Archive for April, 2014

Canon EF Lens Production Surpasses 100 Million Unit Mark

30 Apr


Canon Inc. today celebrated an impressive lens-manufacturing milestone with the production on April 22, 2014, of the Company’s 100-millionth EF-series interchangeable lens for EOS cameras—an EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x.

Production of interchangeable EF lenses for Canon EOS-series AF (autofocus) single-lens reflex cameras began in 1987 at the Company’s Utsunomiya Plant, which continues to play a central role in Canon’s lens manufacturing operations. In May 2013, EF lens production surpassed the 90-million-unit mark and now, approximately eleven months later, the Company is commemorating its first-in-the-world1 achievement of having manufactured 100 million lenses.

Canon’s proprietary EF lenses, launched in March 1987 along with the EOS SLR camera system, have continued to evolve since their introduction, leading the industry through the incorporation of a wide range of innovative technologies, including such world’s firsts2 as the Ultrasonic Motor (USM), Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, and a multi-layered diffractive optical (DO) element. In May 2013, aiming to further expand the realm of photographic expression, the Company introduced the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x, the world’s first3 super-telephoto zoom lens with a built-in 1.4x extender that makes possible a 200-560 mm focal length range.

EF100million_LogoIn recent years, in addition to renewing such models as super-telephoto lenses ideal for sports and nature photography along with zoom lenses that offer a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range, Canon has launched multiple entry-class interchangeable lenses equipped with a stepping motor (STM) that delivers smooth and quiet autofocus performance during video recording. As a result, the Company’s extensive EF lens-series lineup currently comprises a total of 89 models.4 In addition to enhancing its lens offerings, Canon has expanded the optical technologies incorporated in its EF lenses into new fields, launching EF Cinema Lenses for digital cinematography in January 2012, and EF-M lenses for compact-system cameras in September 2012.

Furthermore, during the 11-year period from 2003 to 2013, Canon maintained the No. 1 share worldwide within the interchangeable-lens digital camera market and, in February 2014, marked another manufacturing milestone as combined production of its film and digital EOS-series interchangeable-lens cameras surpassed the 70-million-unit mark.

Canon will continue refining its diverse imaging technologies based on its core optical technologies, striving to produce exceptional and reliable lenses and cameras that cater to the varying needs of photographers—from first-time users to advanced amateurs and professionals—while contributing to expanding the photographic and video imaging culture.

  • Among interchangeable lenses as of April 22, based on a Canon survey.
  • Among interchangeable lenses for SLR cameras, based on a Canon survey.
  • Among interchangeable lenses for interchangeable lens cameras (SLR cameras, compact-system cameras), based on a Canon survey.
  • Including two EF lens extenders and three models available outside of Japan. As of April 30, 2014.
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Posted in Photography


Launch of 2014 WSBK/WSS Championships – Round 6

29 Apr


THERE’S nothing much to see nor shoot during the launch of Round 6 of the 2014 World Superbike (WSBK)/World Supersport (WSS) Championships that was held at the Laundry Bar, The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Except for eye candy in the form of SIC event girl Lydia (above), posing with a replica of the WSBK-title winning Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and the lovely host/emcee, Nadia Heng (below).


As for the Malaysian leg of WSBK/WSS, local rider Muhammad Zaqhwan Zaidi is competing as the sole wildcard rider in the 600cc World Supersport Championship. The selection of Zaqhwan, who competed as a Moto2 wildcard rider at last October’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, was announced today by SIC CEO Datuk Razlan Razali during the official launch ceremony of the Sepang round of WSBK/WSS.

Zaqhwan (photo, below) will be racing under Team Ten Kate Racing Products led by its team manager Ronald Ten Kate. The Dutch team has had successful involvement in the championships for over 20 years including nine world titles. It will be the first time Sepang will play host to WSBK event, which was last held in Malaysia in 1991 at the then Batu Tiga race track in Shah Alam.

Malaysia will be the only Asian country to host a WSBK round this year, joining circuits like Phillip Island, Australia, Spain’s Aragon and Jerez plus Italy’s famed Imola and Misano as well as Laguna Seca in the United States.


Pirelli tyres is the title sponsor of the Malaysian round as WSBK is seen as creating a huge impact among local superbikers. With just one month to go, Pirelli plans to go big with exciting activities and participation towards the race.

