Singapore

Smartphone photography 101: How to take slice of life photos

Aim for a variety and tell a story

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Whether you want to capture random mundane activities or annual festivities like National Day, making sure you tell a story with your photos is important. There are so many ways to snap slice-of-life images, no matter which platform they’re made for — the challenge is to make each photo interesting.

Here are some tips from actual photographers on how you can take pro-looking photos of everyday life using just an iPhone. The best camera, after all, is the one that you have with you at all times:

Use the horizon as your guide

When it comes to photographing buildings, Darren Soh says to keep your iPhone level to the horizon. There’s no shame in taking a few seconds to frame your shot so the building remains straight in your photos as in real life.

Aim for variety

No matter how mundane, a picture is worth a thousand words. Franz Navarrete says to ask yourself before tapping that shutter: “What’s the story I want to tell?” Spontaneity is fun but when time allows for it, plan and research the place you’re going to to give you a sense of what you should be looking for. Make an effort to explore and walk a lot the unbeaten path — go to the alleys and climb those stairs.

Use long exposure

Shot on iPhone XS Max, Melissa Patrice (@girleatworld)

Live Photo isn’t just for taking moving Harry Potter-like photos. When you swipe up on any Live Photo, you’ll see a variety of effects including long exposure. Melissa Patrice says you will want to be as steady as possible when taking photos with long exposure as the intension. A tripod will help, but if you don’t have one, she says you can find a stable surface to rest your phone on while taking the photo. Keep in mind that this effect works really well only when you have a steady subject and a lot of movement in the background.

Hold your breath

Shot on iPhone XR, Jason Lim (@jsnjnr)

This is one of the most underrated and least talked about trick, even in videography. If you don’t have a tripod, Jason Lim suggests holding your breath when taking a photo to keep your phone steady and make sure the photo is sharp.

Use portrait mode

Shot on iPhone XS Max, Ivan Kuek (@phonenomenon)

We’ve talked about using portrait mode sparingly before, and that applies here as well. Ivan Kuek says the trick for making it work is to look for good lighting. Framing your shot with a foreground or background that relates to your subject also helps tell a more meaningful story.

Clean your lens

This is another underrated and overlooked step when taking photos. Franz Navarrete reminds users to make sure you wipe the lens of your phone with soft fabrics, like a microfiber cloth to clear off dusts and smudges.

Do you have tips in taking slice of life photos? Share them with us in the comments below!

Accessories

47Ronin watch straps: Where smartwatch meets Japanese art

Bridging heritage and modern technology

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Japan and its culture have drawn people like moth to a flame. It’s incandescently captivating, irresistible, magnetizing. One even embraces and allows it to seep into their lives.

That’s what happened to Tong Cheuk Fung, a Hong-Kong born, Singaporean watch strap artist whose humble beginnings started in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital.

Living in Japan made Tong love its crafts and culture, giving birth to 47Ronin — Tong’s very own watch strap brand designed and handcrafted by marrying horology, smartwatches, and Japanese art.

Japanese art on your wrists

47Ronin’s name traces back to a chronicle from over 300 years ago, where 47 Ronins — free-roaming Samurais without a master — exhibited bravado and loyalty through vengeance against the injustice committed to their late master.

The watch straps embody this tale to its designs, catering to a certain niche resembling Ronins; free-spirited individuals leading a life according to their own philosophy.

With pieces made and sourced from Japan, 47Ronin wraps the country’s history and beauty on people’s wrists through its watch straps. Most of its pieces were made from exotic materials such as leather, Kimono textile, and Katana elements — all sourced from Japan.

Where future meets history

Traditional crafts are declining; handcrafted straps are already considered a sunset industry. The advent of futuristic wearables made the younger generation prefer minimalist and sleek designs by the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Google.

For the fashion-oriented, hybrid smartwatches are the favored statement often sold by designer brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors, Frédérique Constant, and Skagen.

Yet even with a decline in demand and appreciation, 47Ronin perseveres to preserve the craftsman’s spirit and its culture. The brand cultivated designs that work with analog timepieces and smartwatches, putting the attention to the strap rather than the technology.

