Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Just got back from covering a wedding in Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore.

I'm totally flat out and am on the verge of getting sick if I don't have enough rest.

Instead of using my usual D3, I used this humble Nikon D7000 today after being lent this unit by my friend. I'm hooked by it already because it is so intelligent and easy to use! And the results look great too, especially for skin tones.

Lesson - Don't be fooled by small cameras. 

I'll elaborate more tomorrow, or when I return to KL.

Good morning everyone!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! Everyone's enjoying their holidays and spending time with friends, family and loved ones, but I'm right here working today. I guess there's a first time for everything.

I feel like talking about cameras today. Lets do so, shall we?

 The Canon 7D which replaced the 50D as the flagship camera for the APS-C series is aimed squarely at the Nikon D300s. It now features an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 8fps continuous shooting, 1080p HD video, 3" 920k LCD, 19 point AF system, 1.0x magnification and 100% viewfinder, wireless flash control and a weathersealed body.

Considering all these features available, the Canon 7D is a very versatile camera for its asking price. It can handle studio jobs effortlessly due to its 18mp sensor, while wildlife and sports shooters will consider this a great camera for use in harsh weather conditions, while the 8fps will ensure all moments are captured as effortlessly as possible. Videographers are also using the 7D for short footages as compared to carrying another dedicated video camera.

If you don't need all the fancy bells and whistles of the 7D, the 550D entry level camera has almost the same image and video quality as the 7D, albeit being in a slower, smaller and lighter package.

Plenty of conventional photography studios still employ the 5D mark 1 as their workhorse. Although it seems like an eternity since it was first released, the level of detail it produces with an L lens (a 24-105L will do fine) at base ISO 100 is astounding indeed. I still marvel at the files that this camera produces. It's also one of the cheapest entry points into full frame photography, at approx 1000 USD for a mint unit.

This camera has since been eclipsed by the 5D markII, offering a 21.1 MP CMOS sensor, ISO expansion to 25,600, AF micro adjustment, 3" 920k LCD, 1080p HD video among others. However compared to the D700, it's continuous AF isn't as reliable, it's default jpeg output is a little soft when viewed at 100%, it's 'only' 3.5 fps (vs 5fps), it's highlight dynamic range 'headroom' isn't as good, and it's weather sealing is average.

 The Nikon D700 can do almost everything that current flagship D3s does, at less than half the price. Despite being 'only' 12 MP, the files produced by this camera is stunning. In some respect, I like this camera because

  • You can boost its continuous frame rate to 8fps with the optional EN EL3A battery. I've seen photojournalists shoot the Melbourne Cup with it. With the D3 battery and the default battery installed in camera, you can get at least 4,000 shots with both batteries fully charged.
  • High ISO performance is improved marginally as compared to the D3.
  • Chimping images is faster, possibly due to an enhanced processor and algorithm
  • It's smaller compared to bringing a large, heavy D3 around. It's based on the D300 body too anyway.

Last but not least, the Olympus E-3. It's not mean to replace the Nikon brute that I currently have, but as a camera that has shaped my photography experience, this has definitely earned a special place in my heart.

Its successor the Olympus E-5 has certainly brought a mouthful to the table in the form of an enhanced detail at high ISOs (when I mean 'high', at least ISO 3200) and high defintion video. The art filters are nifty too, but I prefer the I-Enhance feature more.

But considering the lack of new developments Olympus is putting into the 4/3rds consortium (as compared to Canon and Nikon, or even Pentax for example), I wonder how long will Olympus be committed towards the further development of the 43rds series as compared to Micro 43rds. Is it worth getting on a sinking ship when Sigma and Panasonic-Leica have already abandoned it? Only time will tell, and only you can decide if it's worth investing into this system.

Cheers, and Merry Christmas to all my friends and fellow blog followers.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Food.. more food!

Vietnamese Kitchen, Jaya 33

My parents came to KL a few weeks ago en route to Seoul. My bro and I met them up one night for dinner @ Vietnamese Kitchen, Jaya 33. The restaurant has a nice classy atmosphere to eat although its minimally decorated.

 Anyway.. on to the food. The bread crumbed oysters are simply delectable. They're definitely something to watch out for if you do dine here.

 Deep fried calmari. The fried bits mask the flavour of the calamari a little.

An assortment of food on a rattan basket - fresh leafy vegetables, glass noodles, spring rolls, satay and meat balls.

 A closer look at the barbecued meat..

 Roasted fillet barbecue duck with chilli sauce

Prawns in pumpkin curry

Braised pork with boiled egg. The pork is so tender that its as soft as butter when you split it with your spoon or fork.

Choong Kee Kampar Claypot Chicken Rice

Went back for another round of Claypot Chicken Rice @ Choong Kee. I ordered one with lap cheong (chinese sausages)..

while my brother had one with raw egg.

