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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zuiko and Char Kuay Teow


Malaysia, the melting pot of cuisine.

For hundreds of years the region has seen many fusion of cooking from the many traders that landed port in Malacca, Penang and Singapore. The root and leafy fragrant spices of the Malays archipelago, the elegance of Chinese cuisine and the wholesome seed spices of India fuse together to bring out the best in taste and aroma!

The typical Malaysian food that range from Nasi Lemak, Char Kuay Teow, various types of Laksa, Satay and many more fusion foods have made this country a haven for gastronomic aficianados. For me, I am not that really affectionate about the best food , but I appreciate the comfort of having great delicious food when it matters. Be it alone or with friends & family, food is the common bond between the many races in this country.

50mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO1250

One of my all-time favorite foods to cook is the Char Kuay Teow. I have learnt to cook this comforting delicacy from my mother, later refined by observing the many hawkers' techniques to get the best recipe to suit my taste.

50mm, f/8, 1/8s, ISO2000

I usually cook it on Sunday mornings, just after getting the freshest of ingredients from the weekly Pasar Tani (Farmer's Market in literal translation). The basic ingredients are three servings of kuay teow (I like to get the finer noodles about 1cm thick), one medium onions, four pieces of garlic, six pieces of dried chili, a dozen prawns, two eggs, a couple of fish cake sticks, a handful of chives and two dollops of kicap pekat (thick soy sauce). Traditionally, the cockle is used instead of fish cakes. Somehow, I don't have the liking of cockles; thus, the change in recipe.

*Interestingly, the word Ketchup has its roots from the kicap.

Clean and de-vein the prawns and save the shells to make the stock. Blend the onions, garlic and chili; however, the dried chili needs to be boiled first. Sauté the paste in the wok with high heat until the aromatics of the blend permeates, and crack in the eggs. Stir roughly until the eggs harden, and pour in the prawn stock. Let it simmer then put in the kicap and the kuay teow along with the slivers of fish cakes and chops of chives. The secret in cooking this delicacy is by maintaining the high heat throughout and keeping the wok clean always. The molasses property of the kicap will cover the base of the wok, and having a sturdy metal spatula is very important to scrape it clean. Keep stirring and folding the kuay teow until there's some charred burning on the prawn, fish cake and the kuay teow. Finally, put two pinchfuls of salt for seasoning.

50mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO2000

Whilst my adult Malay taste bud craves for a much spicier recipe, I have kids in mind. They wouldn't be ready to savor the typical Malay hot & spicy liking until they are much older. For now, I just put less chili and more kicap. My daughter definitely loves to eat this dish, sometimes she often reminds me to cook it. It's just a simple hawker's dish, which is definitely comforting.

Another tip, eat it immediately as it tastes the best piping hot!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Zuiko and Taking it Easy


Beautiful photography is within painless reach with the E-30!!!

Sometimes pictures turn out better when I take things easy. This was the case just this late afternoon when I took the time to photograph my youngest kid. Instead of thinking too technical about it, such as depth-of-field and noise, I took the liberty to set my E-30 to P-mode. Yes, P-mode with the ISO stuck at 800. I could have chosen 100 or 200 for better image quality, but somehow I want it to stay at 800.

To make things much simpler, I used the only prime lens I own; the Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 Macro. This lens is known for its slow focus notoriety; mainly due to the lack of a focus limiter. What this means is that if I miss focus, the lens will scan through its range from 24cm to infinity. This will take ages in Auto Focus world, and most of the time will be such a pain shooting fast moving objects. Somehow, I did not bother about this fact. Though my kid was moving fast around the porch, I paced myself to track his movements wisely so that the lens won't feel useless, and won't take away the fun of shooting him.

What do you see, daddy?

The day was quite cloudy, with the shadows muted as if it's not there. He was running about the terracotta tiled porch playing at the gate and on the rattan chairs. My goal was to catch him at his many varied facial expressions and movements. With this lens, I was able to be around 5 to 10 feet away. Both of us were comfortable.

As for composition technique, I automatically set the subject off center; somehow the rule-of-thirds was ingrained in stone every time I scan a subject in the frame. Next came leading lines, both visible and imaginary. Then it was the contrasting lights between the subject and background. Lastly came the negative and positive space relationship, that somehow loosely based on the Golden Mean.

