Monthly Archives: September 2009

DiGi Can 3G!

At 7:50am, 28th September 2009, somewhere in Petaling Jaya, I looked at my phone and found this!

Yes, that’s right, DiGi is allowing certain customers to use their yet-to-be-officially-launched 3G UMTS (and 3.5G HSDPA) mobile service!

I tried video calling a few people but realized that all these people who used to use the video call function, had iPhones! (The iPhone 3Gs does not support video calls, and when you buy one, you have to sign a “iPhone Purchase Checklist” where you check that it has included SIM Eject Tool, Charger, LCD Display, User Guide, Handsfree, USB Cable, Service Card, a demonstration on how to insert SIM tray, and No video call.)

The turtlenecked man might announce it in 2010. Or 2011. Who cares, they have your money! Where do all the previous iPhones go? iDunno.

Anyway, on to phones with a front camera.

Later that day, I made a video call to Jenifur! She is on Maxis though. I found 3G reception all over the North court of Midvalley Megamall, and on the top floor of the South court. Gotta say it is a new experience, nearly walking into pillars and trashcans, and finding that the front camera is not wide enough, and that my head blocks most of the background unless I hold the phone far away from me.

Unfortunately, at home, and at the office, there is no 3G, yet. I’m guessing that October 2009 is when they launch it and enable fuller coverage.

Who are these certain customers?

I am guessing that they, like me, have subscribed to the Data Unlimited plan. I’ve always found EDGE to be handy, and very stable. However, it is not terribly fast – Google Maps takes a while to load maps. When 3G was on however, I would say it appeared just 2-3 seconds later! I don’t download lots of stuff on my phone, so Google Maps is my only benchmark. Even when I was no longer within 3G range, I found Google Maps to be a lot faster than before today.

So how about some concrete speeds?

The people at found a rather impressive speed when connected.

Desert Us, Eleanor’s Pitbull!

On the 2nd April 2009 I was down in Laundry Bar for Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show! Here’s Eleanor! (Regretfully, I missed Matematik due to The Curve doing electrical maintenance, forcing the gig to start much earlier than expected.)

Plus points for the very energetic frontman…

…who sings screamo.

I find a good way to bring dynamics into the scene is to have the right white balance that helps distinguish subjects.

I used this method to extract tones from the previously, apparently washed-out pink on his hand.

Screamo vocalists are the most fun to shoot – they go into all sorts of shapes and positions. I am not sure how you scream in a fetal position (Chicosci did so years ago in Laundry Bar.)

And then, it was hard-rockin’ Pitbull Inc.! They certainly seem to have had a change in flavor, from a variety including doing a funky Michael Jackson cover, to straight out hard rock.

Not to complain, they do it really well!

Solo! Burn up that paint!

Bang them skins!

Chicks dig it!

(Shot at 135mm F1.8 1/5s ISO6400!)

Whose flighty legs are these?

None other than Zack Yusof, of Deserters!

These guys have been playing Brit-eeesh pop/indie for yonks. Zack has always had that accent.

Interesting how the decals change from the fretboard to the guitar body.

That’s all folks, says Reza the organizer who wears cool shirts. It was indeed odd that Laundry closed so early (11pm to be exact) that I even took a bus home!

Cube Cube Cubed! (Part 2)

The classic Rubik’s Cube. I have loads of 25th Anniversary Rubik’s Cube which have peeling stickers. Anybody wants to buy them for custom sticker jobs?

I take anywhere from 37 to 50 seconds on average. I prefer starting by building a 2x2x2, expanding to 2x2x3 and so on. I don’t have space in my head for lots of formulas so I still use the basic beginner formulas – flip edges, permutate edges, permutate corners, rotate corners. I do know how to flip edges and permutate edges without messing with the corners but I don’t do it by habit, unless I am doing limited-look cubing.

Limited-look cubing?

As in, I take a look, solve a 2x2x2, take another look, attempt to solve a 2x2x3, take another look, attempt to solve 2 layers, take another look and solve the top layer. On good days I can take 4 looks but it usually goes from 5 to 8 looks. Blindfolded cubing is basically limited-look cubing, limited to 1 look!

