Trying out My Dream Travel Cameras! At the #VlogWithSony PH Launch

Checking out my dream travel cameras at the #VlogWithSony event and the official Philippine launch of the Sony RX 0 II! And even got to see the #1 lightweight lens on my wishlist!

Ever since Sony announced the RX 0 II, it's been constantly at the top of my wishlist. At time of posting (mid-2019), there's nothing on the market that matches its unprecedented combination of a larger 1" sensor, flip out screen, action-camera like 4-way "proofing" (waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and crushproof), internal 4K, mic input jack, and advanced features like a built-in intervalometer, all in an extremely small and light body that's truly pocketable. I need to really get hands-on with it to give a balanced, detailed review, and to see if the reportedly short battery life (just over 30mins) is really a problem.

Aside from that, I was also able to check out another camera high on my wishlist, the Sony A6400. Its headline features are its flip out screen and advanced Real-Time Tracking autofocus, which are geared squarely towards vloggers, but it also has improved overheating performance and eliminates the 30min recording limit that previous iterations had.

Finally, I was also very happy to have finally gotten my hands on the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM, which is at the very top of my lens wishlist. This shockingly small and light lens (compared to other 24mm f/1.4s on the market) may be the best wide (not ultrawide) astro landscape lens currently available--at a price to match.

All in all, it was very interesting to see how Sony's new push into the the vlogging and content creator market, with lightweight cameras that offer features and accessories (like the Sony grip that offers electronic zoom and shutter control) specifically thought out to aid selfie-style shooting. As a filmmaker who's recently gotten into vlogging, I think the combination of their heritage of advanced pro and prosumer camera features along with features designed to appeal to vloggers is nearly perfect for me, at the very least, as an owner of two Sony Alpha cameras already.

Gear used:

  • Sony A7RII (crop mode)

  • Sony 18-105 f4

  • Rode Videomic

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₱2,300 ($44) Canvas Camera Bag from Lazada! Is it a good buy?

A vintage-style canvas camera shoulder bag for only ₱2,300 ($44)?! Is it any good?

Giving my impressions on the "Canvas Cow Leather DSLR Vintage Camera Shoulder Messenger Bag with Waterproof Shockproof Insert" from Lazada!

Lazada link [affiliate]:

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aaron [at]

Shooting Beautiful Landscapes on my iPhone X

This week I’ve made two YouTube videos on my experience with the iPhone X as a photography tool!

The first video talks about how, ever since I upgraded from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone X, I’ve been leaving my Sony A7RII at home more, for reasons including improved image processing, the telephoto lens, 4K video at 24p and 60p, portrait mode, and RAW shooting and editing. If you’re into the more technical side of things and been wondering if you should upgrade from a previous generation iPhone, this is the episode for you!

The second video talks about how my most popular landscape photo on social media this year was shot on an iPhone X and what that unexpected occurrence taught me. In this video I address the issue of the gap that exists between how we regard our work and how the audience receives it by digging into the question: If an iPhone photo that took me seconds to capture and edit is more popular than photos that took so much more effort to shoot and process, does that mean that the effort I put into the latter actually doesn’t matter?

Hope you enjoy and learn something from this week’s twin episodes! The truth is that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed shooting with the iPhone X as compared to my iPhone 6 and have gotten surprisingly good results from it. Check out my current gallery of iPhone X photos below (click on each image to see larger):

A morning in Sagada. iPhone X JPG, telephoto lens.

Elevated view of Bontoc. iPhone X JPG, telephoto lens, unedited.

Flying into Siargao. iPhone X RAW DNG shot and edited Lightroom CC mobile.

iPhone X RAW DNG shot and edited Lightroom CC mobile.

Spectacular morning landing in Rome. iPhone X RAW DNG shot and edited Lightroom CC mobile.

Tappiya Falls, Batad. iPhone X live photo converted to long exposure.

Dead tree on Sabang Beach, Baler. iPhone X live photo converted to long exposure.

A Smartphone Tripod Adapter That Doesn't Suck: MeFoto Sidekick 360 Review

Today I'm doing a quick review on the MeFoto Sidekick 360, which I just stumbled on in Samy's Camera in San Francisco. Doing a lot of smartphone photography content lately, using a cheap smartphone adapter has just been a pain: they're impossible to level on a Gorillapod, not usable in portrait orientation, and are just poorly built.

