Monday, February 20, 2017

A Brief Encounter With Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7

Shaun was visiting Kuala Lumpur again last weekend, and he brought with him the Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 which he claimed to be his favourite lens at this moment for Micro Four Thirds. Another photography friend, Bjorn has also spoken very highly of this lens. I thought, why not give this lens a go and see what I can shoot with it?

I am not sure why Panasonic likes to create lenses with really unusual focal lengths. 15mm, which in 35mm equivalent format is 30mm, is quite an irregular number, and it would have made much more sense if they just have a standard 14mm (classic 28mm equivalent) lens! Since the closest, "popular" focal length is 28mm equivalent, I shall use the lens as if I was composing with a wide angle, 28mm equivalent perspective. Oh dear, wide angle has never been my first choice when it comes to street photography, and I almost always use longer focal lengths, unless absolutely necessary.

This is not a review of the lens, I will need a lot more time to use the lens before I can write a full review. Using the lens for a few hours was not sufficient for me to form a meaningful conclusion. Also, there are already several reliable reviews available for this Panasonic 15mm F1.7 lens. I will also avoid doing any comparisons with any existing lenses from any brand, the last time I did this I suffered through unnecessary bashing, though I was being completely honest. I have figured out that sometimes people just want to hear what they want to hear, so I am shying away from comparison tests and just focus on creating photographs.

The Panasonic Leica 15mm F1.7 fits the E-M10 Mark II perfectly. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Adventures in Hokkaido With Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Edit: I have included more food photographs, just for you, Jason. 

I recently have visited Hokkaido, Japan in an officially organized trip by Olympus. There were rounds of sight-seeing and doing touristy activities, and I had the opportunity to bring with me an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with several PRO lenses to use throughout the trip. We did not have a lot of time, and most of the trip was already planned out, so I was merely tagging along. As a result, most of my images taken were nothing more than snapshots that any ordinary visiting tourists would have taken, in the eyes of a foreigner visiting an alien land.

The experience was quite surreal, it was my first time seeing so much snow, and being in a place with almost -10 degrees Celcius was both fun and painful in some ways. I have always loved the cold but the trouble to go through, putting on layers and layers of cloths, wearing proper walking boots as well as using gloves, seriously no joy in those. And operating a camera, shooting through the gloves was so difficult!

I did have one final day in Shinjuku, which I had some brief time to myself to explore on my own. I have decided to merge the images from Shinjuku together with Hokkaido series, since I did not have enough images to create a Shinjuku series on its own.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 7-14mm F2.8 PRO, 25mm F1.2 PRO, 45mm F1.8 and 40-150mm F2.8 PRO

The Sapporo TV Tower, with an observation deck at the top. Of course, like any other tourists I went up and had a high viewpoint of Sapporo's beautiful city from up there.  

Japanese cities are so beautiful, many of them are surrounded by high mountains. 

Naked tree branches, in winter. I know some of you are bored of this sight, but to me, this is something quite unusual and never seen in Malaysia. 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Panasonic LX100 Is Not A Bad Street Shooting Machine

So I have had the Panasonic LX100 for a while now, despite some shortcomings and my complains of a few key missing features, it is starting to grow on me and I am getting more and more shots that I really like shooting with LX100. It is surely not the love at first sight, this camera takes time to learn and understand, surely takes much longer time to love.

Yesterday, I did a quick catch up session with dear friend and fellow Micro Four Thirds shooter from Melbourne, Australia, Ananda who was home for Chinese New Year holidays. We decided to go to Pudu Wet Market, and it has been a while since my last visit there. Initially I wanted to shoot Pudu with just the new Huawei Mate 9 Pro that I have loaned from Huawei Malaysia (you know, do as much as you can with it before return) but I realized one of the favourite things I want to do in Pudu is portraits of strangers. Therefore, having a versatile zoom lens is crucial to deal with the messy background of a wet market.

I guess I still do have to complain about a few things. While I can now live with the poor JPEG rendering of LX100, and perfectly comfortable post-processing the RAW files, I still cannot let go the issues of the poor image stabilization and not having tilt-screen on the camera. There were a few moments I was shooting at dangerously slow shutter speed, without realizing, because you know, shooting at wide angle with any Olympus cameras at about 1/5 to 1/10 second shutter speed is almost 100% guaranteed to be free of hand/camera shake. That is not the case with the LX100, even at 1/15 seconds, shooting at wide angle, there is about 50% of a chance of camera shake! It is not a huge shake, it is bad enough for the image to look soft, annoyingly soft. The only solution is to increase the ISO sensitivity, which is not an issue since LX100 can handle up to ISO1600 with no serious issues.

I miss the tilt screen so much, I find myself having difficulty doing compositions at low and high angles, and these are IMPORTANT compositions to get the perspective that I want. I seriously also wonder why Fuji did not add tilt screen for their latest X100F camera. I believe tilt screen, or swivel screen is a MUST have feature in all modern cameras.

Morning Karaoke

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I Recorded Myself Doing Shutter Therapy In Video! Check It out!

Following up my recent camera review of the Huawei Mate 9 Pro smartphone I did few days ago, I have made a video of myself doing shutter therapy in KL streets. The video screenshot feature was particularly useful, so I could capture in video what the camera was seeing!