Nikon D500 + Nikkor 200-500 mm F5.6 Lens

While I always enjoyed taking photographs of birds, I have often been frustrated that the gear I have do not permit me to get a better shot. I enjoyed just looking at the birds but sometime I wish I can have a photo or two to take back as souvenir. Things got even worse after M got her P900 and she was able to shoot away while I just watch. And so after a long long time. of contemplating and seeing that my D7000 was almost ready to go to the great photograph world beyond, I caved in and bought a D500 and subsequently a few weeks later got a used 200 – 500 mm lens to go along.

Here is a sample of the photos taken using these combo. The first 3 photos show the sensor capabilities of the D500. All the photos are taken in JPEG and handheld so there is noticeable motion blur.  No post editing has been applied as well just to show the original quality of the camera.

This photo is taken with ISO at 6400 with aperture of F5.6 a combination almost unimaginable with the D7000 where anything above ISO 1600 and the noise will be so bad that the photo will not be usable.

D500 + 200 – 500 MM F5.6 210mm ISO 6400 F5.6 1/80

This next photo is taken at an even higher ISO of 12800 and the noise level is still acceptable. And I was able to use a fast speed of 1/640 for this. How about that!

230mm ISO 12800 F5.6 1/640

Another photo taken at ISO 12800 with a slightly brighter background. 

D500 + 200 – 500 MM F5.6 230mm ISO 12800 F5.6 1/640

So more or less I am confident that I solve the low light problems that more often than not, force me to give the bird a miss. On to the next big bug bear. Reach…

Previously using the 70-200 mm with a 1.4 converter, I was only able to get a reach of 340 mm on the D7000. Now with the D500 + the 200 – 500 mm, the maximum reach has extended to an effective 750 mm and that is without using the teleconverter! OF course in most cases, the reach is still not enough especially for smaller birds but with the sensor capability of the D500, I can happily crop away to get fairly good close up. Here are 3 images taken at 500 mm and cropped to 100% or more. Again all are handheld with no post editing so not as sharp as I like but the details of the feathers are still visible in the closed up photos.

D500 + 200 – 500 MM F5.6 500mm

Cropped

500mm ISO 800 F5.6 1/500

Cropped

500mm ISO 560 F5.6 1/400

Cropped

So I solved the low light and the reach problem. Now how to get the photo sharp? Guess I have to start looking around for a good sturdy tripod soon…….

Saucony Kinvara 5

The Saucony Kinvara 5 has been released so long ago in 2014 and now the latest edition is the Kinvara 8 and believe it or not, I just started wearing my Kinvara 5 this year in April! And it was actually purchased way back in June 2015 at an outlet sale. That made it like 3 years late.

I only took this out to replace my well worn Kinvara 4 and now barely 1 month later, it has clocked almost 100 km. But since it is such an old shoe, there is no point in doing a review suffice to say that I really like it. But there is only 1 problem with this particular edition though.  And that is the topline of the shoe where the shoe meets the ankle bone is rubbing against the foot but only on the left foot. So its either the shoe is not properly aligned or my left ankle bone is lower. And despite that, I raced it in once without any problem so I gonna keep on wearing it. Review online has it that it is not lasting. Let see whether it will break the Kinvara 4 record of 1000 km!

And of course when will I be getting the Kinvara 6

Date of Purchase: 13 June 2015

From: Royal Sporting House Outlet

Price: $84.50

Races:

Run350 30 April 2017

Total Mileage:

Retired:

Knee Support

I been running much lesser in recent years and doing more hiking and trekking. The latter usually involves some form of climbing up and down stairs, hills and mountain. And with a cranky worn out knees,  it can be quite painful and I end up with either a swollen or locked knees for the next few days.

Some friends have suggested that a knee support can be useful. I generally don’t believe in pseudo medical aid and I am old school that if there is an injury, it is better not to run through it but rest. But in my case, it is not exactly an injury so recently since I am intensifying my climbs, I decided to get a knee support to try. So while I was at a mall one evening, I walked into a World of Sports outlet and just picked the coolest looking knee support there is. And volia – 

According to the product specs, 3D shaping of the fabric, contours to your knee area, providing optimum support. Recommended use for indications of tendinitis, patellar (knee cap) pain/tracking, arthritis, minor soft tissue tears/strains, general knee pain. It is breathable, multi-directional stretch and non-slip gel prevents migrations, allows full range of motion while maintaining high level support. 

