Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Seagull 1963 Quickie Review cool column wheel chronograph movement


This was never going to be a long post and this watch has been out there awhile with a number of variations of it abouts. I had always thought of getting one of these but something held me back in the past. This current variation ticks many of the boxes and it's aesthetics appeal to me. This is a good value (read 'cheap') and interesting watch coming in at €222.18 (approx S$360) for the leather strap version, shipped to me in Singapore. 

Why interesting? It's got a pretty cool movement. 

What ticks within the 1963 is a variation of the Venus 175 (31mm) that was a popular and decent column wheel chronograph movement in the 50s. Venus was a manufacture in the past producing movements alongside the likes of Lemania and Valjoux.

From Chinese watch wiki site (i.e. not sure how valid any of it is ;) : "Project 304 chronograph

In 1961 the Ministry for Light Industry received the order to develop a new 'aviator's watch' for the People's Liberation Army Air Force. This was designated "Project 304". The Venus Watch Company, Switzerland, were wanting to offload the calibre 175 chronograph tooling to raise capital for development of their calibre 188. The USSR were not interested, but the Chinese were. The 175 tooling was purchased for Project 304 and installed at the Tianjin Watch Factory. By October 1965, the third test batch were completed and submitted to the Ministry and Air Force for approval, which was passed in December. The production version was designated ST3. By May the following year, 1400 chronograph watches had been delivered to pilots of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)."

Seagull have been using variations of the 175  ever since it was acquired. The original version of this watch model project 304 is said to have been created for the Chinese Air Force in 1963 and this is reissue of that model and explains the 1963 tag.


For this version, the dial has "21 zuan", Chinese for "21 jewels" below the 12 o'clock marker and the Chinese characters note "China" (1st line) and "Tianjin Watch Factory" (2nd line). I think the 21 Zuan is pretty daft especially noting where it is on the dial. That's where brands normally put their brand name or logo. Although Seagull there might no be too appealing too. For some models the logo is there and it's so so. In my mind, I pretend that it says 'Zi Juan' a Chinese brand name that means who knows what and it kinda works better for me then :) 


Other things i like about this watch. They offer 38mm and other models in 42mm (but maybe with differences) but I am happy with the 38mm version which would be closer to the watches of old. 

Overall if you aren't hung up about size and you actually like watches beyond just showing off the latest and greatest and uber expensive piece, then this is something worth considering in the affordable and fun range. 

hmm maybe a white dial version would be good in future sold with a nice blue strap :) cheers, raph


Sunday, 1 October 2017

A PhotoShoot During the Singapore F1 2017 Race... A Different Pole Position

I love dance and view it as an art and creative expression. I used to be a pretty ok dancer too a long time ago in a galaxy far far away :) and I also would love taking more dance pix in time. So given the opportunity i was very keen on shooting this super talented pole dancer in Singapore, Elena. You can check out her IG here LINK there will be more pix in time but for now here are 2.


hmm interesting photobucket deemed the second image too risque to post (i think) which makes no sense because the above shows about the same. had already decided 
that i won't be renewing my photobucket service going forward before this and this is just further validation that it is the right decision.

Gear Review: Nikon D7500 Hands On At The Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention 2017

So of course there is excitement with the Nikon D850 announcement and I am interested to see how that stacks up againt the top of the line mirrorless offerings. What are the top of the line mirrorless offerings? To me, it's the Sony A9 and the Fuji GFX. So sometime later this year I do hope to pit it against those cameras but for now... 

thanks to the kind folks at Nikon Singapore and their comms/marketing/PR folks I managed to play around with the APS-C / DX format Nikon D7500 for a bit of time and these are my 
personal opinions/overall thoughts from a light usage standpoint. 


