Merlion park in times of coronavirus outbreak

As you know, Singapore is in a midst of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak with over 70 people infected as of today. While the spread of the virus is not as severe or far reaching as that of China, Singapore has imposed travel limitations to anyone coming to Singapore from China. This has terrible consequences to the tourism industry in Singapore.

I was at the Merlion Park one weekend to gauge for myself how severely impacted Singapore is to the effects of the Coronavirus, especially the number of tourists visiting Singapore this part month or so. Because of the travel limitations imposed, there is definitely a significant decrease in tourism arrivals, especially when Chinese tourists make up the bulk of visits to Singapore as a holiday destination.

I took pictures of the Merlion Park with my new X-Pro 3 and noted the drop in the number of visitors in the areas. It was a blessing for me, as I was able to take pictures of the Merlion without much interference. It was overall, a pleasant picture-taking experience. Although I must add, that the Merlion, if it was a real creature, would have been sad to see so few visitors coming to Singapore to take pictures with him in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Chingay 2020

Chingay is an annual street parade that is celebrated in Singapore and Malaysia. It is in celebration of the various birthdays of the Chinese deities or the procession of the Goddess of Mercy. In recent times, the annual street parade consists of floats and processions from various communities in Singapore and abroad. This year is my first time that I actually attended the parade with a ticket. Previous years, I would usually watch the performance on TV, which is broadcast live.

The Chingay performance was a dazzle of lights, colour and music, with numerous floats representing the various Chinese deities, social groups in Singapore, associations and even foreign delegates from various countries around the world. The performance took place at the F1 pit and I was lucky to be seated relatively close to the action. I brought my camera along to capture some of the action. Despite only owning a 23mm f2.0 lens on my newly acquired Fujifilm X-Pro 3 camera, I still managed to get some great shots of the various floats and performances during the parade.

The parade was better than expected, partly due to the sound and lights that nicely complemented with the performance. Aside from that, there were the occasional fireworks, laser light shows and drone performances. Everything was tightly coordinated. The highlight of the entire parade was the 100 meter long dragon that floated and drifted along the length of the F1 pit. It was truly impressive to see it in person.

Seats filling up just before the parade starts.
The start of the procession. It was truly colourful and lively with great music and light shows that accompanied the entire performance.
They even did some interesting stunt on top of the usual dragon dance routine.
The god of wealth (I think) sitting on a flamingo, distributing wealth.
Lightsaber action!
The various floats on display, this one the famous squirrel of POSB bank.
The float from the People’s Association.
Representatives from Japan even took part in the parade!
Behold the dragon! Making its way along the parade. It’s more than 100 meters in length and the head is supported by a helium balloon and steered by a couple of guys on the ground.
Nodding and starring at us while it makes its away along the parade. It was spectacular!
The dragon blessing everyone with wealth and health before returning to its lair.

X-Pro 3 first impressions!

On the 28th of November, during lunchtime, I received a call from my local camera store. He was calling to inform me that the Fujifilm’s latest camera, the X-Pro 3 has finally arrived.

I was super excited. I headed down to the store after work, and collected my camera.

What a beauty! I got the normal black version of the X-Pro 3. It does not come with the special Dura coat on the titanium plates.

I brought it out for a spin today, walking around Fusionopolis, close to where I work. It’s a complex of buildings with ultramodern architecture, housing various engineering institutes under the A*STAR umbrella. It is a place I am very familiar with and because the place becomes relatively quiet during the weekend. It was a suitable place to experiment using the new camera and to get a feel on how the camera handles in my hands without too much distraction along the way.

I did not choose the camera. The camera chose me!

I also brought it to Orchard Road on Friday evening, to soak up the festive cheer and also to revel in the Black Friday sales that every mall was promoting to test out the camera is low light conditions.

I paired the X-Pro 3 with the Fujinon 23mm f2.0 lens. Perfect for street photography.

So what were me initial impressions after using this camera for about 24 hours?

Right off the bat (and also during the demo sessions I had with the camera before it was launched), holding the camera is really comfortable. The grip is not too big and bulky, yet not too small to be insignificant. It felt just right. The body isn’t heavy. Paired with a light lens like the 23mm f2.0, the weight feels perfect. The camera grip, paired with a suitable wrist strap, like the one I got from Deadcameras, makes carrying the camera around a joy.

I am a wrist strap kinda guy when it comes to lugging my camera around. I don’t really like to carry my camera around my neck. Instead, I prefer the wrist strap. And paired with X-Pro 3, its a match made in heaven.

The dials are solid and have a solid click whenever it is rotated. It is made of metal and the inscriptions and markings on the dials are meticulously painted. It is just oozing with quality. The placement of the dials are well placed, allowing easy access to all the dials without over stretching any of your fingers or contorting your fingers unnaturally or uncomfortably.

I have primarily used only the EVF so far, or the electronic viewfinder. It is nice to have the option of the OVF, or the optical viewfinder. I will definitely attempt to take pictures using just the OVF. It will definitely be a fun and interesting experience to see the world through the OVF and take creative pictures with it.

First shots with the X-Pro 3. Colours are out of this world! Fujifilm’s color science is top notch.

And the film simulations. There are so many options to choose from. All of them look gorgeous and some of them are better suited for certain kinds of photography. I have yet to familiarise myself with the different film simulations. But with time, hopefully I will master them and apply them in the correct conditions to achieve specific photography styles.

Experimenting with different film simulations on the X-Pro 3.

There are more features that I have barely scratched the surface and it will be an interesting journey for me to experiment and try all of them. The X-Pro 3 is a really fun camera to use, one that I am sure will enjoy using it for many years to come.

The camera does low light really well.

To view the album of the shots I have taken with the X-Pro 3 on the first day, please visit the this link.

I am getting the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 after all.

Two weeks ago, I made the plunge. I paid the deposit and pre-ordered the X-Pro 3. Such a big purchase was not done lightly. As always, I imposed a two-week cooling off period, where I will not think, read or watch anything related to the X-Pro 3 and only revisit that thought after the cooling off period is over. When the cooling off period was over, I still had the strong desire to purchase the camera and had this strong feeling that this is the camera for me. In other words, this was not an impulse buy. I am in the market for a new mirrorless and the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 fits the bill.

I chose the black with none of the DURA coating. The DURA coating options costs a couple hundred dollars extra.

I believe the camera will launch on the 28th of November, sometime next week. I should be expecting a call from my local camera shop, informing me that the camera has arrived and is available for collection. I have decided to pair the body with the 23mm f2.0 prime lens, which based on what I have read, is a good prime lens for street photography, my main focus in using the X-Pro 3.

Paired with a prime lens such as the 23mm f2.0, it will be interesting to see how it will change the way I take photos. It is going to be an interesting learning journey for me to just rely on a prime lens as my daily driver.

I am very excited to use it once it arrives. I guess getting used to the menu system will take some time. As to what I am going to do with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II camera, I have decided to keep the body and the pancake lens after all. I will be selling the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens to partially fund the new camera. The Olympus camera, paired with the pancake lens, is still a fun camera to use and I see myself using it from time to time just for the sake of fun.