Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some Behind the Scenes Photos

You know, I very seldom thought of how I looked like when I was shooting, and certainly when I have been shooting with many people who tagged along with me on the streets lately, more and more photos were taken of me while I was shooting away, and when those photos came back.... I almost always went "whaaaaaattt....... no waaayy I looked like that!!!". Honestly, I never knew how I blended with the street while I was shooting, that was one mystery yet to be solved. 

Awwww please don't walk away...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DPReview Awards E-M1 GOLD, and Some Macro Shots from 12-50mm Kit Lens

If you have not noticed yet, DPReview.com has released their complete review for the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and awarded GOLD with 84% high rating (not something very common for Olympus products). DPReview has also stated in their conclusion page that in comparison to Nikon D7100 and Canon 70D, both being E-M1's direct competitors, there really is no noticeable difference when it comes to side by side image quality comparison and this can be negligible. The only significant difference against E-M1 would be comparison with full frame cameras, but of course that is an entirely different story altogether. Ultimately this was consistent with my own findings in my review, the gap between Micro 4/3 and APS-C DSLR is almost disappearing completely now with the E-M1, and mirrorless is surely the future. It is amazing how far Olympus has come with their mirrorless technology in just a few years!

All images in this blog entry were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens


Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Blog is an Island

I am so glad to finally find some time for proper shutter therapy, and together with Shaun visiting from Australia, we attacked Chow Kit, my favourite hunting ground. I have not been to Chow Kit since... I don't even remember when. Must have been more than half a year since I last went there. Chow Kit, as it has always been, remains my number one place to go to for more serious street photography outings. I always come home with better photographs, not necessarily the photos that my readers will like, but those are the photos that I am personally very satisfied with. Photographs that I want to take, and photographs that show the way I see things. There is just something about this place that kept me going back again and again for more shutter therapy. 

In my bag (now a much smaller bag) I have the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko lenses 45mm F1.8 and 12-50mm F3.5-6.3. As usual I would expect myself to use mostly the 45mm F1.8 lens, but somehow this time, I have changed lenses more often than I used to, and I have utilized the 12-50mm kit lens more than I have originally intended. It provided me with wide angle coverage, something very useful when shooting in tight spaces especially when we were in the wet market. To be honest I am starting to warm up to this lens. I know very well that the new M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 is a far greater lens in every aspect, but this 12-50mm kit lens is not exactly doing too bad, especially in situations where I do not need the extra speed of F2.8 bright aperture, and in shots where sharpness does not really dictate the better outcome of a photograph. For my usual street shooting, the 12-50mm kit lens did its job wonderfully!

Dried Food. 12-50mm kit lens 

Gas Tank. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Tripod Shooting Spree

Update: Please check out our Olympus Malaysia Online Shop, we have new stock arrival of some really cool items!

Bought myself a spanking new tripod at a local warehouse sale, sturdy lightweight and compact tripod, capacity up to 3kg weight and having ball-head for quick adjustment. Giottos VGRN 9225, and I got it for 50% off the retail price. Not a bad deal. 

So what happens next? It is not too difficult to guess, I went for a shooting spree earlier this evening. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens. 
ISO200, F8-11, Shutter Speed varied (shooting with aperture priority). Image stabilization was turned off. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Shaun Visits KL Again, and Night Street Shooting with E-M5

Shaun Nykvist is back in KL again, and I met him up earlier this evening for a very short shutter therapy session and dinner. It was great catching up with Shaun, and joining us was Nick Wade, another usual street shooter around KL area. It was a rainy evening, but that did not stop us from walking about and catching some shots. 

I brought along the Olympus OM-D E-M1 hence Shaun was able to have his hands on the E-M1 together with M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 lens. He was impressed to say the least, coming from a long Olympus usage background since the days of Olympus Four Thirds DSLR. I asked both Shaun and Nick to try the E-M1 and slowing the camera down to 1 second shutter speed, and they were shocked to find that they could shoot one second hand-held, SHARP images! You know it is difficult for me to convince others by showing my own photos but when you are able to do it yourself, I am sure you will be completely convinced. If I remember correctly, Shaun managed to push all the way down to 1.6 sec slow shutter speed, shooting handheld. 