Pocket Cube. Takes me 43 seconds.

It solves like a Rubik’s Cube but with the occasional corner parity error (which is solved by a edge flipper like L’U’F’UFL.)

Rubik’s Revenge. I’d solve the center 2×2 on each face, then check with the corners to see if each 2×2 is on the right face (since there is no center cube). Then there is a formula to assemble the edges (3 at a time), as well as a formula if you have 2 edges to swap. Finally you solve it like a regular Rubik’s Cube. However there are two kinds of parity errors that might happen, both needing their specific formulas.

Because I never really remembered one of those two formulas, I eventually forgot both formulas! So I’d say generally that even-numbered cubes are not something I enjoy solving, and so I didn’t time myself on these.

Top row is the Eastsheen 5x5x5; bottom row is the Professor’s Cube. I am thinking of selling the Professor’s Cube to whoever will give it a good sticker job because the Eastsheen, while a bit loose, is a lot smoother and quicker to solve. The Professor’s Cube is more geary, and I don’t intend to lubricate it.

It takes me 4 minutes 57 seconds (297 seconds). Solving odd-numbered cubes are easy – you work on the center 3×3 on each face, and learn one formula to assemble the edges (3 at a time), and one more formula in case you end up with 2 edges to swap. Finally you end up with a regular 3x3x3 format and solve that.

Yong Jun 6x6x6. I call it the Devil’s Cube. I love how the color scheme is – the much lighter green versus deep blue, and lighter orange versus dark red, and yellow versus black, make this cube solvable in tungsten orange lighting. You won’t end up mixing up the white/yellow, red/orange or green/blue pairs in tungsten lighting!

It solves just like a Rubik’s Revenge. The same parity error formulas are used. It tends to lock up internally – you can often rotate in say UD/RL but not FB. Only way to solve this is to rotate UD/RL until FB faces can be rotated (you have to hear the internal pieces click on place.)

Yong Jun 7x7x7. I’ve tried the V-Cube 7, and that one was too smooth and yet more prone to locking up. This Yong Jun copy however is physically perfect – no locking, and smooth, smooth action!

I solve this by making a 3×3 on each face, then expanding this to 5×5 in a very fun algorithm. Then I assemble edges (3 at a time) and use another formula for 2 last edges. This process needs to be done twice due to twice the number of edges. Finally I solve it like a regular Rubik’s Cube.

The fastest I ever did this was 20 minutes 11 seconds (1211 seconds). I have only had this for less than a week! It can take from 22 to 28 minutes on average. However, this is my most favorite cube yet – building the 5×5 faces are really fun!

Also, it shares the same color scheme as the Yongjun 6x6x6, very handy!

Megaminx copy. Dodecahedron; does not change shape. Algorithms used are all the same as the Rubik’s Cube – in fact, I learnt a few more methods from the instruction book on this one, to solve the Rubik’s Cube!

Fastest time 6 minutes 9 seconds (369 seconds). It’s easy but tedious due to the 50 cubies needed to be moved!

Rubik’s Cube keychain and Siamese Pocket Cube keychain. Didn’t bother timing myself on these – the Siamese variants all just take twice as long as a regular cube.

Void Cube copy. Takes 1 minute 19 seconds (79 seconds). Solves just like a Rubik’s Cube, with a possibility of a parity error (due to misaligned, invisible center!) So I do a UD’ and realign the edges in the middle layer.

Rubik’s Mirror Blocks. Looks complex but is really a Rubik’s Cube with shifted, variable layer thicknesses. Each layer has a distinct height, so you can solve this blindfolded without memorizing. You just need to touch and align the cube heights. It’s fun to solve, but often so much better to look at unsolved.

This takes me 2 minutes 25 seconds (145 seconds). Blindfolded, this takes 5 minutes 26 seconds (326 seconds).

I can’t find my Sudoku Cube for this photoshoot; it’s hiding somewhere in my house. This picture is taken from Thinking Inside The Cube. I didn’t solve this much because it was quite tedious!

Smiley Cube copy. Just a stickered version of the Rubik’s Cube. Real tight though. The center cubes have orientation, making it slightly harder.

