Monthly Archives: August 2011


Random geeking time again! Here’s the Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4.0 EX at 17mm F16 on the A900.

smashpOp and Rames behind, from left to right:
Minolta 50mm F1.7 Original, Sony 11-18mm F4.5-5.6 DT, Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4.0 EX, Sony 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DT, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA, Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm F2.8G.

My broken Sigma 70-210mm F4.0-5.6 “defocus uncontrolled” at 120mm F4.5 on the A900.

Suanie‘s finger becomes bokeh through my Zeiss 135mm F1.8 on the A900. 😀

Through the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG on my A900, the widest rectilinear lens there is.

Sniping through the Sony 70-400mm F4.0-5.6G SSM and a 1.5x and 2.0x teleconverter.

What 400mm looks like on the A900.

Another very compressed perspective from the same setup.

70mm F4.0. 70mm on full-frame is very handy for shots that are just too close to you.

A rare classic – the Tamron 28-105mm F2.8, on my Minolta Dynax 7.

Speaking of which, a lens adapter mishap caused my Dynax 7’s pins to short, with the plastic melting – so it was sunken. I now have to tape over the 3 left-most SSM/ADI pins in order to use 8 pin lenses (albeit, as 5-pin lenses.)

The Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 58mm F1.2 on the A200 makes out to be a very sweet 85mm-equivalent portrait lens.

The owner, through said lens at F1.2 on the A900.

The Industar 61 L/Z 50mm F2.8 M42 lens that I once had, on the A700.

This is what happens when you aren’t careful when swapping lenses. Fortunately there was a filter!

This is what was shot.

The beautiful Minolta 35mm F1.4 Original, before it had the G designation. I had to saw off the filter ring so it would loosen.

Left: Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4.0 EX, flare-ful.
Right: Sony 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 DT, amazing with flare!

Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm F2.4 MC DDR, an M42 lens, on my A700, provided great closeup capability and a natural angle of view.

Jason through the Zeiss 135mm F1.8 and A900 combo, from one floor above.

Or was it two?

I discovered a bit late that the Soligor 70-220mm F3.5 OM-mount lens that I had, could focus very, very close for a telephoto. Here it is in the hands of its buyer.

Though there is nothing like the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 EX DC Macro. Here’s Iqbal focusing on Mike.

Here’s the Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan” at 210mm, with a 50mm lens reversed, on the A700. This gives a magnification of 210:50 or 4.2:1x!

This image is 5.5mm wide. The A700 sensor is 23.5mm wide, so the magnification is around 23.5:5.5 or 4.2x.

Iwan’s infrared and visible light-modded Sony A200. Its infrared-blocking filter had been removed.

One good use of an Apple Power Mac wrapping – a softbox that you can fold and carry anywhere! Here it is taped to a Nikon SB-900.

I then used my Canon Powershot A520 to trigger it in SU-4 mode.

The Sigma 24mm F1.8 EX DG through the A900. Sharp and detailed wide open, I’d say!

Laila Ellie!

1st July 2011: MissyCheerio, came back from Melbourne, and so we went to find her at Laila’s Lounge, Kelana Jaya Plaza.

This is KJ.

This is a performer whose name I did not catch.

This is An Honest Mistake.

Oops flub!

Tight shots with the Opteka 85mm F1.4 on the Sony Alpha NEX-5. Most stage shots were shot by Gloson, I believe, though this shot feels like mine.

I set the camera’s Creative Style to black-and-white and used the focus peaking function with the color set to red, so you can see it stand out from the black-and-white.

Sheryl Goh!

Charis Ow.

All shots were at ISO1600 with a later +1 EV in RAW processing, making it effectively ISO3200.

Not a fan of slanted shots but this one works.

Ming Han.

Ellie, me and a meandering Lionel.

Darren Teh, also red-haired.

