Showing posts with label Info. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Info. Show all posts

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Choosing my first DSLR...

...was surprisingly enough, not the toughest decision I had to make. Thanks to many family and friends who are professional and almost-professional photographers.

I had been contemplating over this one for years now. Finally, when Ykaka suggested I should graduate to a DSLR already, I said to myself, this was it! After being a proud owner of a regular SLR camera with film, it was about time to makeup my mind about digital SLR and just go for it. To be honest, I didn't do too much research on any particular area about cameras because I wanted to buy something that I could use for everything - portraits, macros, scenes, and everything else. So for me, it was more of a decision to pick out the best entry level camera there was. My budget was sort of flexible, but I didn't want to go overboard with it.

Some thoughts to share if you're in the same place where I was before yesterday: If you can't make up your mind at any given point, the thing to do is, wait... the best part about that is, you'll probably get a better camera for the same money you'll spend. The bad thing about it is, you'll lose out on taking pictures during that time. And the worst is, the wait never ends if you keep doing that. So I finally decided to decide.

Here are some of the reasons why I chose Nikon D5000 over Canon T1i.

A few months back, I spent a lot of time on cnet reviews reading about DSLR basics. It is a wonderful site for some excellent info and confused me quite a lot. So this time, the keyword for me was "entry level" so I started out with the timelines for different cameras from both of these brands. I searched on google and wikipedia mostly to find which cameras fell under these category. I narrowed down on 3 models of Nikon and 3 models of Canon. Then it was time to compare them all amongst each other and within their same manufacturer. This helped narrow down even further to 2 models from each brand. Then I went on to quite a few websites to compare the features and check the prices of these four models. The feature comparison helped narrow down even further to two models that I mentioned above.

These are some of the sites I spend hours on to compare prices and packages:
Ritz Camera
B&H Photo Video
Fry's electronics is also another option along with I didn't check either of these as it was creating information overload in my head.

I should add that one of the main reasons to choose a Nikon was that I already own a Nikon N65, which has already made a unique place in my heart so I was a bit partial to begin with. Then came the following points:

  1. Automatic mode - Nikon offers an automatic mode that Canon does not have. This makes the camera shoot like a normal point and shoot one. I liked this option a lot for the simplicity of use. Until I get into the details about the DSLR shooting and utilizing all the features, this would be like a default that I can use.
  2. Image sensor - Nikon has slightly bigger one. The difference is in less than a millimeter.
  3. Burst mode - Nikon has it and Canon doesn't. To be honest, I don't know a thing about burst mode, but that wasn't my deciding factor.
  4. Weight - Nikon weighs almost the double at 28.8 oz where as Canon is at 16.9 oz. I talked to a few photographers and they said this was because the insides of a Nikon used magnesium alloy or similar metal for the core of camera where as Canon used plastic. I liked the fact that Nikon was heavier. That would make it heavy for usage but a sturdier camera too.
  5. Price wise, Nikon was about $50 less than Canon.


  1. The LCD/live view screen size is 2.7 in in Nikon, Canon has 3 in.
  2. Megapixel - Canon had 15+ Nikon has 12+ but I was told that resolution of more than 10 didn't make too much of a difference unless you were printing huge posters.
  3. HD video - I am guessing the Nikon had 720p HD video where as Canon had 1000+p HD video. I'm not entirely sure though.
  4. Nikon's weight is more making it a bit bulkier camera than Canon.

Everything else was practicaly the same. They both have video mode, live view, and support JPG, RAW and JPG+RAW (this means it generates both of these files for each photo) formats for photograph files. So after evaluating all these, I realized that I can live with the cons of Nikon better than the cons of the Canon.

Some really good suggestions that helped me make this decision were:

  1. Do not think too much. Spending months or weeks deciding about cameras are not reasonable and don't help you make a better decision.
  2. Once you decide on a camera, don't doubt your choice. Just go with it and enjoy yourself.
  3. Get an upgradable camera and don't be afraid to spend a bit more to get a better longer lasting camera. You are not going to buy another one for at least five years, or atleast you want to think like that. ;)
  4. Like everyone else using a DSLR tells you, and Sandeep said it here too, lenses are very important so get a camera that works with wide range of lenses with interchangeable mount. Doesn't have to be wide range of manufacturers.
  5. When you purchase lenses, and if they are Nikon, be sure that they have VR (vibration reduction) and DX (Digital extra format - sensor type, majority of Nikon lenses use this).
  6. Definitely get at least the haze filter or UV filter to protect the lens.
  7. Do not buy a DSLR without the carrying bag/case. That helps protect your prized possession.
  8. Don't do something because someone else wants you to do it. Do it because YOU want to do it.
  9. Go with your gut feeling.