Giant Siamese Rubik’s Cube copy. I made them Siamese myself, using a penknife and superglue! These giant cubes were from a time when original Rubik’s Cubes were not found anywhere in Malaysia and I had to buy all these cheap plastic cubes that would either lock up or fall apart. These giant cubes never locked up but their center faces would fall out (the plastic would break, thus making it unrepairable!)

Rubik’s World. Solves like the Pocket Cube.

Master Pyramorphix copy. Looks complex, but is really a Rubik’s Cube in disguise.

Takes me 3 minutes 43 seconds (223 seconds) to solve. It takes a while to figure out what is what!

Skewb copy. Takes me 1 minute 6 seconds (66 seconds). I just need 2 formulas to solve this, which I figured out in under an hour with a paper and pen! Supposing the UFR and UFL corners were shortened to R and L, I’d do either L’RLR’ or L’R’LR to permutate centers and rotate corners. I’d do either formula twice to rotate only corners, leaving centers intact, or do the formulas thrice to swap centers but leave corners intact.

Meffert’s Pyraminx. It uses ball bearings and tends to pop edges easily so I prefer to play with my plasticky Pyraminx copy. I forgot the formula I came up with for permutating edges but I remember taking under 1 minute to solve this.

Square 1 copy. I had the original Square 1 but it’s hiding somewhere in the house. This is friction-ful plastic. I used to remember the formulas for swapping 2 corners and swapping edges, but not anymore. 🙁

I think I used to take 3 minutes to solve it.

Square 1 variant. Takes forever to fix the center 2 layers. However this works very much like the Square 1. Fortunately it is way smoother, but the seashell shape in the Square 1 picture (bottom-right) is impossible to make, for some strange reason – the pieces won’t budge once that many edges are next to each other.

Rubik’s 360. I haven’t gotten round to really playing with this, but I’ve already gotten 2 balls in their correct containers.

Rubik’s Twist. Used to be called the Rubik’s Snake. You can’t mess it up per se so I never bothered timing how long it takes to get into ball form.

Rubik’s Shells. There are two buttons on the axis that, when pressed, lock the two wheels (there are four, two on each side) and this makes the puzzle permanently harder. I couldn’t bear with such a puzzle that had such a ultimatum so once I Googled the formula I solved it and kept it away.

Rubik’s Magic. Never timed myself on this. It’s quite a fragile puzzle – I’ve seen kids snap this, so I handle mine slowly and with care.

I like how it changes shape.

I think I solved this a few times many years back and never bothered timing. It’s not even a twisty puzzle!

I have the Magic Ball too, which is just a spherical Rubik’s Cube. Can’t find it though.

I also had the Atomic Chaos (Kaos) and loved it – I figured out my own solution entirely. Don’t know where that noisemaker is, either!

Here’s what it looks like:

Heck I even made a QBASIC game out of this.

I also have the Walt Disney puzzle (spot the Lion King!) To its left is an old iQ-branded Megaminx, and the original Square 1 (how I miss you.) Then there’s that load of fake plastic Rubik’s Cubes around it. Picture taken from Rubik Cubism.

Oh yes, I’ve won a Guitar Hero II guitar + game for the Xbox 360 before… quite a fluke that was.

And here are more links to help you identify puzzles:
Wikipedia’s entry on combination puzzles
Inside Polyhedra puzzles – patent designs and how they do it!

Here’s more cube pr0n:
Cube Cube Cubed! (Part 1)

Cube Cube Cubed! (Part 1)

Today is a different kind of pr0n – the twisty puzzle kind!

Clockwise from top: Megaminx copy, Rubik’s Cube, Void Cube copy, Pocket Cube, Master Pyramorphix copy, Eastsheen 5x5x5, and Rubik’s Mirror Blocks in the middle.

My passions; there’s my Minolta Dynax 7 with Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan with Sony HVL-F58AM flash and orange flash gel; there’s the Rubik’s line from 2x2x2 to 5x5x5; there’s the Olympus Zuiko 50mm F1.8 on my DIY infrared-modded Fujifilm Q1 Digital; on my Yamaha F-210 acoustic folk guitar. Yes, I play guitar (and not just Guitar Hero/Rock Band/Frets On Fire.)

