Monday, October 20, 2014

Long Exposure Photography Fun with Oneplus One Camera

One of the stand-out built in default camera app of the Oneplus One (by Cynogenmod) is the ability to do slow shutter speed, up to 8 seconds long. I have explored the capabilities of the Oneplus One camera and found that it performs admirably well in general shooting conditions (please read here if you have not). In this blog entry, I shall explore the camera further by doing long exposure shooting. The choice of camera app this time was the default camera app, instead of Camera FV-5, because the slow shutter speed in the default app can capture full size 13MP images (while the Camera FV-5 is limited to 2MP, which is actually the direct live view feed from the LCD screen). 

I am going to be honest and start off by saying, in order to do long exposure photography you do need to have some fundamental understanding of photography basics. You need to know how to control shutter speed, aperture and ISO, and you need to know about metering and general available light circumstances. I can share all the settings and steps I took to produce the images shown here but they will not be much of a help if you cannot understand why and how I applied them. Please do read up on photography basics if you intend to pursue any kind of photography further, even if it is just mobile phone photography. 

And yes, I do intend to share my techniques and setup. 

Oneplus One in action, image taken by Olympus PEN E-PL5

Kuala Lumpur City Skyline
4sec, ISO79, F2

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shutter Therapy Goes On

It felt like it has been centuries since I last did any street photography. The previous few weeks were occupied with the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens, and I had very specific purpose in mind when I went out to shoot. Obviously the long PRO lens was not a suitable street photography lens, so I decided to shoot other subjects, which worked out well for the lens. This weekend, I finally had some room to breathe, and I am glad I can finally do my shutter therapy, doing my own thing and just shoot whatever comes to me on the street without having "objectives" preoccupying my mind all the time. 

It was a solo photowalk, and I do miss the times when I roamed the streets alone. It is not exactly adviceable to do so in streets of KL, since we do have quite a high crime rate here now. Nonetheless, it was refreshing and just the session I needed to clear my head off the dramas and traumas in life. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 or PEN E-PL5 and Panasonic 14mm F2,5

Coffee after shoot. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Lens Review Extension: MC-14 Teleconverter, Continuous AF with Tracking and Quick Comparison with M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 lens

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3.
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

This blog entry serves as a review extension to my original post M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Lens review, so if you have not read that first part, kindly do so before proceeding to this extension. The reason why this extension exists is because I did not cover three items in my original blog post: 
Shooting with Olympus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter for M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens
Continuous AF with Tracking capability of the lens
and comparison with M.Zuiko 75mmm F1.8 the sharpest M.Zuiko prime lens

I intend to cover all the three items in this blog entry. 

Before we start, let's have a look at how fast the focusing speed of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens is. I mentioned it was very fast and accurate in my previous review, and I also believe seeing is believing. I have recorded a video of the touch AF (shooting by touching on LCD screen of the OM-D) in action, and you will see how blazingly fast the AF of the lens is. That implementation of new Dual VCM (voice coil motor) mechanism works very well!


Olympus has released a teleconverter MC-14, which multiplies the focal length of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens by 1.4x, and losing the aperture brightness by one stop, from F2.8 widest to F4. Therefore, with the teleconverter MC-14 attached to the lens, you effectively obtain 56-210mm (in 35mm format, it is 112-420mm), at constant aperture of F4, which is still very respectable for a zoom lens. Obviously the purpose of having the tele-converter is to add that extra far reach, and that 40% longer foal length does make a difference when you do need to get a little closer.  Considering that the main gain is the focal length, it is only prudent to use this converter when the 150mm longest reach is insufficient, because if you intend to shoot mostly within 150mm, without the teleconverter you get brighter F2.8 aperture. 
The MC-14 teleconverter is so small and light that it does not add to any significant weight to the lens. It features a protruding element which inserts right into the rear of the 40-150mm F2.8 pro lens, which has a hollow opening. With this specific design, the teleconverter cannot be used with any other lenses, and is tailor made only for the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens. The MC-14 still maintains the weather-sealing properties of the lens and OM-D body combination.  

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Shoot Model Portrait

Just sharing a few more photographs from my recent model photoshoot with Nicole. Honestly, I did not do much, all the posing were done by Nicole. I was a terrible director, and I just told her to be herself and did not force her to do any of the poses she did. If you think the photographs turned out good, it must be all her. I was merely there snapping away with the OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO lens. 

My part? Just watch how the light fell on her, and compose. The location was a city/urban street with morning light, and most photographs were taken under shade with soft lighting. 

My inspiration for portrait shooting? Kirk Tuck. Though I know I am miles away from what he can do with his portraiture work, and probably my shots look nothing like the ones he could do, but hey, everyone gotta start somewhere.