After countless bashing online by fans and supporters on the lack of firmware updates for OM-1, followed by my vocal live stream session about the importance of having firmware updates for flagship cameras last week, and finally the online petition that went live just yesterday, OM Digital Solutions has finally broke silence today. They announced that a new firmware is in the works for the OM-1 original and will be available by fall this year. The announcement at this moment (you can view it here) is only available in Japanese, and the content is translated of course, but good enough to indicate what is to come. 

A group of OM System photographers and supporters have started an online petition to get a new Firmware Update for the original OM System OM-1 camera! I applaud this initiative, and I fully support their efforts. I have signed up the online petition and you can also do your part to have our voices heard! OM Digital Solutions had promised "regular, robust firmware updates" for their cameras on their official website, but they clearly abandoned this when they released the OM-1 Mark II with minor updates and merely some "firmware tweaks", which could have been made available for the original OM-1 via a firmware update. Also, the OM-1 only received minor, incremental firmware updates and has not seen an update since May 2023, that was about 8 months ago. The petition is a show of faith from the core OM System fans and supporters, and myself being one, I do want that firmware update 2.0 happen for OM-1 original. You can do your part by signing the online petition here (click). 

I get asked this a lot - which lens do you like better, the Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 or Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8? I have both lenses with me, and I have shot with them for my professional jobs, made YouTube videos as well as did some personal shoots with them over the years. I am sharing my thoughts and experience on using both lenses in my latest video here (click). I personlly think it is not right to compare both lenses against each other, as they both correspond to different focal lengths. The Olympus 17mm is closer to classic 35mm equivalent, and the Panasonic 15mm is almost like the 28mm. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your own shooting style and preference, do you like the wider coverage of 28mm, or are you a classic 35mm shooter? I personally lean toward the Panasonic 15mm, as I have never got along well with 35mm focal length. That's just me, but hey, both are excellent lenses, both are well constructed, small and light, and are capable of shooting sharp images! They both embody what a Micro Four Thirds lens should be, and I only hope both OM Digital Solutions and Panasonic would update their respective lenses with full weather-sealing!

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I made a short trip to Ipoh, a small town about 3 hours' drive north from Kuala Lumpur in last December for a quick relaxing photography outing with some friends. One of the main attractions in Ipoh is Pasar Karat which happens every Sunday morning. Basically, it is a flea market, or a local buy sell location, where you can find some really cool, old stuff. I chanced upon an "Olymbus" camera. I did not take the camera out of the box, and did not ask if it still works, or how much it costs. My mind was set on hunting street photographs that morning, and had I slowed down my pace a little I could have actually decided to buy the "Olymbus" camera, just because it is "Olymbus". It was really strange to see pirated, or cloned copies of cameras being made and sold even back in the film era. Obviously, I had zero knowledge about this back in the day as I started photography in the digital age. I am aware of counterfeit and fake electronic products, especially popular headphones (Sennheiser particularly) being circulated rampantly. I just did not realize this problem had started much, much earlier. 

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Nokia released the Lumia 1020 in 2013, and I thought this 41MP smartphone camera can still outperform many greatest and most expensive smartphones today. I found one at a good price in good condition in used market and brought it out for some street shooting. Based on the images I obtained from the session, the 41MP 2/3-inch image sensor coupled with 26mm F2.2 equivalent lens produced excellent per pixel sharpness and plenty of contrast and details, rendering natural, highly realistic looking images. This camera was launched before the advent of aggressive computational AI software with heavy processing; hence the colors were not oversaturated, and it lacks the over sharpening and crazy noise reduction happening in most newer smartphones that smeared away many useful fine details and contrast. Modern smartphone makers can learn a thing or two from Nokia, the hardware is important, and you can only go so far pushing the imaging boundaries with your software. I cannot help but wonder if Nokia is still around, we would get really interesting and capable smartphone cameras from them today! After all, they were the first to push the sensor size and megapixel count in the smartphone industry. I made a video to talk about this here (click). 

Gong Xi Fa Cai to those who celebrate Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year! 

May this year bring you abundant prosperity, overflowing joy and great health. I am currently away from Kuala Lumpur, and am back in my hometown Kuching in Borneo, celebrating the Chinese New Year with my family. This is a much needed break, probably I will eat too much sinful food, but let's worry about the consequences later. I am compiling a series of images in bold red, mainly because red is the primary auspicious color for Chinese New Year! Enjoy the oversaturated reds in the images!