I was of course shooting with my OM-D E-M5, and this was my first time shooting night street in a long, long time. The last time I did this was.... probably... in the beginning of this year? I cannot even remember when! The shooting location, Bukit Bintang has changed so much due to the MRT construction happening, hence the streets had ugly barricades and construction hoardings everywhere. 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5, 45mm F1.8 lens and 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens

New Fences. ISO2,000

Wet Evening. ISO6,400

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Electronic Viewfinder

I think Kirk Tuck will be laughing at me and say "I told you so, since two years ago" if he ever finds out about this post. Kirk has been a very strong supporter of Electronic Viewfinders (EVF) and he has written lengthily for many times, the benefits EVF brings for practical photography. 

On last Saturday night, I was on the way out to purchase a lens filter for my now still naked lens, but on my way to my favourite local camera accessories shop I stumbled upon a charity concert via Facebook postings. You see, in that charity concert, my favourite artist, Ariff AB was performing, and I thought why not made it there since I was free for that particular evening. Lens filter can surely wait. I made a rough mental calculation and I could make it in time before the concert started, with very minor detour. 

Arriff AB performed on stage and he was AMAZING. I am a huge fan of local music, especially the Indie rock scene. It has been a while since I last seen Ariff AB and after all the hectic Olympus roadshows, touch and try events and the KLPF recently, I thought the live concert was a nice, sweet reward I can give myself. There is something about being drowned in loud music and surrounded by a cheering crowd that is therapeutic as well (besides shutter therapy).  

Please do check out Ariff AB (Youtube Channel)


Monday, October 21, 2013

Sony A7 and A7R Full Review.... Ok Kidding. Just Some Thoughts

Sony once again, has turned the whole photography world upside down with their latest announcement of Full Frame camera in surprisingly small and compact NEX sized body, namely the Sony A7 and Sony A7R. I have had a chance to have a brief hands-on session with pre-production models of both the Sony A7 and A7R, thanks to Sony Malaysia allowing exclusive preview to their loyal Sony supporters earlier this afternoon, immediately after the photo sharing session by Dr Chen who was the winner of Sony's World Photo Award (Malaysia) last year. The whole world is talking about these two Full Frame small cameras, and I too, cannot stop myself from thinking about them!

For full specifications of Sony A7 and A7R, please go to DPReview's page here (click). 


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Shutter Therapy with OM-D Users

I have been shooting with a lot of people and rarely have I come across a group with all Olympus users, until very recently, in my previous shutter therapy session last Tuesday, and also this very morning. Basically I pulled together a group of people who have requested to shoot with me on my street hunting session, a few whom I have met during the KLPF 2013 last weekend. As usual I would keep the group small so it is more manageable and we can have more interaction time between each other. When you have a photography outing with too many people, people just tend to break into smaller groups anyway, and get separated from the bigger group. Why not just form smaller groups in the first place?

The location of choice was Pudu, with the primary shooting location being the Open Air Wet Market, a place which has become my favourite. There were a few newcomers this time, and it was their first time shooting in Pudu. As expected, one of the main questions raised today was how I approached the strangers and shoot their portrait photos so up-close. As usual, my answer has always remained consistent, I just walked up to them and shoot. No secret methods, no special techniques, and surely those searching for something extra from my shooting session will be disappointed. I just, literally, pointed my camera at my chosen subjects, and shot them. Did I get rejected? Yes, sometimes, but it does not really matter. There were so many more people to shoot, so many opportunities waiting. Just keep the smile up, and focus on positive thoughts, you will end up with even better photographs than the one you have missed. 