What popped?

These were the things that came to me automatically, after years of learning and practice. Yes, it sounds laborious, but somehow it worked for me on many occasions. Some people say breaking the rule is the way, but somehow after so many images, I still yet to find one rule that I broke. It's tough learn it, and much tougher to break it.

That being laid out, the cat and mouse game began.

Come on, daddy. Give it your best shot!!

The first few shots I used plain P-mode on the E-30.

One of my many teachers told me to focus on the eyes,
and so I did

Later, I shifted to Art Filter mode that totally liberated me from the gear and made me focus more on photography.

Soft Focus had always been one of my favorites, as it highlighted the eyes and softened the background.

Woopsss... A bit too soft? I am sorry, but I like!

Grainy Film added the grittiness of the moment, and focused more on the inner dimension of the subject.

Do you see my profile, daddy?

Pinhole provided the added focus on the subject without being too constraining to the viewer.

Surprised? I was too! With the details and sharpness.

Pop Art just oozed the primary colors to bring more color to the already awesome subject.

Am I too fast for you, daddy?

What I liked most with the Art Filter function was that it didn't tie me down. I let the E-30 handle the magic, and I focused on the story. Both combine to produce telling results that left me gobbsmacked when I saw the results on my PC screen. Even more satisfying was the fact that I just hit the upload button in without the slightest concern of postprocessing. What I saw at the time of the shoot was all it needed.


Somehow I felt like I was shooting film, too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zuiko and E-5: In Retrospective


It has been close to two weeks now since I laid my hands on the E-5. The three-day ordeal was not enough to satisfy my insatiable inkling to it. The good thing was that during this period, I managed to spend more time with the E-3. This gave me time to reflect on the performance of the E-5 compared to the E-3. In retrospect, it did give me an alternate insight to the true capabilities of the E-5. To be fair, during the 3-day test, my opinion might be biased based on the many enhancements that the E-5 supposed to do, as was briefed by the Olympus representative. Now, I believe I am more clear and objective about what the E-5 can do.

A bit of a struggle to get the right focus with the strong backlight,
Zuiko Digital ED14-35mm F2.0

To start with, my type of photography mostly revolve on things and events that happen around me. I tend to shoot people and events that cover a wide range of photography from portraits, candid and photojournalism. My style is casual with being the third-party observer rather than involve in the photographic experience. This is the area where the need for the E-5 is required. As for other types, I have the inkling to shoot the mundane things around me and try to make it interesting. In this aspect I don't think the E-5 will do much difference than the Canon S90 as the image composition and parameters are more controlled, and rather the lens choice is the main factor for fresher perspectives.

The ESP metering saved the background with the foreground underexposed a stop,
this is recoverable in post-process using Contrast Mask technique

So, to satisfy my need to cover fast moving events, does the E-5 able to cope and deliver the goods? Well, in one aspect I would say that it's excellent, and in another aspect, it's still lacking behind king Nikon. (I have various experience shooting the Nikon cameras ranging from the D3000 to D3 part being a teacher to photography classes, where the Nikons are very common).

Let's look into event shooting, and the real needs of the clients. (Clients can be your family members, too).

Loads of depth-of-field to cover sharpness across the frame

Bottom line, the clients want properly exposed crisp images with great colors. They don't care about the artistic value of your pictures, well it may add to the aesthetics of your presentation, but what they care about is the priceless moments of the events. Pictures must be accurately metered and exposed. The focus must be tack accurate and sharp. They don't care what lens you use. What they care is the head must not look much bigger than the feet, for example. This is the real challenge for the photographer and the gear.

Frontlighting with dark background didn't fool the meter, but I still see white clippings
lower shutter speed used to invoke motion into the composition

Looking at how the E-5 delivered the pictures in the two events that I managed to cover, I would say that it definitely advanced much from the E-3. For a start, the exposure is better. Though still using the same 49-zone ESP metering system, the handling of strong backlight has shown significant improvement. This was attested by one of my Nikon buddy (he's an active wedding photographer) who saw one of the samples and acknowledged how the E-5 properly controlled the bright sunlit window of an interior shot. Not an easy thing, he said. Well, that's good to hear from a quite neutral observer. This is so important feature for me. I am an ESP shooter, and when it comes to fast moving events, this is the real deal. There's no time to tinker with the features to play with the spot meters.

