I believe if a camera was good many years ago, it is still a good camera today. As a photographer I am also infinitely curious about any camera, whether old or new. It is no secret that my small photography business does not allow me the luxury to buy all the latest, greatest and most expensive gear. I do need a consistent stream of content for my YouTube to grow the channel, hence the viable option is to look for older gear in the used marketplace. Using these older gears not only provided me with more content to be made for my socials but also, they are incredibly fun to use! This way, I do not need to break the bank to acquire new (old) gear, and after I am done with my review, there is always an option to resell this used gear to recover some cost. 

I found a Panasonic Lumix GF2 by crazy luck at the used market for about USD10/RM50 only. I tell you, this kind of fortune does not happen a lot, and boy oh boy was I excited to try the GF2. This earlier generation entry level Micro Four Thirds body can still hold its own today, delivering really good results. There are many things Panasonic did right with the Lumix GF2 which I wish they continued on with their newer modern cameras. Sadly, some of the changes they did were not necessarily for the better. I brought the GF2 out for some street shooting and I am actually impressed with the color output from a Panasonic camera, finally! I made a video to talk about this and more here (click). 

We cannot predict the weather here in Malaysia, forecasts can often be inaccurate, and for street photography sometimes weather is everything. I prefer sunny days, with harsh light for creative shadow and light play, and even my portraits of strangers look better with brighter days. However, that was not the case for last Sunday out with a few friends, we ventured into my favorite part of town for shutter therapy, Chow Kit, and it was gloomy, with very flat lighting. We decided to spend more time inside the wet market, which was not affected by the outdoor conditions, and the light inside the market was never good to begin with, but the shoot went on. I had my Nikon Z5 with the small-ish 40mm F2 prime, and here are some images from this session. 

Every single time I posted a topic about other formats than Micro Four Thirds, I get such loud backlash that it was almost a crime to just look at anything other than Olympus/OM System or Panasonic Micro Four Thirds product. Case in point - I posted an upcoming weekly Live Stream with the topic on Nikon Z6 III, which was quite an interesting camera and worth taking a closer look, I'd say. Before even the stream started (at this time of writing, one day before the stream) I have received dozens of comments bashing my choice of topic - some said "wow Robin you are a traitor", "Robin this is such a clickbait", "now Micro Four Thirds is not good enough? What crazy talk" "so now you are backtracking your words Robin?" "Robin, since you left Olympus, your opinion is no longer objective". Just by posting a Nikon Z6 III topic, I did not say I jump ship, I did not say I am leaving Micro Four Thirds, I did not say anything about giving up on my Olympus OM-D System, just by posting Nikon's latest camera topic, I get all these jabs. 

Image by Jaya Prithivi Raj, used with permission
Yesterday was a public holiday in Malaysia (Hari Raya Korban) and I took his opportunity to catch up with my friends, whom I have not seen in a few months. Everyone is busy with their own lives, and only on weekends on public holidays we can meet and hang out. Usually, we would go to a comfortable restaurant or cafe and had many hours long session of conversations. This time we went to a Botanica & Co. Seriously, nothing beats great food with awesome company of friends, and having even better conversations. I know I need this more, and I should make more time out of my filled timetable to allocate for my friends. It was my first time being to Bamboo Hills, such a cool name in a nest of restaurants and cafes somewhere not too far from Mon't Kiara. I initially wanted to take portraits of my friends at the location after our meal and conversations, but it rained so heavily, so that had to be put on hold. Maybe next visit to Bamboo Hills again, we shall have some shutter action. 

Spencer looking at the Menu
I believe the Nikon Z5 and Viltrox 85mm F1.8 is the best budget full frame setup for shooting portraits. The Z5 brings some modern tech in a low price tag - large, bright high resolution EVF, 5-Axis IS, mini DSLR like handling and operations, effective human face & eye tracking AF and a full sized full frame image sensor that renders great dynamic range and shallow depth of field (compared to smaller cropped formats). The Viltrox 85mm F1.8 is capable of producing very sharp images with beautiful looking bokeh, and I was impressed with what the lens can do with such low asking price. Both Nikon Z5 and Viltrox 85mm I bought from the used market for around RM3500 (less than USD700) and you just can't get anything better with the set of features and performance at similar price. I made a POV shooting video on the portrait session, you can watch the video here (click). 

We often strive to get the most extra-ordinary images; hence we go great lengths in hopes of obtaining the award winning, Nat-Geo worthy results. Many would travel to exotic locations for photo safaris and plan an elaborate photoshoot that would take a crew of dozens and weeks to execute. There is nothing wrong in doing the best you can to produce imagery beyond the normal expectations, but I also believe in finding beautiful things in the ordinary setting. Photography is storytelling, it is a medium to communicate your ideas, it is a way to express your emotions. You don't need to travel all the way to Iceland to do that. Sometimes, your best shots are right in front of you, you just have to see it. 