SIC would also line-up numerous off-track activities including a post-race concert called The Circus where fans would be treated to a showcase of modern acrobatic acts and music featuring renowned DJs like DJ Afrojack, DJ Apster and DJ Cosmic Gate plus local ones such as DJ Ken and DJ Leng Yein.

For the first year, the WSBK race in Sepang will feature races from the 1,000cc Superbike and 600cc Supersport championships with biking competitions in the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) as the support races.

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Posted in Motorcycling


Scenes from the Launch of VW’s CKD Jetta Car

28 Apr


I used to like cars and be fascinated by each new model that is announced by its manufacturer. But all the interest and love affair with all cars ended when I realised this country (Malaysia) sucks when it comes to motoring ownership, whether 2-wheel or 4-wheel variety. That was back in the mid 90s. I still love motorcycles even though the prices of CBU motorcycles of 500cc and above are way above the budget of the average (and passionate) bikers, they still have a choice of CKD models at affordable range.

So there I was, at the local launch of the CKD version of Volkswagen’s Jetta sedan. As usual, the evening downpour meant I was an hour late to the event but still, it didn’t make a difference as the event started… late – about an hour after the official arrival period of guests and media.

Adding to the hassle was the incompetence security and venue personnel who are mostly foreigners, who couldn’t tell me the exact location of the launch – every question of “Excuse me, can you tell me on which part of this venue is the VW car launch” was met with answers like “Yes, sir”, “What sir”, Are u visiting or tenant, sir” and “This is…. (I know what this place is, damn it!).


Most of the audience had to go thru an hour of boring technical presentation which included a demonstration of how the car’s designer does his sketches, a brief technical presentation and a short start-up comedy act between a father and son on the latter’s choice of buying the Jetta over a Japanese make. It was not boring for the motoring media like me but 2/3 of the audience were guests and dealers, who are known to be less accommodating in technical presentation of any consumer products!


When the launch proper started, the local press photogs, as usual, went for the wide-angle shots (above), instead of telephoto – we are supposed to show the VIP posing with the car, but their angles usually include the VIP with the car’s bonnet and front grill only. And you call that “press photography?”


Anyway, what’s a car launch without the usual eye candy, so here’s two of them, the one below is the charming emcee, Julie Woon.


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Posted in Events


Marquez Wins Argentina MotoGP, Pedrosa 2nd & Lorenzo 3rd

28 Apr


An enthralling MotoGP race at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina saw Marc Marquez clinch his third win of the year, ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo in the top three.

As the race at Termas de Rio Hondo got underway Marquez got caught up in the crowd on lap one but played it patiently, picking off his opponents to get into second – eventually hunting down early leader Lorenzo, with his winning move coming 8 laps from the end.

It was a good day for the Repsol Honda team as Pedrosa stayed in the chase throughout the race, eventually overtaking Lorenzo on the penultimate lap for second. Lorenzo’s Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi was briefly into second early on, but ran wide twice and dropped to seventh before fighting his way back up to fourth.

Marc Marquez: “The start wasn’t so good, the rear spins. In the beginning it was fun but Jorge opened a gap and I stopped playing. After 9 laps I start pushing for the 25 points.”


Dani Pedrosa: “I enjoyed it but kind of hate it. I was riding very nice from the mid to the end, catching little by little. I slept a little bit at the beginning but I have to take the positives. Next we’re in Jerez so let’s go for that.”

Jorge Lorenzo: “I didn’t expect to stay so many laps in 1st. I make a good start but make a mistake in the 1st lap. I passed Rossi very quickly. I pushed and pushed but it was impossible to stay in 2nd. These are hard times for us but we’ll keep trying.”

Solid runs from Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) saw them finish fifth and sixth – and they were 15s and 19s respectively back on Marquez.

Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammates Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were safely inside the top ten, which was completed by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and top ‘Open’ rider Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar) – the Japanese competitor crossing the line 0.073s in front of colleague Nicky Hayden.

Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was 15th after an early crash, whilst there was another DNF for Alvaro Baustista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) who crashed on the first lap, as did Danilo Petrucci (IodaRacing Project).