One person in the shadows, one person in the highlights
I like how the exposure turned up

In high contrast scenes, specifically with strong highlight and shadows in 9 zones, the ESP meter tends to over expose up to 0.7ev. I don't get it with Olympus. Why do they care so much for the shadows that the highlights get clipped? In the end, the smaller 4/3 sensor tends to show more noise in the shadows. I prefer the shadows are blackened, i.e. a supposedly Zone II shouldn't be exposed to Zone III where the details actually are noisy. No matter, though, as the E-5 have a preset exposure bias module, similar to the E-30. Just remember to set it to -0.3ev or -0.7ev once I get the E-5 in November (hopefully, somehow I haven't pre-ordered it yet).

Following the kids' fast movement was a bit of a challenge,
the hit rate wasn't very good but it delivered where it matters

As for the auto focusing, the feature that deals with crisp and clear pictures, I have a slight reservation on its overall performance. Please be reminded that the E-5 is a pre-production unit with the AF module still in debugging stage. Being a user of the E-3 and E-30, I don't find much difference in performance from the E-5, with regards to all lenses that I have (7-14mm/f4, 14-35mm/f2, 35-100mm/f2 and 50mm/f2). I can only hope that the production E-5 will have this solved and bring to life the 14-35mm SWD speed as it's supposed to do.

Kids don't sit still for long, they are always in action
The quick AF was crucial to get this snapshot as he's about to jump off the chair

In the two events that I covered, I focused on my two main workhorses, the 14-35mm f2 and 35-100mm f2 lenses. All I can say was that the 35-100mm was superb in AF control, partially due to the lens focus limiter that lowered the AF tracking range. I might say that there's some improvement to the E-5. Alas, for the 14-35mm f2 lens, I can only say that the E-5 is on par with the E-30. For strong backlight, the E-5 can't cope with the erratic 14-35mm AF jitter. My hit rate was about 80%, which was quite disappointing. In events, the hit rate should be in the high 95%. Well, I might be hoping too much on the E-5 that I forgot to apply the tricks I used with the E-3/E-30 to get the higher hit rate.

Hit rate was on and off for this shot with the 14-35m f2.0
I got it quite okay out of 3 shots

One thing that I really applaud about Olympus is the great JPEG engine. Out of camera images have always been superb, without much to postprocess. The colors are blended to appear pleasing to the visual acuity, without focusing too much on color accuracy. I was told that Sony has the best color accuracy (possibly meaning that the six primary and secondary colors are the most accurate), but I still find Olympus JPEG pleasing (partly due to the tonal transitions of the colors interweaved within the shadows and highlights).

The colors looked great in this shot even though it's ISO1600,
accurate AWB also played the role to ensure the color tint was correct

As for the E-5, this has been further enhanced mainly due to the more accurate Auto White Balance sensor. Another appeal to the E-5 for an event shooter like me is the that the AWB is much improved. After comparing with the E-3, the E-5 is the clear winner. In tricky lighting like cloudy mornings, mixed tungsten and incandescent interiors, the E-5 just delivers accurately. Even when I tinkered the RAW images to compare the pre-sets WB and the AWB shots, there's not much difference that's easily visible. To my eyes, the E-5 is the king in AWB! And imagine the time saved in the workflow to process the images for clients with high anxiety disorder!

At last a usable ISO1600 with the F2.0,
a shutter speed above 1/60s was achievable for this shot to freeze motion

The ISO has improved by 1 stop; though I think Olympus should have made it to 2 stops. Nonetheless, I managed to get high quality ISO1600 pictures, which was not the case for both E-3 and E-30 (the E-3 was simply horrendous, and I limit it to ISO1250).

