As a parent who wants to capture every moment with my little one, it is no surprise that I take a lot of photos. In fact, I have my camera in my bag every single time I am out with my family. I never felt the need to print out the photos because I have always thought I can look at them in my phone or camera if I want to. I bet this is the same for many of us. What I did not expect then, was that displaying the photos on our wall or shelves would actually mean something to my son. He talks about our photos from time to time. He talks about photos of his dad and me, asking why he is not in those photos. He likes looking at our family pictures taken at the zoo, at Universal Studios and while we were on a holiday. He remembers some details of the occasions we have celebrated when he sees these photos. While memories may fade, many of his are being deeply rooted thanks to the photographs I have printed. This is why I print at least two photo books a year.
This Christmas, I received a very thoughtful gift from Canon. I am extremely happy because I can now print my photos on the go. Behold, the Canon Mini Photo Printer has arrived!
When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the other items that were in the box too.
Along with the photo printer was – a tokidoki tote bag, a tokidoki case for my printer, a traveller’s notebook and…
A tokidoki charm, lanyard and stickers. The colour combination of this gift is just so sweet and pretty like Donutella! Even the case matches the colour of my printer (rose gold). So much thought was put into this gift and I am so grateful.
Fun with the Canon Mini Photo Printer
When they say mini, they mean mini. The size of this printer can fit in the back of my pocket. It is compact and very, very light.
All I have to do is download the Canon Mini Print App available on both Google Play and App Store to get started. As if fun size isn’t enough, I can get creative by adding fun frames, emojis and even texts using the app to personalise my photos. Finally, with just a tap on the print icon… Voilà!
The photos above are printed on the Canon ZINK photo paper. It has peel-and-stick back which makes it really convenient to just print and paste your print outs in your travelling journal if you are documenting your holiday. It is also smudge-free and tear resistant (good if you have kids with itchy fingers). As for me, I foresee myself pasting photos on the back of my phone and on my macbook.
The Premium Deal
If you are thinking of getting a fun and thoughtful gift for someone, the Canon Mini Photo Printer is definitely worth considering. It is priced reasonably at SGD 189 and is available in 3 colours – Rose Gold, Mint Green and Slate Grey. To sweeten the deal, from 14 November to 31 December 2018, Canon will throw in limited edition Tokidoki premiums (in my photo above) worth SGD 98 with every printer purchased. Find out more here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have got to go back to my fun prints.
Got my hands on the Canon EOS M5 recently and I must say this has got to be one of the best EOS cameras I’ve tried so far. I own a point and shoot camera which I like a lot because of its convenience. That being said, I also had a lot of fun with the EOS M5 as I can play around with the settings of my photos. Here are some of its features that I like.
The Way it Looks
Grip : The rubberised hand grip is something which I truly appreciate. It improves the stability when taking photos and its deep contour provides a firmer grip of the camera. In fact, the grip is secure enough for me to hold the camera stably with one hand.
Dials and Buttons : The EOS M5 has 4 dials – Main Dial, Dial Function Button, Exposure Compensation Dial, Quick Control Dials (top and rear). With the number of dials and buttons, it is no surprise the number of functions this camera has. I’ll be totally honest, I have customised my preferred settings such that I mainly toggle between the A+ (scene intelligent auto) mode and the C1 (custom) mode. You can either programme the dial functions to be of different functions or limit it to a specific set of functions you prefer. Just like how I set my preferred shooting mode to the C1 / C2 functions on the mode dial. I only use the top quick control dial to adjust the ISO setting (rarely though).
LCD screen: The M5 has a 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD with 1620K dots of resolution. My favourite part of it is the flexibility of viewing the image because it can tilt 85° up and 180° down.
Electronic View Finder: The electronic viewfinder comes in handy when it is hard to see the image you are about to capture on the LCD display. This is especially so when taking photos with bright backgrounds, for me usually the sunlight when I am outdoors. This is a function I hardly use because my master eye is the eft eye. With M5’s compact body, I find my face pressing against my right hand while I snap away. So you can imagine how ridiculous I look.
