Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I caught the PEN fever!

I have a PEN, i have a fever, i have PEN fever!
I want a PEN, i have a bug, i caught PEN bug!
OK! Enuff!

PEN i refer here is of course the Olympus PEN series.... which PEN u ask? Well... not the latest and greatest the PEN F, actually i'm in love (or more GAS) with the older PEN E-P2!!

But why?

If you have been reading this blog for centuries, you know i like my camera to be retro-ish! Only Fuji and Olympus can give me that retro-ish modern camera...or i can just shoot film but i dont want to! My Sony....hmmm...i love what i get out of it but that camera just lacks soul....i just dont feel like fondling that camera hahaha sounds wrong but you camera nerds know wat i meant....

After that Washington DC trip, and whining about carrying the Sony A7S, complaining how bulky it was, although it is considered small compared to large ass DSLRs....i decided to get a small-ish, compact, a better IQ than iphone camera, something that i can carry everyday, everywhere, perfect for travel, a camera that can take a beating, or at least a camera where i can put anywhere, not safely tucked in a padded bag, just like i did with my Sony... getting too much pampered.... i want a camera that i can just put somewhere without care...just like my iphone....

By this time i no longer interested with the Fuji X70, although that is the camera to get...i was scrolling around 43rumors website when i stumbled a retro looking camera, of course the vintage manual lens doesnt help (GAS alert!)....so i search high and low to know which model it was, i know it was the PEN series but i never ever seen it so retro just like the old school film camera....it was the PEN E-P1/E-P2 series! What makes it so retro? the trick was the custom leather skin applied to its body and of course the vintage look lenses...Oh my... i'm in love!!!

Just look at that all black retroish Olympus camera, in all its glory (ignore the ugly fuck lumix)
taken from 43rumors.com

So off to ebay i go and WAT DA EFF, it only cost a hundred-ish bucks! Perfect! So cheap! i never bought a camera this cheap! But instead of the all black i'd go for the silver version so that it looked more retro but somehow i feel a lil bit regret of not buying the black one but i can buy two!! bcos its dirt cheap.... as if i got money to burn! hello credit cards!! VISA must love me!

I'd go with this color....and it already has leather skin applied, but i just hate that brown grip..ah well u cant have it all!

Sure there are marks, dings and scratches, which means it can take a beating and i dont have to love this camera.... sure its an old technology but the photo will come out better than that the iphone... from my research the AF is not as fast as newer Olympus but looks fast enough for me...this i gotta test it myself, soon i do a quick review of this little machine....

It looked small but its probably bigger than i imagined but yeah whatevs,,,, i m already in love!! 

Anyway, why Olympus you say??
Yea i admit i do bash Olympus before but at the time i dunno what i want with my photography....after so many years of taking photos, i only printed a few times and i never printed large....mostly everything is for social media or viewing on the phone/web which the Olympus is more than capable of....
and i always have a soft spot for Olympus.... the miniature size is compelling! I met a guy once he was selling some of his Olympus gears and when he put all the lens on the desk...my gosh they are so small, compare to my Sony lenses...uurrgghh Sony! its effing large!

So yeah, my EP2 is on its way from Japan....and i bought a Panny 20mm 1.7 pancake lens.... because i just love bokeh! although i would prefer a 35mm equivalent since my eyes are already used to it, so 40mm i just need to back off a lil bit....

So theres 2 pancake lenses from Panasonic that almost covers my fav focal length, theres the 14mm 2.5 and 20mm 1.7... thats 28mm and 40mm respectively....perfect! Next in the wishlist is the 14mm, that would be perfect for travel street photogs.

But of course as GAS goes, right after i 'click buy' EP2, i also want the EP3 in black version!! OOOhhhh maaamama

Damn you GAS!!!!
I AM EXCITED!!!!!😱 
Cmon EP2 come sooner!!

Here's a RAW sample file i downloaded from web, edit lightly with lightroom and i am happy with it!! 


Sunday, August 6, 2017

So i stop whining and brought my Sony A7S to the States!

So in my previous post i was GASing for the Fuji X70 because of its small compact kinda size compare to my Sony A7S for this trip to Washington DC.... in the end i did not buy it because i'm being wise and saved me $700USD at the same time. haha..Although i keep checking B&H photo and lensrental websites for great deals. There was a used X70 for $500 but in the end since i already brought my Sony, why would i buy the X70.... So i just stop whining and brought my A7S. My argument was hand carrying my Sony A7S for these 2+8+14 hours of flying not including layover. My lowepro fastpack seems to be a great travelling backpack although i hate using backpacks since it would sweat my back more.  Overview of the trip was i didnt get to shoot the milkyway (the original plan) because of lack of tripod and the distance of my hotel from the Washington DC Mall is quite far.

