World’s First Twin-Lens Instant Camera – Mint InstantFlex TL70

Great things take time and It is definitely worth the long wait. Thanks to the passionate staffs at Mint, I managed to be one of the first few lucky ones to get hold of the world’s first twin lens instant camera – InstantFlex TL70!

When it was first announced back in March 2015, I fell in love with its timeless design instantly. Inspired by legendary twin-lens classic, Rolleiflex, the new InstantFlex TL70 offers hobbyists the best of both worlds; with an iconic leathery body powered by today’s most affordable instant-films (Fujifilm Instax Mini – about USD0.80 per film). Users of the now defunct Polaroid SX-70 pay up to USD3.50 per film manufactured by The-Impossible-Project. There is also a big time difference for instant photo development between the two. The Impossible Project films take about 20 minutes to develop while the FujiFilm films take less than a minute! Under such comparison, the new InstantFlex TL70 is a much more attractive and affordable option for those who are into instant manual-photography.

Priced at USD319, the TL70 does cost a lot more than the usual FujiFilm instant camera, however, it provides more control for those who are familiar with manual camera. It comes with a built-in flash, 2 shooting modes (auto or bulb) and a wide aperture range of f/5.6, f/8, f/16, f/22, f/bokeh with special bokeh. It also feels good and solid in the hands – not too heavy or light (at about 560g including batteries). For those who enjoy lomography or instagram effects, you will like this camera. Don’t expect to get “picture-perfect” shots in the first few trials as it takes a couple of tests to get familiar with its settings. The camera comes with a small photography-guide-booklet to teach beginners how to get nice shots.

The TL70 reminds me of another classic-looking camera by Fujifilm, Instax 60 Neo. I tested the InstantFlex TL70 alongside against it today. Loading the film cartridge and camera batteries (3 AA) was no-brainer but it took me a much longer time (30-45 seconds to compose the shot) with the TL70 as I need to adjust the focus and aperture to get the right lighting. Despite the extra effort, the TL70 produced a photo with much stronger depth and softer mood. Taking photo with Instax Neo was much quicker (less than 5 secs) and easier to focus. Using automatic mode, Neo produced a 100% focused and guaranteed-sharp photography but it was lacking in terms of depth and mood. I took a second shot with Neo (without any flash) but it turned up too dark.

Throughout my first 2-hour trial, there were a couple of limitations I faced using the TL70. These are standard limitations with all waist-level view-finder-cameras. Due to the position of its view-finder, I was unable to take a food shot from the top. Under dim lighting, it was difficult for me to look at the subject through the view-finder (thankfully, Mint added a magnifying glass on top of the view-finder window). The TL70 doesn’t come with any accessory or bag, It was a little uncomfortable for me (considering I have bigger hands than my female friend) to handle the knobs on the camera without any neck strap.

Overall, I love the TL70 (if not, I won’t even blog this in the first place). It was quite an amazing moment when I saw my first shot coming out from the view-finder. Without any doubt, the TL70 provides more options (multiple exposure, bulb setting, aperture setting) for creative photography. I am pretty sure Mint will produce more accessories (coloured filters, special lens, camera straps and bag) for hobbyists to enhance their shooting. If only FujiFilm produces black-&-white instant films, this will be the perfect instant camera for all! Till then, this will be a very cool camera to carry around. For me, I won’t bring it out to rowdy big parties as it will take up to 45 seconds to focus and compose the shots. I will use it for small gatherings between good friends/families and solo trips. Thank you Mint for this beautiful product. It is worth the wait! (For those who want to get this, click here to order:

SuperZoom on SuperMoon (with Nikon P900)

27th Sept 2015 was a special day. For once in a blue red moon, a rare astrological phenomenon coincided on the actual day of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival. This was the last of the 4 red-moon lunar eclipses that occurred since last April 2014. The next occurrence will take place in another 18 years in 2033. As it was a cloudy day in Hong Kong, I didn’t managed to get a shot of the “blood moon”. What I did captured was a bright yellow “egg yolk” with my point-&-shoot superzoom Nikon P900. For the least, the world is not ending soon I hope.

I know my boy is a rockstar, but I never knew his mum can dance!

Peak season is back! Last week, I had a couple of long and stressful meetings. To cheer me up, my boy and wife sent me a short video clip over Wechat and I laughed instantly! (I was having a dinner meeting and I nearly choked laughing while eating!) Thanks for this surprising amazing clip! Like what my wife said on Facebook – All she wanted was to catch up with my boy and showed him that he has a useful skill that even mummy can learn from him too!

古墓袭击者之旅 (吴哥窟) – Tomb Raiding at the Angkor Wat

The Angkor is uniquely enigmatic and truly charming. We fall in love with this ancient kingdom. Why didn’t we visit this place earlier when it is just 2 hours away from our doorstep?