I added the last two points in there. :) Now comes the most challenging part: learning how to use it. For a starter, I watched the video of Bob Krist, the photographer for National Geographic. It was very helpful. Now I'm reading the instruction manual and keep taking photos in between to test what I just just learned. Still getting more comfortable with holding such a big camera and learning about a gazillion settings on it. The photos are not coming out as what I'd expect them to be. They're not bad, just completely different. The details in the photos are excellent. My Sony digital point-and-shoot has 14 MP and that one doesn't have nearly as much detail as this 12.3 MP camera. It's very interesting to note that. Am also learning what filters do and learning what is meant by different terminologies such as f stops, aperture, shutter speed, wide angle, etc. Gotta be patient with self and the learning process.

Here's a glimpse to some of my newest creations:

Bay Bridge - shaken not stirred ;)


Port of San Francisco

White flowers

Friday, August 01, 2008

To All Maggi Lovers Out There

Some good info about how to prepare it the right way, the healthy way.

Nutritious way of cooking instant noodles! by Neha.

Thank you, Neha.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earthquakes - Are you prepared?

After a 5.4 magnitude tremor shook the lands of Southern California yesterday, it's time for another reminder to self and to others around us. How well prepared are we for the next one?

Some links from the site:
  • Get A Kit Checklist (PDF File)
  • Ready Brochure (PDF File)
  • Family Emergency Plan (PDF File)

    Click here for information on how to get started with preparations for an emergency plan.
  • Thursday, June 26, 2008

    American Highways

    I realized how amazing and well organized the interstate highway system was of the US when I was telling about it to N last month. The amount of science/mathematics involved in it is fantastic! To think up, plan out, implement such a big project and maintain it... totally brilliant!

    While posting the photos of the bay bridge, which happens to be I-80, I realized this information is totally worth sharing with everyone who might not be aware of it. As many of you'd probably know and some might not, the highway structure in the US quite systematic and very well planned according to rules. Of course, like every other rule, these rules have exceptions too, but that's not important for now.

    The major highways (aka the interstate highways) span the entire country and create a grid. The highways that run North-South are odd numbered and the highways running East-West are even numbered. So if you're traveling on highway I-80 (I is for interstate) you are either going East or West only, never North or South (direction wise only, not Geographically). Similarly, on I-5 which touches the borders of Mexico and Canada, you would be traveling either North or South only.

    The odd numbered highways increase in number as you go from West to East and similarly the even numbered highways increase in numbers as you go from South to North. And of course they don't go any higher than two digits. Why? Because according to the system, the three digit numbers are used for other kinds of roads called auxiliary interstate highways which mainly serve the large cities. e.g. I-5 goes through the city of Los Angeles and I-405 connects to I-5 at two locations making a loop. These freeways also follow additional rules.

    I am very impressed with this concept, this infrastructure, and love the way they have maps of almost every single area in this country available for general public. All of this just makes me hope and wish that this kind of structure (which I already know has been in making since quite some time now, but still there's a long way to go) and easily available information are soon part of Indian highway system too.

    Just one of the reasons why this country is more advanced compared to any other country in the world.

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    State of Califonia Going Hands-Free on July 1st

    Driving in California after June 30th, 2008?

    Then this might be useful for you:

    Enjoy one more week of using that phone without a headset while driving, cause the new rules go into effect next week.

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Visit Museums for Free

    D just reminded me of this again today, and I thought it was a good idea to spread the word around to the art-lovers.

    Bank of America has this promotion called Museums on Us 2008, with which if you're in any of the following states in the US, then there are a select few museums where you can get a free admission all year long on the first weekend of every month with your Bank of America card.

  • Arizona

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Illinois

  • Maine

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • Texas

  • Washington

  • Now isn't that the coolest!?

    Click here for more info.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    Backpains? Achy shoulders? Are you sitting/standing in balance?

    A few years back I got a chance to discover and try out some fabulous technics to sit and stand in balance. Just made me realize how badly I used to sit until then (I still do sometimes, but then as soon as I realize it, I change my position to balanced). It has helped me great deal and so wanted to spread the word around. Hope the fellow readers will find this bit of info helpful.

