Monday, June 10, 2013

There is Something About Olympus...

The more people see me shoot with Sony, the more I blog with Sony photos, the more assumptions people started to make. I have been getting questions like "have you given up on Olympus?", "what made you switch to Sony from Olympus?", "did Sony Malaysia pay you?". In all seriousness, those are the questions I have least expected! No, I never gave up on Olympus, I don't think I ever will. I still am very much in love with Olympus gear, and I have not sold off anything just yet. Olympus will still remain as my main workhorse, and whenever I do something more serious that requires me to be absolutely critical about performance and results, Olympus is the answer. No, I never switched or jumped ship. I bought into the Sony system as a means of cheap back-up system, which worked well enough for my needs, and I have little complains so far. I do wish Sony Malaysia pays me though, so I don't have to be too poor suffering day and night for my engineering job. 

Yes, I admit I have been using Sony and only Sony for most of my recent shutter therapy sessions. I have not been out shooting much lately, not as much as I would want. Today, Patrick, the dude visiting from Sweden asked for one more shutter therapy session before he leaves Malaysia. This time, I brought along the Olympus, and boy, did I miss using it on the streets!

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital Lenses 25mm F2.8 pancake and 50mm F2.0 macro lens. 

Mother



Trishaw

A friendly stranger

Hidden Passage

Staircase

One Way

Cat

The locations of shoot were Chow Kit and Kampung Baru. Chow Kit has always been my favourite street hunting ground and I always, always find something interesting to shoot there. 

When I was handling the Olympus E-5, there is that certainty I have nailed my shot, even without chimping much. I have no problem with focus accuracy, which bugged me with the Sony A350 and A57. Perhaps it was the cheaper lenses I was using, or I still failed to control the Sony cameras well enough, my miss-focus rates were high. Not alarmingly high, but still dangerous enough for me to feel uncomfortable, and obviously not very confident that I need to take so many shots just in case the first few were missed. I have checked the lenses and I have no back focus or front focus issues. It is just that the focusing can go all over the place, and that is something I will worry when I need to deliver results. The Olympus on the other hand, was superbly reliable. I guess there is a difference using a professional grade DSLR, versus the lower and cheaper entry level cameras such as the Sony A350 and A57. Perhaps the story would be different if I was using the amazing A99 or A77 coupled with some higher grade lenses. 

And then there was that crazy amazing Olympus 50mm F2 macro lens. I already knew how amazing that lens is all this time, being one of the sharpest lenses out there, and it renders a certain look that is so pleasing I do not see from any other lenses in the same class (lets not compare with Zeiss or Leica lenses which are many times more expensive). After using the Sony prime lenses, the 50mm F1.8 and 35mm F1.8 for a while now, I started to realize another beautiful thing about the Olympus 50mm F2 lens. The bokeh rendering is really, special. The out of focus area of the image, was distinctively smooth, and has a unique quality to it, that I do not find on the cheaper Sony primes. Yes, yes, I know again, it is also not a fair comparison, because those prime lenses were budget, cheaper lenses, and are not in the same league with the Olympus macro. So why compare at all? I guess, there is just something about that Olympus 50mm F2 macro that I have come to love so much, that it is difficult to let it go. I am willing to bet that even the Sony 50mm F1.4, or the future incarnation of the Zeiss lens for Sony won't have the beautiful bokeh rendering capability of the Olympus F2 lenses. My personal opinion, you can choose to disagree, but what I stated here are based on my own observation, and you know I love my images to have shallow depth of field. I openly admit, I love bokeh. 

Waiting

Walking Stick

Religious Guy.
Look at the bokeh rendering!! And this was shot at F2.8. 

Old Shops

Another Trishaw

Five Foot Way

Patrick from Sweden and that amazing Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 lens!

After the walk, we went to Pavilion and had Chinese food for dinner. It was Patrick's choice, and I do admit the food in the restaurant was rather good. So I took the opportunity to shoot some food photographs. I suck at food photography. I just could not get it right somehow. But the delicious food must be shared, and I enjoy shooting food photos, and even more, I enjoy eating itself! 

