Sunday, August 02, 2015

The 35mm Adventure Continues

I spent the entire weekend with only the Fujifilm Finepix X100, which was an old, 4 years old camera, but at the same time, it was rather new to me. As I have mentioned in my previous blog entry the main reason I acquired this camera is to take the 35mm focal length more seriously, and push myself further in getting comfortable and be able to work with 35mm. 

It is work in progress and I do not expect immediate results. However I must say I enjoy using the Fuji X100 tremendously, and I can understand how so many photographers are emotionally attached to it. Despite all the disadvantages of the old camera, having slower autofocus, laggy camera general operations, having less Megapixels, etc, I still find myself able to forgive all that, and just focus on shooting. I have slowed down my shooting process and put more thoughts in my composition, before I clicked the shutter button. 

As usual, I shall share images from my latest shutter therapy session.

Three Chairs

The Box

Back Alley

A Curious boy

Leaning Man

Hanging Out

Take the Plunge

Different Shades of Red

Red Door

Black Cat

Five Foot Way

I was joined by Calvin!!

A Weekend is not complete without an expensive cup of coffee

Roasted Chicken with Egg, sandwiched by Brinjals

Long Morning Conversations

I attended the KLPA (Kuala Lumpur Photography Awards) Presentation ceremony. 

Spontaneous reaction when I pointed my camera to Vignes (the dude in black), the organizer of the coming Obscura Photography festival happening in Penang in mid-week of August 2015. 

Alvin Lau, whom I shoot regularly with on the streets, won 'Best Asian" Photographer prize.
Congratulations man!

A group photo of the winners of KLPA 2015. I shot from the side so I did not get in the way of the press/media photographers. 

It was a full house, quite a huge photography event for KL. Great seeing so many familiar faces!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fun with High ISO

I do find it strange that when one camera outperforms another in one or two specific area suddenly the camera with lower specification is considered inferior. This case is particularly true for high ISO comparisons between cameras, and one of the most popularly discussed weakness of Micro Four Thirds system in general. 

It is no secret that Micro Four Thirds has not matched or even surpassed what the current offerings of Full Frame cameras can do in terms of high ISO shooting. On the other hand, it has been proven again and again not just by me but also by many well-respected photographers and camera reviewers that the Micro Four Thirds system has come a long way, surpassing most APS-C cameras and matching even the best APS-C DSLR/Mirrorless cameras. The mentality that "more is better" has a strong grip on consumers, and sadly these days, "good enough is no longer good enough". Sufficiency has become outdated: camera and lens purchase decisions are now not based on what works and what is needed, but more biased toward what is bigger, better and faster. The Micro Four Thirds system suddenly seems so inadequate. 

I am happy to hear the news that a newly developed sensor is being fitted into the just launched Panasonic Lumix GX8, and I am extremely excited because every single time there is a significant new sensor being introduced, you will notice a huge jump in image quality (high ISO especially). Think about the OM-D E-M5, using the first 16MP image sensor for Micro Four Thirds, versus the older 12MP sensor on PEN E-P3. It was a huge step upward and finally with that new E-M5 sensor, the gap between Micro Four Thirds and APS-C cameras are coming close to diminishing. Early reports and hands-on previews on the current Panasonic GX8 looks promising, and I wish it will bring about the same jump as seen previously in E-M5. 

Unfortunately I do not have a GX8, and not even sure when this camera will arrive here in KL. 

In this blog entry I shall be showing a few photographs taken with high ISO on the E-M5 Mark II

I have written lengthily about how to handle high ISO images with Olympus Micro Four Thirds system, if you have not read my guide please do so here (click). 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses

ISO3200, 25mm F1.8 lens
I can confidently shoot ISO3200 with the E-M5 Mark II. For the sake of having a cleaner image, I have applied Noise Filter "LOW" for this image instead of "OFF". For those of you being overly sensitive to seeing even that tiny bit of grain in the image, you can opt for Noise Filter "Standard or High", with compromise of useful fine details in the image. I find Noise Filter "LOW" to provide the best balance between suppressing noise and maintaining good overall sharpness when shooting high ISO. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Day at Fraser's Hill with M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II on Olympus OM-D E-M10

About a week ago I have posted on my Facebook Page asking if there was interest of people here seeing me shooting with Olympus long lenses such as M.Zuiko 75-300mm or 40-150mm, on either E-M10 or E-M1. The most popular vote went to the rarely mentioned M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II on Olympus OM-D E-M10 body. I brought this combo and went with a group of photography crazy people of PSPJ (Photographic Society of Petaling Jaya) to Fraser's Hill which is about 2 hours drive away from KL to Pahang. It was a full day outing with a few photography activities lined up including birding, insect macro and portrait shooting. 

Initially I was super tempted to bring along the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro for insect macro shooting, since I have not done any for a long time, as well as that super awesome M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 for model portrait shooting. Disciplining myself and staying true to my own promise of just sticking to one lens, I managed to do everything for the whole trip with just the M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II lens. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shooting The Ordinary Things

I think too many of us are striving too hard to achieve that National Geographic kind of photograph. Strangely, I have seen too many friends around me struggling to find that award winning photograph to prove themselves superior than others. Is photography a competition? Is there an ultimate goal in photography? Is photography like sports that only the champion has the last say? 

I say, screw all that. All I want to do is just grab my camera, head out the door, bathe myself into the dangerously cancer-inducing hot Malaysian sun and have some shutter clicking action going on! I am happy that way. I just shoot because I want to, and because I can. I do not aim for impossible goals in photography. Heck I know very well none of my photographs are competition worthy, and I could care less, really. These are my photographs, and I am proud of them. They may not be breathtaking or super sensational to look at, but hey, I can guarantee you at least they are fun to look at. And most of the things I point my camera at are merely ordinary, everyday things. Nothing spectacular, nothing fantastic, just plain, simple and common subjects we encounter often. 

May it be a scene from the streets I walk along often, or that plate of bowl of delicious noodles soup, or that new watch I have saved for months to purchase, or simply a painting I found on a wall. You know, something ordinary. 

Photography does not have to be hard and tiring. Why not shoot something ordinary?

This was taken from a train station. I have just left the train and was going to catch the Antman in this newly opened shopping mall. It was a good movie, I enjoyed it.