It didn't take much to look cool and appealing - shades and a guitar,
maybe Olympus need to realign their strategy to make the E-5 more appealing

In summary, for an event shooter, will the E-5 be good enough? In my opinion it is. However, when we look outside and compare with king Nikon, there are still areas that the E-5 need severe improvements. Firstly the auto focus needs to be more responsive for fast action (E-5 is quick, but not smooth), secondly the frame rates should be higher at 8fps (not that it really matters with social events), and thirdly the sensor should have at least a stop higher ISO at 12800 (ISO expansion starts at 3200, in which I thought Olympus is being too conservative).

Notably, the E-5 is still the best overall for the fast and lazy event shooter. It's completely weather-sealed along with many of the Digital Zuiko lenses (I wouldn't care less on the environment being wet or dusty), the tank-like built meant that it can be used ruggedly without much care (my E-30 body was crushed and broken by the 14-35mm and 35-100mm lenses in the ThinkTank bag!), the JPEG and AWB is class leading (I would imagine the Sony or Nikon coming very close, but I still prefer E-5) that comprehensively eliminates color related post-processing time wasting, and somehow the resolution oozes pixels (this was clearly shown in my past blogs, and the SHG lenses were mainly to blame) that eliminates E-30 to the relegation zone.

One point to note. I actually have to commend Olympus for being bold to ditch the xD format. Now with E-5 sporting the SD-CF combination, it has opened up the flexibility to a new level. What I had experience in the event shoot was an eye opener. The client asked me when can the images be available, and my quick answer was "do you have an SD card in disposal?". It was a cinch, SD cards are too common, and it took me less than five minutes to transfer all the files from the CF to the SD. Coupled with the E-5 awesome out-of-camera JPEGs, I bet the client wouldn't be disappointed.

Great colors, tack sharp.
All you need is "F4 and be there" with the 4/3 system

In fact, the E-5 doesn't look so bad. It could have been better, but I can manage with its limitations. Come on Olympus, be bold for a change (and I don't mean the innovations, but in terms of competing with the big boys). The OM system was a well kept secret, don't let the E-system be another OM. In the 21st century, the market has changed, having well-kept secrets are not good for business. Olympus needs to be more like Apple ~ Innovative and loud!!

Come on Olympus!

S90 and a Bicycle Ride Around the Neighborhood


Last weekend I went for a ride on my bicycle around the neighborhood. Since I have my Android phone with me, I activated my SportyPal app to record my ride using the built in GPS. The Canon S90 was the obvious choice as the E-system does not prove to be compact enough for me to carry during the ride.

Sunrise over Putra Avenue

My first ride was late in the day, around 6pm. A sunset picture would be nice, along with the 5km ride. About 2km from my house, there was this empty lot with a pond. Apparently the pond was made to capture and hold water during heavy rainfall as means of flood management. The lotus leaves provided a beautiful scene although from the roadside the area looked like ordinary shrubs. A ten-foot walk across the roadside was all it took to see the difference in scenery.

Thirty minutes before sunset, and the sky was still blue

I continued my ride for another 2km on an open field. I was looking for a sunset shot overseeing the power lines. I found out that this kind of shots really put the Canon S90 to the limit. The limited aperture range up to f8 and shutter speed up to 1/1000s really made it difficult to control the sunlight.

Solar energy overpowering fossil fuel, not until 10 years from now

The next morning, the sky was a bit cloudy. Nonetheless, I carried on with my ride. I was eager to capture the sunrise on the other side of the neighborhood. After a 2km ride, I reached this vista point. Actually, the KLCC Twin Towers and KL Tower are visible during clear days.

Sunrise atop Putra Avenue and parts of Puchong

Riding up the rocky hill with my Hybrid bike proved to be okay, but I thought a proper MTB should be the best. Somehow, I managed to go up halfway to the Putra Heights landmark point. That's quite an achievement for a bike made to speed like a Racer and climb like an MTB.

I may need an MTB for this

The sunrise had a beautiful glow to the grass, that I took many shots. The S90 had trouble coping with the strong backlight that many pictures did not came up to my satisfactory level.

The split ends were an interesting aspect of this grass

Maybe I will return with a better camera, the E-system for the ride. But I have yet to figure out how to pack the camera effectively for comfort and easy access. For now, the S90 provided some nice images, and I couldn't have been more glad.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Zuiko and the Orchid Gardens


It was the first time I ever set foot at the Kuala Lumpur Orchid & Hibiscus Garden. Since it was on a weekday, I got in for free. During the weekends or special holidays, there is an RM1 entry fee.