I put it on my more troublesome right knee when I went Bukit Timah Hill last week. And immediately up the first flight of stairs and I can feel the difference. Which left me pretty amazed. Gone was the sharp stab of pain when descending and there was a noticeable improvement in the joint movement.

One week later I am back at Bukit Timah Hill. This time the knee guard goes onto the left knee. And again it works! 

Not too sure whether it is this particular product or all knee support in general but I am pretty pleased and impressed. But while it works for climbing, I wonder does it work for running?

Review – Puma Ignite Dual Bolt

So I finally got some mileage into the shoe. To be precise, slightly over 40 km in 1 week of running and in 4 different circumstances putting the shoes through its pace comprehensively.
dsc_1788
But before going into that, the mumbo jumbo or the technical specs from Puma:
  • ENERGY RETURN: IGNITE Foam midsole has exceptionally responsive, energy-returning qualities to help make you faster
  • FLEXIBILITY: Mesh upper and deep flex grooves at the forefoot provide flexibility
  • CUSHIONING: IGNITE Foam provides step-in comfort and an extremely comfortable feel
  • Breathable and flexible mesh upper
  • Gold upper with Usain Bolt signature
  • Reflective detailing for visibility
  • Lace closure for a snug fit
  • Articulated chevron grooves at midsole sides compress and rebound for extra power
  • Carbon rubber outsole at toe and heel for extra durability
 Of course one always learn to take all these specs with a pinch of salt. As they say, the taste is in the pudding. Ok I not going to eat the shoe but put it through the grinder.
Design & Fit: The shoe is very stylish although the gold top is too outlandish for me especially with the size 12 which makes it very loud and visible. And not having the speed to match the name on it, I feel a bit paiseh when wearing it. But it is really a very stylish shoe and looks more like those limited edition sneakers than a proper pair of trainer.dsc_1785
Like the 2 previous Puma shoes that I had and still have one of them, the heel counter was also just the right size. Not too long to snag on anything and not too low to cause abrasion even with sock liner on only. dsc_1786 The only issue I have so far is that somehow my right ankle bone rubs against the edge of the shoe and cause a hot spot. But is fine on the left foot which probably means either my foot are of unequal height or the outer edge of the shoes are not of equal height.
Other than this, the shoe fits really well. Snug. There was good toe width even for me with my Morton’s toe.
Weight: Coming in at about 500 gm for my size 12, I must say this is probably the heaviest shoes I have in a long long while. And the weight did affect my running although it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it could.
Cushioning: As this is a traditional shoe meant for heel striker, it has real good cushioning. In fact I will go so far as to say I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed so much cushioning in a pair of shoes. Of course to be fair, I ran mostly in semi-minimalist shoes nowadays so the difference was very apparent.
Traction: So far I did about 40 km in this shoe covering a fairly wide range of surfaces covering asphalt, tarmac, pavement and light sandy road.  Grip is good all round. dsc_1787
Flexibility: Unfortunately the thick cushion sole means the shoe is not as flexible as I like. Understandably as this is a heel strike shoe, it is rather stiff in the middle but there is some sort of groving system between the toes and mid foot which provides for good toe off.
Water Proofing: The upper is covered by the painted gold upper which means that water will probably run off it and not go into the shoe. There are breathable mesh at the side below the gold upper though so that could be entry point for water if running through puddles. Unfortunately for the 4 runs that I did, although it did rained once, it was only for less than 5 minutes, hardly enough to even make the shoe or me wet. So no chance to test this out.

It has been a long long time since I worn a pair of 12 mm drop traditional shoe. For all the runs, I worn it in its original condition – no lock laces and with the original Puma insole. My first run in it was a 15 km easy run in the morning paired with a pair of double layer Karimmor socks. Other than the discomfort on the right ankle bone, the shoe felt fine except that I was always conscious of its heavier weight.

The second run was a relatively short 5 km interval of 8 x 400 metres. This time I pared it with a pair of Adidas sock liner.  The test was to see how responsive it was for higher impact run. I actually quite like the rebound that I get from the shoe. I think this is something that Puma has actively built into the shoe with the Ignite foam and the mid foot grove which gives it the push when toe off. However, me being used to flats or bare minimum for faster training runs, the weight of the shoes dragged me down and overall I clocked almost 3 – 5 seconds slower per interval set.

