSony event in Singapore, Sony surprised everyone when they announced the new RX0 II, the successor to Sony’s RX0. Sony claims that it’s the world’s smallest and lightest ultra-compact camera to date at just 132 grams.

The Sony RX0 II looks like its predecessor but has the old (but nifty) features, such as the 15.3MP Exmor RS image sensor with Zeiss Tessar 24mm f/4 fixed lens, Anti-Distortion Shutter and up to 1/32000-second fast shooting plus a burst rate of up to 16fps, and S-Log2 to name a few.


The new 4K internal video recording records 1.7 times more data without pixel binning, thus preserving more details without compromising the overall video quality. The enhanced BIONZ X image processor is capable of bringing better color reproduction and natural skin tone — all great for vlogging. There are also four percent more frames with its 1,000fps slow-motion recording, as opposed to the previous 960fps.

A big improvement is the addition of the in-body electronic stabilization (EIS) with gimbal-like smoothness even when handheld. Other prominent features are the tiltable 1.5-inch screen and real-time Eye AF (autofocus) tracking, which are both found on the higher-end Sony Alpha camera lineup, including the recently launched Sony A6400.

Sony RX0 II, external flash/light, and microphone attached in one bracket that is connected to the shooting grip itself

On top of those, there’s a feature called “intelligent framing” which detects a subject then keeps it in the frame, while image distortion is corrected after the video is shot. Editing clips through the RX0 II is also handy as you can transfer your photos and videos to your smartphone and edit them with your desired editing app.

It is not just ultra-compact, but also ultra-robust with its 10-meter waterproofing, two-meter dustproofing, and the crush-proof feature that can withstand up to 200kg of force.

It can still be used with the shooting grip, which can transform into a mini tripod when you stretch out the grip’s legs or add a complementary bracket that can attach more accessories to it, which will be made available in a RX0 II kit in select Asia-Pacific countries.

The Sony Imaging Edge Mobile app can control up to five RX0 II cameras wirelessly, while buying a separate Camera Control Box can help you control as many as 100 wired cameras.

The device will retail for about US$ 700, which is the same as the launch price of the older RX0 launched two years ago. In the Philippines, it has a Suggested Retail Price of PhP 39,999.

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