Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Smartphone Camera Vs DSLR/Mirrorless Cameras

So this article at Petapixel happened few days ago, a photographer pitted the Huawei P20 Pro against a 50MP full frame DSLR, Canon 5DS R. I did skim through the article and did not intend to react considering how clickbaity the title of the piece sounded like, but then I received emails and messages via social media seeking my opinion and feedback on the current hot topic: is the current smartphone camera good enough to replace traditional dedicated camera?

My current smartphone the Moto G5S Plus. All images shown after this were taken with this smartphone. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thonet & Vander Frei - Portable Bluetooth Speakers

I do travel rather frequently for work, as well as back to my hometown Kuching from Kuala Lumpur and I absolutely cannot survive anywhere without good audio. I have had some good headphones with me, but the experience of listening to music over the air in the openness is a joy that I must have. However, having spent quite a fair bit on headphones, I thought I should look at budget-friendly portable speakers that can still pack a punch and deliver powerful sound that I desperately need. After much Google-ing around, I found Thonet & Vander, a German brand that specializes in consumer audio equipment. The particular speakers I was looking at was Thonet & Vander Frei.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hameer Zawawi Performing in Kuching This Saturday (14 April 2018)


Hey beautiful Kuching people!

My friend Hameer Zawawi, a local singer-songwriter is currently in the midst of his "Plug Out The Machines Tour" around Malaysia and guess what, the next stop will be in Kuching! He will be performing at the ground floor of Haus Kuching alongside some awesome local bands such as Nading Rhapsody. Event starts at 730pm till late. 

I have known Hameer for several years now, following his gigs around KL before he made it to the US and disappeared for a year. I fell in love with his non-mainstream yet still totally relate-able music, featuring his hauntingly powerful and soulful vocals. He has songs about TV shows, zombies and video games! Honestly, I have missed Hameer's live performance so much because he went on tour to the US for a year and was just back to KL very recently. It was indeed so refreshing to hear Hameer perform on stage again, and wow, now in a full band!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Carmen's Farewell

You may have seen Carmen on my review entries before, especially when I was testing new lenses or cameras. Carmen has always been generous to volunteer as my test subject for the new equipment that I was reviewing, and put up with my noobness in portrait photography. She always did her best and eventually has helped many of my reviews significantly over the years. When we (her friends) heard of the news that she is leaving Malaysia soon, we decided to do a surprise farewell dinner for her.

Carmen in my recent Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III review. Image shot with the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 lens. 

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Black And White, Maybe?

I have been playing with colors all the time recently in all my images that somehow it felt that I have neglected black and white photography. I do love shooting black and white, just that I seem to appreciate colors more these days. However, when I saw the opportunity to create a black and white portrait of a friend yesterday while encountering dramatic lighting by the window, how could I resist? Sometimes, all you have to do to find inspiration is to observe how the light falls in place.

Portrait of a friend. 
Robert Evangelista (he is also an avid Olympus enthusiast)

This portrait shot was taken with the Motorola G5S Plus. There was not much post-processing done, except to boost contrast and deepen the shadows. The available light was working great to create a dramatic effect on Robert, highlighting the side profile of his face. 

Now I know what my mission is for my next shutter therapy session. To see everything in black and white. I shall even set the EVF/Live View monitor to fully black and white view (switching the picture mode to black and white) and compose my images without the presence of colors. Some images, especially the one portrait of Robert shown above, just stood out particularly well in black and white. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Olympus Viewer 3 Basic Post-Processing Workshop

Tomorrow, I will be conducting my first ever post-processing workshop for Olympus RAW files using specifically the Olympus Viewer 3 software. I am both extremely excited and nervous at the same time, as I have not done this before, and I am showing my own RAW images in the live demonstration on how I achieve the "Robin Wong" look for the first time to an audience.

