Saturday Portrait & Food Adventures

Jason, a close friend asked for lunch and requested to have some quick portrait shots of him taken. We had a quick session downtown in Kuala Lumpur in the morning, walked around the city streets a little, got some shots taken to work out an appetite. We then had a glorious lunch feast - chicken rice with sides of pork balls soup and char siew. After lunch we stuffed ourselves with sinfully sweet desserts. All evidence photographed, and you will see them shared abundantly here! Although the lockdown is partially lifted with plenty of restrictions for business and movements (we still can't cross to another state, or travel too far), generally most things are slowly returning back to normal. Being able to catch up and hang out with important friends, having a meal together, means a whole world to me. 

What a beautiful combination - E-M5 Mark III + 75mm F1.8, Silver for the win

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F2.8 Pancake - Tiny Flawed Gem!

I have owned the Olympus 17mm F2.8 pancake lens before, you will find my old blog articles if you run some quick search. I have sold it off some time ago since I rarely used it, and I did also have the newer 17mm F1.8, which I gave up (did not like that lens very much) to fund for 25mm F1.8, that I have used for many, many years extensively. Not having a 17mm prime lens (dedicated 35mm focal length) in my camera bag somehow made me feel a little empty, since I am a street photographer and I do believe 35mm is an important focal length. I recently found a used unit at a low price that I just could not refuse, so I finally required one. I am well aware of the lens flaws and issues of the original 17mm pancake lens, but I decided to get it any way, so the question here is - is it worth getting one now in 2021?

For those who prefer to watch me in action in video, you can go here (click). 

Olympus PEN E-PL10 Review

Olympus PEN E-PL10 was originally launched in November 2019, however it was only recently on sale in Malaysia in March 2021. I got curious and decided to take a closer look on the E-PL10. Olympus maintained their formula of making a simplistic, compact and stylish beginner friendly PEN Lite camera in the E-PL10, yet it offers interchangeable lens capability and features a full sized Micro Four Thirds image sensor. I brought the E-PL10 out for a few rounds of shooting sessions, including a full live theatre show in Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center, and I am sharing plenty of fresh photographs taken with the E-PL10 as well as my experience using the camera here in this blog entry. 

For those who prefer to watch this review in a video format, here you go (click). 

I Rejoined Olympus Visionary Program - I Am Back!

OMD World Imaging, the local representative of Olympus brand in Malaysia, and sole distributor of Olympus products here has finally contacted me recently and invited me to rejoin the Olympus Visionary program. After some consideration, I decided to say YES! I am once more, an Olympus Visionary. And boy oh boy, am I glad to be back. 

Image credit: Jason Lioh

I must thank many of you who have been here all along, stayed with me and supported me along the way. I appreciate you just being here, and I value your visits to this blog and my YouTube channel. Some of you have been super generous in your contributions to my coffee page/PayPal, and that has kept me afloat for the past several months. Though my original contract ended in December 2020, many of you are still here. I have received many comments, emails and texts saying super nice things like "JIP should have kept you as their ambassador" and "you are still an Olympus Visionary no matter what". I don't know what I have done to deserve your loyalty and support. All I can do is thank you, and pledge my continuity in creating more content for this blog and of course, my YouTube channel. Without you guys, there is no Robin Wong blog or YouTube, and I will be here, I am not going anywhere, as long as you guys are still here. 

I do need to clarify a few important details. It was not JIP or OM Digital Solutions (parent company in Japan) that contacted me, or initiated the process of me getting back into the Visionary program. It was OMD World Imaging, fully owned by the largest camera retailer in Malaysia, YL Camera that approached me and asked me to be their Olympus Ambassador. My contract as an Olympus Visionary is with OMD World Imaging, and that means, I am an ambassador to the Olympus brand in Malaysia. Though I do have a worldwide reach, and the majority of my audience comes from US, UK and many European countries, I am now a local brand ambassador. Also, I would not fault JIP/OM Digital Solutions for not reaching out (though I admit I am a little disappointed, since I do know a few of the key top people in the company, from my previous engagement with them). They do have other more pressing priorities as a new company, taking over a worldwide imaging business. They have to ensure manufacturing is on-going, and there are enough cameras and lenses to sell in the global supply chain. More importantly, I do think they should focus more effort in R&D, creating the next huge, kick-ass product! Whatever they are launching as a new company, will be critical, so I can totally forgive them sidelining their older ambassadors/Visionaries. 