P/S Shopping and taking photographs for me cannot coexist lol. So in the end i think the best camera is still my iphone because its either you got your picture or you dont.

But here are some shots from my A7S....





reminds me of the Shining....pity who stayed at the end....long walk to the elevator 




Although its a bitch to carry this Sony A7S but i love the output id get out of it...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Another day another GAS!

This time its the Fuji X70!...
I used to have GAS for the X70 before but i never pulled the trigger..
But now the GAS is back...
I love my Sony A7S and the output i will get..
but somehow that camera just lacks the soul...
It didnt make me want to take a picture...
unless im shooting the night sky and maybe going for that crazy bokeh look..

The reason im GASing for the X70 is the size....
Because i have a trip to DC coming up...
so a smaller camera would come handy...
my iphone is small but id like the best IQ possible...
I would love to bring my Sony A7S but somehow thinking of bringing it already felt unliberating..
unliberating = not free = no freedom
Its kind of bulky although it is small, blame it on the protruding lens..
So if i have a X70, will it give me a peace of mind?
It is small for sure, and the Fuji quality is no question but will it be able to capture the milky way like the A7S did?

There are a few things that put me off from buying the X70.
First is money baahahah...
Will i go crazy and spend my life savings on a camera that i will use for a one week trip?
Will i fully utilise it then? or maybe it will stay in the bag?
Will i bring it everywhere? im sure i must!
I would love the X70 if someone can show me if it can take portraits with decent bokeh...
ive been looking online...its tough! i know i know....
it is wide angle and a bit slow lens at f2.8, not a popular choice for portraiture work but hey...as long it didnt distort way too much and at least decent bokeh, i dont mind...
i know Fuji is good at low light but im already used to the Sony A7S low light quality, will i be disappointed?
My heart says wait for the new iteration, X70S or X80 but my trip is this Saturday.
Have i told u that the X70 is a discontinued product? Not that it turned into a bad camera, its just i happen to like the latest and the greatest...
if i wait for the X80, it will have a new sensor and the ACROS mode but do i need them?
Do i need bokeh? I do love them but do i need them for all my photos?
Sure its good to have bokeh if it can but is it a deal breaker for me?
If i did buy the X70, why do i keep thinking that i will still bring the Sony A7S? whats the point then?
Hmmmm, decision is tough unless im super fucking rich.
And then theres the question whether to get silver or black...
Oh money why dont u grow on trees?

taken from/credits to photodoto
Smaller/shorter than an iPhone but cant fit pants they say...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Photography tips 101: It's all about catching the moment! Hashtag Sony a7s is quick!!

Just a quick note, the Sony A7S is quite quick/fast! To those who worries about AF performance, for travel/street i think it is quite capable.

One tip i've read about photography is to capture the moments....especially candid moments! Ones that can never be replicated back! Because those moments will never be back and if you able to capture those precious moments, it's like winning the jackpot, you know what i mean! and it also make a great photo.


I was walking and pushing the baby stroller in hand when i saw my subject approach towards me, i was quite impressed with my Sony A7S for able to focus quickly and capture the photo. Its not a super sharp photo as i was walking while taking the picture, didn't have time to stand still, also i want to be stealthy as well, its a combination of tricks and skills bahahaha.... anyway, what i like about this photo is i was able to capture that lady's face pure smirk of awesomeness, and that guy creeping up that cleavage and that kid's craving for milk "I want milk now", kid said bahahahaha

Anyway my subject was a 7-11 sign board. 😂😂😂

Monday, July 10, 2017

Photography tips 101: Exposure (Basics of Photography)

Hello welcome to my tips 101, today i'm gonna talk about exposure, the basic of photography, when you take a photograph basically the old skool way says you are taking an exposure.... (bahaha i read that somewhere or i just created it).....
Anyway, this is more of a guide to newbies than photography tips actually, but tips and guides are similar i guess....

So the basics of photography is exposure. What is exposure? in photography terms exposure is the combination of 3 things.

a) Shutter
b) Aperture
c) ISO

With these 3 you basically create an exposure,which means you are taking a photo. Whether you use your iphones to take a picture, a compact point and shoot or a frikkin DSLR or even a film camera, these 3 things are always in play.

Exposure is also the gathering of light. These 3 things are used to how much light is gathered...How much light reach the sensor of your camera or film back in the day. These light gathering will affect the brightness and quality of your photos. Do i make it sound complicated? Well just get this:-

Exposure = Shutter, Aperture and ISO.

Each settings will affect the brightness or dim of your photos. I explain more below.

So lets explore each... im not gonna go in depth. just a basic in my own words/understanding.

