Feedback Open Mic ft The Impatient Sisters & Chirin Chirin @ The Bee Publika / August 2014 Edition

26th August 2014: Feedback Open Mic ft The Impatient Sisters & Chirin Chirin @ The Bee Publika / August 2014 Edition. Here’s Jon Liddell!

The Sony A7S with its limitless ISO would let me bring my Tamron 200-400mm 5.6…

…with a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second…

…with no worries of noise or motion blur. I didn’t catch this band’s name so pardon the filler text!


Even though the A7S has no sensor stabilization, at 1/200s it was not an issue.

The vignetting is caused by my Sony LA-EA1 adapter, meant for APS-C sensors, that I adapted by removing the rear baffle.

Apparently, the vignetting only appears on longer focal lengths like this.

I brought the LA-EA1 instead of the LA-EA4 because the LA-EA4 had a translucent mirror, allowing for auto-focus with screw-driven lenses, at the expense of light.

Ariff AB.

First featured act, Chirin Chirin.

The unfortunate downside of a fast shutter speed is when shooting in flourescent lighting…

…it bands slightly.

Second featured act, The Impatient Sisters.

Most of these pictures were at 400mm F5.6…

…to see what an extreme closeup would do for composition.

The Tamron is not great with backlight.

The Bee notably doesn’t have the drummer way in the back of the stage, so they are equidistant.


Didn’t catch this guy’s name either.

Reza Salleh, emcee and organizer.

Friza, I think, from Indonesia.

I like her swag stance.

Sharon, in the back, crying away.

Ariff Danial, who has some interesting tunes.

Nope, didn’t catch his name.

Fikri Azam.

More unnamed open mikers.

I love Idzwan‘s rock guitar tone.

That sweet, sweet, classic Gibson tone.

Meanwhile, here’s a face to the name – my name – Albert, the photographer who is sometimes unrecognized. I recognize the photographer of this picture, Wai Fon, though. Not with the Tamron, but the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95.


Can you imagine Yvonne’s voice at this point? I can.

Faz hides.

Yvonne in full diva mode.

Faz the rock star, with videographers all documenting her going full… rock star.

It was one of their most entertaining shows, ever.

Mostly, because it was Faz’s birthday!

David Ling’s farewell, as well, as he’d further his studies in the prestigious Berklee College Of Music.

And so, this was Tabloid.

Selamba Adriane.

More pictures here:


26th August 2014: Feedback Open Mic ft The Impatient Sisters & Chirin Chirin @ The Bee Publika / August 2014 Edition.

Well no, not really. Here are pictures, instead, from the people who attended, on my infrared-modded Sony Alpha NEX-5!

Yvonne Chong and her luscious bleached hair. Even if you dye your hair black it will show as bleached on infrared, which is quite cool.

Troller Ann Na.

Jia Wen trying to be sepet.

Jia Wen trying not to be sepet.

Yes, with flash! All shot through the Hoya R72 infrared pass filter on the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens, for pure infrared with a little bit of red.

Darren Ashley, dashing as ever.

With flash.

It was also Faz’s birthday, but I have no pictures of her through this camera.

I like what it does for pupils.

Julian the purple.

The infrared is abundant in the tungsten lightbulbs in the back, shining on the plants.

Straw Lim (right) and Ling.

Nope, not sleepy.

Credits to Wai Fon for this picture. So you have seen my lens after all! I’m getting too old to remember these details correctly.

Rock is Dead?

21st August 2014: Rock is Dead?, at Laundry Bar, The Curve.

But first, some self-promotion…

Nightshift commissioned me to make a collage of their band and for licensing to use on a poster (I charge if pictures make it to prints or posters.) Always nice to see my work up somewhere!

First act of the night: Flying Pan.

A Malaysian J-Rock band!

This shot was taken with my Sony A7S with the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 lens.

Same lens, but on my infrared-modded Sony Alpha NEX-5. I did not put the infrared pass filter on the lens, so it is both visible light and infrared mixed in.

Given that the NEX-5 is APS-C a minor telephoto portrait effect is achieved.

This time, with the infrared pass filter.

Guest vocalist from Japan! Mixed visible and infrared light.