24MP Dual Pixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
ISO 100 – 25600
2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder
1.62M-dot tilting rear touchscreen
Electronic video stabilization
9 fps continuous shooting
Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
As most of the functions of M5 are somewhat similar to that of the M6’s which I have reviewed before here, I shall share what I really like about the M5.
I like how clear my photos look even without any customized settings. I started out using the Scene Intelligent Auto mode. By pressing the button halfway down, it allows the camera to achieve its focus and you will see a frame around the objects detected.
After configuring it to my preferred settings, I absolutely love the way my photos turned out. The EOS M5 is capable of producing sharp and low noise images. Here, I tested out my portrait shots.
** point to note : One thing to point out is, the quality of the images in this post are not as clear as the original ones that I have so I am sure it is due to the file compression by wordpress.
With a maximum iso of 25600, pictures taken under low-light scenes also turned out pretty decent.
Equipped with the mighty DIGIC 7 Image Processor, the M5 is able to keep its focus locked onto a subject and continuously shoot up to 7 frames per second. This is definitely a plus point to me since I capture mostly my kid who is always on the move. This way, I will surely get a shot that I want. I actually have a love hate relationship with this function because it stays ‘busy’ for quite some time after continuously shooting. Apart from that, I have no other complaints. See how clear the images are despite his movements?
With the built in wifi & bluetooth technology, we can also shoot remotely without having to touch the camera. All I need is the Canon camera connect application and I can start snapping away from my mobile phone. Instead of setting the timer and rushing to fit into the frame, I can now set the camera on the table or tripod the click away from where I am. Put this to good use the other day when I was trying to video the boys at home and take photos at the same time.
The other part to the Canon camera connect app is where I transfer my photos into my phones. All I need to do is have the wifi set up and the transfer will be completed in seconds. It is very easy to use.
There are many more functions which I am still exploring and slowly getting the use of, if you use the Manual (M) mode, you will find the different settings for picture styles :
Standard – general photography
Portrait – ideal for close ups of people, smoothes the skin tone and hair.
Landscape – ideal for landscape shots like blue skies and green foliages.
Fine detail – For fairly vivid images with sharp edges and detailed textures
Creative filters – Monochrome, sepia etc.
You can also adjust the metering depending on what you are shooting. Evaluative Metering where the settings are ideal for most scenes and useful for backlit subjects, Partial Metering for bright backgrounds such as backlit subjects, Spot Metering for specific small subject area.
I had quite a good time using this camera so far and will continue to explore functions that I have yet to use. In my opinion, the greatest strengths of the EOS M5 are its overall design, the LCD touchscreen and strong autofocus performance. This camera is relatively easy to use, which is important for me since I am more of a point and shoot person. The image sensor works very well too, which allows versatility and flexibility in different shooting scenes. The EOS M5 is definitely a camera I would recommend if anyone is thinking of getting a Canon mirrorless camera.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are solely my own
Being the only child, Isaac is spoilt with choices when it comes to toys. Walking into his toy room is like walking into a minefield of toys. Apart from the kitchen, we will find some of his toys lying around. Right now as I sit in my living room writing this post, I can actually see the following items:
Captain America’s Shield
Halloween pumpkin container
Fisher Price shape sorter toy
Duplo Lightning McQueen
Just the other day, we tried organising his room and this was how it turned out after we put the smaller items into the buckets / baskets.
A wall of toys
It seriously crossed my mind to declutter by giving away toys that he hardly plays anymore but I think the more important thing to do is to stop buying impulsively. But how else can we try new toys without having to deal with the clutter at home if isaac doesn’t like it as much as we thought he would? It was only recently that I came to know about playFULL.
So what is playFULL all about? With the belief of learning through fun, playFULL works as a subscription service for high quality educational toys. They carry a collection of educational toys that build a wide range of developmental skills. What I really like about playFULL :
It is extremely convenient since all I have to do is go on to their website, pick the toys I would like Isaac to try and it will be delivered (say yay to free delivery both ways!) to my doorstep in a few days. When am done with the toys, simply let playFULL know when to pick it up. It is as simple as that!
Apart from the hassle free service, I would like to share about the toys that we received in our playFULL box because we truly had an enjoyable time with these toys.
