When I was sent the Brightin Star 35mm F0.95 for testing, my expectations on the lens was quite low, considering the budget price tag (the last I checked it was at USD179). However, I was pleasantly surprised after spending enough time with the lens, the performance exceeded my expectations. In short, the Brightin Sar 35mm was already quite sharp at wide open F0.95, and it does render beautiful bokeh. This could be the sharpest F0.95 manual focusing lens I have encountered, and I was very satisfied with the lens quality. Of course, it does come with some flaws, which I have discussed in detail in my video review here (click). 

Lens is quite compact in size, but weighs about 370g
I bought the Panasonic Lumix LZ8 in 2009 (or was it 2010? Can't be 100% sure now) for construction site documentation use back in the days when I was still working as an engineer. Compared to the crappy cheap point and shoot compacts the company I worked for provided, the LZ8 had a few advantages to offer which were important to me - more zoom reach (5x zoom), full manual control (to accurately set the exposure) and improved image quality, with better resolution and dynamic range. As an engineer, high quality images were important for my site reports, and I purchased my own camera to fit these purposes. Fast forward to today, I still keep this camera round and it is still pretty much alive. I brought it out recently for some street shooting and I shared my experience here in my latest video (click). All the images show in this blog entry were taken with the same Lumix LZ8, but of course, more recently in Chow Kit, KL. 

I managed to get my hands on a loaned Sigma 30mm F1.4, and I thought it would be fun to attack the streets of Kuala Lumpur and grab some portraits of strangers. It is close to my favourite focal length 50mm equivalent to shoot on the streets, and the F1.4 bright aperture can create adequate shallow depth of field separation for my portraits. I mounted the Sigma 30mm F1.4 on my OM System OM-1 camera and did a POV street shooting video, which showed you what was happening around and in front of me before I clicked my shutter button for each shot. I thought the Sigma 30mm is a wonderful lens, great value for what it is and we do need more F1.4 lenses for Micro Four Thirds! Instead of making ridiculously expensive, and bulkier than necessary F1.2 lenses, I think F1.4 lenses make more sense in giving more advantage in light gathering, yet maintaining balance in size and weight. POV video can be found here (click). 

I decided to scratch my insect macro itch, so I went to the nearby park to grab some quick shots of whatever I can find there. Nothing out of the ordinary, just your usual garden bugs, if I wanted something more exotic I got to travel a lot further and deeper into the forest, which I did not intend to as I did not want to meet a mountain lion and get swallowed alive. Anyways, I brought the 7Artisans 60mm F2.8 Macro II lens and attached it onto my Olympus E-M1 Mark II, using my usual insect macro technique with wireless flash fired off camera and I had some shots that I was actually quite pleased with. I also made a video showcasing these shots, together with 5 tips for shooting awesome insect macro images, you can find the video here (click). 

The second lens that I purchased from Olympus was the Zuiko Digital 40-150mm F3.5-4.5 to accompany my kit lens for DSLR E-520. It was a versatile, budget telephoto zoom lens that I have used for many years, creating some wonderful shots. The lens has brighter than usual aperture of 3.5-4.5 versus the typical F4-5.6 options from other manufacturers when it comes to budget telephoto lenses, and I appreciate the ability to gather a little more light, negating the need to raise the ISO numbers unnecessarily. I still have the lens today, and I thought it would be fun to bring it out for another spin, this time mounting it on my OM System OM-1 camera. I went to the KL Bird Park to grab some cute bird photos! The AF was fast, bird AI subject detection tracking worked like a charm, the image quality still stands today, getting sharp, high contrast images, and I thought we should have a Micro Four Thirds update for this 40-150mm F3.5-4.5 budget lens! Video here (click), if you want to watch the whole shooting process.