Archive for July, 2012

Photos: Hari Raya Decorations @ Sunway Pyramid

31 Jul

After having Canon’s EOS-1D X with me for the past 39 days, it is time to return the test unit to Canon Marketing Malaysia but not before I used it for one more round of image capture: this time on the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri decorations at the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall and its outdoor surrounding.

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Posted in Photography


Victory and podium for Repsol Honda duo at Laguna Seca

30 Jul

fter a difficult weekend trying to make the hard tyre work on his RC213V, Stoner took a risky tyre choice just before leaving for the grid, opting for the soft rear, while Dani and Lorenzo took the hard. It was a good move for Stoner to increase his confidence at a circuit he likes a lot and where only he and Wayne Rainey have won three times in the top class. Pedrosa was unable to keep up with the pace of Casey and Lorenzo, but still managed to record a new fastest race lap on lap 5 with 1’21.229.

The results meant that the Repsol Honda Team celebrated its 300th podium in the premier class.

Casey Stoner

“It’s been a difficult weekend for us in general especially trying to make the hard tyre work. So for the race I decided to go with the soft option and be a little more careful with the tyre, keep a little more traction and not spin so much. At the beginning of the race I tried to move to the front but Dani and Jorge were riding very good lines and it was impossible to get past. I decided to slow the lap times a little and try to save the tyres until the end and then we could start to come back. I was confident for the entire race that I had enough pace for the win, we just needed to make sure the tyre would last until the end. When we got to the front we put in some good laps and pulled some small advantage and just continued from there. I’m very, very happy and a big thanks to all the team.”

Dani Pedrosa

“I tried my best in this race and third place was the maximum I could get this time. At the beginning, I was quite confident and calm when Casey passed me because I knew he was on the soft rear tyre and this was the most risky choice for the race, but finally it worked out perfectly for him. I knew I also had a good pace, but when I caught Casey again and was ready to overtake him I was on the throttle too fast and I had too much momentum there, I almost found myself on the floor. I lost ground with the leaders, but when I started braking harder trying to close the gap again I lost the front many times and I was so close to not finish this race. Anyway, I’m satisfied because I kept pushing until the end, giving one hundred per cent although today it wasn’t enough. A small mistake is just enough to not finish in front. Anyway, we were riding the new bike for the first time here and we took another podium. We know what we can improve to come back stronger in Indianapolis.”

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Posted in Motorcycling


Stoner Wins US MotoGP Race Over Lorenzo and Pedrosa

30 Jul

Photos: Dorna Communications and Alpinestars

Over the weekend’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in Laguna Seca, USA, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner who recorded a hard-fought victory ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

It was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who took the holeshot into the tricky turn one, with Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa and Stoner in tow. Stoner was the only one of the front-runners to have started on the softer option rear tyre, with the two Spaniards opting for the harder spec. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro was an early crasher in the first turn, while Pramac Racing Team’s Toni Elías crashed out a lap later.

On lap two Stoner was finding his pace and made his way past Pedrosa as he started to chase down Lorenzo at the front. As Lorenzo was keeping the Repsol pair honest, Yamaha’s Ben Spies was heading up a group in fourth including Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, as well as Stefan Bradl. With 22 laps reaming Crutchlow was all over the back of the rear wheel of Dovizioso, as the pair continued their season-long tussle. Back at the front Lorenzo was having to continuously hold off Stoner, who was all over the back of the Spaniard looking for a way past, as Pedrosa seemed content to look on in third. A lap later, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden was finding his stride in eighth, as he made up headway to the front with Valentino Rossi in tow.

As the leading trio were heading into lap 13, Pedrosa had a huge wobble before the final turn, which he was just about able to save. This did however drop him back around a second from Stoner. On the same lap, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini was forced to retire with a mechanical issue. With 14 laps reaming Lorenzo had a slight moment going into the corkscrew, as Stoner looked to be chipping away at his lead once more. A lap later Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo retired with a technical issue, while Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison crashed out a short while later. 11 laps from the end Stoner had caught up to Lorenzo and put in a move going into turn one, just as he had done last year, to take the lead. It was not a good lap for Yamaha, as Spies crashed out of the race awkwardly whilst accelerating out of the corkscrew.

