Monthly Archives: January 2008

Triple J

29th November 2007 – Juke Joint Jupiter, Laundry Bar! This was Eddy’s blues-rocking gig.

Triple6Poser featuring the multi-talented Khai and his Danelectro.

Then, there’s Henry who plays for the fans.

And, of course, footstompin’ harp-blowin’ Eddy.

Yeah there’s a bassist and drummer hidden from pictures.

Good ol’ blues jam with Majesty. Yes the familiar dude is cousin to Rithan (of Deja Voodoo Spells).

Spot the bass slut!

I smelt an unorthodox Jimi Hendrix-like jam. A band to look out for!

They also did The Doors – Love Me Two Times. Fortunately, no naked Red Indian man made a cameo.

Yummy fans.

Then, there was Curtis Blues Review, who I finally saw after a long time with a new lineup. This picture shows Eddy making a guest vocalist appearance.

Plus, they finally have a second guitarist again. This was great because Russell could finally have his chunky rhythm chops and buttery leads. There was a slight Stevie Wonder tinge to his cover of Eric Clapton – Change The World. Then, there was a rockabilly The Police – Every Breath You Take. Awesome!


They played Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama. Close enough. “We just need three guitarists” is what every blues shreddin’ band says. Every blues band must have a 12-bar blues jam, and they did just that.

Deja Voodoo Spells! That’s the insane shredder Rithan.

He crooned Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Chile Blues (not to be confused with Voodoo Child). He then sequed into the golden Stevie Ray Vaughn version of Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing (with his own insane double-tapping bits added in)!

Of course, much much later, the actual Voodoo Child intro made its way in between this awesome oriental song.

Singalong dude.

There was the staple Hendrix cover, Fire, as well.

Then there was this new punk song which sounded somewhere between The Cranberries and Nirvana, and Queen – Stone Cold Crazy.

Blues rock chicks are the best. No funky dressing, just straight up woman.

And that dear sir is the blues.

They Came From Down South

Rewind to The Idea Of North, Alexis Bistro, Great Eastern Mall, some 28th of November 2007.

Nicholas Begbie on tenor. The young awkward dude.

Andrew Piper on bass! He looks a bit like Will Ferrell.

Patricia Delaney-Brown on soprano.

Naomi Crellin on alto.

This German vocal-effect-ful song, My Hat It Has Three Corners, was cute!

Some of the songs performed were Sergio Mendez – Mas Que Nada (yeah the song that bastardized with the Black Eyed Peas), The Beatles – Sister Sadie, Sting – Fields Of Gold and Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive. There were also jazz standards which I never knew the names of.

Then there was Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely (with an excellent vocal harmonica solo by Nick.)

Though, to be honest, I wasn’t completely blown away until they did the vocal effect bits. There’d be nothing to set them aside from a top-notch acapella group that does contemporary covers. In that sense, maybe I like unconventional acapella, like simulating the sound of a car starting or rockapella. It gets far more interesting when they simulate the sound of drum rolls!

That said, maybe it takes a finer ear than my rock-corroded receptors to appreciate how they pull off the simpler-sounding, less flashy stuff.

On a technical note, I shot all of these from a table next to the entrance of Alexis. Yes, that’s right, all the way at the end. Thanks Nicholas for letting us crash your table! Shot with either the Minolta 50mm F1.4 or Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan at ISO1600 or ISO3200 on the Sony Alpha 700 and cropped a lot to show you how much I can get out of a ISO3200 shot. Interestingly, the noise reduction at higher ISOs on the Sony is luminance noise reduction, not chroma noise reduction like on the Nikons. Debateably the Nikon may look better at 100% because it has monochromatic noise and doesn’t have blotches of color… but the Sony retains color fidelity and tone even at ISO6400.

To simulate chroma noise reduction, load a noisy image in Photoshop, duplicate the layer, apply a Gaussian Blur of say 3 pixels, then change the Blending Mode to Color and Flatten Image. Notice that the edges lose color and you get a pastier look.