When I was studying in Perth, Western Australia the blue boathouse, or more prominently known as Crawley Boatshed was just a stone throw away from my University. I sew it almost every day, if I have to go to the city, and back to Nedlands where I stayed. I have seen it so often that it never occurred to me of how special the boathouse was, and it seemed like a popular spot for wedding photography, and now an iconic spot for tourists to take a selfie at. I never paid much attention to it, until I left Perth, and started my photography journey more seriously, and I found out how incredibly beautiful that boatshed was. The visiting years returning to Perth for friend's weddings and visiting other friends, I brought my camera to take some shots of the Crawley Boatshed. Special thanks to Charmaine and Chris who hosted me in 2019, I managed to take a night sky shot of the boathouse with long exposure of 45 minutes, creating star trail in the background. This is my favourite shot of the Crawley Boatshed, and the only one I have taken at night. 

45 minutes long star trail. Olympus E-M1 Mark II on a tripod. Shot using Live Composite. 
We sould have stayed longer but we noticed thick clouds approaching the frame very quickly. 

My favourite sunset photo. The Perth skies were always clear and void of clouds. Hence the presence of cloud added a rare texture to the sky

Crawley Boatshed, a popular spot for wedding photography. Yes I am also guilty of using the location to shoot some wedding portraits. 

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I have been itching to do some black and white mini project lately. Shooting everything without color makes things a little bit simpler and more challenging at the same time. The colors are usually distractions and can add too much information for the human eyes to process, leading the attention away from the main subject in the frame, or taking away the depth of the story the photographer is telling. Without colors, the scene is plainer, and the focus can be placed directly at the main subject. However, shooting in black and white is not as easy as it seems, you need to have better understanding of light, how to execute contrast in composition and there are many things to avoid as well. I am still a learning photographer in this genre, and I do love black and white. I should do more black and white photography soon. Heck, I even have dressed myself in monochrome for a year or more now, I talked about it here (click).about it here (click). Here are some of my older black and white images. 

I found a Sigma 19mm F2.8 at a clearance sale and I bought it out of curiosity. The price was so low, I won't regret it even if I did not like the lens. It was one of the first few prime lenses that Sigma made for mirrorless system, and it was originally designed for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras. However, they also made the mount available for Micro Four Thirds, and this was a huge deal back then because in the early days there were not many choices for mirrorless native lenses, even from the camera manufacturers. Now, with so many options for lenses available, I cannot help but wonder if it was still worth getting the Sigma 19mm F2.8 today? My video on this topic here (click). My video on this topic here (click). 

Sigma 19mm F2.8 Art Edition
Special thanks to my friend Jaya, I managed to sneak into the official launch of Fujifilm' latest products, the GFX100S II and X-T50. Obviously as I have said many times, I am not important enough to be invited directly for anything camera related. I am not exactly a media blogger and I don't do press releases or announcements, I have never done any here on my blog. This is a photography blog and honestly I don't want it to turn into a media site, hence I guess I shall never get invited to any of these launch events. Nevertheless, since I was there, I had a great time catching up with many friends I have not met in a while within the Fuji active community (Calven, Qippy, Arthur from DCM, TJ, some media and dealer friends). It also felt a little strange because the week before the launch of X-T50 I already made my first impression video on the camera, which was made available for touch and try by consumers in dealer shops. Anyways, it was a fun, exciting event and I was happy to be there, observing. Fuji indeed has come a long way, and they have carved their own unique position in the market. Here are some images from the event. 

Fujifilm's latest medium format offering: GFX100S II
I started doing photography more seriously in the year 2008, when I just arrived in Kuala Lumpur. I got my first DSLR, the Olympus E-410 (which was stolen from me) and subsequently the E-520, and I started exploring the vast and beautiful world of photography. I have had a running blog at that time, which slowly transformed into a photography blog, where I share my weekend adventures capturing new images, and I also wrote about the challenges that I have faced and the lessons I have learned. I continued doing my shutter therapy consistently, week after week, year after year, and I still have the same fire I had 16 years ago. I still pick up my camera whenever I can, and I go out to shoot. I remained persistent and I did not know back then that I was in for the long game. 

Image taken by Jojo, used with permission. 
Panasonic has just recently launched the Lumix S9 camera in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and I managed to sneak myself inside, as a plus one to my friend Jaya Jaya (thanks man) who was invited to the event. Obviously, again, I am not important enough to be invited directly. I am just a photographer being isolated on his own island. Having the opportunity to get my hands on the Lumix S9 and used it briefly, I decided to do a quick first impressions preview on location and shared some of my thoughts about the Lumix S9. Obviously, this is not a review, I did not have enough time with the camera to make a meaningful review. The Lumix S9 is indeed an interesting camera, and I have a lot of things to say about it.