Monthly Archives: December 2007

One Want Zero Oh

More geeking out time! Here’s the Sony Alpha 700 with a Kenko 2x teleconverter, Tamron 1.4x teleconverter and Tamron 200-400mm F5.6 (to reach 1100mm F16). On it is the Sony HVL-F56AM flash just for kicks.

On the very day that I got the A700, I shot this with the Sony A100. Without flash, that is. Unfortunately we’d need someone to point a light at his/herself to see anything. 1100mm F16 1/320s ISO800.

Hey man what’s cooking? 1100mm F25 1/80s ISO800.

Traffic stopper. 1100mm F20 1/125 ISO800.

Sony A700 at KLCC Park. Finally I came early enough to catch some people at the KLCC Skybridge! 1100mm F16 1/250s ISO1600.

I revisited the Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8 when I sold my A100 and kit lens. The out-of-focus areas are relatively creamy. Delectable! 105mm F4.

The A700 with its ISO6400 and low-light AF capabilities make way for new types of shots, like cats in streetlight. 50mm F1.4 1/60s ISO6400.

The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX! I quite like the Sigma yellow here. Its focal range is nice for APS-C, and even better on full frame.

What a chunk. It takes 82mm front filters!

I remembered that I had a Vivitar 24mm F2.0 OM-mount lens at home, so I tried to hold it in front of the camera like a tilt-shift lens.

Given the proper tilt, I can get a bigger zone of in-focus area even when the lens is wide open.

Given the interesting bokeh in the top-right corner, it might be worth doing a mount operation.

I also tried holding my Auto Chinon 135mm F2.8 K-mount manual focus lens in front of my A100. Flare is because I had to move the lens further away from the body in order to focus nearer, and light would leak in.

That said, it is also tempting to remount this lens.

Back with Version 1 of the Sony A700 firmware, I experienced hanging when I shot this with DRO+. I’m guessing that DRO+ chokes on complex highlight/shadow data like this.

Same for this. However, with Version 2 I didn’t notice it freezing up with complex subjects.

Thanks to Brian for discovering this – when you shoot a flourescent-lit scene at fast shutter speeds, you may get inconsistent lighting. This is because flourescent lamps pulse at the same rate as your electricity supply e.g. 50 Hertz. The orangey bit is natural light, while the white bottom part is from the flourescent lamp. 50mm F1.4 1/500s ISO1600.

Guess how I did this!

I turned my A100 with Sony HVL-F56AM flash on it, on manual mode, to point at the orange wall to my right. The flash then triggered my Nikon SB-28 coming from my left.

A different white balance for a cooling effect.

This was all possible with an optical slave trigger, then sitting on a tripod. Note the battery pack strapped to it, as Nikon threw away the battery cover when it was sent for servicing.


Erna’s pinhole workshop, 30th June 2007 at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. Yep, a trip down memory lane, because back then we were using film!

She sealed the entire room from light and poked a hole through some manila paper to reveal a hole out into the sun. The room had become a camera obscura!

Then, it was time to make our own light-proof box.

It required a sacrificial roll of film (on the right.) We’d use a paperclip to advance the film from the new film roll to enter the roll on the right. The film was cellotaped together, and a little clicker was installed on the new roll so we could listen for eight clicks and know that a roll had advanced.

Note the inside was black to avoid internal reflection.

Sealed shut, with a manual shutter. I taped the view indicator the wrong way round on top.

The hole was about 0.2mm which was 24mm away from the film plane. Thus, the aperture would be 24mm/0.2mm = F120. Given the Sunny F16 rule, a sunny scene would take 1/13th of a second to expose with ASA 100 film. Of course, with negative film we had much leeway for over and underexposure so timing was not crucial. Add the idea that pinhole exposures are supposed to look artsy and lomographic and you can get away with more.

I poked a hole in the cardboard and placed it in front of my Sony A100 with no lens attached. Approximately 45mm F22 1/2s ISO1600. A similiar shot with the 50mm at F22 gave the same meter readings.