The important thing is, I am back, and I will continue to do what I do. 

To be entirely honest, I did consider to walk away when the offer came. I have mentally prepared to move on and accept the possibility that I am no longer needed as an ambassador. At the end of the day, I have decided to sign the contract, and here are my reasons why. I still strongly believe in Micro Four Thirds system, and I genuinely see the future in this system. Olympus OM-D is still my main workhorse, I have been actively shooting with Olympus OM-D for both my professional career and for my personal projects for many, many years now, and the cameras and lenses never once let me down. In fact, my recurring clients have always been happy with my deliverables. The reliability and high performing features of the system (AF, 5-Axis IS, compact size, sharp remarkable lenses) kept me loyal to the system. Since I still shoot with Olympus and still believe in the philosophy of the products, it makes sense for me to continue to help promote what the brand stands for. Also, another important reason is that YL Camera (they own OMD World Imaging) is a large camera retailer in Malaysia, and by affiliating myself with them, I open myself up to more access to gear - tripods, flash system, bags, filters, etc, and there will be more content for me to talk about or review in the future! Not a bad opportunity, to me it is a win-win situation for both parties. 

One last thing I must emphasize - from day 1, before I was connected to Olympus, to my time as an Olympus Visionary, I was never asked to do any product reviews or create any content such as sharing OM-D tips and tricks. I fully own my blog and YouTube channel, Olympus did not ask me to do anything on those platforms. My contract does not include me doing any of those things. 

So why do I do what I do? Why do I share photography knowledge? Why do I create content on optimizing your Olympus cameras, sharing tips and tricks on using OM-D? Well, I do them, because I genuinely want to, and I can. I have accumulated a vast amount of inside information from my time working formally for Olympus Malaysia, about how the products work, and I also have gained valuable experience actively using Olympus products shooting in the field as a professional photographer for many, many years. Combining my extra product knowledge, and my real life use of the camera, I am qualified to share useful information that can help and benefit a lot of Olympus users out there. I want more people to enjoy photography, it brings me a lot of joy seeing people picking up cameras and shoot. I want you to fully enjoy using your Olympus camera, and I hope that what I have done so far have been helpful in small ways, in pushing your photography boundaries, or inspiring you to shoot a little more. 

I also hope that my short time away from being an ambassador for the past few months have proven that I never left - I was here all along, and I still continued to do what I loved - shooting, and sharing my photography as much as I can, despite the challenges due to lockdown/pandemic. Despite the fact that I was not officially an Olympus Visionary, I continued to make content sharing tips and tricks to use Olympus OM-D cameras, as well as discussing how to tackle low light shooting and high ISO in a real professional shooting environment (with plenty of real images that I have shared). I hope you see that my passion to share overrides everything else, whether I am an Olympus Visionary or not, it does not matter, I am here to stay, and I will be making fresh photography content for a long period of time, and I am truly glad you guys are with me, and I hope you will stay with me. 

Thanks again from the bottom of my heart. Now, as an Olympus Visionary, do expect more Olympus oriented content coming this way. I can't wait to get out, shoot more and share more photography. Shutter therapy goes on. 