1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
5 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda RC213V
6 Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing Ducati
7 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
8 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati GP14
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
11 Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
12 Yonny Hernandez Energy Ti Pramac Racing Ducati
13 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R
14 Scott Redding Go&Fun Honda Gresini Honda RCV1000R
15 Aleix Espargaro NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
16 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing Avintia
17 Michele Pirro Ducati Team Ducati GP14
18 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport PBM
19 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing Avintia
20 Colin Edwards NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
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Posted in Motorcycling


Weekend Ride on Ninja 1000 with BAGsters

27 Apr


Photos of BAGsters in action courtesy of Kenny Lee/Bikers’ Adventure Group

Today was the last weekend group ride with members of the Bikers’ Adventure Group Malaysia aka BAGsters astride Kawasaki’s 2014 Ninja 1000 motorcycle, minus the panniers which I removed for the ride and left them at home.

Today’s ride comprise BAGsters’ chief, Kenny Lee, his buddies Sam Ngeow and son Ching Wen, Ivan Yam, Chin Bin, Jason Lee and myself. Normally we would go for a long ride within the Selangor state or exceeding it by venturing towards southern Perak and as far as Seremban and parts of northern Negeri Sembilan and south west of Pahang.

The trip was just a short ride – short as in the shortest route among all of our routes in our weekend rides, which change from time to time, depending on the mood and enthusiasm among the members. As usual, our meeting point is at the double Shell stations in Gombak area, not far from the entrance road towards the toll plaza for Karak highway and Genting Highlands.


This short route basically covers the distance to Goh Tong Jaya township at the midway level of the peak where Genting Highlands Resort is located. It started from Kuala Lumpur via the old road along Ulu Yam way, that also leads to Batang Kali. That route is a favourite among bikers ranging from those riding mopeds (kapchais), scooters, cruisers, naked sports and sports bikes.

Our meeting point area is known as “Double Shell” because previously 1 of them used to be ProJet until Sime Darby gave up the franchise and sold all its properties over to Shell, hence the area now has 2 fuel stations side-by-side.

There’s 7 of us on 6 bikes, with Ching Wen riding pillion on his dad’s BMW GooSe (GS) 1200. Ngeow’s favourite KeTaM (KTM) 990 was loaned to Jason for today’s outing in an attempt to “poison” the latter to make his purchase decision on which ADV motorcycle to own in the near future. Kenny and Yam were on GooSe as well and Bin with his KeTaM 1190 Adventure. Altogether, there were 3 GooSes, 2 KeTaMs and 1 Ninja (me).


Only the Ninja 1000 isn’t an ADV bike among the GooSes and KeTaMs as it is a Sports Tourer, and has the lowest seat height as well as the only one with sports rims – an ADV usually features spoked rims. It looks quite petite against the 5 ADVs when parked side-by-side in comparison.

Today’s ride was interrupted by not 1 but 3 police road blocks – 1st was almost reaching our destination at Goh Tong Jaya area, 2nd after we have completed the Genting-area road downward to Karak highway after the TT Session, and the 3rd was somewhere in Gombak/Setapak areas in Kuala Lumpur where our group had went their separate ways home after bidding goodbye to each other at the Gombak toll plaza.

Technically-speaking, only me had parted with the group after the Gombak toll plaza as the rest were heading towards Cheras and Kajang via a combination of MRR2, Duke highway and Jalan Kuching while I took the 2nd half of MRR2 which was towards south of Kuala Lumpur. As such, I did not encounter the 3rd road block.


Speaking of the road blocks, I found out later today they had been in operation from the day before (Saturday) and were targeting mostly bikers especially those riding big bikes, based on complaints from irate and ultra-slow moving motorists (car drivers) going up Genting Highlands.

Despite the interruptions, we enjoyed our short ride to Ulu Yam and Goh Tong Jaya today, with Hokkien Mee for breakfast at the former and TT Session at the latter. And here’s a Selfie during the TT Session.


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Posted in Motorcycling


Rainy Day during Naza Group’s Launch of the Blade 250i SE

24 Apr

IT has been raining on most afternoons and evening for the past 3 weeks – ever since the month of April started, with clear sunshine and blue sky in the morning till after lunch hour. But today, the weather decided to play havoc with the rush hour crowd as it has been raining since 5am and continued with it till 9am but resumed its prowess again from 1oam onwards.