Selected RAW images for the Post-Processing workshop demonstration


I acknowledge the Olympus Viewer 3 is not the most user friendly software and it is so sluggish that it makes any grown man cry after using this software just for a little while. I would not recommend Olympus Viewer 3 for serious professional use, as it is resource hungry and it is just too slow for anything productive, especially dealing with a huge batch of images (wedding/event or sports shooters). I am not sure why Olympus could not make it any more efficient, it is surely just some programming optimization and even the fastest computer now will struggle with the use of Olympus Viewer 3, doing something so basic such as white balance tweaking.

So why the post-processing workshop with Olympus Viewer 3? The software ihas basically the same JPEG engine built into Olympus cameras, the Truepic engine, which renders the magical Olympus colors which I have worked with all these years, producing beautiful, life like colors and pleasing skin tones. Furthermore, having fully automated lens technical flaw controls (CA, distortion, etc), sharpness and details optimization as well as excellent built in noise reduction for high ISO images, I have not really found any other software that can get so much out of Olympus RAW files. The magic sauce that everyone is asking me all these years, how to achieve the kind of look in my images? The answer has always been openly obvious, I did most of my post-processing work with Olympus RAW files on Olympus Viewer 3.

If only we can somehow get Olympus to significantly improve the Viewer 3's operational speed and performance, at least good enough for commercial use.... One can only dream.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Adventures With Motorola G5S Plus In Kuching

Thank goodness for beautiful weather in my hometown Kuching when I was back there a few days ago, and I managed to get some quick shooting done, further testing the newly acquired Motorola G5S Plus. I met up with local Kuching photographers, Jee and Lance, whom I had my street photography exhibitions with last year and together we attacked Kuching. The sky was blue, the light was fantastic and I was just so happy to be home and breathing the fresh air of Borneo, away from overly polluted metropolitan Kuala Lumpur.

Lets start with a hearty bowl of Sarawak Kolo Mee, which we had for breakfast. I know I have said this before, but I cannot over emhpashize that any resemblance or clone variant of Kolok Mee found in West Malaysia should be avoided like a plague at all costs. The only real Sarawak Kolo Mee comes from Sarawak. Do not try it elsewhere. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Joining The Milky Way Craze

So it is the season again to hunt and showcase night sky photographs, and my social media feeds are filled with milky way shots from all over Malaysia. Unfortunately, my recent attempt to get a milky way image was a failure due to cloudy sky and also excessive light pollution. With nothing to show, being desperate, I dug out my old milky way photos from yesteryears and shared them, for the fear of missing out. All jokes aside, it was fun to find the older milky way shots I have done while I was reviewing the OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the 7-14mm F2.8 PRO lens several years ago!


Friday, March 23, 2018

Of Coffee, Robin & Smartphone Photography

I am flying off again to Kuching, my beloved hometown this coming weekend with extended stay till mid next week for work. I shall be conducting an evening photography outing for Olympus Malaysia in town, which I really hope the weather will be kind to us.



I am a simple person with simple thoughts. I rarely complicate myself with too many unnecessary things in my mind. I have somehow managed to fit all that I want to do this weekend into a single photograph, as shown above. The Lego Robin to represent me, having plenty of good coffee and going about shooting with the newly acquired Motorola G5S Plus. Sometimes, it is true what they say, one photograph is worth a thousand words.

Oh yes, I am not done with that smartphone camera yet. I only hope that the Kuching skies will be blue and dramatic enough for me to pull off some decent wide angle shots. Kuching can be quite a surreal and attractive when the light is right.

Smartphone camera is the most utilized medium of photography today. Although there is still a large margin of difference between a smartphone and a dedicated camera in terms of imaging capabilities, there is no denying convenience is the ultimate factor is pushing the dominant use of smartphone photography, and is responsible directly for the sharp decline in camera sales over the years.

After all, the best camera is the camera you have with you at all times.

What are your thoughts on smartphone photography? Is it the future? How many of you have left your cameras behind and decided that smartphones are good enough for most of your shooting needs?

Please follow me on Facebook and Instagram. 