The interesting fact, which I did not anticipated in the first place, was the majority of the photographers using Olympus OM-D E-M5. There were 7 of us, and 5 of us used OM-D, which was something I have not encountered before. I know I am known for being one of the significant blogger who pushed the OM-D into good light, but I myself am always surrounded with photographers and friends who do not actually use micro four thirds system. 

This image was taken with my Nexus 4. So easy to tell which camera was mine, because I was the only one who used black. 


All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 and M.Zuiko lenses: 45mm F1.8, 17mm F1.8 and 12-50mm F3.5-6.3


Awesome Hair

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Bowl of Noodles

After the street outing yesterday with a bunch of Olympus Micro 4/3 shooters, we sat down at Yut Kee, a Hainanese restaurant that has been operating since 1920's. We planned on shooting some photographs of the food there, which I did, but none of my food shots turned out alright. Since the place was so crowded we had to share our table with 2 other patrons, which was something very common in this restaurant (we had to wait 20 minutes before we were seated). Now, the interesting part was, the couple who shared the table with us actually offered us to shoot their food before they eat them, seeing how eager we were shooting our own food. Shamelessly, we took a few shots of that delicious looking Lor Mee. That shot turned out to be the only food shot I could use from this particular session, and I am showing it here. 

Olympus OM-D E-M5, 45mm F1.8 lens, available light

Although I did not eat this bowl of noodles, I started to regret not ordering one when I was reviewing the photos at home. 

Food photography, something I do intend to explore, but then again.... I am also watching my own weight now. Am not getting younger, but what the heck, good food is meant to be eaten!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

At Last, Shutter Therapy! With OM-D E-M5

Woke up to a beautiful morning, a public holiday in Malaysia, and that means catching up on my much needed, and very deprived shutter therapy sessions. Joining me this morning was a group of Olympus Micro Four Thirds shooters, and it has actually been quite a while since I joined an Olympus only group for any shoot. Of course, this was also officially the first session I have done a shutter therapy (for non-review purpose) with my newly acquired Olympus OM-D E-M5. The gang met up at Masjid Jamek and we shot around the area, ending up for lunch just before noon at Yut Kee. I have been looking forward to this particular shooting session, mainly because I have not been doing any shooting for myself only (as usual, not review related). 

I only have two lenses with me, the M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and the 45mm F1.8. I felt that I can exclusively shoot with just the 45mm F1.8 lens, but I also wanted to test out the 12-50mm lens, you know, just to get myself re-familiarized with it, since it has been quite a while since I last used the 12-50mm. The E-M5 did a splendid job in grabbing nearly 100% focus accuracy (with blazing speed). When I was using the E-M5, it did not feel alien at all, and somehow, I was quite comfortable with it. The menu system is basically the same with the E-5, and coming from Olympus background, it was quite easy to pick up the camera and just shoot. The basic setup and settings are the same. 

Portrait of a Stranger 1

Monday, October 14, 2013

Moving on to Micro Four Thirds, and KLPF Olympus Shoot-Out Challenge!

I posted a while ago on my Facebook Page (yes I do have a FB Page, if you have not "liked" it, please do do) that I have bought some new gear (camera, lens and bag). Many have responded with rather interesting guesses, such as Fuji! Goodness, never have I in my blog stated my intention or interest in any Fuji cameras. And you should all know by now how loyal I am to Olympus, now that I am fully employed by Olympus Malaysia. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 will only arrive later next month, and I cannot afford the E-M1 anytime soon. I cannot even get staff discounted price now, since I am still under probation, and it will be about half a year before I can get my confirmation. I would really, really want to have the E-M1 but it just cannot happen anytime soon. However, at the same time I am facing the same question again and again wherever I go, whomever I have met "Robin, why are you not using an OM-D?"

The Olympus E-5 won't last me long. God knows what I have put it through, and all the tortures it has endured. I dare not even to check the shutter count. Although the E-5 is still fully functional, I cannot trust it to survive for long, and I am not surprised if it just suddenly decided to give up on me. Therefore, the only logical move now, is to go fully Micro Four Thirds. 

