Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

I was away from the city last weekend to North Borneo, where the beautiful Kota Kinabalu (KK) city was at. This trip was partly conceptualized when I was visiting KK last year, in a conversation with Dr Soon Ruey (an amazing friend and great photographer). Dr Soon volunteered to organize a trip for mychiaroscuro.net members (local Olympus user forum in Malaysia), inviting us to go to KK for a weekend of shutter therapy adventures there. 

Kota Kinabalu is such a beautiful place! Mount Kinabalu (opening images here, plenty of them taken at different time of the day) is the peak of South East Asia, used to be the highest mountain of South East Asia but has lost about 6 meters over the years. This was my first time being so close to the mountain and gosh, it was such a majestic sight to behold. The KK city itself is located by the sea, overlooking sunset. There were markets setup along the sea and the place was bustling with activities throughout from afternoon till evening. With whatever little time that we had in KK, we attacked these places and what a wonderful experience it was, shooting in a beautiful city with fellow Olympus users. 

People in KK never failed to amaze me. I usually do not chatter up with strangers that I shoot, but one dude took off his shades, and asked me "what can I do for you, sir?". I was shocked, and was speechless for a few seconds. Then we had quite a bit of chat. Surely this kind of warmth is a rarity in Kuala Lumpur, and I sure wish KK will remain as it is for a long time to come. 

Considering this was a photography-centric trip, I packed in more gear than I usually do. I have with me the OM-D E-M5 and PEN E-PL5, with 9mm F8 fisheye body cap lens, 14mm F2.5, 25mm F1.8, 45mm F1.8, and 75-300mm F4.8-6.7

Peak of Mount Kinabalu during sunrise

The mountain, zoomed in with 75-300mm lens. 

Covered with dramatic clouds

My widest coverage, 9mm F8 fisheye

Houses on high ground

Driving Range with such a magnificent view

Having a dip


Playful Children

Joy to be photographed

Unusual companion

Nice hair


Market People

Pink Shirt

Sitting high

Taking a nap

KK People

By the sea

Food Market

Playful children 2

Empty box

by the sea 2

Market People

Dried Food

Gaya Street

Tinutuk Mangga - Young Mango dressed with traditional fresh herbs, lime, shrimp paste and chili. 

Hinava Dasa - fresh fish fillet marinated in lime juice, shallot, ginger, sliced chili and grated badu (wild lemon seeds). A traditional Kadazan Dusun dish.

Crispy Kailan. 

Chicken in Spices

Asam Prawns

Beef Rendang

Our gear in Zero KM, Kota Kinabalu (some sort of reference point). Photo credit - Dr Soon Ruey

Special thanks to Dr Soon for hosting us, and taking the trouble to bring us around KK, which was quite an exhausting chore. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Panasonic Leica 42.5mm F1.2 Nocticron

Shaun is visiting again, and new, shiny toys be brought for us!

He brought along with him the Panasonic GH-4 and the Leica Nocticron 42,5mm F1.2, the first F1.2 lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. 

Shot at wide open, F1.2

It was a brief encounter, I did not shoot enough to make any meaningful comments. However, I will be seeing Shaun again soon and I will rob the lens off him and shoot for at least a few hours, and you will see a blog entry full of F1.2 photographs soon. I will make sure that happens. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Back to Monotone

It has been a while since I last shot and displayed everything in black and white!

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 or PEN E-PL5 with M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 or Panasonic 14mm F2.5


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Lens Review

Important Notes:
1) I am an employee of Olympus Malaysia. I am reviewing from a photography enthusaist’s point of view. I was given the liberty to perform the gear review as usual. 
2) This is a user experience based review.
3) All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG Large Fine via Olympus Viewer 3 
4) General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5) Minimal Post Processing applied to the images (minor contrast/exposure tweak and white balance adjustment)

I have attempted to do a full review on the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens, which was released together with the launch of the now highly acclaimed OM-D E-M1. Naturally, the M.Zuiko 12-40mm lens served as the default kit lens for the E-M1. Also, worth taking note that this M.Zuiko 12-40mm is the first Olympus lens with the PRO label, and two more PRO series lenses are already announced to be under development, namely the ultra wide angle 7-14mm F2.8 PRO as well as the super telephoto zoom 40-150mm F2.8 PRO. When all the PRO lenses are released, the holy trinity pro zoom will be complete. 

For now, lets shift our attention back to the M.Zuiko 12-40mm Pro lens. To me, the introduction of this lens is quite a big deal, signalling Olympus stepping their foot firmly into the professional photography ground, competing with the giants by offering comparatively matching or even better zoom lens solutions for the now maturing Micro Four Thirds system. To match the E-M1, the 12-40mm Pro lens was designed with the following specification highlights:
1) Fully Splashproof, dustproof and freezeproof (down to minus 10 degrees Celcius)
2) Internal focusing mechanism
3) Snap Focus mode (quite pull of focusing ring to switch to manual focus immediately)
4) Highly sophisticated advanced optics design, featuring Dual Super Aspherical (DSA) Lens, two Extra Low Dispersion (ED) lenses, and two High Refractive lenses
5) Impressive close up shooting capability, going as near as 20cm closest focusing distance, with magnification of 0.3x (in 35mm equivalent, 0.6x)
6) Fixed Aperture of F2.8, versatile zoom range of 24-80mm (in 35mm equivalent format)
7) Most importantly, the lens is made small, and very light (382g), in comparison to competition (Canon 24-70mm F2.8L is 950g and Nikon 24-70mm F2.8 is 900g)

Image above was taken with three point flash setup, using wireless TTL Flash system. I used FL-50R and FL-36R