Monday, March 19, 2018

Motorola G5S Plus Smartphone Camera Review

I have purchased a new phone, the Motorola G5S Plus and I have spent a weekend snapping away casually with the built in camera. The Moto G5S Plus replaces my Nokia 6 which I acquired in August last year, being a superior phone in every aspect, despite having the similar price tag. The photography enthusiast in me was curious about the dual camera module in the Moto G5S Plus, so I have spent quite a bit of time with it, shooting anything around me whenever I can. This blog entry is focused on the camera performance of the Motorola G5S Plus only, and I shall be sharing tonnes of sample images taken with the G5S Plus' camera.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. I am not associated with Motorola or Lenovo. I purchased the Moto G5S Plus from a local dealer shop and have done this review independently. Similarly to all my camera reviews, my review approach is user-experience based and may be subjective. Kindly take note that all images have been post-processed to taste.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Like Colorful Things

I see the world in full, vivid, explosive array of colors. I celebrate the beauty of vibrant and joyful mixture of different colors around us. My images have always been overly bright instead of dark and more often very colorful in nature. Therefore, when I found a wall painted in rainbow colors, I just could not help but to pose for a portrait shot of myself. Special thanks to Matti Sulanto who helped shoot this image, I love it so much!

All images and video by Matti Sulanto. Used with permission. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sushi Teriyaki Chicken Burger at Third Wave, Nexus Bangsar South

Sometimes, I am adventurous enough to try unusual food just for the kicks of it. Sushi burger is not exactly something new, the fusion between Asian and Western food is quite common these days. However, not many places can get the fusion right and the mutated food usually ends up disastrous and nothing like the original counterparts. Nonetheless, the best part of living is being able to eat, and daring to try different food is part of the fun that keeps the game interesting.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Guest Post by Matti Sulanto: PSPJ 30th Anniversary Exhibition Launch

Note from Robin: I was unable to attend the official launch of PSPJ's 30th Anniversary Exhibition Launch yesterday (10th March 2018). I sought out help from my friend, Matti Sulanto, to cover the event and have the article published here. This is my first time featuring a guest blogger! Special thanks to Matti for doing this and I owe you a huge one. 

All images in this blog entry by Matti Sulanto. Used with permission

Photographic Society of Petaling Jaya is having their 30th anniversary photo exhibition, titled ”Malaysia: My Home, My Country”, right now at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC) in Kuala Lumpur. I was invited to the opening ceremony of the show and I must say I was quite enthusiastic to see how a Malaysian photo society works and the kind of images they exhibit. I know some local photographers and their work, but was still keen to see the work of 60 photographers featured.

The former Deputy Education Minister Dato´ Hon Choon Kim spoke at the opening ceremony.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

And Then There Was A Lego Robin Brickheadz

My friend Allen Ang got me a belated birthday gift, the Lego Brickheadz of Robin from the Lego Batman Movie. Thinking through the history of gifts that I have received, this was probably the only one time that I received something that is directly related to my name. And we all know that Robin (in any versions of Batman) kicks ass!


The image above was taken with the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens, and that bokeh was truly delicious!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Reminiscing the Original Olympus OM-D E-M5

From time to time I love to pick up an older camera and just give it a quick spin, to see how far we have come in terms of imaging innovation, as well as to remind myself that good photography is not about the the gear that we use. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a special camera to me personally, it was the camera that propelled this blog to wide internet reception, and got me deeper and deeper into the Micro Four Thirds world. It was the camera that made everyone believe that mirrorless cameras are capable too.


Monday, February 26, 2018

The Chinese New Year 2018 That Was

This year, my family and I celebrated the festive season with a low key. No bombastic decorations, no extensive food preparations, no buying new cloths, and basically nothing much was done. What I did was to spend as much time as I could with mum, and whatever time left, I allocated for some close friends. It was interesting because as I grew older, the less excitement I felt for Chinese New Year. Perhaps that was because I was never a fan of explosive firecrackers, dramatic lion dance and unbearably loud Chinese New Year songs. Red is not even my favourite color.

Kieron Long, an up and coming street photographer from Kuching. My partner in crime in one of my recent shutter therapy sessions in Kuching. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Minimalist Camera Straps by The Bandit Co.

