We’ve been driving our new ride for almost a month now, and not surprisingly, we’ve learned to live with some of the little issues that we found annoying earlier on – and a couple other things that we didn’t notice earlier on are now only surfacing! In no particular order:

Auto-sensing screen wipers: seem quite intelligent… but only when the sensors are actually working! We noticed on a couple of occasions that the sensors didn’t detect a downpour, requiring us to toggle the auto screen wipers back to manual on/off. Weird

Proximity auto-locking: same thing too. Most occasions the car’s auto-locking will kick in, sometimes so promptly when we’re just a meter away from the car. But like the screen wipers, the sensing seems temperamental, so much so that we’ve decided not to rely on proximity auto-locking and now manually just lock the car doors when we’re out of the vehicle. The auto-retracing side-view mirrors remain very useful though – they serve as an immediate visual indicator that the car is indeed secure. We lost count of the times we asked each other “Dear, did you lock the car…?”

Active Driving Display: still super useful!

MP3s off the flashdrive: still working well enough, though the player funnily resets the playlist occasionally without us knowing why.

iStop: something we thought would be really annoying – but we’ve learned to live with it. The jolt the car experiences when it quick-starts the engine when we’re driving off from stoppage can still be felt, but it’s like the car mildly sneezing. Cute even LOL.

Car all-round visibility: still trying to get used to it! Still making us a little nervous that we’re giving our left wheels sufficient clearance.

Funnily too, we’re barely reaching the reported fuel consumption that other Mazda 3 users are getting. We’re getting about 9.3 liters/100km mileage while other drivers are expending 8 liters for the same distance. Might be to do with our driving styles, or that the roads we drive on to/fro work and home aren’t expressways.

 

We collected our new ride yesterday afternoon. Not that we’re ultimately fussed over these things, but it was quite a different experience at the Mazda showroom compared to the Nissan one 8 years ago. We were ushered into a large private room at Eurokars – Mazda’s Authorized Distributor – with the new car waiting. Our customer executive who sold us the car took a picture with us posing with the new vehicle and had it printed and photo-framed, then walked us through each feature, followed by the final paperwork for car registrations, and warranty policies and the like. So yep, that little feeling of class and care at Eurokars for a six digit purchase that was oddly absent from Nissan / Tan Chong Motors experience back then, though all things on balance, we liked the Nissan customer executive even more.:)

The wife gets dibs on the first drive-out,.

The wife gets dibs on the first drive-out,.

Both have us have taken short drives on the new ride, and the initial observations:

The car feels (actually factually is too) a lot heavier. We’ve not had a lot of recent experience on continental-styled cars, but the Latio in comparison felt nimble, light, and almost occasionally unnerving when we do a hard turn. The Mazda is rock steady – especially evident when making turns and going up and down humps.

Both kids eased into the new car readily. Peter didn’t wail, and in minutes, was babbling to himself again – which is a sure sign that he’s happy.

Hannah was especially excited over the sunroof, and was nearly over the moon when I casually mentioned that the vehicle’s entertainment system should be able to screen Tom & Jerry cartoons!

Many of the features are really nifty and actually useful. Like the super-cool HUD-like Active Driving Display which makes it much easier to check your current vehicle speed, the driver console to control the media system, dual air-con adjusters, USB charging, auto-sensing window wipers, auto-retracting side-view mirrors, headlights, and proximity-based auto-locking. A few other features are less useful or just stuff we won’t use very much – like the Bluetooth connections to handphones for messaging, but are still nice to haves.

This sort of thing is normal in modern cars today – but I cannot sufficiently emphasize how grateful I am to finally have a ride which can play MP3 music off a USB thumbdrive. No more CD switcheroos. I can finally put to use that 64GB thumbdrive jam-packed with about 900 hours of music. Happy day! :)

On the other hand:

We miss a couple of things from the Latio, and its absence only now reinforces how much we took it for granted in the old car. Especially the foot-brake. Greatest vehicle invention ever, and sadly not in the Mazda 3.