Lets start with Shutter.

a) Shutter = speed = is how many seconds it takes to create an exposure. You will always encounter the terms faster shutter speed (eg. 1/1000s) and slower shutter speed (eg. 10 seconds or 10").

One of the reasons to use a Faster shutter speed is to freeze motion. You want to take a SHARP photo of a skateboarder jump mid air?? Use faster shutter speed.

This is at 1/640s shutter speed

But using a fast shutter speed also means less light reaching your camera sensor which can results in dim photos. BUT BUT BUT you can play around with aperture and ISO settings to bring back the light which means to brighten back your photo. which i come back to that later.*

One of the reasons to use a Slower shutter speed is to create motion blur. Why motion blur? Sometimes you wanted to show that the subject is moving rather than static. It also look better with motion blur than a static subject but that is based on your subject or preferences . Subject such as water flow, a cyclist.

This is shot at 1/4s. This is not a good photo but its the only one i have in collection. but just an example to create a sense of motion

Using slower shutter speed also lets you gather more light which is the technique to shoot night photography or astrophotography. Slower shutter speed also = long exposure. When you heard the term longer exposure it just meant they use slower shutter speed.

This is a 15 second shutter speed. A tripod is much needed.

So slow shutter speed is better right? More light gathered?? BUT BUT BUT you will encounter camera shake problem. Camera shake means your photos will come out blur, not sharp. Anything slower than 1/60 second can cause camera shake... when i say slower it means eg. 1/40, 1/15, 1/8 and so on.... unless you have sturdy hands and a good technique you can achieve SHARP picture with 1/30 but lets just stick with 1/60 is your limit. So a tripod is needed for sturdy non shake camera. But there is also image stabilization but lets not get ahead of ourselves. lets not get into that.

On most cameras like Sony and Olympus, Shutter mode is represent with the letter S on the camera. On Canon i believe it is Tv. On Fuji, they shown the speed itself to indicate Shutter mode.

Next is Aperture

b) Aperture is how wide or narrow the opening or hole on the camera lens to gather light. The term is usually f-stops. Aperture is a always a lens feature, nothing to do with camera body. So when they say Aperture it means your lens.

So a wide opening/hole means more and better light gathering. Wide Aperture. A lens with the ability to open wide is called a FAST LENS. Wide aperture means wide opening/hole. So aperture such as f1.2, f1.4, f1.8, f2 these are known as fast lens/wide aperture. Aperture such as f3.5, f5.6 these are known as SLOW lens, narrow opening/hole, narrow aperture.

So when to use a wide aperture? When you need bokeh!
Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider.” - i got this definition from nikonusa.

This is shot with Sony's 55mm at f1.8. Check out the background and foreground bokeh. OOOoooohhh Yummeh!

So the most common fast lens of any camera brand is f1.8. With Fuji it is f2.

Fast lens is also used when you shoot low light such as indoors, or maybe at night. Because fast lens gathers more light. With a fast lens, you can use a faster shutter speed and a lower ISO value. Why fast shutter speed? Because you dont want blurred photos, why lower ISO? Because you want the least noise in your photo which i come back to that later.**

So when to use NARROW aperture? Narrow aperture such as f8, f11, f16 are usually used when shooting landscapes or a group photo where you want the whole picture to be sharp. When i say the whole photo it means the foreground and background is sharp. But distance between subject also takes into consideration but thats for another story.

This is taken at f9.5. basically overall picture is sharp.

So this is good right? BUT BUT BUT with a narrow aperture, less light is gathered which means it can lead to the camera using a slower shutter and a higher ISO!! These are especially true if shooting in low light (eg. indoors and night time). In broad daylight no problems! Plenty of light!

Slower shutter = camera shake = blur.
High ISO = noise.

On most camera, the Aperture mode is the letter A. on Canon i believe it is Av. On Fuji, they shown the aperture value on the lens itself.

Next is ISO

c) Basically with ISO, this guy will affect how bright or dim your photos. BUT BUT BUT the thing with ISO is, the higher value they are the noisier your photos will be. When i say NOISIER, its the grain in your pictures. With digital cameras the noise/grain is ugly. it also smudges your picture, less details.
So the best image quality is to use lowest ISO value possible. On most camera it is ISO100. on Fuji it is ISO200. With high ISOs such as ISO3200, ISO6400, your picture will definitely show noise/grain and also less details. But with nowadays modern digital cameras, ISO3200 up to ISO6400 is acceptable. The noise is what they say similar to Film grain. So its up to you whether you like the grain or not. but for me, yes, ISO6400 is acceptable. For instagram or web, ISO6400 is more than acceptable.