This was Isaac’s face when he realised he had his very own happy mail for the first time! It is evident that he could not wait to see what awaited him in there.
While taking each item out, Isaac would say “happy birthday!” or “I’m happy!” which I could obviously tell even if he didn’t mention it. So what’s in the box?
The surprise toy found in the file is for keeps. Oh wait, I cannot believe I forgot to mention another reason why I like playFULL – each toy actually goes through a 4-step cleaning and sanitisation process because they know just how important our child’s health is to us. See how they are delivered in air tight packaging?
The toys I selected came with an information sheet each which provides parents with playtime learning ideas that may help to develop important developmental skills.
It’s all about the toys toys toys!
Toy 1/3 – Magformers hi-tech walking robot set
This was the first toy that Isaac eyed the moment we took it out from the box. With such colourful parts, it is kinda hard to resist them. I told Isaac that we had to “dress” the robot up in different styles and the robot would start moving once we turn it on. I usually let him do whatever he wants at the first attempt because I like to see how he figures out what to do. When he is done with exploring the new toy, he invited me to play with him.
We started off by having me tell him what colour I wanted to be on the robot’s head but he gets to decide what shapes to use. Then, I told him what colour and shape I would like to have on the different parts of the robot.
Securing the pieces on the body of the robot is relatively simple because the pieces are all magnetised. It was a fun activity with Isaac because besides his basic knowledge of shapes like squares, triangles, rectangles, he learnt some new shapes like semi-circle and the trapezium. It also encouraged him to listen to instructions in order to piece the “clothings” together. When we finally turned on the walking robot, the boy was all smiles!
Toy 2/3 – See Inside Counting Tubes
This toy totally encouraged Isaac to count! We emptied the tubes and balls into separate boxes first just so the balls don’t go missing. It was also easier to see the colours of the balls this way.
As Isaac is not able to identify the numbers yet (except the numbers 1 & 3, which are his favourites) I decided to tell him to sort out the tubes in order according to their heights.
Then I let him fill up the tubes with the little balls and told him to count as he put them in. He’d count – “1,2,3” but when I ask him how many balls he put in there, he’d tell me a random number with pride *facepalm*. At the end of the activity, I realised that he had organised the balls of the same colours in each tube except for the last tube (tube5) that accommodated the remaining balls.
This activity kept him occupied for almost an hour as he kept emptying the tubes and filling them up again counting along each time.
Toy 3/3 – Squigz
These little pieces of rubber with suction allows Isaac to explore his creativity and imagination. He put the pieces together on the table top and told me what he was making – gun, door, ice cream were some of his creations even though I really could not tell what they were if he didn’t say so.
Funny that it did not cross my mind to let him play this elsewhere apart from his table. This curious little one decided to plant one of these pieces on the refrigerator. He was pretty impressed when it could also be played there. He exclaimed excitedly – “Look mummy! I can stick it here!”
After putting all the pieces, he told me he had built a house. Errm, a snake’s house to be precise. Ok baby, it is whatever you say it is. 😀
We will be returning these toys soon and my only concern would be Isaac asking me for them cos he’d ask me for the robot and counting tubes from time to time. I guess this goes to show how much he really enjoyed these toys.
Thank you playFULL for bringing us such wonderful toys!
If you would like to get your hands on these or more selections of award winning toys from playFULL, quote ‘isaacapproves’ for a 10% discount. Promo code is valid till 31st Dec 2017. Check out their toys and subscription details here. Happy browsing!
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are solely my own
Before becoming a parent, I always felt that taking photos with the mobile phone was sufficient. I had a camera, but it was under utilised because I felt that it was a hassle to bring it out. Then I had a change of mind because I had a kid and realised how much I wanted to capture our moments with him whenever I can. I guess this is also because I had so little photos of myself when I was a kid, so I take as many photos as I possibly can so Isaac will have them to look back at. After starting to take photos with the camera, I hardly shoot with my mobile phone simply because the quality of the image versus that of a camera’s is just too vast.
Recently, I managed to get my hands on the Canon’s EOS M6 and have been shooting with it instead of my Canon G7x. I would like to highlight that I am not a professional photographer and have never tried other cameras of similar range. Hence, all opinions below are based on my experience with the camera.