    If you live in the bay area or are visiting, don't forget to check out one of these free classes at The Balance Center.

    Image Copyright © Balance Center

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    SF Bay Area Bike to Work Day

    Thursday, May 15, 2008, is the 14th annual Bike to Work Day!

    On Thursday May 15, 2008, tens of thousands of residents from all corners of the Bay Area will put aside their car keys, don their helmets and bike to work. They will be seen on two wheels, big wheels, tandems and hybrids.

    Ride your bike to work, to class, to errands or to play. Pedaling can take you there! Throughout the Bay Area, dozens of local events taking place during the month of May will get people excited about bicycling and the benefits it provides for public health, traffic reduction and our environment.

    Join the thousands from all around the Bay Area on Thursday, May 15! Hop on your bike and bike to work! Stop by one of the over 190 Energizer Stations strategically located throughout the Bay Area where you will be greeted and cheered by volunteers handing out complimentary treats and tote bags and bicycle commute-related information.

    In fact, the entire month of May is National Bike Month! Celebrate throughout the month by participating in fun-filled events such as the Team Bike Challenge, a friendly competition that challenges folks to ride for the entire month of May to earn points and win prizes! Nominate someone you know who epitomizes the spirit of Bike to Work Day 2008 for the Bike Commuter of the Year Award. Visit your local bike coalition or bicycle advocacy website for local events hosted in your community so you can join in on the fun and win prizes!

    Why Bike to Work?

    It’s Healthy! Did you know that on average, a person weighing 175lb, burns 1160 calories pedaling 20 miles at a speed of 15 mph? Check out our Bike Calculator to find out you can improve your health, burning calories biking!

    It’s Economical! Did you know that if you drove an SUV and lived 5 miles from work, you would save $346.32 a year by biking to work one day a week? Check out our Bike Calculator to find out how much you can save by biking to work!

    It’s Environmentally Friendly! Did you know that if you drove a Toyota Camry and lived 9 miles from work, you would reduce emissions pollutants by 908 lbs year by biking one day a week? Check out our Bike Calculator to find out how much you can save the environment by riding your bike to work!

    See photos of exciting Bike to Work Day activities from 2007 here.


    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    Can your camera find you?

    That's a good one to think about...

    Just read this article today on Yahoo! and am wondering whether it is a good idea to put your address label on the camera? Or even better, would you go to such limits to find an owner of a camera if you had found one? Do read the article... it's a fun read! :)

    Source: Photo clues lead to camera's owner

    By BRIAN BERGSTEIN, AP Technology Writer Fri Jan 25, 5:46 PM ET

    At dusk on New Year's Eve, Erika Gunderson got into a taxi in New York City and entered a digital-age mystery.

    Sitting on the back seat was a nice Canon digital camera. Gunderson asked the driver which previous passenger might have left it, but the cabbie didn't seem to care. So Gunderson brought it home and showed it to her fiance, Brian Ascher. They decided that the only right thing to do was to find the owner.

    But how? The only clues were the pictures on the camera: typical tourist snapshots, complete with a visit to the Statue of Liberty. How could they find a stranger among the huddled masses?

    Gunderson is busy in finance for Bear Stearns Cos., so the detective quest fell to Ascher, a 26-year-old law student at New York University. He was on winter break and eager to put off writing a paper about climate change treaties.

    He checked whether anyone had reported a matching missing camera to the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission. No dice. He placed ads in lost-and-found sections of Craigslist but got just one response - from a couple in Brazil who had lost a camera in a cab on Oct. 12, not Dec. 31.

    "I guess they thought their camera had been riding around in a taxi for two months," Ascher recalls now, chuckling at the notion that such a thing would be possible in New York.

    The 350 pictures and two videos on the camera showed several adults, an older woman and three children. Half put them at New York sites like the Empire State Building. The other half had the group enjoying warm weather and frolicking at kid-friendly theme parks.

    Ascher easily pinpointed Florida. The group had stood in front of a sign indicating Clearwater, Fla., and posed at Bob Heilman's Beachcomber Restaurant there.

    They also took a pirate-themed boat ride where the kids got mustaches painted on their faces. Ascher zoomed in on the group to see name tags on their shirts. He spotted an Alan, an Eileen, a male Noel and a female Noelle, plus a Ciarnan. Under their names was written "IRE."

    When Ascher checked the videos, he saw nothing telling, just the children dancing and swimming. But in the background, he heard Irish accents.

