Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fun with Lensbaby

Thanks to Dr Soon Ruey, a friend from Sabah who lent me the Lensbaby for a couple of weeks, I had the privilege to mount it on my Olympus E-520. I have brought it out for a spin for some light shooting at night which I have covered in my previous entry. Obviously I was excited by the outcome, and I brought it out for a second round of shooting on the streets, no under hot, bright Malaysian sun.

A family together on the street

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Break the Rules, Break Them All

Side Note: All photographs in this entry were taken with Olympus E-520 with Lensbaby Composer 2.0 (Double Glass Optic)

In modern DSLR photography, we have become so dependent on the surprisingly reliable technologies built into the cameras that it takes very minimal effort for the photographer to control the camera, and focus mainly on making the subjects happen. Focusing has become so blinding fast and accurate that it happens magically with just half press of a shutter button. Exposure automation have been popularized, and most photographers would shoot either in Programme, or Aperture Priority mode, that allows the camera to partially think for them. Usage of the camera has become more and more digital dependent, calculations done by the computer built in the camera, and lets just ask ourselves this: have we become all too dependent?

What if we encounter a situation when Autofocus of the camera would fail us, for example shooting through a badly scratched glass, or grill bars? Would we still be able to nail the shot by manual focus?

An empty can

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: Adventures at Ledang

Side note:
1) The loaned Olympus E-5 is an initial production unit.
2) All camera settings and parameters vary from photograph to photograph. I used mainly: Picture mode - Vivid or Natural, Noise filter - low.
3) This is a user-experience based review (non-technical).

Amir and E-5 on Macro

Before I do my routine (oh no, this has become a routine !!) of posting a lengthy write-up and displaying my own sets of photographs with the Olympus E-5, allow me to divert your attention to my friend and great mentor, Amir Ridhwan. He is a photography-enthusiast, like myself, and I consider him a master-class macro photographer, whom I have learned a great deal by tagging along some macro shooting with him into the jungle. Like, REAL rainforest, jungle in the middle of the night. No kidding, we are insane.

Photographed by Amir
He writes at http://malaysianspiders.blogspot.com/. Olympus Malaysia has also decided to throw him a unit of Olympus E-5 for reviewing purposes. Do head over and check out his wonderful macro work with the E-5. Wait till you see his shots at superbly challenging situations, where the E-5 never failed to deliver.

So... after Malacca...

After staying the night over at Malacca, we woke up bright and early on Sunday morning for a long drive down to Ledang, a district in Johor, Malaysia. It was approximately over an hour drive from Malacca, to meet up a group of people whom I have come to be a part of in my walk of photography. The forumers of Mychiaroscuro.net, almost 30 of us gathered at Ledang for a one day trip to experience nature at its best.

7-14mm F4: 1/6sec, F/11, ISO100

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: Night Street Shooting at Jonker Walk, Malacca

Side Note:
1) The loaned Olympus E-5 is an initial production unit.
2) This is a user-experience, non-technical oriented review.
3) General settings: Picture mode - vivid, Saturation 0, Sharpness +1, Contrast 0, Noise Filter low

Before I dived into my next write-up on what I have done with Olympus E-5 in Malacca, allow me to direct your attention to my friend, Frederick Yap. He is an active Olympus user, and he was generous to offer me a place to stay in Malacca over the weekend and spent a great deal of time guiding me around for shooting there. Thanks Fred!! His hands have become unbearable itchy with E-5 right in front of him (who wouldn't be? Right?), so I decided why not I let him have the camera for a little while, and see what he can do with it? I am quite sure most of you would love to see something different apart from what I usually cook up in my usual blog entries.

Frederick, E-5 and the Droplet Experiment

In the morning, while we were at Taman Seribu Bunga as I have blogged in my previous entry, Frederick whipped out his OM lens, the 50mm F1.8, and plugged in a few extension tubes to transform it instantly into an extreme macro manual lens. He intended to capture the water droplet with a flower being displayed within the droplet. His execution and technique to produce this particular shot was not easy, as it involved extreme magnification via manual focusing, lots of trial and error on placements of subjects and position of the lens, and employing the wireless TTL Flash.

A Flower on a Flower.
Photographed by Frederick.
OM 50mm F1.8: 1/250sec, F/16, ISO800, Wireless TTL Flash

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: A Walk in Malacca

Side Note:
1) The loaned Olympus E-5 unit is an initial production unit.
2) This is a user-experience (non-technical) based review.
3) The general camera settings were: Picture setting – Vivid, Saturation – 0, Contrast – 0, Sharpness – 0, Noise Filter – Low, Gradation – Auto
4) The lenses used for the images in this entry: (All Olympus Zuiko Digital Lenses) 7-14mm F4, 50mm F2 Macro, 8mm F3.5 Fisheye, 40-150mm F3.5-4.5

Thanks to all of you beautiful readers from all over the world, due to your very positive comments on my previous blog entries on Olympus E-5 reviews, as well as all the kind emails I have received, Olympus Malaysia has allowed me another chance to do what I love doing with a camera: make photographs happen. I have had another go with this Olympus E-5, and this time, I have brought the E-5 out of Kuala Lumpur into Malacca for shooting. I have taken tones of photographs over the weekend, and much to my surprise I have come back with so many good photographs, I am having a difficult time selecting the best of the batch to display here on my blog. As previously done, I shall be concentrating my reviews based on user-experience, and the blog entries will be very photograph-image oriented. I believe photographs in real world situation speak a lot louder than words.