More on this here:
Alpha 700 shoots the Cirque du Soleil

Two Fly

Fly FM’s 2nd Flynniversary, 24th November 2007.

I got a call from a producer/ex-colleague (funny, most of them are ex-colleagues) and I was to pretend to be a mechanic from Jinjang who has a crush on Jules. Uh, right. Jules? C’mon. Her sister, maybe. At least I got VIP tickets!

So much for that. All we got was a tent with free food, far behind from the stage. The stage is lit in pink here.

But nothing could Barricade me from Love Me Butch! And so I ran up front. Okay, the first picture should come here in sequence but it’s so cool it should be up first.


James Baum and Dina of Malaysian Idol!

Ahli Fiqir gets their angguk-ing and geleng-ing. Not my cup of tea; their beats annoy me the same way Black Eyed Peas do.

Gimme the mike, gimme the mike yo. Most shots stalked with the great Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan.

She went off stage to have a singalong. Those up there above Delicious had a better view without having to get tickets!

Next up, venerable shredder rock band Deja Voodoo Spells!

By then, it was evident that each band was allocated only 2 songs or less, so they hacked it into a long, long jam with a bass solo (playing the Doraemon theme!)

Rithan knows the guitar like the back of his head.

Tremblin’ tremolo!

Melissa Indot.

MUSE-like Meet Uncle Hussain.

It’s Superman!

The insane crowd, sadly, came mostly for Hujan. Fortunately Hujan was at the end of the live bands so the crowd wouldn’t leave until then.

Transcient Vortex, Jungle Jerry and Bass Agents played after that but I didn’t stay.

Oh, and of course, fireworks! Which big concert doesn’t have them these days? I know the 10th Birthday Bash did!

Rainin’ fireworks.

I Ex 9xi

Some mamak in town, I met up with some A-mount hackers. This is the coolest sling bag I’ve seen, which would fit my style if I liked having a camera on my back.

A deceased Minolta 9xi, the world’s fastest autofocus SLR back in 1992. God bless its soul.

The pentaprism.

Full-frame mirror assembly next to an APS-C sized mirror on the Sony Alpha 100.

Viewfinder and the LED display below.

The shutter assembly was some amazing design – it had 2 shutters coming from top and bottom, and this enabled the world’s fastest shutter speed of 1/12000th of a second. (And a flash sync of 1/300th of a second.)

Two powerful motors – the left one advances the film at 4.5 frames per second, the right one definitely drives the screw that focuses the lenses. This was the fastest AF body in 1992 (and its motor was seen in the Minolta Dynax 7, too.)

In between those two is the AF unit, with 3 hex screws. These 3 screws, accessible from the bottom of the camera under a sticker (which carries over to Sony dSLRs, even) can be adjusted to fix backfocus, frontfocus and alignment problems.

A rather dark screen. David the owner/hacker says Nikon did this part a lot better.

Of course, Minolta designed this better – the 5xi also has this wide grip. Notice that the thumb does not curl up at all. The thumb rests comfortably. While it did look odd when I saw a 7xi, I finally understood why.

Screw you. No, screw lenses.

This is as much as we could piece together. The AF/MF switch (below the lens release, not clear in picture) is not a switch but a spring-loaded toggle. Very useful (though a 2-position switch is easier for n00bs to remember if they’re in AF or MF mode.)

Justin then enforced brutality upon it to further disassemble the already broken shutter assembly.

The mirror, and the half-mirror underneath that reflects some light to the AF unit below.

Very hard to wipe clean.

Internally, a lot of parts were Mitsubishi chips.

The shutter assembly was made by Nidec Copal Electronics.

Date of birth. 24th September 1992.


(Cut to Ament’s pop-up flash diffuser, blu-tacked to the hotshoe cover. What, your camera does not come with a hotshoe cover?)

Ament with the A-mount bling.

Justin enforced more brutality and got this – the AF unit. The shiny bits are the microlenses that focus light onto the AF sensors.

Four AF points.