This time, a 5 second exposure.

We were supposed to hand the finished roll over to Erna when we were done with it, but I got a premature shock when I found that my roll gave a bit too much resistance. Had my roll finished? The clicker didn’t click anymore. It might have been dislodged, so I could’ve over-rolled.

The pinhole camera still sits in my dry box to this very day.

After that, we roamed the museum. Some may recognize Kaz of the KL Flickr group on the right.

Liyana says No Photography!

Awi setting up a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex (TLR, not SLR) for a group shot.

In theory, I could remake the pinhole to have a crazy focal length of 12mm by shifting the pinhole back. Yes, that’s right, a rectilinear 12mm on 35mm film! The only lens that can do that is the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG on full frame. To get there on APS-C you’d need a 6mm lens but Olympus only gets as wide as 7mm!

Shifting the pinhole back nearer to the lens also means a brighter aperture! To be exact, you’d get speeds 2 stops faster.

More From Singapore

Rewind to 26th October to 28th October 2007, when I was in Singapore for the Megadeth and Heaven And Hell concerts.

But first, a stop by a rest stop somewhere between Bangsar and Singapore. I took the First Coach with Tarquin, a nice quick 4-hour ride.

The MRT. I did not set foot in a single taxi the entire time.

A cigarette! *gasp* Litter! *gasp*

We bunked at the Summer Tavern Hostel, Carpenter Street, off Clarke Quay. Comfy beds for relatively cheap considering how near it was to everything relevant to us – Fort Canning (where the concert was at), Clarke Quay (where the party was at), Peninsula Plaza (where the camera geeking was at) and Chinatown (where more geeking was at.)

Yes, there were white chicks bunking in too. I mean, real white chicks. Here in Malaysia you get white Caucasian females but I wouldn’t call them all hot.

On the way out of the hostel.

Suspicious man on roof?

KFC married Pizza Hut and Taco Bell… but as I tried my first taco, I found that KFC’s gimmicks were disappointing no matter the country.

A double-neck (not exactly) Ibanez Gibson SG copy! I’d always wanted one of these, a bass and guitar, and in the Gibson SG shape!

The last time I came they only had one of these Doraemon guitars.

A Canon 600mm F4.0 L FD mount lens.

Mamiya RB medium format cameras!

A Canon 35-350mm F3.5-5.6L USM. What an oddity. (There’s also a regular Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM and Canon 400mm F2.8L IS USM.)

How rare – a Konica Minolta Dynax 7D advertisement! Minolta, then KM, wasn’t particularly known for strong marketing.

Rocket-propelled buses! Man, we are so behind.

Need a boost?

I cannot help but snicker, knowing Malay.

Singaporeans really, really have this particular look on their faces, regardless of race, and it can be identified by this photo. There is just this certain look in their eyes. Upon realizing this, it kinda dampened my lookout for Singaporean chicks.

I kid you not.

I then realized which of my friends looked Singaporean. Heh.

And so, I was glad to come home to see Malaysian chicks, with a greater amount of variety.

Party At The Palate

6th October 2007: Pinkpau‘s birthday! It was my first time in the funky Palate Palette.

Cupcakes galore.

Funky decor yo.

Multi-tasker yo. On the phone while taking a picture of someone else.

Take a picture of my socks!

Laughter of Emily.

KY bleeds for you.

Soon after, the cupcakes got repositioned.


The now infamous cake.

Tyler meets Hiro!

Cake blowing time.

The guy who had to cut the cake took extra care when cutting it. Heh heh.

Niiice! (Think Borat.)

Fast forward to exactly 2 months later, 6th December 2007, the Inaugural WILD Party, with Regina and Effa.

Xin Ci the funky hairbanging dancer.

Diyana (thank you for the Funwall post, wherever the heck that went) and Broken Scar.

