Monthly Archives: February 2008

Alpha Rays

12th January 2008 – the Sony Alpha shootout in Midvalley! We were given 10 categories to shoot; at the end of the day, we’d submit only one.

Good luck flowing in.

Top of a cherry?

Proud parents.

The curve.

The fish under the bridge.

The kopitiam.

The narcissist and a trespassing giant.

The wall being posed with.

The Tamron 28-105mm F2.8. Whoa nelly!

The portrait session free with a purchase of makeup products.

The… the… *

Wander, boy.

Her wonder.

Darren‘s Sigma 300mm F4 APO Macro versus the big white Sony 300mm F2.8G SSM. Also spot his Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG!

The Sony Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4 has strong liquid color… though it’s a bit too contrasty at times. It makes a great compact, very bright medium telephoto prime lens.

The TT (teh tarik, or technology transfer) session after that.

The picture I chose to submit. No, I did not win the prize, a Sony 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 DT. 🙁

* the shot was from later when I tried the Sony Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4. It responded very well to the Neutral Creative Style.

I’ll be in Redang for a company team building exercise from Wednesday to Saturday, so don’t expect any updates till then!

Mix Chart

Fly FM Campur Chart, 24th January 2008, exactly a month ago. Hooray my gig pictures are not so delayed anymore!

I brought my Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8 push-pull and made this! It involves slow shutter speed and a push-pull. Yeah, normal zoom rings won’t get such a smooth action. 😛

Oh yeah, this is Silent Scream.

(Normal shot.) Alternative hard rock for the masses!

Dude you forgot to call me about the pictures!

Ooo, that’s Keng on bass and for some reason he is standing behind the drummer.

Ooo, Cyndi looks angry. And Jiameei looks so cute how can you not want to pinch her cheeks and then put her in your front pocket?


Who is hip hop.

Frequency Cannon!

This is Kuachee.

This is Azrul.

This is Yu-Ri.

This is the second guitarist, Siva eh waitaminute where’s Siva?

This is Dino.

They play happy jumpy rock.

So happy, it’s contagious! (I was trying to do an Ozzy Osbourne here.)

And this is the thing I do with my fisheye where I stick the camera in front of people and flash.

Now she gets it!

Jiameei: “I want fisheye too!”

Sure, I did, but I socked her in the jaw before this picture.

Graphy Tee

To reaffirm my status as one of those photo bloggers, I hereby post a bunch of snapshots.

The Jamasia door b***ard draws tattoos on his own hands in his free time. In One Utama. Is that how boring shopping malls have become?

Such a drawing would be more appropriate at a boring place, like my workplace.

I have always had a knack for drawing Transformers. Heck, I used to make Transformer models for Quake 2 and Unreal Tournament…

However, I did not go to this extent. Somebody else did. Gotta love his cap!

Battlebot Rumble1 does indeed have the same head as Decepticon Rumble! They even have The Universal Greeting (from the original animated Transformers movie).

Transform! And L.O. Loud!

Bah weep granah weep ninni bong!

You can fix some things. And when you can’t, there’s free delivery.

My dream job!



No Lens Reflex

Many many moons ago, I met with Lex, the then buyer of my Sony Alpha 100. We were at Chili’s, and I was explaining the camera functions to her, when this girl hobbled over next to our table and looked at us intently.

Take a picture, her pose told us. She leaned seductively against the chairs. We thought it was so cute! (Did she learn it from an older sister or aunt?)

She continued standing there. Oh, all right. I used my Sony Alpha 700 to shoot this one shot of her, to humor her.

She kept posing. I continued the conversation, and looked, and she was still posing!

I then tried the Sony Alpha 100 with body cap on to see how she’d react.

(I looked something like this. Thanks Lex for the shot!)

She immediately started crying! Must’ve been the body cap. Or did she already know what a lens was, feeling rejected by this long-haired-artistic-photographer-looking dude?

She ran over to her mom, who went, “uncle made you cry ah?” Her family proceeded to camwhore with their digital cameras, to cheer her up.

It could also be the A100’s different, more mechanical door-slamming sound, often said to be loud (though some say, satisfying) while the A700 had a quieter, more subtle mirror action. A friend said the A100 made his dogs go wild but the A700 made them pose willingly (or something like that!)

