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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I found a used Nikon D50 for the price of just a few cups of coffee! I got it for a few reasons - firstly, I never owned a Nikon before, so going back right at the beginning seems like the right way to start my journey with Nikon, D50 was one of their first few Digital SLRs, and secondly I have always been curious about D50 or the D70, that was the time I started photography but in my university days I could not afford a DSLR and was only using a compact point and shoot camera. So now, fast forward 17 years later, I finally can afford most of the cameras that I want but why not rediscover this experience with Nikon D50 that I never had? I have made a POV style street photography video where you get to see what happened in front of and around me as I composed and clicked my shutter here (click for video). 

I have talked about my negative experience with the Synco G1 A2 Wireless Microphone previously (read here) though in that blog article I did not mention which brand and model the microphone was. I am not going to repeat what I have said before in full detail, but the summary is - if a lavalier microphone is attached the Synco G1 will have a severely distorted audio recording. I think this is unacceptable for a product having such significant bug/issue/error/flaw, it should not have existed in the first place, and there was no workaround for this problem. I cannot recommend this microphone to anyone. You can either read my full experience in that previous blog post or my latest vlog which I have just posted here (click to video). 

Synco G1 - Not Recommended