Azza Junk intern looks like a cat.

Nazrul called out for Friday when they played The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry. Choon How partied on anyway.

I brought my MP3 player with Depeche Mode and Jamiroquai, but they only played them songs much much later. 🙁

Hani the Laundry Bar spy!

CLP Christy and send to 32277!

Squinty time.

Two ad-less bloggers, and two ad-industry-related bloggers.

For the record, Britney Spears – Gimme More did play when you weren’t around. Also it’s a pity you didn’t get with the crowd when they played Beastie Boys (doing the white boy rap air kung fu thing is always always fun.)

Yet another pair of funky socks.

Every shot from the WILD party was with the fisheye, because I lent my Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX wide-angle to KJ and the next widest lens I had, the Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8 with its 1.5 meter minimum focusing distance was unusable for social events.

Sony Alpha Geeking Is The Title

I found the new Sony 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 DT in Boeing, LG floor, Sungei Wang Plaza!

This lens was supposed to be the kit lens for the Sony A700, but in Malaysia we get the Sony 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DT as a kit lens instead. Perhaps such a high-powered zoom speaks to Malaysians more. (It focuses faster, has circular aperture blades and different coatings compared to the Tamron version.)

Plus sides:
Great sharpness and obscenely high contrast, like the Carl Zeiss 16-80mm F3.5-4.5. I did not compare it with a CZ 16-80mm so a direct and fair comparison cannot be made. Tracking is doable, not super, but more than capable in good light. Focusing is fast with the focusing screw taking about 3.5 turns only.

It also looks remarkably like the Carl Zeiss, but with two parts in the extension instead of one.

If what some guess is right, it is probably Sony’s own ripoff of the CZ, based on CZ designs.

16mm F3.5 1/50s ISO200, focused on the stack of magazines.

105mm F5.6 1/100s ISO1600. On the full-size image I can see wrinkles on the back of his right ear. Sharp indeed.

Minus sides?

Sony 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 DT apertures:
F3.5 from 16mm onwards
F4.0 from 17mm onwards
F4.5 from 22mm onwards
F5.0 from 35mm onwards
F5.6 from 55mm onwards

Yes, F5.6 at 55mm!

If I didn’t love 16mm on APS-C so much already, I’d go for the Sony 24-105mm F3.5-4.5 full-frame lens.

The CZ looks a lot better, at F4.5 at 80mm. F3.5-4.5 sounds almost like F4 anyway. The price is honestly not that much more expensive, either!

Personally, I like my zooms at F4 or F3.5-4.5, as paying for a constant F2.8 doesn’t seem worth it. F2.8 to me is not bright enough, while F2 is sweeet. Hence I’d pick the CZ over the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 DT. Blistering sharpness over 1 stop which is nothing, given the A700’s superb high-ISO performance.

Bokeh is good, but not super-creamy, kinda like the CZ, too. This claim is not verified with a CZ owner. Note: Look not just at the big circles, but how the dark areas transition to the bright areas.

I didn’t get to test it with my Minolta Dynax 7 for full-frame usability. However, if it’s anything like the CZ, there will always be a black circle around the frame.

If you have the CZ, keep it and get a 1.4x teleconverter to bring it to 120mm F6.3.

On a side note, the CZ is one of the better (and yet, surprisingly cheaper) professional-image-quality lenses one can get for APS-C. It comes close in price to the Canon EF 17-40mm F4L USM, without the full-frame support but with Super SteadyShot, of course. Nikon doesn’t have a non F2.8 DX lens in that focal range that gives top performance (unless you stretch the Nikkor 18-70mm into that definition.)

And now, for part two of this post.

Good job Sony Style The Curve!

They had the Sony Alpha 700 on display, a hands-on unit! It was equipped with the new Sony 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DT.

Shot this with the Sony 35mm F1.4G. Can’t say I particularly like the output, though it does have the liquid color I like (cyan/green CA around lights), there are minor artifacts in the back where there’s a kid sitting on a chair.