Feeling Blue

When I’m feeling blue, I keep it cool.

I keep my signs down.

Add a certain shade of green…

…and everything stops.

Add a shade of red…

…and I will leave…

…far, from this place.

So why still hang around?

Step outside!

Stay out all night…

…just mooning!

Ah, past times.

Bloody TV.


How do you make a photographer feel loved?

Spot the two pictures I took (presumably, Paolo passed his camera to a friend, who assumed that only pictures of Paolo should be taken. Don’t worry, it’s quite common that some band members are more photographed than others. Must be Paolo’s ever interesting hairdo.)

So how do you make a photographer feel loved? Give him credit, and a free ad. (Oh and hello Wan Lee remember me?)

Original from here.

Kinda alike, but the CD I burnt for Paolo has outtakes!

I’m in a band, how do I get pictures from you?

If you see me at a gig, you can ask me to burn you a CD. *

* CDs don’t come free and neither does Photoshopping full-size photos so I’ll charge a nominal price.

You will get your band shots faster, within a week!

Of course, you can always grab the shots from my blog when they come up (anytime between 1-3 months delayed) but they will be smaller sized and have that watermark. Makes it easier for you also because you don’t have to add “this picture was taken from” yourself. 🙂

If the pictures are of your band, feel free to take it for your Myspace account. That’s my contribution to the underground scene, but credit me lah. 🙂

For The Pixel-peeping Insomniac

Some may realize how tele-centric I am with my lenses, so here’s a shootout of 7 lenses that can reach 210mm either by themselves or with the aid of teleconverters. All shot with the Sony A100 at F16, ISO Low-key 80 with flash on a certain morning of 20th September 2007.

Lenses involved, from right to left:

  1. Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye (okay, it wasn’t included but it sneaked in because it thought it would look nice in the picture)
  2. Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 DT (sold)
  3. Minolta 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 Silver (sold)
  4. Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8
  5. Cosina 70-210mm F2.8-4 Macro
  6. Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan”
  7. Tamron 200-400mm F5.6

The battered, misaligned elements, melted rubber Sigma 70-210mm F4-5.6 opted to skip the photo shoot.

Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 DT with Tamron 1.4x and Kenko 2x. 1/60s.

Minolta 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 with Tamron 1.4x and Kenko 2x. 1/100s.

Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8 with Kenko 2x. 1/125s.

Sigma 70-210mm F4-5.6. 1/125s. Note that this is a battered lens found in a box of junk, with misaligned elements that give all sorts of aberrations.

Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan”. 1/125s.

Cosina 70-210mm F2.8-4 Macro. 1/125s.

Tamron 200-400mm F5.6. 1/125s. The minimum focus distance is 2.5 meters, far longer than my room, thus the objects are out of focus.

Tamron 200-400mm F5.6 at F32 1/125s. Still not quite in focus.

Why do the lenses vary so much in color and actual focal length?

  1. Focal length changes with focus distance. The closer the focus, the shorter the focal length, especially on zoom lenses.
  2. Slower shutter speeds let in more ambient light; in the Sony 18-70mm it looks more blue because more flourescent light has come in.

Also, the Tamron 1.4x teleconverter is a wee bit soft. Gotta get a newer one… but this is a nice softener for portraits.

I particularly like the Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm’s color. The Tamron 200-400mm seems rather blue while the F32 shot kills off the flourescent light’s blue.

To be fair, I should shoot with the lenses focused at infinity, plus most lenses (except portrait lenses and macros) are optimized for sharpness at infinity. I conducted this test past midnight, like about every other photographic test that I do, or I could’ve headed out to the hills near by house.

Sugar, I Misheard You

I actually wondered what went on in the lyrics of System Of A Down – Sugar, and I found this:

But that’s not the only one!

This makes the second commonly misheard song with the word “sugar“. The other is Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down. 🙂

Focus. Type M

I got my Sony A700 focus screen changed to the Type M Focusing Screen at a Sony Service Center. They charged RM70 for it. (Yes that’s the same price as the Nikon and Canon counterparts.)

The screen has to be changed there itself because they need to update the camera firmware as the focusing screen darkens considerably with darker lenses, compared to the standard focusing screen. The metering unit is above the viewfinder and if you ordered it online and did it yourself, your camera would overexpose, depending on aperture.

