Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival 2012

So it was that mini-Photokina that we are having in Malaysia now, over this weekend, at Mid Valley Convention Center where the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival  (KLPF) is happening. I am not entirely sure what to make of this event, particularly because it does not feel like 100% photography related, and I tell you, honestly, more than 50% of this event has become travel/tourism driven, and almost completely had nothing to do with photography at all. In the future, somehow, due to more and more travel agencies coming in as main sponsors of the event, it could just evolve into Kuala Lumpur Travel and Photography Festival. 

It was the first weekend that I can actually BREATHE some free air, away from my consecutive wedding asssignment and gear review works happening concurrently over the past few weeks. I am still slowly recovering from my bad flu and cough, and just recently finished that fashion shoot which happened few days ago. So that air of freedom was actually spent at this KLPF event, where I met quite a few familiar faces, catching up with old friends, and at the same time making some new ones. Indeed it is the largest photography festival (or also a travel fair of some sort) in town, and surely the place to be. 

I was also very surprised to find three of my photographs being printed and exhibited along a few hundred other photographs, in the theme "CITY" at KLPF !!

I did submit a few of my street images to the exhibitors, but was not notified if my images were shortlisted for the exhibition. Kelvin told me the organizers have dropped him an email notifying him that his photographs will be exhibited, and me here not receiving any confirmation from the organizers or any news at all just assumed that I did not make it at all to the final display. It was indeed a surprise to see my photographs up there on the wall, printed at A4 size. Although this event was nothing that special in particular (I believe most people who submitted their photographs would surely have been selected) since it was an open call for anyone with "City" related photographs, I somehow did find joy in seeing those images up there. Simple things make me happy, it did not take much really. One day, maybe I will have an exhibition of my own, and that would be so cool. 

So what other reasons do we have to come to KLPF? Two other main reasons, actually. Firstly, the girls, models hired by the manufacturers to promote their products. Secondly, camera porn, lots and lots of camera porn. For some unexplainable reasons, I did not fall for the first reason this year. So camera porn was what I indulged in, but not to my fullest satisfaction. 

You see, I went to Panasonic booth and expected to be excited by their latest offerings: that much hyped new Panasonic GH3 body, as well as the new 35-100mm F2.8 lens. I understand that those are very new items just announced a few weeks ago, so perhaps some testing model to touch and play would have been really great, not expecting units for sale or pre-ordering yet. When I asked the salesperson, they told me NONE of the items were available, not even for display or demo purposes. I was a little devastated, I thought Panasonic would have at least used this largest photography festival as their leverage to push out their latest products. If you do not reach to the crowd here, where else can you find your channel to market your products? Don't want to be dissappointed, I asked for their fairly new 12-35mm F2.8 lens, and guess what, that lens was also NOT available !!! UNACCEPTABLE !!! Panasonic, what are you doing???

I went over to Canon, and hoped to see their new "affordable" full frame 6D, and was told that the camera would only come in November. Sadness indeed, and that 7D, 60D and 5Dmk2..... seriously, you are at a photography fair and all you see are those dinosaurs?

No wonder EVERYONE was flocking at Nikon booth, and I could not even get into the front, and Nikon supporters came in wearing their "I am Nikon" T-shirts. They did it right by making the D600, their latest "affordable" 24MP full frame DSLR already on sale, and yes, you can evidently see it, the crowd was responding VERY well. I waited for a full 15 minutes to get into the front line and I decided it was not worth waiting, hence I moved on to other places. I tell you, that D600 will be Nikon's best selling camera of the year, and will break new records. 

The Olympus PEN E-PL5 and the 15mm F8 body cap. I shall be playing with the 15mm F8 body cap soon, and will be blogging about it. Stay tuned folks. 

That exploded view of Sony A99 full frame camera. Looks really impressive, surely a head-turner at the event. Engineers like myself dig this. 

Sorry, the glass reflection was more severe than I thought.

That sexy A99, it looks so beautiful, and fits sooooo well in hand, everything about the camera just feels so right. 

Tom Truong giving the A99 camera a go. 

OOwwwwwwhhhhh that BEAST... Sony RX1 !!!! Why is the camera behind glass???? WHYY??????? I wanted to touch, feel, caress and hold it so badly. So sad it was not ready for demo. Sony how could you torture us like this?

Sony RX100, creating waves in the compact camera world. Though the pricing is on the steeper side, there has been no complain from friends who have purchased this camera, and I have heard nothing but good stuff about it. Amiruddin giving it a ago. 

Sony NEX-5R. To be honest I do not quite like the newer body designs of the NEX bodies. They lack the "camera look", perhaps too "gadgety" for the geeks. 

How can you not like looks like these? Looks itself can sell the camera. Fuji XE-1. I played with the camera briefly, seriously not bad, the AF has been improved dramatically, but still not as smooth and incredibly fast as the OM-D, NEX series, or even anything from Panasonic. There is still catching up to do, but surely I am sure in the future the Fuji X-series will be improved. XE-1's AF is actually quite usable I believe (need to verify with proper testings) unlike the sibling X-Pro 1. I am not sure about the new firmware update but before that it was so painfully slow, even my lousy RM380 budget Panasonic compact camera focuses much faster. 