Surprise a lens cap shot! Oh, and all shots were taken with either my Minolta 50mm F1.4 or Justin’s Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro. It is a superb lens, with great liquid color and bokeh. I dare say better than the Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro, because it does not make tiny specks look like donuts. The Tamron does that and it’s not pretty!

A200 and the 300mm!

Shots from the Sony Roadshow in Midvalley Megamall:

Pre-sale Sony A200 for RM1999 with kit lens and 2 GB memory stick.

EXIF included.

100% crop of the ISO1600 image. To be fair, I picked a darker area of the picture to show you how much noise will appear in the midtones. It gets much cleaner in brighter areas.

EXIF included.

100% crop of the ISO3200 image.

It seems that the A200 lies somewhere in between the A100’s decent ISO400 and the A700’s decent ISO1600. I didn’t shoot at what would theoretically be the A200’s decent ISO800.

The camera feels nothing like how the studio shots portray it; the right thumb rests on a very, very nice candybar/soap shape. Some people have complained of the A100/A700’s “chins” stabbing the flesh of their thumb but I think this will not happen with the A200.

The buttons were a wee bit small (being used to A100 Nintendo-gamepad-size buttons.) The D-pad was excellent, even better than I remember on the A100. The body feels more unified, unlike the A100 which had different textures front and back.

I LOVED that the switches were much less rigid. On the A100 the AF/MF switch was a pain to flip. On the A200 it feels like a spring is helping you.

Quick Navi is not implemented as is on the A700, sadly – instead you press the Fn button and you see a menu of 6 functions. I prefer this to turning a rigid dial on the A100 as it’s truly all in your right thumb now!

When I tried the A200 with Sony 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 DT, I saw the focus slide smoothly in, and recognized that giddy feeling from when I first tried the A700. Yes, they got the fast motor!

It can track with 3 FPS with the 16-105mm. Comparing it with the A700 in 3 FPS Drive Lo mode it felt the same!

Of course, going back to a 2.7″ 320×240 screen is a bummer. You do feel it. They retain the speedy scrolling through images. Go Sony! (Show this feature off to Canon users, whose 40Ds will wear out fingers just rolling dials.)

More EXIF!

To be honest, I am not fully convinced on SSM, USM or SWM. They all feel the same – smooth, but not always working as easily as you’d expect on super tele lenses. It felt like when I touched a Canon EF 600mm F4L IS USM and wasn’t impressed.

The one shot that got away due to a safe ISO800 instead of ISO1600 on their demo A700 unit. If only I’d set it to ISO1600, you wouldn’t see motion blur as she flutters her eyes.

Bokeh is of course superb and liquid. I dare say it has liquid bokeh priority, sharpness second, ala Minolta.

Sorry guys, there is no Depth Of Field Preview button.

Funny thing is, the 3 main things that the Sony A100 had over all other brands, which I was proud to point out and used extensively, are missing in the A200.

– Direct Manual Focus
– AEL button becomes Spot Metering Toggle
– DOF button (which doubles as AE and AF lock, did you guess?)

So Neee-ar

Yes, the Sony Alpha 200 has been announced, as the successor to the A100.


  • 2.7″ screen (A100 had a 2.5″)
  • ergonomics and more relevant buttons like the return of the ISO button, and something like Quick Navi on the A700. No more dialling with the A100!
  • improved noise control with ISO3200 maximum (to be found out, despite it using a 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor)
  • AF is 1.7x faster than the A100, with better AF tracking
  • quieter shutter sound (the A100 shutter sounded manly but loud, which some people may like)
  • auto pop-up flash (I don’t like it as I find this very annoying and n00bish, if I want flash I’ll pull it up myself. Fortunately it doesn’t in PASM modes)
  • battery indicator in percentage (A100 has 4 bars ala Nokia phones)

I love the top view design.

Personally, I prefer its design to the A100. There is a more streamlined design especially on the top, where it takes on the handlebar-shape of the A700. There’s no more silly A100 dial on the left; the ISO button returns, and you can see a silver O-ring like the A700 for future weather-sealed lenses.

