Jonathan Fleming's Blog

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Camera Shopping in Japan

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While in Kumatori, Osaka, Bridget and I went shopping at a local Aeon center, where I got a chance to take a look at some yummy camera equipment. One of my favorite reasons to come to Japan is to get my hands on Japan-exclusive gear, like this white Lumix GF-1 (above), which I absolutely fell in love with. It controls very similarly to the Lumix LX-3, so it felt right as soon as I started using it, although I simply can’t imagine using a compact camera that doesn’t have dual control rings like the Canon S90 anymore (control freak!). What impressed me most about the GF1 was its very speedy performance for a mirrorless camera. The auto-focus speed, in particular, is incredibly snappy for this class of camera.

The store also carried the very newly released Olympus EP-L1 (above). I liked the size of the camera, but found the controls to be a little awkward to use. The rear LCD is also kind of…meh.

On the other hand, I liked the GF-1 so much that I had a very difficult time resisting the temptation to walk out of the store with the 20mm f/1.7 and the “storm trooper white” body, Japanese menu system and all. Reason, however, prevailed over gadget-lust in the end. I can’t really see a place for this camera in my bag right now. Sure is a nice piece of gear though!

Top Image: Canon S90 at 10mm f/2.8 ISO400 1/400 second

Bottom Image: Canon S90 at 6mm f/4 ISO80 1/30 Second

Written by Jonathan

April 4, 2010 at 1:22 am

Japanese Taxi

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Panasonic DMC-LX3 at 12.8mm f/2.8 ISO100 1/125 Second

Panasonic DMC-LX3 at 12.8mm f/2.8 ISO100 1/125 Second

Saw this image while going through some of the older files in my library, and it brought back some memories of my visit to Japan this year. I took this shot of some taxi cabs in Ebina, Kanagawa Prefecture, where we spent the first three nights of our trip visiting friends. Taxi cabs, of course, are different over there than in the States. Don’t try to open that passenger door yourself, or you might have it swing out and hit you! The driver actually controls the opening and closing of the rear door.

But this image also reminded me of a strange incident I had in Shinjuku, a major district in Tokyo. We arrived at the train station in this area after traveling from the south, and upon exiting the station, we realized that we had no idea where our hotel was. Not typically a problem when I have cell phone reception, but we were without connectivity, so we had to find it the old fashioned way. My first instinct was to hail a cab. So I walked up to one in front of the station, and as the door swung open, I asked (in Japanese) “can you take me to this hotel please?” He replied by telling me he had no idea where it was, even though I was showing him the address and saying the hotel’s name over and over.

So I figured, uh oh, if the cabbie doesn’t know where it is, it must be far from here! After walking around for what seemed like forever, we finally found a koban (a small police box assigned to a specific area). I knew the officer would know the hotel if it was close. Sure enough, he gave us simple directions to the place, which we discovered was only about a 3 minute walk from the station where we started!!!!

What was up that cab driver?! Did he really not know where this hotel was? Oh well.

Written by Jonathan

October 21, 2009 at 1:35 am