Archive for the ‘ Photography ’ Category

Nadine and Sony Philippines Partnership Reforged

13 July 2017 – At Seda Vertis North in Quezon City, esteemed 23-year old actress Nadine Lustre, together with Sony Philippines Managing Director Mr. Noboyushi Otake, sealed their partnership commitment anew.

Nadine had graced the presence of the group sporting headphones and a camera which represents the two product lines that she will be representing for the brand – digital imaging and personal audio. Nadine embodies the creative and fun loving youth of today’s generation. Her dynamic personality and innate love for music and photography strongly resonates with Sony’s target market here in the country.

Sony’s 2017 Extra Bass product lineup includes the

MDR-XB550AP Php 2,999
MDR-XB950N1 Php 12,999
Headphone units that bring beats with punchy bass, wired, wireless, and noice cancellation options as well as the

SRS-XB10 Php 2,999
SRS-XB30 Php 6,999
Stylish bluetooth speaker units that liven up any atmosphere with its very color, integrated lights, party linking, and even as an alternative source of power when necessary.

Nadine’s photographic inclination comes supported by the Sony ILCE-5100L. Coming in at black and white colorways and retailing for Php 34,999, the system opens up an entire world of imaging possibilities with a vast selection of lenses, ease of use and composition with the touch enabled and articulated screen, as well as wireless connectivity that allows the user to snap and share instantaneously.


The Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom – Photo Powerhouse

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this phone packs all the great features that one can find on the third generation of Zenfones bar none… well except maybe for the Snapdragon 800 series but still, the Zenfone 3 Zoom has perfect synergy with its 5000mAh battery, energy efficient Snapdragon 625, and its bevy of three prime lenses providing a flexible range of shooting options for practically any application, all in a very thin but very powerful unibody frame.


When I got my hands on the unit for this review, I decided to use it purely for its intended purpose of photography already being well acquainted with the capability of the Snapdragon within it as it is of similar spec to my own Zenfone 3. This review was made on a Zenfone 3 Zoom unit that remained on the Marshmallow platform, thus your experience may differ should yours be already in Nougat, which truly is quite fast and responsive compared.

Alright, so whats the deal with the dual cameras of the Zenfone 3 Zoom? – To put it bluntly, it offers two different perspectives on a particular scene practically instantly – one 25mm wide angle equivalent and another 59mm portrait oriented 2.3x view compared to the standard. There is also a digital 12x zoom which can be useful in a number of scenarios.

Within the period with which I had the Zenfone 3 Zoom on me, I had been able to bring it to a concert, a resort, to a site for work, and even to a museum for ingress, apart from all the general metropolitan experience.

I had previously compared the first Zoom to an actual camera but this one I’m comparing to its non Zoom counterpart in the Zenfone 3 and based solely on its own merits as a camera system.

Real World Sampling

When I first encountered the Zenfone 3 Zoom, it was an engineering unit and the EXIF was not coming out properly. You’d be glad to know that this is not the case with the retail package.

The primary lens (on the left of image above), a 12MP 25mm equivalent Sony IMX 362 provides the best shooting experience among all of the available modes. Its snappy to fire up, and the optical image stabilization feels just right and responsive without any feeling of aggressiveness. I actually tried to find a way to disable the stabilization but there isnt any… and that’s fine especially when you suddenly shift to the zoom lens, itself being 12MP but with a 59mm equivalent focal length – a Samsung 3M3.

Closer inspection of images from the two lenses reveal a semblance of artifacting with the Samsung sensor as well as a bluish tone while the Sony remains neutral and crisp even in high contrast areas. This comparison made in an overcast environment (relatively low light).

100% crops

Hitting the zoom button cycles three zoom levels, none of which reach the 12x limit – from 1x, 2.3x, and then a middling 5x. Below is an example of all the pertinent zoom levels… this bird was roughly 10 meters away, I measured… twice.