The traditional craft’s heritage lives on as 47Ronin forges its historic design into modern wristwatches. The Japanese-inspired Singaporean brand worked with technology companies like Mobvoi and produced bespoke designs for Apple watches.

Personalized, artisanal straps

Since 47Ronin’s watch straps are handcrafted by Tong himself,  ordered pieces are instilled with the artist’s creative thoughts, and tailored to the customer’s wrist and watch’s components.

The Singaporean brand houses multiple collections, too, where customers can pick a design that resonates with their personality.

Most designs retail above US$ 200, entailing a personalized process — communicating to customize the lug width, length, and thickness, and sourcing rare materials — for four weeks and up to two months.

47Ronin certainly pushes itself as an exemplar of art rather than an accessory, creating a unique proposition among leather watch straps.

A heart for the environment and people

Nowadays, sustainability becomes an integral part of a business. 47Ronin partakes in the fight to a sustainable future through its up-cycling program.

The watch strap maker retrieves damaged watch straps and buckets to repair it, preserving an artisanal watch straps’ life. Old watch straps and buckles are also retrieved and reused to create new products.

Moreover, 47Ronin collaborated with 20 local watchmakers in Singapore as a means to lift each other up, as businesses and online sales have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Shop custom, artisanal watch straps at 47Ronin’s online store with free worldwide shipping.

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Cameras

The Sony A7S III is a low light video beast

And then some

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Finally! After years of waiting, we now have the successor to Sony’s video-centric mirrorless camera — the Sony A7S III.

It’s been six years since the release of the Sony A7S II, and its successor carries on the many features that made it an absolute must-have for videographers both amateur and professional.

Taking professional video further

The A7S III offers in-camera 4K recording up to 120 frames per second(1), 10-bit depth and 4:2:2 color sampling. It has a more flexible and efficient post-production workflow with a variety of advanced movie recording modes such as All-Intra and MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 coding (XAVC HS).

If you’re worried about a mutli-cam production, the Sony Alpha team has taken that into account as well. It has three color gamut settings S-Gamut, S-Gamut3, and S-Gamut3.Cine that make it easy to match with footage shot with other cameras.

Footage taken with the camera is also ready to go as is. The S-Log3 gamma curves as well as support for HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) picture profile produces footage with a minimal need for post-production.

The A7S III also allows up to 4K 60p 16-bit RAW output to an external recorder via HDMI Type-A connector, offering additional post-production flexibility.

BIONZ XR for better image quality

The A7S III is equipped with the new CMOS image sensor and BIONZ XR image processing engine. This all in the service of producing that legendary S-Series sensitivity with significantly enhanced color reproduction and texture renderings for improved overall image quality.

The base ISO has been lowered to 80, resulting in a normal range of 80-102,400 (expandable to 80-409,600 for video and 40-409,600 for stills). This provides more flexible ISO plus wide dynamic range with low noise at all settings.

It also improves AWB (Auto White Balance) performance with a new “Visible light + IR Sensor” that helps to achieve more precise white balance under artificial lighting.

Advanced AutoFocus

AutoFocus (AF) has been one of the features that Sony just has been absolutely good at and that carries over to the A7S III. It offers Fast Hybrid AF by combining phase-detection and contrast-detection AF.

This means it can track subjects over a wide area with outstanding speed, precision and smoothness, even when using a narrow depth of field. This is further enhanced by Sony’s e-mount lenses capable of Fine focus expression.

For environments with a lot of movement, Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF are available to maintain constant focus on the intended subject.

Sony’s advanced Real-time Eye AF improves detection performance by 30% over the previous system. It ensures accurate, reliable detection, even when the subject’s face looks away.

The A7S III is now touch screen so real-time tracking can be done in that manner. Real-time Eye AF is automatically initiated when an eye is detected.

The camera includes several AF features for professional users including AF Transition Speed in seven settings. It has rack-focus transitions and five AF Subject Shift Sensitivity settings to customize how easily AF will switch or stay with the locked-on subject.

It’s now also possible to Touch Focus during manual focus mode on the LCD screen or remotely from the Imaging Edge Mobile application.

