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!