Test Run The Sigma SD15

Sigma SD15 with 50mm f2.8 EX DG Macro

Sigma SD15 with 50mm f2.8 EX DG Macro Lens

I bought this camera with the intention to use it as a studio camera for portrait photography.  Since I am more of an old school photographer, I feel at ease with the Sigma SD15 though there are some noises in the net about it lacking some features found on other cameras.  What matter to me is the result.  I want to see if I can get to see again the sharpness like I used to when looking at the prints of the brides decades ago working part-time as a freelance wedding photographer.  So far I am still not satisfied with the results from my present gears.  Maybe it’s not the camera but the nut that holds the camera, but then it will still be the same nut that holds the Sigma SD15.

My original intention of matching the SD15 with Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM was scrapped in favour of the Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX DG Macro because of the macro capability, cheaper and at f2.8 it is still not bad if the eyes aren’t failing.  The camera bought online because I could not get it locally.  It came with an 18-50mm f2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM kit lens.  This lens will be handy when I need to shoot wide but for now I am more concerned with the 50mm prime lens.  Since portrait shootings are mostly on the tall side, at least in my case, I had also bought the power grip PG-21.

While contemplating who shall be the test subject and waiting for the opportunity to come, I took some still shots of a pineapple.  Then about two weeks ago, I had visitors and it was just perfect.  I must say that I am quite happy with the results straight from the memory card.  Here are the still photograph of a pineapple and the portraiture of one of the visitors after some editing in Gimp and Faststone.

Pineapple still

Pineapple still

My nephew

Portrait of a young lad

Update 16 Sep 2013

Well, I have cleaned the individual lenses in the Takumar 135mm f2.8 and took the liberty to cut the protruding aperture lever on the flange that prevented the lens to mount on the Sigma SD15 and took some shots with it.  Here’s one of them;

Speed 1000 f2.8 IS0 100. Shot RAW exported to TIFF from Sigma Photo Pro 5. Balanced, Colour Saturation value 3, Local Contrast Enhance and Smart Redux Sharpen in GIMP

Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri 1434

Dengan menjelangnya 1 Syawal 1434 dan setelah berpuasa sepanjang Ramadhan, saya ucapkan kepada sekalian muslimin dan muslimat, “Selamat Hari Raya ‘Idil Fitri, Semoga Kembali Fitrah.”  Diharapkan juga agar diteruskan amalan berlapar-lapar dengan makan apa yang perlu sahaja tidak selalu dalam keadaan kekenyang-kenyangan.  Ada satu hadits yang lebih kurang bunyinya begini, “Kami dari gulungan yang tidak makan melainkan kami lapar.  Dan apabila kami makan tidak sampai kenyang.”  Muga-muga kita termasuk dalam gulungan itu. Amin.

Building a Gray Hoverman GH10n3 Antenna For UHF & VHF Band III TV Reception

SDIM0136

I left the standard single bay GH6 Gray Hoverman antenna at the rented house when I moved out to my new place.  Only recently that I had the time to construct an antenna again.  I had chosen the GH10n3 version of the Gray Hoverman.  The reasons were better gain and its dual band nature, UHF and VHF band III.  It is slightly more complex than the GH6 but still it can be approached simply and without any sophisticated tools.  The antenna is now up and running good except for a bit of double image.  This I assume caused by 3 segments of different RF cables being used though all are of 75 Ohm type.  One provided by the builder running from the living room to the roof.  Another, a short run that I did when constructing the antenna and because the cable by the builder is not long enough I had to add another segment.  So there are 3 cable segments and two joints from the antenna to the wall socket.  Apparently there are mismatches.  This I shall rectify after the Eid Festival.

That said, here are the pictures of the steps that I did in constructing the antenna.  Note that after the completion of the antenna, I decided to move the mounting from the rear stem to the main stem for the obvious reason, balance and stability.

A reference line drawn on the main stem

A reference line drawn on the main stem. The method for drawing I got it from the net

All the positions of the elements noted on the main stem and coded. Second line from top was a mistake

All the positions of the elements noted on the main stem and colour coded. Second line from top was a mistake

A tip I got from the net. The circumference of the tube measured with a strip of paper and then divided into four to get the quadrant marking

Another tip from the net, circumference of the tube measured with a strip of paper and then divided into four to get the quadrant markings

Holes drilled for the mounting of the driven elements and rear reflectors

Holes drilled for the mounting of the driven elements and rear reflectors

Obviously aligment needed here

Obviously alignment needed here

Tees for mounting the driven elements were extended

Tees for mounting the driven elements extended

A length of tube cut into strips

A length of tube cut into strips for attaching the reflectors by rivets

Reflectors and mount for the driven elements done

Reflectors and mounts for the driven elements done

Main stem insert with holder for driven elements and rear reflectors

Main stem inserted with mounts for driven elements and rear reflectors

During aligning process, holes were made bigger and even though bonded three or four pegs from satay bamboo skewers were driven to make the joint very firm