With enough distance (a lot) natural bokeh can be achieved by both rear lenses, you can see it in action with the following shots. Note also that in very bright shooting scenarios, both sensors perform similarly and the user would get more detail up close when using the 2.3x zoom.

100% crops

Along with the convenience of being able to pull it out of one’s pocket for instantaneous imaging, there is that single tap zoom-in taking it a notch higher than what we’re generally used to. And while you might think that you won’t be using this feature that much, you’ll eventually find yourself hitting it just because it is there, ready and available.


The Zenfone 3 Zoom provides the user with a flexibility in shooting otherwise missed with a single lens setup. Coupled with the optical image stabilization it allows for viability when shooting in low light and it is effective whether the front or the rear camera is used especially when the image​ objective is primarily a social media share.

This does not mean that photos captured from the Zenfone 3 Zoom cannot be printed out, on the contrary, setting up a scene in manual mode would provide quality enough even for an A0 print straight out of the camera (proof).

With an incredible design, powerful battery, and a trio of prime cameras with a bevy of shooting modes and zoom states, this Php 23,995 smartphone package is almost impossible to match. Gadgetshelf rating is near excellent.


Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom and Zenfone Live Unveiled

An air of mystery had been hovering about the Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom this past week as teaser photos kept cropping up of a brand new ambassadress for their camera-centric Zenfone 3 variant.

At the Penthouse 8747 a couple of days earlier, Yassi Pressman, popularized for her role as Alyanna in Probinsyano, had been revealed to be the new face of the Zenfone 3 Zoom during the smartphone’s launch alongside a completely new and very compelling offering in the Zenfone Live which is a budget friendly device that features the world’s first “live beautification mode”. Yassi expressed her delight on the excellent front facing camera, itself a prime lens in the 13-megapixel f2.0 Sony IMX214, as well as the longevity of the Zenfone 3 Zoom’s 5000mAh battery that is coupled with the very efficient and capable Snapdragon 625.

The event had also been graced by celebrated photographer-ambassadors Ricky Ladia and Jasper Tejano, both of whom are completely convinced of the power and the capabilities of the Zenfone 3 Zoom that can, according to Jasper, output exhibit worthy shots and is perfect for street photography which is his favorite genre. Ricky used the prime lenses on the Zenfone 3 Zoom for everything from landscape to food photography leveraging the strength of the 25mm (Superpixel Main Camera) and 59mm (Zoom Camera) equivalent focal lengths on the twin camera system.

Participants were ushered into an experience zone after the presentation had concluded where miniatures were waiting to be taken photos of, making certain of the use of the zoom feature to catch all the minuscule details on the models and flora.

The Zenfone 3 Zoom ZE553KL with a 4GB/64GB configuration retails for Php 23,995 and comes bundled with a JBL bluetooth speaker, a clear case, and a ZenEar.

The Zenfone Live, configured with a 5″ HD screen and 2GB/16GB memory comes in at a mind-blowing Php 6,995 touting the Zenfone 3 series design language and the latest in live streaming in the form of BeautyLive.

Two launches were done by Asus that day, at the same time and with different venues; it had been a definite challenge I’m certain but they pulled it off with nary a hitch. Kudos to the teams that made it possible from Asus and Stratworks.


BREAKING! The Zenfone 3 Zoom Pre Orders have opened!

From today until the 6th of April, eager consumers can already pre order their Zenfone 3 Zoom units via this microsite!

Below is the procedure you’re about to undertake:

Pre-order Program Mechanics:

1. Pre-orders for the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL) are available on March 27, 2017 up to April 6, 2017.

2. Customers has to visit the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom Pre-order registration page at

3. Customers who will pre-order will get the following limited edition items.
· JBL Harman Portable Bluetooth Speakers worth Php 3,099
· ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL) Clear Case worth Php 699
· ASUS ZenEar worth Php 699

*Those who will pre-order from March 27 to April 6, 2017 will get an additional exclusive freebie, the ASUS Tripod worth Php 799.