Xiao Long Bao, meant to be eaten with ginger dipped in light soy sauce and brown vinegar

I did not even use the macro lens on this, the close up capability of the 25mm pancake lens was amazing. 

Spicy Jelly Fish

Pork and Shrimps Wonton Soup

Fried Shrimp with Mango

Final photo of Patrick!

To Patrick, it was great fun having you around, hope you enjoyed the walk in the afternoon, though it was quite a long one! Hope to see you again when you do drop by KL in the future!


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54 comments:

  1. Truly beautiful pics today, as usual, Robin. I guess a little break from one beloved camera makes the reencounter all the sweeter, and those fantastic shots are good proof of that!
    I specially loved the "staircase" pic!
    On a side note, I just started my own photography blog, all with m4/3 gear, very small at the moment, but hopefully I will improve as I shoot more and more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Gonzalo,
      Thanks for the kind words. "a little break from one beloved camera makes the reencounter all the sweeter" so VERY true!!
      Glad to hear you are starting a blog. yes, that is the key, keep shooting!

      Delete
  2. Whatever the combination of photographer and camera, these photos just zing! When I look at these photos I recall the feelings they stimulated when you first reviewed the OMD EM5 last year and prompted me to get into the Olympus system. Outstanding work!

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  3. Obviously Olympus can't beat Sony ehehe.... As usual, lovely photos bro, and that Pork and Shrimps Wonton Soup just made me hungry, and I'm suppose to be on a diet! Damn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How come Olympus can't beat Sony? I am saying in this blog that Olympus wins! LOL

      Delete
  4. nice! take more food photos =P

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  5. Hey Robin,

    Your Olympus lenses produce much more pleasant photos than the Sony ones. The colors, bokeh, sharpness... Everything looks great.
    I have an Olympus E-PL3 and just recently bought a Pentax K30 (both cameras with kit lenses). I am hoping to buy a few prime lenses for both cameras to see their true potential.

    By the way, I read that Olympus will share their 5-axis stabilization system with Sony. That means, some interesting Sony A-mount cameras are on the way, but none of them can be as exciting as the successor of E-5 :)

    Ibrahim Gurel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ibrahim,
      Thanks for the kind words! Indeed exciting times coming ahead with Sony and Olympus sharing technologies.

      Delete
  6. Three things Robin:

    1. Good blog post, with great photos, like always!
    2. You're right about b&w photos - they rock! At least yours do! And thanks for the nice comment on my page.
    3. You're also right about that 50 Macro. Somehow it's magical. We have two of the 45mm Micro Zuiko lenses for the Pens, and these are also really great - but I could never let that 50 Macro go (tho the next lens purchase will probably be the 60 Macro for Mitchie). I'll keep mine as long as I have a body to use it with, and if that time is gone I will still keep it.

    Keep up the good work you show here... oh, and your food photos aren't bad at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks wolfgang for the kind words!
      Glad to know that you also find the magic of the 50mm F2 lens!

      Delete
  7. Must be part of asian DNA of systematically shooting our meal. :)
    Really nice BW pics, I love when you go on street photography for your shutter therapy. You're really outstanding when you're operating in urban areas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Son Nguyen! I love urban street photography too, somehow it has become addictive and I just need a dosage from time to time.

      Delete
  8. Your Sony images were excellent. The Olympus ones captured with E-5 and 50mm/F2 are special. I don't know how to describe in words, I just love them. In this series, it's the "Walking Stick".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm seems like the walking stick is popular!

      Delete
  9. Ahhh! Din Tai Fung!! So good, we've had it in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and we love it every time! You're lucky to have one in KL... Also, your shots look great, as always. Keep up the good work, and hopefully we'll be able to meet up again and actually shoot together. My wife and I will be coming through KL on our way to Indonesia, so if we have time (last week of July) we'd love to hit the streets again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tony!! Yes it would be GREAT if we could meet up again, and do some shooting. Never did get to shoot with you due to rain and my later appointment that day. End of July it is, let me know again when the time comes!