My photography friend, Jee Foong has been making minimalist-styled, hand-crafted, genuine leather camera straps. I have always struggled to find the suitable straps for my camera that balances both function and design. Considering the mirrorless cameras that I own actually look quite stylish, I want the straps on them to look equally elegant as well as being comfortable in use. There are many camera strap options but the premium ones that are both comfortable to use and look great are usually not budget-friendly at all. This leads me to another crucial point that makes these hand-crafted straps stand out from the crowd: they are unbelievably affordable.



Sunday, February 18, 2018

Unpopular Opinion: Why I Don't Shoot Film

A lot of you have stayed with me over the years, and some of you must have wondered if Robin Wong has ever tried shooting film? Why is there no blog articles about film? The short answer is, I do not shoot film. I shall explain myself in this article why I never bothered about film and why I never will.

I am not against film photography in the digital age. If you love shooting film and it gives you that much pleasure and satisfaction, by all means, continue doing what you love doing. This is not going to be an article about film vs digital photography, that is a treacherous terrain that I would be suicidal to cross. I will explain myself as simple and as straightforward as I can: I just do not see the point of shooting film now.



Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year 2018

If you are celebrating, I wish you a prosperous and happy Chinese New Year! May this year bring you happiness, love, good health and abundant opportunities.

I am finally back in my hometown Kuching (Borneo), preparing for the coming celebration of the new year. Of course I have had my over-dosage of Sarawakian food goodness over the past few days before the stalls closed down for the celebrations. My cravings were adequately vanquished but I do wish I have more. I will have to wait until the 3rd or 4th day of Chinese New Year for some of the stalls to re-open.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lunch at CalleVerde Cafe, Petaling Street

So what happens when there is a newly opened cafe incidentally being smacked right in the middle of my usual hunting ground for street photography? We do some street shooting and we eat some good food there immediately after!

CalleVerde is a Fillipino and Western fusion themed cafe that serves a variety of commonly available Fillipino food and also some western dishes. This is not exactly a food review blog entry, and I have no intention of doing food reviews here either. However, I am a photographer and my hand gets itchy whenever I see something interesting to shoot. It is no secret that I am a food lover (judging by the size of my physical appearance) and putting the two things that I am passionate about together, I do enjoy shooting food tremendously. Though I must admit that my food photography still need plenty of work, but it is work in progress nonetheless. What better reward for food photography than to be able to taste the subject that you have just photographed on the spot?

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens.

Bangsilog

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Revisiting Kuala Lumpur - A Photography Exhibition Comparing KL from 1976 vs 2017

One of the advantages of being a photographer living in Kuala Lumpur is the bountiful of events and activities that are available to get myself immersed with and be inspired. Photography exhibitions happen frequent enough that we never really run out of opportunities to absorb new idea, get motivated and push our photography boundaries further. The most recent photography exhibition I have attended was the "REVISITING KUALA LUMPUR" by three local Malaysian photographers, Eric Peris, Lee Hong Leng and KF Choy. This exhibition specifically compares urban landscapes from the early scenes in 1976 versus what they have changed into in 2017.

KF Choy, Eric Peris, Academician Professor Emerita Datuk Dr. Mazlan Othman, Chairman of Sutra Foundation Datuk Ramli Ibrahim and Lee Hong Leng

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Olympus PEN E-PL9 Review is Up!!

Thanks to Olympus Malaysia, I have had the Limited Edition Blue Olympus PEN E-PL9 for a week to shoot. My review is now published on Ming Thein's site here (click).


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Is The Grass Greener On The Fuji Side?

I know the camera brand that neither me nor Ming Thein touched is Fujifilm. Although Fuji has been making splashes with their X-T series and X-Pro series of mirrorless cameras, somehow none of them made it into my grasp, or available for me to review. Buying cameras just to review is out of the question, as that is not the way to sustain a long term solution for a blogger. However, I do have friends who own Fuji and have spoken highly on Fuji imaging products. I even have a friend who is willing to loan me his Fuji X-Pro 2 for review purposes. The question is, after about 2 years since the X-Pro 2's release in early 2016, will there be still enough interest from my readers to see me review it?