For now, Olympus OM-D E-M5 will have to suffice. 

My NEW Gear: OM-D E-M5, 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 and 45mm F1.8



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Olympus at KLPF 2013 Day 1

Being an Olympus employee now, I was stationed full time at the Olympus booth for the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival 2013, specifically in charge of a section dedicated to the new OM-D E-M1 only. It was an exceptionally exhuasting day, having to explain again and again the advantages and amazing capabilities of the E-M1 to the visitors to our booth, but the whole day felt incredibly fulfilling. It was great meeting the photography crowd, some who do know me through my blog. It actually took bits and pieces of my exhaustion off whenever someone said hi to me!
Being stuck at one place also meant I did not have a chance to roam around and explore the entire exhibition hall. I foresee things will get a lot more hectic on the remaining days, with expected higher volume of crowd visiting as well as our Olympus booth having a lot more activities happening over the weekend. We will have a Shoot-Out Challenge with Full Frame camera users. I shall not go into detail about this Shoot-Out Challenge, but I sure it will be something worth blogging about next. 

I think I did not expect the crowd coming to see the OM-D E-M1 to be so huge. We have relatively lower attendance to the KLPF on the whole today, mainly because the afternoon is occupied by Muslim Prayers, and the day itself is still a working weekday. Hence we are expecting even larger crowd on Saturday, and gosh, I sure hope I can survive the sea of people flowing in. 

With whatever small opportunities that I have had, I whipped out my trusty E-M5 and snapped some shots. 

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sanjit: An Olympus Inspiration

Sanjitpaal Singh is an amazing wildlife photographer, who strongly supports Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds system. I first saw him giving a talk live on stage at Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival in 2008, sharing tips on shooting wildlife, and I was blown away by his images taken with Olympus DSLR system (with that crazy amazing 300mm F2.8 lens). He left a very strong impression in me and made me believe in Olympus, and love the system even more. He showed me how capable the Olympus Four Thirds system can be, and I was merely scratching the surface of what I could do with my then Olympus DSLR E-520 and kit lenses, and motivated me to explore further and improve more and more. Sanjit has always been a local idol for many Olympus photographers in Malaysia, and I still see him that way even today. 

I had a Godsent chance to work alongside Sanjit during my OM-D E-M5 review series, where he took care of the video review part, shooting me in action for all my review activities. Working closely with him I was amazed even more by his endless creative ideas overflowing from his artistic mind. and I got to witness first hand his dedication and passion toward the craft. He is not just a great photographer, he is willing to go the distance, dare to dream big and push beyond the limits. I was moved by his unfallable discipline and sacrifice he was willing to make to accomplish his creative goals. No wonder, he is a multiple winners of many prestigious international photography awards, which includes last year's IPA Award. I was blessed to have known Sanjit, and be touched by his photography work and passion. 

Earlier this evening, Sanjit was giving a talk at Peter Tan's Behind the Lens session, and it somehow reminded me of the first time I saw Sanjit on stage. That reminder has made me reflect on how far i have come ever since that first year I have got my first Olympus DSLR, all the incredible adventures I have gone through, the beautiful people I have met and the wonderful experience I have had while shooting as well as all my activities here blogging. Surely I have come a long way, and I have a lot to thank Sanjit for. 

I did not have a camera with me, so I have to make do with my phone camera for shots with Sanjit. I thought, after all the reflection and nostalgic reminders, a photograph with an important local Olympus hero has become a necessity!

Please check out Sanjit's work at the following links:
Website/Portfolio: http://fullcirclepix.com/
and also here: http://www.jitspics.com/



Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Penang Diaries

Over the weekend, Olympus Malaysia crew has travelled north to Penang for a user OM-D E-M1 Touch and Try event. The event went amazingly well, and I was so glad to find so many friendly Penang folks that know me from my blog here. Thank you folks for coming up and say hi to me!! I shall blog about the Penang Touch and Try event in my coming blog entry. 