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Xiaomi Yi 42.5mm F1.8 Review

Back in 2016, Xiaomi's sub company, Xiaoyi launched their first Micro Four Thirds products, the Yi M1 (with a kit lens) as well as an accompanying Yi 42.5mm F1.8. I found the Yi 42.5mm F1.8, which is a Micro Four Thirds AF lens selling for only RM270/USD70 online (Shopee Malaysia), so I thought what could possibly go wrong? This is the cheapest AF lens for Micro Four Thirds, and I was just so curious to find out of the lens is any good! Pairing the Yi 42.5mm F1.8 with my own Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, I roamed the streets and got myself some shutter therapy too. 

As usual, I have a video version, if you prefer to watch a video over reading text/article format, then go here (click). 

Roaming The Streets Once Again

The lockdown situation in Malaysia is gradually eased, with more restrictions being lifted. The 10km travel limit is no longer applicable, and we can travel inter-district now, allowing me to go to places that I usually go to for street shooting, especially at downtown Kuala Lumpur. The rules are not entirely clear if photography and filming are allowed in public spaces, for both commercial purposes and personal activities, but I guess now that we are allowed to roam more freely out in the open, there is less harm bringing a camera out and about. After all, I do my street shooting solo, keeping to strict social distancing at all times and I am not causing any trouble or disturbance to any one. I figured, it was time to do some shutter therapy!

I brought out the Canon 5D and 50mm F1.8 for a spin at my favourite street hunting ground, Chow Kit. I refrained from entering the wet market to not contribute to the tight crowd situation in the market, and allow those who actually need to get something from the market to enter. Photography as a hobby is still quite a selfish thing to do, so I was very cautious of where I went and what I did with my camera, not making unnecessary nuisance or inconveniences to others. Nevertheless, Chow Kit is a huge ground to cover, lots to explore and photo opportunities waiting to happen at almost every corner, there is a reason why I love this place so, so much. And the people here are often so inviting and friendly, most of my portraits of strangers images were shot here!

Shutter Therapy with Samsung S21 Ultra

This blog entry is a continuation of my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone camera reviews, please do read my first impression (click) and camera review (click) if you have not done so. 

When I was shooting for sample images for my previous Samsung S21 Ultra camera review, I had to do most of my shots indoor because of the on-going lockdown/movement restrictions imposed by the government due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The restrictions have since been eased and we are now allowed to go out and walk freely on the streets, with tight social distancing practice in place. I thought that would be a fantastic opportunity to bring the Samsung S21 Ultra out for a spin, a full day adventure around the city, capturing some urban landscape and street photography images. The S21 Ultra was just the right camera for this task - I was just shooting with a smartphone and was not seen as a serious or commercial photographer carrying large camera setup, considering the rules were still rather loose and confusing on whether public photography/shooting was allowed. As an extra precaution, I also went out alone, and did the entire session on a solo outing. 

Bukit Bintang Adventures with Fujifilm XF10

Finally, the government has decided to ease the movement restrictions of 10km from home, and more locations are opened for me to bring my camera out and about, which includes downtown Kuala Lumpur. Technically, I don't think outdoor photography is allowed just yet, or any commercial photography/personal photography done in the public setting, but I am playing it very, very safe. I brought the smallest camera in my arsenal - Fujifilm XF10 which I could easily hide in the pocket when I was not shooting. I walked around purposefully and quickly, stopping just for fast captures, and moved on immediately. I spent only about an hour plus roaming around Bukit Bintang, and we are technically allowed to move about. Also, I did not do any vlogging/video recording, which would have attracted more attention to myself. I did some very quick street photography and boy oh boy, it was just want I needed to regain my sanity. 

All images were shot with Fujifilm XF10, except images of XF10, which were taken with Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. 





