A77/A65/NEX-5N Launch, Part 2

I was at the Sony Alpha SLT-A77, SLT-A65 and NEX-5N launch in Malaysia on the 24th of August 2011. This entry covers the Sony Alpha NEX E-mount system.

The lens on the left is the Sony E 30mm F3.5 Macro 1:1.

I did not get to test it in better lighting. Here it is, a JPG from the new Sony Alpha NEX-5N, brightened in Photoshop.

The NEX-7 was under a glass chamber so we could not try it. 🙁

Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA, at F1.8.

Why is it called a ZA lens anyway, when it is not an A-mount lens?

Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS, at F1.8.

Also with the 50mm. Interestingly it is the shortest F1.8 in-lens stabilized prime (the Canon 200mm F1.8 L IS USM is on the other end.)

Left to right: HVL-F7S, HVL-F20S, HVL-F20AM. Pardon the flash gel on the F20AM!

This is what it looks like on the camera. It has a wide/tele switch on one end and a bounce/forward switch on the other. The wide-angle panel does not get in position when in bounce mode, a clever design brought from the HVL-F20AM.

The lens is the Sony E Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm F1.8. It is smaller than pictures say and quite pocketable! It has this nice rangefinder lens look.

Shot with the HVL-F20S. It can brighten half a hall!

Shot at 210mm so you get the idea how far away the flash works. The HVL-F20S gives a guide number of 20 meters at ISO100, telephoto position (50mm). Best of all, it is already compatible with my NEX-5!

This is shot with the Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS, by the way, at 210mm. It’s 1/3rd of a stop darker at both ends compared to the Sony 55-200mm F4.0-5.6 DT, and focuses 5cm further at 100cm minimum focus distance (where the A-mount version does 95cm.)

The Sony 50mm F1.8 DT SAM focuses to 34cm close, while the Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS focuses to 39cm close. Another loss there. Fortunately the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA focuses to 16cm close, better than the Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM at 19cm close.

The 55-210mm is rather handsome. A nice touch is that all the lenses have 49mm filter threads, except the Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS!

The FDA-EV1S is an electronic viewfinder that only fits on the NEX-5N. Why?

They blocked it off by adding a screw under the FDA-EV1S so it would not mount on my NEX-5! That said, even if it could, it would not be compatible as it uses the new Smart Accessory Terminal 2.

The NEX-5N has an extra hole for the screw.

The new LA-EA2 Translucent Mirror Technology SLT A-mount to E-mount adapter, also isn’t compatible with my NEX-5 (yet). On the left, it shows no aperture reading, and does not autofocus. A future firmware update will allow the NEX-5 (and probably the NEX-3) to use the LA-EA2 to autofocus.

I am very excited about this – the ability to use phase detect on a mirrorless camera is awesome! The ability to add a mirror to a mirrorless camera is even cooler.

Left: The Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS and Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA both have their apertures wide open when not mounted on a camera, which is the opposite from all other E-mount and A-mount lenses.
Right: The mirror is upside down. Why wasn’t it that way on the A55 to begin with? This would avoid dust from landing on the mirror!

Left to right, top to bottom:
– The NEX-5N loses out by not being able to customize the Left action of the D-pad. The NEX-C3 had such ability.
– Lens corrections are abundant even in the NEX-5N!
– Wow, AF Microadjust! I can only hope this is there because of the LA-EA2 adapter, and I also hope they’ll put this in the new NEX-5 firmware.
– Version 1.0 but is really not the final version.
– Live View Display “Setting Effect OFF” allows auto-gain when using the NEX-5N in a studio. Though I don’t see how it would trigger a studio light other than the pop-up flash!
– Front Curtain Shutter On allows for much smaller shutter lag.
– LCD Brightness can be set to Sunny Weather – strangely, it was missing from the unfinalized SLT-A77 unit I tried, though my SLT-A55 has it.
– Object Tracking is real cool.
– ISO25600, better than the SLT-A77. Presumably allowed because it’s mirrorless.