On days like this, I would gladly stay at home and work from the computer but I had an assignment to cover/attend. And the event took place in Section 15 of Shah Alam instead of Petaling Jaya or Kuala Lumpur, At 1oam, both KL and PJ were yet to be affected by the 2nd downpour as the weather was only raging in Klang and Shah Alam. Eventually the wind brought the rain to both areas too. And the wet weather lasted till 1.30pm in most parts of the Klang Valley.

Anyway, the said event was the official launch of the Naza Blade 250i Special Edition (SE) naked sports motorcycle at the brand’s factory at the afore-mentioned location. Present during that launch were Naza Group’s Senior Vice President Abdul Hamid Ismail, Nik Danial Nik Mahmood, Vice President of Naza Two Wheels NAZA World and Mohammed Nizam, general manager of the Blade factory. The event was also attended by some 30 authorised dealers of NAZA Bikes.

The Naza Blade Naked SE is essentially a snazzy, aesthetically upgraded version of the original Blade Naked model and is the product of a technological collaboration with South Korean motorcycle manufacturer, Hysoung. The Blade 250 Naked SE is the most affordable motorcycle in its category and offers a trendier look that compliments its punchy performance.

Aerodynamic side covers, stylish under-cowling and spiffy new headlamp cover enhance the bike’s sporty look. Both side covers and headlamp cover were designed and developed by Naza Bikes own R&D team, then produced by local vendors. The new triangular muffler design enables a smoother ride and better fuel efficiency. The Blade 250i Naked SE also features new artistic sticker designs and fiberglass parts.

Since its initial introduction in 2006, the Naza Blade has been popular amongst the 20 – 35 age groups and is still the preferred choice for Malaysia’s entry-level riders for high capacity bike, regular commuters and those who want a hassle-free riding experience.

With more than 50 nationwide dealers retailing the bike, customers are assured that they will be well attended to in the sales rooms and well cared for by the after-sales service assistants (all of whom are regularly trained by Naza Bikes’ technical team).

The Naza Blade sports version was the best seller in its category in 2013 with more than 1,500 units registered last year. Naza Blade 650cc sports version captured more than 70% market share in its category with registered volume touching 700 units in 2013. Naza Bikes has sold a total of 2,400 units of 250 cc to 650cc range last year, which also included the cruiser version.

In keeping with the changing demands of the local market, Naza Bikes has made several modifications to the Blade’s design over the years, with the latest being the newly-launched Blade 250 Naked SE.

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Friday Afternoon Ride astride the Honda NSR150RR

18 Apr

IT has been a long time since I rode my Honda NSR150RR motorcycle for a solo outing to a distance longer than 160 km in a single trip. Most of my time has been spent riding and evaluating a dozen new motorcycles that have been introduced into the Malaysian market for the past 18 months.

This particular trip started in Kuala Lumpur via the North-South highway (PLUS) stretch known as KL-Seremban segment which I rode till the exit to the Nilai old town – there’s a new township of the same name, hence the original place is now known with the “old” tag added. Both the new and old Nilai use the same PLUS exit lane to enter.

First sight that greeted me after the Nilai toll plaza is the massive development taking place, with barren land greeting motorists for the next 2 km until a traffic lights T-junction where you come across some greeneries amidst the commercial atmosphere.

From there, I took a left turn that goes toward Pajam and Nilai old town – the right turn goes to the new Nilai township. Anyway, Pajam was the intended venue, as it shares part of the same direction with the older Nilai. The difference is to go to Pajam, motorists only need to take the left road at another T-junction traffic lights, underneath a flyover (for traffic coming from Pajam side towards the toll plaza and PLUS itself) while those heading to Nilai has to wait for the lights to turn green before turning right.

Pajam is just another town situated along the main road that continues towards Mantin and Seremban. That main road is technically one of the old ways to go to Seremban via Bangi and Nilai from Kuala Lumpur prior to PLUS highway was ready for usage.

I stopped in front of the College Garden Resorts in Pajam just to snap a photo of my solo ride on the NSR150RR and continued with my way to Mantin. The idea was to take Route N34 and head towards Lenggeng and Broga towns but veered into Route N31 instead. This route also heads to both towns but is shorter than N34. It was full of cow dungs at some sections.