The Canon EOS M6 is a 24.2 megapixel mirrorless digital camera. It has a touch screen interface and has a deep grip which allows a firm and comfortable hold. As an amateur to cameras, these are probably the main things I’d consider before deciding on a camera.
What I like about the EOS M6:
This 24.2-megapixel camera produces good quality images in both JPEG and RAW format. There is minimal noise and vibrant colours, even the photos taken at its default settings look good.
The touchscreen of this camera flips up to 180° and is viewed above the camera. This is ideal for people who like taking selfies. I personally think it is an important function because I use it to get my toddler to look at the camera like it is a mirror. For some unknown reason, I realised that most kids I know of seem to like looking into the mirrors. In addition, with the touch focus and touch shutter functions, the screen becomes an essential part of operating the camera. What I like most about the touchscreen, is its sensitivity. Whenever I want to change the shooting preference based on specific scenes, I will change it by selecting via the screen because it is more convenient than using the control dial. With just a tap on the screen, I can move the autofocus area. I use the autofocus function a lot because it really helps in obtaining sharper photos. The one change I made to the LCD display is its brightness. At its default brightness, the display is hardly visible when I am outdoors (which is most of the time) when it is bright. What I did was adjust the brightness to the maximum and we are good to go.
The Wi-Fi function allows me to pair with my iPhone easily. All I need to do, is download Canon’s Camera Connect app and all photos/videos can be transferred to my phone instantly without the use of any computers. It is that simple and convenient. One other thing I absolutely love about this camera, is that it allows me to shoot remotely by controlling it with my phone. This is especially important for me because I have limited number of photos with my kid. Why so? The reason is because I am usually the one taking the photos. So kudos to whoever invented this remote shooting function because now i can take photos of my son and myself together all at a tap on my phone screen.
The Canon EOS M6 has a number of shooting modes which is great if you are one who likes playing around with the settings when taking photos in different scenes. One of the most straightforward methods is to shoot with camera-determined settings. The camera automatically selects the optimal settings for specific scenes. All you have to do, is point and shoot. Easy peasy.
If you are like me, someone who has a certain preference with the way my photos look, you will most likely use Creative Assist with this camera. This function will allow you to shoot using your favourite settings. You can adjust defocusing, image brightness, contrast, saturation and colour tone of your photos and then save the settings for all future shots when you use the Creative Assist function.
You can also choose a mode matching the shooting scene if you turn the mode dial to [SCN]. When this is selected, you can choose from shooting portraits, landscapes, close-up, moving objects (great for children photography!), evening scenes and even food. The camera will automatically configure the settings for optimal shots. The photo below is Isaac on the moving carousel. It was taken with the use of the ‘moving object’ function which will shoot continuously as the camera keeps the subject in focus.
Lastly, you can also take your photos with creative filters pre-set in the camera. Of cause, they can be interactively adjusted to suit your liking. These are some of the effects which I like.
What I like do not like about the EOS M6:
I personally feel that this camera is not one you would use if you are going to do any shooting under dim lighting conditions (like most indoor playgrounds) even though there is a feature that should enable you to do so. That being said, it is subjective as we all have different expectations. There is also a possibility that I just did not set the camera right. Here’s how one of my night shots look like:
The other thing which I think would be good to have, is if the camera would just allow me to take photos silently. I tried to search and disable the shutter noise in the settings but to no avail. Sometimes I try to take candid photos of my kid so he continues what he is doing without knowing his photo is being taken. The moment he knows I am snapping away, he stops whatever he is doing. When I started using this camera, I totally forgot about the shutter noise one morning, and decided to take photos of the half-awake boy. “Click Click” went the camera and his eyes instantly widened. He gave me this ‘what are you trying to do’ look:
On the overall, I must say it actually took me some time to adapt to this camera because I am so used to shooting in Auto mode when I use my Canon G7X. But once I got the hang of it, I started to really like it. This camera is probably most suitable for those who like exploring all the different camera controls and manually setting their own style at different shooting scenes. With the image quality and colour rendition I strongly feel that the Canon EOS M6 has delivered where it really matters.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are solely my own