E-PL1 with Nokton 50mm F1.1 Night Shoot 2329-2353hrs

Olympus E-PL1 with Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 via adapter

Side View of Olympus E-PL1 with Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1

All the following images shot wide open at F1.1 using Olympus EVF2 to manual focus. Hit Rate: 10/10. No Live View Magnifying needed. Amazing EVF! Olympus Engineers must be Darn Proud of this creation!

Clearing Trash

Bokeh Test - 01

Bokeh Test 02

Closed for Business

Midnight Smile

"Wi-Wa-ers" TEA

Marche "Umbrellas"

Mystery Band

Midnight Melody

Starry Starry Night

No, I shot this on a WEDNESDAY.

Chill Out

Chilling out too

Music DJ


"Stop Smoking, ok?"

White Shoes

White Dresses

As you can see, it’s an amazing small little camera! Micro-four-thirds is a system that GROWS with you. From the simplest kit lens usage in iAuto or P mode to using the A/S/M mode to using the built-in ART FILTERS to using Manual Focus lenses via adaptors to using it’s HD Video… … it’s almost limitless! Being much smaller than a typical DSLR, I truly enjoyed my night shoot! Communicating with my subjects was much easier cause I wasn’t using a huge DSLR which looks like a press photographer (Oh, I pray the Press Photographers don’t use such small cameras to spoil my street shoots one day… LOL…) Communicate? Yes, I do try to communicate when I can, mostly by my body language and sometimes a chat.

Related Posts:

1. E-PL1 and MFT experiences

2. E-PL1 vs GF1

3. E-P2 Review

4. The Power of Small Cameras

5. E-P1 Review

More about the Olympus E-PL1 and my experience with MFT

I’d like to share what I think I missed out in my previous post about the comparison between the Panasonic GF1 and the E-PL1. Also, I’d like to share a short summary of what cameras I have been using during the couple of months I went missing from this blog early this year.

Basically, from the E-P1, I switched to the E-P2. At first, my initial impression of the E-P2’s EVF2 (external electronic viewfinder) wasn’t so impressive. Yes, up till today, it is the highest quality electronic viewfinder you can ever find on earth, no other brands can match it yet. The Panasonic GF1’s EVF really sucks badly when you compare them side by side.

But in my then E-P2 Review, I wrote that looking through the EVF is no different from watching Live View through a peep hole. In the months when I went missing from this blog, I found out that this wasn’t true! The Olympus’s EVF2 is about the ONLY thing in the world today which can make Manual Focusing of old SLR lenses, Leica M-Mount lenses, and even the C-Mount lenses on the Olympus PEN E-P2 and E-PL1 POSSIBLE!

I get as high as 10/10 hit rate in terms of nailing my focus using the EVF2 on my E-P2, even when I was using the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 lens wide open! Using Live View to manual focus is just too time-consuming, too tedious and too slow!

Yes! The Micro Four Thirds Mount can mount almost limitless types of lenses on it via adapters! And China make most of these adapters at really affordable prices! The Micro Four Thirds System shall rock the world of photography!

I shall write more about using these various lenses in my next few posts, so stay tuned.

After switching to the E-P2, I started my indulgence into using the EVF2 to manual focus with all sorts of manual focus lenses (including old Olympus SLR OM lenses, of course). This is addictive! At the same time, I tried out the Panasonic Lumix MFT lenses.

And finally, the road led me to the E-PL1. (For buddies who have been hanging out with me, they also saw my indulgence into many other types of cameras… Leica being one of my favourites! Haha… sinful… )

An overall experience told me that for AF lenses, my favourite is the Lumix 20mm F1.7. As for MF lenses, there are quite a few I really like: the Nokton 50mm F1.1, and the C-Mount Ampex 25mm F1.4 TV lens in particular.

I prefer the look and feel of the E-P1 and E-P2, but I think the E-PL1 is currently the most practical choice for me. The E-PL1 is a more intelligent camera, produces sharper and nicer images, is smaller and lighter, and more comfortable to hold. However, I really hate the menu system. According to Olympus, this camera is supposed to be simpler and easier to use. But I find it otherwise.

Fiddly Menu in the E-PL1, CW trying hard to find out how to switch apertures. This image is captured with my iPhone.

Both CW and I were having a hard time trying to find out how to switch apertures. We, like most of you out there, don’t read menus! Haha…

And on a separate occasion, I passed the E-PL1 to another of my photo-enthusiast friend to try out, he had a hard time trying to change ISO.

