Sunday, December 18, 2016

LUMIX G85 a BETTER GX85?

In September at the 2016 PHOTOKINA, Panasonic announced 4 new 4K capable cameras, the compact DMC-LX10, the Hybrid Bridge camera FZ2500, the GX85, a DSLR look alike system camera and a mock up, not yet completed, super duper, advance system camera the GH5.

My interest was with the DMC-G85 which inherited the same 16 MP, AA filterless sensor of the more compact GX85 which I reviewed and love.  As a matter of fact, I almost bought a GX85 until I found out what the G85 have and the GX85 do not!

I was trying to get the G85 from Panasonic New Zealand for a review, there was a nearly two months delay because someone else was having the camera. Also, some oversea reviewers discovered there was a "jitter" or "jump" during video filming.

Panasonic have to come out with a new firmware update to fix that jitter problem and again that delayed the reviewing a bit.

The photo on the left show the "range-finder" styled, compact DMC-GX85 and the much thicker and taller "DSLR style" DMC-G85.

Apart from being bigger, the G85 have more dials and buttons than the GX85.

However, the most important difference that G85 got and GX85 do not are...

*The new Panasonic 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS lens.

* I.S. DUAL 2 image stabiliser.

* Weather tight and dust proof seals.

* Full Tilt Swivel Screen.

* Much quieter shutter.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Déjà vu - SEE NO EVIL!

1987, the year of living dangerously!

The Aussies started it all with the coverage of Barlow and Chambers drug trafficking case.

I was working for a local Penang paper; young and reckless, shooting for the paper and moonlighting for the Australian agencies! Money was fast and good.... we never see so many photographers and "green bills" in our life!

The high court in Penang was like a media zoo!...

The important thing about covering a high-pressure-high-court case is a electronic flash with very fast recycling time! In 1987, Quantum battery was the "King "! I decided to built one that is FASTER!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Panasonic Leica 12mm f/1.4 - BOKEH-LICIOUS!!

In my recent posting about this very bright, pricey super-wide "Low Light King",  I follow up with a "Second Take" where I compared the NZ$2,500 lens with cheaper glass, I received some feed back from Panasonic Hew Zealand...


"Thank you for the review.

While comparing all 3 lenses at F5.6 for sharpness is valid as part of a whole review I do feel that you have overlooked the main feature of the lens that is also the main contributor to the cost of the lens. Namely, its brightness. 

Getting a 12mm lens to F1.4 and keeping sharpness at that aperture is not cheap. Also keeping the size in check and using 9 aperture blades and weather sealing also add to the cost.

Will you be following up with reviews showing the Bokeh performance?"

That timely feed back reminded me that I should look into one of the main attraction this lens can offer... NICE, CREAMY BOKEH!

For those that don't know what BOKEH is...

In short...

The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.

A "nice" bokeh will help to isolate your subject from a distracting background. In general but not always, a large aperture lens will exhibit nice bokeh.

Friday, August 12, 2016

PANASONIC-LEICA DG 100-400 - Second Take

The First Time when we visited the Wellington Zoo was in 1988, (the first week when we arrived from Penang); since then, we probably went back only once!

But yesterday, taking advantage of a rare SUNNY WINTER DAY, my Home Minister and Moi went walking down the memory lane again!

1988 at the Wellington Zoo! © C.Y.Leow
Apart from reliving our lost youth, I had another mission on hand, to give the PANASONIC/LEICA 100-400 super zoom a good run for their money!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH, Second Take..

I have mix feeling on this pricey Panasonic / Leica optics, some of my friends think this prime lens is specially created for low light photography; in some way, they are correct, I informed them this exotic glass is also very good for day to day shots and landscapes photography.

"For NZ$2,400.00 a pop, surely there must be a cheaper optics that give similar results?"

That question got me going to compare this well made 12mm or 24mm Eq optics with 2 of my own Panasonic lenses.

To make sense of my comparison, we must only compare a focal length of 24mm Eq and f/5.6. Pointless to compare f/1.4 on the Panasonic/Leica with a cheaper lens on f/4, most likely the expensive Leica will loose!  So lets standardise our test aperture at f/5.6.



Some of my friend think I am loosing it because the first lens I choose is the tiny Lumix G Vario 12-32, the kit lens that came with my tiny GM1.

The ultra compact Lumix G Vario 12-32 f3.5/5.6 zoom have a 24-64mm equivalent focal length. I will just set it to it's 24mm Eq to compare with the 24mm Eq Summilux.