The iStop – which basically kills the engine at temporary stoppage and gets it ready for quick start again – is intended to help the car be more fuel efficient, but we’re worried if it’s going to impose wear/tear on the car engine. And that little jolt when the car auto restarts will take getting use to. Ling already wants to permanently disable iStop, but from what I know from checking around, that’s not possible.

General space for rear-seat passengers is indeed more compact and limited than the Latio. Not that our kids mind at the moment, but they might when they get older and bigger.

Brake and acceleration pedals are pretty stiff and require more pressure before they register input. Hopefully they will loosen up over time.

Seemingly fewer but also smaller storage compartments. The Latio had a lot of storage compartments (e.g. passenger and driver side) and the key ones were cavernous! We could chuck books, maps, bottles and the like in the side-storages – but we couldn’t find similar equivalents for the Mazda 3 at this moment.

The car doesn’t provide the driver as much easy visibility all-round. One thing we really appreciated on the Latio was large windows, which really helped in checking for blind spots. The Mazda 3 in comparison feels more enclosed and walled off, and in part because of the chassis, provides less easy visual cues for drivers just at the edges of our peripheral vision. Case in point. We were gingerly making turns in and out of carparks in part of course due to the car being longer and wider than the Latio, but also because we couldn’t see for certain out of the windows how much clearance the car wheels had against kerbs and walls.

I banged my head coming out of the car – twice now LOL. The door frame is smaller, and will require getting use to.

And finally; Hannah did a drawing after she had her first ride. She’s making it abundantly clear who the car belongs to.:)

Close enough visual representation of the Mazda 3 - except for the rear antenna.:)

Close enough visual representation of the Mazda 3 – except for the rear antenna.:)

Another two months have gone past since I did a post of our kids! Work has kept both of us pretty busy, and activities at home have mostly settled into a tidy routine. Hannah is just as chirpy as ever, and now takes weekly swimming lessons at her school and was ‘promoted’ to the next level at her ballet class with corresponding changes to class timings on the weekend too.

Peter though is still a huge handful, and is showing inclinations to throw tantrums (basically bawling) when he doesn’t get his way. We’ve been starting to discipline him – or actually slightly more so from the daddy than mommy – but it sure is a battle of wills, and he’s still not at the age where he recognizes that he can’t always get his way. Sigh. Ling was wondering if her consumption of coffee during Peter’s pregnancy has anything to do with him being more hyper and emo, compared to his easy-going and affable big sister. When she was carrying Hannah, she went with all the old wife tales and cautions about not consuming certain types of foods, but with Peter, it was no holds barred LOL.

Peter has learned how to handle eating utensils.

Peter has learned how to handle eating utensils.

I've been finding games where the two of them can play together. One such first moments.

I’ve been finding games where the two of them can play together. One such first moments.

Hannah showing how she does her Chinese homework - with one leg up!

Hannah showing how she does her Chinese homework – with one leg up!

Peter making faces. Is that one of horror, or grimace?

Peter making faces. Is that one of horror, or grimace?

There's a small kid's animal zoo near Jalan Kayu that we swung by over the weekend. Hannah is deciding whom among the three gets the last bird seed, while Peter seemed unnerved!

There’s a small kid’s animal zoo near Jalan Kayu that we swung by over the weekend. Hannah is deciding whom among the three gets the last bird seed, while Peter seemed unnerved!

Hannah making new friends.

Hannah making new friends.

On the toys and gadgets on the home-front. Oddly, the Macbook Pro that spectacularly failed early this year resulting in the purchase of two laptops decided to work properly again. Now between us we’ve got five personal laptops. Oh well. Plenty of second hand equipment to foist onto Hannah when she starts schooling and needing to use computers. The Panasonic LX100 has been serving us wonderfully well too, and alongside the Nissin i40 pocket flashgun, has pretty much taken over photographic duties from the full m4/3s cameras. Center sharpness for most images remain an issue, and subject isolation is less attractive than the primes I’ve been shooting with before picking up the LX100, but it sure is a lot more versatile and portable than carrying two camera bodies fitted with primes.

