Year in Review – 2012
There’s yet another sign that time passes by so quickly, and it’s how soon I have to write another end-of-year retrospective post! Every year end I write a long post to reflect on the ‘big’ (e.g. costly and involving technological toys) decisions we made in the last year. Always fun to think with hindsight the decisions that worked well and didn’t. Looking at the list of decisions made last year, many of them involved purchasing of computing or photographic equipment, but this should taper off in 2013 since I’ve got just about everything I need or care to use for both the Nikon and micro four-thirds camera systems.
Nikon D7000 (Win). This one was a marginally ‘right’ decision. I picked up the D7000 to replace the D300 nearly a year ago now, and still marvel at how light the camera is. Compared to the D300, the absence of focusing levers and metering buttons to toggle between modes still proves troublesome and is the singularly largest thing I’ve still yet to adjust on the D7000. I haven’t used this DSLR as much since picking up the E-M5 though, but it’s still a great camera to use on the occasion when coupled with the portrait prime lenses. I suspect when the newborn comes into our family in July, I’ll be using this camera a lot again.
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 (Mixed). This lens cost more than the D7000 but has still yet to see extensive use – on account that apart from our park outings, there hasn’t been many occasions where it’s been necessary to bring this out. One occasion would had been Hannah’s year-end pre-nursery concert in November, but the school advised that there’d be official event photographers and parents were ‘discouraged’ from taking pictures. We went to the event to see parents bring all kinds of photography gizmos, including several with Canon’s signature L lenses. Now we know better, so hopefully next year will see extensive usage of this fast zoom lens.
Olympus E-M5 (Win). This has been one of the best purchasing decisions of the year. The micro four-thirds camera has won numerous photography accolades and has been viewed as among the best, if not at the top of its peers, camera of the year among review sites. The camera’s light, focuses extremely quickly, and when coupled with the two portrait lenses I have for the camera – the 20mm f1.7 and 30mm f2.8 below – have helped me take many of Hannah’s most memorable pictures of the year. I still think the Fujifilm X cameras – especially the X-Pro1 or X-E1 renders colors visibly better than the E-M5 or D7000 – but they’re still let down by apparently more sluggish auto-focusing speeds, which is absolutely critical when trying to take pictures of a 3.5 year old daughter who won’t remain still. Maybe when Fujifilm releases an X series camera that is as quick as the E-M5 will I finally make the jump of selling away all my Nikon gear and picking up the X system.
Sigma 30mm f2.8 (Win). For the very low cost of the lens, this has been the best bargain I’ve found this year. The lens is very sharp out of the box and focuses quicker than the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. In fact, I hardly use the 20mm as much anymore. The focal length is a little on the long side for Hannah – it’s meant I routinely have to take a few more steps backwards to have her in the right picture frame, so there’s been some necessary adjustment to technique.
Telunas Beach Resort vacation (Win). Mostly right decision. The hospitality at the resort was wonderful, as was the companionship we enjoyed with our Ang mo family friend, Matt. It was only let down by less than pristine waters. The highlight of the trip? Ling and myself carrying Hannah in the 12 km trek up to the jungle waterfall LOL.
Melaka vacation (Win). Our second short vacation. Somewhat less memorable than the Telunas one, given the fact that we didn’t sight-see very much, preferring just to take it real easy as Ling was still wrestling with the early stages of pregnancy. That said, the stay at The Majestic was wonderful, with a beautifully done-up and comfortable room. Hannah adjusted to the trip very well, gobbling up everything we put before her and swam a great deal too. She still talks about the trip a week after we got home.:)
MacBook Pro Retina (Win). No contest; easy win. I dislike the fruit company, but they still make the most amazing notebooks. I still get more than a few colleagues or students asking how come I bought a souped up MacBook Pro and run Windows exclusively on it though.
Motorola Xoom 2 (Mixed). This Android tablet was intended to replace the iPad 2 that Ling (accidentally but who really knows) destroyed. I picked it up at a bargain, but while I like and enjoy using the Android OS a lot more than iOS, the hardware just simply wasn’t up to spec leading to sluggish performance all round. This would had been a bad purchasing decision were it not for that I can still find uses for it e.g. at work or for Hannah.
iPad 4 Retina (Win). Still hate the fruit company, but iOS has Hannah’s favorite apps. The tablet’s distinctly heavier than iPad 2 though – something I still haven’t been able to adjust to.
Samsung Galaxy Note (Win). A year ago, people were wondering how ridiculous it’d look to hold a small tablet-sized phone beside your ear and makes call. Today, no one bats an eyelid anymore – and there are even large ph-ablets in development now. Now that I’ve used a smartphone with a large screen and experienced its benefits browsing, notetaking, scrolling through pictures etc. doing just about everything, I can’t see myself ever going back to a phone that’s smaller, including a certain smartphone with a 4 inch screen from a certain fruit company.
Canon IXUS HS115 + WP-DC310L (Win). This camera was the surprise ‘win’ for the year. I didn’t expect to use it nearly this much taking pictures of Hannah swimming, but in the just over half-year since purchase, I’ve taken several thousand pictures with it.
Best of all, the waterproof casing is still holding out great.:)