A few days ago I was invited by Bihzhu as her plus one to a launching of a new cafe in town, The Coffee Academics. As a coffee and food lover, I just could not say no. We arrived early and was served a variety of food and drinks to try, and I enjoyed every single dish served that evening. Coffee was really amazing too, and who cares if I can't sleep right? There is always the next video to edit, or more photos to post-process. Jokes aside, if you really are in Bukit Bintang area, do check out the newly opened The Coffee Academics at Pavilion, KL and I am sure you will love their coffee and food too!

I have a vlog of the evening, you can find my video here (click). 

I brought along my Canon 5D classic and 50mm F1.8 lens for some random snapshots, I did not plan to do anything crazy, hence I did not have my full Olympus setup with me. I just wanted a few quick portraits of Bihzhu, and of course a few quick shots of the food and drinks so I can share them here. Since 50mm was not exactly wide enough to cover the environmental shots, I delegated wide angle shooting to my new trusty phone with 1 inch image sensor, the Sharp Aquos R6, which did more than an adequate job in handling some interior low light shots. For close up video footage of the food and drinks, I also used the Sharp R6 (my action camera can't go close up) and the video that came out from the phone was clean despite shooting in low and poor light, and richly detailed with natural looking colors. I must say, getting the Sharp R6 was a great decision! All the close up video shots in the vlog (food and drinks) were taken on the Sharp R6 phone. 

Special thanks to Bihzhu again for having me, I had such a wonderful time and I will definitely visit The Coffee Academics again in near future with my other friends, just for a chill hangout session!

Canon 5D & 50mm F1.8
I have mentioned before not too long ago that the only way to achieve a significant jump in camera performance for smartphones is to use the larger image sensor, 1 inch to be precise. This already started happening with the Sharp Aquos R6 being released in the middle of 2021, and I recently acquired a used unit in good condition, because I was curious to see how 1 inch image sensor performs and if this truly is the future for smartphone photography. In this blog article, I will share my experience shooting with the Sharp Aquos R6's camera extensively for weeks, with plenty of fresh photographs. 

I have also shared my opinion on why I think the 1 inch is the future for smartphone cameras in my YouTube video here (click), which I will not repeat in this blog article. A word of caution for those outside of Japan, this Sharp Aquos R6 was released specifically for Japanese market only, so if you import this unit out of Japan, you do not have customer support, no service/repair available and there will be no software updates too. 

Sharp Aquos R6 featuring a large 1 inch image sensor camera
To celebrate my freedom from Olympus/OM System, I recently purchased a used Fujifilm X100F for my street photography shooting. I have always been a fan of the Fuji X100 series, I even owned one many moons ago, if you do a quick search on X100 in this blog, you will find a handful of articles and many images I have shared from the original X100. Now that I found an X100F at such a good price, I just could not resist getting it for my shutter therapy sessions. I am sharing my quick impression shooting with the X100F and of course, plenty of fresh images from Kuala Lumpur. 

I have made a video sharing my thoughts on the Fuji X100F here (click). 

The camera looks sooooooo gooooooood

In December 2021 I was involved with a local production of a music video for Bihzhu's new single Chendering. Bihzhu is a dear friend whom I have shot on stage numerous times over the past several years. My job this time was to shoot behind the scenes photos and videos for the production. Chendering was originally a song by the late legendary Malaysian musician Jimmy Boyle that inspired Bihzhu to reimagine her own version of the song. Bihzhu has just released two videos - the official music video for her own version of Chendering and a documentary about the original artist Jimmy Boyle and the song itself. The video footage that I captured was featured in the documentary video, and I am sharing selected behind the scenes images from this shoot in this blog entry!

Do check out these new videos from Bihzhu!
You will find my name appearing in the end credits too! Which was cool, and has not happened in a while. 

Creative Director: Chris Lim
Set Designer + Photographer: @danieladamsphotography
Set Assistant: @emajor7
Styling: @hellostyllar
Assisted by: @sitiaisyaahh
Wardrobe: @falasyqn.label | @wardrobe.privato
HMUA: @mandyleighxmua
Director of Photography: @whoisravinp
Production Assistant: @akmalamzan
Editor: @imyourdedy
BTS photographer + videographer: @shutter.therapy
I have been receiving very positive comments on my previous few POV style street photography videos, so I did another one, this time shooting with a 40mm lens. I was curious about the 40mm hype - Nikon, Sony and Olympus released 40mm lenses or equivalent all within the past one year, and then there was the Ricoh GR IIIx. I wanted to take a closer look at this awkward focal length so I found a really cheap, used Canon 40mm F2.8 pancake lens in good condition, and tested it in a photowalk on my Canon 5D. I went out roaming KL streets with Amir and Azul and got some shots which I am sharing here in this blog entry. I needed a few more outings and more experience with the 40mm focal length before I can share my thoughts and experience shooting with it. 