Stoner and Lorenzo were in a league at their own at the front, and with nine laps left were already starting to lap some of the back markers. On the same lap Dovizioso had fought his way back past Crutchlow, as the pair continued to race neck and neck. Shortly after Hayden had caught up to the rear wheel of Bradl, as he looked to pass the German in front of his home crowd. And with five laps remaining he had made his way through, and started to pursue Crutchlow.

With three laps left Stoner was not showing any signs of slowing down as he kept Lorenzo at bay with a gap of up to one second, while Pedrosa was a further three seconds behind in third. Providing the bulk of the entertainment in the final few laps was the Tech 3 pair, who continued to battle heavily. Yet there was drama in the penultimate lap as Rossi suffered a big crash heading into the corkscrew, for his first DNF of the season. Fortunately he was unhurt.

1 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
5 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
6 Nicky Hayden Marlboro Ducati Team Ducati GP12
7 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP Honda RC213V
8 Alvaro Bautista Honda Gresini Honda RC213V
9 Aleix Espargaro Aspar Team MotoGP ART
10 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati GP12
11 Randy De Puniet Aspar Team MotoGP ART
12 Yonny Hernandez BQR BQR-FTR
13 Colin Edwards Forward Racing Suter
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Posted in Motorcycling


Last-gasp pole for Lorenzo in thrilling Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Qualifying

29 Jul

Photo: Dorna Communications

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was on record-breaking form during qualifying for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca this weekend as he stole pole position in the final seconds for tomorrow’s race ahead of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.

Lorenzo left it until his last lap to take his fourth consecutive pole at the track from Repsol Honda Team’s Stoner, who had posted a new track record just a few laps before. Completing the front row in third is his teammate Dani Pedrosa, who had shone in yesterday’s practice sessions, but was unable to match the two at the front, who were on blistering form.

Row two is headed by Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies, who suffered a heavy crash 12 minutes before the end. Despite walking away gingerly, he re-joined for the final few minutes of the session. Next to him in fifth, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow showed no signs of his crash yesterday, finishing just under two tenths off the American. Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso rounds out the second row in sixth, making it an all-Yamaha affair, though will be looking to once again get the better of his teammate in tomorrow’s race.

Seventh spot on the grid went to San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who will be pleased with his slight improvement, after a somewhat subdued weekend so far. Alongside him in eighth, Ducati Team’s home favourite Nicky Hayden wrung the neck of his machine to start tomorrow’s race as highest placed Desmosedici. Completing the third row is LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who recovered well from a first lap run off into the gravel at the infamous corkscrew.

Hayden’s teammate Valentino Rossi rounds out the top ten, after another disappointing qualifying session for the Italian. He will once again be looking for his race consistency to make his way up the order tomorrow. Highest CRT finisher was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who ended the day in 11th. Wildcard Steve Rapp, on board the Attack Performance CRT machine, did not qualify for the race, as he set a time outside of the 107% marker off the top time. This means that Rapp must post a time within this limit during tomorrow’s warm-up to be able to contest. Apart from Spies’ crash, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini also suffered a fall, but fortunately walked away unhurt.

1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 1:20.554
2 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:20.628
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V 1:20.906
4 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 1:21.094
5 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 1:21.268
6 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 1:21.539
7 Alvaro Bautista Honda Gresini Honda RC213V 1:21.732
8 Nicky Hayden Marlboro Ducati Team Ducati GP12 1:21.734
9 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP Honda RC213V 1:21.753
10 Valentino Rossi Marlboro Ducati Team Ducati GP12 1:22.544
11 Randy De Puniet Aspar Team MotoGP ART 1:22.886
12 Aleix Esparago Aspar Team MotoGP ART 1:23.075
13 Colin Edwards Forward Racing Suter 1:23.699
14 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati GP12 1:23.704
15 Yonny Hernandez BQR BQR-FTR 1:23.769


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Posted in Motorcycling


Sony XDCAM PMW-200

28 Jul

Sony has unveiled the newest addition to its industry-leading XDCAM HD4:2:2 line – the PMW-200 camcorder. This new model is the only professional handheld camcorder in its class with three 1/2 -inch Exmor™ CMOS sensors and full HD 4:2:2 50 Mbps recording. The versatile new camcorder is designed for any type of professional shooting, from broadcast and newsgathering to education and corporate production. It inherits the performance, ease of use and accessories of Sony’s PMW-EX1R camcorder, which has become a de facto standard for professional video production.

