I managed to get the new OMSystem 40-150mm F4 PRO on loan from OMD World Imaging, the official local distributor for Olympus/OMSystem products in Malaysia. This is not my review yet, this was my first testing session in the field, as I brought it to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park to get up-close and personal with the birds there (do you think they recognize me after my multiple visits?). Instead of just snapping stills, I also shot some video footage with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with the 40-150mm F4 PRO, and I made a video with both the sample images and video footage intermixed with each other. I thought this can give a very good idea on how the lens performs not just for stills, but for video with in body 5-Axis image stabilization and full Continuous AF enabled. In that video I also share my first impressions on the 40-150mm F4 PRO, you can find the video here (click). 

For this blog entry, I shall refrain from discussing my thoughts on the lens for now. I still need to bring it out a few more rounds to thoroughly test it in various shooting environment before I can make my full review, which will definitely be coming. Do give me some time to shoot, and for sure I will share these sample images as always. 

Here are some shots from the Bird Park outing with the OMSystem 40-150mm F4 PRO

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The cool thing about having friends tagging along for a photowalk is having some extra photos of myself in action, which can be quite interesting, and I guess I can share them here too! Being a photographer myself I am used to be behind the camera, not in front. Special thanks for Azul and Ripi for these photos! 

I want to talk a little but about the last photograph of me holding one camera in each hand. This was not supposed to happen. 

In an ideal situation, the action camera can be magnetically mounted on my chest via a supplied accessory necklace, freeing both my hands to control the main camera. On that particular day I forgot to bring that said necklace, so I had no way to stick the action camera on myself and I resorted to the more difficult solution, holding it with my hand instead. It was no easy feat controlling two cameras at once. But I think I managed myself quite well. And the fact that I can freely direct the action camera with my hand also means there was less chance of me missing my shot, or having the subject I wanted to record too far off center which was often the case when I had it mounted on my chest. And the extra battery module on the action cam (which was not available for the chest mount) also meant I had to worry less about conserving battery while the action camera was shooting POV video. 

In case you missed the POV video you can check it out here (click). 

I have a lot of complains about the DJI Action 2. The footage is garbage. The 4K video does not look 4K at all, it looks like over sharpened full HD with poor contrast and fine detail retention. Then the color is not so pleasing to look at, looking very digital and lacks the "natural, realistic" look. I also don't like the terrible battery life. 

Having said all that, I must admit the built in microphone in the Action 2 was very impressive, and I treasure this a lot, the convenience of not having to deal with yet another external device, it does simplify my workflow doing POV video. The built in mic is so good I can just run and gun with it, and at this moment I don't think any other action camera competitors, not even GoPro has such high quality audio built in. 

I now use the action camera only for POV video, because of convenience. Even for my own personal vlogs (secondary channel, non photography content) I have started to use my Olympus gear more often, because I just cannot stand how poor the footage from the action camera looks. The quality difference is day and night if compared to what my OM-D cameras can do, and I acknowledge that was not a fair comparison. Nevertheless, I will continue to use the DJI Action 2 for my POV videos, which I enjoy doing so so so much, and hopefully there will be bigger upgrades to the action camera world sooner than later. 

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10 years ago Olympus launched their first OM-D camera, the original E-M5. It was a gamechanger, it redefined what a mirrorless camera should be - ruggedly built, weather-sealed, having blazing fast and reliable AF, with built in electronic viewfinder, 5-Axis Image Stabilization, new improved 16MP image sensor with massive upgrade in image quality, and the list went on and on. It took the world by surprise, and many other companies have copied this footprint and built even better cameras ever since. Now, many years later, I thought it would be fun to revisit this original E-M5 and I did a POV street video too! Video here (click). 

In this blog entry I shall just share my images taken with the E-M5, and the lens I paired it with was the awesome Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 PRO. 

I got the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 that came together with the first Olympus OM-D, the E-M5 many years ago. It has not received much love, since I do have the superior Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 PRO, and I use bright prime lenses for most of my photography needs, both for my work and for personal projects. Looking at the 12-50mm I personally believe Olympus was trying really hard to over-achieve with this kit lens - it is weather-sealed, it has dedicated macro function, it has versatile 12-50mm zoom range, it can switch between electronic zoom for smooth video shooting and mechanical zoom for those prefer quick response while shooting and also a built in L-Fn (lens customizable function button). Of course it is not the perfect kit lens, we have many options now both from Olympus/OM System and Panasonic, but I'd like to think that this 12-50mm is truly special, and I want an updated Mark II version!

This is one rare occasion where I do not feel like repeating what I have said in my video format here in this blog article. I shall just post my fresh images taken with the 12-50mm kit lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. I guess, less talk, more photos please!

I made a video recently discussing a budget alternative for Ricoh GR III, in the form of the smallest Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera body paired with the most compact Panasonic 14mm F2.5 pancake lens, which I obtained for less than RM600/USD150. I can't afford to keep buying a new camera that I want so I have to make do with cheaper alternatives. Of course the PEN and pancake combo is not exactly the same as the GR III, there are some drawbacks and compromises, but also a few advantages to this interestingly cheap setup! Video here (click). 