    OK, Ascher figured, the camera's owner is from Ireland.

    Ascher called Canon's Ireland division to see if anyone had registered the $500 camera's serial number. No such luck. He posted ads on Irish Web sites. Nothing.

    He checked the date stamp on the photos from Bob Heilman's and called to inquire whether anyone remembered serving a big Irish group that day. Without the diners' last names, there was no way to check. It's a nice thing you're trying, the manager told Ascher, but you probably just found yourself a new camera.

    Enter some fresh eyes. Ascher's mother, Nancy, and sister, Emily Rann, scoured the pictures for clues he might have missed. Nancy was particularly confident, having reunited people with their lost belongings before. She once found a California woman's wallet in a cab in Florence, Italy, and spent all day on her trail before making a handover at an American Express office.

    "I thought, with all this data in the camera, there's no way we're not going to get it back to them," Nancy Ascher says now. "I was hoping it wasn't going to take a trip to Ireland, flashing their pictures everywhere."

    Ascher's mother and his sister noticed that one of the pictures showed a doorman helping someone into a New York taxi. Zooming tight on the doorman's uniform, they made out the logo of the Radisson Hotel.

    After several phone calls and a visit to the hotel to show the pictures around, Nancy Ascher persuaded an employee to search the Radisson's guest records by first name and country of residence. Indeed, a Noel from Ireland had stayed there on the date stamped on the photo. Nancy Ascher charmed the hotel employee into sharing the guest's e-mail address.


    Except that when Noel responded to Brian Ascher, he said he hadn't lost a camera.

    By now, school was resuming, and Ascher was prepared to give the camera to his mom so she could take over. She had figured out the name of the Florida pirate-boat cruise and was trying to reach its operator.

    But first Ascher took a final look at the photographs.

    He pored over some from Dec. 30 that didn't include the children. The photos showed signs for bars in Manhattan's East Village: The Thirsty Scholar, Telephone Bar, Burp Castle. There also were multiple interior shots of a tavern, but they didn't seem to fit with what Ascher knew of those other three bars.

    Then he stopped on another picture, showing two people outside an apartment building. Seemingly accidentally included in the picture was something Ascher had missed the first time: an awning in the background that read "Standings." Aha! Standings is a bar next to Burp Castle. Ascher checked its Web site, and the interior matched the pictures on the camera.

    Ascher found Standings' owner, who reached the bartender who had worked Dec. 30. Yes, he recalled an Irish group. Especially because one of the women was a big tipper and said she worked at another New York City bar, Playwrights. The Standings bartender called Playwrights to ask which employees had been in his bar.

    Ascher soon got an e-mail from a woman named Sarah Casey, whose sister Jeanette works at Playwrights. Suddenly everything Ascher had seen on the camera came to life.

    The Caseys recently had hosted relatives and friends from Ireland. The group included their friend Alan Murphy, who had journeyed to Florida with family before heading to New York, where the clan stayed at the Radisson. (Their Noel was not the Noel whom Ascher e-mailed.) Murphy ended the trip kicking himself for leaving his camera in a cab in the twilight on New Year's Eve.

    Sarah Casey agreed to send it to him. It didn't go to Ireland but to Sydney, Australia, where Murphy lives now.

    Murphy, an insurance underwriter, had been devastated to lose the pictures from a trip he had planned for years. It was Jan. 10 - his 34th birthday - when he heard he would be getting the photos back. "I was over the moon," he says now. "Best present ever."

    "I owe you one," he wrote to Ascher. "It's good to know there are some honest people left in the world."

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Numbers and Angles

    Received this in a forwarded email today, thought it was very interesting!

    Have you ever thought why........ 1 means "one", and 2 means "two"?

    The roman numerals are easy to understand but what was the logic behind the phonecian numbers?

    It's all about angles!

    It's the number of angles.

    If one writes the numbers down (see below) on a piece of paper in their older forms, one quickly sees why.

    The angles are marked with "o"s.

    No 1 has one angle.
    No 2 has two angles.
    No 3 has three angles.

    and "O" has no angles.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008


    Do you sometimes wish you had an access to the internet or yellow pages or GPS system when you are traveling? Well, I was in the same situation last month when SB told me about 1-800-GOOG-411. Ever since then, I have been using it like crazy and am loving it! Their voice recognition program is sophisticated and quite well trained. And best of all, it's FREE!!!

    So next time you're searching for a local business or phone number, pick up the nearest phone and give it a try. Call 1-800-GOOG-411.

