Jul 29, 2015

My son's toy collections

Jul 26, 2015

Sony A7

I knew I'll eventually get an A7 when it first launched, but I hate the design so much and decided to wait and see if Sony will somehow improve the design for the 2nd gen. It turned out the A7 ii is not much different from the original one. So I gave up and bought an used original A7. It works as I expected, like an universal digital back with annoying menu system. Complains aside, I am glad that I can use my orphaned M42 lenses again and using Leica M-mount lenses in super close focus distance. Here's my thoughts on A7:


  • Great price for a full frame camera
  • Ability of adapting all kinds of lenses
  • Great image sensor with right amount of pixels
  • Flexibility


  • Camera body design/styling
  • Complicated user interface
  • Terrible ergonomic


  • Yes

I don't have (and don't plan to get) any native FE lenses, since I already have a D600 which autofocuses faster and there are so many affordable high performance AF Nikkor lenses, especially the 1.8G series.

With Noctilux V4

With CZJ 75mm Biotar

Jul 24, 2015

Omas Milord Teal Limited Edition

Instead of getting a Nakaya Piccolo or Sailor King of Pen with Naginata Togi nib, I bought this Omas Milord for its look. And it turned out to be a big mistake! The nib is not quite attached to feeder, and the nib/feeder assembly is not perfectly aligned to the barrel, about 1ยบ off. It really doesn't look that off but it writes funkily because of the tilted nib. I really want to like this pen so I decided to exchange it for another one and hope for the best. I'll report back when I receive a replacement.

Now I look at my Paragon and the nib is tilted as well, just not as bad and as noticeable as this teal Milord.  If I hold the pen with nib pointing up, Milord's nib is leaning to the left and Paragon's nib is leaning to the right. Maybe I should have stayed with Japanese pens (even though I am not that thrilled about the design/styling)... sigh

Jul 18, 2015

My "Want" List

Here's a list of things I desire, but don't really need. I rated each item with "want" score from 1 to 5 in image captions. Things I have been wanting for years and things I'd buy really soon score high. Since I went fountain pen crazy this year, let's start with fountain pens:

Nakaya Piccolo in black - score: 5  (Original photo is from Here)

Montblanc 146 & 149 - score: 3 (photo from Here)

Pelikan M605 - score: 3 (photo from Here)
Aurora 88 - score: 4 (Photo from Here)

Omas Milord in teal, ordered one and it's on its way - score: 5 (photo from Here)

Caran D'Ache Ecridor Retro - score: 4 (photo from Here)

Parker Duofold . I want a modern black one with silver trim as usual but this original red one is really cool - score: 3  (photo from Here)

Pilot Custom 845 - score: 3 (photo from Here)

Kuretake Yumeginga Dream Galaxy brush pen - score: 3 (photo from Here)

Colt 1911-A1 - score: 4 (photo from Here)

Nikon Df - score: 3 (photo from Here)

Leica M Monochrom Type246, not interested in a fast 28mm at this moment though - score: 3 (photo from Here)

IWC MK12 - score: 3 (photo from Here)

AP Royal Oak 15202 - score: 3 (photo from Here)

Schmincke watercolor set - score: 3 (photo from Here)
Predator X10 - score: 2 (photo from Here)

That's all. I don't need any of these. I don't need any of these. I don't need any of these. I don't need any of these. I don't need any of these. I don't need any of these. Okay, that's enough :-)

Jul 11, 2015

Omas Paragon fountain pen

This Omas Paragon is big and heavy, however it fits my hand comfortably for some reason. The weight helps to dampen the vibration and it requires little pressure to write. Omas stopped producing their own nibs in the early 2000's and the German made Bock nibs on the new Omas are quite nice. It sounds great, glides across paper effortlessly the the wetness is about right (slightly on the wet side). I just hope Omas pays a little more attention to assemble it right. The nib on my Paragon is not perfectly centered (the feed is centered though), and I am waiting on my 3rd Milord as previous two have different QC issues...

I have been using Paragon exclusively for the past few weeks, and now I feel my Sailor Pro Gears and other similar pens are too small now... Maybe big pens fit me better (I am seeing Sailor KOP, MB 149 and Aurora 88 in my future).

As much as I love this Paragon, I won't buy another Omas pen again (unless I buy locally to cherry pick/test drive). The chance of getting a lemon Omas is simply too high.

The misaligned nib is kind of visible from this photo.

Sailor Susutake fountain pen

The pen body is made with 100+ year old coal smoked bamboo, and the "Naginata Togi" nib is shaped to mimic brush pen writing characteristics (perfect for writing Chinese characters). It's the smoothest nib I have. However, the bamboo body is just too big to write comfortably. Now the nib resides on regular Pro Gear body, and the antique bamboo housing goes back to box :-(

Dec 28, 2014

My All Time Favorites

Camera: Leica M9P
It's an easy pick for 3 simple reasons:
1, Design/aesthetics.
2, User interface.
3, Lens selections.

Watch: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15300
Although my watches are mostly IWC, but this one got everything right.

Knife: Benchmade McHenry & William 710-101
It's a coin toss between this and Chris Reeves Large Sebenza 21. I picked this at the end probably because it's a limited edition and the edition number is evil #66!

Lighter: not sure about the model, I guess it's a "Gatsby" by S.T. Dupont

Watercolor brush: Windsor & Newton Series 7

Watercolor: Schmincke
Very saturated and convenient to carry around.

Watercolor paper: Arches 300lbs cold press
I have been using this paper since late 80's, and it's still the best.

Mechanical pencil: Lamy 2000

Fountain pen: Omas Paragon
It's a very biased pick since Sailor's nibs are much smoother, Nakaya's barrels are much nicer, but I just love the design/aesthetic of Paragon. Its nib was misaligned and definately not the smoothest (but decent enough for doodles).

Fountain pen ink: Diamine "Ancient Copper"
I used to fill my pens with Noodler's ink exclusively, til one day I read Richard Binder wrote"...there are several problems that can be traced to the use of Private Reserve or Noodler’s inks. Among these problems are flow issues and clogging, mold, staining, and actual destruction of pens." Then I started to try other inks and found this gem.

Writing pad/notebook: Rhodia grid pad
I wish Moleskine's paper is more fountain pen friendly...

Lens: Leica Summilux 35 1.4 ASPH FLE

Film camera: Leica M7
Nikon F2 could be my favorite film camera if I have a good collection of manual focus Nikkor lenses.

Film: Kodak Tri-X

Coffee: La Colombe "Nizza"

Sneakers: New Balance 990