Recently I bought the Pentax K-01 which had quite a funky design and the lens that came with it was 40mm F2.8 pancake. I took a closer look at that lens and brought it out for a few more street photography adventures. The lens is incredibly small, being the world's thinnest lens and it is even slimmer than a camera body cap or a lens cap! Initially I thought making the lens this small there must be some compromises, but boy oh boy was I wrong, coming home from the photowalks I was amazed by what this tiny wonder can do. I think all other camera manufacturers should make more pancake lenses, especially Micro Four Thirds. The pancake slim design can truly minimize the footprint of any gear setup, and Pentax proved that they can create small lenses yet delivering great optical results at the same time. I made a video (you can check it out here) to share my experience using the Pentax 40mm F2.8, I won't repeat what I have said there in this blog entry but I shall share the images here. 

If you do not intend to splurge on a dedicated macro lens, or you don't do too much macro but want the ability to get closer to your subject and achieve higher magnification, then extension tubes can be a great solution. They are cheap and effective, you can turn any lens into macro lens, even the budget lowly kit lens and you get great results out of this setup. The extension tubes are small, light, easy to store in any bag or carry around and they have electronic contacts that enable AF and aperture control while shooting. I find these extension tubes to be so fun to use, and why not get them anyways, even if you have a macro lens because you can achieve even greater magnification, using them on your macro lens! I think this accessory is a no brainer for any photographer, unless you have decided fixatedly that you are not going to do macro, ever. I made a video to show how the extension tubes work, you can find them here (click). 

I actually mistakenly said Extension "Rings" in the video, instead of tubes. I only realized the mistake during editing, and I did originally wanted to reshoot the entire talking head portion of the video. I then realized that would be too time consuming and I'd rather spend the time doing something else, shooting more photos, creating more content or discussing a different topic. That is the thing about making YouTube, I made so many mistakes as a one man crew and sometimes these mistakes cost a lot of time. I need to learn to be able to live with some imperfections. In this case, everything in the video is still valid, my photographs, what the extension "rings" can do, and advantages and disadvantages of using them. Other than the wrongly mentioned term, the video was good to go, so I decided to just publish it and hope for the best. 

As for this blog article, I just want to continue sharing the new images that I have shot. There is something different about viewing images in a website in comparison to seeing photographs in video format. Also, I believe photographs look better here - full JPEG representation minus all the possible compression due to video editing and YouTube's own algorithm to save storage space and bandwidth.

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It has been a while since I did an arranged portrait shooting session so I called up the amazing Wendy for a spontaneous session. I also have recently acquired the Yongnuo 85mm F1.8 lens for my Canon 5D, mainly for shooting portraits. Since I am quite rusty in these kind of posed, directed portraits, it took me a while to warm up and get some shots that I actually liked. I also made a video to talk about why 85mm focal length is my favourite for shooting portraits, and has worked so well for me over the years. My main lens for portraits shooting commercial jobs as well as for my personal projects when I am using my Micro Four Thirds workhorse has always been the Olympus 45mm F1.8, which is very close to 85mm equivalent focal length. You can find the video here (click)

I have grown to really like the Nikon D50 which I acquired for the price of just a few cups of coffee (not kidding). I have been shooting more street stuff with the D50 and 50mm F1.8 D recently. There really is nothing that crazy about an old camera with measly 6MP count, and ISO capped at 1600, and I used mostly ISO200 for my shots. The 50mm on D50 was extremely limiting, with the 1.5x crop factor I was effectively shooting at 75mm the entire time. Yet there is the thrill of shooting with a lesser, outdated camera that keeps me going, the thought that I was not using the latest, super overpriced and best technologically equipped camera from today made me try even harder to get my shots the way I like them. What do I gain out of shooting with the dinosaur D50? Satisfaction. 

Image by Mugilan Rajamohan (IG @mugil_rajamohan)
Used with permission

I was out wondering the streets on fine Sunday morning and I bumped into Mugilan, who is a fellow blog reader and subscriber to my YouTube! I still find it strange meeting my audience on the streets when I am doing my shutter therapy, mainly because my audience are mostly not from here locally. The analytics from Google shows that my readers/subscribers come from US, UK, Australia and various European countries. Malaysia is ranked out of top 10, believe it or not, and here not many people know of my existence, and I love it that way to be honest. Once in a while, people do recognize me and it is a pleasure to exchange conversations and ideas with fellow photographers and especially with those who also do street photography. Mugilan shoots mainly with film and he told me he got into Micro Four Thirds because of me! Oh dear. I hope you enjoy the system, and thanks for the awesome portrait of me!

Here are some shots from the same outing, all shot with Nikon D50 and 50mm F1.8 D lens. Nothing fancy, just what caught my eye and I reacted by pressing the shutter button. 

This is Mugilan! Thanks dude for saying hi, keep the shutter clicking. 

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