4. Customers will be required to fill out a reservation form which includes the following details:

5. Customers will be notified via SMS once stocks are available for claiming. They will need to present their VALID ID and their confirmation letter and proceed to their chosen ASUS Zenfone Concept Store, ASUS Kiosk, or to any participating ASUS accredited dealer to pay the full amount on April 7th, 2017 until April 23rd, 2017.

6. Cash and credit card payments are accepted.

7. For credit card payments, ASUS Zenfone Concept Stores, ASUS Kiosk (depending on accredited banks) will honor straight, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months payment at 0% interest.

8. If the customer cannot present their VALID ID and confirmation letter upon claiming, they will not be allowed to avail of their pre-ordered units.

9. The customer’s reservation is valid from April 7th, 2017 to April 23rd, 2017.

10. Existing replacement and repair mechanics will be applicable once the unit has been availed.

11. For features and specification on ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL), please refer to our website at

Below are participating stores for the pre-order program:

What’re you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this fantastic offer from Asus!

The Huawei Mate 9 and the GR5 2017 – Dual Cam Combo

A week ago, we had been invited into an intimate dinner session with Huawei’s early 2017 offerings both toting dual camera setups for a delightful photography experience on multiple fronts.


Leading with the flagship class Huawei Mate 9, we were astounded by the amount of features that they had improved on just recently coming from the immensely successful P9 series.

Huawei’s fastest Kirin 960 is at the heart of the phone supported by 4GB of RAM and judging from the responsiveness that its massive FHD 5.9″ Gorilla Glass 3 screen was giving off, this combination looks to have an excellent handle on operation and practically any type of app it comes across with.


The cameras on this device carry the legacy of the Leica partnership even further with a more advanced monochrome sensor at 20MP complimenting the 12MP color data captured by the companion RGB sensor. This technology provides 50% more detail over the P9, allows for a hybrid (digital) zoom function that comes in at an equivalent 54mm in full frame – a fantastic portrait focal length, doing all of this with increased efficiency characterized by 50% less drain on the battery. The Huawei Mate 9 now allows for 4K video capture with H.265 encoding. I’ve tried the function and it is stabilized with what appears to be OIS up to 1080p. The front camera shoots with an equivalently powerful and auto-focusing 8MP f1.9 setup.


Let’s talk about that battery for a bit here; rated at 4000mAh it’s definitely one of the beefier specs out in the market to date. Huawei’s promise – no less than two days off current with above average activity. They also introduced with this release something that they call “supercharging” which is a consistent dialogue between the phone and the charger which keeps it cool and charging at the best, most efficient rate that the bundled 4.5V / 9A charger would give out… and this differs depending on the battery level of the phone while connected.

The Huawei Mate 9 is also the first to ship with Android 7 and EMUI 5.0 out of the box, which is an even more streamlined implementation getting to most, if not all, of the phone functions and toggles within as little as 3 taps. Other features of this version of the OS are (1) Privacy Space, which can be triggered depending on the fingerprint that is used to open the device, and (2) Huawei Share, a method of transfer between devices along the lines of iOS’ AirDrop.

The Huawei Mate 9 retails for Php 31,990 and is available through Globe Plan 1999 for free and at a Php 4,800 cashout with the Plan 1499


Along with the Mate 9 the GR5 2017 also graced our presence and it has been updated with a dual cam setup of its own, this time around in a 12MP / 2MP configuration.


It boasts of a vivid 5.5″ FHD screen, the latest Fingerprint 3.0 sensor, a large 3340mAh battery, 8MP front camera, 3GB/32GB expandable configuration, and is powered by the octa-core Kirin 655 widely available for Php 13,990.


The GR5 2017 invites everyone to get into the dual-cam craze!


The Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom – See It and Believe

Let’s start the year right with this incredible little heavyweight from Asus. This Zenfone 3 Zoom is the second generation of their photography oriented line and it has quite the number of changes from its predecessor.


First the Zoom no longer carries the flagship processor but opts towards the more energy efficient yet quite powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, the very same one on the Zenfone 3. Also, this model has within it a 5,000mAh battery – the one that they put on the first generation Zenfone Max… and so in this package we have exceptional processing, exceptional battery, and a dual lens setup to cap off the system! Crazy right?!?