You can also find hands-on units at Sony Style Midvalley and Sony Style KLCC. (Interestingly the Sony Style in Gardens Midvalley has a lot of Sony 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT and Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro lenses all locked in glass display units.)

If you want to feel and touch what I’ve been raving about, please head down to the Sony Style outlets I have listed. 😀

A huge display! Each side has a drawer that slides out.

Bags bags bags. The left two are the A100’s bag; it comes with an A100 battery. The better buy is still the one second from the right; the more ergonomic A700 bag, with the A700 battery, which can fit in the A100 (but the A100 battery cannot fit in the A700.)


Lenses. From left, I think: Sony 1.4x teleconverter, Sony 2x teleconverter, Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 DT, Sony 500mm F8 Auto-focusing Reflex Mirror lens, Sony 75-300mm F4.5-5.6, Sony 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus, Sony 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT, Sony 24-105mm F3.5-4.5, Sony 50mm F1.4, Sony 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DT, Sony 28mm F2.8, Sony 55-200mm F4-5.6 DT, Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 DT, Sony 20mm F2.8.

Sorry, the circular polarizer I used didn’t help much at this angle.

From left: Sony HVL-F56AM, A700 vertical grip (kickass), Sony Carl Zeiss ZA T* 135mm F1.8, Sony Carl Zeiss ZA T* 85mm F1.4, Sony A100 with what looks like a Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 DT on, and another CZ behind it.

Notably missing were the Sony 70-200mm F2.8G SSM and Sony 300mm F2.8G SSM lenses. However, the first big white can be found around shops in Sg. Wang and Sony Style KLCC.

I first tried the new Sony 55-200mm F4-5.6 DT, a Tamron rebadge with circular aperture and Sony coatings, and possibly faster gearing too. 55mm F4 1/50s ISO1600. Looks clean, but quite blocky bokeh.

200mm F5.6 1/60s ISO1600. Decent sharpness wide open, very minor CA on the buttons on the radio.

200mm F5.6 1/80s ISO1600. OOF lights on the tree are decently rendered. Nothing super.

What’s super about the 55-200mm though, is its size; it’s only a bit bigger than the Sony 18-70mm kit lens, itself a decently sharp bargain.

Then, I tried the Sony 20mm F2.8. 20mm F2.8 1/30s ISO250. Looks like I won’t be using this for macro. Note the brightline bokeh at the back.

Minor but simple barrel distortion.

Of course, distortion is not meant to be tested at close range, as lenses get more distorted there. A better test would be to focus on infinity. If you still get distortion there you’ll have a problem being a landscape shooter with such a lens. 🙁

Despite all this, it is sharp, has nice tones, and has excellent background separation. (In Xian Jin’s words.) 20mm F2.8 1/30s ISO500.

And then, the Sony 35mm F1.4G. I like the focal length, but for me, I find it a bit hard to love. At F2.8 I presume that I’d be more in focus. 35mm F1.4 1/60s ISO400.

Next, the Sony 135mm F2.8/T4.5 STF. I dodged my face though because DRO was off when Xian Jin took this picture of me. Bokeh is superb and is one of two reasons this lens is sold; the other is sharpness. 135mm (at T6.7) 1/60s ISO1600.

135mm T4.5 1/60s ISO1600. Note the sphere-like rendition of OOF lights on the tree.

Out of curiousity I put my Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan (also highly regarded for liquid colors and creamy bokeh) against it. 150mm F4.5 1/100s ISO1600.

In retrospect, I should’ve checked the focal length again after shooting because it wasn’t exactly 135mm. Also, a 135mm F2.8 would be a fairer test as the STF gives F2.8-like bokeh, but at F4.5 to F6.7 speeds (hence the T rating instead of F for aperture.)

The T number also affects how much darker OOF spots become at the sides.

The Sony 135mm STF at 135mm T4.5 1/125s ISO1600.