The new camcorder is the latest example of Sony’s continually expanding XDCAM HD 4:2:2 line-up both for optical disc and SxS memory card systems. Designed using Sony’s advanced sensor technology and building on decades of experience, the PMW-200 camcorder answers the industry’s desire for a 4:2:2 50Mbps camcorder that uses three 1/2-inch type sensors. With other handheld 50Mbps camcorders on the market featuring 1/3-inch sensors, the PMW-200 camcorder’s 1/2-inch sensors mean it’s designed to performexceptionally well with excellent sensitivity and great detail even in challenging lighting conditions.

A variety of recording formats such as 50Mbps/35Mbps MXF, 35Mbps/25Mbps MP4 and DVCAM are available for a wide range of applications and workflows. The PMW-200 camcorder offers a powerful Slow & Quick motion function to capture footage at 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode, and from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1080p mode, giving users enhanced creative flexibility. An immediate playback function lets operators view their shots rapidly and easily, without the need for external converters or processing on nonlinear editing systems.

The PMW-200 camcorder is armed with a 14x zoom lens with auto focus and image stabilizing capabilities. The lens is also equipped with three independent rings for zoom, focus and iris adjustment, plus greater precision through indications of ring positions on the LCD screen to give users a high level of operational comfort and control. Focusing on subjects and reviewing recorded footage is made easy with the full-color 3.5-inch WVGA (852×480) LCD panel.

The PMW-200 camcorder also comes with an invaluable 15-second cache recording feature, a function unique among handheld camcorders. Its internal memory can capture images even before the recording button is pressed (maximum of 15 seconds), allowing users to record important moments that would have otherwise been missed.

Genlock and timecode interfaces on the PMW-200 camcorder make it a breeze for use in multi-camera operations and entry-level HD studio applications. The camcorder also gives users greater flexibility in choosing recording media, operating with Sony’s professional SxS Pro™ and SxS-1 technology (two slots) as well as SD cards, Memory Stick media and XQD cards (adaptor required). A Wi-Fi remote control (adaptor required) for the PMW-200 camcorder enhances flexibility for studio or on-location use. This remote control function is scheduled to be available by December 2012 through a free firmware upgrade.

The PMW-200 camcorder is planned to be available in September for a suggested list price of US$7,790.

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CFA Develops XQD 2.0 Specification

27 Jul

XQD 1.0 cards and connectors are already available in the marketplace. XQD 2.0 will leverage the same connector interface as XQD 1.0 interface for higher performance and backward compatibility. Host manufacturers and media manufacturers will be able to leverage the next generation of PCI Express® technology to serve the high performance requirements of this market. The new format will have VPG (Video Performance Guarantee) capability with profiles capable of supporting digital intermediate formats such as ProResTM, DPXTM, and DNXhdTM.

The key features of the XQD 2.0 format will include:
Professional form-factor
Dimensions : 38.5mm x 29.6mm x 3.8mm
Durable & Robust High Performance Interface
PCI Express 3.0: 8Gbps (up to 1,000MB/sec) Legacy support for PCI Gen 1 and Gen 2 Video Performance Guarantee
Support for VPG New Profiles Superior Power Management
5mW standby power

“The XQD 2.0 format will enable hardware and imaging applications to leverage the performance benefits of the well established PCI Express infrastructure allowing for many years of higher performance and backward compatible products. The Video Performance Guarantee Features of XQD 2.0 will also widen its appeal meeting the needs of higher end video applications,” said Mr. Shigeto Kanda of Canon, chairman of the board, CFA.

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Posted in Photography


Getty Images to Produce Gigapixel Image at Olympics Opening Ceremony

26 Jul

Getty Images, the official Photographic Agency to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is partnering with Fujitsu to produce an immense high-resolution image of the opening ceremony. Spectators to the coveted event will be able to view the image, zoom in, find and then tag themselves in the image, which will be up to 20 Gigapixels in size!

Images of such a high resolution usually take days to upload but thanks to leading-edge speed and performance of the Fujitsu CELSIUS R920 workstation, the image will be available to view on overnight – up to 12 times faster than previously possible.