How does it look?


If you’ve handled a unit from the Zenfone 3 family, it uses all of its design language in spades. It does not have the same diamond cut detailing of the Zenfone 3 but this design change allows for it to be a very sleek singular color allthroughout.


It deviates from most of its brethren due to the placement of the dual cameras now on the upper left (looking at the back) instead of the usual central position just above the fingerprint sensor. It has a shiny glass front and a matted out back that has improved grip over the Zenfone 3.


The Zenfone 3 Zoom has further streamlined the form by putting the audio jack at the bottom instead of its usual placement at the top, this time around most of the ports are underneath leave for the SIM/microSD ejection port which remains at the left.


How does it perform?


Unlike the mechanical nature of the earlier Zoom, this lens shifting technique provides instantaneous feedback from the wide 1x view, to a very pleasing 2.3x by simply touching on the area above the shutter release. Not to mention a 12x digital zoom that can be achieved which wont show you stuff in perfect detail but I’m sure one can think of uses for it.

Here you can see how much you actually get with this zoom level:


Here are the respective full crops of the various states:

Using the Wide lens (1x)

Using the Wide lens (1x)

Using the Zoom lens (2.3x)

Using the Zoom lens (2.3x)

Using the interpolated Zoom (12x)

Using the interpolated Zoom (12x)

As this was an engineering unit, it might not have complete encoding yet as I’ve looked at the EXIF expecting different focal lengths but found them to be the same… I’m still hoping this gets adjusted in future builds/updates:


Working in the “zoomed in” mode, especially on higher values, the user would feel the stabilization in full effect slowly moving the frame ensuring a steady image capture, it’s quite the experience and comparable to ones in actual cameras with in-body stabilizers.

Both rear cameras are at 12MP each with an aperture of f1.7 that should easily lend itself to low light conditions. The front facing camera is no slouch either as it a 13MP fixed focus shooter capable of incredible detail.

It is definitely a solid build and quite an unexpected pairing too with what is among the highest battery ratings available in the Zenfone lineup and a very capable octa-core processor in tow. You needn’t worry about running out of power when the screen is always on acting as the camera’s viewfinder. Stay tuned for the availability date/range as well as the price when it hits.


Asus Zenfone 3 – No Compromises

It’s a holiday today and you’ve probably gotten a hold of your thirteenth month bonus right about now, so that you could use it for Christmas shopping right?!? Before going out and heading to accessory sales, how about considering an Asus Zenfone 3 instead?

My time with the mid-range variant ZE552KL of the Zenfone 3 lineup provided me with only good things to say about this incredible 5.5-inch device. Here’s three simple reasons why this should be your next phone:

01. Look and Feel


Premium isn’t something one so quickly associates with phones around the Php20k margin… but this model from Asus embodies that ideal to its core. Central to this design is the absence of antenna bands which recently have come in the form of lines that run across the top back portion of smartphones. The Zenfone 3 instead put strategic “breaks” in the fluidity of the top and bottom of the steel frame where the signal passes thru; this frees up the rear making the 2.5D Gorilla Glass front and back that much more stunning whichever way one is looking at it.


The overall image of the phone is accentuated by diamond cut bezels where glass meets steel giving it a distinctive flourish that definitely stands out in a crowd – this is part of the design language that Asus uses in this 3rd generation of devices which includes the Zenbook as well as the Transformer series.


Asus’ trademark spun metal finish is carried over into the buttons as well as the back and it plays very nicely whenever light hits the surface giving off even more of the premium vibe that is very welcome in this price category.


The downside to this phone being mostly glass is that it can be slippery and would slide off smooth surfaces with an incline, I wouldn’t initially recommend a case as this would only serve to mar the otherwise very monolithic nature of the device however, Gorilla Glass 2.5D is a bit unlike its non-curved bretheren, it scratches, so best be on the safe side and furnish it with some form of protection. It does have enough heft that lets you know that you’re holding a phone and that you should be careful not to accidentally drop it.