      Delete
  10. OLYMPUS RULES .........well someday Sony will catch up ...since the sensors r from the same maker......:)

    so your A350 and EPL-1 have been sent to e-bay or r they still around in your home ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still keep both A350 and E-PL1. A350 to use as backup to the A57, as a full system. And the E-PL1 is just there with the CCTV lens, which I have fallen deeply in love with.

      Delete
  11. Robin i wont blame you for abandoning you E-5, since Olympus didnt bother to support their own 43 system anymore... they cant blame their customer to go for other brands. If they have show continuous support with newer refine 43 body that could used back the original 43 lens i guess lots of 43 user will continue on with their 43 system instead of going for m43 or APSC sensor mirrorless system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, I am not abandoning my E-5, and I am still very much in love with it.

      Delete
  12. I thought "Mother" was special but "Waiting" was nearly as good and "Walking Stick" is superb - whilst "Mother " tugs at the heartstrings, "Walking Stick" is technically detailed and superb.

    Then aiyah, don't bluff on the food shots. Siew Loong Pau and that Jellyfish and the killer Mango Prawn whatsit - I refuse to speak to you again! You make me drool so much my screen is wet.

    By the way, good friend introduced me to Kitchen Inn - there is one in Perth and one in Melbourne. First time I have had Sarawak Laksa and wow, it's good. Then I tried the kolo mee and it's pretty good too.

    I think certain sweet spots happen. I know you didn't get excited with Luke's 20mm that I bought. But that lens works so well for me. When I compare to the 25mm on the E-620, the 25mm can't even come close. That 50mm macro is one ace lens - my friend Luster loves her 45mm to death. They are unique and special.

    In terms of AF, my 510 and 620 were ok but in comparison with say the D90 or anything newer, they suck. Some of the pros laugh like crazy about the of these lower end Olympus bodies = I know the AF can work and deliver results but the quick reaction shot, no way. I have not had experience with E-3 or E-5 - I know Brandon's E-3 could AF your 50 and the 50-200 easily. As well as the 35-100. The 510 and 620 can't handle the 50 or 35-100 much.

    So maybe the low range Sony are not in the class of the E-5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ananda,
      Thanks for the kind words!! My favourite of the day was Mother!
      Yeah, I know the E-520 I had also had very slow focusing!! Indeed, when using 50mm F2, it was quite painful.
      The Sony A57 focuses VERY fast. However, it misses a lot. I won't say how much but its enough to cause concern. On the other hand the E-520 may be slow but it rarely misses. Even when I stopped down the aperture to F3.5 or F4 on the 50mm, using Sony A57, I still get misses, so its not the shallow depth of field problem. I have also been told by Olympus people that Olympus favors accuracy over speed, all these while. It was true, I rarely had problems with any focusing accuracy issues with any Olympus cameras (E-410, E-520, E-5, E-PL1, and all the bodies I tested for reviews). Somehow, handling the Sony, my confidence level in shooting just dropped!

      Delete
    2. how fast does the AF need to be? haha. it could be faster i suppose but i wished i shot more with my e620 to be crying out for that.
      speaking on the subject of kolo mee, after just a 3 day trip to Kuching i think the best kolo mee is in Chung Choon in town, the guy who makes it is my friend's cousin. i found the laksa there to be ok, why are all the stalls so kiam siap with their sambal?
      the better laksa is at this coffe shop called yeow kee in some township area. didnt take my camera which was a shame. definitely will next time. oh and a special mention goes to ice lemon tea "kosong", the ice cold strong tea with a few slices of lemon, refreshing good!

      Delete
  13. Hi Robin,

    These are quality pictures!!
    There will be nothing else to compete with Olympus colors and Olympus 'power' in the black & White Pictures!

    Keep up the good work man!!

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    1. Thanks Rick!! Appreciate the kind words.

      Delete
  14. its very long time no see ur street bnw photo..i really2 like ur presentation about street photo in bnw..as i look at this photo, i can feel d environment and their daily life..as usual ur bnw so awesone..till now i really enjoy to see ur bnw presentation..

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    Replies
    1. Yalo, no time to shoot lately!! Thanks for the kind words. B&W rocks!