“We are truly excited to be partnering with Fujitsu on this project. The Opening Ceremony Gigapixel image is the result of just one of the new technologies we are embracing, to ensure London 2012 is captured like no other Games.  The Games are always synonymous with world records being broken and iconic moments being captured; with over 70,000 people expected at the Opening Ceremony, this image will capture this momentous occasion in innovative, high-resolution detail,” said Adrian Murrell, Senior Vice President, Global Editorial, Getty Images.

Murrell continues: “This ground-breaking image showcases the opportunity available to brands that want to create innovative content that truly engages with the public. Brands that can push the boundaries and offer consumers an enhanced experience will stand out from the crowd. Technology that is able to encapsulate a historic moment in time, not only from a distance but also up close, is an exciting industry evolution and we are honoured to lead the way.”

With an elite roster of award-winning photographers and an unrivalled heritage of capturing both the Olympic Games and other high profile sporting events in London, this will be Getty Images’ 13th consecutive event as the Official Photographic Agency to the IOC.

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Sony Announces SAL DT 55-300mm and Cyber-Shot DSC-WX170

25 Jul

Sony today introduced a new telephoto zoom lens for its A-mount DSLRs and SLTs with APS-C sized sensors as well as the new Cyber-Shot DSC-WX170. With a 35mm equivalent focal range of 83-450mm, the Sony DT55-300mm f4.5-5.6 SAM features a Smooth Auto-focus Motor (hence the SAM abbreviation in the product name), which enables fast, quiet and smooth focusing even during video capture. The optical formula comprises 12 elements in 9 groups, including one ED (extra-low-dispersion) lens element, and an iris diaphragm with seven rounded aperture blades. Weighing in at 460 grams, the Sony DT55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SAM lens has a close-focus point of 1.4 metres, 0.27x maximum magnification and a 62mm filter thread. Shipping with a bayonet-type hood, the Sony DT55-300mm f4.5-5.6 SAM will be available from September 2012.

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX170 has a new 18-megapixel ultra-compact camera with 10x optical zoom, Steady Shot technology and a high-resolution touchscreen. Weighing in at a mere 119g, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX170 comes equipped with a 25-250mm (equivalent) f/3.3-5.9 lens bearing the prestigious “G” designation, and a touch-sensitive 3-inch rear screen with a resolution of 921,000 dots. The back-illuminated “EXMOR-R” CMOS sensor and BIONZ image processor enable the camera to shoot at sensitivity settings up to ISO 12,800. Focus acquisition is claimed to be extremely quick for a digital compact camera (0.13 second in bright light and 0.2 second in low light). The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX170 will be available in various Asian markets starting 3 August 2012.

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Posted in New Products


Polaroid to Introduce New Gadgets via Its Brandname

25 Jul

Polaroid, famous globally for being the company that introduced instant photography to photo enthusiasts and photographers everywhere, seems to have left that fame behind and is now branching out into 3D TVs, media players and audio equipment after getting into a business partnership with Asda, an online store specialising in electronics appliances and gadgets.

The joint venture will see a range of Polaroid products sold both through Asda’s high street retail stores and online, exclusively from 26 July. Among the products that will be available is a 42-inch LCD 3D TV that comes with four sets of 3D glasses, three HDMI sockets, PC input and a SCART socket, all of which is available for approximately US$599 price point.

Other additions to the Polaroid range include a wooden DAB radio dock, optimized for the iPhone and iPod, a Bluetooth Speaker and portable DVD player. Polaroid made its name with its camera range that produced on-the-spot photographs sporting a familiar white border.

In case you didn’t know – LCD televisions use the same polarising filters concept developed 75 years ago by Polaroid and was used in the company’s first camera.

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Kipon of China Announces EF to Micro 4-3/ NEX adapters

24 Jul

Kipon today announced two mount adapters, which enable users to mount Canon EF lenses on Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and Sony NEX bodies. Developed in cooperation with “Japanese engineers,” both adapters allow for electronic diaphragm control, though auto-focus and image stabilisation are probably not maintained. Pricing and availability have yet to be communicated (and as you can see from the picture above, both products look a little rough around the edges, leaving us wonder about how much time it’ll require for the adapters to actually hit the shelves).

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