Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Monkey King [Donnie Yen] (大闹天宫 ) Movie Review

This movie follows closely to the cartoons and books I read as a child. The movie set is ok, and the costumes are amazing, however, while watching the movie, I felt that the overly used and abused CG (Computer Graphics) makes the movie feel "kid focused". Sadly, the CG in the movie is not even good CG. very fake/bad made for TV quality, which makes Sharknado look amazing.

The whole movie was pretty entertaining, but for the price of movies today, I would say, you can miss this and wait for the DVD as the big screen does not add anything to the story.

The "Wire-fu" everything seems pretty lame, and along with the blue/green screen effects, the movie feels like a cheap/ low budget flick.

With actors like Aaron Kwok, Chow Yun Fatt and Donnie Yen, it is sad to see that the budget went to the actors not the special effects to say.

Overall, still an enjoyable flick, very cheesey effects.

5/10 - Wait for the DVD

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Worst Children Books -- EVER!

These books are real...

How did they even get published?

And yes, I'm judging the book by its cover.

-- Robin Low

Monday, January 06, 2014

Why I prefer Manual Lens than AF lens


I have always preferred owning Manual Lens over AF lens. I feel that sometimes, the feeling of focusing with your own hands is better than relying on the AF mechanism.

I've owned the Canon L 70mm-200mm f2.8 IS II, 200mm f2 L, and various other lens, and I do like them, however, as a collector, I do not recommend keeping the AF lens for long.

For example, the Nikkor 85mm f1.8.

There are many different versions out there. the Pre-AI 85mm f1.8, AI, AI-S and AF-D, AF-S.

I've owned an AI'd, and a AIS version, as well as a AF-S and AF-D version as well.
And yes, Nikon makes it hard to distinguish between the lens.

- G lens
- VR lens
- AF-S lens
- ED lens
- IF lens
- AF-D
- AI-S
- AI
- AI'd
- Pre-AI

AF-S and AF-D are different lens, AF-S lenses are better quality and they have built in Motor for faster Autofoucs.

In the case of the 85mm f1.8, I did not notice much of a difference in image quality between the manual lens and the AF lens. The build quality was much better on the old AI lens but that is pretty much it. In terms of size, the AF-S lens is generally much bigger and bulkier.

So if you are just guy with a camera, then getting an AF-S or AF-D lens would not really be much of a difference. the AF-S can be a lot more expensive, but it is probably more durable as well.

As a camera collector, I would say the AI, AI-S lenses have pretty much the same coating as the newer lens, just perhaps they are built much tougher with a metal housing. The focusing on the old manual lens are also smoother and you can focus more accurately as well.

I do not usually shoot wildlife or sports, hence I have all the time to focus, and having an autofocus is not important. When shooting portraits, I actually prefer manual focus as I can use live view to slowly focus on the right focus point, check it again before I press the shutter release. The feel of the lens is more important than the AF speed or autofocus for that matter.

When I do street photography, I do manual focus as well. You don't need to focus fast if your aperture is at f5.6. Most things will be in focus.

Having manual lens, for a person that travels means more space in the camera bag. These lens are generally smaller. Many of them are very rugged and they cost less to clean and service.

For example, cleaning my 50mm f1.2 AIS costs about $50 but cleaning my Canon 50mm f1.2L costs $150. And for manual lens, the cost less to buy (used) and they may appreciate in price. I bought my Nikkor 85mm f1.4 for $350, and I can probably sell it for $500.

I would definitely recommend getting fast manual prime lens to shoot. They are usually cheaper (not for some lens) than the AF versions, and they hold their value well.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Secret life of Walter Mitty Movie Review.

Before going to the movie, I've heard good and bad things about the movie. And I would say, many people judge the movie before watching it, because of the movie title or the book.

This is a Ben Stiller Movie. Not really based solely on the book written in 1939. The character is the same day dreamer, Walter Mitty taking on an adventure, however it is not the same as that Walter Mitty Story in 1939.

Movie Description.
"A day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined."

This movie does not try to explain the past of Walter Mitty, although some things are inferred. And the whole movie, other than his fantastic daydream adventures, is actually quite realistic, as Walter Mitty is not just some nerd/office worker, he was a teenager who can skateboard in the past.

I like the movie, as it inspires me to do more. Many people limit themselves by looking at what Walter Mitty did, and say that this only happens in the movie, and yes, picking on little details of movie like - flying from NYC to NUUK is expensive. But flying from JFK to LHR to Iceland is relatively affordable. (

But that is not the point, many people fear change, yet they make New Years Resolution to change. Many people do not like their work and get into bad situations as they fear the unknown. They may have a lot of other skills and passions, never realized as they were brought up to "get an education, get a stable job, climb up the corporate ladder."

The movie does a good job of embracing the moment, and showing the grandeur of Iceland and Greenland, which I've always wanted to visit. Focusing on this adventure, and how Walter Mitty let go his fears and just seize the moment, the movie does a great job in telling this story.

There are many voices that speak to us and motivates us, why silence them and only let the negative voices in you speak up to tell you about the dangers, and question you on everything you do? Its a great movie showing what adventure lies ahead if we only want to put some irrational fears aside and live the moment.

Again, this has got nothing to do with the book, nothing to do with the other movie about Walter Mitty. This is something else, so don't be disappointed. And Walter Mitty does not become a super hero that save the world from just a regular office guy.

Overall, I feel that the release of this movie is quite timely as it is a great motivating story to change your new year.


-- Robin Low

Overall: 8/10
Catch it in the Cinemas in the new year.