If you have been around this blog long enough you would have seen Jason Lioh appearing quite prominently in this blog since the beginning. We were born on the same year, started photography at about the same time, and we had even shared some similar photography journey for some time. He has just turned 40 recently, and we or course, celebrated his birthday with a feast. This only reminded me of my very limited time remaining for my time in my thirties, as I too, will turn 40 at the end of this year. We went to a newish Italian Restaurant in Bangsar, Trattoria Dacristian, and if you have seen some of my older blog entries, we always ate too much food, sometimes I think it is a different level of sin in itself. Anyways, here are some random shots from that dinner, and I wish you Happy Belated Birthday, Jason Lioh. May there be many, many more glorious feasts to come. 

I managed to have a quick hands on with the newly launched Fujifilm X100VI at Artishutter X N4 Camera store, where they had a demo unit available for touch and try. I was happy to find out that finally Fuji included 5-Axis Image Stabilization into their latest iteration of X100 series. The lack of any form of image stabilization in the previous X100 incarnations was one of the few complains I had with the camera, which held it back from being a truly great street shooting machine. If you have truly experienced the reliability of powerful image stabilization and how much it can improve your photography, you won't use a camera without one. I took this opportunity to test the 5-Axis IS in the X100VI out during my brief session with the camera, and I made a video to share my findings, as well as my initial thoughts on the camera here (click). 

After countless bashing online by fans and supporters on the lack of firmware updates for OM-1, followed by my vocal live stream session about the importance of having firmware updates for flagship cameras last week, and finally the online petition that went live just yesterday, OM Digital Solutions has finally broke silence today. They announced that a new firmware is in the works for the OM-1 original and will be available by fall this year. The announcement at this moment (you can view it here) is only available in Japanese, and the content is translated of course, but good enough to indicate what is to come. 

A group of OM System photographers and supporters have started an online petition to get a new Firmware Update for the original OM System OM-1 camera! I applaud this initiative, and I fully support their efforts. I have signed up the online petition and you can also do your part to have our voices heard! OM Digital Solutions had promised "regular, robust firmware updates" for their cameras on their official website, but they clearly abandoned this when they released the OM-1 Mark II with minor updates and merely some "firmware tweaks", which could have been made available for the original OM-1 via a firmware update. Also, the OM-1 only received minor, incremental firmware updates and has not seen an update since May 2023, that was about 8 months ago. The petition is a show of faith from the core OM System fans and supporters, and myself being one, I do want that firmware update 2.0 happen for OM-1 original. You can do your part by signing the online petition here (click). 

I get asked this a lot - which lens do you like better, the Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 or Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8? I have both lenses with me, and I have shot with them for my professional jobs, made YouTube videos as well as did some personal shoots with them over the years. I am sharing my thoughts and experience on using both lenses in my latest video here (click). I personlly think it is not right to compare both lenses against each other, as they both correspond to different focal lengths. The Olympus 17mm is closer to classic 35mm equivalent, and the Panasonic 15mm is almost like the 28mm. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your own shooting style and preference, do you like the wider coverage of 28mm, or are you a classic 35mm shooter? I personally lean toward the Panasonic 15mm, as I have never got along well with 35mm focal length. That's just me, but hey, both are excellent lenses, both are well constructed, small and light, and are capable of shooting sharp images! They both embody what a Micro Four Thirds lens should be, and I only hope both OM Digital Solutions and Panasonic would update their respective lenses with full weather-sealing!

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I made a short trip to Ipoh, a small town about 3 hours' drive north from Kuala Lumpur in last December for a quick relaxing photography outing with some friends. One of the main attractions in Ipoh is Pasar Karat which happens every Sunday morning. Basically, it is a flea market, or a local buy sell location, where you can find some really cool, old stuff. I chanced upon an "Olymbus" camera. I did not take the camera out of the box, and did not ask if it still works, or how much it costs. My mind was set on hunting street photographs that morning, and had I slowed down my pace a little I could have actually decided to buy the "Olymbus" camera, just because it is "Olymbus". It was really strange to see pirated, or cloned copies of cameras being made and sold even back in the film era. Obviously, I had zero knowledge about this back in the day as I started photography in the digital age. I am aware of counterfeit and fake electronic products, especially popular headphones (Sennheiser particularly) being circulated rampantly. I just did not realize this problem had started much, much earlier. 

