why i shoot wif what i shoot :) a short review...

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i have a watch blog and posted this post there but thought that i would share it with the community here as well... i mean u all contribute to the photography addiction rite so here goes ;-)

"so what camera do you use?"

i get asked this question a fair bit and i don't mind sharing at all. of course my hope is people ask because some of the shots i have taken turn out half decent and they're thinking 'if i can have the same equipment as raph then maybe i can take half decent or better shots too' :) which is all fine by me. i am not a pro-photographer and don't have aspirations to be one and i am no grand master with any big photo taking secrets. i am happy taking my semi-decent shots of the things and people that i love and things that i wish to capture in my images & thats good enough for me..

so on to the question then... 'what hardware do you have? and why?'...

my pic of my watch in this month's singapore tatler...

the nikon d90 - i had started out looking at the d90 and the canon 5dmkii. 2 different brands and different pros and cons and two different formats. one was aps-c - a crop sensor with 1.5* focal length multiplication and another was a full frame sensor (based on 35mm film cameras as standard). i think very little divides nikon and canon. both are great brands with great lenses and their own adv and disadv...

whats good?

- good pentaprism viewfinder and bright, clear and nice lcd.
- live view and video recording (not the best video recording tool but usable)
- very good iso performance to me. the dxo sensor test also show it beating the d300 on iso and sensor quality...
- came wif an excellent kit lens, the 18-105mm vr. a great walkabout lens with good range and essential vr
- can af for lenses without built in motors
crop sensor pros
- gives u more zoom power with the 1.5* focal magnifier. eg a 200mm lens on it is 300mm
- more lenses to choose from, dx and fx lenses
- everythings lighter and less costly with dx
- less resolution than FF and less high ISO capabilities than FF.

full frame
(reference cons in crop sensor)
- better details and resolving power ie image resolution
- more usable shots with high iso (question is how often do u need to shoot in high iso? and this could also be made up by having fast lenses to a degree)
- u will need good fast glass to bring the most out of it n that will cost a lot n will most likely weigh a fair bit too...this could also take the fun out of it all... lugging heavy kilos of pricey stuff around and when they spoil the fixing cost is also gonna be a lot.

with my watch shots, i use the Best macro lens for me at least - nikor 105mm af-d
- u dont need vr on macros and its more than half the price of the vr version
- much better working distance than the also super sharp 60mm macro Nikkor
- i tried the tamron 90mm f2.8 and that sucks soo badly compared to the nikor 105mm for the shots i take...

The killer primes - creamy duo which take great pics...

Sigma 30mm f1.4 -
amazing Bokeh. There are some focus inaccuracies for me (which may be more about me playing wif too shallow dof than the lens) but when u get it right u can take amazing shots even wif low skill levels. super creamy and a great lens.
Some people say it should be the nikon 35mm f1.8 over this but i hv spoken 2 several folks(veterans, sellers) and the sigma is the winner and honestly there is a huge difference between 1.8 & 1.4.
50mm is considered the normal focal length on 35mm film. however based on the frames diagonal length, normal should actually be about 43mm. so the 30mm fast large aperture sigma 1.4 rules! 30mm * 1.5 = a normal 45mm

Nikon 50mm f1.4 - accurate af. very decent ca control. Can be slightly soft at 1.4 but good centre sharpness from f1.6/1.8. Wonderful bokeh too to me but i think the 50mm sigma would beat this having seen what the 30mm can do. Coz of crop factor, its a 75mm f1.4 which is sorta my equivalent to the 85mm f1.4 on FF although that lens would cost about 4x more(S$400 vs S$1600) and weigh 2.5* more. slight flaring/ghosting issues so a hood is a good idea for this fiddy

The 1.8 v 1.4 difference - I dun understand them charts i jus know that when i had the 1.8, i used it a bit and it didn't impress me at all and I sold it after a few months. The 1.4 though is a great lens and has helped me take some shots that i am really happy with and it'll be with me for awhile(especially if the next part happens...