POV street photography video with Canon 40mm F2.8 Pancake lens here (click). 

After much consideration and with a heavy heart, I have quit my position as the Olympus Visionary. I want to personally announce this here, properly explain my reasons for leaving the program and also share some of my plans moving forward. In short, I was completely sidelined by OM Digital Solutions when it comes to new product releases over the past year, I received zero communication from them though on paper I was their brand ambassador and I saw no point of me contributing so much to the brand, receiving nothing in return, not even a phone call or email. I have also made a video on this similar topic, if you prefer to listen to me speak in person, the video is here (click). 

Allow me to first clarify that the local representative for Olympus/OM System brand, which is a camera retailer in Malaysia, OMD World Imaging, they have been nothing but extremely supportive to me over the past year. I have had an amazing relationship with them, I have no issues with the local representative and I look forward to future collaborations with them if there is any. The issues that I am about to mention that I have are with the JIP/OM Digital Solutions based in Japan, that carved out the imaging business from the original Olympus company. 

A brief history recap for those who may not be aware of my heavy involvement with Olympus, which spanned no less than 10 years. I initially was working as a civil engineer in Kuala Lumpur, and I shot with Olympus DSLR as a hobby. I had a blog (this very same blog) where I shared my photographs taken with Olympus and also wrote articles about using Olympus. I was noticed by Olympus Malaysia and was hired in 2013 as their product specialist, under the marketing department. I worked officially for Olympus Malaysia from 2013 to 2017, conducting consumer activities, touch and try events, product launches, photography workshops, photowalks, dealing with media, photographers, provided product training for camera retailer staff, and I also took care of the country's inventory system, which was quite a stressful task. I enjoyed my work tremendously, met a lot of great people and have learned and grown a lot over the years working for Olympus. 

In 2017, I left Olympus Malaysia to pursue a career as a professional photographer, full time. I have always wanted to be a photographer, nothing bad happened between me and Olympus, I left with a positive note and I still kept a good relationship with Olympus Malaysia after I left. I was free and not tied to any brand for a while, until 2018, Olympus Malaysia approached me again and this time, invited me to join their Olympus Visionary program, which they have newly expanded to Asia Pacific regions. Of course I immediately jumped in and said yes! I still shot actively with Olympus for my professional career and I believe in the system, that has not changed after I left the company, and it was only natural that I promote the brand in a more official capacity. 

We knew that in 2020, Olympus imaging was carved out into a new company, OM Digital Solutions/JIP. Ever since then, things have been different. Olympus exited the business in Malaysia, and the distribution is placed under a local representative, a camera retailer OMD World Imaging. I have lost my direct contact to Olympus/OMSystem and I have been dealing with the local representative OMD World Imaging for the past year, though I must say they have been great and I enjoyed working with them. 

For the last one year, OM Digital Solutions have launched various products, namely 8-25mm F4 PRO, E-P7, 20mm F1.4 PRO and now more recently the flagship camera OM-1 and PRO lenses 12-40mm PRO II and 40-150mm F4 PRO. Each and every time there was a product release, I was completely ignored. I received zero notification, no phone call, no email, nothing. I was caught by surprise during the launch of 8-25mm PRO lens, and I had to scour the internet and piece together some information to make my own video about the lens. The information came to the local representative VERY late, usually on the same day of launch or even the day after, and when the official information reached me the whole world already knew about the product, and I have received more than 100 questions from everywhere. 

As a brand ambassador, I am in constant touch with a large audience, and I receive hundreds of comments on my YouTube videos, this blog, my Facebook page, and various other platforms. I also get direct emails. It is extremely important that I am kept in the loop about any product releases. Why don't you keep your ambassador informed, so that they can immediately answer questions and push the crowd to the right direction (say, get more pre-orders?)