More reading here:
A77/A65/NEX-5N Launch, Part 1

A77/A65/NEX-5N Launch, Part 1

I was at the Sony Alpha SLT-A77, SLT-A65 and NEX-5N launch in Malaysia on the 24th of August 2011. I will skip the obvious facts that you can get from any review, and answer more specific questions.

Bear in mind that the firmware on these cameras are not finalized and are subject to change. Also, for the same reason, I will not be showing any noise samples (besides, I didn’t bother to make noise samples.)

Top left: The A77’s pop-up flash doesn’t get in the way of a regular Sony HVL-F43AM flash. I forgot to see if it would fire both.
Top right: Proper camwhore tilt angle!
Bottom left: All white balance settings can now have an Amber-Blue and Green-Magenta bias dialled in. This is handy for Auto WB when you want it to be just a bit greener or colder!
Bottom right: Again they left out the magnification factor (since the A550 if I remember.)

Also, good news – there is no flash lag on the A77! I experienced horrible flash latency with the A55.

Even more good news – the A77 is able to use the HVL-F43AM (and therefore, the HVL-F58AM, but not tested) to trigger off-camera flashes!

Another niggle from the A55 was that it could not record long videos due to overheating – the A77 fixes this by using electronic stabilization when recording video, which means it crops the sensor and moves this crop about.

They fixed everything except the buffer, making it last less long.

The Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT SSM on the Alpha 900, with the lens release button pressed, has vignetting at 16mm…

…as well as 50mm. The vignetting happens throughout.

Non-camera models.

Me and Meng Keat’s Minolta 300mm F4 G HS APO.

Left: The A77 has a top LCD. They really listened to every whiner there was! I don’t need one and it’s funny how this is supposed to be a modern camera with an electronic viewfinder – I would think that a fan of top LCDs would also prefer optical viewfinders…
Right: Top LCD with the light on. Here the white balance is set to Amber +7 Green +7, and that is as far as it will go.

The smaller, cheaper, less-highly-specced SLT-A65.

Yeah, the back is pretty much like the A55, but the ISO button moved to the top, near the shutter.

Left to right, top to bottom:
– AF Microadjustment!
– Live View Display Setting Effect OFF lets the A77 auto-gain when you are shooting in a studio and using a flash adapter, PC Sync cable or trigger that the camera does not recognize as a flash. This was notably missing from the A33/A55.
– Pressing the Smart Teleconverter when shooting RAW or RAW+JPG is still not allowed.
– The 3-zone autofocus mode is nifty!
– Auto ISO lets you choose exactly what the lowest and highest ISO will be. Too freakin’ sweet!
– When setting the Kelvin White Balance, you can press Down from 2500K to go to 9900K. It also wraps the other way around.
– Half-pressing when Auto ISO is on, shows you what sensitivity that Auto ISO has selected!
– Exposure goes up to +5 and -5, on screen.
– It shows, obviously, on the LCD as well.

Left to right, top to bottom:
– You can really tweak the ^%(*& out of your buttons. I honestly don’t use AEL since the EVF already tells you your exposure, so I could change it.
– Spot Meter AEL Toggle is back as expected on a 7-series camera!
– Maybe I’d bind it to Object Tracking, a cool new feature where you aim the center at the subject and it follows as you reframe.
– You can rebind the ISO button, the Preview button, and the Focus Hold button. If Auto ISO is good enough for you (and it is!) then you can rebind the ISO button as well!
– White Balance now includes a few flourescent options!
– Smart Teleconverter takes a crop but only if you shoot JPG – RAW shooters may prefer to bind it to Focus Magnifier.
– Front Curtain Shutter reduces shutter lag.
– I forgot to test what the Shot Result Preview means.
– Peaking Level! This was included in the NEX-5 firmware v4.0 but not in the A55 firmware v2.0.

Hmmm I forgot to try to set the rear dial to change EV, as how I set up my cameras in Aperture Priority.

