Camera Geek Throwback

Now, for something different – a geekout post! These are pictures from way back, to sometime April 2014.


So I got myself the Sony Alpha 99V, on the 23rd of October 2012. I also got the Sony VG-C99AM vertical control grip; as you can see it duplicates the joystick and all the buttons needed for portrait shooting. It also is the first vertical grip that isn’t a smokestack design, meaning it is not L-shaped and is easier to stash away in your camera bag.


I also got myself the Sony HVL-F60M (seen on the right). The Sony Alpha 900 is on the left, with the Sony HVL-F58AM on it. You can also see the front of the VG-C99AM, where the lower shutter button is really ergonomic and gives a lower center of gravity when you hold it.

Note that the HVL-F60M is using the new Multi Interface hotshoe. The HVL-F58AM however uses the old Auto-lock iISO Alpha hotshoe. There are a few flashes that come in various mounts:

– HVL-F43AM, HVL-F43M
– HVL-F20AM, HVL-F20M, HVL-F20S

So be sure you know which one you’re getting. AM means Auto-lock iISO, while M means Multi Interface. S is the Smart Accessory Terminal, found on the older NEX series cameras.

The HVL-F60M also comes with a LED video light on the flash head, making it handy for video. It also comes with a free warming filter. The HVL-F43M also has a LED video light, but it’s on the flash body, so it doesn’t rotate with the flash head and cannot be used to bounce against anything, so I didn’t get that. Plus I rarely use flash these days.


Left to right: HVL-56AM, HVL-F43AM, HVL-F58AM, HVL-F60M.


Left to right, the evolution of flash pouches: HVL-F56AM, HVL-F43AM, HVL-F58AM, HVL-F60M.

Note that the HVL-F60M now comes with a diffuser and ADP-AMA hotshoe adapter, that fits in the side pouch. Neat!


Left to right:
Octopus DM-6 (Sony Auto-lock iISO flash on ISO camera body)
Sony ADP-MAA (comes with Alpha 99, for Sony Auto-lock iISO flash on Multi Interface or ISO camera bodies)
– Seagull SC-5 (ISO flash to Sony Auto-lock iISO camera body)
– Sony ADP-AMA (comes with HVL-F60M, for Multi Interface or ISO flash to Sony Auto-lock iISO camera body)


Left: Sony A900 with ADP-AMA to ADP-MAA to HVL-F58AM. Right: Sony A99V with ADP-MAA to ADP-AMA to HVL-F60M.

Interestingly, you can stack the ADP-AMA and ADP-MAA either way and the flash’s wireless ratio controller still works. So it can be said that all functionality is transferred.


While the Multi-Interface hotshoe fixes the problem of dirty contacts causing full-power flash firing, it isn’t that well-designed; my HVL-F60M flash foot broke while it was in its pouch. I don’t know why it has that notch. Fortunately it was fixed under warranty for free.


Meanwhile, back to the Alpha 99V; what happens if you put a lens with a shorter flange distance, such as the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake, in front of it?


As with any other lens moved forward from its normal position for infinity focus, it focuses closer. In this case, it became a super macro.


A while back, I rented my lenses out to Khai, who used them on set for Take Me To Dinner. Awesome noir movie about a bunch of assassins. The soundtrack by David Knight is superb, too – you can download it for free, but I decided to buy it.

Anyway, this is the Sony NEX-FS100P. The lenses you’ll see in the movie are my Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 SSM ZA, Samyang 35mm F1.4 UMC, Opteka 85mm F1.4, and Sony 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus.


The 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus has unique bokeh, like no other lens.


Another shot from that lens. Yes, that’s a Sony Alpha 99V on a remote-controlled helicopter!


The view from above. This was at Studio Zaloon, Pudu Plaza, a hotbed for all things Sony Alpha, thanks to the support of the boss, an affable Mr. Chin.


Meanwhile, another hotbed of photography is The Centre For Asian Photographers, in The School, Jaya One. I am convinced that Szetoo’s drawing of the cat with glasses is her bespectacled husband…


…George Wong, on the left. Here he is, interviewing Ming Thein on the 18th of January 2014.


I also met Raja Indra Putra (RIPI), who brought this Kickstarter-funded Petzval 85mm F2.2 lens.


The week after, I was there again for a good ol’ Sony Alpha TT session. Here’s Szetoo through Michael Chee’s Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens. I knew her from way back on Xfresh, while I met George first at KL Tower for the launch of the Sony Alpha 100.


Left: Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art on the Sony Alpha 99V, right: Sony 35mm F1.4G on another Sony Alpha 99V.


A mint Minolta 200mm F2.8G HS APO with its beautiful white paint intact! I had a paint-chipped copy of this lens in my custody for a while; it was Ted Adnan’s.


Interesting podium in The School.


Now, fast-forward to modern white lenses – the great Sony 500mm F4.0G SSM!


It did not come with on-lens stabilization, but that’s the thing about the Alpha mount – the sensor moves instead. Longer focal lengths means the sensor moves more. Once in a while, after a long time, the sensor stabilization fails, and the camera owner sends it for repair, and gets the broken sensor stabilization unit together with the camera with new sensor stabilization unit inside. This is what it looks like; it normally slides freely and bounces about, but this one was stiff.


And now, for a lens that doesn’t need stabilization – the Peleng 8mm F3.5 M42 circular fisheye on the left, next to a Lomography Fisheye Baby 110.


Left: Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC fisheye for E mount, right: Samyang 8mm F3.5 for A mount. Both cover APS-C format only. Great for the E-mount cameras, of course.


Here’s the Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 35mm F2.0 ZM through an M-mount to E-mount adapter, on my Sony Alpha NEX-5.


Joseph, through the Samyang 24mm F1.4 on my Alpha 900.


The Leica M9 with the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm F0.95 ASPH E60. I tried this lens on the Leica M6 TTL I had in custody for a while.


Now, for a throwback to the 26th of July 2012, for the Sony RX-100 hands-on. This is Zhi Shan through my 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus.


This is through the RX-100 and its amazing Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 10.4-37.1mm F1.8-4.9 lens.


Another shot from the same camera.


Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival 2013 at the Midvalley Exhibition Center.


31st July 2013: My latest A-mount lens purchase, the Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM.


Arlyne, volunteer subject, at F1.4 through the Sony Alpha 99V.


We’d go out to the low-lit park to get test shots, to find her giving directions to Japanese tourists.


Digital stylus versus physical pen and paper.


My A-mount prime lens lineup.

Left to right: Peleng 8mm F3.5 M42 circular fisheye, Vivitar 24mm F2.0 OM-mount, Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM, Samyang 35mm F1.4 ED AS UMC, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Sony 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA.


Left to right then top to bottom: Peleng 8mm F3.5 M42 circular fisheye, Vivitar 24mm F2.0 OM-mount, Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM, Samyang 35mm F1.4 ED AS UMC, Minolta 50mm F1.4 Original, Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM, Opteka 85mm F1.4, Sony 135mm F2.8/T4.5 Smooth Transition Focus, Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA.

There’s more to come, of course; I’ve just bought an awesome lens and camera, but that will come later. This is a savepoint!

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