My Personal Preferences
1. APS-C is not doing much for me now. This has nothing to do with the D7500 but for me, I am not thrilled by high ISO performance of APS-C
2. I prefer EVF to OVF now 
3. Mirrorless benefits make them better cameras to me than DSLRs for my type of shooting (portraits, fashion, street)

Some Specs
  • Updated 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor 
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor from D500
  • 3.2" 922k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • Multi-CAM 3500FX II 51-Point AF System from D7200
  • Native ISO 51200, Expanded ISO 1,640,000 (yup that's a bit of a joke to me)
i. Some of the D500 mojo (meter and processor) and cheaper than the D500. for the body alone $1k less.
  • D7500 (Body Only): SGD$1,999
  • D7500 + 18-140mm VR Kit: SGD$2,419
  • D500 (Body only): $2,999
  • D500 + 16-80mm VR Kit: $3,999
  • D7200 Body only: SGD $1,469
  • D7200 Kit with AF-S 18-140mm VR DX Lens: SGD $1,879
ii. Reasonably good action cam with group AF 
iii. carbon fiber body makes it light and it is small-ish 
iv. 8.2fps shooting with a healthy buffer of up to 100 Frames 
v. SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi - I didn't play around with this but i think it's a basic requirement to have ability to transfer pix to and control your camera by phone now. 

- The 4k video is cropped in 1.3x and it's already APS-C. This wasn't good for me as I wanted to take wide video and I couldn't due to space constraints and other items in the scene I didn't want to have. 
- Colors were very warm on video for me. I am not a professional videographer and I just want good colors on my video off the bat and not have to color grade and play with profiles s-logs etc so this was not good for me. 
- Pics wise, although the camera has super High ISO settings i.e. Native ISO 51200, Expanded ISO 1,640,000!!! (which most folks in their right mind won't use) I wasn't thrilled with it's regular ISO range picture quality which may be more of a factor of me being used to full frame (Sony A7s) and medium format (Fujifilm GFX50s) ISO performance.  
- No 3D tracking af. AF in low light wasn't so great for me and i have missed af shots. AF doesn't focus on what i wanted in focus at times too. 
- No dual slots so not an option in any way for professionals or folks who take on freelance jobs. you need to have backups as cards do fail. Not regularly but it happens and you can't explain it away to a client why u don't have images from *gulp* their wedding day. 

My live pix using this camera follows and I used it as a walkaround camera for the Singapore Toys and Gaming Comics Convention (STGCC) 2017, 10 year anniversary. My overall view from use of it there is that it is a very good camera for APS-C and a definite consideration (against it's mirrorless competition) if it meets your budget, size/weight, features requirements. 

All the pix were converted from NEF to DNG and lightly edited in Lightroom (LR). Overall I did not find high ISO performance good enough for me. I have noted the ISOs for the pix below and noise reduction (NR). Note all pix had sharpening of 25 to 30s range applied with some above 40s. ISO up to 1250 seems to be good but above that some degree of NR is needed. 

ISO 220 No NR

ISO 360 No NR
ISO 180 No NR. AF missed for this range of shots

ISO 1600 NR 20 in LR

ISO 3200 NR 45

ISO 400

ISO 2000 NR 19

ISO 100 with flash

ISO 1250 No NR

ISO 10,000 NR 23

ISO 2800 No NR
ISO 1000 No NR

ISO 2800 NR 31

ISO 7200 NR 30

ISO 1250 NR 26

ISO 2000 NR 35
ISO 500 NR 40 (Cropped in significantly from original image)

ISO 450 NR 20

ISO 1250 No NR

ISO 4000 NR 44


"Pursue incredible moments with the intuitive DX-format D7500. Designed to be agile, the D7500 packs an updated 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor and the EXPEED 5 image-processing engine,  a combination that creates images with superior definition and reduced noise even at higher ISO values, into a durable and compact body, while a native ISO range from 100 to 51200 provides minimal noise in low-light scenarios, giving you the freedom to shoot detailed images even in harsh lighting conditions. With its 51-point autofocus system and a continuous shooting speed of approximately 8 frames per second, this camera is a paragon of fast-paced shooting. The D7500 records up to 4K UHD/30p videos in breath-taking detail, so you can take your passion to the next level. Seamlessly shoot and share on the go with SnapBridge, an app that automatically transfers your images to your smart device via Wi-Fi®. Whatever your subject, the D7500 will always deliver reliable and unparalleled performance with every shot.

Designed to fuel the passion of photographers is the new Nikon D7500, announced today by Nikon Singapore Pte Ltd. Nikon’s newest DX-format DSLR combines the performance of class-leading DSLR photography with outstanding agility and operability, creating endless possibilities for core photography enthusiasts and those on a quest to perfect their craft."


Friday, 30 June 2017

Astronauts' Mission in Singapore & A 60th Anniversary bash!

Before jumping into largely Omega provided text and pix I would like to thank Fiona & Rina and other fine folk at Omega for the invites down. Thanks all and on to it then! [Stuff in purple are my words and the pix have all been lightly edited]

Come meet the OMEGA astronauts on 7th July 2017 from 7.30pm at the Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Exhibition, on now until 9th July 2017 at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Level B1 from 11.00am until 9.00pm, daily.


In 1957, OMEGA set out to create a robust chronograph that was water-proof, easy to read, easy  to  use  and  exceedingly  precise.  The  result  was  a  watch  quite  unlike  any  other  - the Speedmaster,  the  original  timepiece  in a  legendary  family.  Few  watches  have the power  to inspire like the OMEGA Speedmaster. The first watch ever worn on the moon, it has become an enduring symbol of the ingenuity and skill that took us into space. 

 Celebrating the past six decades of the Speedmaster, OMEGA  presents the “Speedmaster 60th   Anniversary   Exhibition”. Within   the   exhibition   space,   visitors   can   admire   the fascinating  history  of  this  timepiece  through  photographs,  vintage  watches  and  interactive screens,  through  which  the  visitors  will  be  able  to  navigate  on  a  microsite  dedicated  to  the Speedmaster  60th  Anniversary  and  a  special  section  called “Faces  of  Speedmaster”  that collects images from famous Speedmaster owners all over the world. 



OMEGA stages a space-inspired soiree to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the legendary Speedmaster

29 June, Singapore: Time travel, space exploration and high-tech installation art came together in spectacular fashion, as OMEGA celebrated the 60th anniversary of its legendary Speedmaster collection in Singapore with a multi-sensory extravaganza that also heralded the opening of the brand’s latest flagship boutique at The Shoppes At Marina Bay Sands.

Over 130 guests, including VIP customers, members of the media...

[Singapore Celebrity Friends of Brand, Chen Han Wei & Yvonne Lim]

[Sheila Sim, actress and model and Nu Models agency owner]

and prominent watch bloggers (and a notable speedmaster loving barista) attended the multi-facetted event. Photobucket

Teleporting attendees to the OMEGA universe from the get-go, the evening started with cocktails at a special exhibition area at the Marina Bay Sands mall, followed by a space-themed party at the Art Science Museum.

Upon arrival, guests were whisked to the Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Exhibition at the Marina Bay Sands mall. There, they journeyed through 60 years of the world-famous watch collection, courtesy of carefully curated exhibits.

The experience was further enriched by the presence of Jose De Cardoso, President of Swatch Group South-east Asia, 


and OMEGA’s Head of Product Management, Mr Gregory Kissling,

...who was on hand to share insights on the brand and the Speedmaster’s legacy. Meanwhile, guests capped the exhibition by sharing their memories on social media, posting selfies against a photo wall that featured 60 of the most important Speedmaster models from 1957 to 2017.

After a tour of the exhibition and boutique, guests adjourned to the Art Science Museum, which was transformed into an OMEGA universe unto itself, and took on a futuristic, space-inspired milieu to express the Speedmaster’s legacy in NASA space explorations.

Indeed, the evening was more than a celebration of one of the most iconic watches in the history of horology – it served as a reminder that OMEGA is in pursuit of even greater milestones to come.

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