Thursday, March 29, 2018

Adventures With Motorola G5S Plus In Kuching

Thank goodness for beautiful weather in my hometown Kuching when I was back there a few days ago, and I managed to get some quick shooting done, further testing the newly acquired Motorola G5S Plus. I met up with local Kuching photographers, Jee and Lance, whom I had my street photography exhibitions with last year and together we attacked Kuching. The sky was blue, the light was fantastic and I was just so happy to be home and breathing the fresh air of Borneo, away from overly polluted metropolitan Kuala Lumpur.

Lets start with a hearty bowl of Sarawak Kolo Mee, which we had for breakfast. I know I have said this before, but I cannot over emhpashize that any resemblance or clone variant of Kolok Mee found in West Malaysia should be avoided like a plague at all costs. The only real Sarawak Kolo Mee comes from Sarawak. Do not try it elsewhere. 

We visited the newly launched Darul Hana bridge spanning across the Sarawak River, since Lance told us he has not been there yet. There is a new "floating" mosque in construction. What is with the Malaysian Muslims and their obsession with mosques that are built on water? Why not build on solid land and save up on construction costs? You know the current economy state isn't going so well.

When the floating mosque is complete I imagine this particular spot would be the popular sunset shooting spot for local Kuching photographers. And yes, this framing is facing the sunset directly. Water, mountain at the back and grand-majestic looking structures and possibility of a wooden boat entering the frame, what else could a landscape photographer ask for?

I do not have much more to add to my review on the Moto G5S Plus' camera which I have done so extensively here (please do read if you have not done so). My main challenge when roaming around the streets was the fact that I was constantly stuck at full wide angle coverage which seriously limited my composition choices. There is only so much you can do with everything on the wider side of things. Shooting close up portraits would result in unnecessarily ugly distortions and forcing in unwanted subjects or messy backgrounds in the frame.

In contrary to that, it was also strangely liberating to be shooting with just using the smartphone camera. There was no pressure to perform or deliver shots. To be completely honest I was actually quite happy with the results that the Moto G5S Plus made, partly due to the incredibly gorgeous morning light that we were blessed with during our shooting session. More importantly, I was impressed with Google Camera's HDR+, which I did have my initial doubt on in camera one shot HDR processing. I was glad to be proven wrong, and the HDR+ setting on the Google Camera managed to balance the harshest shadows and overblown highlights, creating a somewhat neutral yet natural looking outcome. The JPEG processing by the Google Camera surpasses what the default Motorola camera app can do, so I opted to use the Google Camera at all times.

The Google Camera app that was ported over to Moto G5S Plus was very stable running all the time, with no hiccups or crashes. Operation was smooth and I did not encounter any issues. The only drawback was the slower than usual AF (which took about half a second to lock), but this was not a big step backward considering Motorola's default camera app was not any faster in AF either. Another point worth noting was that when HDR+ was enabled, the shot to shot time will be slowed down, as the smartphone took about 2-3 seconds to process the image. I have seen the HDR+ running on Google's default Pixel phones which showed not the slightest hint of delay, unlike the ported over over version on the Moto G5S Plus. Nonetheless, the benefits of the HDR+ and the overall improvements were significant enough to justify the wait between shots. Of course if you want to capture anything quick or fast moving then why are you not using an actual high performing camera in the first place?

On the whole, I can safely conclude that the Moto G5S Plus has a better camera than the Nokia 6. While I did conclude in my Nokia 6 camera review that I was satisfied with the results from Nokia 6, this Moto G5S Plus is just noticeably better, especially when Google Camera app was used.

Since I opened this series of images with the iconic Sarawakian Kolo Mee, I shall close with another prominent local delicacy, Laksa. These are the two scrumptious dishes I must have whenever I am back in my hometown and I highly recommend anyone visiting to give them a try!

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  1. The bowl of curry or laksa looks super yummy :-) You sure have fun with this carry anywhere "camera" .

    1. That was a laksa, not curry, though it does have the thick spicy curry look. This "camera" was so fun indeed.

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