September school term break is here. Like so many unplanned adventures before, I booked an impromptu surprise trip for the family to 2015’s newly awarded World’s Best Tourist Site (Read: 2015 Best Tourist Attraction) – the majestic Angkor Wat (吴哥窟). I saw a promotion on Cathay Fanfare website and bought the tickets 3 days before. Felicia and Elkan didn’t know where they were heading until we arrived at the Hong Kong airport. Felicia noticed something was amiss on the highway and remarked that the taxi was heading the wrong way. I lied to them early that morning that we were going for a 2-day hiking trip at nearby Shenzhen. However, I did left a little hint the night before our trip. I played the movie “Tomb Raider” starring Angelina Jolie. Elkan loves the movie as he is a fan of the playstation game (which he completed with Harshad back in June).

Keeping the suspense right until the immigration counter, Felicia thought we were heading to Bali. Elkan had little patience and kept pestering us for the destination. The moment the boarding passes were issued, Elkan snatched them from the counter. Despite having the answer in his hand, he remained clueless where Siem Reap was. The expressions on their faces were priceless! And of course, Felicia finally knew the answer and she connected all the dots!

This was a short 2D3N weekend vacation. Thanks to my lovely colleague Olivia (who was there a few days before us), she recommended a very new and beautiful boutique Cambodian-French hotel to us – The Viroth Hotel. Centrally located 15-minute drive to Angkor Wat and a short 10-minute walk to the popular Pub Street and Old Market, the hotel provides a very clean, spacious, quiet, stylish and comfortable stay. I love the decor of our rooms and its extremely friendly, warm staffs.

Before our trip, I was quite worried about the rainy weather. September is Cambodia’s wettest and most humid season. This is also the country’s lull travel season, that was why the air tickets were on sale.

Thankfully, we were blessed with great sunny blue-sky weather throughout our trip. Best of all, we hired an amazing, friendly, honest and sincere local English-speaking tour guide, Piseth, who brought us to all the “must-see” sites! He is such a brilliant guide who knows where and when to go in order to avoid the bus-loads of noisy Chinese tour groups. I can understand why the peaceful Thai people dislike the Chinese tour groups. In big groups, they can be annoyingly rowdy and disturbing. I encountered a few rowdy Chinese tourists who climbed on restricted structure ignoring warning by the local park rangers.  Nevertheless, the local turn a blind as the Chinese do bring in a lot of economical value for the country.

Traveling around Siem Reap is a breeze. There are many tuk-tuks waiting outside hotels and key shopping areas. Traveling from city center to the Angkor Archaeological Park takes less than an hour. A tuk-tuk can be rented as low as USD2/hour and we saw many tourists commuting on them. Shamelessly, we were pampered tourists (with a lot of photographic gears) who need aircon and skipped the more traditional tuk-tuk. We got ourselves a big 4-wheel drive car with lots of leg-room (cost us an average USD40/day). The weather was extremely humid and Piseth prepared umbrella, cold drinks and disposable towels for us at every attraction.

Here are the Top 11 Moments of our 2-day temple run.

Piseth was very helpful to help us plan a well-balanced tour. Enjoy the photos and short stories of our little adventure!


We were surprised and humbled by the sheer size of the Angkor Archaeological Park. Spanning over 400km2 , the 700-year old ancient site is amazingly huge! UNESCO World Heritage rated this as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. It is impossible to visit the entire heritage site in just 1-2 days. Each site took us more than an hour to explore. Misinformed by popular belief, we were under the false impression that there was only one giant heritage structure by the name of Angkor Wat (like the “Forbidden City of Beijing”). On the contrary, Angkor Wat means “capital temple”. There are over 1,000 magnificent structures (temples, shrines, tombs) littered around this massive site. To enjoy all the key sites meaningfully, it takes about 3-7 days! This is the reason why there are 1-day or multiple-day tickets. A day pass cost us USD20 each and children under 12 is free (they are strict and they need to see the passport to verify the age).

It was challenging to wake up at 4am in the morning to catch this magnificent sight. The sun rises early in September and we almost miss the most important moment. By the time we got there, there were hundreds of shutterbugs by the lotus moat waiting for the first ray of sun. Considering this was the lull travel season, I cannot imagine how crowded this space will be during the peak travel season from November to February.

Was it worth waking up that early? Certainly, 100% yes! Afterall, this is the heart of the world’s largest city in the 12th century with thousands of carvings and countless sculptural decorations. And it’s much cooler to visit the temples early in the morning before the blazing sun and crowd.