Better cooling implemented

Naturally, this much power will generate plenty of heat. The A7S III’s design takes this into consideration.

A newly developed unique heat dissipating structure keeps the image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating ranges. This keeps things cool even during extended continuous recording sessions at 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video lasting an hour or more.

The new heat-dissipating structure requires no fan or cabinet vents allowing Alpha 7S III to maintain dust and moisture resistance.

Maximum stability

A camera built video can’t be without proper stabilization.The Sony A7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Mode with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization to support especially difficult handheld movie shooting.

It’s the first Alpha series E-mount body to feature a side-opening vari-angle rear screen. It’s perfect for gimbal-mounted shots, complicated angles, handheld operation and more.

The screen rotates sideways, up and down, and features a 3.0 type 1.44 million-dot (approx.) touch panel LCD monitor, for optimal visibility even in bright outdoor environments. FINALLY.

Not a slouch in photography

Just because it’s video-focused, doesn’t mean it neglected still images. The A7S III has a fast Hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection AF points covering 92% of the image sensor.

Users can continuously shoot more than 1,000 uncompressed RAW images at up to 10fps, or up to 8fps in live view mode, with either the mechanical or electronic shutter.

High speed transfer, redesigned menu

The A7S III features two CFexpress Type A compatible media slots. These support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards for high write-and-read speeds while keeping the camera body compact.

CFexpress Type A cards are ideally suited to high-speed continuous RAW still image shooting as well as 4K 120pi movie recording at high bit rates.

High-speed data transfer to a PC is possible at about 1.7 times faster than that of SD card. The dual slots can be set to relay mode for extended continuous recording of even the highest bit rate data as well as simultaneous recording and sort by format type recording.

The menu system, which some have noted to be somewhat of a black hole, has been redesigned for easier navigation. Switching to video mode automatically prioritizes video settings. Same is true for the various photo modes.

Pricing and Availability

The new Sony A7S III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will be available in September 2020 for approximately US$3,499.99. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

In Singapore and the Philippines, it will be available in October 2020. Pricing will be announced soon.

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News

LG expands its 4K TV lineup in Singapore

4K is becoming more accessible than ever

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4K TVs are becoming more accessible to the masses. LG is expanding its 4K TV lineup in Singapore with new models that cater to a wide range of viewers. These TVs — UN71, UN72, UN73, UN80, and UN81 — all offer immersive viewing experience and AI enhancements.

A more immersive viewing experience

All of LG’s newest 4K TV models have slim and sleek designs that fit any space. Their tiny bezels allow for a more immersive viewing experience of any media content. On top of that, each TV comes with a quad-core processor that reduces image noise and enhances image clarity. The processor also supports upscaling technology, converting low-resolution media and reproducing them with a close to 4K quality.

Unique to UN80 and UN81 is the inclusion of in-plane switching (IPS) technology. With a 4K IPS panel, viewers can only expect vibrant and punchy colors every time they watch a media. All of LG’s TV models include a wide viewing angle so big families can enjoy watching no matter the content.

AI smarts for the user’s convenience

LG also packed its ThinQ AI into its new TV models. ThinQ AI integrates all LG connected appliances and devices, enabling seamless use between each other. Users can take advantage of this integration on their LG TVs by accessing the Home Dashboard and controlling connected devices. A user can control the room’s temperature or see the laundry’s progress just with their LG 4K TV.

Google Assistant is also built right into the new TV models, curating shows, and movies based on a user’s watch history. Various apps and services allow users to watch their favorite content right on their TVs.

Features for the big game

All 4K LED TVs also have low input lag for an uninterrupted gaming session. Plus, LG has included an HGiG mode that optimizes the TV’s viewing mode for gaming. These features combine with AI Sound and Ultra Surround, allowing viewers to hear more details out of the dialogues in games or sports.

LG’s newest 4K TV lineup is now available on all stores and dealers nationwide. For the UN81, LG is pricing SG$ 9,999 for the 86-inch model, SG$ 4,499 for the 82-inch model, and SG$ 3,499 for the 75-inch model. To know more about the newest TV lineup, visit LG’s website.

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