What is this??? Is it just us being “too advanced” to understand the “simpler” menus in the E-PL1, or is Olympus misunderstanding what the consumers need? Sometimes in trying to make something simpler, we made it more difficult. Less is More? Simpler is Complicated? Hahaha….

Just to share some E-PL1 shots here, all with minimum tweaking, Olympus is famous for beautiful digital images straight out of camera!

A quick shot of the busy Satay Man. ISO1600, F5.6, 1/20s.

Trying out the POP UP FLASH in E-PL1 … …

Personally, I wouldn’t bother much about pop-up flashes, since all pop-up flashes in the world do not produce as pleasing results as external hotshoe flashes which can bounce. Bad lighting? I’d rather not shoot. Pop-up flashes aren’t gonna make it much better.

Shot by CW.

The E-PL1 is also perfect for hip shots:

Hip Shot of Uncle, a little post-cropping done. ISO200, F7.1, 1/250s.

Corn Salesman. Shot from hip level using Live View. Something not possible with my Leica M6 and M8. ISO200, F3.2, 1/200s.

The above images speak for themselves Olympus’s image qualities!

I imagine one day, I show my son a photograph of a morning glory and teach him what’s purple, he replies, “It’s BLUE!” And I will say, “Oops! That’s Panasonic!”

I’d rather go for the E-PL1. :p

Related Posts:

1. GF1 vs E-PL1

2. E-P2 Review

3. E-P1 Review

Finally, Some Updates… …

Take a break man… … have a currypuff and talk to your loved one!

I have been taking a loooonng break from blogging, and I really owe many an update of what I have been doing. To put down in words all that I have been busy with is gonna take a few pages and so I’m just gonna talk about the basic stuff I did.

Stuff I did:

1. Exploring even more cameras, beyond Olympus, beyond the common brands, beyond digital

2. Thinking hard on what I really wanna do for 2010

3. Learning from photo enthusiasts!

4. Understanding the people I shoot, namely the strangers on the streets, I try to make them friends

5. Learning from my child. He has double portion of my bad DNA. “Retribution”. But God taught me the most through him.

Stuff I really need to do now:

1. Share more knowledge online!

Photography is a lifestyle. It should progress beyond shooting pretty girls, testing lenses, shooting for money, shooting what others have achieved, shooting to impress, shooting to compete, shooting for the sake of shooting, shooting to cover up our insecurities, or shooting just because you like the camera shutter sound and it’s functionality or complexity.

I know that some enjoy photography because of the photographic equipments. Me too, I enjoy each individual mechanical or electronic built. I know that some enjoy shooting pretty girls so they can enjoy looking at the images after that. Me too, who doesn’t like pretty stuff? I know some enjoy photography when they win awards. Me not really, I’d rather not be obsessed with shooting to win the favor of judges / or shooting what others want.

I wanna shoot for a cause. A competition for an exhibition of images for a good cause, yes!

And I believe photography should develop into a lifestyle. Photography, my sketch book. I sketches my life in it. What I see, what I feel and what I want others to see, feel and know. I just hope that my images speak, and that my images last, no matter how insignificant my images may seem to be. I am insignificant, just like a tiny grain of sand on the seashore. Yet, I’ll still shoot to share. Who does not shoot to share? He should give up photography if photography remains in his closet. Fear of others “copying” your works??? Who do you think you are anyway? A Bigger Grain?

2010 Plans:

1. I am gonna get more active in sharing photography! So, you are gonna see more of my face in workshops, more of my works online, and more of my outspoken thoughts (never meant to offend, just treat my blog as my online diary, you can have yours too!).

2. I am shooting more for others, rather than just for myself selfishly, and I mean commercially, as many still love my wedding and portrait works. Now, I must say for any artist, repetitive works are never what an artist wants. That’s why I mentioned “shooting for others”. But, that does not mean I shoot mindlessly without emotion for my clients,  it’s about achieving “the pretty shots” my clients always wanted. That’s part of sharing too! And I still have my fiery passion in shooting portraits and especially actual day wedding events when so many “decisive moments” are waiting to be captured.

3. I hope that I can have an exhibition of some of my works. It’s really tedious in organizing all that I have been shooting in 2009, and it’s accumulating in 2010… and I have so much to share. I have been shooting almost everyday, and sometimes it’s just one frame per day.

My encouragement of the day: Be a Photographer! Not just a Businessman.

I always remind myself:

Good Businessman creates his own opportunities. Lousy Businessman copies what others do.

Good Photographer creates his own works. Lousy Photographer copies others’ works. (Have some pride lah! Not shy meh? When others say you copy.)

Keep me bookmarked! For those who are interested to participate in my coming workshops, please email me at or drop a comment below.