Is it really so difficult to forward me an email with the press release of the product, some information maybe 2-3 days BEFORE the launch? 

And you know what the frustrating part is? During the launch, there are dozens and dozens of other reviews available online, everywhere else in the world. I understand that things are different now and I may not have the privilege to get early review samples, that is fine, but why then are so many smaller sites, some only a few hundred sub count, gets a camera a week before the launch? How is that fair? If you go for larger sites like DPReview or Imaging Resource, that is perfectly fine, or your official ambassadors, I have no issues, but there are random people who just seem to be able to get early samples and here I was, your official ambassador, completely ignored. 

I believe that I have poured my heart and soul over the years from my early days blogging, to my employment with Olympus Malaysia and my time as an Olympus Visionary. I believe I have done more than most people have in promoting the brand, and I have shared more photographs taken with Olympus system than any one has ever done (this is a fact). I have hundreds of videos, made week after week, and I continuously support the brand with whatever best ways I can. 

I have done EVERYTHING I can for the brand, but they don't even bother to contact me and forward me some product information before the launch of their arguably most important product, the flagship camera OM-1. I gave my all, and they gave me ZERO support in return. 

Where do you think this will go?

Obviously, the wisest decision I can make for myself, moving forward is to quit. It would have been damaging to myself and the brand if I stayed on any longer. I cannot do my job as a Visionary or brand ambassador if they are not willing to work with me. 

And so I quit. My contract ended in February 2022 and I have informed the local representative, OMD World Imaging I wished not to renew the contract. I walked away. 

So the obvious questions is, what's next?

Some would say, enjoy the freedom! I'd say, YES! Some would also say, hey come to Sony, they have the best camera now, full frame is the shit, or hey, let's look at Panasonic or Fuji, they are the next best things. Guys, guys guys, can you please slow down?

Just because I stopped being an Olympus Visionary it does not mean I have automatically given up on the brand and products. Whatever that I have said over the years in this blog and YouTube channel, my belief in the system does not change just because I left. It makes perfect sense as a working, professional photographer to continue on with the current Olympus OM-D system, not just for cost-efficiency reasons, but I know the system inside out, I can maximize the strengths and work around the weaknesses, basically I can get the best out of my Olympus OM-D! Giving that up, jumping ship would show that I have no integrity, that I have lied to my audience and I can be easily manipulated. I am none of those things!

I am not one of those photographers who would shoot with Nikon one day and then the next day, jumped to Sony and suddenly Nikon is not good enough and Sony is the next best thing. Then suddenly Canon came along with a new camera and the Sony gear is sold off and Canon is the next best thing. How can you take the words from these photographers seriously, when they change camera systems as frequently as they change their underwear? I certainly would do my best to avoid falling into that category. 

So worry not guys, I still love my Olympus OM-D, my amazing M.Zuiko lenses and I will continue to use them both in my professional work environment, as well as for my own personal projects. I still believe that Micro Four Thirds is the future. You can disagree with me, that's fine, but this is a different topic altogether and let's discuss this elsewhere. 

So what's going to happen to my YouTube channel, my blog, and my other platforms? Nothing changes really. The core of what I do on this blog and more recently, the YouTube, is to encourage more people to go out and shoot with their cameras. I want to share my passion for photography, I want to see more people enjoy shutter therapy and I have been doing that for so many years, I see no reason to stop. I will share fresh photographs as much as I can, I will talk about photography, I will share tips and tricks on using gear, of course with Micro Four Thirds still as I am still an active Olympus OM-D user and I will do more POV style videos, cameras and lenses reviews, all that stuff, you can count on it, I am still making them. 

The only big difference? Me not being tied to a brand, I am free to explore other camera brands and talk about them more openly. You may find reviews of more diverse products VERY very soon. 

I am still here guys, I am not going anywhere. I shall continue to make content and share as much as I can. I sure hope you stay with me as well!

I want to thank each and every one of you for being here, for being with me all these years, I cannot ask for more from such an amazing audience. I have always said there is no Robin Wong without you blog readers/YouTube audience. Thank you so much for the continuous support, generous contributions to coffee and PayPal, and all the likes/views/comments, I appreciate all of them, and I appreciate you. 

Shutter therapy must go on. I will continue to shoot with my Olympus OM-D. Maybe alongside something else this time, who knows? We will see. Do come along with me on this journey, and let's enjoy photography together!

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