Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sony unveils new Alpha concept models at PMA 2010!

Here’s a brightened version of the stock shot. Click on image for a bigger view! (Credit #3)

The big silver lens is the Sony 500mm F4G SSM. Previously it was rumored to be a 500mm F4.5G SSM. Thanks for the upgrade! (Credit #1)

The smaller lens is the Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM. (Credit #4)

Edited: It has a 72mm filter thread, which makes it not very small. One possible benefit of the lens being F2.0 instead of F1.4 is that it could be smaller, lighter and optically better. So far it doesn’t seem that much smaller than the Nikkor 24mm F1.4 AF-S or Canon 24mm F1.4L II USM!

And yes, I would’ve preferred it to be a F1.4.

Edited: The bigger body is the supposed Sony Alpha 700 replacement. The AF/MF button is still there, as well as the metering mode dial and the AEL button. The joystick is still there, too. (Credit

We see that the Menu and Disp buttons have moved up to the top-left corner while the Play and Delete buttons have moved to the bottom-right like the Alpha 550.

The smaller body appears to have a monoaural mike, while there is no visible mike on the A700 replacement.

The A700 replacement mock/concept is missing:
– PC Sync port
– USB port
– HDMI port
– ISO button
– WB button
– Grip Sensor (after the EU nickel fiasco, the A700 is the only Alpha with one.)
– C button (but keeping the Fn button)
Edited: DC power in
– Steadyshot switch
– remote shutter cable socket

The A700 replacement mock/concept adds:
– top LCD (honestly, I don’t use this, and see this as a waste of space – ISO/WB would be better.)
– supposedly, 1080p HD recording.

The A700 replacement does not have a tilt screen while the smaller Alpha does. It would be great to have, for video and overhead Live View shooting!

The C button being missing is interesting – does this mean they’ve changed Quick Navi into something else? The A200 is pretty much an A300 without Quick AF Live View, and the A300 is designed to be a Live View camera (hence the lack of Quick Navi). The A550 fixed this somewhat with an overlay mode – probably this is what we will see in these models.

Of course, they probably would tweak the interface more to support video recording better.

Edited: This is the smaller Alpha. It still has a AF/MF switch next to the lens release button – that means it will still support screw-drive lenses, YAY! (Credit #5)

Even more surprising is that it appears to have a DOF Preview button which takes a design cue from the A100.

At the back there is a Movie record button. (Credit #5)

They also announced the concept models for their new compact Alpha range. It comes in three colors. The sensor seems to be 3:2 ratio still and is APS-C with support for AVCHD video recording, which is a professional recording format. (Credit #3)

These are the supposed lenses for the new compact Alpha range. (Credit #3)

Edited: This is the back. Honestly though I think they would add a dial to control aperture at least, with a middle-click function. (Credit #4)

The rumors are that the bodies will be called the NEX3 and NEX5 (with a later NEX7) and that the lenses are, from left to right:
1) 18-55mm F3.5-5.6
2) 18-200mm SSM (unknown aperture, but is meant to be quiet for video recording)
3) 16mm F2.8 pancake

The positive on these compact Alphas:
– it seems to look much smaller than the GF-1 and other Micro-Four-Thirds cameras. And simpler too – I honestly thought the EP-1 was ugly compared to its prototype design! I dare say they look almost pocketable in any pocket, like my Sony Cybershot WX-1 (with a bit of struggle to fit the pancake lens in.)
– there seems to be a pop-up flash.
– they seem to have an AF assist light!
– the pancake lens seems to have a hood bayonet mount – whatever for?

The negative on these compact Alphas:
– there does not seem to be a hotshoe. I hope they have wireless flash, or at least a way to bounce the pop-up flash.
– they do not seem to have a PASM dial. I don’t miss the PASM dial on my Sony Cybershot WX-1, but I know some people are all hyped up about it when honestly, P mode does well.
– they do not seem to have an Electronic View Finder or a way to attach one

If it is that simplified, it had better be cheap, so I could use them as lens caps!

Pictures taken from:

Sigma Versus Sigma

New lenses from Sigma from the PMA!

1) Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, 85cm MFD, 1:8.6x maximum magnification

On the Sony side there is the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm F1.4, with 85cm MFD and 1:7.6x maximum magnification. The Zeiss has better magnification because it is not an internal focus lens – the downside is that it extends out has does not have SSM.

2) Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, 24cm MFD, 1:7.8x maximum magnification

Which is the APS-C version of this:
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG, 28cm MFD, 1:7.1x maximum magnification

I’ll just say that 12mm on 24 megapixel full-frame is sweeter. However it is nice of Sigma to give an APS-C version – let’s hope they also upgraded the performance wide open.

3) Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM, 140cm MFD, 1:8x maximum magnification

Okay, a downgrade in minimum focus distance, which was a strength of the previous version:
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM, 100cm MFD, 1:3.5x maximum magnification

Unless they upgrade the optical performance especially at 200mm F2.8 at close focus, I don’t see how the new version is worth it for a Sony or Pentax dSLR.

4) Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, 28cm MFD, 1:5x maximum magnification

Another downgrade in some ways compared to the previous version:
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC, 20cm MFD, 1:2.7x maximum magnification

The unique selling point of the old Sigma was the close focus capability even at wide angle. Now it’s just a Tamron copycat, while being slightly weaker.

Interestingly, here’s the Tamron lineup:
Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 VC DiII, 29cm MFD, 1:4.8x maximum magnification (only for Canon and Nikon)
Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 DiII, 27cm MFD, 1:4.5x maximum magnification

5) Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, 50-180cm MFD, 1:3.1x maximum magnification

Finally, a great upgrade to the previous version, which was prone to gear stripping:
Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO EX DG, 100-300mm MFD, 1:5.2x maximum magnification

And now, for the answers to my previous puzzle post here:

Because it is in the shade, we can use the teachings of the Sunny F16 Rule. Here, there are no shadows, so we assume F5.6 light at 1/100s ISO100.

However, to get it to 1/125s we open up one-third for F5, and to get to ISO400 we stop down 2 stops to F10. However since there are only half-stops on the Opteka it is more likely to be half a stop in between F8 and F11, or F9.8.

As for the title, it would be “SAME BUT DIFFERENT“. Notice that the bricks are all meant to be the same shape and size, but they all look unique and different. It could be a metaphor for many things!

Red Bricks

A900 with the Opteka 85mm F1.4 at ISO400 1/125s. Aperture was not recorded in EXIF because it’s an unchipped lens.

Now here are two puzzles:

1) What aperture do you think it is at, given that this was in shade?

2) What do you think I would have titled this picture? Hint: The initials are S.B.D..

The first person who can answer both, will be pimped on this blog in my next blog entry.

A New Cycle

My mom declared that there shall be no reunion dinner this Chinese New Year. Which was very un-Chinese, so I decided to hanker on with one of the traditions anyway – cleaning up the house!

I managed to garner 4 cardboard bags full of old magazines and leaflets. Home alone, I took 4 trips across the neighborhood playground to the recycling bin. On my 3rd trip back, I saw this mom and son carrying old clothes to the bin (which also doubles as a donation box for old clothes.)

On my 4th time there, a car was in my way – a macha had loaded 3 of my bags into his front seat! He asked if I was carrying more books. Yes, I said, and I passed him my last bag.

Bless him for doing his bit, and bless him if he gets money out of it.

I wanted to take a picture of my 4 bags lying near the bin to declare “PAPER IS DEAD TO ME!” but I was a bit too late.

My housemate (if you read my blog, you’d know who he is) came back, and we hauled out 6 more bags to the neighborhood recycling bin! This time an older couple was throwing out their stuff. It’s a nice feeling seeing people recycle.

Seriously though, I don’t see the value to paper anymore. What did I throw out?

– old college books that were outdated and irrelevant even when I got them
– newsletters
– computer price lists
– newspapers
– annual reports (my housemate is a massive hoarder)

I did not throw out my massive stash of:
– Guitar And Bass
– ROTTW (Rhythm Of The Third World)
– TONE (yeah man!)
– KLue

All of this information, is better in digital format. When you have no use for it – delete it!