During aligning process, holes were made bigger and even though bonded with PVC solvent, three or four pegs from satay bamboo skewers were driven to make the joint firm

Job on the main stem done

The main stem done

Tees were used to hold the rear reflectors. Centering and holding the elements done with the use of rubber washers for water tap

Tees were used to hold the rear reflectors. Centering and holding the reflector element done with rubber washers for tap. Centre line marked on the reflector element and the hole on the T to see it

All the reflectors in place

All the reflectors in place.  PVC wiring conduit cover placed on the two sides

Driven element bended and strips of brass soldered with a portable torch

Driven element bended and strips of brass soldered with a portable torch

Holes drilled on the conduit covers on both sides and slots cut to slide in the narod. A piece of the other part of the wiring conduit cut and lock on with the cover to strengthen it

Holes were drilled on the conduit covers and slots cut to slide in the narod. A piece of the other part of the wiring conduit cut and lock on with the cover to strengthen it.  Two long and four short length of PVC wiring conduits hold the tips of the driven elements and narods in place

Grooves were made with a half round file before attaching the strips that hold the reflectors and screwed. Bonding solvent were then applied. The screws were removed after the strips had bonded with the stem except for the ones that attached to the stem of the driven elements holders

Grooves were made with a half round file before attaching the strips that hold the reflectors and screwed in place. Bonding solvent were then applied. The screws were removed after the strips had bonded with the stem except for two that attached to the stem of the driven elements holders

For anybody interested in constructing one, here are my sketches derived from the interactive 3D models on nikiml’s Antenna page.

Reflectors

Reflectors

Driven elements and Narods

Driven elements and Narods

Update 14 March 2014

Here is a map from Google Map.  My location is somewhere near the pointer.  Local transmissions are located at Gunung Pulai (Mt Pulai) which is nearby but the line of sight for the transmissions from Singapore (on the larger green area near Choa Chu Kang) and Pulau Batam, Indonesia (on the very western side of the island) is slightly blocked by the mountain.

location

Map by Google

Update 21 February 2016

I have made another antenna after this one and made used of Ts and I drilled through the Ts so that it just slotted through the main stem and held them in their places with the PVC cement.  Just recently I made another two using the method here and improved the method for aligning the mounts for the driven elements and Narod reflectors (the last three reflectors at the rear).  I drilled a few holes and inserted screws to hold them in place, then I applied fast setting resin adhesive at the joints.  Since resin is a very strong bonding material, it is very rigid and strong.

T

This one made using Ts

RFpanel

A 300-75 Ohms transformer inside the pipe connected to the RF panel connector seen here. Holes where screws were inserted to hold the radiator mount can be seen at the bottom of the joint

accomodate

The centre line of two reflectors are touching the pipe of two mounts so part of the holder for the reflector cut-off to accommodate and the corresponding pipe’s end filed. One of the lines seen at the bottom is a mistake, the other is the reference line for the reflector’s plane

Home Improvement: Renovating The Kitchen

The kitchen for now, the cabinets was done by a professional but the design was my idea. Eventually the back of the gas hob will be covered with stainless steel so too the sides of the cooker hood

I have been busy for the last three months doing some home improvement and lately a Gray-Hoverman antenna, a GH10n3 version for the UHF and VHF band III.

The house is not big.  The living area, the dining area and the kitchen are all in one space on the ground floor.  I decided to erect a wall with an almost square window to separate the living and dining area from the kitchen.  It is practically done now except for some minor finishing touches and adjustments.  I had engaged a home builder to erect the separating wall and the kitchen table but the tiling works were all done by me.  To get some experience in wall erection, the top one-third of the wall was completed by me.  That experience gave me the know-how and confidence to erect a wall on my own in future.  I also had my first hands-on experience in arc welding, I built a small window grill for the kitchen window.

The wall that separate the kitchen from the living and dining area

The wall that separates the kitchen from the living and dining area. The tall cabinet is storage specially for poles, broom and dustpan. That rectangular piece of slab is a collapsible side table

The window grill, my first arc welding job

The window grill, my first arc welding job

Incidentally, during the early part of the project, I had received the Sigma SD15 that I had ordered.  Unable to test it, I put it aside.  Now that the kitchen works were over, I took the opportunity to test it.  The pictures here were all taken with the Sigma SD15 and the kit lens 18-50mm f2.4-4.5 DC OS.