Another mixed one.

Then came the band I hadn’t seen in a long time…

Dragon Red!

Some personnel changes – Brandon moved from guitar to drums.

Slyde and Camero still on rap and bass respectively.

Adam on full freak vocals. Oh, and infrared (with the infrared pass filter, allowing only infrared.) This, with flash, on the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake.

Since I only brought two lenses it should be obvious which is which…

…plus the wider view, but not a wide-angle view, is probably that of the full-frame A7S.

Infrared gives a very interesting look to the eyes, when flashed.

Awesome screamer!

…not so screamer!

Another screamer!

Then came these boys…

…hard-rocking Blister!

They go from blues rock to heavy metal.

AC/DC, Led Zeppelin…

…and a whole lotta Gibson love.

Awesome glass slide!

Meanwhile, outside, Jyorin through pure infrared.

Then came progressive rock band Black Lightbulb.

I’d call them instrumental, but singing with them that night was Hameer Zawawi.

Simmy the Celtic Waver!

I’m sure she likes this picture.

Ashwin on drums, as always.

Zaim always gets a glamorous light.

Meanwhile, Amil of Dragon Red is watching the musical geniuses in admiration, his head slightly… paining.

Hameer, then, on guitar.

Raja Farouque, on a big speaker.

Here’s Black Lightbulb with one of their songs!

The awesome 50mm F0.95.

Last act of the night…


These guys were actually from Japan…

…and they knew how to get the crowd pumping.

The automatic white balance usually gives a more purplish tinge, but I pulled the green/magenta slider all the way to the green side when processing the RAWs.



But first, an actual alley cat in the alleys of Sri Hartamas!

Nazaruddin Abdullah on guitar.

Prawing Aroonratana blocked by a wall of keys!

Jimie Loh with a mischievious 25-year-old’s smile, on bass.

Vocalist Glenville Charles Salay…

…and of course, the iconic David Arumugam!

Here’s another shot of Prawing, using my infrared NEX-5. This is the mixed color look – where it’s infrared and visible light together, because I didn’t think of bringing my infrared pass filters.

Backyard Pub’s tungsten lights are rich in infrared, giving an interesting look!

David John on drums, also shot on infrared, with the red and blue channels swapped.

The Sony A7S, meanwhile, conquered the dark.

Happy Beer-day!

No really, it was their birthdays.

To hear David say “terima kasihhh” in the flesh, is an awesome Malaysian experience.

He’d also play percussion sometimes.

They would weave in and out of rock classics like Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain (video above) and Cream – Cocaine, as well as their own classics, Layang-layang Terputus Talinya and Jika Kau Bercinta Lagi. I’m sure there were more, but I only stayed for one set – when Backyard Pub gets very crowded (as when a legendary band like Alleycats performs) my eyes feel a little teargassed by the end of the night.

The A7S with the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake! F2.8 barely makes it for the dance floor. EXIF is included in all pictures.

All obviously non-wide shots were shot with the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95. So you get an idea what it looks like on the full-frame A7S as well as the infrared + visible light APS-C sensor NEX-5.


18th August 2014: BALLSY! An Open Mic Show #11, at Page 2, Publika. Here’s host and emcee Shaneil Devaser setting up the mike…

…for the first act, Az Samad & Kirsten Long!

She sang something about cats and misbehaving and valentines.

Benjamin took this picture.

This is new!

All pictures taken with my new Sony Alpha 7S and Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 without flash, and usually wide open. EXIF is also included so you can inspect the high ISO performance!


He hails from Tajikistan!

Ian Tai fills in for Sufiz who was missing. Interesting how his face and the character on his shirt are equally round.

Jes Ebrahim.

Bullet Murugan!

Alex Subryn (also featuring Bullet!)

Meanwhile, in the back, I spotted red, green and blue.

Bullet Murugan.

Ian Tai in his proper slot, Rick Roll-ing us.

Kim Lim, double-tapper. She covered Az Samad – Latah Setinggan with her own inflections!

Maha Jeffery.

A little blues and a cover of Jimi Hendrix – Red House. Yeah!

Shaneil Devaser ends the night.

