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. 

What I can promise you is that the G9 gets the full Robin Wong treatment, and I am doing the best I can in torturing the camera. The G9 has kept me occupied for the past few days that I barely had time for anything else. 

My full review of the Panasonic G9 will be published on Ming Thein's site very, very soon, so do stay tuned! 

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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.