And now, for a test of the A77’s 24.3 megapixel sensor. I used the pop-up flash to trigger 2 HVL-F43AM flashes from both sides in classic butterfly lighting. The Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT SSM was used at the 50mm end, at F8 ISO100 1/200s.

Click here for the original JPG out-of-camera.

This is a 100% crop from the JPG. Yes that is 24 megapixels alright, just like I am used to, from my A900. The color is all there, too, and it’s not mushed into brown ala Nikon nor detuned in reds ala Canon.

Another 100% crop. Again, fantastic color separation – you can see the difference in the color tones of the upper and lower lip.

More tomorrow, specifically about the Alpha NEX line. 🙂

Why I Love The A900’s 24 Megapixels And Color

This is my colleague Calvin. This picture is one of many reasons why I love my Sony Alpha 900, and its 24 megapixels, and the Sony color.

Click here for the full-resolution, unedited, uncompressed JPG for pixel-peeping pleasure.

Oh heck I’ll just get to the pixel-peeping with 100% crops. Notice that the skin is not one color tone. It has many different colors, beige near the ear, slight orange below the cheek, pink near the nose and a faint red on old scars.

Or we could just look at fabric. The RAW conversion should look even more detailed, but since I’m on the topic of JPGs…

A 100% crop of the forehead. Not only do you see the hair, you see the pores! And around those pores you see red, with beige skin around it.

So yeah, Sony’s fantastic color separation lets you have different color tones all so closely apart. It doesn’t smudge the colors into a flat slab of brown like Nikon does (in order to get good noise performance) and it doesn’t desaturate the reds to hide all the color detail (like Canon does).

And of course, the lens used, my favorite Zeiss – the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA!

Circa 2009, Part 1

Rewind to 2009 (hey that rhymes!)

I was still working in Digital Five, where we had Dr. Noor our Creative Director hook all the designers up with Macs. Yeah he is striking a Steve Jobs pose here.

Ever radiant Zoey!

Zoey and colleagues through 17mm on the A900.

Farid oversees the systems.

Kavitha D.

Rosly, through the Zeiss 135mm F1.8. This reminds me of Sarge of Quake 3.

Sometime late after work, at Technology Park Malaysia.

KJ through the fisheye.

KJ through the Minolta 35mm F1.4 on the A900. This picture is rare because it shows him working.

Me and one of my old guilty pastimes – eating toast bread.

Rames and his trigger.

Joshua and Rames. Check the matching patterned shoes and Nokia 5800 Xpress Music phones!

Jason, before planking was invented.

Tarquin, fire artist.

Quite cool, this!

Ringo and me, separated by glass.

Register your vote sir?

Yes I voted for her. 🙂

Xian Jin through the Zeiss 135mm F1.8.

Somewhere in Pavilion.

Cheneille at La Bodega Lounge, Telawi, Bangsar.

KJ, also somewhere in Bangsar.


Bum City, at Cineleisure, now known as something else un-English.

Trent versus my hair.

Aznin at her new house that looks surprisingly similiar to the old one in terms of layout.

Sweepers, Kelana Jaya.

Winner, KLCC.

Pin Pin, Jalan Ipoh.

Circa 2008

Pictures from… 2008! Here’s a man at the demolished site of the Titiwangsa flats.

I don’t know what this was about.

Random signs.

Somewhere along Jalan Ipoh.

Kimberley and her 120.

A hotel somewhere near KLCC.

Convince me. I’m using an ATI now.

Davina, after a musical of which I do not remember the name.

Somewhere in Desa Sri Hartamas. The girl looks a bit like Davina when she’s not looking like herself in pictures, which is like all the time.

Janice at Breakers, Desa Sri Hartamas. That place has long been demolished.

Also spotted along the road to Hartamas.

KJ at Hartamas Square, also demolished. Shot with the Minolta 35mm F1.4 on the A700.

