Lenovo Yoga C930 - A Photographer's Experience Review

I received the loaner Lenovo Yoga C930 from Lenovo Malaysia one day before my flight out to South Africa, and I have used the laptop for the entire duration of my travel. I have watched Tv shows and movies on it during my 11 hours flight from Singapore to Johannesburg, I have downloaded and backed up my photographs taken at Madikwe Game Reserve daily and also post-processed my images using Capture One Pro and Olympus Viewer 3 software. Furthermore, I have written 4 blog articles on the Lenovo C930 including my two main articles published on Ming Thein's site. In this particular blog review, I shall share my experience using the Lenovo Yoga C930 during my travel and how it performed for a photographer.

This blog review is a continuation from my first impression update of the Lenovo Yoga C930 which I have posted here. Please do read that entry before continuing if you have not done so. I shall not repeat the feature highlights of the laptop and my initial thoughts on it.

IMPORTANT NOTES: The Lenovo Yoga C930 was on loan from Lenovo Malaysia, and will be returned after the use for review. I am not associated to Lenovo Malaysia and this blog article and my subsequent review articles pertaining to Lenovo products are done independently. I am not a tech or gadget writer, hence I will not be doing the usual laptop reviews found elsewhere online. I used the laptop as a practicing photographer - for image post-processing and also blog article writing. 


The Lenovo Yoga C930 was so slim that it can be easily fitted into any bag without taking much precious space, allowing me to pack more items 

I appreciate the compact form factor, yet premium and robust all aluminum uni-body construction. 

The iron gray variant of my loaned unit matched all my gadgets and items perfectly. 

LIGHT WEIGHT & SLIM FORM

The biggest concern for carrying a laptop with me to my trip to South Africa was the possibility that the weight might exceed the hand-carry baggage limit of 7kg. I have also blogged about how I packed everything (cameras, lenses, laptop, accessories) into my camera bag here (click if you have not read) and thankfully the laptop has an extremely thin profile which did not take much space of the bag at all. Weighing at only 1.38kg, I still have plenty of stretch to fit my other camera and lenses without going over the baggage restrictions. 

Most of the other Visionaries travelling in this trip have chosen to left their laptops behind and brought along their ipads and tablets. To me, it was convenient to have a powerful laptop especially when I did anticipate the need to do some post-processing on my images. True enough, all the photographers were required to submit their photographs on the last day for a photo-sharing session, and having a laptop came in really handy. Those who did not have had no choice but to borrow and use other photographers' laptops. 

THE LCD SCREEN

The Lenovo Yoga C930 has 13.9 inch Full HD screen, which I believe is sufficient for a sub 15 inch display. Anything larger than that (say, if I am working on a 22 inch or larger LCD monitor) I would prefer more resolution, and a 4K display would work perfectly. Being just a mere 13.9 inch LCD display, I find that the pixel density is still good enough and I have no issues working with my images. 

Personally, I use a Full HD 32 inch curved Acer LCD screen hooked to my AMD powered PC at home, which is my workhorse that takes care the whole bulk of my post-processing work, both for my commercial jobs as well as personal images shown in this blog and on Ming Thein's. However, just to test out the performance of this laptop, I have processed all images shown in this particular entry as well as the first two parters of my South Africa articles published over at Ming Thein's (here and here) using the Lenovo Yoga C930. 

The color profile of the LCD screen straight out of the box has a slight green cast, which I believe can be easily corrected by proper monitor calibration. I did not do any calibration because this laptop was a loaner and I was in a rush for my travel. Nevertheless, the colors look good for all my own images and I have no issues judging white balance and getting the look that I want during my post-processing activities. 

Screen brightness was decent, and more than good enough for indoor use even with very bright natural sun light shining into the room. However, I would not recommend the use of this tablet under direct sun, you can still see the screen clearly, but not for critical viewing of image quality (especially for pixel-peepers out there). 

Turning the Lenovo Yoga C930 into tablet mode was fantastic to better hold the tablet form while showing off my images to other photographers. That was a better option, holding the device in hand, passing it around easily rather than forcing everyone to look at the laptop in one position on the table. 