We’ll also be picking up our new ride in a few days’ time. More to come on that soon.:)

The decision in our new car project 2015 to replace our 8 year Nissan Latio came down to either the Toyota Corolla Altis Elegance, or the Mazda 3 Sedan Deluxe. While the Kia Forte K3 really had some nifty and unique features, we finally decided not to risk a South-Korean designed and built car. Possibly we were overly conservative since many reviewers note that the South Koreans have really caught up with the Japanese. The Nissan Sylphy that we liked a lot several days ago was a third choice, but for just a bit more, we could be considering alternatives that were better regarded along general vehicle reliabilities. Interestingly too, Nissan cars seem to fare badly in overall reliabilities, going with Consumer Reports, though our Latio didn’t give us issues during its 8 year span.

The toss-up between the Altis and Mazda 3 was very close. There was marginal difference in their overall packaged prices (just S$200) and apart from slight differences in performance, horsepower and rated fuel consumption, both otherwise had almost identical feature sets – with the feature differences between them nice to haves but not especially consequential (e.g. how doors are locked – by proximity or car movement). The decision was finally based largely on the country of manufacturing – Japan or Thailand. Many consumer level sedans are now manufactured in the latter, and there’s nothing to say that a vehicle made in Thailand will be less reliable than one made in Japan. The item could be manufactured in China and still be fabulous as long as there’s good quality control. But we were thinking of potential resale value down the road, and in this regards, we figured Japan-made vehicles might have the advantage. A quick check online among Singaporean car owners also showed favor for the Mazda 3. So, it was to be a Mazda to replace our Nissan.

The Mazda showroom was pretty crowded in our return visit though, and this part of the island was experiencing an uncharacteristic heavy early evening downpour. The salesperson who’d worked out a package for us during our noon-time visit was busy with other customers. We ended up waiting for more than an hour, and well past the showroom’s normal closing hours of 1800 hrs before we were served. It must had also been our salesperson’s lucky day, as ours was the third deal he closed today.

The Mazda 3 got Hannah's approval!

The Mazda 3 got Hannah’s approval!

Peter like a boss with his calculator. "No sir; I don't think you can afford this SUV. Can I interest you in a cheaper family sedan?"

Peter like a boss with his calculator. “No sir; I don’t think you can afford this SUV. Can I interest you in a cheaper family sedan?”

Lots of people were checking out the Mazda 3, so it wasn't easy trying to get a photo of this lovely without people in the backdrop.

Lots of people were checking out the Mazda 3, so it wasn’t easy trying to get a photo of this lovely without people in the backdrop.

This will be our first car with modern amenities - like GPS-enabled navigation, and info-entertainment decks.

This will be our first car with modern amenities – like GPS-enabled navigation, and info-entertainment decks.

We wouldn’t have bought the car without Hannah’s approval of course. She sat in for today’s test drives – alongside Peter who was too perplexed by the new surroundings – and at the end of each, we asked her for her opinion. She didn’t like the Altis for some reason that she couldn’t explained. As for the Mazda 3, at the end of the test drive, the very astute salesperson showed her the retractable sunroof – Hannah was sold on the spot.

We had a bit of time on the weekend morning, so continued our exploration of replacements for our family ride. We’d listed the Toyota Showroom to check out the Altis earlier on, but added in the Mazda showroom for their series 3 sedans at the last minute from neighbors’ recommendations. We didn’t initially have the best impressions of the Mazda 3 from 8 years back when we were shopping for the Honda Civic replacement (basically Ling banged her head on the door frame LOL), but the comparison this time round was interesting and very close!

Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Elegance

Very appealing exterior with a futuristic-looking front grill

Very roomy interior with lots of leg room, and almost as much headroom as the Latio

Large info-display panel

Feature set that’s almost to what the Forte K3 offered – including knockdown passenger seats, electrically-controlled driver seat, keyless entry/ignition etc. It was just missing the memory-retaining and cooled driver seat

Very cool keyless entry system that makes use of motion sensing

Auto-locking doors that kicks in after a few minutes

Good performance and handling in the limited test drive we had

On the other hand: I thought the glossy interior panels were rather cheapo-looking. And Ling thought the interior looked quite uncle-ish too and from our parents’ generation (I was alright with it).

Most seriously – Hannah said she didn’t like the car!

We were tended to by a pretty experienced salesperson, but oddly again – like the Nissan and Kia salespeople from earlier in the week – didn’t seem to know very much about the competing models within the same price and functional bracket.

Mazda 3 1.5 Sedan Deluxe

Sporty looking exterior – though also where Ling and I differed. I like the Altis’ exterior looks, while she preferred the Mazda 3

Placement of the info-display panel is closer to eye-level than the Altis

Doesn’t have Altis’ auto-locking doors upon driving off, but its auto-locking is proximity-based (which we thought would be more useful)

Made in Japan!

More luxurious and comfy cushioning than the Altis.

Keyless locking works on both front passenger and driver sides

Almost identical feature set otherwise to the Altis

She didn’t banged her head getting in and out of the car this time!

On the other hand; the interior was obviously more compact and not nearly as much legroom as the Altis or Sylphy.

Pretty noisy engine especially on start-up, and also when driving about

The attending salesperson was very helpful. He drove out additional models for us to check out features, and also brought us to their basement car storage to look at available colors as they are on actual cars (not just sample plates). He was also a little bit more informed about other manufacturers’ offerings too.

The Mazda 3 was a little bit more pricey, but was offering a slightly higher trade-in value for our Latio – which resulted in almost similar overall price packages between the two.

As it is, we think we’ve seen enough and will be deciding soon between the Sylphy, Forte K3, Altis, and the Mazda 3. For the moment: one of the only two pictures we took during our visits:

Peter especially interested in the driver's door off the Mazda 3 Deluxe.

Peter especially interested in the driver’s door off the Mazda 3 Deluxe.

 

We took the weekday afternoon to check out the first two car showrooms. Both showrooms were situated just opposite each other – or rather in fact, the Ubi Road stretch sees a row of car dealerships side by side and all eyeballing each other LOL – and were the authorized distributors for the Nissan Sylphy and Kia Forte K3 models we’d shortlisted. Business at both showrooms was fairly quiet for the afternoon, so we didn’t need to wait to be served. Like our purchase of the Nissan Latio 8 years ago, Ling did the test-drive honors and noted the more subjective handling and general performance parts of our evaluation, while I busied myself making mental notes as a passenger and looking at the more technical specifications side of things.

We checked out the Sylphy first, and our brief comments from our two visits.

Nissan Sylphy 1.6L Premium

Nice, modern looks and exterior styling – though we aren’t too bothered if it wasn’t. We lived with a car that looks like a brick for 8 years. Anything is an upgrade!

A few options for interior, though oddly not in the exterior/interior combo we preferred.

Has most of the key features we want: e.g. keyless ignition/entry, GPS, rear air-con vents, reverse camera, large LCD dashboard serving as a media player display panel too.

Doesn’t have a lot of features we’ve taken for granted from the Latio: foot brake, auto-sensing headlights. I quipped to the salesperson aren’t we then downgrading LOL.

Slightly better fuel-economy than the Forte K3.

The speed pick-up seemed about the same as the Latio, despite its higher rated engine power.

We can transfer our existing Latio maintenance plan to the new one since it’s the same dealership. hooray!

As an aside too; the attending salesperson knew the car and purchasing procedures very well and could rattle off details easily and confidently, but also struck us as someone who seemed a little disinterested. Nothing quite like the very warm and knowledgeable Nissan salesperson who sold us the Latio back then. He was so eager to get our sale maybe we should have squeezed him for a few complimentary cartons of abalone.