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Nokia released the Lumia 1020 in 2013, and I thought this 41MP smartphone camera can still outperform many greatest and most expensive smartphones today. I found one at a good price in good condition in used market and brought it out for some street shooting. Based on the images I obtained from the session, the 41MP 2/3-inch image sensor coupled with 26mm F2.2 equivalent lens produced excellent per pixel sharpness and plenty of contrast and details, rendering natural, highly realistic looking images. This camera was launched before the advent of aggressive computational AI software with heavy processing; hence the colors were not oversaturated, and it lacks the over sharpening and crazy noise reduction happening in most newer smartphones that smeared away many useful fine details and contrast. Modern smartphone makers can learn a thing or two from Nokia, the hardware is important, and you can only go so far pushing the imaging boundaries with your software. I cannot help but wonder if Nokia is still around, we would get really interesting and capable smartphone cameras from them today! After all, they were the first to push the sensor size and megapixel count in the smartphone industry. I made a video to talk about this here (click). 

Gong Xi Fa Cai to those who celebrate Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year! 

May this year bring you abundant prosperity, overflowing joy and great health. I am currently away from Kuala Lumpur, and am back in my hometown Kuching in Borneo, celebrating the Chinese New Year with my family. This is a much needed break, probably I will eat too much sinful food, but let's worry about the consequences later. I am compiling a series of images in bold red, mainly because red is the primary auspicious color for Chinese New Year! Enjoy the oversaturated reds in the images!

I am revisiting the ISO200 challenge which I did a while ago, but this time with the OM System OM-1 paired with the excellent Panasonic Leica 9mm F1.7 lens. I was attacking the central area in Kuala Lumpur, capturing the vibrant highway with streaks of lights from the passing traffic with the backdrop of the metropolitan city. I stayed at ISO200 throughout the entire session, trusting the 5-Axis Image Stabilization in camera to steady my hand-held shots without using the tripod. The advantage of this technique - I get completely clean results free of high ISO noise, and the best possible image quality that I can squeeze out of the 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, as ISO200 is the native, base ISO. Many people wrongly assumed that to shoot in low light you need either to use a tripod or to bump up the ISO numbers much higher. In this case, if you do not intend to freeze motion, or have fast moving subjects, then you can lower you ISO number to get better results. If you have not done the ISO200 challenge before, I highly recommend you to try it, it is very fun, I promise, and you will be surprised by the results you can get hand-held with your Olympus or OM System camera, at low ISO shooting in low light. I also made a video about this topic here (click). 

With all the buzz surrounding the latest launch from OM Digital Solutions, the OM-1 Mark II, I am taking a step backward to look into a camera Olympus launched in 2013, the original OM-D E-M1. Even after more than 10 years, I thought this camera is still a capable machine, and I will not hesitate to use it to grab some important shots. Back in November 2023 I went to the eve of Deepavali celebration in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur to shoot some activities there, I used the E-M1 original with M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens throughout the entire session. I quite enjoyed this combination, and I shared plenty of fresh images with my thoughts on using the original E-M1 on present day. You can find the video here (click). 

When someone adds the title "expert" to what they do, that places that person in a higher regard, and an almost dangerous position to be scrutinized more closely. That also leaves less room for error. It is interesting to observe how many "experts" popping up out of nowhere, and when the information that they share are nothing more than just half-truths and twisted facts that were modified so meticulously to serve their own agenda or push their own narrative, I just have this itch to write something down here. Strangely, I have more and more things to say recently, the up surge of blog articles certainly proves that. In this entry, I want to talk about a person whom I will not name (and shame), and how I find his sharing misleading and can be to a certain degree, damaging to the community.

Olympus E-1, first Four Thirds DSLR camera, featuring a 5MP CCD Kodak image sensor. 
Less than a week ago, OM Digital Solution released their latest flagship camera - the OM System OM-1 Mark II, which effectively superseded the original OM-1 which was launched just about 2 years ago. I am not here to comment much about the product, a lot has been said already online everywhere, whether positive or negative reaction, I believe most of them are valid, it depends on which camp you belong to, and your reasons for supporting or going against the OM-1 Mark II's product strategy. I am less interested to explore this divisive topic, but I do want to share an interesting observation about the launch of the OM-1 Mark II itself with the lack of online coverage, both from the usual mainstream photography media and independent content creators. This I believe, points to a larger issue that the company, OM Digital Solutions is facing, and not working with the media and independent photographers was a huge, huge mistake.