This is a Rubik’s Cube, taken apart, to spray with silicone lubricant (to make it real smooth and fast to solve.)

Funky patterns!

Clockwise from left: Eastsheen 5x5x5, Professor’s Cube, Rubik’s Revenge, Rubik’s Cube, Pocket Cube, Siamese Pocket Cube keychain, Meffert’s Pyraminx. Lying flat is the Rubik’s Magic.

Top to bottom: Master Pyramorphix copy, Void Cube copy, Rubik’s Mirror Blocks. The Mirror Blocks grips onto the Void Cube’s… void tightly.

The Rubik’s Revolution. I wish I didn’t buy this gimmicky electronic game – it talks, lights up, but it does not rotate at all! You play 6 games like Light Speed, Rapid Recharge, Pattern Panic, Code Cracker, MultiPlayer Madness, and Cube Catcher. Not what I expected at all, and probably more fun for someone who is not able to solve the real thing. Yes I wouldn’t mind selling this!

Here it is, next to a 25th Anniversary Rubik’s Cube. I would not recommend the 25th Anniversary one to anybody – it has an extra layer of protective film which peels off quickly and easily resulting in an ugly cube.

Here’s a Japanese DIY Speedcube. They include lubricant in the package, as well as some advanced algorithms. I honestly haven’t had the time to learn them.

At Toys’R’Us Suria KLCC, there was a Rubik’s Cube competition – solve it under 100 seconds and win a free Rubik’s Cube T-shirt. Yes, I won one!

At Sony Style there was a Sony Rubik’s Cube. Cool skin!

The Master Pyramorphix copy is cute – it can transform shape. Here it is, being a Koopa turtle (primarily red or green, with a yellow underside.)

It’s even pretty with corner permutations! I love the reverse N scheme and X scheme.

Here it is, next to the Meffert’s Pyraminx.

Reggae time!

Left to right: Rubik’s Cube, Eastsheen 5x5x5, Yong Jun 7x7x7.

And finally, for a nice big group shot.

Left to right: Meffert’s Pyraminx, Siamese Pocket Cube keychain, Rubik’s Cube, Rubik’s Revenge, Professor’s Cube, Yong Jun 6x6x6, Yong Jun 7x7x7.

Top row left to right: Skewb copy, Square 1 variant. Behind: Rubik’s 360.

More about each individual cube in my next blog entry!

int geek = rnd * 23

Now for something totally random – pictures lying on my Windows desktop, for some reason, used for various explanations.

In Sony’s instruction manuals for the Alpha lenses, they sometimes say “in cameras without an AF/MF button”. This often causes panic for those who think that means there will be an Alpha body without the ability to switch between AF and MF on body, thus implying a screw-drive-less body like the Nikon D40/D40x/D60/D3000/D5000.

Sony is very careful with what they call their switches – and so, here’s how you tell.

Left to right: AF-S/AF-A/AF-C/MF dial on A700/A850/A900 (taken from Pete Ganzel’s site); AF/MF button on A700/A850/A900; AF/MF switch on every other Alpha body.

Somebody asked me if High Speed Sync lowers the flash power at faster shutter speeds such that it cannot be used for wireless photography. Of course it could (given a brighter aperture and higher ISO.) So here’s the A900 at 75mm F4.5 1/8000s ISO1600! One light from behind, one light from in front, in typical Rembrandt lighting, with the mandatory triangular highlight below the eye and triangular shadow cast by the nose.

The Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan is still one of my favorite lenses when it comes to bokeh, due to its painterly look.

Ein, after he bought his Sony HVL-F58AM flash – shot with the A900 and Minolta 50mm F1.4 at F1.4. Should’ve been wary of subject or body motion after locking focus…

Here’s how I demonstrated how to trigger the Sony flashes wirelessly when blocked by the subject. The flash is put sideways, so the sensor faces the wall. The pop-up flash (or F20 or F58 on the A850/A900) is wide enough to hit the wall and bounce off into the sensor.

A random Petronas Twin Towers shot.