The Sony 135mm STF at 135mm T6.3 1/50s ISO1600. I’m sure I set the T to 6.7 but the camera EXIF reports F6.3 errorneously. Also the shutter speed looks like it shot at F6.7 equivalent light.

135mm F6.3 1/40s ISO1600. This was in Aperture Priority with the T ring set to Auto.

135mm F6.3 1/40s ISO1600. This was with the T ring set to T6.7.

I then walked out, and found this. Shot with the Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX just to compare. Aaa attack of the brightline bokeh!

All shots shot with Auto ISO (200-1600 depending on focal length rule) and Auto White Balance, for those who wonder how the Sony A700 fares.

And now, for part three of this post:

Lens Envy

I do envy certain lenses that don’t come in the A-mount, like the Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC. Some say it is available for the A-mount, though. Having held one, this baby is the same weight and diameter as the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan, and is just a bit shorter. Internally it looks the same; internal zoom elements can be seen from the outside.

This is great for the event photographer who doesn’t need a chunky 1.5kg 70-200mm F2.8 (which had great focal lengths for full-frame film but goes too far in APS-C crop bodies.) A 50-150mm F2.8 is under 800 grams!

Apparently, it gets LCA, as explained by David Kilpatrick (though the post talks about the Carl Zeiss 85mm F1.4):

Of course, I like the modularity of having a 50mm F1.4, 2x teleconverter (to get you to 100mm F2.8), and perhaps a Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 (at 1050 grams, though, but still very holdable).

The new Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 Pro DX only comes in Canon and Nikon flavors. The Tokina 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Fisheye comes in Canon, Nikon, and Pentax’s own version of it.

Then there’s the Sigma 4.5mm EX DC Circular Fisheye for APS-C cameras.

Finally, I think it’s just cool that a digital camera can have a wireless flash controller. What?

Olympus SP-560UZ gains wireless flash through firmware 3.1

Okay, back to my allegiance. Check out Digital Camera Resource Page’s excellently-written review of the Sony Alpha 700!

Cornetto Love Perhaps? Season 2

24th November 2007 – Cornetto Love Perhaps Season 2 participants made an appearance at the NTV7 carnival at One Utama.


Raj in a Freddie Mercury moment.

Adrian in a Johnny Depp/Mike Myers moment.

Aliza looks sweeet.

Half-Thai-half-American actress. Yum.

Claudine is cute.

May, I?

Christy in yet another strange expression.

I’d like to thank the mike stand man for holding up the mike stand because I’m like tall, yo.

Shanna in a High School Musical moment.

Are you sure the rubber won’t break?

Cute how the balloons become heart-shaped. Not cool how Raj is fearing the explosion.

Aliza was the most gusto, bursting balloons with just her fingernails.

And this is how…

…a balloon explodes.

Taiwan superstar moment.

Ace comedian moment.

Choy Wan the host.

The show is on, like now now every Saturday, 9:45pm on NTV7.

Beercan Ten

Time for some filler with the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan lens!

The beercan helps me capture random emotions unnoticed. Seriously. They could be looking in my direction and not notice.

Balloon for the kid, free shirt for the dad.

Wait, I hear somebody snapping away! Is he up there? Is that a god?

I tell you these vain people thinking the camera is on them…


This turned out interesting in black-and-white, when I usually would not do that to a lens with such great liquid color as the beercan.

Hey man, nice shirt!

Welcome to the streets of KL.

One of the prettier colors for a bug.

Going home. No, wait, this was from the Segambut KTM station, so she must be going out!

Having A Hell-uva Time

27th October 2007 – Heaven And Hell! Unlike the Megadeth concert I went for the night before, I brought my Canon Powershot A520 this time.

It was at Fort Canning Park, Singapore.

Yes, the famous second lineup of Black Sabbath, after Ozzy Osbourne was out of the band. Of course, Black Sabbath is now back with the original lineup, so this second lineup is now called Heaven And Hell, after their first album with that lineup.