The Fuji XF10 was just the right camera to do the job, compact and light, and I don't need a camera bag to bring it about. It can be hidden away quickly too. I am still very new to the XF10, and need more time to get used not just to the whole new camera, but also forcing myself to shoot everything in wide angle, 28mm equivalent, which is still work in progress for me. Finally, I get to go out, and it was indeed a breath of fresh air after more than a month being stuck at home. Not that I am against shooting subjects within the confines of my tiny little depressing room, I still shoot from time to time, but street photographers will agree with me that there is something magical about roaming around with your camera, with your eyes and heart opened up to any possibilities that can happen at any corner. That excitement of not knowing what you will find, and yet at the same time knowing very well something will happen for you to capture with your camera, was a tremendous thrill in itself. There was this prominent photographer who sarcastically jabbed me by saying "if you are a photographer you will shoot no matter what". Seriously, the pain of being stuck at home is real for street photographers, and not surprisingly, he was not one. 

I just set the Fujifilm XF10 to Aperture Priority, and I set the ISO to mostly 200. When I got out of the house the sky was perfect! It was deep blue with little visible cloud. However, that 30 minutes commute to the city was enough for the sky to change so dramatically, the sky was covered 80%  in heavy clouds, some dark clouds threatening rain. That is the sad fate of shooting in a tropical country, the sky changes so quickly, you just cannot tell if it will rain an hour later even if it is perfectly sunny and hot now. I was already out, I thought why not just shoot whatever I can, lighting may not be on my side by my itch to shoot something was already unbearable. I knew I should not be lingering around the area for too long, so I made a quick round around Bukit Bintang, mostly the touristy spots, just to be safe. Hey, tourists taking photos of tourist hotspots/landmarks with a camera, nothing suspicious about that right? Not that I want to break any rule, I still practice strict social distancing, I was alone by myself, with no friends, and I wore a mask. So yeah, street photography has to happen, I just need a dose of it. 

I am more comfortable with wide angle composition now, having forced myself with this focal length only for several outings. The trick is, you need to be close enough for the main subject in your frame to appear dominant, yet at the same time, not too close else you may not work the background nicely into the shot. You still need to step back a little to consider how to fit the background, and that is the difficult part. Sometimes, you don't want that much background in your shot, or the background just does not work with the main subject. Deciding whether to proceed with the shot and find creative ways to make it work, was not easy. I am slowly learning, but hey, with all this pandemic craziness, I think time is on my side. 

Looking at the images shot from the XF10, I was quite happy with the outcome. Dynamic range was pleasant enough, thankfully the light was quite flat due to overcast weather. Despite the unfavourable light, the Fuji renders very pleasing colors, very different tones than what I normally get from Olympus, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Different is good. The 28mm equivalent lens on the XF10 is a very good lens, I get consistently sharp images, shooting subjects from a distance, all the way to super close up shots. That wide angle lens is capable of delivering some impressive close up performance - look at the Lego images. While some may complain that F2.8 is nothing to shout about, I disagree. I don't need anything wider than F2.8, for wide angle shooting I prefer everything to be in focus anyway, and I found myself shooting F4, F5.6 or beyond. However, I did wish there was a reliable image stabilization, that would have dramatically improved the hit rate of some stunts I tried to pull with slow shutter speeds. 

Of course I sat down in a hipster cafe for some overpriced coffee and ridiculously plated Instagram-worthy looking food. After being stuck at home for a month, I ought to treat myself something nice. And they look great in photos too! I enjoy shooting food almost as much as I enjoy eating them!

I hope you have enjoyed the images that I have shared here! More shutter therapy adventures to come, fresh new images to share, for sure! Wherever you are, I hope you are able to go out and shoot too. Be safe. 

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GONG XI FA CAI!

To all you beautiful readers who celebrate the Lunar New Year, here is me wishing you Gong Xi Fa Cai, and have a joyous celebration and healthy, prosperous year ahead. 

Unfortunately for me and many others in the same situation, Chinese New Year celebration this year will not be the same. In Malaysia, the lockdown/Movement Control Order is still in effect, barring any inter-district travel. My hometown is 2 hours flight away, across the South China Sea in Borneo, so I won't be celebrating at my beloved hometown this year, being a responsible/sensible citizen, abiding by the strict rules of the lockdown period. That means, I am celebrating alone, here being isolated in Kuala Lumpur, and for safety reasons, I am refraining from meeting other people here, you know, just in case. 