Nevertheless, it took me just 15 minutes or less to reach Lenggeng, and from there another 15 minutes to reach Broga, which is located at the border of Selangor/Negeri Sembilan. Some of the residents will have their addresses in both states despite being close to each other. The bike needs to be sent for service soon, as the acceleration has been somewhat slow than usual. Otherwise, the time taken to reach both Lenggeng and Broga from N31/Mantin T-junction should take just 10 minutes each.

Before I reach the Semenyih Dam area, there are other attractions along that route, which is actually Jalan Sungai Lalang from Semenyih town, such as that famed Nirwarna Memorial Park and the Semenyih Hutan Lipur rainforest, which is located a few kilometres after the former.

The original route was meant to be: KL-PLUS-Nilai Toll-Pajam-Mantin-Lenggeng-Broga-Semenyih Dam-Hulu Langat-Cheras-Jalan Kuari-MRR2-KL but the road to the dam was closed to traffic due to a landslide repair work that has been ongoing the past 12 months. So had to make a U-turn back to Semenyih town and proceed towards KL via Silk highway instead. I am planning a second trip via the same route again in the near future to resume the ride towards Hulu Langat town via another access road.

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Posted in Motorcycling


Solo Outing astride Kawasaki’s Ninja 1000 Motorcycle

14 Apr

RELYING solely on Google Maps (general, non-satellite type) and one’s own memory is not so effective when it comes to recognising and remembering places and routes during a solo riding trip on a motorcycle. This was how one of my solo trips via the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 had experienced with.

Mind you, Google Maps are not being updated regularly, and some places are probably not recorded in the current version. Worse still are some old places that have been demolished and replaced with new structures and roads that have been added, widen or altered from their previous version.

This solo outing was supposed to start from Bandar Baru Bangi but I took the PLUS exit towards Bangi old town instead. But it was still OK as the intended route was to go towards Dengkil town via the old Bangi after starting off from new Bangi – just having bypassed the original starting point.

The return trip was via Putrajaya towards Puchong and then LDP before heading to Subang Jaya in SS15 for a bowl of Penang’s famous Air Itam market Assam Laksa (branch outlet of the genuine version). The rain had just washed up in Putrajaya when I arrived so the Ninja 1000 went from sparkling clean from the Bangi/Dengkil side to having been coated with muds and dirt thanks to the aftermath of riding thru all the wet segments of the roads in Putrajaya and Dengkil.

But the dirt are too minor to be seen clearly in these photos of the Ninja 1000 against the backdrop of Putrajaya.

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Repsol Honda 1-2 @ COTA MotoGP, Dovizioso 3rd

14 Apr


MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez utterly dominated the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas race, taking victory by a four second margin from his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completing the podium.

A jump start ruined the race for Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and he finished 10th after a ride through penalty.

Lorenzo took the holeshot after a bizarre error from the former World Champion and he rode through pit lane at the end of the first lap, leaving Marquez clear at the front. Pedrosa tried to stay with Marquez, who was the only ‘Factory’ rider to run the hard rear tyre, but the youngster sped away to become the first rider to win the first two races of the year from pole in the premier-class since Mick Doohan in 1995.

A first podium for Dovizioso as a Ducati Team rider was great news for the Italian factory, though there was some bad news for them too as Cal Crutchlow crashed out and injured his right hand, having earlier pitted due to tyre problems.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) missed the podium by just under two seconds after winning a battle for fourth with Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3), whilst Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) was sixth.

Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) dropped back to seventh having been third in the early stages, whilst there were problems too for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as he hunted the podium in the early stages and faded to eighth in the second half of the race.

Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was ninth at a track which he has admitted is not his strongest, whilst Lorenzo rounded out the top ten after his mistake at the start.

Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) finished as the top ‘Open’ Honda rider and top American in 11th – whilst his compatriot Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) was unable to finish his home race. Crashes for Alvaro Baustista and Scott Redding also ruined GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s weekend.

Honda riders have now won the last nine MotoGP races in the USA and the last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the States was Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010.

1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati GP14
4 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda RC213V
5 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
6 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1
7 Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing Ducati
8 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
9 Aleix Espargaro NGM Mobile Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
10 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1
11 Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
12 Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R
13 Yonny Hernandez Energy Ti Pramac Racing Ducati
14 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R
15 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing Avintia
16 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport PBM
17 Danilo Petrucci Came Iodaracing Project ART
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