Me and Olympus E-5 at Taman Seribu Bunga, Malacca

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Olympus E-5, AGAIN !!

I have received a few questions, doubts and curious remarks from readers asking if the uder-reviews I have posted here were paid advertisements from Olympus. My answer is NO, it was NOT a paid advertisement. Olympus Malaysia approached me with the loaned unit of E-5, and I had VERY limited time with it for 3 days only, and I did the shooting and review on my blog out of my own time, effort passion and love for Olympus. I did not expect anything in return. Nonetheless, the overwhelming positive response from everyone, everywhere is more than enough of a reward anyone could ask for !! I hope this clears up some misunderstandings.

I have to thank you ALL beautiful readers so, so much for putting in so many kind words in my previous entries pertaining to Olympus E-5 reviews !! Olympus Malaysia has heard your comments, and they have decided to give me the Olympus E-5 for one more run this coming weekend. If it was not for the overwhelming response in the forums everywhere in the world and the massive amount of comments to my review write-ups, this certainly would not happen.

A father's love. Olympus E-520 with 40-150mm F3.5-4.5

I shall be doing the same thing as I have done before, to fully concentrate on shooting. I will have the opportunity to bring the Olympus E-5 out of Kuala Lumpur this time, into other states, hence I am thrilled at the photo opportunities this weekend promises. I can only pray for fine and beautiful weather to add the finishing touch. I cannot wait !!

I will spend most of my time shooting, and making photographs happen throughout the weekend. The soonest I will be able to post anything up here would be on Sunday night (Malaysian time), and definitely I will be breaking down my user-experienced oriented review into multiple parts. Do come back and see what more this Olympus E-5 is capable of doing for us.

It has been a great pleasure and fulfilling experience using the Olympus E-5, and sharing my thoughts and photographs with all of you. I sincerely thank all of you for your superbly inspiring feedback and unexpectedly generous encouragements. I will do my best, with the Olympus E-5, this weekend.

Cheers !!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For the Love of Kolo Mee

(Location: Kuching, Sarawak)

Egg noodles usually yellow and curly, flash-boiled, then classically served with crushed garlic and shallot, minced pork (called Bak Cho), white vinegar, either vegetable oil, pork oil or peanut oil, and sliced barbecue pork known as char siu.

This, my friend, has got to be the most delicious noodles in the whole wide world.

Yes I am a true, blue, Kuching boy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Long Fall Back to Earth

Fellow Olympus photography-enthusiasts from SINGAPORE have compiled their beautiful images taken with Olympus E-5. Do head over and check out their work at http://web.me.com/cheeyean/e5/index.html.
Thank you Dennis Tan for sharing !!

Is it safe?
Is it safe to land?
Coz the long fall back to earth,
Is the hardest part
- Safe to Land by Jars of Clay

The Olympus E-5 has been returned to Olympus Malaysia. With or without it, shutter therapy session goes on.

An old friend, Frederick Yap (click) came over from Malacca to KL for the weekend, and we had a lot of catching up to do. He expressed his interest in diving into KL streets for some shooting, hence we headed off bright and early on Saturday morning to my usual street hunting place, Chow Kit, KL.

Armed with my own camera, Olympus E-520 with both 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 and 50mm F2 macro, we strolled along the streets of Chow Kit and enjoyed our shutter therapy session. It was not so much of stressing out on getting wonderful shots, because there was really no one to impress and please, besides ourselves. We do not have to meet anyone's expectations,a and just snapped the camera away freely, at whatever we wanted to shoot. Instead, the important thing was to destress after a whole long week of exhaustive full time office work, and fun was the main agenda for that morning.

A wooden bridge.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: Concluding Remarks and More Images

Side Note:
1) The loaned Olympus E-5 was an initial production unit.
2) Some of the images have been post-processed and converted to black and white. This entry displays the type of photographs that I personally would love to take.

“I knew I loved you before I met you” – Savage Garden

I must express my deepest gratitude to all readers from around the world. Thank you so much for your generous encouragements, positive feedback and genuinely inspiring comments. I have come to the end of my review with the Olympus E-5, and on Monday 6th October 2010 I have returned the initial production unit to Olympus Malaysia, with much sadness. However, before that, I managed to squeeze some more photographs out of the camera. This time, it was not so much about reviewing the camera, I was focusing more on enjoying myself using the Olympus E-5. In this last entry of my Olympus E-5 review sagas, I am posting up: 1) images from the street walk at Dang Wangi, KL and 2) my concluding remarks based on very limited time with the Olympus E-5.