XE-1, smaller than the X-Pro 1, mainly due to the exclusion of the viewfinder. I would want a viewfinder though, serious shooters will treasure the availability and practical usage of a good viewfinder. 

It was no surprise that Sony gained much attention, being able to showcase their A99 full frame camera, which is not to be looked lightly. That Sony A99 seems to be a very competitive model, and Sony is the only other alternative of Full Frame camera available apart from the two big brands Canon and Nikon. Anything additional and extra options are always welcome, and Sony is getting serious, making a statement that they can fight and deliver great cameras, if they want to. I think this year marks the rise for Sony, not only with that A99 full frame camera, but also some very interesting smaller offerings, mainly with the now already hot-selling RX100 compact camera which also received very positive reviews from everywhere, and that highly anticipated RX1, a compact camera with two very important outstanding components: a Full Frame 35mm format sensor, and a matching Carl Zeiss lens to match. With such camera line-ups, it is interesting to see the direction where Sony is going. They are offering very exciting alternatives and indeed strong, innovative yet practical options for photographers from almost all levels. Unlike the traditionalist Canon and Nikon, Sony seems to respond to what the audience wants. 

In this particular event, I met up with a blog reader all the way from Sydney, an accredited professional wedding photographer, Tom Truong. It was indeed interesting to meet a real photographer who has been practicing for decades and surely an honor to know him in person. He raves on how beautiful the monotones (black and white) files are from his OM-D, being the best monotone camera he has ever encountered and he shoots his OM-D mainly just for black and white works. He also shared my frustration of unreasonably short battery life on the OM-D, as well as the not so good OLED monitor screen. Above all, I think it was a great chance to connect to another great photographer, especially someone so experienced and knowledgeable in professional practice such as Tom !

Photo taken by Kelvin Ng with his OM-D

Tom and Robin

I will be returning to KLPF again tomorrow afternoon. If you do see a weird guy with spectacles shooting with an Olympus E-5 and an odd pancake lens, that guy is high likely me, and do come and say hi !! Perhaps, tomorrow, if I felt like it, I shall shoot some models and girls, both on the grounds promoting the brands, as well as those posing on stage, probably not even sure of themselves what they are doing there. 


  1. Yeah, i also wanna see and try the 12-35 f2.8, but sadly it wasn't there..Bad Pana!!!!LOL

    1. Sadness, right? It has been so many months since the 12-35mm was announced.

    2. I recently received the 12-35mm f/2.8 and like it very much, although it is a little large on my OM-D. I've grown to love the diminutive size of that camera and various Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses and since the whole system fits into one small bag, the temptation is to bring everything along, just in case. However, undue preoccupation with gear options can get in the way of actually getting the best shot!

  2. I feel that Camera manufacturers release details of new products too soon these days and that's why we get frustrated.
    Case in point, we all want ( OM-D users that is, ) the new standard Oly ZD lens which has been announced but we have to wait until next year for? Are they kidding? Build this FIRST and make pancakes later. Please Olympus!
    In my opinion ( that's all ) Nikon product, good as it is, remains just another DSLR update. Sony have something and looks to die for on the A99 but I still think Olympus got the right mix of everything with the OM-D and I'm sticking with it's small size and excellent capabilities and building a lens system for it. It's the best for travel and makes an excellent companion for my Leica M6TTL which still does landscapes with sunsets better than any digital! No weird halo effects caused by sensors when shooting into the sun and...Olympus take note, i don't have to worry about constantly charging it!!! 3 batteries needed for a day's serious shooting with OM-D.
    Great site Robin and marvelous pictures. Keep inspiring us. Haven't had chance to visit KL in the last few years. Love to see the scenes!
    I don't have any of yur profiles that's why i have to be anonymous! What's with that? Where is Yahoo????????

    1. Thanks for the kind compliments, and I agree there are shortcomings still when it comes to digital, but hey, they are improving at incredible pace.
      You can just leave a name at the end of your comment (does not have to be real, just a nickname would do). I always ask my readers to leave a name so that I can trace your history in case you say something again in the future, I won't be treating you like a stranger.

  3. I have kept thinking about the XE-1 after seeing and playing it in KLPF...Should I, Robin?

  4. Hi Robin,Good to hear you are having an easy weekend,I don't know if I could go to a camera fair as surely there is just to much temptation to spend more money!!!Have fun.Tony

    1. Tony,
      Temptations are strong indeed, but as long as we know we already have what we need, its ok not to get that new spanking gear.

  5. Congratulations on getting 3 photos into the show! I'm looking forward to seeing your review of the 15mm f8 body cap lens.

    1. Thanks Dwaine, I shall be in touch with Olympus fairly soon.

  6. When camera is concern forget about Panasonic Malaysia. I ask them for the 14mm f/2.5 and the 20mm f/1.7 lens and they said is not worth buying and ask me to get the GF3 instead. How you like that huh? Stay with Olympus equipment or order Panasonic on-line never from Panasonic Malaysia that all I can said.

    1. Sometimes I wish they put in more effort in marketing, the cameras and lenses from Panasonic are not too bad at all, but I do not see their effort in pushing their new products. I am a micro 4/3 system supporter, a strong one, and if I do not see anything from them, what else can we say about non micro 4/3 users?