I have heard of the wondrous colors of Fuji JPEG files, but I must acknowledge that color preference is highly subjective, and may not be the same for everyone. From the general online photography discussion, I can summarize that the X-Trans sensor for Fuji has gained much attention, having respectable high ISO performance, better resolution resolving power, yet at the same time suffering from being able to be fully optimized when the RAW files are being processed with commercially available post-processing software. I have to be honest to say that I am not a fan of rangefinder style design for a body, and I am leaning toward a traditional DSLR look, mainly for better handling and also many other practical shooting considerations (viewfinder being on the same axis as the lens).

I do have my own curiosity, are Fuji lenses really as good as what everyone says? Has the AF improved since the days of X-Pro 1/X-T1 (which were lagging behind most cameras in terms of speed and reliability)? What is the fuss with all those film simulations? Do they make an impact on the image colors, or do I get better color processing the images myself?

My only brief flirtation with Fuji was with the first and original classic X100. It was a good camera, but it failed to deliver when I want something practical to work with. The lens was soft, the AF was terribly slow and the image quality was nothing to shout about, even during its time. I do admit the design was super sexy, the camera feels good on hand and I have had some beautiful images taken with X100 that made it into my Kuching exhibitions last year. Of course the X100 was many years apart and I am sure Fuji has come a long way since.

So Fuji people, if you have somehow stumbled upon this, do share your thoughts and your experience using the X-series. And is there anyone interested in reading my review of the X-Pro 2?

Monday, February 05, 2018

The Nokia 6 Snapshots

I have been using the Nokia 6 for more than half a year now. While I have had a few flings with "flasgship" smartphones before, having much more capable cameras, such as Oneplus One, Huawei Mate 9 Pro and P10, strangely I do not miss using the higher end smartphone cameras. Perhaps the main reason was because no matter how good the camera in a smartphone is, it is still a smartphone camera with small sized image sensor and there is just so much you can do with it.



Friday, February 02, 2018

The Image Stabilization Miracle

Who would have thought how much the image stabilization can improve in just a few years? When Olympus introduced their 5-Axis Image Stabilization in the OM-D E-M5 in 2012, it made huge waves across the photography-sphere. Fast forward a few years later, evolving to the IS in their E-M1 Mark II, now I am able to hand-hold confidently at 4 seconds shutter speed and get blur free images! Do bear in mind that this only works for wide angle shots, shooting subjects from quite a distance away from the camera.

4 seconds shutter speed, hand-held. E-M1 Mark II and 12-40mm PRO lens. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Revisiting The Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger At myBurgerLab

It was about half a year ago during the month of Malaysian independence day celebration that the Nasi Lemak burger craze hit the town. One that particularly stood out from the rest was from myBurgerLab, with their Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang variation winning many hearts of their patrons. Their Nasi Lemak burger was doing so well that it made it into the permanent menu instead of being a limited time only item.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Ming Thein's Exhibition - The Idea Of Man II at Ilford Galerie MY

It was a fully occupied Saturday for me that Ilford launched their first Ilford Galerie in the world, situated at Oasis Square, Damansara. In conjunction with this opening, they featured Ming Thein's "Idea of Man II" as their first photography exhibition.

I had a Panasonic Lumix 4K Photo workshop in the afternoon, which coincided with the event. Otherwise I would have been able to do a full event coverage for that launching ceremony which was officiated by Ilford's president who came all the way from Japan. It would have been awesome shooting behind the scenes stuff, and of course listen to sharing by Ming Thein himself, and the person behind this Galerie, Wesley Wong.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Food, Coffee, Friends and Eargasm: My Kind of Sunday

After spending one heck of a week shooting and doing a review for the Panasonic G9, I thought I could spend one lazy Sunday with a couple of awesome people just to chill out. That was exactly what happened last Sunday, together with Robert and Sim, we attacked food, drank plenty of coffee, had good dosage of high quality audio and then even more food. I live to eat. I hope you do the same too.

