User profile: Pierre

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Can any photo enthusiasts offer some advice?

Well, there is not one right answer. As you're based in Kunming, I'd go with a Canon or Nikon. There are other good cameras which pack a ton of features for a good price (Pentax!!!) but it's hard to get good glass (lenses) for those down here.

Good, now that we have established which brand you should use (you said DSLR, so I'm leaving out all the good micro 4/3rds) there is the question of which body to buy. My tip: go cheaper on the body, but a good prime lens (fixed focal length) from Canon or Nikon. If you don't know the market (aaaand people will hate me for what I'm about to say next) steer clear of Tamrons and Sigmas, especially for food photography, there is too much "crap" floating around. That said, Canon and Nikon produce below average glass as well.
Which brings us to the next point: Kit-Lenses. You shouldn't get one, but you definitely should get one. Kit lenses do not offer the same image quality as "good", prime lenses do. However, they usually are zoom lenses which gives you the opportunity to test out your favorite focal length.

Ah, focal length... if you get a cheaper DSLR, you're in for what's called a crop-sensor. Don't worry it's not gonna hurt and yes, it is cropping your images, but not resizing them. For a crop-sensored DSLR the first prime lens (see how I keep pushing that nice prime on to you?) you would get a 28mm - 35mm, which achieves the image appearance of about 50mm standard lens (50mm covers about the radius of human sight and is visually most pleasing... not my words and only true in certain situations). The problem is that those 28mm lenses are more expensive than a good nifty-fifty (jopasny correctly pointed out the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM).

For food photography a macro is not necessary (that actually could look gross as you might be getting too close for comfort with your food). I think a good, fast wide-angle lens should serve you well (fast refers to the amount of light which is able to pass through your lens on the largest aperture). However, as those fairly expensive you're in the market for an external flash - or/and - a good (none of that cheap Hong Kong crap they sell to tourists) tripod.
The internal camera flashes are not really usefull. Sure, they'll allow you to "get the shot", but too often, you'll have a blown highlight or washed out colors or an uneven exposure. I guess they're ok for parties and stuff, but "real" photos? ehhh....

Then, if you want to get a flash, make sure that your body allows syncing to that flash, so you don't have to have it on the hotshoe (above the camera) all the time, but can position it at an angle to your subject for a more even exposure and nicer shadows.

OK, nor for the important part, which brand... Nikon or Canon? If you're new to the game, check which brand suits you best. Go to a store and do some window shopping.
Then, to the even more important part that not a lot of "outside" people know about. Canon has not changed it's image sensor in consumer cameras for the last three years... the only upgraded the image processing chip. That means one thing: Cheaper Secondhand Bodies.

If I were in the same position, I'd try and get a used EOS 600d (or anything above a 550d if it's dirt cheap, especially as you are interested in photography and not videography) for "small" bucks and then slap an expensive, fast piece of glass in front of that sensor (that famed 50mm should be too long for for food photography, maybe even architecture as well, so I'd get something wider - remember, that you're getting a crop-sensor camera).
Getting all that stuff in Kong Kong is a vital tip as well, not only because it's cheaper, but because you can get more stuff there, as well as an interested, helpful and understanding shop assistant who will not think less of you for buying a 2 year old, second-hand camera.
Then, after some time has passed (two years or three) and you haven't had your camera in "Auto" mode for at least a year, because, you know, that damn things always screws up my exposure by 0.2 and I know that I can still hold that cam stable at 1/32 - so don't always push my aperture... ..., you might start to feel limited. That's the point where you can get a new body, but still use that one, amazing good lens you got when you bought your camera (by that time, Canon might or might not have come up with a newer sensor?).

There's only one more thing to say: Go find a Nikon fanboy who says, that what I told you, is just utter bull%&!# and Nikon is THE brand to get.
After that, there's only one more thing to say: Go find a Sony fanboy who says, that what I told you, is just utter bull%&!# and Sony is THE brand to get.
And for now, I shall not continue this exercise, as there is not one correct answer, just pointers

Forums > Living in Kunming > Worse than PX

The western media is playing this one down for decades now, although the governments know about the effects of this stuff:

Dicarbonpentahydrogenhydroxyl (DCPH-HX)

DCPH-HX is highly flammable and turns into a gas at room temperature (very EXPLOSIVE) but is still transported through our countries freely by private entities (how can they allow this?!).

Once DCPH-HX crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) it acts as a central nervous system depressant, causing dizziness, nausea, stupefaction, vomiting and in the worst extend certain death. It is further know to effect the development of the embryo in the mothers body.

DCPH-HX does not have carcinogenic properties. However, metabolized byproducts are well known to carry carcinogenic properties. That means, once you ingested it, it is being transformed in your body to something worse.

Some countries have banned already, but in Europe, America, Russia, etc... DCPH-HX is still widely produced, transported and used.

Please check out for more info on this

Forums > Living in Kunming > Website software that supports Chinese Hanzi???

Yes, Bluppfisk is partly right. Check your system first if it's workin all right with Chinese characters.
Even with windows 7, support for characters magically switches off, seemingly with no apparent reason. I had that problem a couple of times and troubleshooting it was quite annoying. In my case it was an Antivirus program's user interface which crashed and disabled character drawing on system level, but not for any other applications (I could still display Chinese on websites and in word documents, for example). To check if you have this error simply create text document on your desktop and give it a Chinese, written in characters. If it reads out right, everything is good. If its coming out in squares only, you have a problem.

Otherwise I have to say that a well deployed CMS is easier to manage an maintain than a "normal" HTML only website; professionally done. Nobody will realize its a CMS, it also won't look impersonal, once the design has been done and set.


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A trail park would be so cool to have around here. But I can see a problem, of many mountain sides around Kunming being used as graveyards (yes, also Changchong is full of graves and small mausoleums).

I think hedgepig is right, you'll need a lot of guangxi.

Also, please be careful when you ride this trail, as some of it leads through a semi-open section of Changchong and people (whether on bikes or on foot) are not welcome before the 1st (or 31st, really unsure right now) of May due to forest fire hazards. Unfortunately, nobody was able to tell me, when the fire season starts, I will try to ask next time when I am up there.
Really, please keep this in mind when riding up there, that "we're" just tolerated up there and policies can/will change fast in China. Let's not p*** somebody off unnecessarily.

I can further assure you that this part is "military-safe", it leads around the small base. Only in the beginning you could stumble into the area, but therefore you'd have to navigate a 2 meter high concrete wall with warning signs on it (though there is a small path around it).

I like the first tag "disregard for human life"... says all. I'm wondering what's still to come that will make use of this.

This must have been one of those pedestrian bridges where you also have a ramp for disabled people (no, from now on I will call it a car ramp; sounds much more developed) that has a lower angle. Even with the Santana's super powers, running gazillions of kilometers without a single service for example, I do not think it's possible to go up the steep side he/she just went down.

GoKunming, please keep us posted on what happened with the driver afterwards

Hi Robert,

Thank you very much for this information and, wow, 10 ASA - this explains a lot. Imagine how bright Kunming must have been those days and how how much light cameras in those had days could use on consumer models (aperture wise).
But I guess that's why most people were photographing and not just taking pictures.


Yes thank you indeed.
One question though. Does the exhibition state what kind of camera/s and what kind of film was used? Some of those photos look like stills from a movie roll, but I could be wrong, though especially picture number 5 reminds me of a short strip of color film that was shown like 4-5 weeks ago on some Kunming channel.
Anyways, I would appreciate if someone knows what kind of film produces/ed this colors.

And also, look at the blue of the sky *sigh*


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