Located just 2km away from the Angkor Wat Temple, the real adventure began right inside the ancient walled city, Angkor Thom (meaning “Great City”). To enter, we crossed a bridge with mystical statues flanked on both sides. The Bayon Temple sits in the center of Angkor Thom. Housing 37 towers and 216 giant walls of smiling Bodhisattva (some historians argued that the faces could be someone else), the Bayon Temple is one of the “must-visit” distinctive sites around Angkor.


The Pink Temple or the Banteay Srei is a small temple but it housed some of the most well-preserved intricate carvings and sculptured wall murals around the area. Carved using red sandstone, the temple glows vibrantly in pinkish red colour under the sun.


Made popular by Hollywood’s action movie, Tomb Raider – the The Ta Prohm Temple is an ancient ruined site with very distinctive character. Slowly consumed by the jungle, the temple has been intentionally left in the same condition when it was originally found. Its founder decided Ta Prohm to be left alone, as a “concession to the general taste for the picturesque.” Simply eerily enchanting, this is indeed an explorer and photographer’s haven!


After temple-running exhaustively for over 6 hours, we went onboard a relaxing 90-minute “Sunset Boat” (USD20/person, we had a boat to ourselves) and sailed out into the vast lake. At first, we thought this was the sea but our guide corrected us. Commonly known as the “Great Lake”, the Tonie Sap Lake has been an important source of livelihood for both the ancient and present city of Siem Reap. Covering an area from 2,500 kmduring the dry season to over 16,000 kmduring the wet season, this is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. There, we saw many floating houses and shops where you can buy local souvenirs and food. What a great place to end the long tiring day! (Note: Go only during a clear day. The boat ride can be rocky and this may not be suitable for those who has motion-sickness)


Only discovered in 1969 on the valley of Phnom Kulen National Park, the river consists of strange ancient stone carvings (Lingas -a very complex symbol of Hinduism representing energy and strength) in sandstone formations carved deep into the river bed and banks. Built by the kings in the early 11th century, it is believed that these scared Lingas will bless the water flowing into Angkor. It is amazing that the water erosion didn’t fade off these ancient markings. The Phnom Kulen National Park is located about 50km from Siem Reap and it is considered as a scared mountain by the local people. The National Park charges USD20/adult for entry.


Visitors must remove their shoes before they climb up the shrine to see the reclining “Sleeping Rock Buddha”. On the way up to the shrine, we saw a lot of shops selling “Cambodian notes”. At first, I thought those stacks of money were paper-money that we burn to offer the dead. I was told that those real notes are for visitors to offer to the young, weak and old. For less than 3USD, we got a stack of notes which we distributed to the local people sitting by the sides of the stairs. A very strange ritual indeed.


This is certainly one of the key highlights of our trip – 2 waterfalls at Phnom Kulen! Definitely a first for us – our first swim under the waterfall (15m tall)! It was extremely refreshing to relax and cool our warm bodies after 2 long days of walking! There are makeshift changing rooms and lockers for visitors to lock up their valuables while they are in the pool. Water is about 1-2m deep and visibility is so so. Just be careful of the uneven rocks below, it can be slippery and sharp. Remember to bring a waterproof camera along!


Located 70km away from Siem Reap, the Beng Mealea Temple is another “must-visit” temple. Entry ticket is charged at USD5/pax. Built to the same floorplan as Angkor Wat, this is a very photogenic site with lots of dense vegetations covering the structures. Similar to Ta Prohm Temple, it is heavily consumed by large trees, vines and moss. We felt so small under its rubbles. I had some of my very best shots here. On the way out of the ruins, we have to walk through a dark narrow chamber. Yes, in true Tomb Raider style!


On our way to the temples, we drove past many street stalls. Piseth made a couple of stops and offered us these yummy local street goodies (palm sweets, red bananas, lotus seeds and bamboo rice).


For tourists who want to bring home a souvenir from Cambodia, this is the place to go. There are a lot of souvenir shops and restaurants here. Many close at around midnight. I was not really impressed with the old market and pub street. Many of the items here are overpriced and the variety is so so. Shopping here can be tiring as you never know the true price. You can easily bargain off up to 70% off the initial price. Comparing with Vietnam and Thailand, Siem Reap isn’t a shopping haven for bargain-hunters like us. Many shops do not take in old torn US dollar too.

Overall, the Angkor is truly an amazing ancient city for travellers!
 Although many of its attractions are in ruins and buried, the city has so much more treasures and stories for us to discover. Every site is different and it takes time for one to fully absorb its rich history. It truly deserves its Number One spot as 2015 Lonely Planet Attraction!

With our very experienced tour guide, Piseth, we managed to visit many key sites during our 2-day stay. It was an eye-opening and meaningful trip for all of us. There is so much history, soul and character in this place that make it special. There are so much for us to learn from. Even for my son, he learnt the meaning of poverty and empathised with the child-labourers/hawkers working on the streets. It was a humbling experience for all of us. For certain, the city is growing and changing by the day. I encourage all of you to come by before commercialisation ruins its authenticity and dilute its culture. 