Oh did you remember the tips on how to shoot great looking "Instagram-able" food images (click here)? If you have followed those tips you can achieve the following results.

Sticky Rice (Lor Mai Kai)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Panasonic Lumix G9 Review - Shooting In Progress

Thanks to Panasonic Malaysia and Digital Camera Magazine (DCM) Malaysia, I have the Panasonic G9 on loan for review. I have been shooting for a few days now and am gathering as many sample photos as I can. This will be my first full review for a Panasonic camera, and I am very excited being out there doing this. I am also fully equipped with all various Panasonic lenses to test out the G9 with. I will of course use one or two Olympus lenses for some specific purposes, but having native Panasonic lenses matter because I can fully test out the Dual IS and DFD for C-AF shooting. So far things are looking quite amazing and I cannot wait to share the results with you guys soon. 


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trust Your Instinct

Photography opportunity has a lot to do with luck. You have to be out there waiting for something to happen, go to it, and shoot it. Being at the right time and at the right place matters. However, you can increase the chances of interesting moments happening by going out a lot more. Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut feeling, and do what you feel is right at that particular moment.

Last Snuday, I conducted a half day photography workshop for Olympus and had multiple appointments in the afternoon. After the last meeting, it was already late 3.30pm, and I just wanted to call it a day and go home. Strangely, there was this inkling feeling in me that urged me to spend the rest of the afternoon shooting insect macro. The kind of fired up enthusiasm that suddenly you just want to pick up the camera and go trigger happy, happened and I did just that. I continued on to a nearby park and did a solid 3 hours insect macro shooting session.

Image taken with Panasonic Lumix G9 and Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens. 
Yes, you read that right, the G9. A review is cooking. 

You see, I have been hunting Ant Mimic Spiders. They are extremely difficult to find (at least for me, living in the city, with mostly secondary forests) and when i did get to find one, the spider usually moved so fast it was challenging to get a decent shot. Every single time I went out shooting insect macro I would look for Ant Mimic Spider, with very low success. Finally, on a day that I initially wanted to just rest and have a normal Sunday like everyone else, my instinct kicked me to go out and shoot. I found my Ant Mimic Spider.

Why my fascination with Ant Mimic Spider? They live their whole lives pretending to be ants. To do so, they need to mimic ant specific characteristics. They walk on six legs, and raised their front two legs to look like antennas which they never had. Also, their eyes were shaped and rearranged differently from other spiders to look as if they only had two eyes, instead of many eyes spiders normally have. Their body shape has been altered to look like ants as well, and they changed their walking patterns to match the ants. Perhaps the scariest part is the ability of these ant mimic spiders to secrete chemical scents that the ants will be familiar with. These mimicry mechanisms worked for two purposes: protection against the ants, because ants move in a large group and numbers always win when it comes to fights, and for the spiders to always have source of food. When the ant mimic spider found an ant wandering off alone... then it is meal time.

People say animals do not lie. I disagree. At least ant mimic spiders lie about their identities.

You have no idea how happy I was at the end of last Sunday, coming home with some very decent shots of these ant mimic spiders (and some other insects as well along the way). I think it is very important to always believe in yourself, and listen to your heart. Trust your instinct, and your camera will make interesting shots happen!

Friday, January 12, 2018

That Mysterious Tiny Camera Bag - HAKUBA Shell City Messenger from Japan

A while ago I was blogging about the Lowepro Campus + bag which was designed to be a travel or everyday bag. I did a video showing how I pack for my short trip home to Kuching. In that video, I packed my Olympus PEN E-P5, Panasonic 14mm F2.5 lens and Olympus 25mm F1.8 into a separate, tiny little camera shoulder bag. Since then, that article has received more questions about that tiny little camera bag than the Lowepro bag I was blogging about instead. The same post was also on Instagram and due to popular interest, I thought why not I do one entry about this mysterious little bag that I have had with me for a while now.