My first roll through this ol’ Cosina CT1EX K-mount manual-focus, mechanical shutter film SLR was a blank. I hadn’t experienced this since the 2nd and 3rd rolls from my Olympus OM-2000! Looks like I hadn’t touched manual-loading film SLRs in a while (being babied by my Minolta Dynax 7, where most rolls go.)

This is where the Cosina CT1EX came from – a big box of spare parts!

An old cube versus the ad.

An unfortunate incident happened to a friend of mine – he put his HVL-F20AM on his camera and put it in the bag. According to the instruction manual (or rather, a yellow paper) it warns not to do so… which indemnifies them from fixing it for free. Unfortunately.

So boys and girls, read your instruction manuals!

The F20 flash, while of rather low power at Guide Number 20 meters ISO100 at 50mm, can be useful in tight situations where you don’t want to lug a huge flash. I brought just my Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D), F20 and Sony LCS-WR1AM camera wrapping cloth for this, because camera bags are just bulky in the club. Of course, you help the flash out by using a high ISO, slow shutter speed and shooting wide open. Here it was 24mm F3.5 1/8s ISO3200.

And here, 24mm F4 1/5s ISO3200. I don’t think I took this picture though as slanted pictures are not my style.

Me, in the hood. Shot by Waifon.

A lot of lenses during a buka puasa TT sometime 2008.

Does a door peephole make a budget fisheye lens replacement?

Er… no. For one, whatever lens it is needs to be able to focus very close onto the peephole lens in order for it to work.

A simple two-flash setup, left and right.

24mm F4 1/5s ISO100, shot at 7:17pm, where the sky and building light match in intensity. Also known as Magic Hour.

I would suggest waiting for the flowers to show two or more different colors – more colors look better.

A random shot from Sunburst 2009 from the Zeiss 135mm F1.8.

A random shot from a buka puasa TT session sometime 2009.

How the correct WB can help with the perception of distinct, different colors – on top is the often favored warmish tint in tungsten light, while below is the corrected, neutral white balance. Neutral WB helps bring out distinct colors e.g. yellow and white, or blue and green, or orange and red. It also helps bring out the green vein on my hand.

smashpOp‘s bokeh jump!

Also from the Zeiss 135mm F1.8 – this kid ain’t jumping.

Ultra-Wide Comparison

Here’s a quick, rough comparison of 3 APS-C ultra-wide angles for the Sony Alpha mount! All shots handheld using the A900 in full-frame mode, then cropped to APS-C region and midtones of Levels adjusted from 1.0 to 1.5. Pardon the exposure variance.

Photoshop’s Polygonal Lasso Tool was used to plot the corners of each straight line; a screenshot of that was then taken to capture the dotted outlines.

Left to right: Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 DiII, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC, Konica Minolta 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT.

The following six pictures can be clicked on for a larger view:

A) Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC at 10mm F4.

B) Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC at 20mm F5.6.

C) Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 DiII at 10mm F3.5.

D) Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 DiII at 24mm F4.5.

E) Konica Minolta 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT at 11mm F4.5.

F) Konica Minolta 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT at 18mm F5.6.

The Tamron gives full-frame coverage at 24mm. It also does so from 15mm onwards. (This is the same shot as D) above.)

The Konica Minolta gives full-frame coverage at 18mm. It also does so from 15mm onwards. (This is the same shot as F) above.)

The A850 and A900 switch to APS-C mode automatically when a Konica Minolta DT or Sony DT lens is attached. However we can override this by pressing the lens release button and turning the lens slightly to disconnect the pins. Further turning will close down the aperture blades.

The Tamron at 24mm F4.5 at its Minimum Focus Distance of 24cm gives the shallowest depth of field on full-frame. Bokeh is not all that clean, though.


Honestly, I can’t tell if there is complex distortion, but all of these lenses have barrel distortion at the widest focal length (where the wall connects to the ceiling.)

As expected, none of the lenses distort lines coming from the center outwards (the table is straight.) Heck, my Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye doesn’t do so, either!

I do find the Tamron sufficiently sharp at the focus point, even wide open. However you might be fussier than I am – in which I’d recommend you stop down to F8-F16 as what people who shoot landscapes and interiors do.