That was me sitting at the balcony of my room, overlooking the wide open Madikwe Game Reserve. Animals were free to roam near us, and the electrical fence protects us from the dangerous ones. What a majestic view to have while working on the laptop!

The 13.9 inch LCD Full HD screen was bright and beautiful for displaying photographs. The device ca be transformed into tent mode or tablet mode for easy photo viewing and handling of the device at the same time. 

I personally like viewing my images in the tablet mode as the slim and flat profile allow easy handling and passing the tablet around for other photographers to see the images within their own comfort. 

There are two USB-C and one USB-A ports, hence connectivity is not an issue. I brought along a USB-C memory card reader as well as an external hard disk for backup purpose. I transferred my images to both the laptop and the external hard disk for better assurance. The last thing I want to happen is losing any of my precious images coming home from this trip! You can never be too careful. 

Transferring images to the laptop was a breeze using the USB-C memory card reader. The same card reader is also compatible with normal USB-A ports. 

IMAGE EDITING USING THE LENOVO YOGA C930

I installed two image editing software into the laptop - Capture One Pro (version 10) and Olympus Viewer 3. 

I installed Capture One Pro version 10, a trial version because this was not my laptop, and the 30 days trial period was sufficient for me to utilize and fully use all the available functions and features. 

Knowing that the Lenovo Yoga C930 runs the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550u processor and 8GB RAM, I expected fast and smooth experience using the laptop. 

I shot all my images in RAW (only). General operation was smooth and efficient with no hiccup. Navigating through images was speedy and responsive and I did not notice any lag when I applied adjustments such as white balance tweaks, exposure compensation or other necessary settings. In fact, the overall performance was just as fast as it was when I was using my workhorse AMD desktop (running the flagship FX-8350 Octa-Core processor, 16GB RAM and dedicated Radeon graphics). This was indeed impressive, having the performance of my current workhorse in such a tiny form factor and light-weight package. 

My experience using the Olympus Viewer 3 on the Lenovo Yoga C930 was, unfortunately nothing to write home about. This was due to the limitation of the software, and nothing to do with the hardware. I was hoping that maybe the latest generation Intel Core processor can do some miracles and speed up the processing using Olympus Viewer 3 which was notorious for being laggy and unbearably slow. The previewing of images was not instantaneous, there was noticeable slow-downs between adjustments and even the processing of each image took several seconds to complete. I wish Olympus would improve their own software, because even today, only Olympus Viewer 3 can fully achieve the incredible Olympus color profile. 

I managed to process about 100-200 images per day (I took about 1000-1500 images per day) and the powerful performance of the laptop helped me finished my task quickly. Coming home from a full day intense shooting, late at night, I was exhausted and needed to sleep early because the next game drive started at 5am the following morning. 

 Post-processing my images using Capture One Pro was quick and efficient on the Lenovo C930. I tried using the stylus pen for the first time and it worked beautifully. I do not use the brush or radial control function much but other photographers did show me how useful these adjustments can be. And the stylus pen helped getting a more precise control over the traditional mouse. 

As for me, I still prefer to edit my images using the traditional keyboard and mouse. Running Olympus Viewer 3 on the laptop. 

The keyboard was very good, I have fully composed 4 full blog articles using this laptop and it was comfortable and I did not suffer may mistypes while using it. 


This was the infamous scene from DC's latest Titans series, in the pilot when Robin muttered "F**K Batman". The built in sound bar was placed perfectly beneath the LCD screen. 

I do not get to use the "tent" mode much, but I found it useful when watching movie on the bed!

KEYBOARD, TOUCHPAD, SOUNDBAR & OTHER ACCESSORIES

I have used the Lenovo Yoga C930 to compose 4 articles, the previous two in this blog as well as the latest two articles on Ming Thein's site (my South Africa adventures). The experience using the keyboard is similar to my own Lenovo Miix 510, very comfortable for long use over hours. The shortcut keys were where they were supposed to be, easily accessible and logical to use. I did not get to use the touchpad much because I had my Logitech bluetooth wireless mouse with me, and I am a mouse user. I did use the touchpad briefly and in those short encounters there were no issues. 