From the Raja Chulan Monorail station.

Foong Wai, when I bumped into her at Central Market.

Rather cheap for 4 walls and no door.

Technology Park Malaysia, what a breath of fresh air!

A training center in Subang reminds me of Wolfenstein 3D.

Mat and his new camera. Also a good demo of 2 wireless flashes going on.

I told KJ he looked a bit like Prince here. Of course, he did not know who Prince was.

Damai. Since vacated.

XJ and KJ.

Dimi is a grinning troll.

Cheese naan opposite Ampang Point.

The Minolta 28mm F2.8 at F11 is wonderful!

KJ’s birthday surprise.

Ah, I was still a peacock then.

In Malaysia, some catapulting ride will take you up and show you an old flat.

The famous Bar Council.

Like the Titanic.

Fazri shot this of me, using my first Zeiss, the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm F2.4 MC.

Laundry Bar, on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunway Pyramid, on a Sunday night.

Squirrel looking for nuts.

Midvalley Megamall.

Circa 2007

Rewind to 2007! Natural light.

Artificial light.

Tungsten light. Here’s Athena!

Eye see.

Two eyes!

More eyes.

Hazreen’s guitar. Dude where’s your blog gone to?

Pavilion band.

Suki. I have to say I like her face!

Amanda’s birthday.

Ringo‘s birthday.

Spotted in the dark heh.

All smiles.

More twins.

Wall of power.

What a beauty.

Powerful cars spotted in Jalan Ipoh.

Classics and wannabes.

88 miles per hour.

The view from the top floor of Celcom Tower.

The view below.

Flora To Fawn

This was my office workstation’s wallpaper for the longest time.

This was a poor plant in the office that never got true naked sunshine.

Outside, in Technology Park Malaysia, the greens got the sun and rain.

Also somewhere in TPM. I haven’t been here in ages since I quit working at Astro!

Green sign!

Night falls.

Banana in between the trunks.

And now, warning for those of you who are squeamish when it comes to insects…

This reminds me of a Sapura ad.

Here goes, dead cockroach! You may scroll slowly after this – no more tingly pictures.

One of those KTM stations near Klang.

One of those hibiscus flowers in Solaris Mont Kiara.

One of those rainbows shot through a fisheye.

Before sunrise, near Pusat Bandar Damansara.

Moonshine, February 2011!

Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show, 10th February 2011, at Laundry Bar. Here’s a round of Monopoly going on outside!

Reza Salleh, organizer.

Seth Lael, who plays whatever you can play with a banjo.

Also guest starring his wife, Shelley Leong!

She can smell curry laksa again and other Malaysian delights.

Love the on-stage reactions!

Shelley was too jetlagged to perform her own set, so she took turns and sang together with Seth.

I’d admit this was the first time in the longest that I’d seen Shelley without a guitar!

The rocking Tashya’s Ink.

I told this guitarist that he reminded me so much of Randy Rhoads, with all his riffs. He didn’t know who Randy was, though the riffs were all there, citing Mark Tremonti as an influence instead.

That said I have to credit Mark for going all out in Alter Bridge – sure there were some bits of suppressed genius in Creed but nothing like in Alter Bridge.

Another husband and wife this time with Lab Rat!

And, of course, brothers.

Syahrul of Love Me Butch.

Halfway Kings, with the poetic Adeline.

This was a far more confident set. They’ve come a long way!

Gotta love the gritty lyrics. You don’t get much bands with so much vocal clarity these days.

Joachim on guitar, the only instrument in the band.

The addition of pedals is new! I sold him my wah pedal. Unfortunately it cringefully spoiled while they were performing a wah-ful acoustic song on stage! For that I apologize. My wah had been sitting around for ages not wah-ing.

And now, for some outtakes from outside, at Gelato. From left to right: Yi Ching, Bryan, Xiang, and me on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″, for sh*ts and giggles.

Big-eyed Yi Ching.