i may go full frame one day though...perhaps with the release of the d800
the current d700 is the full frame camera i am eyeing so when the d800 comes out, that will probably be the one to consider IF I ever want to go FF. The d800 SHOULD have a higher megapixel count, good usable ISO range, good fps rate, full HD video movie mode, superior noise control, loadsa af sensors...

for usable low light pics, a fast lens and high iso will allow u to take good shots too for the following situations: indoors available / natural light, night street photos, places where flash photog is not cool eg. museums, or where it'll disturb the folks around...

the last word
its actually not so much about the equipment. get a decent dslr set and 2 to 3 decent lenses and you're pretty much good to go. reading and learning about how to take the shots u want to take. buff up your shooting technique and skills, noting composition and what it is you want to say with the photo are whats more important imo...

it becomes more about the person holding the camera then, as the photos u take and share should be all yours... to tell a story, to share beauty, to capture joy, to exploring darker themes or showing nature, to displaying different seasons... let it be about your expression or sharing the world in your eyes and whatever it is, enjoy your photography... as i do :)

cheers, raph


May 28, 2009
Thanks for sharing raphmeister, and nice collection of watches you've got. :thumbsup:


Senior Member
Nov 26, 2002
West side of S'pore
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Awesome post, some really lovely images of watches you got there. Thanks for sharing your personal thots on photography! Great read. :thumbsup: Its definitely a refreshing view away from all the endless BBB and A brand vs B brand and "equipment wanking" threads. :)

May 11, 2007
wow, you own those watches :bigeyes: .. then getting D700 now and later D800 should not be a issue.


Senior Member
Oct 19, 2007
excellent shots sir!

inspirational for me! at least now i know what to do in restaurants...


New Member
Jul 11, 2007
thanks for sharing! nice images. interesting to see someone with both canon and nikon. :)

may i ask what aperture do you use for your watch photos? have you tried using black 'reflectors'? i don't have watches (i use my mobile instead) and haven't really tried macro photography but do you also have photos with a little more depth? or do you prefer your shots this way?



Senior Member
Oct 4, 2006
Very interesting write-out and even nicer RBII :thumbsup: Almost got my hands on one early this year. Good to meet a fellow watch enthusiast here. :)


New Member
Nov 14, 2008

you have a fine taste. good read up from this post.


New Member
Feb 15, 2009
Hi Sir,

I gain a lot of Ideas from you. Thanks a lot!:)


Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
Nice to see you here Ralph. I remember you from WUS forum, Sinn section.

Your collection getting more and more high end. Congrats.

Nice to see you getting into the DSLR scene too, its as addictive as watches. ;)


New Member
Aug 31, 2007
nice watch pieces you own! nice to see a fellow nikon user :)

ok, lets go down the line...

freestyle1279, cichlid, PrimePhotog, glad u liked the pics :)

Garion, thanks for kind words on the post, its appreciated. i don't have the same exposure(to equipment and lenses) as many of the senior members here but i am happy some have liked my sharing of my perspective...

happyranchu, flipfreak, Cartman2000, i didn't say i owned all the watches there... i own some of the watches in the post... i'll post a few more that i own shortly(again some below and not all are mine)... i don't think its about how much $ one has but more about how much one wants to commit to a particular hobby/passion/love. my first love is watches and so a lot of my funds go towards that, but i am sure that for people whose passion is photography they could have committed much more to their passion...(leicas and the bigger ones) same goes for folks into cars and other big boys toys ;-)

luntut, glad u liked the shots, and it wasn't a restaurant... twas a very nice breakfast in a room at st. regis :)

fatigue, hope alls well... i have a number of watches but i find i mostly rotate around 6 pieces i like the most often... glad u liked the pics.

raffaelo, i may have come across wrong but i only have the nikon and not the canon for dslr. for the aperture, it will depend if i wish to have a part in focus or get most of it in focus...

SabaDen, glad u enjoyed the writeup. the RB2 is a mates of mine.. i have another AP ROO, the themes black which i love...

shunzi, robotech, yao86, thanks all :)

sjackal.... ahh the sinn party... a pic from my p&s follows... others cant be shown publicly ;-) kidding...

some watch pics...


Dec 10, 2008
Pasir Ris
Eh sorry... wrong emoticon should be this :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

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