Kia Forte K3 1.6L SX

Slightly more sporty and even more modern looking exterior than the Sylphy.

Interior only comes in one color. Boo!

Has features up the wazoo, some of which are unique: electrically-controlled, memory and cooled driver seat (Kia clearly is pampering the driver in this model), auto-sensing headlights, knockdown passenger seats (useful for furniture shopping), different steering options.

A dashboard display that looks like a Star Trek command console. Super futuristic!

Doesn’t have a few default features from the Sylphy: reverse camera, GPS maps.

Slightly less good fuel economy than the Sylphy, but also showed visibly better speed pick-up on the other hand.

The attending salesperson was very enthusiastic and helpful, but from the get-go was also obviously new to the job.

Most seriously though was that the recent COE prices have led to revisions to both cars’ listed prices, and going with the recent published pricelists, the Forte K3 no longer has a price advantage over the Sylphy. In fact, it’s slightly even more expensive now. Duh.

We also wanted to check out the Toyota Corolla Altis too, but their showroom – situated on the same road – was closed because of a company event. Too bad. They didn’t get our business. Or maybe we’ll give them a second chance and try a different day again.

More to come soon.:)

There are many little annoyances about living in Singapore. Most of it people I think have learned to live with, but there’s a couple that really gets their goats. One of these is the price of car ownership, and the dreaded escalating prices of Certificates of Entitlement. The government here of course has been encouraging to make use of public transportation, but that’s – frankly – a non-starter for families with young kids like ours, nor does it help persuade current car owners to switch when the national transportation system has been experiencing unusually frequent occurrences of breakdowns of late.

Our almost 8 year old Nissan Latio has served us very well over the years now, and incredibly, aside from a minor scrape we got into on the first year, has not experienced a single other vehicular accident since then. OK; the car emitted white smoke one occasion 4 years ago while trying to get up the steep ramp leading into the Compass Point carpark, but that seemed to get rectified through servicing. The common opinion here also is that once your car is about the eighth year and you’re certain you are gonna continuing needing a car, you’ll need to seriously plan to get a replacement well-before the car hits the 10 year mark.

Unlike many other Singaporean men though, I (personally) have little interest in cars as toys and gadgets – not certainly to the same degree of enthusiasm I have with say photography or mobile computing. Cars for the both of us are essentially functional objects that will get us from one point to another and safely, and aside from the most obvious and basic of requirements – like fuel consumption, cost of maintenance, engine capacity, passenger space, body color, and price – we don’t really have any preference on the other aspects of the ride. We did especially like the keyless entry and ignition features on the Latio, and the unusually generous headroom and legspace in the cabin. The former seems to be a pretty common feature these days in family sedans – so here’s hoping that the new car will also have similarly spacious interior space.

As with just about everything I do and buy today, I fired up Excel and created columns for the above requirements. And within the budget of what we were willing to spend on it, our choices seem to be just one of a few models:

Nissan Almera/Latio or Nissan Sylphy

Kia Forte K3

Toyota Corolla Altis

Time to start making time too to schedule visits to the carshow rooms to see and experience the cars in-person too.

The difficulty in our New Car Project 2015 is finally though how much more expensive car ownership is now in 2015 compared to 2007, with our projected expenditure to be about 160% what we spent back then for about the same type of car. Outright scary.

More to follow soon.

Our best bud and family friend was going to be in the region for a tech event, so took the opportunity to visit and stay with us. This is his fifth visit to Singapore (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015) after his promise the last time round that he’d be in Singapore for SG50, and his first stay at Minton too. The period of travel while about the same as it would had been for most times of the year, would had been even better if it’d coincided with the children’s/Ling’s March school break, but oh well.

The stay at Minton this time round required a bit more logistics and planning, on account that despite the floor area of our Minton unit being significantly more than Rivervale’s, the bedrooms aren’t bigger. The +1 (study) room that is currently Peter’s room wouldn’t fit the mattress, and even if we could find a thin enough one, the door wouldn’t close. So, Peter retained his room, and we asked Hannah if she could relinquish her room for “Uncle Matt” – to which she happily consented. Not that it mattered very much, since she still waltzes into the room like it’s still her own!.