    PS. If you call from your cell phone, you do actually using your minutes. :-)

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    Sa Re Ga Ma Pa World Tour Dates

    Here are the dates for the SRGMP world tour that's taking place this November-December 2007.

    Tour Begins Nov 19th Night

    Travel To West Indies

    Nov 23 - Paramaribo
    Nov 24 - Port Of Spain

    Nov 30 - New Jersey, Buy Tickets, Contact: Daljit at 973-704-6143,

    Dec 1 - Houston, Buy Tickets, Contact: Irfan Mousa at 832-618-3333,

    Dec 2 - Atlanta, Buy Tickets, Contact: Mark Premji at 1-888-8PREMJI,

    Dec 7 - Dallas, Contact: Mannu Mehta at 972-971-9095,

    Dec 8 - San Francisco, Buy Tickets, TicketMaster, Contact: Deepak Mehta at 925-980-4449,

    Dec 9 - ----------

    Dec 14 - Florida, Contact: Prasad Naik at 954-749-3221,

    Dec 15 - Chicago, Contact: Nick Patel at 773-507-7333,

    Dec 16 - Los Angeles, Contact: Manoj K. T. at 310-699-6296,

    Dec 21 - ----------

    Dec 22 - Toronto, Contact: Sheetal Panesar at 416-646-8649

    Dec 23 - Vancouver, Contact: Sharen at 604-543-9000,

    Dec 26 - Edmonton, Contact: Rai Minhas at 780-905-9192,

    Contact for all UK locations: Safdar Hussain at 0796 796 5201,
    Dec 27 - Cardiff
    Dec 28 - Manchester
    Dec 29 - Birmingham
    Dec 30 - London
    Dec 31 - London (New Year Party)
    Jan 1 - Nottingham

    Sponsor website:

    Last updated: Monday, November 28, 2007

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Navratri Garba 2007 - SF Bay Area Schedule/Dates & Info

    To all garba fans of the bay area, here are the Navratri garba dates for the year 2007.

    Sept 15 - CLiPS Bayarea - Holy Spirit Church, 37588 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA

    Sept 22 - CLiPS Bayarea - Holy Spirit Church, 37588 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA

    Sept 29 - DHOOM Dandia - Sunnyvale Temple
    Sept 29 - Bombaiya Dandia - Avalon Club

    Oct 06 - Raas Garba Challenge 2007 - Bay Area Vaishnav Parivar

    Oct 11 - India Community Center (Milpitas) [Thursday 7 PM to 8 PM]

    Oct 13
    - India Cultural Association of the Bay Area (Sunnyvale) (more info)

    Oct 18 - India Community Center (Milpitas) [Thursday 7 PM to 8 PM]

    Oct 19
    - GCA Bay Area - CSU East Bay Gym (Hayward)
    Oct 19 - Vibha (4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto)

    Oct 20
    - GCA Bay Area - CSU East Bay Gym (Hayward)
    Oct 20 - Sankara Eye Foundation Dandia (San Jose Convention Center)
    Oct 20 - Vibha (E San Fernando St AND 9th Street, San Jose)
    Oct 20 - India Cultural Association of the Bay Area (Sunnyvale) (more info)

    Oct 26 - GCA Bay Area - CSU East Bay Gym (Hayward)

    Oct 27 - GCA Bay Area - CSU East Bay Gym (Hayward)
    Oct 27 - Sankara Eye Foundation Dandia (Santa Clara Convention Center)
    Oct 27 - Vibha (E San Fernando St AND 9th Street, San Jose)
    Oct 27 - India Cultural Association of the Bay Area (Sunnyvale) (more info)

    Nov 02 - GCA Bay Area - CSU East Bay Gym (Hayward)

    Nov 03 - GCA BayArea - CSU East Bay Gym (Hayward)
    Nov 03 - SSF Diwali Dandia Nite - Centerville Junior High School (Fremont)

    More info:
    GCA Bay Area - Phone number: Saurin Patel (510)-668-0451

    You can save money by becoming a GCA member. Their site is:
    The membership form is here:
    You can fill it out and send it to Lattaben Patel (before September deadline it's ~$10 less than in October), and pick up the membership card first day of garba.

    If you know of any other place that has organized garba that I might have missed, please do share. Thanks!

    Disclaimer: The above information comes from various sources, and has not been checked for validity. Please contact the organization for more info.

    Last updated: October 12, 2007