I have no romantic notion with print. I don’t read books on the bus – instead my mind wanders to a random curiosity and I read Wikipedia on my Nokia N70. (I’ve been doing this long before all you iPhone yuppies!) If you have a stash of annual reports you can bet that finding the information under a big pile, with dust, is not as convenient as a digitized format.

Even if digital formats do die, the information is probably of less relevance by then.

Oh, and Happy Chinese New Year everybody! Happy Valentine’s Day, and Singles Awareness Day. I have to say the SAD nights are more fun because they’re not so expensive.

* the picture above has nothing to do with the recycling bin.

Rock The World 9 Part Four!

26th December 2009: Rock The World 9 at Bukit Jalil! Julian Mokhtar plays the blues on a beautifully scalloped fretboard.

Slowjaxx. Not quite sure of the distinction between this and Stoned Revivals, though.

Monoloque takes Kadak and Loko of the Butterfingers and adds a few more for a refreshing musical experience.

Everybody wants to joget!

Labrat is Syahrul of Love Me Butch, and family! (Yes that is his wife in the bottom-left panel.)

Otam who always sounds like he walked out of a juke joint.

The Times! They did a cover of The Who – My Generation.

Skudap Skudip were in white to play ska.

This is how you start to crowd surf.

This is not how you start to crowd surf.

This is Jose Thomas, amazing shredder.

Saturnine, remember them? “And halllfff of meee is good enough!

Auburn, borrowing members of Tempered Mental.

Bleeding Mascara is the metal.

All that is missing is a full moon.


Car Crash Hearts. Because guitars are not meant to be slung low.

Friends, Romans, countrymen!

Guitar up more Mr. Soundman who is behind the drumset!

Republic Of Brickfields. I missed Amy Search coming on stage to sing along to their cover of Balada Pemusik Jalanan! Darn missed oppurtunities when running between 3 stages!

Sorry Bo, I missed your set. 🙁

Y2K is still going strong past Y2K, playing punk covers!

Rashdan Harith yeah!

Pop Shuvit yeah!

AJ on bass. It’s nice to see that they’ve maintained their lineup like, forever. Minus Point Blanc that is.

The Otherside Orchestra and a drummer engulfed in smoke.

Karen Nunis Blackstone and a couple of haunting tunes.


and Nizam P. They have the funnest Malay songs ever.

Sweet-voiced Yuna.

More pictures here:
Rock The World 9 Part Three!
Rock The World 9 Part Two!
Rock The World 9 Part One!

Rock The World 9 Part Three!

26th December 2009: Rock The World 9 at Bukit Jalil! This is the hardcore Restraint.


John’s Mistress is back…

…with a new guitarist!

Say what? Ask Me Again.

The wider telephoto shots that have a shallow depth of field were shot with my freshly-gotten Opteka 85mm F1.4. Here’s Rosevelt!

Meanwhile, the Zeiss 135mm F1.8 was used for all drummer shots.

Nitrus, who has been around.

They did a cover of Duffy – Mercy. Fun!

Surf rockers Kugiran Di Tepi Pantai, who have been around even longer, were great fun. That guitar looked like something I saw from a distant memory in Peterson Guitars.

I wanna hold your haaand!” Beatles done surf style.

Forty Winks, who probably has as many members in the band.

Whatever happened to Faiz being vocalist for Lied?

The Roland AX-Synth, a legitimate Keytar!

Rendra Zawawi brings his dark folk to the folk.

Blind Tribe raaawrrr! No white face powder though; they’re death metal not black metal.

When headbanging with dreadlocks, you may be reminded of its smell.

Still, makes for a good shot.

Eve Oh, an emo representative of An Honest Mistake.

Artcore is hardcore!

Darren runs up to the crowd to tell them to buy his band T-shirt. Yes I want one too!

Lurks is still lurking around.

And that ends my daylight series – the next series of pictures were after the torrents of rain that caused a blackout on the power generators. They shall have stage lights!

More pictures here:
Rock The World 9 Part Two!
Rock The World 9 Part One!

Rock The World 9 Part Two!

26th December 2009: Rock The World 9 at Bukit Jalil! Here’s more with Ceased War.

…who had the Sepultura sound.