This morning, before we drove all the way back (about 5 hours drive) to Kuala Lumpur, I managed to squeeze in some time for shutter therapy. I did not walk far, but within the areas and streets of Komtar. It was very early in the morning, and much to my dismay it rained for more than half of the time. I only had about two hours before checking out of the hotel and leaving Penang, and the heavy rain was not helping me at all. Nevertheless, I find Penang street to be really, really beautiful and suitable for street photography. If only I had more time, if only it did not rain that heavily, if only I did not have to spend half of the time sheltering myself from rain. I MUST return to Penang again, just to shoot the streets. Everything here is so different from what I find in KL, and it does seem like there is a lot of place to explore! 

All images were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2,8-3.5, 25mm F2.8 pancake or 50mm F2 macro. 

Frames

Raincoat

Friday, October 04, 2013

Olympus OMD-E-M1 Review: Comparison with E-M5

Important Notes:
1) I am an employee of Olympus Malaysia. I am reviewing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 from a photography enthusaist’s point of view. I was given the liberty to perform the gear review as usual. 
2) This is a user experience based review.
3) General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5) No post-processing applied to the images. All images were as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

This is Part 5 of my Olympus OM-D E-M1 review. If you have not done so, please go to my previous parts here:
About one week before I published my Part 1 of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 review, I have posted up a poll to survey what are the priorities that you beautiful people want for the key items that I am reviewing. The item that got into the top of the list was "Comparison between E-M1 and E-M5". I have never done direct comparisons between cameras, knowing well there are just too many differences to consider and variables to control. Furthermore there are so many other websites that provide such technical photography gear review with comparisons, and obviously they are better equipped to provide you with better information and more accurate results (studio set-up lighting). There are just too many things that can go wrong and change in blink of an eye while shooting on the field. However, since it was a popular request (and how much I love you all), I shall do a side by side comparison with the older OM-D E-M5.

In this blog review, I shall discuss the key differences between the E-M1 and E-M5, especially the improvements in image quality, new features and technologies implemented in the E-M1. 

Left E-M1, Right: E-M5

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Personal Photographs vs Gear Review Photographs

Whenever someone commented on my photographs shown during my camera review, I always find it difficult to explain that I was not exactly doing my best when I was shooting for reviews. Whenever there was an end product set in my mind, something to expect, or something to work towards, such as reviewing the new camera or lens, I was not concentrating on making art, I was merely making images that fit the purpose of the review, either to demonstrate certain features, or to show some improvements that the new gear has over its predecessors. As my mind was occupied by these "to do checklist", it was difficult to create photographs which I usually like. I always find this a struggle. Yes, I do enjoy taking new cameras and lenses out to play and test them out, but at the end of the day, photography is something a lot more personal, and it involves the photographer's freedom to express his ideas, messages, or emotions. I have done nothing of that sort for the past few weeks. 

I also believe that it is the very "engineering" trait of me to focus on prioritized tasks, and not be distracted by other unrelated activities while working on accomplishing set-out to do objectives. I have come to a point last Saturday, when I was trying out the Color Creator, that it hit me, I should take a break from my long list of checklist of items to shoot for my review, and shoot some photos that I personally wanted to shoot. I was walking on a very fine line here, those photographs that I personally like will not be suitable for use for any of the review entries. I did not have the luxury of time, weekend was short, and I had tonnes and tonnes of things to do. Nevertheless, I decided to make them happen anyway, as I saw the opportunities happen and I just could not help it. Therefore, there is a separate set of small collection of photographs which I am showing here, that I took together with my review entry. One or two photographs may be the same from the review blog but I am processing them differently. 

At the end of the day, after playing with any cameras and lenses, ultimately what a photographer wants, is to photograph. And it is always, always important to listen to that photographer self in you, and shoot what you really want to. Those are the photographs that will feed your soul. 

Narrow Gap