I got my original focusing screen as well, with the box which it came in.

The Type M is a plain screen and looks no different from the standard A700 screen. It does not have a split-prism rangefinder in the middle like manual focus SLRs. I’d have loved that, though!

Its texture is finer, and you can see smaller ‘diamonds’ compared to the standard focusing screen when you point at distant lights and go out of focus.

Manual focusing with the Minolta 50mm F1.4 is a joy – you can literally see the creaminess of the F1.4 as you go in and out of focus. It allows much greater precision. If you press down the DOF Preview button while changing the aperture, you can see that it starts to darken and the DOF increases at F2.0 onwards. On a standard screen it darkens and the DOF increases about F3.2 * onwards. I’m not sure of the exact aperture as different people get different results at different times.

Thus, the Type M screen would in theory feel 1.33 stops darker when a F5.6 lens is fitted.

Does a Type M screen feel brighter with a F1.4 lens? Unfortunately, no… but the only way to test it is to stick a digital camera on the viewfinder and measure how much light gets transmitted to the viewfinder.

You can see the 50mm F1.4’s superb, punchy color better. For once it feels that what you see is what you get. Sometimes, you can misfocus in manual focus when you think the viewfinder is sharp but it isn’t, and is only kinda close.

When I first put on my F4 beercan, I was like “whoa, that’s dark, did I put a polarizer on it or something?

I compared it with KJ‘s standard A700 with a Minolta 50mm F1.4, and XJ and I found that my screen seemed less contrasty and sharp. This is probably because mine is showing a F2.0-like view (the Minolta is less contrasty and slightly gauzy wide open) while his shows the lens at F3.2, pretty contrasty already.

Would I recommend it? If you shoot a lot at F2.8 or brighter, this is for you (I suppose you’ll leave a F5.6 lens to AF). If your lenses are mostly darker than F2.8 then I do not recommend it.

– Greater focusing accuracy, you’ll be sure that whatever you focused on is spot on
– Shows focus to F2.0 or so
– Really shows the creaminess and color of your bright lenses

– Lenses darker than F2.8 get noticeably darker
– Macro with dark apertures gets even darker than a normal screen when you press the DOF Preview button
– Does not affect your image quality, it only helps with focusing

Note that the Sony A700 is the only Sony Alpha body that offers serviceable focusing screens; for the A100, A200, A300 and A350 a third-party option is required. There is also a Type L SI which comes with grid lines for architecture, which replaces a different screen (and so, the Type M and Type L SI can coexist. Thanks Pete Ganzel for the info!)

* David Kilpatrick claims that a normal viewfinder is only accurate to around F4.5. Your results may vary.

For Sale: Soligor 70-220mm Constant F3.5 Macro For Olympus Zuiko Mount Telephoto Lens

Yes that’s right, I am selling this solid beauty of glass and metal. It’s a constant F3.5 even at 220mm. Originally got it for my Olympus OM-2000 but rarely used it as I shoot mostly digital now.

Clean glass. No dents or scratches. Very nice black finish. OM Zuiko mount.

Note that it needs the Zuiko to Four-Thirds adapter to be used on Olympus E-System bodies or Panasonic L-series bodies.

Works great with the Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-510 because you can enter the focal length of the lens with their latest firmware. You’ll get a 440mm F3.5! The only current Four-Thirds lens that gets to 220mm while being at least this bright is the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 90-250mm F2.8.

Fully extended length with retractable hood and turned to minimum focusing distance.

It has a built-in tripod mount.

Includes 77mm front cap and rear cap.

Close up of the lens. It is a push-pull but it does not increase focal length when extended – instead, it goes backwards! Note the yellow macro ring, which gives a boost in lens extension.

Mounted on my Olympus OM-2000.

Sample Shots

70mm with Fujifilm Superia ASA 1600.

220mm with Fujifilm Superia ASA 1600.

Can’t remember the focal length but this was at 1/30s with Fujifilm Superia ASA 100.

220mm with full macro extension with Fujifilm Superia ASA 1600. It was evening so the shutter speed was 1/60s which makes it a tad unsharp.

Selling price is RM450, negotiable. Lens can be inspected before buying. Would prefer COD (Cash On Delivery) in Klang Valley. Please email if you are interested.