Crowd shot with the Peleng 8mm F3.5 and 2x teleconverter, then de-fished in DxO Optics Pro.

I pointed the fisheye at a dead crowd, and they started jumping…

…I had started a moshpit without even being in the moshpit!

This is one of many misunderstood activities that happen at a rock concert. Anybody who is in the front knows what they are in for; a physical manifestation of the energy gotten from hard and heavy rocking.

Exorage, who sounds a fair bit MUSE.

Floor 88 did a cover of 30 Seconds To Mars – The Kill.


Man I love sunburst wood tops!

Spot me!

Jeapardice brings funk.

Wynken Delirium yeaaarrrggghhh!

You know a band is true when they have obscure oriental instruments.

The Great Southern Gathering – haha! That gig title was definitely a spinoff of Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill.

Moving on to indie sounds with Sam Kuman.

Nice crop from the Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8. All shots here are with that lens or the Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) unless otherwise specified. Heck this blog entry shows all the bands before I got my Opteka 85mm F1.4 in the afternoon!

What was going on in the Chillout Stage?

Coca Di Monday is a huge band, a precursor to ska.

Pitbull Inc. rocks the Main Stage.

Why yes, pulling up does help…

Hmmm is that my pick guard on the floor?

Gotta love those aged Fenders.

Bactrim also does funk.

Robot Asmara does indie.

Gotta dig his mohawk…

…and them shades. Shades are a definite way to increase visibility in rock concert pictures!

Federated has a kilt. That is so metal!

More pictures here:
Rock The World 9 Part One!

Rock The World 9 Part One!

26th December 2009 was Rock The World 9 down at Bukit Jalil! Here are shots from the crowd.

Oh yes, it rained twice. Where is her dude?

Rocking out in the rain, perhaps.

You will always find cool T-shirts at rock concerts.

Darnit I wish I ran a few steps back and shot this in portrait orientation – they looked so American Gothic!

(I did, but then their friends came over and they turned to face their friends instead.)

I got your back.

I wonder what happened to his mohawk in the rain!

Jason Lo, the man responsible for all this, interviewed by Bo of Unseen TV.

Haniff of XFM glomps Rock The World 8 emcee Fadhil!

Ray Gaban also of XFM. Both him and Haniff emceed for the Indie Stage.

Funny that any musician I met that day still calls it Xfresh.

Sara takes the smaller Chill Out Stage.

Harooooon, classic Rock The World emcee, takes the Main Stage (with Fadhil).

A side view of the Main Stage, with sheets to protect the sound equipment from rain.

His job was to check passes and open the heavy metal doors at the barricades.

Kumpulan Yang Wajib Disertai

Silakan menyertai kumpulan Mukabuku ini:
Menentang Penggunaan Bedak Sejuk Oleh Org Yg Tak Suka Black Metal

Di samping apa yang diperjuangkan oleh kumpulan di atas:

Saya amat menentang penggunaan bedak sejuk oleh penggemar MLTR! MLTR tidak menyanyi tentang pengajaran metal dan paling sekali, tidak TRUE!

Saya juga menentang penggunaan perkataan “TRUE”, iaitu bermaksud “taat kepada pengajaran metal” walaupun ianya digunakan dalam Bahasa Inggeris (Bahasa Penjajah dan Bahasa Pendatang) yang bermaksud “benar”. Perkataan “TRUE” patut khas untuk penganut ajaran metal sahaja.

Dikatakan bahawa perkataan “TRUE” sebenarnya diwujudkan di sekitar 1985 dan menjadi singkatan “Terlalu Rancak Untuk Ella”. Bahasawanya mana-mana jenis muzik yang terlalu rancak oleh dibawakan ratu batu Ella, boleh dikira sebagai black metal.

In The Rain For Kicks

I was at Kelab Aman to shoot a wedding but came a bit too early. So I caught a hockey match and football match going on outside, in the rain!

You shall not pass.

No passing!

Dude signalled to me to take a picture.

Of course, I shot this all in the comfort of the shade, away from the rain, with just a lot of room from the Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 to crop out of the A900 in APS-C mode. None of these shots are 100% crops, in fact far from it.

Anatomy of a corner kick.