Monthly Archives: September 2008

(Not) Afraid To Shoot Strangers

Shooting strangers at the KLue Urbanscapes, 28th June 2008!

Pretty dog chases pretty dog.

Checkers, checkmate.

Flower girl, flower.

Correctly focused.

Waiting for my umbrella to come.

Looking for Adrian Yap, KLue’s founder and publisher. He got wind of this and hid instead of getting found, which would’ve made the flash mob worthwhile!

In the indicine.

Lomo squared?

Lapsap crowd!

And now, for some cool T-shirts!

Looking for Little Miss Naughty.

Closest I could find was Little Miss Mak Nenek.

She’s Looking For Mr. Happy.

Chak’s shirt is cute!

Flash Video About A Flash

If I was a bit more free I’d post the technical review of the Sony HVL-F58AM “Cobra” flash that I just bought… but for now, here’s a video featuring Sony’s superbly-designed flagship flash with its unique Quick Shift Bounce.

Inspired by those TV “celebrity” sessions we have a transcript of the video!

Me: This is full power, 17mm.

Er… yeah, full power.

We’re gonna test how long it takes to recharge full power.

We wait for the light to come on… okay… waiting… waiting… still charging.

(0:25s, flash is fired)

Waiting… waiting… still charging.

(0:34s, ready light comes on 9 seconds later)

Okay now we try the F58.

*removed batteries from F56 to put in F58*

Muazam: Hohoho dang. racun racun!

Me: Okay. Full power.

Wait ah… okay now we try ah. But don’t look.

Silencers: Hahaha Albert looking still!

(1:08s, flash is fired.)
(1:13s, flash is fired 5 seconds later.)
(1:16s, flash is fired 3 seconds later at a lower power.)

Muazam: Fuh lagi cepat!

(1:18s, flash is fired 2 seconds later at a lower power.)

Silencers: Yeah yeah thanks to the shiny table la.

Muazam: Not full charge but it still can…

Ah you can still…

Full charge.

Okay okay let’s wait for the…

Ah see, it’s quite fast.

(Some bits I can’t make out.)

vandechrome: Okay okay or not.

Muazam: After youtube buy 58.

vandechrome: your opinion?

Alex: Very fast.

Very good.

Buy 58.

(End transcription.)

On a side note, Ewin recently Guessed That Lens correctly! Yes, it came from a Sony 55-200mm F4-5.6 DT. This is very much a Tamron 55-200mm F4-5.6 rebadge (the Sigma one doesn’t focus as close). This lens is pretty sharp, compact, and focuses to 95cm close! That’s closer than even the Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan” which does 110cm and the Minolta/Sony 70-200mm F2.8G SSM which does 120cm.

Ewin also has the 55-200mm. Go check out his blog, he has quite a few vibrant shots!

These, however, are from the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan. There is a difference in rendition of out-of-focus areas, and the greens get a lot more vivid.

There is a ‘fluffiness’ that is apparent here.

Thanks to Khai for letting me try his Sony 55-200mm F4-5.6 DT!

Full Circle, Full Frame!

The Sony Alpha 900 is launched!

Finally, the flagship model from the Sony Alpha line was officially announced, with a headlining full-frame 24.6 megapixel sensor!

It is, in most ways, very alike to my A700 in handling, ergonomics and button layout. Killer features like Quick Navi and Dynamic Range Optimization stay in.

What’s Great:

Sony Alpha 900 = 100% coverage, 0.74x magnification of 35.9x24mm = 26.566×17.76mm
Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII = 100% coverage, 0.76x magnification of 36x24mm = 27.36×18.24mm

Honestly, it would be hard for me to tell the difference between 1 millimeter of viewfinder size. What more with such a difference in price (in favor of the Sony.)

Micro Auto Focus Control
Micro auto focus control for up to 30 different individual lenses (it can tell between one 50mm F1.4 and another, apparently!)

Intelligent Preview
It takes a sample shot, lets you tweak WB, exposure, aperture, shutter speed and even DRO with the changes being shown on screen. Tweaking DRO is by far the coolest thing to see! Of course, the best application for this is tweaking WB, and getting dirty with Kelvin values and Color Correction Filter factors. Unfortunately there’s no way to save this picture even if you captured the moment.

True Mirror Lock-up in Drive mode
Landscape artists really appreciate this.

User Changeable Focus Screen
Now I can put a Type M or Type L screen by myself, and change the appropriate setting in the menu.

Selectable APS-C Mode
You can choose to shoot an APS-C sized image when a full-frame lens is mounted at 11 megapixels.

Memory slots 1, 2 and 3
Just like on the Dynax 7, you get quick access to 3 presets.

Peripheral Illumination Control
This comes with Sony Image Data Converter SR3! Allows you to correct vignetting, besides adding Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimization tool.

Weather Sealing
Sony notes that it is not waterproof or splashproof though.

Compatible Power
It uses the Sony NP-FM500H, the same battery used for the A200, A300, A350 and A700.

Consistency – Spot Meter AEL Toggle is still there! I use this often to spot meter off a subject.

Release without lens is still there! (Some feared that the A900 would not work with M42 lenses in Aperture Priority, like the A200/A300/A350, forcing you to set the shutter speed to match the meter in Manual Exposure mode.)

Parallel Link Mirror Box
The mirror lifts upwards instead of swinging up. Interesting new mechanism this is; it saves space while giving room for SteadyShot to do its magic on the CMOS sensor.