For those who want to tour around Siem Reap, you may contact our young and friendly English-speaking local guide, Piseth directly (photo above) at or call him at +855 96-5454-999. One of the great things we like about Piseth is there is no hidden cost and he will share any cost with us before we arrive at the destination. Also, he was so helpful in guiding us what to see and spot during our tours. Thanks to his guidance, I managed to get many great shots! As the Angkor area is so big, it is good if you chat with Piseth on your plans before you make the trip. Travel safe and enjoy Cambodia!

Droning over Hong Kong’s Wetlands

I have to admit, I developed a phobia for drone-flying after the last unpleasant incident in New Zealand. I used to have so much faith in drone-technology that I flew a drone out of Marina Bay Sand hotel room and back! Looking back, I consider myself extremely blessed and lucky that none of those previous flights I flew in Taiwan and Singapore ended up badly.

DJI’s new firmwares in June were full of bugs. That was the reason my drones were giving me problems. There were too many bugs in the system and I didn’t want to risk losing another drone. I have since grounded my drone for the past 2 months. I am too afraid to fly in the city and over water.

I have received my new replacement drone but kept it grounded until DJI released the new firmwares 4 weeks ago. I have been bugging Chowpo to find me a big open space to test the new firmwares. Yesterday was a one-time off bonus public holiday (to mark the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in the second world war) and we had a free day to fly! Chowpo offered to drive me (and Tracy) to the most remote corner of Hong Kong to test my drone. I love traveling and aerial photography so it is very important for me to gain back my flight-confidence.

At the northern part of Hong Kong lies a huge plot of wetlands. I was very surprised to know there are such rural areas in concrete Hong Kong city. There was hardly anyone, tall buildings and vehicles there. Despite the gloomy and windy weather, I felt extremely safe to practice my flight. I was still a little bit rusty but I managed to gain good control of the drone.

We spent over 3 hours at 3 different sites. I exhausted all the 7 batteries. Finally, I am getting a good sense of control of the drone. With more practice-opportunities ahead, I am sure I will be able to soar and capture more amazing footages for my next trip! Yes, Pilot Wahbiang is back! Enjoy the video below!

Back to Panda City

August – it was an extraordinary hectic but rewarding month. We made 3 trips to Chengdu for a “dream project” with some very talented and legendary masters! At the end of the project, I had developed such a strong attachment with the place and the people. It is a truly enjoyable experience and I am very thankful to accomplish the “almost-impossible” with my dream team. I will miss all these for sure!

To reward the ladies for their hard work, I brought both Chowpo and Tracy to Chengdu’s most popular attraction – the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (成都大熊猫繁育研究基地). Covering a large area of 92 acres (about 90 football fields), the site houses over 100 giant and baby pandas. This place is huge and the best time to visit the park would be in the morning when the pandas will be out to roam and feed. We were there at the wrong time when all the pandas were sleeping inside the enclosures. No wonder there weren’t many tourists queuing at the enclosures. It was the wrong season (too hot and humid) and time to visit the pandas.

We didn’t spend much time at the attraction. The 2 girls were complaining and whining. I couldn’t blame them, there was nothing but pandas and more pandas. Of course, every panda looks the same. At every enclosure, we saw fat lazy pandas sleeping and rolling on the floor. The only time when we got excited was when we saw the panda babies. The discovery we made? Baby pandas do have long tails and they are irresistible adorable!

Another checkbox ticked. Enough of Sichuan hotpot and cute pandas, time to head back to Hong Kong!

The final moment of my lost drone – Found!

Finally, a comforting closure for me. While updating the new DJI app, I managed to recover the final flight footage of my Inspire 1’s mysterious flyaway incident from the cache of my iPad (Read: Missing Drone Blog). The footage captured what happened that fateful morning before my drone vanished for good (into those woods). In the video, you could spot Felicia, Elkan and me by the roadside. Despite a great weather and getting all “green signal” to take off, my drone (which I have flew many times in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong) flew off mysteriously on its own will. Luckily I was flying beside a farm. I can’t imagine if this incident happens in a congested cityscape like Hong Kong or Singapore.

I reported my flyaway incident to DJI back in June and their customer service offered me 50% refund a few days later. Despite the monetary settlement with DJI a couple of weeks later, their engineers are still unable to identity the actual issue. The most possible reason they guessed was an error in the drone’s calibration.

While re-viewing the footage on HD, I spotted something strange. There was a halo following my drone before I lost connection. Maybe it was the dark forces from above that took my “precious” away.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114 other followers

%d bloggers like this: