Daily Archives: May 27, 2005

Buying Digital Cameras in Thailand

Sex Education Class at School

I think it is probably obvious to most people that photography is one of my major hobbies. I love taking pictures. When I first came to Thailand I had a film camera. I was taken hundreds of pictures which were starting to cost me a small fortune. Then I discovered digital cameras and became hooked ever since. What I want to try and do on my blog today, is share with you some of my experiences of using digital cameras. I will also try and make it as relevant as I can for people on holiday in Thailand.

Up to this point my main digital camera was Fujifilm FinePix 4900Z. I have had this for four or so years now and it has served me well. It is bigger than normal digital cameras and is almost like a SLR. This has a 6x optical zoom which is like a 200 mm lens. I use this camera for all my major shooting events. Bascially whenever I needed a guaranteed good picture. My number two camera is a Sanyo Xacti camera. This is palm size but also has a 6x optical zoom. The quality is roughly the same though not so reliable. However, I mainly bought it for the excellent feature of being able to take DVD movies. It is also small and I can carry it around in my pocket whenever I go out for a walk.

My third digital camera is not used so much now. It is a Sony Cyber-shot camera. This is tiny and is what I call my snapshot camera. I carried it with me everywhere and could easily sneak pictures inside department stores and supermarkets. The quality is not as good as the Sanyo so I don’t use it much now. However, I often lend it out to my students so that they can take snapshots around the school.

Nursery School Student

When you buy cameras, you need to consider a number of points. First the size. If you only want snapshots then go for a smaller size. These days, some of the palm sized cameras are producing good results. Although my bigger camera produces better results but I more often take my smaller camera out on photo shoots. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. For the record, the photos of Phra Nattawud were taken with the Fujifilm and the food photos were mainly taken with the Sanyo. So, consider which size camera you will use more often. A bigger camera means a special bag. A small camera can fit in your pocket.

For me a zoom is very important. Most small cameras have a 3x. You sometimes see a larger number but don’t be fooled if it says digital zoom. These are not worth the money. Always make sure it is optical zoom. For me a 6x zoom is the minimum. This allows you to take candid photos of people without them realizing. I spend a lot of time framing my shots and thinking about angles. I am always using the zoom.

The next important aspect is the batteries. How long do they last for? How long does it take to charge? How much are spare batteries? These are all very important questions. I know someone who bought a camera once and they didn’t realize how expensive it was to buy a spare battery. My small Sony camera uses two AAA batteries and can be used all day to take several hundred pictures. Spare batteries are also cheap.

Next comes the memory card. Things have changed so much now. The prices and sizes between different brand names are quite big. Obviously the better the quality camera you have, the larger the memory card you will need. Certain types of memory cards are now more than 1 GB each and the prices are quite reasonable. Others are not so big and can be more expensive.

Secondary student during Morning Prayers

Although I love my digital cameras, I am very frustrated for a number of reasons. The first is that they are usually slow to start up. Then the ones with an optical lens takes time to focus. As a consequence, I sometimes missed photo opportunities. Or, I only managed to take one or two pictures during a live event and so didn’t have much to choose from. Also, the flash on digital cameras are quite often disappointing.

Then I noticed that both Canon and Nikon had brought out a semi-professional SLR Digital camera at reasonable prices. I did test drives of both cameras in the shops. I even took along my own memory cards so that I could check on the computer back at home. Although I liked the Nikon, I decided to go for the Canon EOS 350D in the end. This is mainly because my last proper SLR film camera was a Canon. I have some good lenses already that I haven’t used for a long time. It was a bonus for me that I could use these zoom lenses (75-300mm) with the new digital camera. The Canon was also 8 megapixels compared to 6 megapixels for the Nikon.

Lots of people ask me about buying digital cameras in Thailand. However, I always say that they should buy in their homecountry. Quite often the price is much the same (the listed price for the Canon in America was roughly the same here). People have this misconception that Thailand is cheap. That is not always true for imported electronic goods. When I bought my Fujifilm camera, I went to Singapore which was 10,000 baht cheaper! This saving paid for the airplane ticket and hotel! Another reason to buy in your homecountry is that have more time to test it out before you buy. And then after you buy you have a chance to perfect your camera skills!

I have been using the Canon SLR for the last few days at school. The pictures on this page were taken with this camera. I have been really pleased with the results so far. For a start, the camera turns on straight away. In less than one second you are taking pictures. Focus is also quick and accurate. When I was in the nursery class I was just going click, click, click all the time. It was just like a normal SLR camera. I didn’t miss any shots. In fact, because the film and developing is “free” I just took several hundred without worrying about it. I haven’t printed any of them yet, but the book says you can print larger than A3 which is really big.

If you really want to buy a digital camera in Thailand then I would suggest you visit Panthip Plaza or MBK. I bought my camera at the former though MBK has more accessories for cameras. When I go on long trips here, I always take the laptop with me so I can download my pictures. However, many internet cafes and camera shops offer services where you can download and then burn onto CDs. You can also buy small portable hard disks that you can download your photos onto. This is much lighter than carrying your laptop. If you want prints made here, they usually cost about 4 baht per picture.