So what happens when you trap a photographer in a tiny room during the festive season? Well, Chinese New Year is all about red, the redder the better (more prosperity and luck). So I gathered all the red objects in my room I can find, thankfully I have decided to go more bold and bright in the past several years with my gadgets, and do some indoor photo shoot of course! And how can I not do another self-portrait?

All images were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 PRO lens. 

My shirt qualifies as a CNY costume, right? Red enough, no?

I swear I thought I had more red items in my room, but these are all I could find. 
Book - Stephen King's Dr Sleep 
WD 2TB external hard drive
Antman figurine
JBL budget wired IEMs
Samsung S21 Ultra with Nillkin red casing
Thonet & Vander wireless portable speakers with original red sleeves
Fuji XF10 in red soft carry pouch
Logitech Spidey wireless mouse

The red case arrived just in time for the Samsung S21 Ultra!

This soft carry pouch was a wedding favor from my dear friend Amir's wedding reception!

All the redness, more prosperity and luck come come come!

As much as I value high fidelity sound, I also indulge myself in cheap/affordable audio. The JBL wired IEMs were about RM20 and the Thonet & Vander Bluetooth Wireless Speakers were about RM99. 

How are you celebrating your Chinese New Year? Are you eating all the sinful good food yet? Or have you gambled your life away? Do tell. 


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Samsung S21 Ultra Camera Review - A Photographer's Perspective

This post in a continuation from the Samsung S21 Ultra review series, and I have shared my Part 1: Initial Impressions here (click). In this particular blog entry, I shall discuss specifically on the imaging performance on all the 4 camera modules at the rear of Samsung S21 Ultra. Samsung has been at the forefront pushing the development and innovation of smartphone imaging, with use of high megapixel image sensors to inclusion of super telephoto lens in their previous flagship iterations. Having the latest Samsung S21 Ultra in hand, I was very curious to find out if Samsung has made any improvements in the camera department and of course, my thoughts generally using the S21 Ultra coming from a professional photographer's vantage point. 

After 2 weeks using this phone, I really do love how the design is!

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - My First Impressions

Samsung has recently launched their latest and much anticipated S21 series smartphones, and I managed to get my hands on the flagship S21 Ultra. My first thought was to run out with the phone and start going crazy shooting with the quad-camera setup, at least that was what the photographer in me would have wanted to happen. Unfortunately Malaysia is still under very strict move restrictions/lockdown and we are forced to stay home. Nevertheless, getting my hands on the latest launched S21 Ultra and the model I had in hand is the shiny Phantom Silver version, I just cannot wait to do something with it. So here is my hands on, first impression of the S21 Ultra just days after I have unboxed it. 

A big boy and his gadgets. We all love our toys. And that S21 Ultra blends in just nicely. 

Been using the S21 Ultra for my audio listening pleasures recently.
The USB-C out sound performance, and the wireless audio have been quite good. 


Important Disclaimers:
The Samsung S21 Ultra was sent to me for review purposes. I have no affiliation to Samsung Malaysia, and they did not ask me to promote or say anything in their favor while writing my reviews. I have reviewed Samsung products before here in this blog or in my YouTube channel, and I have always been critical about the camera performance, being brutally honest in my reviews. I shall continue doing the same with the current S21 Ultra in hand.

Key Specifications of my S21 Ultra:
Exynos 2100
Android 11
6.8 inch, WQHD, 120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2x
12GB RAM 
256GB Storage, UFS 3.1
Quad Camera Setup
5000mAh battery, 25W USB-C charging, 15W wireless charging

BUILD & HANDLING
The S21 Ultra felt surprisingly light when I picked it up. It weighs only 228g, and that is incredibly light for a flagship phone that has huge 6.8 inch screen. I actually welcome the lighter side of build, as it would be easier to carry around and handle without the heft. The phone felt very solid in hand, as expected with excellent build. Despite the fact that the back is made of glass, it did not feel fragile at all and the aluminum frame felt rigid and robust. One thing I must note though, having used this S21 Ultra for a few days, the back of the phone did feel rather slippery! For those who plan to get this phone, best advice is to use some sort of cover, case of protection for additional grip when using the phone with your hands. I have had a few almost-accidents, the phone slipping off my grip too easily. 

