Monday, December 15, 2008

10th December 2008, Wednesday -- Hua Ho Departmental Store held their Home Electronics Fair 2008 at their Manggis Mall branch from 25th November 2008 until 8th December 2008. The fair brought some famous electronics brand among the people of Brunei Darussalam, such as Samsung, Philips, LG, Sony, and not to forget Nikon and Canon.

I came to the fair a few times i.e on the 29th November , 4th December, and 6th December 2008. My favourite things in the fair were Nikon DSLR and Canon DSLR camera as well as Samsung LCD television and Blu Ray player.


I had the opportunity to touch the the Nikon D3, D700, and D300 but not D90. On my first visit, I noticed that a number of people buying Nikon D90. The interesting part was the price of the DSLR. D3 (body only) costs only about BND6500 (if I am not mistaken) while D90 with 18-105mm VR lens costs BND 1879. Free gifts were given together with all the DSLR, such as D90 came with a tripod, a blower, a 2GB sd card, and a lens filter or a vest.

Talking about D3, I think it is not for me. The grip is not for my hand and I feel it is very heavy (for now. I should try to touch it again next time – I think Hua Ho will hold similar some time in the middle of 2009). During the testing, the D3 was installed with Nikon’s latest 12-24mm f.2.8 lens.


It is likely that I am going to stay as a Canonian. I like Nikon DSLR. But I like Canon DSLR more. The Canon booth did show the Canon EOS 50D DSLR. The 50D body only costs BND2099 (with 4 GB Sandisk Ultra II CF card and Canon IP3500 printer), and 50D with the latest Canon’s 18-200mm lens kit costs BND 2999 (also with 4GB Sandisk Ultra II CF card and Canon IP3500 printer).

The prices of Canon EOS 50D DSLR at the fair.

Canon EOS 50D DSLR with Canon EF-S 18-200 f/3.5-6.6 IS lens.

The latest Canon’s 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens comes with the image stabiliser (IS).
I tried Canon EOS 50D a number of times. I found that it has a very good handling and this will be even better when the battery grip is installed (I prefer using the battery or vertical grip). I also checked the image quality from ISO100 to ISO12,500. In order to test the camera, I took photos of the surrounding view from the 50D booth.The quality is from very good to good from ISO100 until ISO3200 (when view through the camera LCD display). At ISO6400 to ISO12500, the images quality is still usable.

I hope and expect the image quality of latest Canon EOS 5D Mark II (which is likely to cost about twice the price of the 5oD) will more than twice better than the 50D, especially at ISO 3200 and above. Too bad, at the time of the fair, Canon EOS 5D Mark II did not arrive in Brunei Darussalam yet. I am eager to test the Mark II. May be later...

But I think I should consider to buy 50D due to its 1.6 crop factor. This is because I want to use the telephoto end of the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. By using the 50D, the lens will give me 112mm – 320 mm and still give me f/2.8 maximum larger aperture.

I like taking photos of people and things using the telephoto at about 150mm to 200mm (with my present Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens). And the 70-200mm lens will give me another 100 mm so that I can take photos more further. The lens’ longer telephoto will enable me to take photos more candidly (i.e using photojournalistic style).

If I am going to buy the 5D Mark II, I better equip it with the standard zoom lens i.e Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens or Canon EF24-70 f/2.8L USM lens (My prefer choice is the 24-70 lens due to its f/2.8 aperture size. Good for taking photos at low light and/or to get the bokeh/blur effect at the background).

I do not like the idea of frequently changing lenses. So, I need two DSLRs then i.e one camera with telephoto zoom lens and another one with wide/standard zoom lens? I am not so sure about this (for now. I feel it is very uncomfortable carrying two cameras around. But, it should be okay if I do that during the Brunei’s National Day or His Majesty’s Birthday or new car launching ceremony BUT not during a wedding ceremony where my movements will be severely limited, especially taking photos during the parts of the wedding that is held inside the house).

Canon EOS 50D DSLR brochure.
EOS Digital Range brochure.
Canon EOS 40D DSLR brochure.
Canon EOS 1000D DSLR brochure.

One of items in my wish list is the 32 inches Samsung LCD TV Series 6 (Model: LA32A650AIR/M). A few months ago it costs about BND2000. During Huo Ho’s Home Electronics Fair 2008, its price was BND1499 only. I guess it will be more cheaper in a few months time. In addition, I begins to like the Samsung LCD TV Series 7 and Series 8 (and the coming soon Series 9) but there is no 32 inches is available.

If you want to buy LCD TV with Full HD 1080p capability, you better buy the Blu Ray disc player. The ORIGINAL Blu Ray disc videos/movies are available at at a discounted price. If you order Blu Ray disc at the, it is better to buy more than a few titles in order to get the economies of scale i.e the average price would be cheaper when you order more titles.

OR, you have to wait Radio Televisyen Brunei launches the digital television broadcasting service in 2009. Hopefully, it will be in HDTV format.

For now, you can upscale the present Astro broadcasting or DVD video to 1080p/i format, if such facility is available in your TV or in the DVD player or in the audio video receiver.

Samsung LCD TV Series 4 22 inches costs BND599.
Samsung LCD TV Series 4 32 inches costs BND1066.
Samsung LCD TV Series 7 40 inches.
The 40 inches Series 7 costs BND3399.
Samsung LCD TV Series 6 32 inches: This TV is on my wishlist.
Samsung LCD TV Series 6 32 inches. The price is BND1499 during the Hua Ho’s Home Electronics Fair 2008.
Some features in Samsung LCD TV Series 7: Full HD, Digital Video Broadcasting, 100 Mhz Motion Plus, Ultra Clear Panel, Dnie Pro, Wide Colour Enhancer 2, InfoLive, WiseLink Pro, Content Library, and 4 HDMI slot.

p/s: I really hope Canon concentrate on the image quality in the development of Canon 50D replacement (which would be released in summer 2009) rather than increase the megapixel count.

And I expect Canon will include at least 720p video capability (1080p will be better) and the autofocus is enabled during video capture for the 50D replacment.

A free-angle LCD, just like what Panasonic Lumix L10 DSLR has, will allow taking photos at difficult angles with ease.

(Photo: Abdul Rashid Haji Tahir. Taken on 6 December 2008, by using Sony Cybershot DSC-W130)