Hook, line and sinker

Hello! Hook line and sinker is an American idiom meaning that person has been totally taken in and I my heart and mind has been so won by Thailand! I never believed that there could be a place that felt more “home” than beautiful Northren California. Oy, Was I in for a surprise!

I had been a practicing Zen Buddhist for a couple of years and Thailand slowly percolated as a good place to visit for a couple of reasons. I had been having an inter net correspondence for a few months with a woman there and it had a rich Buddhist tradition. I would have a chance to have a local contact there and I could experience a place that was based on a Buddhist culture as opposed to a Christen one. The funny thing is that I had an interview with the Abbot of the Zen center before I left and he looked at me and stated that this trip would change my life!

Well that trip was last year and this year I went back again in January for 5 weeks. The Zen master was right my life has changed! My love for Thailand is not so much fueled by my trips there as it is by the fact that as a result of my first trip I discover a Thai Wat right here in my home town and, through that, a Thai and Lao community which seamless adopted me right in. When I brought my daughter to the Wat it did not take long for her to absorbed right in and now I’m on the hook to take her to Thailand next time I go.

So this is my starter blog. I’m working on one about my last trip and hope to get it posted soon. These two pictures are from two different trips to Thailand. The one at the top is from Ayuthaya and is at the Pagoda for Queen Suryothai. This was exciting to find because my daughter and I had watched the movie about her life before my first trip. The second picture is from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chang Mai, praying for the tsunami victims.

153-my lucky number!

“Isn’t this too hot, mum!?,” asked Bow in a pool of sweat. I remember that day of couple years ago, it was in Summer time. I didn’t want to be in any motion at all..even winking my eye. I was afraid to lose my energy which was so little left and anymore drip of my sweat. Then mum told me to sit in the fridge. ~ ~” I certainly thought it was stupid but I 100% supported that idea, if I really could sit in it, I would definitely do! So I just sat in front of the door-opened refridgerator instead. lol!!!

It was so hot that I dindn’t want to shower by myself :p so I went out to hair-dressing shop and got somebody washed my hair for me. On my way there, I saw a lady selling some icy dessert. It was so inviting! I bought one and devoured it happily :p. When I got home, I told my mum about me eating that dessert..telling how yummy and freezy it was then “BANG!”. Mum scolded, “How could you buy it?! She’s got HIV, her husband just died coz of it and you know it with all your heart! Do you want to die this soon, too?!” – -”
I knew it .. of course. That girl used to scold me and neighbors, too. Well, she was a bit moody but it was the dessert I loved and it was so hot.. and I saw there was nothing wrong with it and surely, mum, HIV doesn’t transfer from a human to another that easy! But nothing I could do, I said “Sorry”.

Before long, she died. No one seemed to be sad because we knew how she loved to offend people but I didn’t think of that. Well, technically, she’s our planet earth’s friend! When our friend just die, do we keep gossiping about it!? Nope! Then that night, I dreamed of her ..telling me that everybody in the village bought 153 for the lottery and we all won. Next morning, I told my granny and she bought and we really won. Though, it wasn’t that much but we still won a little. I felt like that was the most amazing thing ever for me! I so thank her for that. I guess it happened because I bought her dessert.. I didn’t mind communicating with her ~ and I ate all she gave me! :p

Now that I find 153 has been involving with me a lot. Firstly, my address is at 44/35 ~ there’s 35 there! My mobile and mum moblie phones’ numbers consist of 153, too! Also, I met my bf via the internet and his email address is blackdragon_53!! My granny kept buying 153 a few more times and we won it almost everytime we bought that number!..

Believe it or not? Just a dessert in a boiling day can bring you to neverendingly good lucks. 🙂 Let’s start doing good things and care about other feelings now then.. you may win a plane ticket to come to Thailand! lol!!!


What should I bring to Thailand?

I just got my tickets! Thailand here I come!!! No sooner did I get off the phone with the travel agency, did my aunt call to say… “is there room in your suit case for “kong fauge” (things to send to folks back home). ARGHHH!!! Why is it that every time we travel somewhere we are obligated to take things for or to other people? Ok, fine, I know we have to bring a little something now and then, but in my family we tend to fill up our precious 2 bags with such things as “Made in America” flashlights and Taster’s Choice coffee. One year I had to explain to a LAX bag inspector why I had 30 pounds of frozen USDA sirloin beef steaks…”I’m sorry officer, but Thailand has a beef shortage right now because of the Mad Cow disease, don’t you know?” I gave in to my relatives’ request and carried these precious “Thailand doesn’t have them” things and later found them all at the local Big C around the corner from our house. I’m having such a hard time finding things that are “exclusively Made in USA”, everything I pick up is Made in China, Taiwan, India, Thailand, etc…

I’m just curious to see what are some of the items that my fellow bloggers bring to Thailand for their loved ones?