Kelly Siew, UNO

14th August 2014: I wandered into Bricks & Barrels, Desa Sri Hartamas…

…where Kelly Siew was playing!

I like how each of these pictures has a different color, all from the UNO card set.

Unfortunately though, as I had a story to tell a good friend, I had to run off early.

From Seremban To Subang

On the 18th of August 2014, I took the KTM Komuter to Seremban, crossed the road, walked past Seremban Parade (now known as Seremban Prima), and found myself this old gem…

…an A&W Drive-Thru!

An old sign, and Seremban Prima in the background.

I came here on the tip-off of Nicholas Chin, who remembers an epic playground like the one at the PJ Drive-In in Taman Jaya. Sadly, there wasn’t one anymore. (From this angle, it should match this picture.)

Nothing on this green patch, either.

I don’t know whether to go in or go out.

The drive-thru road. I have to say I really like the design of the roof.

The outdoor area.

The indoor area, next to the counter.

The ice-cream corner. Note the untouched pictures. I like it. It’s not even retro; it’s authentic.

The party room. Unlike McDonald’s, they’ve not killed the party rooms.

Sofas and not-so-aged chairs.

For the record, he is Rooty the Great Root Bear!

I used to take the KTM to Seremban years ago. She’s married with a kid now. I also looked young. People also appreciated infrared portraiture.

Back to the story, 10 days later, 28th August 2014.

It was Leg Day, so I walked from the Subang KTM Komuter station. The roundabout near this was the craziest part of it all!

A&W, Kompleks 3K, Subang.

Classic benches! I will always have a thing for these.

Classic spelling of Root Beer, not the Malaysian-ized RB.

Was this a playground? This was my first time here, so I had no idea.

This would also be my last time, because I came here to say hello… and goodbye. After the false alarm of the closure of the PJ Drive-In, is a real closing down.

From the outside. I like the spine on the roof in front of the counter.

Giant root beer and ice-cream area.

More classic pictures!

The waffle machines.

No way, a stairway!

This was the first A&W I’d been to with an actual stairway that wasn’t part of a playground or a restricted area.

A large party room!

RB bottles for recycling!


Pictures of Rooty.

Oh dear goodness. Rooty!

I did not have an accomplice nor an escape vehicle so Rooty stayed untouched.

I sadly can’t find any pictures of the A&W that used to be in KLCC, despite going there very often in my college days and for a while after that, until it closed down. It’s sad though how A&W outlets would open at choice locations, with large interiors, and the always awesome Bearland (that’s what they call their playgrounds) and yet not sustain business.

So I continued Leg Day (or rather, Leg Night) and walked on to Sunway Pyramid, where I found the largest Johnny Rockets in the world, in Sunway Pyramid! I sure hope they sustain that diner magic that I’m sure A&W cast on us and older generations!

More reading and pictures:
Amburgers & Wootbeer

Alpha Sevenesque

So I took my Sony Alpha 7S for a spin, street shooting on Bintang Walk. The train took forever.

1/60s ISO3200 F4.5 16mm, with the handy Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake. This, before discovering 1/160s was possible.

Street graffiti.

A quick grab.

Projek Rojak Buskers!

Acoustic shredder.

They played a cover of Santana – Black Magic Woman, and many other Malaysian classics.

Further down the road (given that Number 1 is nearer to Jalan Pudu), the massage parlors that were closed down by the DBKL, were now occupied by new outlets.

Some had banners informing of their relocation…

…and some, like this infamous hotel, were boarded up and got no renters.

The road to Low Yat Plaza and a side entrance to Bukit Bintang Plaza. There used to be an awesome band playing here.

ISO25600 1/60s. Still not fast enough to freeze motion. Could’ve pushed it further!

This was not a path, but a sidewalk restaurant.

Sungei Wang Plaza.

Outside Yayasan Selangor.

At this point I discovered 1/160s and stuck there, shooting out the monorail. Auto ISO chose ISO64000.

Moonshine: Spotlight ft The Impatient Sisters, The Venopian Solitude, Stonebay & Cassandra Mary / August 2014

7th August 2014: Moonshine: Spotlight ft The Impatient Sisters, The Venopian Solitude, Stonebay & Cassandra Mary / August 2014 at Laundry Bar, The Curve.