Chan Thong Kee, PJ ss2
18, Jalan SS2/16
Petaling Jaya 46350

I've recently 'discovered' this restaurant which is near my workplace. The restaurant is clean and not too crowded most of the time, but importantly, they serve good food at reasonable prices. This is their charsiew and crispy pork combo.

I love the stirfried stuff here because its huge and they put in loads of ingredients, such as bean sprouts, chicken slices, prawn and egg. I asked for kueh tiaw, but they gave me stirfried hor fun instead. It tastes great! The dishes come in 3 sizes - small, medium and large for RM6, 10 and 15 respectively.

Thats all for now folks. I hope you're not drooling over your computer keyboards! ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

National Farmers Association Annual General Meeting

 The National Farmers Association had holds their 37th annual general meeting today. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to cover the launch of this event yesterday by my boss because it was officiated by our Prime Minister YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib.

The food wasn't bad actually - stir fried chicken fillet, fried fish, beef curry, curry potatoes and stir fried vegetables.

There was a little exhibition outside relating to palm oil products, which still one of the major agricultural exports of our country.

Delegates taking a closer look at the products.

Photographing some important people, whom I don't really know who they are.

Its important to get the timing of shaking hands right. It must be perfect.

 Group shots at the table.

 A local gamelan group. They used to be the chamber orchestra for the royalties.

 The welcoming party for the Prime Minister.

Our Prime Minister arrives. The blue shirt in the right hand corner is from one of his pesky bodyguards.

 The disappointing thing about photographing the Prime Minister is the presence of an army of bodyguards. Although they're not as vigilant as the American secret service, they certainly get in the way of your picture. They shove you out of the way without warning (as all bodyguards do anyway), and their heads get into your images.

Of course, the bodyguards aren't too impressed with us photographers. One of them even said - "Can't your lens even zoom?"

A brief group photo before the dinner commences.

Everyone's seated in the hall waiting for the dinner to start. Three bodyguards are standing behind our dear PM.

It's an absolute No No to photograph your Prime Minister or other VIPs while they're eating. It doesn't look nice, and on top of that, you're bound to get screwed.

And the speeches begin.

One of the ministers giving his speech.

 Members of the audience listening attentively to the speech.

 Our Prime Minister arises to deliver his speech.

I was thought to always shoot the person delivering a speech while he is looking at the audience, not at his text.

 After a while, the static pose becomes boring, so you look for opportunities when our PM raises his hands as some form of expression.

The problem is that you're also competing with a horde of press photographers with 1D cameras and white L lenses. They blast off at 10 frames per second and use flash like a sledgehammer, effectively denying other photographers the opportunity to photograph something.

I wasn't keen to blast off my D3 at 9fps however. It would kill off the SB900 which  I was using for bounce flash.

 Officiating the AGM with the gong.

Yep, this is what press cameras do to your images - blast your images into highlight oblivion.

 He then presented some scholarships to children of NAFAS members.

A group photo with the students.

Its good to photograph our Prime Minister shaking hands with his people.. without the large crowds and pesky bodyguards. Urrgh  :(

You have to follow the PM to his car and see him off. He's taking some time to read the report and speak with the VIPs.

Well, that's about it for now. I hope I've been able to give you an insight into the work that I do. It's not easy (and admittedly I still suck at it), but I try my very best nonetheless.


Monday, December 13, 2010


Whenever I see this sign, I am reminded to return to my roots. I just don't know when would it happen.

Kim has finally returned.. Oh yes, she has! After half a year, she has finally returned to papa, albeit in a slightly different form.

Some folks may think I'm crazy, and quite rightly so. I could've used the money for a new SB900, or a nice Nikon 85/1.8D, or anything else for that matter. Why return to something technically inferior? I don't know, really. Maybe I just miss Kim too much :s


The rear layout of the E-3 has always made more sense to me as compared to the E-5. Many buttons which were strategically placed in my opinion were completely rearranged to make way for the new 3 inch, 920k swiveling LCD screen.

I've equipped her with a HLD-4 battery grip, a leather handgrip, and a Zuiko 12-60 SWD. I guess this is going to be my main combo for now whenever I get the opportunity to utilise Kim.

Although Kim is considered hopelessly obsolete as compared to todays' newest cameras (eg. Canon 60D, Nikon D7000), she still retains her charm despite her age.

Here are some images... jpegs straight out of camera.

Anyway, before I end, I'd just like to show you what I had for dinner tonight. It's a HUGE plate of stirfried kueh tiaw. The ingredients are pretty fresh- fish cake, prawns, sliced pork, egg, vegetable. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks. Yum :)

And yes, of course its with the Nikon D3 and my humble Tamron lens.

Stay tuned. Cheers.


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