I needed some shutter therapy lately. The amount of stress at work is quite high, and a relaxing stroll in the gardens should be good to lessen the strain. It was a bright cloudy day, which in effect, produced the best lighting condition to shoot flower macros. This was a good thing, because for some unknown reason I left my FL-50R flash at home. The soft diffusion by the clouds meant that the sunlight was evenly spread out without any harsh shadows; thus, the need for fill-flash was moot.

The only lens I brought along the E-3 was the Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 macro lens. It proved to be more than enough for me to capture the beauty of the flowers in the gardens.

Upon entry, I was greeted with lush and bright colors of the orchids; white, red orange, purple and even green orchids! The richness of the colors brought in some therapeutic effect to my mind, body and soul. Throughout the entire trip I was immersed in the nature's beauty.

Indeed, such a beautiful creation, the flower is.

And it brought me great relief and satisfaction, too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zuiko and a Football Legend


This picture was taken quite a while back, around June.

Santokh Singh aka Iron Man was one of Malaysian football stalwart in the late 70s early 80s that qualified for 2 Olympic games, Munich 1972 and Moscow 1980 (in which Malaysia boycotted due to the Afghanistan invasion). Malaysia at the time was easily considered among the elite in Asian football (twice 3rd place), and the players at the time included Dato' Soh Chin Aun (Towkay), Jamal Nasir, James Wong, the late R. Arumugam (Spiderman) and the late Mokhtar Dahari (Super Mokh).

I remembered watching them on the small black & white TV screen chasing the white speck of a ball. Yes, resolution was non-existent compared to the 720p resolution we have on Astro TV nowadays! I was merely 7 or 8 years old at the time, and was very proud of them. Those were the time when it was proud to play football. (Eventually I changed sports code to Union Rugby in my teenage years after experiencing the football grassroots politics at school level that may be one of the actual cause of the pitfall of Malaysian football now).

E-30 with Zuiko Digital ED35-100mm F2.0
100mm, f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO800, -0.7ev

The talk was short and entertaining. See, this was done in June, when the FIFA World Cup Finals mania was at its peak. And, the spirit of Malaysia Olympic Team 1980 was rejuvenated to rekindle the football glories past. Santokh was a simple chap, and his witty quips made the crowd laugh. When asked to comment on the current football situation, he passed.

I think many of the 1980 Golden Generation wouldn't want to make statements that actually most Malaysians already know. It's a continuous debate among all walks of life on how to cure the Malaysian football disease, and it has been 30 years since! Until now, there's none. I bet cancer and HIV have a better chance of getting a cure than our national football team. For one, there's no way in my lifetime to see Malaysia play a minute of football in the FIFA World Cup Finals. I can guarantee that.

Aaaah.. such a sad state in our football is in.

At least, I learned one thing from Santokh though. One person did ask if he had any advise to the young players to at least bring back some pride or fresh air to the state of our football. Santokh's answer was simple, "Just have the 3D's! Determination, Discipline, Dedication!".

Though, I still remember when Malaysia lost to England 2-4 in June, 1991. That was entertaining football and the Malaysian players actually were at awe with Gary Lineker. Eventually, he scored all goals for England. Hmmmm.... I thought Malaysian football was getting better.... Ohhh Boy, was I wrong. The icing on the cake was the big bribery bust of 1994/95 which hurtled Malaysian football to the Stone Age!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zuiko and the Palm Frond


It was one of those lazy Sunday afternoons, where I was stuck with nothing to do.

Sitting down on the rattan chair, watching my decrepit garden slowly being overrun by weeds, I glazed on the barbecue grill. It had been a while since we had a cookout. Hmmm.. now, since I am thinking about it, maybe looking forward to have one before the month ends. At the bottom of a grill was the fan I use to flame the fire, and it's made of palm frond. The shape really looks like the playing cards "spades" insignia, that posed an idea for a photographic subject. Now that looked like something worthwhile to shoot.