24mm on the Tamron, is a lot longer than 20mm and 18mm on the Sigma and Konica Minolta respectively. It is very obvious (between D) and F) for example). Personally, I like my ultra-wides to reach 24mm on APS-C or 35mm on full-frame at least, so the Tamron can look at least somewhat normal and not ultra-wide if I needed to get a less-distorted shot. Full-frame ultrawides usually reach 35mm, anyway!

My personal choice would be the Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 DiII, if I had an APS-C camera.

Bonus comparison! Left: Sony Alpha 850 with Minolta crossed-XX 50mm F1.7 lens; right: Sony Alpha 900 with Minolta 50mm F1.4 lens. Notice that the surface is different; the A850 has a matte finish which looks more gray while the A900 has a speckled black finish.

Some Burst Of Pictures, Part 4!

Here’s some more from Sunburst KL 2009, 21st March 2009! Guess which band this is…

He’s just sessioning.

And a string section, who could it be?

Famous producer Greg Henderson. Which hard-rocking Malaysian band could this be?

She got on stage, representing her other half, a guitarist that could not be there…

The bassist however is the familiar Kadak!

And the vocalist Emmett.

Who else, but Malaysian rock legends Butterfingers!

If they started in school, I would gander that they’ve been doing this for half their lives.

Later, there was Twilight Action Girl. Is she Twilight Action Girl?

I heard that Twilight Action Girl was made of more than one person. Is it this group of girls?

No man we’re a bunch of dudes!” This is DJ Bunga a.k.a. Lim Kok Kean.

This is hairstylist DJ Xu a.k.a. Su.

This is DJ ChaseyLain a.k.a. Kelvin Oon.

This is DJ Ribut 10:59 a.k.a. Daryl Goh.

Together, they play the randomest mix of indie, dance, soul and electro. I used to go frequently when they played at The Loft, Zouk KL (before the renovations.) It is always refreshing to have Twilight Action Girl play in a open space. I have to admit I am a bit claustrophobic with a packed dance floor full of indie kids due to a past incident

After this, 2 international headliner acts!

More here:
Some Burst Of Pictures, Part 3!
Some Burst Of Pictures, Part 2!
Some Burst Of Pictures!

Getting Dirty With The Thirty

F22: What is that I see, right in front of me?

F2.8: Speaker grilles!

F14: Stereo mike.

F2.8: More speaker grilles!

What else, but the new Sony 30mm F2.8 DT Macro SAM lens! It features SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) and an AF/MF switch, and can focus to 129mm from subject to sensor plane (or 20mm from the front of the lens). Interestingly, they mark the inches with “in” where there is space.

It can capture an image at 1:1 magnification – that is, the surface area captured is equal to the sensor size (23.5mm X 15.6mm on the A700 for example).

From the underside at F2.8; notice the longitudinal chromatic aberration (the reddish outline in front of the focus point, and the greenish outline behind the focus point.)

A slight rant – people tend to confuse longitudinal chromatic aberration with lateral/transverse chromatic aberration (which appears towards the sides and corners of wide-angle lenses) and purple fringing (which appears at the point of focus, especially with white on black detail.)

More reading on the various types of chromatic aberration, here.

F2.8 (100% crop from the Sony Alpha 900.) This lens has longitudinal chromatic aberration (or LoCA in short.) LoCA is common in Sony, Minolta and Zeiss lenses, and it adds to the color of the out-of-focus areas, giving Minolta lenses their definite look. My old Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm F2.4 had a tendency to bring out ultramarine-blue purple fringing, though (which is a bad thing, but can be reduced by choosing a darker aperture.)

F2.8: 30mm on APS-C gives the same angle of view as a 45mm lens on a full-frame camera. This is often considered ‘normal’ – neither wide nor tele. Depending on how you compose, you can make it seem wider or more telephoto.

F2.8: Real shallow.

F22: The obligatory shot. You know what this is.

Previously my experience with SAM lenses is that you might’ve been able to turn the focus ring when the body is set to MF, or focus is achieved and the focus screw disengages (body DMF – Direct Manual Focus). However, the instruction manual tells you not to! No wonder it does feel a bit rough.