The design needs a little getting used to, at least for me. The large bump of the camera at the back was more than just a statement - it was hard not to notice it. After several days of looking at the phone, it started to just blend in nicely and let's face it, whenever we use the phone, we are looking at the front screen, and very rarely do we check what goes on at the back (unless you are paranoid like me, or any photographers who would wipe the lens clean before taking a photograph). I like how smooth, clean, simple and minimalist the phone design is. It looks premium with the shiny edges and frame, the slightly curved front screen and the smooth, silver back, yet at the same time it did not have any loud or bold branding and unnecessary decorations. Samsung scores high points in my books for the design of S21 Ultra. 

The button placements are quite standard now, nothing new to write home about, and I have no issues reaching all the important controls. The power button and the volume buttons are easy to reach for my medium sized Asian fingers, and I have no issue holding the phone for long duration of time despite the larger size, thanks to the light-weight build. 

Simply love the large, 6.8 inch display with high resolution WQHD

The Dynamic AMOLED 2X renders super deep blacks.
I do appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate, I cannot live without it. 

Colors look rich, vibrant, and perhaps a touch too saturated, but that's fine. 

Excellent fine details shown through the WQHD display!
A clear advantage of having higher resolution than Full HD. 

I like that the screen does not overly curve out at the edge any more. 
I much prefer the flatter display

Flatter display means, no more accidental touches! A good move forward, Samsung!


INCREDIBLE DISPLAY
QHD resolution + 120Hz
If there was one thing sure to win the race, well at least for now, way ahead of competition, is the inclusion of a Quad HD display (1440p resolution) with 120Hz refresh rate. The 120Hz refresh rate made a huge splash in 2020, with a lot of phones, down to budget offerings having such high refresh rate for smoother scrolling and navigating experience using the phone. None have successfully implemented higher resolution than Full HD (1080p), and Samsung was the first to do WQHD + 120hz. The higher resolution was much welcomed, as a photographer, I do want to see every crisp fine details on the screen. I have been using 120Hz display on my own Poco X3 which I have bought several months ago, and I have to say, having used 120Hz every day, I cannot go back to 60Hz, it just feels stutterly and not smooth any more! You have to try it, use it every day, and then switch the 120Hz off and see how laggy, a big of a difference it makes when you go back to 60Hz. There is no going back trust me. 

Very Good Colors
The color accuracy is improved from previous models. I have always had issues with Super AMOLED screen's color, having some odd slight color tint that I just cannot quite put my finger to it. LCD screens have much more natural looking colors in my books. However, Samsung has come a long way, and the improvement is indeed noticeable. It is still not where I'd like it to be, but it has improved so much that I am willing to work with the latest Samsung's Dynamic AMOLED 2x screen. The colors are vibrant, perhaps a little too punchy even when set to "natural" profile, but that appeals to general wider audience so I can understand their decision of doing it that way. The blacks, due to AMOLED design, is pure, deep black, which does enhance the look and feel of some photographs with a lot of shadows, adding the sense of depth. The higher resolution QHD was astonishing, I don't think for now we'd need a true 4K display on a phone, heck I don't even have 4K display on my computer screen! I feel that Quad HD is a good middle ground, it provides significant and really significant upgrade over Full HD, yet it is not 4K which would have cost a lot more to make and drains battery much faster. It is a very good compromise in terms of quality and cost. 