Here’s emcee and organizer, Reza Salleh, filling in for Stonebay, who could not make it.

On djembe, badass Zalila Lee.

This would be the first gig I’d bring my new Sony Alpha 7S to! Here, I learned that using Silent Shutter would result in flourescent light artifacts such as in the background when using a faster shutter speed than the alternating current refresh rate. Sure, I could use 1/50s, but it would not freeze action as well.

Reza borrows a pick.

Cassandra Mary is another boss.

Her boys, Wei-Ming…


…and Herman.

I’d discover when shooting in portrait orientation, how unbalanced and unergonomic the Sony Alpha 7S with LA-EA4 adapter and Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 could be. I’m not sure how much the VG-C1EM vertical control grip would help, as it doesn’t have a lowered shutter button and lacks the meticulous replication of buttons that previous C-series (for Control) vertical grips have.

And so, shooting in landscape orientation was a relief.

Next up…

…the return of The Impatient Sisters!

But first, a non-sibling bassist…


…and drummer.

Irena/Kina Taib on guitar, who is a scholarship student of Berklee College Of Music!

Soraya Taib on vocals.

Nazeera Taib on vocals.

They do their unique blend of indie folk vocal harmony.

Meanwhile, outside, Hameer Zawawi spotted with an outgrown buzzcut, prompting me to quip – “Hipster Layu!

It could mean three things:
- Hipster (Me)layu – Malay hipster
- Hipster Lah You – You’re a hipster
- Hipster Layu – Faded/outgrown hipster

Oh yes, I am brilliant.

Then came the otherworldly The Venopian Solitude.

Backed by some…



Yeah, that’s a lot of keys.

However, they didn’t just play keys!

All sorts of percussion.


A colorful highlight was this tambourine, that would light up when hit!

Oh, and an electric ukulele.

Reza closes the night.

Joni lives the thug life.

Jessica and the merchandise booth.


4th August 2014: I finally doubled my E-mount body count, by adding the Sony Alpha 7S! I skipped the Alpha 7 because it was merely 24 megapixels – something I’ve had in 3 bodies since 2008 – the Sony Alpha 900, Alpha 77V and Alpha 99V. I also skipped the Alpha 7R because although it had a tempting 36 megapixels, it was missing Electronic First Curtain, important on a full-time live-view camera, because it adds to shutter lag drastically especially when using flash.

The Alpha 7S solved that by not only having Electronic First Curtain, but Electronic Second Curtain (Silent Shutter)! So it is truly silent – some other cameras may claim to have a softer shutter or silent shutter, but you can still hear it. Not this. There is no physical shutter moving when Silent Shutter is enabled. The only sound you’ll hear is if you are shooting an A-mount lens not at its wide open aperture – then you’ll hear the aperture closing down for the picture.

Silent Shutter does have its artifacts though, in the form of stripes when shooting in flourescent light, and one way to solve this is to set your shutter speed to match the frequency of the alternating current e.g. 1/50s or 1/60s depending on where you are. You can’t use Silent Shutter with flash, and because it is not a global shutter, it scans the frame from top to bottom, meaning if you shoot out a car window, you may get scenery that drags across the frame diagonally.

The Alpha 7S also does amazingly at low light. I’ve set Auto ISO to max out at ISO 409600, letting the camera decide when it needs to go that far. Strangely, that hasn’t happened much, even though I’m now on Manual Exposure, 1/160s and shooting whichever lens wide open for the foreground/background separation.

Here, though, is 1/160s ISO20000 at F5.6. I don’t have to worry about shallow depth of field in street photos!

Auto ISO chose ISO80000.

F2.8 1/100s. Auto ISO chose ISO128000. I’m hoping to get in a taxi with the classic flowery wallpaper patterns of my childhood taxis.

F2.8 1/125s. Auto ISO chose ISO204800. Yup, frozen people on the dance floor.

1/15s. Auto ISO chose ISO409600. I turned off all the lights. It was nighttime, and I could not see anything. I turned on the camera, and I was surprised to see it seeing in the dark. It had night vision!

