Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fun with High ISO

I do find it strange that when one camera outperforms another in one or two specific area suddenly the camera with lower specification is considered inferior. This case is particularly true for high ISO comparisons between cameras, and one of the most popularly discussed weakness of Micro Four Thirds system in general. 

It is no secret that Micro Four Thirds has not matched or even surpassed what the current offerings of Full Frame cameras can do in terms of high ISO shooting. On the other hand, it has been proven again and again not just by me but also by many well-respected photographers and camera reviewers that the Micro Four Thirds system has come a long way, surpassing most APS-C cameras and matching even the best APS-C DSLR/Mirrorless cameras. The mentality that "more is better" has a strong grip on consumers, and sadly these days, "good enough is no longer good enough". Sufficiency has become outdated: camera and lens purchase decisions are now not based on what works and what is needed, but more biased toward what is bigger, better and faster. The Micro Four Thirds system suddenly seems so inadequate. 

I am happy to hear the news that a newly developed sensor is being fitted into the just launched Panasonic Lumix GX8, and I am extremely excited because every single time there is a significant new sensor being introduced, you will notice a huge jump in image quality (high ISO especially). Think about the OM-D E-M5, using the first 16MP image sensor for Micro Four Thirds, versus the older 12MP sensor on PEN E-P3. It was a huge step upward and finally with that new E-M5 sensor, the gap between Micro Four Thirds and APS-C cameras are coming close to diminishing. Early reports and hands-on previews on the current Panasonic GX8 looks promising, and I wish it will bring about the same jump as seen previously in E-M5. 

Unfortunately I do not have a GX8, and not even sure when this camera will arrive here in KL. 

In this blog entry I shall be showing a few photographs taken with high ISO on the E-M5 Mark II

I have written lengthily about how to handle high ISO images with Olympus Micro Four Thirds system, if you have not read my guide please do so here (click). 

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses

ISO3200, 25mm F1.8 lens
I can confidently shoot ISO3200 with the E-M5 Mark II. For the sake of having a cleaner image, I have applied Noise Filter "LOW" for this image instead of "OFF". For those of you being overly sensitive to seeing even that tiny bit of grain in the image, you can opt for Noise Filter "Standard or High", with compromise of useful fine details in the image. I find Noise Filter "LOW" to provide the best balance between suppressing noise and maintaining good overall sharpness when shooting high ISO. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Day at Fraser's Hill with M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II on Olympus OM-D E-M10

About a week ago I have posted on my Facebook Page asking if there was interest of people here seeing me shooting with Olympus long lenses such as M.Zuiko 75-300mm or 40-150mm, on either E-M10 or E-M1. The most popular vote went to the rarely mentioned M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II on Olympus OM-D E-M10 body. I brought this combo and went with a group of photography crazy people of PSPJ (Photographic Society of Petaling Jaya) to Fraser's Hill which is about 2 hours drive away from KL to Pahang. It was a full day outing with a few photography activities lined up including birding, insect macro and portrait shooting. 

Initially I was super tempted to bring along the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro for insect macro shooting, since I have not done any for a long time, as well as that super awesome M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 for model portrait shooting. Disciplining myself and staying true to my own promise of just sticking to one lens, I managed to do everything for the whole trip with just the M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II lens. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shooting The Ordinary Things

I think too many of us are striving too hard to achieve that National Geographic kind of photograph. Strangely, I have seen too many friends around me struggling to find that award winning photograph to prove themselves superior than others. Is photography a competition? Is there an ultimate goal in photography? Is photography like sports that only the champion has the last say? 

I say, screw all that. All I want to do is just grab my camera, head out the door, bathe myself into the dangerously cancer-inducing hot Malaysian sun and have some shutter clicking action going on! I am happy that way. I just shoot because I want to, and because I can. I do not aim for impossible goals in photography. Heck I know very well none of my photographs are competition worthy, and I could care less, really. These are my photographs, and I am proud of them. They may not be breathtaking or super sensational to look at, but hey, I can guarantee you at least they are fun to look at. And most of the things I point my camera at are merely ordinary, everyday things. Nothing spectacular, nothing fantastic, just plain, simple and common subjects we encounter often. 

May it be a scene from the streets I walk along often, or that plate of bowl of delicious noodles soup, or that new watch I have saved for months to purchase, or simply a painting I found on a wall. You know, something ordinary. 

Photography does not have to be hard and tiring. Why not shoot something ordinary?

This was taken from a train station. I have just left the train and was going to catch the Antman in this newly opened shopping mall. It was a good movie, I enjoyed it. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Complete Camera Geekery Moment: Fujifilm X100

Important Note: Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my beautiful readers who celebrate! Maaf Zahir dan Batin. Have a blessed, epic and memorable celebration guys. 

I have a confession to make. I have always been in love with one particular camera, the Fujifilm X100. 

Four long painful years after the initial release of the camera, now finally the used market price of the camera has dropped drastically, I can afford getting one. Obviously that is the case, or else I would have bought the X100T, or at least the X100S instead. I have owned the Fujifilm X100 for a few days now, and you know what? I am in love with it, despite its age. 

No, I will not do a review for Fuji X100, I see no point or value in doing that, since it is quite an old camera now, and there are many excellent and well-written reviews, articles, and endless discussions on the camera everywhere on the internet. Whatever I have to add here, honestly will be just redundant, and have been discussed before somewhere else. What I will do in this blog entry instead, is to discuss the relevance of this Fujifilm X100, why I made the purchase, and how it can help improve my own photography. I have a purpose for this camera, I did not just buy it because it looks so sexy. 

Or did I?