I will have more updates very soon.

Earn-A-Living Differently

In the midst of my busy schedule lately, I have to “steal shots” in between the day to enjoy photography instead of going out to do an exclusive 3-4 hours shoot without distraction. Currently, I am exploring in the different ways of “earning-a-living” in Malaysia. The wide differences, legal and illegal, ethical and unethical, successful and not-so-successful. It is mind-boggling to define success when there’s no absolute standard for eveyone. What is your success? Below are just some random street shots from recent weeks. Each potray a different lifestyle. Whether each individual is really happy with their own life or not, I don’t know.

Rojak Seller

Rojak Seller

Typical driving scene for the office executives

Typical driving scene for the office executives

Mobile Stall Food Seller

Mobile Stall Food Seller

Jobless? This shot is for your free imagination.

Jobless? This shot is for your free imagination.

Loanshark "Advertisements". I would love to do a close-up shot of a loanshark. Any volunteers?

Loanshark "Advertisements". I would love to do a close-up shot of a loanshark. Any volunteers?

The Power of Small Cameras

Man smoking, waiting. Olympus E-P1 at 14mm, 16:9 format, built-in art filter.

Man smoking, waiting. Olympus E-P1 at 14mm, 16:9 format, built-in art filter. I was about 2 metres from my subject.

I have recently grown much in love with small cameras like the Olympus E-P1, Leica M6, Rollei 35mini, and even the old classic legendary half-frame Olympus PEN FT, just to name some. My madness and fanaticism over small cameras is not getting any better and in fact, is getting worse… though the Leica M9 at RM25k is way out of reach. I figured that I can do the same thing by mounting my Leica lenses on my Olympus E-P1 via an adaptor and manual focus it even better than the M9 by using live view. Haha… self-consolation maybe. Or use my full-frame film Leica M6. Cheers man!

Still, I am often humbled by the fact that good images do not rely on good cameras BUT good photographers! Just browse through Flickr and you will be humbled just like me. Many of my favourite shots often come from my small compact cameras too.

Why own a perfect, what I call a “magic camera” like the Nikon D700 or D3, that when you wanna “steal a shot”, the cameras are so huge that you will be caught way before you press your shutter button! Not unless you are using a 70-200mm telephoto or even longer, and stand 50 -100 feet away. However, I also remember Robert Capa said,” If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough. So, I guess wide angles and standards are still my preferred choices. I like to sneak up close and personal, “steal” a shot without scaring my subjects with huge cameras, and sometimes, “ask” for a shot from my subjects. (I’ll be writing on the difference between “stealing” and “asking” for shots in another post).

So, why do I call the D700 a “magic camera”? Cause it really can continue shooting at ISO6400 or higher when all other cameras “died” in the darkest environment ever. (Of course the Canon 5Dmark2 too will continue shooting, but maybe focus blur. Kidding… cause personally I think Nikon’s AF is better).

Then the Olympus shooters will exclaim, “why shoot in such lowlight when the lighting is not even good, all flat?” And the Olympus shooters will whip out their off-camera TTL flash and boasts of the best skin tones and lighting achievable in such situations! No doubt, they will get the best-looking portraits.

I often wonder, why still shoot when all around you is so blindly dark??? Oh, then I figured that maybe you are a paparazzi or a private investigator doing your job trying to catch someone in their “act”. Lighting is no longer important, “the act” is more!

Now that I’ve been missing my big SLRs, let me try listing down it’s advantages.


1. Faster frame rates (but the loud clanky shutter sounds will give you away)

2. Size and look will boost your self-confidence or ego (if being regarded as a professional by “how you look” is more important to you than your images)

3. Faster auto-focusing (compact cameras with F8 aperture can “focus ” faster due to deeper depth-of-field)

4. More inter-changeable lens choices (an up close personal 28mm F8 shot of a stranger on the street is a 100 times more compelling than a 85mm F1.2 shot showing a reluctant face)

5. You look like a PRO, you look like a PRO, you look like a PRO. Oh, what can I say? The whole world thinks you are a PRO. You get people asking you for business cards. You don’t really have to show your images. The gear you hang on your body speaks everything. No one dares to comment openly about your images. All you will hear is,“Nice. Very professional.” (I’d rather not live in delusion)

Conclusion: Yes, I still use my big professional SLRs when the need arises (faster frame rates, lenses, etc.) But I will always want my images to speak for me, NOT my equipments.

And the power of small cameras must not be undermined! A small and insignificant camera with a quiet shutter doubles up your photographic opportunities, even triples! It also tests your communication skills with your subjects!