Sunday, March 01, 2015

More Ariff AB

I was at KLCC yesterday, hoping to find Kirk Tuck's book "The Lisbon Portfolio" at Kinokuniya Bookstore (though in the online listing it was out of stock, I was hoping it was wrong, but it was indeed out of stock) that I randomly checked my Facebook timeline, and I saw that Ariff AB was going to perform at a festival happening at Dataran Underground. Time of the performance was scheduled at 4.15pm and what a bummer what I saw my watch, it was already almost 4.30pm! I rushed from KLCC to Dataran Merdeka via the LRT and arrived on location at about 4.45pm, and I went straight to the book festival, and noticed that the stage was rather empty. I sat around hoping that perhaps the show was delayed. Out of nowhere, Ariff actually appeared and guess what, he was performing alright, but on an entirely different stage (which was NOT underground, where I was). 

It was not all lost. He was performing again the following day, at the same time and location. I only had my Panasonic GM-1 with me and I did not bring any tripod (for video recording), and I was running out of battery from my prior shutter therapy session. So I returned again the next day, armed with OM-D E-M1 and ready to shoot Ariff's awesome performance!



Here are some photography note:

1) That M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 never gets old. 
My favourite lens for street shooting as well as portrait photography, the 45mm F1,8 worked well for this particular session. It provided me just enough reach to get close, and good enough shallow depth of field to isolate Ariff from the busy background. Lighting was flat due to overcast weather (it rained heavily an hour or two later, after I got home) and the lens did a good job delivering the "pop" in the image. In my post processing I boosted the contrast to add more depth to the image. Considering I could get very near to the stage, 45mm was the best choice. If I was further away, perhaps the 40-150mm or 75mm could do better. 

2) Shooting live performance under sunlight is different
I have been shooting many live performance under stage lighting, usually dim, indoor, horrible mix of destructive light sources. This particular performance was done under abundant, bright daylight and it was such a joy not having to worry about varying exposure flashes and changes, as well as horrible color casts! Skin tone was as good as what you can expect from amazing Olympus colors and everything came out natural and beautiful. I can get used to this. Not that I have anything against indoor concert light setup, there were amazing light setup on stage which can really create dramatic and epic output for the performance, but most of the ones I have attended were quite bad. 

3) Autofocus speed and accuracy
One of the extremely important strength of the camera put to test for shooting any live performance would be the AF performance of the camera. The singer would be constantly moving the OM-D has always delivered great results. I can give one tip, if I have not shared it here. Before even you start to compose the frame with your camera and lens, already have the final composed frame in your mind. Pre-visualize before hand where you want the main focus of your subject to be. Then quickly move your focusing point (using many methods available in your camera) to where you want it to be. Frame your subject, fire and fire and fire. Using this method I almost never miss focus. The problem I observed  in many learning photographer is framing the subject first and slowly moving the focusing point while they were shooting the subject. That way, while you were moving the focusing point, the subject might just move out of your frame and you miss the shot completely. Or worse, some  people did not even pay attention to where the focusing point was and simply snap the photograph letting the camera decide! 

4) 5-Axis Image Stabilization
For some strange reasons there were plenty of flies around the area I was standing while shooting the video, and the flies were buzzling around my ankles (I was wearing shorts), my ears and some even landed on my fingers! For goodness sake, it was difficult to stay still and not move. This really put the Image Stabilization to test and I did move my ankles a bit to shake off the flies. I thought the videos would come out more jittery than usual, but whoah, it was still smooth and steady as usual. I just wished I had the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II with me. 

Ariff was kind enough to spend time chatting with me after his show! I felt privileged to be there and I do hope more people find out about his amazing music. 

You can check out his music and follow him here:













Here are video clips of two songs Ariff performed. I was standing behind the speakers hence the sound was a little muffled (blurred). Nonetheless I caught two songs from Ariff which I have not heard before, The Journey Man and After Glow! Ariff said The Journey Man was a new song!

ARIFF AB - THE JOURNEY MAN




ARIFF AB - AFTER GLOW




Great music, and a chance of clicking my camera away. Weekend was beautiful!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

55mm F1.2 Randomness

Oh dear, I have disappeared without any blog udpates for almost 2 weeks! Since my last writing on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, work has been excruciatingly busy leading up to the Chinese New Year holidays, thus the unintended silence. I did get a long weekend off and I finally had some time for myself, which I originally wanted to do a lens review for the newly launched M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4-5.6 Version II. Unfortunately prior arrangements disallowed me to have the lens during the holidays and I shall have to delay my review for that lens. Here I thought, with a few days off I might just do shutter therapy with revenge, to make up for lost times. Strangely, I opted for a slow paced, relaxing, do nothing and lots and lots of sleep kind of holiday. Yeap, it is true. Robin Wong chose sleep over the camera over the holidays. Maybe the world is ending after all. 

Well I did not entirely abandon the camera. I did bring it out wherever, and whenever I was out. I did spend some time catching up with friends, and along some random chances I snatched a frame or two. Mostly I had the E-M1 and the OM 55mm F1.2 lens. Oh how I adore that lens!

So here is a short compilation of the random shots I made throughout the past weeks. Perhaps, it is not too bad to slow down a little. 

Morning Skyline

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review Extension: 40MP High Res Shot Questions Answered, High ISO Shooting and More Samples Images

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3, with exception of 40MP High Res Shot which were straight out of camera JPEG (Super Fine)
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

This blog entry serves as an extension to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review which I have posted last week here, hence if you have not read that blog post kindly do so before continuing with this extension. In this particular extension I am looking specifically into the items pertaining to the OM-D E-M5 Mark II:
1) 40MP High Resolution Shot - answers to many questions, with sample images as well as comparison with the native 16MP shot
2) Bundled Flash unit FL-LM3 - capable of bounce flash
3) Video Recording Sample in challenging lighting situation
4) High ISO Shooting - tortured the camera in difficult low light condition


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3, with exception of 40MP High Res Shot which were straight out of camera JPEG (Super Fine)
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

Almost three years ago, Olympus shook the photography world when they introduced their first OM-D camera, the E-M5 (2012), which gained favourably positive reception,  It was the gamechanger, the first Mirrorless Compact System Camera to be taken seriously by photography enthusiasts and even professional photographers alike, with the first E-M5 delivering blazing fast autofocus performance, world's first and still most amazing 5-Axis Image Stabilization system built into the camera, admirable image quality output rivalling even the best APS-C DSLRs at the same time, yet having all that in a super small and compact camera body, which is ruggedly built and weather sealed. E-M5 was the camera that ticked all the right checkboxes for what a photographer desired. It was no surprise that much hype has been built up to the coming of the successor model for the E-M5.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is officially launched today.  



For the past few days, I have had the opportunity to bring the E-M5 Mark II out for a spin around Kuala Lumpur. I have taken tonnes of photographs, and this time, even video clips with the E-M5 Mark II, and I have compiled the images and videos into this blog entry, sharing my experience and feedback using the camera. If you are new to this blog, I adhere strongly to my photography gear review style which is user-experience approach and mostly non-technical.