The only thing I find kinda tacky is how they wrapped “10.2 megapixels” along the AF/MF switch.

You can try the A200 and A700 at the Sony Alpha Roadshow!

When: 10.00AM – 10.00PM, 9th – 13th January 2008
Where: Centre Concourse, Mid Valley Megamall

There’s also the Sony 300mm F2.8G SSM, which isn’t spotted in shops anywhere!

There are also contests – Alpha owners can enter a competition and win the Sony 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 DT, while those without can win a Sony H3.

Also up and coming is the Sony Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 ZA with T* coating and Super Sonic Motor! This will be the Sony A900’s standard lens (or whatever they want to call their full-frame camera). To get this range on APS-C you’d need a 16-45mm F2.8.

There’s also a leaked picture of a possible Live View swivel-screen Sony. The Fn button, directional keypad and vertical grip match those seen on the A200. There’s also a Live View button on the top-right corner! The vertical grip on the A200 is called the VG-B30AM (and not the VG-B20AM… which hints that the vertical grip was meant for something called an A300.)

Thus, we can guess that there will be a Live View swivel-screen Sony A300. It’s not using the A700’s VG-C70AM vertical grip so it has less buttons and thus, is less advanced than the A700.

Also, check out this video – Santana Featuring Chad Kroeger – Into The Night.

An unidentified camera, which seems to have the A100’s interface, may be another new development from Sony – it can trigger a flash without the pop-up flash being raised!

You can spot the camera at 1:46-1:56. It fires flashes magically! AMAZING!

I don’t quite like Chad Kroeger, or any of Santana’s rather bland recent stuff, but I felt a glimmer of hope when he did a rock-and-roll solo at 2:11. Though, sadly, that’s just rock-and-roll, nothing… Santana.

And now for some sad news.

Herbert Keppler, the former publisher of Modern Photography and Popular Photography (as well as being on the Minolta team when they developed the quick-release iTTL hotshoe) passed away on the 4th of January.

In Memoriam: Herbert Keppler, 1925-2008

His column, Speaking Frankly, is one of the very few that I subscribe to on Firefox. The moment I found it, I traversed the archives and learnt a lot more about camera and lens history.

The Singer Songwriters Round number something

15th November 2007 – the Singer Songwriters Round in No Black Tie!

Pete Teo, folk singer/indie movie star who founded the round.

Melina William, who played her Tempered Mental progressive-rock stuff all on acoustic, because she wrote all the bits and riffs and chord changes and can thus superhumanly play them all at once. This was why I came, really; to see her infuse basslines, riffs and licks from her band’s songs. Oh, and sing atop all these complex rhythm changes, too!

Reta is transfixed.

Hold… still… hold… still…

Knowing that most people look hilarious or have something stuck up their nose when they look through a viewfinder, I don’t close my other eye unless I’m manually focusing on darker lenses.

Azmyl Yunor, ever the solid folk singin’ busker dude.

Mia Palencia, superb jazz and soulful voice.

And then it was open mike, with Raffique Rashid dragged up (according to him, from his grave) and he played somewhat uh… dramatic folk? His storytelling voice was haunting, and yet had immense machoness. Songs like Dylan (and some other thing about a woman scorned) were hilarious!

Reza Salleh and his alternacoustic rock.


Jeremy wished me a Happy New Year, and may this year be more random than the last. So here’s some randomness!

Shrek ears!

Which way is up?

This beer is real gassy.

Looks like somebody’s been reading too much I Can Has Cheezburger.

Y’know, this one.

Who tiled Kenny?

Just what does the design of the crocodile pliers remind you of?

Upskirt. I did not discover this view. That honor goes to another pervert.

Midvalley Gardens. Pinnacle of modern creature comforts and *in Chinese accent* Capitalism!

While opposite, lies the ruins of a village.

Zoom 100%!

I’ve always wanted a place nearby the Bangsar LRT station; it’s nicely in between everything.