The rear camera juts out from the back slightly which prompts putting the phone face down on surfaces to make it level, this makes some sense as this allows for the user to activate the fingerprint sensor, also at the rear, right below the camera, to unlock the phone while picking it up… it takes a little getting used to but in no time at all, it becomes second nature. This phone does have a blinking LED notification at the front which is very visible against the pure black face which you wouldnt see if you place it face down, best do this when notification sounds are activated.

The Zenfone 3 looks so fine in fact, that one could argue that this looks even better than its Zenfone 3 Deluxe counterpart – now also available in three variants for Php22,995 (S625/4/64/5.5″), Php32,995 (S820/4/64/5.7″), and Php34,995 (S821/6/64/5.7″)

02. Performance

The combination of the processor and graphics chip within the Zenfone 3 allows for some amazing gameplay, and for some users, this would be the deciding factor in making their purchase… so much so that since I’ve gotten the unit I’ve installed and ran Final Fantasy Mobius on it and somehow I’ve gone thru a considerable amount of content already netting a red mage job card from the gatcha and raising it up to level 50. Its a fantastic workhorse that doesn’t feel like its running out of battery even when gaming for hours. This feeling, or lack thereof, means a lot to players.


The battery is in fact so good, that I don’t have any qualms hanging it on to my windshield as navigation for hours on end, sometime even though the battery is already in the red (15%). Apart from the Zenfone Max, that is also from Asus, this is the only other phone of mine which I’d trust to navigate me out of places. The Zenfone 3 latches on to GPS like glue and is the fastest response I’ve felt on a smartphone and this is largely because of the Snapdragon 652 inside of the Zenfone 3.


This device is also #builtforphotography – having full manual controls and an array of shooting modes which natively include Time Lapse, Super Resolution, Low Light Mode, and Time Rewind amongst others. We’ve even gotten it to shoot Astro Photography which is something I haven’t seen other smartphones do; here are some results from that exercise:


OIS and EIS are quite welcome and is always active as long as you’d want it to be and chances are you would. It allows for shooting 4-stops brighter than normally possible with handheld mobile photography and videography. Working in concert with the tri-tech AF system – very quick snaps become possible, even from vehicles in motion. And if you were wondering about the front facing camera, it resolves excellently as well, just look at the photo below:


Swiping about and navigating the gallery is very fluid, zero lags at halfway full memory with seamless playback of up to 4k content shot by the Zenfone 3 itself. Color fringing is well under control and overall sharpness is even across the frame. The addition of the fingerprint reader improves overall efficiency of the device having it from sleep to wake in around 0.2s and possibly firing up the camera app with two consecutive taps and taking the shot with the same. And with the incredible power management along with 64 gigabytes of memory, the user would eventually feel the necessity of capturing the moment much more often than they’re used to… in fact, because of the lightness of the device, shooting possibilities and development of further content are dramatically improved.


Here are some samples of its video prowess in action:

03. Price

At an unbelievable Php18,995, the Zenfone 3 is easily the top pick if you’re looking for the perfect blend of value and performance.


It’s beautiful to look at, unfazed by whatever content you throw at it, be it games or multimedia, and with the future in mind touting a USB-C connection with a charging rate to rival QuickCharge under power from its adapter. Truly, spending a 13th month pay on this device will give you something that would make you think twice (even thrice) about replacing it one to two years down the road.



Huawei P9 Photography Exhibit – On for a Limited Time

At the Greenbelt 3 park grounds, the one fronted by all the coffee shops in the middle of the Greenbelt complex, has been transformed into a temporary gallery housing up to around approximately one hundred select prints that came from the world’s first Leica co-engineered dual lens setup of the Huawei P9.

Several ambassadors for the Huawei P9 were on site at the opening with nothing but glowing recommendations for the revolutionary smartphone. The pool includes Mr Billy Mondoñedo and Ms Camille Co among them.