The stuff that came in the box. Lots of cables, and the battery charger!

I also bought the Sony LA-EA4 A-mount to E-mount adapter. This is the fourth such adapter; what’s the difference?

LA-EA1 – APS-C only, no translucent mirror, contrast-detect autofocus with SSM and SAM lenses, manual focus with screw-drive lenses
LA-EA2 – APS-C only, translucent mirror, phase-detect autofocus with SSM lenses, SAM lenses and screw-drive lenses
LA-EA3 – full-frame, no translucent mirror, contrast-detect autofocus with SSM and SAM lenses, manual focus with screw-drive lenses
LA-EA4 – full-frame, translucent mirror, phase-detect autofocus with SSM lenses, SAM lenses and screw-drive lenses

I also removed the rear baffle from my Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens (left) and Sony LA-EA1 (right), making both full-frame compatible.

However, the 16mm has a bit of vignetting left, and distortion beyond the APS-C frame is weird, but it’s not too bad – it can look rather interesting!

If I wanted a proper wide-angle, I still have my Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM (on the right, on the LA-EA4, on the Alpha 7S). The Sony Alpha NEX-5 is on the left. Both these setups give the same angle of view.

Here’s a full full-frame family picture. Clockwise from top-left: Minolta Dynax 7, Sony Alpha 900, Sony Alpha 7S with LA-EA4, Sony Alpha 99V.

Same as above, but adding the Sony Alpha NEX-5 with LA-EA1 adapter and Sony VG-C99AM to the Alpha 99V.

You might have noticed a new lens in the first picture. Yup, the most affordable, high-quality Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95! They changed name from Mitakon to ZhongYi. Got this on the 15th of August 2014.

It comes in a very classy looking box.

The lens itself is classy, a heavy chunk of metal and glass, with a moderately tight focus ring and a clickless aperture ring, suited for video because it makes no sound. A drawback though is that you may accidentally move away from F0.95 unintentionally!

There is a Pro version coming later, but I was told by the seller that this batch already had the new coating.

Now, a full E-mount family portrait!

On the right is the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM on the LA-EA4 on the Sony Alpha NEX-5. You can see it’s just as long as the Sony Alpha 7S with the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95.

All my mountable 50mm lenses! Left to right: Seagull 50mm F1.8 for Minolta SR mount; Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original; Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM; Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95.

Clockwise from rear left: Sony Alpha 900 with Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original; Sony Alpha 99V with Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM; Minolta X300 with Seagull 50mm F1.8; Sony Alpha 7S with Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95. All having the same angle of view!

Yup, this kind of angle of view. F0.95, 1/160s, ISO10000, by the only camera setup from above that can do this.

20th August 2014: Oh, and lastly, my Sony Alpha NEX-5 sensor looks a bit different now. Can you guess why?

It was out of warranty, so I took it apart, and tore off the infrared blocking filter. Yeah, I didn’t do a good job of it…

…nor did I assemble it back correctly. These are the leftover parts! I’m told though that the spacers should be removed to keep infinity focus. The excess screws probably were meant to be at the second stage, after removing the outer shell.

I’ve now doubled my infrared camera count. Above is my infrared-modded manual-focus Fujifilm Digital Q1, with a superglued-on filter thread that allows for SLR lenses to be screwed on by a rear lens cap (with cutout) that has a UV filter superglued on its back – making it a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera way before the Panasonic DMC-G1 debuted. Yes, it could take different mounts, with the right rear lens cap!

The small lens is from a manual-focus webcam; it’s an 8mm F3.5, making for 35mm equivalent on full-frame; thus the crop factor was 4.375x.

So how is the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 on infrared? It has a visible hotspot on the middle.

Can get rather hazy.

These were all mixed color shots – I didn’t think of bringing a filter that blocks visible light and allows infrared only to pass.

Now, with the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake.

Again, with flash, and a Hoya R72 infrared filter. I’ve shot Adam of Dragon Red before in infrared on my infrared-modded manual-focus Fujifilm Digital Q1!

Jyo through the Mitakon/ZhongYi Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 through a 77mm infrared filter, handheld (as opposed to screwed-on, as I didn’t have the right step-up ring.)