SteadyShot INSIDE
Sony has since rebranded their sensor-shift stabilization for the A900. In previous mockups, it claimed to have Super SteadyShot. Perhaps, Super wasn’t such a super word to use.

Dynamic Range Optimizer
Like the A700, with off, on, advanced auto, and 5 custom levels. This is supposedly tamer than the A700’s, which is a pity; I am a big fan of the A700’s DRO Level 5.

Basic Top LCD
Unlike the complex top LCDs on most dSLRs, this only shows you basic shooting information and whatever settings you’re changing. Tap ISO and you see only the ISO in large LCD letters. This is probably the same as what you see in the viewfinder.

The reason why professionals want this is for bright sunny days and real dark places where the rear LCD’s light would be too distracting. Of course, I never needed it, because I could find all the information inside the A700 viewfinder when I change settings.

Yep, the top LCD shows oooH in High Speed Continuous Drive Mode just like in the viewfinder.

Built-in Eyepiece Shutter
Every professional camera’s gotta have one.

What’s Improved Over The A700:

– You can now switch between CF and MS card using QuickNavi (previously, you were forced to use the Menu, even though the CF/MS icon was on the QuickNavi screen.)

– exposure bracketing can now be set to 2 stops (until the A700 V4 firmware was leaked, we were limited to 0.7 stops). The A700 with V4 firmware can do this anyway.

repositioned PC Sync port cover. Mine on the A700 is a flapper; the strap pulls it off often.


no Live View (even as a manual-focus implementation)

– AF sensors 8 lines, 1 double-cross, 10 assist… but they’re not very spread out, and I wish it had more cross sensors. However, there are early claims that these outer sensors with assist sensors may be very effective already.

The double-cross sensor, like on the A700, is an amazing thing though.

no pop-up flash. I can’t bring this with my Peleng 8mm F3.5 circular fisheye (which would finally be circular on full-frame) to parties and just mix ambient light with flash. Or rather, it would be too heavy!

no grip sensor… but then, there’s no Eye-Start AF!

I actually used Eye-Start AF, so I’m sad about its omission.

1/8000th of a second fastest shutter speed (possibly for reliability, as the Dynax 9’s 1/12000th of a second shutter wasn’t even rated for 100

Guess That Lens II!

Now for another round of Guess That Lens!

Say whaaat?

Pretty good bokeh.

Sharp with an amazingly close minimum focus distance!

More flowers for you.

I love it when a lens renders highlights like on the left of this picture.

Though not so much when they blocken up out-of-focus backgrounds.

Like here, again. Oh and the out-of-focus flower isn’t that well done.

So yeah, let them guesses roll! So far, nobody has gotten the first Guess That Lens right…

Color Trip

This morning as I left the house, I noticed my neighbor’s shirts hanging outside. They were all bright, colorful and they almost seem to have been arranged in a contrasting manner! Like in the order of pink, yellow, blue, white and black (as opposed to pink, blue, yellow which wouldn’t be as nice.)

Then, on the way to the bus stop, I noticed a patch of grass on the divider that was just really green compared to the greens on the left.

At the bus stop itself, two ladies crossed paths, and they were in yellow and blue green!

I wonder what other strong flat colors I will come across today. I felt like I had a slight brush with the set of Across The Universe. And Evan Rachel Wood is hot; I just saw her in Running With Scissors. Which isn’t so funny when you realize that everyone around you may just have a psychological problem of their own and yet are legitimately sane.

This almost makes me want to paint in color. Canvas is free from the setup requirements of a photograph.

Star Fill

Backdated pictures from the Bintang Walk area!

What an impression, Pavilion KL going all… vivid.

The princess is here!

…and more, with the Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8.

Uh, yes.


MOET! Yum.

Gotta love the display lighting.

Something posh at Starhill.

And now for the Industar 61L/Z 50mm F2.8.

European performers.

And we walked back to Pavilion.

Random Shades Of Gray

Random shots from a NTV7 carnival at One Utama, 24th November 2007.

Yep it’s backlog clearing time!

Doraemon’s wardrobe malfunction.

Now, if she would have a wardrobe malfunction…



Hmmm, seems to have ripped off her right sleeve.

Fast forward later where time stood still for some.

I love my Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm F2.8-3.8 lens!

I love spiral stairways!

She loves her Sony!

She loves nicotine.

Black knight.

Some photos are to be credited to the fon-ee-cuter.

Guess That Lens!

I bought a lens to replace my Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4.0 EX which was sent for repair due to gear stripping.

It can be pretty sharp when focused correctly.

With decent to good bokeh…

…and a pretty good close minimum focusing distance.

Horsing Around Animatedly

And to end the FEI KL Grand Prix at the Putra Stadium Bukit Jalil, 23rd November 2007 – some bandwidth-eating animations!

Jump and land.

Tracked with the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan and Minolta 200mm F2.8G HS APO. The 200mm is amazingly fast, easily the fastest screw-drive lens in the A-mount – it could be out of focus as the horse is about to jump, and I could lock focus on it at the jump!

Now you may ask, wouldn’t the Nikon D90 be better suited for capturing such videos?


It’s manual focus only in video mode, so you’ll have a hard time as the horses will run around the field and you’ll have to continuously refocus and track at the same, a quite daunting task. So daunting, I haven’t even done it myself!

Well, I’d wait for what Sony and Olympus would offer for video – they seem to be the smartest when implementing something. After all, Sony has the fastest Quick AF Live View with Olympus being second with their contrast-detect AF, which is loads faster than what Nikon and Canon have done so far.

More pictures here, and outtakes here.