The setup will run up until Sunday, 27 Nov. and gallery goers have a chance to take home their very own Huawei P9 Lite by doing the following:

– Taking a photo of your favorite exhibited photo and posting it to Instagram
– Captioning said photo with the answer to “how great smartphone photography can change the way one sees the world?”
– Adding the following tags to the post: #HuaweiP9PhotoExhibit #OO and #HuaweiP9PH

I especially like the one with the dog taking up 3/4ths of the frame XDD. It is a bit drizzly out today and maybe tomorrow but consider this, if there are less goers, you’ve got better chances haha. Kidding aside, there’s some excellent work on display here and looking at them, you’d really begin to wonder what smartphone photography is capable of.

Asus Zenfone 3 – Camera Highlight / Event Cover

Two Monday’s ago, my brother had wed (congratulations to the both of you guys #JanTel101010) and being a part of the entourage, I couldn’t be seen carrying around camera gear during the ceremony… cleverly concealed in my left jacket pocket however was the Asus Zenfone 3 and I haven’t been more at ease.

With me was the 5.5″ variant in Sapphire Black and this had been a perfect avenue to really highlight it’s photo making capability.


Here’s a quick refresher on the Php18,995 mid-range smartphone from Asus: 8-Core Snapdragon 625 2.0GHz / Adreno 506 / 5.5″ FHD / 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass / 64GB/4GB… what follows are the important bits… the camera/s: the Zenfone 3 is equipped with a 16MP f2.0 6P Largan Lens and SonyIMX 298 sensor and thats not even the best part yet – this camera uses OIS and EIS in concert for photos and videos respectively to grab nice shots even in low lighting conditions.

As much as I’d have loved to not take photos during the ceremony, mine was a unique vantage point that made it impossible to resist. Below are some of the photos straight from the Zenfone 3 sensor:

Preps prior to the ceremony

Preps prior to the ceremony

Ready for the procession

Ready for the procession

With the parents utilizing the 84-degree wide front cam

With the parents utilizing the 84-degree wide front cam

All the parents and the principal sponsors showering their blessing on the couple

All the parents and the principal sponsors showering their blessing on the couple

The newlyweds #JanTel101010

The newlyweds #JanTel101010

All the shots from this series are as SOOC as they can be, only cropped for composition and watermarked. The Zenfone 3 had been a very convenient carry-on during the entire event, the photos coming from the device has sufficient data in it for any enhancement one might deem fit.

Handling the camera was a breeze especially with fingerprint activation (double tapping fires up the camera swiftly). It’s dual glass facades make it a breeze to pull out and put it back on my pocket and its surprisingly not that receptive to fingerprint marks keeping itself nice and presentable. This was a practical test of real-world utilization and the Zenfone 3 achieves this with with flying colors.

The Huawei P9 Lite – Unlike-A-Leica

The release of the Leica co-engineered P9 series had this nifty little device within its ranks, albeit carrying the P9 name, it doesn’t share the dual-optic design that Huawei and Leica put in the P9 and the P9 Plus. I’m sure you’re curious as to what you get if you’d choose to go with this budget friendlier version right? Let’s dive right in!

From the way that you get the phone from the box there is an air of elegance that Huawei wants you to feel; even though this is the basic version in the line, the feel is just a little bit more utilitarian than the P9 / Plus. You’d get, along with the phone (which already has a screen protector perfectly installed on the P9 Lite btw… nice move Huawei!), a clear case for the back, a standard charger (no quick charge on the Lite) and microUSB cable, a pair of earphones, and some paper – warranty and quick start guides for those new to the Android ecosystem.

The P9 Lite looks almost exactly like the P9 with the prime difference visible from the back where the main shooters are – the P9 Lite only has a single lens here… how different is the output you ask? While the short answer can be “significant”, real world testing can tell us something different, that while the P9 Lite doesn’t have the dedicated monochrome lens, it still can produce fantastic images. Head on past the break for side by side comparisons.

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