      Delete
  15. W.R.T your words about the SLT-A77..... I think there r very good deals /packages [lense +cam] on the A77 at the B&H [ oveheard at the SLT forum at DPR]...but then I think u would already know about that already since u r closer to them ..
    .Unfortunately they do not ship to my destination at a very user-friendly price ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not intend to buy further into the Sony system at the moment. No worries, when funds are available, I might consider upgrading.

      Delete
  16. I really enjoyed seeing the photos in this post, Robin. They just have "that look and vibe" that is so special with your street photography. I haven't see a post as good as this one in quite some time. It's great to see you back in the (Olympus) saddle again, and riding high! Great job.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Gregg,
      Thanks for the compliments!! Yes I am glad to be back using the Olympus

      Delete
  17. Love Ding Tai Fung!

    I love the composition of your shots, it's more about your pictures, than the gear.. Either system creates great results in the right hands..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first time trying Ding Tai Fung, not bad!

      Delete
  18. Love Ding Tai Fung!

    I love the composition of your shots, it's more about your pictures, than the gear.. Either system creates great results in the right hands..

    ReplyDelete
  19. The Wong look with Olympus is the right look for me.

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  20. Damn, that wonton soup looks good ...

    Great shots, as usual, Robin. I think the staircase one is my favourite. It's not the kind of photo that I see every day. The staircase, the cats and the girl all come together nicely in that composition.

    Chow Kit, huh? Maybe next time.

    S.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Scott,
      Yes, Chow Kit, come again! Pudu is also very nice.
      And we shall eat that wonton soup too, deal?

      Delete
  21. Nice Blog!



    Love the pictures!


    Visit http://www.unn.edu.ng

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great shots as usual, Robin! That soup looks stunning - I had it many times in Hong Kong. It's fabulous and I'm sure its just as good in KL. The "mother" picture is special too. Lovely!

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    1. Thanks Andre! If you do come by KL will bring you to the place that serves that soup!

      Delete
  23. As an Olympus user I secretly want the Oly shots to be better, and the Oly camera and lens combinations you enjoy using seem to come through in the images. I picked up a used 50mm macro for my OM-D, and even with the slower focus it is a lens I love to get out and use. I agree on the bokeh - even stopped down it looks great!

    Example on my blog: http://mftadventures.blogspot.ca/2013/05/this-is-shot-taken-with-amazing-olympus.html

    Or on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shuswapheroshot/8676303479/

    Great images!

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    Replies
    1. Hello Brad,
      Thanks for the kind words, and I am very glad to see you use the 50mm macro too. Though I must admit, on the OM-D, it has become very slow and painful indeed, using with the adapter.

      Delete
  24. My 5DmkIII can easily overcome Patrick omd , I think Olympus is only for street photography or static images. its af speed isn't good enough as canon :D

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    1. I can't believe that an average person needs to spend $3k on a 5D to get fast enough focus :) The OMD is as fast as any dSLR that I've ever used for single shot, and prefocusing gives me better results for the majority of my shots than tracking with a dSLR ever did...

      Delete
  25. In the long run, Canon investment is more worth than olympus. the quality of L lens line up and seamless flash system is unbeaten by others. if your priority is for fun photography yeah olympus is just for you, if youre serious about professional photography Canon is your answer.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. There are award winning, as well as national geographic photographers who use Olympus. now tell me, are they not professionals? they have worked and earned professionally with great success. I don't see how they would find using any other gear to be better otherwise.

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    2. It's the skill of the photographer not the camera brand. Btw Robin love your photos as always you and Ming Thein are one of the blogs I follow closely as both of you are Olympus users :D

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    3. cant imagine myself doing professional photography with a cheapo VIVITAR digicam!!!!
      Can You??

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    4. Why are we talking about Vivitar? If you want to trash talk about cameras, go to forums where trolls waste their life away there. This is my personal blog space. If you do not like seeing Olympus images, why are you here? Photography should not be about gear. If you cannot even agree with this fundamental understanding, I am afraid you are more lost than you think you are. Go elsewhere to bash talk.

      Delete
    5. Good answer Robin. Money and expensive equipment are not answer for everything, specially for creativity. You couldn't buy that!

      Delete