the cafe { portraiture }


This pretty much sums up the three(3) albums for miss Megan Khor. If you are in malaysia and happened to need a make-up artist or a model to boot, you can find her at :
I often get asked, “how did you finish processing all the photos so quickly?”. well, first of all, i have a policy of delivering photos on the very same day, at least for one(1) album. So the man gotto be the man right.
If you need a top, elite, best of the best of the best outdoor photographer, you need me of course ;-). Humor aside, enjoy the photos.















The traveller {portraiture on street}


More photos, less gears. This is my motto and mantra. All photos taken using the 58mm 1.4 AFG and Nikon DF.
The flexibility provided by FF on the 58 makes this the only lens i used. One lens + camera, thats all i need.
Miss Megan Khor here is a smart make-up artist from Kampar. When i saw some of the angle of her smile, i was thinking are you kidding me, she could easily pass off as model, at 170 cm.
So we took some photos casually and i ended up with three(3) amazing album in just one day.













Why i moved from mirrorless back to FF DSLR

Name it and i probably have tried it, or at least pursued with a modest intent and funded by my own wallet.
Leica M9, 4/3 systems, Sony A7R, Xvario, MF film cameras like Texas Leica, M6 titanium and the list goes on.
When i got my Sony A7R, i thought this is it, a camera that allows me to use any lens and whose manual focusing draw circles around the M9.

Few months down the road and after i have done various projects and albums, i am back to the DSLR and never been happier. Instead of trying to be a contrarian and troll around the blogs, i gonna just list out 7 reasons why i switched back to DSLR by listing out the counter behind some of the current points for mirrorless, particularly for my type of shooting, outdoor portraiture.

Here is the catch though, i do believe that mirrorless is the future, just that the future is not now.

sony a7r with legacy vivitar lens
sony a7r with legacy vivitar lens

1. Mirrorless is lighter and smaller
Yes it is. But its not that small that you can put into a pocket. In malaysia or tropical countries, its pretty hot, you don’t go wearing a big jacket with big pockets. If any, you be wearing jeans or shorts. Regardless of which system i took, m43 or sony a7r i ended up using the same bag. For short trips or outdoor, i even carry less batteries on the dslr simply because it lasts so much more, the currrent nikon DF i have could go over 1000 shots. Cant say the same for any of my mirrorless, heck i even end up carrying the charger “just in case”.

Olympus EP-5 with 70mm 1.8
Olympus EP-5 with 70mm 1.8

2. APS-C vs FF is negligible or m43 is sufficient
Yes and no. Smaller crop cameras comes with expensive shallow depth of view to boot. m43 for example, 25 mm 1.4? ouch, thats just 50 2.8 in FF terms, when it comes to how shallow it is. The cheapest 50 1.8 in FF would cost a bomb in m43. What about APSC vs FF, surely that is sufficient. I one read about this Zack Arias that APSC vs FF is negligible, while i agree of the point of sufficiency in image quality, i can’t agree when it comes to how expensive or hard it is to get equivalent focal length in APSC.
The nikon 58mm in FF is 87mm in DX (APSC nikon). 58 mm -> 87 mm, OUCH, there is nothing negligible about it.
So if your birding, oh yeah..that would work.

Leica Xvario
Leica Xvario

3. Sony A7 is FF and mirrorless and supports tons of legacy lens.
Yes it done, mostly via manual focusing or some strange adapter. On legacy lens, while the bokeh and rendering are interesing, the image quality of anything other than centre is often inferior, significantly, some exceptional lenses like Leica and a good novoflex adapter would be the exception. While doing manual focusing is fun, it totally limits your creativity in getting candid and natural shots of people.
Did i mention the battery life is a downer? If you think about it, why is it until now, there are still no fast autofocus aperture lenses like 1.4 for the FE mount?
U can wait for that, i love the 1.4 bokeh and object separation it provides for portraits. Heck its the magical aperture that gives bigger sensors like MF a run for its money.