I used the built in soundbar which was smartly tucked under the LCD screen for audio of TV shows and movies I watched in my hotel room. I watched DC's Titans and the soundbar performed admirably. It is not powerful or detailed enough to replace proper external speakers, but being a built in soundbar, the sound was more defined and has wider soundstage compared to typical built in speakers on most laptops. The conversations of the actors were clear and articulate while the sound effects during fighting action sequence was immersive. I am not expecting deep punching bass but for those of you traveling and prefer not to use headphones or external speakers, the soundbar in the Lenovo Yoga C930 is a class on its own. 


BATTERY LIFE, HEAT, ETC

Battery life is impressive! I managed to squeeze about 12 hours of battery life in a single charge watching movies and doing some light typing. With heavy image processing and use of screen at near maximum brightness, I still managed to get about almost 10 hours of battery life. During my use of the laptop, there was no sign of excessive heating and the unit remained cool to the touch at all times. 

I did not get to test every single feature on the laptop, such as the webcam, USB transfer speeds, how the laptop performs in gaming environment, etc. I am probably not even fit to comment on the stype pen, as I do not sketch and I do not use it for my image editing purposes. Whatever you do not find here in this blog review I am sure you can see in other reviews available elsewhere online. 



FINAL WORDS

Would I recommend this to another fellow photographer?

If you travel a lot, and you need a super compact, slim and light laptop to bring with you, yet you need high performance for image editing and some other serious work, then the Lenovo Yoga C930 should sit high in your consideration list. The 13.9 inch LCD screen is large and detailed enough to impress when you show off your images, the tablet mode is great for presentation and productivity purposes (if you use the stylus pen a lot). Battery life is amazing and the laptop benefits from the latest 8th generation Intel Core processing power. The built quality is excellent and it has a premium feel to the touch. 

Special thanks to Lenovo Malaysia for the loaner. 

South Africa Travel Updates on Ming Thein Site Published! Go Check Them Out Now

In case you have not seen these articles on Ming Thein's site, I have published two articles about my recent travel to South Africa there. In Part 1, I shared wide angle scenery and environmental animal shots while in Part 2, I went close up with the animals, zooming in tightly in my framing.

These are the better shots I have taken during my trip. Go visit these articles now!
Robin Visits South Africa Part 1
Robin Visits South Africa Part 2



However, if you have not have enough, I will soon also share more shots, taken from my B-Roll (shots that did not make it to the final curation on MT) here, some include my own personal favourites. I shall also share my very brief experience in Soweto, Johannesburg and my quick review of our stay in Tau Game Lodge at Madikwe Game Reserve. More and more images from my trip will be shown here, so do stay tuned!

I Am Back From South Africa, And More Updates Are Coming Soon

I have just arrived at Kuala Lumpur a few hours ago, and I cannot wait to share my photographs from my South Africa trip with all you beautiful people. The past 5 days in Madikwe Game Drive was nothing short of incredible, the experience of shooting alongside such talented and skillful photographers from all around Asia Pacific countries was nothing short of eye-opening. I have learned so much over the span of few days and was deeply inspired to further grow myself as a photographer.

Do allow me some time to go through heaps of photographs I have taken and I shall compile them into my coming articles. I shall be working as fast as I can, so do stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here is a sneak peak of some snapshots of the trip taken with my Motorola G5S Plus smartphone, as well as some behind the scene images. South Africa is such a beautiful country, and I cannot wait to return again some day. I miss it already!

Sunrise view right in front of the restaurant balcony at the lodge I was staying at - Tau Game Lodge

The African Bush - such a wonderful scenery

An Olympus Visionary shooting the sunset


Game Drive vehicle

Everyone was shooting with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS PRO lens. 

Look how close the cats were!

My first time riding a Private Charter Plane. 

It was so small inside the plane, we were all cramped!

Sunsets were always dramatic here!

Stay tuned for the coming updates!