Replacing Ozzy is Ronnie James Dio, metal rock god, who popularized the devil’s horns as a hand sign for rockers everywhere.

Hey wait a minute you’re not Ozzy!” I shouted. Heh.

I prefer Ozzy, though, for his more weathered voice. Dio was too perfect a singer.

The great Tony Iommi! A factory accident left him wearing prosthetic right fingertips although this picture does not show it. Yes, I didn’t know he played leftie guitar either.

The accident caused him to have to downtune his guitar to invent the sound of heavy metal.

Geezer Butler on bass, who wrote most of the original Black Sabbath lyrics.

Vinny Appice, replacing Bill Ward of the original lineup.

Vinny and Tony. Tony used only them Gibson SGs, my favorite guitar design of all time.

Yes, it came with a tremolo bar!

So what did they play? E5150, Mob Rules, Children Of The Sea, I, The Sign Of The Southern Cross, Voodoo…

And then came Vinny with the drum solo. Check out the encaging drumset!

Then there was Computer God, Falling Off The Edge Of The World, Die Young…

…and of course, Heaven And Hell! We all sang along, and there was an extended live solo from Mr. Iommi, who never quite played solos the same way even when recording. Megadeth the night before, however, played everything by the book, with 2 exceptions for super hit songs.

Of course, as I wasn’t very familiar with the Dio-era stuff I couldn’t tell if the other solos were different. Iommi did most certainly rock, though. Oh, and they looked as old and prehistoric like the grandfathers of heavy metal should be. Dio and Vinny however look strangely younger…

Heh, should we throw them some sticks?

Fort Canning was accepting.

Behind Barricades

18th October 2007 – Project Bazooka, Laundry Bar. My first gig shot with the Sony Alpha 700.

Madhouse, grunge rockers.

When previously I could get such a shot with a good ol’ 18-70mm, the newly erected barricades at Laundry Bar stop photographers and drunkards from getting at the performers. (This shot was with the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan at 200mm.)

And yes I hadn’t been to a gig at Laundry since the last Project Bazooka, 19th July 2007.

You may notice watermarks; this is for those artistes who copy my pictures to their Facebook/Myspace/Friendster and totally forget to credit me. Hey man it’s already free to take if it’s a picture of you, but at least tell me you’ve taken it, yo!

Photographer with Gary Fong lightsphere pointed forward. That’s a flash sucker for sure. The lightsphere is only meant to be used as a fill light, pointed upwards. This picture was intentionally made out-of-focus to hide the camera brand. Hint: it rhymes with xenon.

It’s random-chick-in-the-crowd time!


Sound effect time.

The interesting specimen, now upgraded to a hot chick emcee! (Yes, this is a stitch of two shots at 17mm.)

Auburn! One reason why I came, to see this Smashing(ish) rock band.

Stephanie on drums looks like she is burning.

Three heads, better than one.

I’m not the only one stalking her.

Izwin guests!

They Will Kill Us All, indie rock.

I don’t even remember what sound this makes.


Yeah let’s tear these barricades down!

French House

After going to Bed, I hopped over to Maison. Alas, I was a bit too late for the crowd, at 2:21am, only the hardest party people stayed. Technically this was the 7th of October 2007 morning.

Most shots around 17mm F2.8 1/4s ISO1600.

In keeping tradition, more chicks for all!

…and my blog jumps into a different rating.

For a while, you might blink and wonder if you were still at my blog.

Protoplasmic fantasy!

Damn this jello.

Of these bad times I’m going through just dance.


There! Enough for a red table.

The three-fingered alien, a pimpin’ chick and horns on the chin.

I think that Chinese people don’t know how to camwhore. These uh… non-Chinese people, however, know how to.

So does this uh, non-Chinese dude.

Dammit these were behind glass.

Ah, that’s better. Thanks dudes for the straw!

Friends forever!