So low ISO is the best right? Definitely!!! when you have plenty of light, BUT BUT BUT when the light start to goes dim, when you're indoors or nightfalls, your camera will struggle to keep its low ISO value, while it can, it will start to use slower shutter speed and its widest aperture. With slower shutter speed = camera shake = blur. If you happen to have a slow lens which is basically what comes with your camera (kit lens), less light will be gathered, so that means higher ISOs and slower shutter speed to gather more light to get the optimum exposure.

So when to use HIGH ISO? when you're indoors or low light, and you need a fast shutter speed (at least to avoid shake). thats about 1/60s

This is ISO25600. This is extreme high ISO. Your photos will look like shit! noisy/grainy. But i shot this handheld and the milkyway is visible! HANDHELD!!

This is at ISO6400. When light goes dim and you need to shoot handheld. Shutter speed here is 1/30. Aperture wide open at f2. See ISO6400 is acceptable.

On Fuji cameras, ISO is a dial and on most cameras they are in the menu or at one of the camera dials.

i hope i have covered the 3 aspects of exposure wisely. haha

So if you have read all the way up to this, basically EXPOSURE has got to do with the amount of light. if you're shooting in broad daylight with plenty of light, this is the best image quality out of a camera you can get. with lowest ISO, the picture will come out squeaky clean. no noise no grains.

When the light starts to get DIM, this is when your pictures will start to get noisy/more grain.

So lemme conclude the 3 aspects of EXPOSURE which are the SHUTTER, APERTURE and ISO.
So basically these 3 affects each other when taking a photo.

*When you want to use a fast shutter speed and the overall photos are dim, you can adjust your aperture to its widest setting such as f1.8 and use a higher ISOs such a ISO1600 and above to gather more light to bring back the brightness.

** Low ISO = less noise, less grain, more details, no smudging.
     High ISO = more noise, more grain, less details, smudging.

Here's a tip or guide on exposure:-

IN Broad daylight,

when shooting landscapes, travel or street, when you want sharp pictures all over, use a narrow aperture such as f8, a fast shutter speed such as 1/60 onwards eg 1/100, 1/200 to freeze motion and the lowest ISO such as ISO100 to get squeaky clean image.

Note:-
Fast shutter speed = freeze motion = no motion blur = less light
Slow shutter speed = motion blur = camera shake = tripod = night photography = astrophotography = more light
low iso = less noise
high iso = more noise
wide aperture = fast lens = bokeh = more light = can use fast shutter and lower iso
narrow aperture = landscapes = sharper foreground and background = less light


all photos by me. Hope you enjoy this post and learn something from it. If else (fail)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Photography tips 101: Shooting people (Please try to avoid this habit)

I've been spending a lot on photography magazines back in the day before internet was glorious, this been going on for years, and i dont just stick to one company's mag, there were a few, imagine how much money spent, i could have used it to buy more cameras?? hahaha... but i be honest, reading them magazines do taught me a lot, theres a lot of tips and tricks but still if only internet was there back then at least i can use them money to satisfy my GAS hahaha.

So yeah, reading them magazines there's a tip that i always stumble upon, when shooting people, try not to shoot that have lampposts, trees or flagpoles sticking out of the top people's heads. Once you noticed em its kind of distracting and for me it kinda ruined the shot. Believe me even the pros are fell into this habit. Let me screenshot what i got from Techradar since they said it nicely. 


taken from/credits to Techradar

That is a good tip. Believe me it is distracting when you have a subject with something sticking out of their head. Just take a look that pic above. Sheeeessshhh.....

So when i shoot i try to keep in mind and use this tip but sometimes i do still have photos of people with something sticking out of their head. grrrr....i guess i aint paying attention to details. But i have reasons/excuses, hahaha, im handholding a baby on one hand and the camera on the other and i wanted to be quick. but nevertheless still came back with this ruined shot hahaha. so the lesssons we can get from here is you can use Sony A7S one handed with the 35mm 2.8 lens. 😜😏

here's mine, just recently....
To the untrained eyes, it looks fine but after you read this tip, its a fu***n distracting! If only i moved a bit to the right or left. its worst when its at the center, narrow straight line sticking out of the head.
(Hello, i have a lamppost out of my head)
(Hi, I'm a lamppost stand)
(Hi, i'm a ............... OK OK WE GET IT!!!)

But yes thats your tip of the day!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Unleashing my inner Ansel Adams wannabe! HashtagSonya7s


Trying out a black and white landscape ala Ansel Adams, i always like his work, from what i gather he did a lot of dodge and burn, im not sure if that is true or false but whatever it is, im just too lazy to dodge and burn. Taken with Sony A7S. i think i like my Sony more now.