50mm, f/2.8, 1/640s, ISO400, -0.3ev

I panned my E-3 with the Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 Macro lens at various angles looking for interesting images. Many angles and composition later, I saw this effect. It looked cool. The palm wavy effect, coupled with fading of both ends of the fan created a dreamy yet eerie abstract. To add depth and tone, I positioned the fan's edge facing the lawn to compose the greenish fade out to the image. I was thinking of red, rather than green; however, I think not to change the color in post-process. I can live with that.

Aaaaahhh, life simple pleasures are sometimes just a click away. Never close your eyes for you might miss the beauty the world can give.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Zuiko and the Shrouded


Weird as it may seem, but the E-5 has put back my lost Mojo recently. I feel reborn, with the new spur to create images with my E-3. Since I got the E-30, the E-3 got a rather 2nd class treatment. It spends most of its time in the dry box, only to be used as a backup for event shoots. It is simply because of the more superior E-30 image quality.

Somehow, the E-5 experience has breathed in new spirit into the E-3. I can't explain the sensation, but boy am I glad to shoot picturesque with the E-3 with greater purpose now!

Recently my 16-month young boy has been very active walking and climbing at anything in the house. I make a point to follow his movements using the E-3 and the Zuiko Digital ED50mm F2.0 Macro. The choice is simply due to portability and ergonomics.

50mm, f/2, 1/400s, ISO1600, -0.3ev

One instant time, I saw him playing with the day curtain. Without hesitation, I pressed the shutter to capture the glowing moment. I was amazed with the E-3's matrix metering to handle the strongbacklight and its rapid auto focus to tame the erratic 50mm lens.

Sometimes I have to ask myself that some things are meant to be simple. And this old workhorse has proven itself to be worthy again.

Oh, yea.... for those interested to buy my E-3, please contact me directly. It's on sale to finance my E-5 pursuit!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Zuiko and E-5 Withdrawal


* A word of caution, image may not be suitable for vegetarians.

Urrrgggh... no E-5 to shoot with!

What should I do to remedy the pain??

Wait a minute... why don't I pixel peep some of E-5's pics. Since I didn't have time to do it due to severe time constraints during the E-5 weekend madness, now is the perfect time to nit pick some of the images that I captured.

* Please take note that the E-5 used for this blog review was a pre-production unit with Firmware 1.0.

Well, to be honest, the rapid shots I did with the E-5 mostly were events type, and not really pixel peeping material. I had a hard time finding a handful out of hundreds. So far, I found one.

E-5 with Zuiko Digital ED35-100mm F2.0
33mm, f/4.0, 1/250s, ISO200

All the shots I posted in my 4-day blog with E-5 are either straight-out-of-camera JPEGs or straight-out-of-Olympus-Studio RAWs. I did not do any postprocessing with regards to any image enhancement techniques.

Well, for this image, I did some work with the GIMP software. I just upped the contrast with masking and bumped the sharpness a tad with High Pass Filter. Other than that, nothing was done.

To start with, I am going to nit-pick on the exposure. This image was metered with the ESP 49-point matrix metering system. I believe there's not much tweak in the current E-5 compared to the E-30. Notice that my exposure was not set to biased -0.3ev as I usually do with the E-3 and E-30. This was purposely done during the test to see how the E-5 metering cope with high contrast scenes. When I processed the RAW file in Olympus Studio, I noticed that the cook's white hat was in Zone XIII or IX as there's no detail at all. I tried to pull down the exposure by 0.7ev, and the whole histogram shifted within an acceptable shadow-highlight range. Typical, I told myself.

Thus, the best way to deal with this is to pre-set 0.3ev in the Exposure Shift function of the E-5, or just bias the EV by -0.3 using the dial.

As can be seen the highlight is blasted into kingdom come, image is 100% crop

Actually, there's enough range to cover this scene from Zone II to Zone XIII but instead the ESP metered between Zone III and Zone IX, as the shadows still show some detail but the highlight is burnt. I don't blame much on the meter, as the overall scene is biased to be darker, and in the effort of the AE to compensate for potential underexposure, it overexposes for the goodness of the cook's hat.

But there's still space for shadows to show detail, image is 100% crop

Hmmmm.. I wish Olympus can produce a much improved ESP metering system, but for a seasoned E-system user like me, I know how to cope with it.