The tiny little camera bag looked so good, with simplistic, clean and basic design. Perfect for smaller camera systems. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

About That Olympus Feathered Bokeh

Olympus' latest lenses, the F1.2 PRO primes, 17mm and 45mm both have this new feature named "feathered bokeh". Olympus claims that when shooting at F1.2 wide open, feathered bokeh can be achieved, rendering softer looking background for better defocusing effect, isolating the subject better and creating that 3-dimensional look. Alternatively, a more solid background can be acquired by stopping down the lens to F1.8, which is the ordinary look from any other lenses. During my course of reviewing lenses, both the 17mm and 45mm F1.2 PRO, I have come to appreciate the buttery smooth and pleasingly creamy bokeh that these lenses can do at F1.2. However, is there really that huge of a difference between the F1.2 and F1.8? I am not asking in terms of shallow depth of field (obviously the F1.2 can create a blurrer background, no doubt), but the bokeh quality. Is it really that much better?

17mm F1.2 PRO. Taken at F1.2 obviously and the bokeh is just so beautiful to look at. Transition is smooth and the blur is pleasingly creamy. If I were to pick one image to show the capability of the 17mm F1.2 lens being used wide open, this would be the one I pick. Stunning sharpness on the eye in focus, and the absolutely delicious bokeh rendering. 

Friday, January 05, 2018

The Unexpected Gift: Sony MDR-1A Headphones

I celebrated my birthday last week, and my wonderful friends have surprised me with a dinner and an unusual gift: the Sony MDR-1A high res audio capable headphones.

A few months ago, I came across this set of headphones and commented on how comfortable they felt when I was using them. The Sony MDR-1A were the most comfortable headphones I have ever put on my ears. I was also quite impressed with the sound quality, but I also thought they were unjustified if paid in full retail price. Then I found the demo unit on heavy discount in one of the Sony Stores, but decided not to get them due to the undesirable worn and torn condition.

Little did I know, my friends have come together and pitched in to get me the Sony MDR-1A for my birthday. I was obviously shocked to receive the Sony as a gift. Sometimes I don't think I deserve such good friends around me, and it was quite an expensive gift to begin with.

The Sony MDR-1A headphones were such a beauty to behold. Sony really knows how to make gorgeous looking design for their products. At the same time, I was also reviewing the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 PRO lens. Thus, it was only natural that I would utilize the PRO lens to shoot some product shots of the Sony headphones, when they are still in pristine condition, free from my abuse.

Special thanks to (in no particular order) Jason, Carmen, Jackie, Alex, Jaslyn, Jian, Chong and Tobias. You guys rock!!!!

You can purchase the Sony MDR-1A at B&H here. 



Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Find Your Audience

So the 2018 arrived, and if you have missed my previous posting, then allow me to wish you Happy New Year 2018 here!

New year brings renewed inspiration and motivation. When I was at a countdown party the host randomly picked me out from the crowd and asked me what my new year resolution was. Honestly I never did any new year resolutions before, but it would have been such a buzz kill if I answered "I have no resolutions for 2018". So out of nowhere, in pure spontaneity, I spoke through the microphone to hundreds of people strong crowd: "to be a better person". 

This may sound like I stole that line from Jerry Ghionis (the world famous wedding photographer) with his famous line "if you want to be a better photographer, be a better person". I have just remembered that quote AFTER I answered the host, and it rang true to what I believed in completely. One of my on-going mission that I have started years ago, since the day I picked up a camera was to be a better photographer. In order to do that, I must strive to be a better person. That means, to treat myself and people around me better, to contribute in any way I can and to show kindness and love when needed. To give more than receive and to show support in whatever way I can. I acknowledge that human is a very complicated, but genuinely selfish species as well. For all kinds of photography that I am involved in, I can see how being a better person can truly benefit me and bring me that much closer to the great photographer that I aspire to be. I just have to improve myself, one step at a time.

All images and video were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 12mm F2 and 45mm F1.8