No matter what, you need to set the AF/MF switch on the lens to MF, in order to turn the focus ring. You can still use AF/MF or DMF on the body to stop focusing – just don’t turn the ring.

These warnings are written in the instruction manual for a reason. The manufacturer will not fix your lens for free under warranty if you have damaged it this way, because they have already warned you! Same reason why McDonalds Apple Pie boxes state: Caution: Contents May Be Hot. So if you burn your tongue, you can’t sue McDonalds because they have already warned you.

F2.8: At F2.8, it is sharp, but not too sharp (like the Tamron 60mm F2.0 Macro DiII, also an APS-C 1:1 macro lens). This makes the lens good for walkaround purposes, where the kit lens would usually stop you from getting too close (exception being the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 EX DC and Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC, with exceptional minimum focusing distances of 20cm).

It reminds me of my wonderful time with the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm F2.4 M42 lens – it could focus to 19cm close! So instead of zooming in (not possible on this prime lens) I would just get closer to the subject until I filled the frame with my subject. Great fun for walking in the park or the woods.

Shallow, narrow-minded camera-owning people will tell you that macro lenses must have long focal lengths. Obviously, their idea of macro is only insects (which are often, painfully boring because they tend to throw composition out of the window and go into “oh you guys are all about gear… hey look here’s the same insect at 5 different magnifications all higher than 1:1. Oh yes, all 5 pictures are the same thing, same angle.“)

These macro nuts look at cropping as an evil sin, but they do not hesitate to take a few pictures at different focus points and merge them together (focus stitching.)

Last I knew, shooting macro means shooting anything small. A macro lens can be used for close-ups. You can shoot flowers. Grass. Miniature figurines. Patterns and details you never knew existed.

If you shoot the same thing with a long lens, you will get a different perspective, and shallower depth of field, which does not help with macro – you often need to step down to F16-F32 to get something tiny in focus! You also need a lot of light from your flash. A shorter focal length is easier.

With a wide macro, you can get a shot like this:

17mm F8. You can get a flower and a building in the same shot!

Some Burst Of Pictures, Part 3!

Here’s some more from Sunburst KL 2009, 21st March 2009! 21st Night.

Juwita Suwito, local songstress.

Projek Pistol. I like their flavor of metal!

Indie favorite Hujan.

Dead Mushroom returns! I remember their classic Read My Mind.

Meet Uncle Hussain, a more recent band, with a most powerful vocalist.

Estrella with everyone’s favorite Liyana Fizi! (Edit: Ooo it’s her birthday today!)

Someday when I bump into her again I shall remember to ask what happened to the original rendition of Take It Slow.

From Singapore came Sixx!

They had a supercute jumpy vocalist and funky rock anthems!

Add a rapper for good measure.

Gerhana Ska Cinta‘s gotta have horns to play ska!

Nao, hard-hitting Chinese-scene rockers.

The Tugu Drum Circle spans the whole picture!

Anybody can join the Tugu Drum Circle – all you need is a percussive instrument. Shot with the Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye with 2x teleconverter on the A900, to form a diagonal fisheye.

I particularly like the coke-bottle-top shaker.

Cosmic Kitchen is out of this world.

Mmm yes fretless bass.

Some shots used the Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 with 2x teleconverter. I used F6.3 for this shot, to compensate for the quality loss caused by the teleconverter.

Trendkill. The picture is self-explanatory, what more if you are a Pantera (RIP Dimebag) fan!

Okay, so Dimebag didn’t use ESP Limiteds…

Estranged rocks the set again!

Nidji comes down from Indonesia again!

Behind every good MC is a good DJ.

And this good MC is none other than Joe Flizzow!

Agrikulture, with jumpy disco rock.

He takes the threat of rain under a covered stage, very seriously.

Shirley Klarisse Yonavive Edwards (or S.K.Y.E. in short.) (Thanks Waifon for the update!)

There will be more! This set is just the cleaner stuff for the season.

More here:
Some Burst Of Pictures, Part 2!
Some Burst Of Pictures!