Okay, enough with the exposure stuff. I will now move on to nit-pick on the resolution of the whole system with the Zuiko Digital ED35-100mm F2.0 lens.

In general, I am very satisfied with the edge sharpness of the image, and somehow I didn't get sharp focus at the center of the image when it's cropped 100%. As the general rule, I used f/4 in many situations to get acceptably sharp images for event shoots. Maybe there's not much depth-of-field for this shot, maybe f/8 should do it. Ah well...

If only I have used f/8 aperture, then this would be sharp. Then again, I won't be able to get the mood I wanted, image is 100% crop

The below image that is slightly off to the bottom left of the frame exhibits excellent details, especially the grains of spice used to marinade the lamb can be clearly seen.

Texture is detailed clearly with details of the spices used, image is 100% crop

And finally, the last image below really shows the details even at the edge of the frame. I have nothing much to comment on the E-5's ability to resolve the SHG lenses. I salute Olympus for a job well done!!

The fabric's weave on the collar can be clearly seen even at the edge of the frame, image is 100% crop

Wow, I found another picture with edge-to-edge sharpness. This is even better than the sample above. Why? Because this picture was straight-out-of-the-camera-JPEG without any additional sharpening done!!!! Please click HERE to get the full 12MP resolution, and marvel at the amazing detail with shots made by the Zuiko Digital ED35-100mm F2.0 at WIDE OPEN F/2.0!!!!!

The two hours I took to write this blog has been a good therapy for me to cope with the E-5 withdrawal. I don't know how long will this last; maybe I need to write another blog tomorrow!!

How about commentary on how accurate AWB is compared to preset WB?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zuiko and E-5: Day 4


This is the day. The sad day. The day I have to return the E-5 to Olympus Malaysia.

E-5 with Zuiko Digital 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 mk2

On my way to work, a small mishap happened. I ran out of gas!!! A small miscalculation on the reserve. I was just 1km away from the nearest petrol kiosk. But then, it turned out to be a blessing.

While waiting for the ELITE Expressway Patrol to pass by, I managed to make some C-AF rapid shots. The fast moving cars at the excess of 100km/h (55mph) were just perfect!!

As I had experience shooting C-AF sequence at 5fps with RAW + SuperFine JPEG (total of 18-20MB per shot) during my kid's concert yesterday, the limit of the buffer was 7 frames. As can be seen in the panorama stitch shot above, I was stuck after the 7th frame!

About the C-AF performance? Well, most of it was based on technique and approach. In this case, my experience was about 70-80% hit rate. This was the only clean sequence I got out of 4 attempts. To tell you the truth, if I had been doing this type of shots day-in day-out, the hit rate might have been in the high 90%.

A quick landscape shot of the ELITE and KESAS expressways interchange

After my mishap was settled, I sped off to Olympus Malaysia office at Mont Kiara. I was thinking, I might as well milk out the last drop of pixel out of this E-5. Yeah, that's a great idea! The indoor shots were between ISO800 and 1600, while outdoor shots were at ISO200. All using Dramatic Tone, as I was at high emotions actually!

Dark parking bay below the office.

Olympus office is somewhere here.

At Olympus, I was greeted by Mr Yang (not a real name). I shared my experience, and felt very sad about it. We exchanged experiences shooting the E-5, and he showed me some great prints at A3-size to show the edge-to-edge details. Well, I haven't printed my shots yet, and boy were the prints looked great!!

After about half an hour chit-chat, I bid farewell, just after we were joined by Mr Big Boss. I also exchanged experience about the shoot with him, and also tried to lobby them to loan a couple of E-5s to our small community's upcoming trip up Mount Ledang (the Hope they agree to the idea, because brother Robin Wong will be joining the trip, too.

Entering with sadness...

Olympus cameras display

I just wished that I just could just grab hold of the bag and ran away!!

Well, now I am having a severe E-5 withdrawal syndrome. My mood is a bit off, and strangely when I arrive home I immediately grab hold of the E-3... Three days were just not enough!!! And, I apologize for any shortcomings of my write-up regarding the E-5 as I did not have much time to really study and test its capabilities.

It's going to be a tough few weeks for me to cope with the loss!!