Packing for A South Africa Photography Adventure

Important note: In case you guys missed the big announcement, I have just recently joined the Olympus Visionary program. Thanks to everyone who gave congratulatory notes and kind remarks. I am still overwhelmed by the incredibly positive response. I will continue to do my best as a photographer and blogger, rest assured!

I will be travelling with a group of Asia-Pacific based Olympus Visionary photographers to South Africa from 7th to 14th December 2018. This photography-centric trip is fully organized and sponsored by Olympus, and I am privileged to be invited along other bigger names in the industry to this trip. I was informed that this trip was an annual event to connect and engage with the Olympus Asia Pacific community.

I was also fore-warned that during the duration of travel, there will be locations with extremely limited internet coverage, hence there is a high possibility I will not be able to answer emails or reply messages via any social media platforms. Do bear with me and I shall get back to everyone as soon as I can.


The flight hand-carry luggage weight limit is a strict 7kg, and in this blog entry, I will show you what I pack into my camera bag which will be my carry-on bag to my flights.

CAMERA BODY AND ACCESSORIES
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II - 574g (with battery)
Olympus BLH-1 spare battery - 74g
4 x 64GB SD cards and a small memory card hard case (weight negligible)

LENSES
M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS PRO - 1270g (without tripod collar)
M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO -  760g (without tripod collar)
MC-14 1.4x tele-converter, compatible with the above two lenses - 170g
M.Zuiko 7-14mm F2.8 PRO - 534g
M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 - 136g
M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 - 116g

CAMERA BAG
Caden K11 camera messenger bag - 1360g
Oh yes, I got a new camera bag to fit in a lot more items. I found myself bringing more gear with me to actual paid shoots these days, my older bags just cannot fit everything anymore. 

LAPTOP
Lenovo Yoga C930 - 1380g

OTHER ITEMS
Olympus limited edition Moleskine small notepad - 90g
Writing pens - weight negligible
Microfibre cloth - weight negligible
Fiio M3 High Resolution Audio Player - 40g
JBL Earphones - weight negligible
Memory Card Reader (not pictured) - weight negligible

TOTAL WEIGHT = 6.5KG

Here are some tips on travelling light, packing as much as possible and optimizing the luggage weight limit. It helps if you use smaller and lighter camera system.

I cannot imagine packing the equivalent 600mm, 70-200mm and 14-28mm lenses using full frame camera system into a bag with a 7kg limit! How do you guys manage? The lightest 600mm full frame lens is close to 4kg already.

Having a laptop that is ultra light and slim also helps in ensuring minimal load as well as easy packing without taking too much space of the bag.

Pack the laptop charger, camera battery charger, all cables and accessories separately and put them into the main check-in luggage.

Leave the tripod collars behind if you do not need them. If you must use tripod, you can store the collars in your check in luggage.

If you need to bring a tripod, opt for a lightweight version, but also sturdy enough for travel purposes. I am stowing away the tripod into my main check in luggage bag.

To save space so that you can fit more items in your hand-carry bag, leave all the hoods behind. The Olympus 40-150mm PRO lens hood is huge, taking it out will free up precious space for other smaller items, such as the tiny prime lenses.

Perhaps I can opt for a lighter bag, but this particular bag has extra thick padding and sturdy partitions to ensure proper separation and storage of all the items. The bag has to be strong enough to carry the camera, lenses and laptop.


I am good to go for my South Africa adventure! I shall see you guys again in about a week. My hands are getting unbearably itchy for some shutter clicking action!!

Special Update: I Have Joined The OLYMPUS VISIONARY

I am super happy to announce that I am now an Olympus Visionary! Olympus Malaysia has started their Olympus Visionary program and I was privileged to be invited to join. I would like to thank everyone who visited this blog and followed me over the years, I appreciate every single once of your presence! Moving forward, there will be some changes to my writing approach, and I have written an update statement at Ming Thein's site (click here), so please hop over to find out the story behind me joining the Olympus Visionary, as well as what changes from now on.


All I can say is, Shutter Therapy lives on!