If you have not read the first three parts of my reviews, the following are the direct links to the review pages:

Monday, October 04, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: Extreme Low Light Shooting at Aquaria, KLCC

Side Note:
1) The loaned Olympus E-5 is an initial production unit.
2) This is a user-experience based review.
3) General camera parameters: Picture Mode - Natural, Noise Filter - LOW, Sharpness - 0, Contrast - 0, Saturation - 0.
4) Minor post processing performed on the photographs besides resizing. Only slight exposure compensation and a little cropping for better overall presentation. The photographs are almost straight out of camera JPEG.

First of all, I have to say a big THANK YOU to forumers from all around the world !! Hello you beautiful people from DPreview, FourThirds User, FourThirds Photos, E-System Talk UK and 43rumors.com (and also so many dozens more forums in all languages, website links and blog links). I am overwhelmed with such massive response, and certainly this is very encouraging for me. You guys made my review works and photography walk with the E-5, no matter how brief it was, very worthwhile and fulfilling !

I have noticed a lot of positive remarks on my style of reviewing the Olympus E-5. Thank you all so much for understanding why I chose to break the norm of fixed mundane redundant technicalities based reviews. I believe you all trust DPreview and many other photography review sites, so lets just leave the number games to them to deal with more efficiently, and definitely, more accurately. My user-experience oriented review style was probably not a very popular option, but skipping the technical part means I can concentrate on photography. If you guys do not know this yet, Olympus E-System is ALL about PHOTOGRAPHY. So, this is what I love to do best, to make photographs happen !!

50mm F2 macro, ISO 640, 1/400 sec, F/2

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: Macro Shooting at Butterfly Park, Kuala Lumpur

Side Note:
1) This is a continuation from my first review of the Olympus E-5 (click).
2) The Olympus E-5 unit loaned from Olympus Malaysia is an initial production unit.
3) General camera settings: Picture Mode: Vivid, Saturation = 0, Sharpness = 0, Contrast = 0, Noise Filter = LOW
4) Very minimal post processing done: Slight exposure compensation (my own fault, not the camera) and minor cropping for better overall presentation. I did not do any colour changes, what you see basically is straight out of camera JPEG.

"You think you all have seen how sharp Olympus 50mm F2 macro lens is? Think again. Wait till you see HOW SHARP the lens is on the Olympus E-5 body."

I am back, with MORE photographs taken with Olympus E-5 !! I am so excited I cannot wait to share with you beautiful readers out there.

Before I jump any further, I must thank all of you visitors from around the world !! For some reasons, my first part of the review for Olympus E-5 has been linked to so many websites and photography forums everywhere. Special thanks to all you lovely folks from DPreview forum, I was shocked to find my link up there. A huge, warm hello to you guys !!

Allow me to reiterate my purposes I have set out for reviewing the loaned Olympus E-5 unit. I shall not delve into technical aspects of the camera, and there will not no comparisons between this E-5 and any previous Olympus 4/3 DSLR bodies. This review shall be focused on producing more and more images, a taste of what a photographer can achieve with an E-5 on hand. In other words, it is all about what I can do with the E-5, rather than what it can do by itself. My review will be centered on my personal thoughts and feelings during my brief encounter with it in my limited photography sessions. For extensive technical reviews and comparisons, please kindly wait patiently for official review from trusted photography dedicated websites, such as DPreview. I am sure the folks there are at their busiest moment now, with so many new cameras lined up for review.

Aperture Priority, Single-AutoFocus, 1/250 sec, F/2.5, ISO 200. Yes, I did ask the permission of the parents for this shot.

With that said, lets roll out the images, and talk about what I have done this morning !!

I woke up to yet another ugly cloudy day. I had one objective in mind in the morning, to do macro photography at Butterfly Park, KL. Armed with the Olympus E-5 body, I brought along Olympus 50mm F2.0 Macro and an external flash, Olympus FL-36R. If you must know, yes I am a macro crazy person.

For this particular review sessions, what I have found about the new Olympus E-5, when it comes to macro photography are as follows:
1) Stunning resolution captured, with massive amounts of fine details maintained in the image.
2) Very reliable wireless TTL-Flash control.
3) Autofocus with the 50mm F2 macro was fast and reliable.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Olympus E-5 Review: On the Streets

Side Note:
1) The loaned Olympus E-5 unit is an initial production unit. The final production unit, which is expected to be available in November 2010 may differ slightly from the initial production unit.
2) This is NOT a technical review, but more of a user-experience oriented review.
3) All photographs taken with Olympus E-5 with 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD lens.
4) General settings: Aperture Priority, ISO200-1000 (varies depending on lighting condition), noise filter OFF or LOW, picture mode: Portrait or DRAMATIC TONE Art-Filter, Contrast = 0, Sharpness = 0, Saturation = 0.

Earlier this week, Olympus Malaysia approached me and asked if I would be interested to do a review on the new upcoming flagship professional DSLR body, Olympus E-5. Of course I jumped in and said YES !! I have just received the loaned unit last night from Magdelyn and Tang, whom I must thank for taking the trouble to come down all the way from Mont Kiara to Mid Valley to pass the E-5 to me. I have the E-5 with me now, and guess what I am doing with it?

Yes, lots, and lots and lots of shutter therapy sessions. (To view an image of my E-5 initial production unit, click here)

Umbrella Setup.