Flatter Display
The S-series smartphones from Samsung have always adopted more curvy design for their display, with edges curving so much that it was impossible not to have accidental touches when you use them day in and out. That was one big concern I have, but much to my surprise, Samsung almost completely flattened the display screen on the new S21 Ultra! Visually you will still see some minor curving, which looks really sleek in design, but the display does not extend far beyond the edge, and I am happy to report that I have completely zero accidental touches at the edges! This itself is a huge improvement in user experience for a large display phone. 

I am digging this Phantom Silver edition. Sleek, smooth and very clean looking. 

Finger print reader is now much faster and more reliable to use. 

The camera bump is quite large, so the phone does not sit flat on the table. 

Gorgeous looking quad camera setup. Can't wait to try them out soon. 

Simplistic and logical camera UI, will have deeper analysis and report in my coming camera review. 

The back slightly reflects the adjacent colors, the silver is not looking very silver here, it reflects my skin color. 

NOTEABLE IMPROVEMENTS
Faster Finger-Print Reader
One improvement which I instantly noticed was the implementation of a new under-display finger print reader. Compared to my experience previously using S20 Ultra, and Note20 Ultra, the new finger print reader on S21 Ultra is almost twice as fast, and more reliable due to the larger sensor area being implemented. 

Battery life
This is one area that will need more extensive tests. Being stuck at home due to the current lockdown in Malaysia does not give me much opportunity to stretch the battery life. I don't use GPS, no e-hailing, not doing much browsing on social media since I can do that on my PC working from home. Nonetheless, I do feel that the battery management has improved, but I shall need to verify this with more tests. 

Software
I have no issues with the phone for the past few days, everything runs smoothly, and I have not noticed anything out of the ordinary. The Samsung's One UI offers a wide array of customization options, and should come in handy to fully personalize your phone. 

Audio performance
Both the wireless audio and over the USB-C output audio performed very well. I have been listening to music through PowerAmp App, with lossless FLAC music files, powering through my Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless (1st Gen) and also Gold Planar (wired on-ear planar magnetic, via iBasso DC03 DAC/Amp), and I must say I can live with the audio quality from the S21 Ultra. Of course it is still far from what a dedicated music player can do, or a high level DAC output, but they are much better than average smartphone audio output. 

ANY ISSUES/NEGATIVES?
It is quite frankly difficult to tell this early on, having only used the S21 Ultra for less than a week, but the good news is, I have not encountered anything that I dislike about the phone. I am sure I will have a lot more things to say when it comes to the camera review, which is my next article about this phone, but outside of the camera/imaging category, I don't see anything wrong, or worth complaining about. Samsung has spent many years with their S and Note product lines, they have listened to consumers and I am sure they have refined the flagship products as much as they could. There may not be leaps and bounds when it comes to technological marvel, but I believe the S21 Ultra truly ticks the right boxes when it comes to high end smartphone. So far, I find that the S21 Ultra does exceedingly well as a daily driver smartphone. 

CAMERA SETUP
This is one area that I shall leave out from my first impressions. I will have a full blog article reviewing the camera's performance on the Samsung S21 Ultra. I do need some time to shoot sample images, and put all the Quad Camera setup to their paces, and push them to the limit. I am excited to test the imaging performance of the S21 Ultra - is it truly worthy of the Ultra tag on the smartphone? We shall find out very, very soon. I am a photographer after all, and I will have tonnes of fun playing with the S21 Ultra's camera. 

Will I add the S21 Ultra to my own camera daily driver arsenal?

Main 108Mp wide angle, Ultra Wide, a telephoto, and another super telephoto camera, all inside one device. Quite an impressive feat. 

All the available reviews online, articles and YouTube videos that I have encountered on the Samsung S21 Ultra have been overwhelmingly positive so far. I do expect myself to be impressed by the camera's performance. I was already quite happy with what the Note20 Ultra can do, so I can't wait to review the S21 Ultra's camera performance. 

More to come, stay tuned!

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