The 3rd run was again in the evening. This time I have on a pair of Reebok Zig Zag socks. But barely 2 km into the 8 km tempo run, the sole started to burn up. Was it the shoes or the socks?

I switched back to the Karimmor socks for the next 15km hill run and I had absolutely no problem with the foot. So it has to be the socks then. Anyway, the shoes felt really good with the extra bit of cushioning while going down the hill.

One thing I noticed about the Puma Ignite is that it does not have a final eyelets which allow one to do a butterfly lacing to prevent heel slipage,  I suppose the Puma people think that with its snug fit, there is no need for such a feature but it actually can help for those who tend to run with the foot almost vertical when striding.

Overall, due to the 12 mm heel to toe drop and weight, I wouldn’t wear it for long runs or marathons but like my 2 previous pair of Puma, this will be a good reliable training shoes which will probably last me a long long time. By the way, my Puma Fass has clocked more than 800 km and it is still as good as new. The Puma Mobium lasted 734 km so by that logic, I expect this pair of Puma Ignite Gold to last at least 900 km if not more!

Pro: Responsive. Well Cushioned. Snug Fit.

Con: Heavy. 12 mm heel to toe drop. Lack of last eyelet

This shoe review is made possible by the people from Puma Singapore

Date of Purchase: 9 September 2016

From: Puma Singapore

Price: Review Shoes

Races:

Total Mileage:

Retired:

 

Zenash Compression

Ever since Key Power first brought in 2XU compression tights to the Singapore market, the number of runners seen wearing compression tights at races and even just for daily runs have increased tremendously. All the major apparel brands have come up with their own version of compression wears and some have even set up physical shops here even though the market appears to be over saturated with incumbent 2XU still leading the sales.

One of the latest to jump on the bandwagon here is Itai Sports with its line of Zenash Compression products ranging from calf sleeves to full tights and at much affordable prices.ScreenHunter_120 Nov. 09 16.10

According to the press release:

“Zensah is the #1 selling compression leg sleeves in the USA for the Running Specialty.”  Leisure Trends Group 2009 – 2015, YTD Data,

Zensah, the pioneer of graduated compression apparel will have four of its products, namely, compression leg sleeves, compression knee sleeves, compression shorts and compression tights, made available on the e-commerce platform for both men and women. Introducing Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves The e-commerce platform introduced Zensah’s Compression Leg Sleeves, which is their bestselling apparel. Presently, the compression leg sleeves are the only ones on the market that are designed to prevent and relieve shin splints. The leg sleeves feature pinpoint compression and chevron ribbing to provide targeted muscle support. There are no other compression brand that offers 3D ribbing specifically for shin splints.

Zensah prides itself on creating products using their cutting edge seamless technology made using high-quality computers and machines that do all the precision engineering, providing athletes with the following unique features of their products: • Seamless construction – Eliminates abrasion • Zensah® Silver Ions- Reduces bacteria growth & odour • Soft Hand – Provides the most comfortable workout experience • Pinpoint compression- Provides compression at the exact problem areas • Moisture Wicking- Enhances quicker evaporation of moisture.

Product price ranges from $39 to $149.

It will have been great if Itai had given me some samples to test out but unfortunately they did not so I cannot comment on how effective they are.

Zensah compression products can be purchase online at http://www.itaisports.com/

My Saucony Kinvara Collection

I like the Saucony Kinvara shoes so much. Since I first worn the Kinvara in 2011, I have now gone through 3 edition, the Kinvara 1, the Kinvara 2, the Kinvara 3 and currently on its last leg of the first Kinvara 3. I have another brand new pair of Kinvara 4 still in its box bought more than 6 months ago.2-DSC01745

And I just bought a Kinvara 5 yesterday!

1-DSC01754

 

Saucony 4:

Date of Purchase: 1 January 2015

Price: $79.50 on offer

Place of Purchase: Royal Sporting House

Races:

Singapore City Race 2016

Mizuno Ekiden 2016

Craze Ultra 2015

Total Mileage 1004 km

Retired 2 April 2017