The arrival at Changi Airport was also smooth (though Matt will relate the story of pandemonium at the neighbouring gate at Houston International which he jokingly quipped that the pilot had called in sick), and touched down in Singapore from Moscow early even, and he settled in easily on early Saturday morning in time for us to bring Hannah for her weekend ballet classes, and Matt’s first roti-pratas for his stay. Hannah was like BFFs with Matt from the get-go, which is probably testament to our girl’s easily all-round affable nature.

Selected pictures from the first four days!

Settling into his room, with his two self-invited roommates!

Settling into his room, with his two self-invited roommates!

Pratas at Prata Raya @ Ang Mo Kio. Curry's pretty good but pratas-wise, we prefer the fare at Prata Wala.

Pratas at Prata Raya @ Ang Mo Kio. Curry’s pretty good but pratas-wise, we prefer the fare at Prata Wala.

Noon-time swim in the Minton pool. Weather was scorching hot - but nothing that a cool swim can't help.

Noon-time swim in the Minton pool. Weather was scorching hot – but perfect for a cooling swim.

Debating over the finer points of cuisine (maybe?) at Dian Xiao Er @ Nex.

Debating over the finer points of cuisine (maybe?) at Dian Xiao Er @ Nex.

Too much food - again - at Ichiban Sushi @ Hougang Mall.

Too much food – again – at Ichiban Sushi @ Hougang Mall.

Cosy fit in our Nissan Latio for our three rear-seat passengers.

Cosy fit in our Nissan Latio for our three rear-seat passengers.

Checking the city views at the top of The Pinnacle @ Duxton yesterday morning.

Checking the city views at the top of The Pinnacle @ Duxton yesterday morning.

And oh yeah. We’re putting together broad plans to reciprocate with a visit to the midwest, maybe around 2016-2017 when Peter’s a little older. And our Ang Mo friend’s first reaction was: “Why…? There’s nothing in St. Louis worth seeing!” LOL.

The battery cover door of my 2 year old Metz 50AF-1 flashgun broke over the Chinese New Year period – *groan*. The flashgun still otherwise works fine, though it still has that odd quirk about having to dial in a +0.7 to +1.0 EV flash output for me to get the appropriate amount of bounced lighting, but a broken battery door meant a struggle to close the battery compartment each time I had to recharge the batteries. Also, the flashgun was an extremely tight fit into the new LX100’s metallic hotshoe, and in-fact became stuck. I practically had to forcibly pry the flash loose from the hotshoe. Double bummer.

So, looking around for a replacement flashgun that would work for my existing m4/3 bodies and also the LX100, I found a ‘lil flash that looked like it’d meet my lighting needs, and then some too. Below is the Nissin i40, a third party flash unit for m4/3s and also compatible with the LX100. The i40 is sold cheaper here in Singapore than through online stores like Amazon – shocker indeed when the converse is usually more true. The pictures might not convey the real idea of how tiny is this flashgun – but it is. The flash body itself is barely just larger than the battery compartment holding 4 AA batteries!

Unlike the Metz 50AF-1, the i40 is a bit more barebones information screen-wise, featuring two command dials on the rear-panel. On the other hand, unlike the 50AF-1, the i40’s flash head can be reversed to point backwards, and also supports LED video light.

Oh really

Value for money. The package comes with everything: a metallic stand, soft-case, and even a Stofen-styled snap on diffuser. The bounce card and diffuser is built into the flash head.

Oh really

This is how small it is – compared to the Metz 50AF-1 it’s replacing.

Oh really

The Metz was already a little too physically large when sitting on-top of the E-M5, and much more so when mounted on the LX100. The Nissin i40 here is a relatively more balanced fit for the LX100.

Some of our children’s pictures using the Nissin i40. No output compensation required – hooray! All taken with the LX100 + i40.

Hannah on her evening drawing activities. Ikea warm-lights were just above her.

Hannah on her evening drawing activities. Ikea warm-lights were just above her.

Late afternoon shot on our balcony, with the flash gun's output pointing upwards and the bounce card engaged too.

Late afternoon shot on our balcony, with the flash gun’s output pointing upwards and the bounce card engaged too.

Peter's bedtime. Low ceiling, flash gun output upwards - and still correctly exposed!

Peter’s bedtime. Low ceiling, flash gun output upwards – and still correctly exposed!

In all, I’m very happy with this new purchase, and the flash pictures remind me of the kind of exposures I was getting off the old Nikon DSLRs with SB600 flash guns. The only oddity at this point is that the i40 seems a bit finicky with some of the rechargeable batteries I’ve got, and refusing to prime/ready the flash gun for firing unless the set of batteries is fully charged. Something to continue keeping an eye on for sure.

Continuing from my earlier post of what’s working well on the LX100!

The first LX100 that I picked up from the shop tested fine there. But barely 20 minutes later when I’d left the shop and was on my way home, the camera suffered a catastrophic sensor failure – similar to what at last one other Amazon owner had also reported. The shop changed the set immediately without question, thankfully – but that the first unit had failed so quickly left me feeling a little worried if the second one is going to suffer the same fault soon.

Sensor failure. This is what's seen on the viewfinder, and stored when the shutter is released.

Sensor failure. This is what’s seen on the viewfinder, and stored when the shutter is released.

The images the LX100 produces so far are good relative to small sensor compact cameras, but it’s also not near what the E-PL6 and E-M5 can produce, let alone cameras with even larger sensors than that. Not really a negative as I knew what the LX100’s limits are, but still.

Non-articulating and non-touch screen. These two were my biggest limitations of the LX100. I’ll have to count on some other camera for Daddy-Hannah selfie shots, and I’ve been spoiled by touchscreen AF too. I never figured I’d be a fan of touchscreen AF, but it’s incredibly useful on small and light cameras like my E-PL6. Heck – I use touchscreen AF on that more than I use spot or multi-point AF.

Start-up and shutting down is, ugh, s l o w. And the lens barrel protrudes an additional 4cm out as soon as it turns on. Zooming in to the uppermost focal length will extend the barrel by a few more cm.

Customization menus are comprehensive and deep but also perplexing! It’s somewhat better organized and visually more pleasing than Olympus’, but on a couple of occasions, I was scratching my head wondering why options I wanted were disabled. For instance; I was flummoxed why the panorama mode had been greyed out in one of the nested options, and the user manual was no help, nor the built-in help. It was only through checking online with other users who faced the same difficulty did I realize that the camera had been set to RAW, and had to be switched back to JPG before the panorama option would be enabled. Duh.

Alright; couple of pictures.

Hannah is hooked onto Tom & Jerry cartoons while Peter entertains himself.

Hannah is hooked onto Tom & Jerry cartoons while Peter entertains himself.

Peter making faces!

Peter making faces!

Waiting for her morning school bus at 0700 hrs. The bus-stop was actually quite dimly lit, but sufficient facial detail was retrieve through Adobe Camera Raw.

Waiting for her morning school bus at 0655 hrs. The bus-stop was actually quite dimly lit, but sufficient facial detail was retrieved through Adobe Camera Raw.

The Minton at late night. The blog photo here is too small to tell image details, but the shot was dialed at ISO400 and handheld at 1/5s - but the image is still sharp. Incredible optical stabilization at work.

The Minton at late night. The blog photo here is too small to tell image details, but the shot was dialed at ISO400 and handheld at 1/5s – but the image is still sharp. Incredible optical stabilization at work. I did another shot at ISO200 at 1/2s handheld – and it turned out just as great!

A polycarbonate screen is also on the way to protect the LX100’s rear monitor, alongside a cheapo third party lens cap – just so that the original one supplied with the camera can go right back into the box for safekeeping! :)