One lens to rule them all

Ever got that feeling of wanting to sell all your cameras and gears and just stick to one. The idea of using a fix lens and squeezing the last drop of creativity out of you is both tempting and edgy at the same breath.

Recently, the EP5 and the 35mm Zeiss lens took all my attention. Although lacking in shallow dof for my portrait works, it also offers beautiful colors and contrast, so much so that i am pondering on just using it, do or die for all my models shoot. Whats the point of posting gazillion of photos, when all i needed is just to post a few exceptional images that i am happy with.


Photos with feelings vs Fashion shoot

Personally i have always preferred photos the enacts emotions of peace, serenity and love rather than fashion and glamour.
I called these images “emoref” meaning photos that convey reflective emotions. Fashion is pretty much like its actual counterpart in the real world, often
shifting from one end to the other and whose heavy makeup hides the true beauty of the model.
I believe many years from now, these emoref images would still convey the same emotion as it would long after folks in the images are old and moved to another stage of life.

These are images taken at Bukit Tinggi, Pahang, Malaysia. Its a remote tourist spot that features french like village.
I hope u enjoy these images as much as i made them. Model name is Joyce Low.











Amazing combo : see for urself, 35 mm f2.0 ZM on a EP5

Few days ago i combined the m43 EP5 with a manual lens 35mm f2.0 ZM Zeiss. I was totally blown by the results.
Here are the OOC Jpeg of the combo result. All the images below are unedited.

First off, the lens is easy to focus, even without the peak focusing, but i was doing it on the VF4. The VF4 puts the Xvario’s VF2 to the cavemen days.


The lens has beautiful character.


And it comes with free “glow”. I notice the skin has free glow without editing, these naturally occurring glow didn’t exist when i used the same lens on the M9.


It has ZERO flare even when shooting straight at the sun, with or without a B+W filter.


Sure, its 70 mm and F4 equivalent on the FF. i been shooting over 300 images and the batteries are still full? All the time i just used the VF4 with the manual focusing. Perhaps electronic lens uses up bulk of the power.

wow. just wow. Totally happy with this combo.

Here are 3 more reasons :
1. the olympus 5 axis stability works on any manual lens, be it legacy or not. I been shooting ISO 200 (base) the whole time. Its crazy.

2. The setup is very small, even with the adapter, M mount lens are small and beautiful.

3. WYSIWYG. You don’t need to be be chimping all the time, what u saw on the VF and what u get, is the same. Set your dials to “M”anual, and just roll the shutter dial speed until u see an image that u like.




Amazing combo, I am stunned

I was just playing with the idea of using a Leica M to m43 on my EP5. The xvario have been doing lots of shooting lately and I decided to awaken the lonely EP5 with a surprise and give the xvario a break.

I got myself a shogun L/M to m43 and I slap on it the 35 mm Zeiss f2.0 that I kept in the dry box .

I was surprised at how easy it was to focus using the vf4 and the micro contrast totally blew me off .

Watch this blog as I use this new setup on my next project


Shooting natural sure beats the heck out of pose

There are 2 cameras that i really like. One is the Sigma SD15 and the Xvario.
The SD15 is now back in my hands and i guess i just have to accept that sigma’s autofocus wont be as accurate as nikon and some misfocusing is inevitable.

But man…u gotta love those 4.7mp coming out from the APSC, the sharpness is amazing and editing is a breeze, i shudder to think of those using over 30mps cameras.

Now cameras aside, i been wanting to do an album with just natural shots and minimum posing. What do i mean? Frankly, i find posed shots are just as fake as it gets and natural shot of a person, is just so priceless. So i met this young lady, whom volunteer to do the modeling and during the shoot, i just try to get her to laugh as much as possible….and snap.

You can’t fake a real smile, and that is what i want a picture to hold.










Where familiar faces treads

Its been like forever since MH370 went missing. Malaysia, my country, is bombarded with a series of bad management and some would say “bad luck”.
Apart from the missing plane, we have unprecedented forest fire and draught. The latter being a peculiar humour seeing that we are a country located at the equatorial and blessed with tropical forest. As i am typing this today, water rationing is taking place throughout the state of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Malls are big business in Malaysia, simply because of the hot weather, we have no where else to go except home. With the rationing in effect, shopping malls are the refuge of many here. What do you do, when routine forces its way into your weekend? You do ur best with it, i took my camera and just took whatever i came across.









skin tones

I always found the skin tones on my Nikon D4 a bit strange and my buddies 5D MK3 too red. Post editing them usually requires tweaking on saturation on the orange tone.

On the lower ISO, it seems to be acceptable on the D4, boost up the ISO to 800 and suddenly the skin turns barbie like.

In my early days, i just slide the LR’s clarity bar to the left and make the model looking like complete plastic. Later on, i progressed by using the Nik color Efex pro’s Dynamic skin softener, and managed to make the model looking …plastics again.

While i had some satisfaction publishing such photos and seeing how the models love their plastic, out of this world’s skin, i am oblivious to the pros in the community laughing their ass off while during tea time.

When i was told that the XVario produces one of the best skin tones ever, my curiosity piqued. While i do know that Leica have a bunch of smart engineers, German’s heritage and talents, i was skeptical the company could produce anything that would be exceptional compared to the existing veteran players.

i was a previous owner of M9, and i am largely disappointed it was more of a “logo” prestige than an exceptional technical experience and i have not changed my decision to stay away from the M system until its more reliable and at least worth half its price.

The XVario, however, is a different beast, auto sensor and everything non-M, i am surprised it was once Mini M 😉
Now, the XVario, did produce skin tones that continues to puzzle me. Like a curious child, i often gets surprised by the results. All the images below are unedited, JPGs OOC.

You tell me…





My theory on the Rules of third

My theory on the Rules of third

I’m gonna keep this very short. Its a thought that have gone thru my mind several times and i might as well share it out here.
Why does the rules of third works?
I believe its simple because we will identify faces automatically and we look for the “eyes” as the location on the face, which happens to be 2/3 up there.

In short, regardless of a scene or object being shot at, the eyes feel more natural looking at things located 2/3 of the picture. If you put a face in a picture, regardless of where it is, our eyes will hunt for it. In the absence of such face, the picture as an overview, is a face.

Sounds like twilight zone isn’t it? well u heard it first here. Now keep shooting.

Simulating the XVario JPG Engine

The Xvario have a unique jpg engine. One that produces amazingly nice results that leans towards desaturation. However that is not the full story.
Its not easy to simulate the Xvario jpg colors and feel but i think i got it working at least in some lighting condition.

XVario JPG sample
Here is my DNG after applying the preset that i made, pretty close?

You can download the preset here, foc, courtesy of Marcus low photo, do kindly point others to download from here so that i could enjoy some moments of gratification.
But please be aware that this is for the DNG that came in Xvario itself ;-), yeah sorry, i know its kinda pointless if you are using other cameras and this might not work as advertised.

Download preset for Lightroom : here