The Sidekick 360 makes setup and leveling a breeze and its Arca Swiss compatible base means you don't even need a tripod plate to use it - no fiddling with screws! Watch the video above for more info.

The MeFoto Sidekick 360 retails for $30 and the larger Sidekick 360 Plus retails for $35. For buyers from the Philippines, find it on Lazada here (affiliate link).

Video Review: 4K Video and Time-lapse on the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe

Quickly put this post together before leaving for San Diego for Adobe Max! In this video I share unedited sample 4K video and time-lapse footage from the Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, which I had the chance to try in Batanes last week courtesy of Asus Philippines. I also share my general thoughts and impressions on the quality of the footage and overall usability of the camera on the phone.

For more on the Zenfone 3's camera, check out my post on shooting the Milky Way with the Zenfone 3 Deluxe!

Shooting the Milky Way With a Mobile Phone: Testing Long Exposures on the Asus Zenfone 3

Shooting the Milky Way With a Mobile Phone: Testing Long Exposures on the Asus Zenfone 3

Just back from Batanes as part of a large group of bloggers and other media people who were there to try out the photography features of the Asus Zenfone 3 line of mobile phones, courtesy of Asus Philippines. I was there mainly as a resource person on shooting the Milky Way, and I was intrigued about the possibility of pulling off Milky Way shots using a mobile phone. How did it turn out? Find out by watching the video above and seeing the final images below!

One of the headline features of the Asus Zenfone 3's camera is its built-in manual mode that allows you to go all the way to ISO 3200 and do long exposures of up to 32 seconds. (For comparison, using the $3.99 645 Pro app on my iPhone 6, I get up to ISO 2000 and a 1/2 second exposure at most, on f2.2.) Combined with its large aperture f/2.0 Largan lens, this would theoretically add up to the standard exposure settings for a wide angle Milky Way shot. For this post, I'm focusing exclusively on shooting the night sky and the Milky Way, saving my overall thoughts on the photography and video features of the Zenfone 3 for a post in the coming week.

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My Minimalist Camera Setup for Trekking (Feb. 2016 Edition)

Finally back to blogging! Today, I’m sharing a quick rundown of my minimalist night/landscape photography setup that I use for demanding hikes on Philippine mountains. When you’re hiking all day long, even the tiniest bit of extra weight can bring misery, not to mention the fact that how you carry the weight makes all the difference.

Here’s a more or less complete picture of all the camera gear I currently bring when hiking:

MeFoto RoadTrip Tripod
Hoya 77mm Variable ND Filter
B+W 77mm Circular Polarizer
Varavon Battery Pack for A7 series
Black Diamond Spot 130 lumens headlamp
Lens cloth
Sony A7RII
Samyang (Rokinon) EF 24mm f/1.4
Commlite Canon EF to Sony E adapter
Generic Sony IR remote
25 centavo coin for screwing in tripod plates
GoPro charger cable
GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition
Joby Gorillapod Video
Spare battery for GoPro
Sony and Wasabi Power NP-FW50 batteries for A7R II
Wasabi Power A7R II charger

Not in picture: Lowepro Inverse 100 AW Camera Beltpack -Black

This is still missing some stuff that I’m saving up for (e.g., Professional ND and graduated ND filters with corresponding filter holder, a Sony 16-35 f/4 lens, etc.), but this has gotten the job done for me pretty well.

That’s it for today, will be posting more information and tutorials from here on in! Have a great weekend and happy travels.

Gear Post: Carrier Pro ZIG Bag x Organizer for GoPro Cameras

Simple "unboxing" video I made to show everyone my first look at the Carrier Pro ZIG, a unique and well-designed bag/organizer for your GoPros and all their accessories. I really appreciate all the thought that went into the design of this product because traveling with cameras and all their accessories, even one as small as a GoPro, can be a pain and small stuff gets misplaced easily.

Created by Gian Rosales, it is a proudly Philippine-made, crowdfunded product. I'm only too happy to support a world-class product from a homegrown entrepreneur.

Order your own Zig here!