Nikon d3000 with 58mm
Nikon d3000 with 58mm

4. Build quality
Sony probably didn’t think too much about people using strange lens on its mount. The thin mount on the sony prompted third party to release a mount replacement. Its not a very enjoyable shooting experience knowing that some nice lens you have would actually kinda make your whole camera flimsy. Leica M9’s cracked sensor, failing led indicators and fading wordings shows that price is not exactly quality either.

nikon d3000 with 58
nikon d3000 with 58

5. RAW files
Lets face it, adobe PS an LR is the gold standard. I don’t want to tweak around with other apps to get better result, filters and effect, yeah maybe. Its kinda ironic that this has nothing to do with mirrorless vs DSLR, but its just that the file format and strange sensors (x-trans) introduced by some brands on their mirrorless is touchy.
I actually like Leica’s DNG format, its from adobe anyway and fully supported. Olympus, Fuji, Sony …well, there is always this voice at the back of the mind that whatever is on my workflow is not good enough.

nikon d4 with 85 mm
nikon d4 with 85 mm

6. Flash, tethering, lens correction …
A host of stuffs we took for granted in using DSLRs…are wishlists in mirrorless.

d4 with off camera flash
d4 with off camera flash

7. Lens quality and Autofocusing
While i could not say for sure if canikon produces the best lenses in town, but it does seems that they give good value for quality and autofocusing CORRECTLY is the norm. There is a big difference between a fast autofocus and an accurate autofocus. There is a huge support for lens for DSLRs while every mirrorless wants to have its own mount and inconsistent pricing and lens quality.

Wide angle on a mirroless is always a bit lacking in choices, Sony A7(whatever). It seems that lenses made for leica rangefinders like 15mm and 18mm just don’t produce the same results here too, although i personally use the 18mm CZ and 15mm VG for portraiture, i know many landscape shooters that struggles to get a proper set of wides.

Using legacy lens means u have no exif data. Cataloging is a pain. Its near impossible to capture natural and candid like shots of portraits when you are doing manual focusing on the mirrorless.

Tourists in KLCC {street portraiture}

Just did a model shoot last sat, so on sunday, wasn’t really planning to do any but since i am at KLCC (that twin tower that you will 100% visit if you happened to be in KL because we have no idea where else to bring you) might as well take a stroll and see what is interesting.


There, a pair of japanese tourist. How did i know? Well…u can easily recognize them by their outfit and …height. Unlike koreans, japs are typically shorter. How did you think they came out with all those cute characters like hello kitty, doraemon and such? hahaha, jokes aside, i heard them speaking japanese so yeah…


Japan is the country that produces nearly 80% of our cameras, so when you see one of them taking photos, bow and learn their techniques…


Another simple shot at the KLCC garden, if you live in kl, you would hate these photos, they are as routine and boring as they come with every angle shot to death. In my case, even jpeg ooc. 🙂

Portraiture, #3 weird reasons why bokeh rocks


I prefer bokeh that is generated by lens that are in the focal length of 28,40-50,90. Never been a fan of zoom lens that goes over 90. The reason is simply because of the wonderful portraiture that i can do given a limited space and ambient light. Bokeh are only possible in such scenario if you have a very fast lens and we are talking about 1.4 here as the minimum.

In order to make this article real simple, let’s not jump into the argument that bokeh and the blurring of background are two different things. I know they are, but we often means the whole package of how the bg are blurred + bokeh characterictics. So when i say bokeh here, i am referring to that package.

So as promised, here are 3 reasons why bokeh makes all the differences.


#1 Because the background is just awesome…bad

Except for studios and rare paths where you won’t find picnickers and tourists flocking to it, more often than not, the backgound is just plain noisy, ugly and distracting. Yeah thats a common reason, but the weird reason would be because bokeh can massage a bad background into a good one.

Background objects tends to blur and blend together into some form of abstract cream. These blurring effect and the bokeh of how the highlight/contrast are generated, allows your picture gain more “attention”.


#2 Bokeh is actually optical photoshop

Our eyes blur out the background of an object by doubling the picture because we have two (2) eyes. That means there is actually nothing natural at all in bokeh because thats not how we actually de-focus stuffs. But the camera having only mono vision and due to the way light comes in and distance/focal length comes into play, bokeh is created.

In short, bokeh actually creates a background for you pretty much like an organic backdrop. That is priceless in art value…because you will spend 10*124+24848 hours to get the same effect by photoshoping it yourself and it would still look fake.


#3 Bokeh forces you to learn to be a better photographer

You heard the saying before “f8 and be there”. If you want bokeh, you better “f1.4, very quickly take out your camera and shoot, now that background, u sure that will make a nice bokeh?”
Well first of all you will end up buying expensive lens because bokeh is also related to how big your aperture is, and the bigger aperture you have, the more expensive it is. Once you paid for such a lens, my, you would use it to leverage on its ability to shoot in low light and subject separation.

Truth be told though, you will need to learn to see and imagine how the bg will bokeh. So while some folks thinks that bokeh is a cheap trick to get good pictures, its not. Like everything else in life, it only gets better as u train in it and practice.

The same can be said of trying to do portraiture on small aperture and large dof. It forces you to see how the background would affect your image and both are true.

Enjoy the remainder of the images below and they are all shot at 1.4, indoor, handheld.