My test target was my favourite Oriental Bay vista that I use for all my lens test.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH - the Low Light King?

I was lucky to have this incredible Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH Prime Lens, send to me from Panasonic New Zealand, last Friday. I discovered this Leica branded 24mm Eq wide angle beauty is not even in the NZ shops yet!  WOOHOO!!


Don't let anyone tell you this is a "small lens', it is NOT, it is solid, chunky and heavy. In Leica tradition, very well made.

It is also Panasonic's widest and BRIGHTEST 24mm Eq M43 weather-sealed, auto-focus super-wide.

Auto focus is very fast and you can switch to manual focus in a flash and oh.. you also get a clickable APERTURE RING that will make the Leica fan boy grin!

To enjoy all these features will set you back a cool NZ$2,300!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

They Shoot Planes With PANASONIC LEICA 100-400 Don't They?

"Bird" hunting while driving up Mt Victoria, in Wellington with the Panasonic Leica 100-400 super zoom.


It was a clear winter afternoon, the gusty wind packed an insane chill factor, cannot see any birds at all! Not even the long legged humanoid kind!

Half way up the mountain I noticed some IRON BIRDS negotiating the Wellington blow to land on this windy Capital.

I parked the car and became a plane spotter!

The chunky Leica zoom is quite heavy mounted on the just as chunky Lumix GX8, the total weight was quite a handful standing in the very strong southerlies.

I could have use my monopod but I want to find out what it is like hand holding this set up.

Surprisingly, the big 100-400 balance really well on the Lumix GX8.  The GX8, I think is the ideal camera body for this lens. A smaller body like the GX85 will not balance as well.

Friday, July 29, 2016

PANASONIC-LEICA DG 100-400 - First Impression

WOOHOO!  As promised, I received the long awaited Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH zoom lens from Panasonic New Zealand today!



It was raining cats and dogs when this super-zoom arrived outside my front door  and I was dying to take it out with the Lumix GX8 (came together) for a spin!

Not wanting to give these lovely Panasonic beauties a shower, even though they both can take the plunge because both are weather sealed... I thought for this wet day 1, I will just take some quick shots from our rain drenched deck!

But first, lets look at this Leica designed super-zoom...

First of all, this is a heavy and PRICEY zoom lens, is Leica lenses EVER CHEAP?

Our local Photowarehouse is asking NZ$2,499 for this 985g (34.7 oz) beauty!

Why so much?

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Street Photography

During the weekend I was browsing and looking at photos that are classified as "Street Photography" and was stunned how popular this type of documentary photography is!

So what is street photography?

According to Wikipedia:
"Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions, and other settings."

It go on to say about this type of photography...

"Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment."

Straight photography? A quick click of my mouse told me that...

"Straight photography or Pure photography refers to photography that attempts to depict a scene as realistically and objectively as permitted by the medium, renouncing the use of manipulation.

Founded in 1932, Group f/64 who championed purist photography, had this to say:
Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form."
Hmmm... that prompt me to look at my archived images to see which of my shots can go under this decisive, candid; category :)

One of my favorite!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

PICCURE+ 3.0 Completely Redesigned and Improved!

I was writing about PICCURE since 2013, as a matter of fact, I was one of the BETA TESTER for this incredible software!

If you want to know what this is all about, go HERE and read about it.

Three nights ago while processing one of my foodie shot for Facebook posting, my iMac asked if I want to update my present Piccure plug-in..

I did and when I ran it I was surprise the improvement the new update delivered!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Once Upon A Time In INDIA 3

Our last day in India was a full on fashion shoot day in Agra.

According to Wikipedia:

Agra is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is located at the banks of river Yamuna, 363 kilometres (226 mi) west of state capital, Lucknow and 200 kilometres (124 mi) south from national capital New Delhi.

With a population of 1,686,976 (2010 est.), it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most populous in India.

Because 80 percent of the city's sewage flows into Yamuna River, it is 20th most polluted city in India.

Yet, it is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpūr Sikrī, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We woke up at 5 am and head for Taj Mahal to catch the rising sun.


This is what we came for! The stunning Taj Mahal, 6.30 am. One of the New Seven Wonder Of The World!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Once Upon A Time In INDIA 2

Theory of Chaos! The more I look at the pictures in the India Fashion CD, the more confuse I was! There were no caption and indication where they were taken! 1994, the year of meta data none existence ;) No help from colour films either!

But there must be some sort of order in all these chaos? A little thinking out of the box and Google took me to india-travelpackages.com and I discovered their Golden Triangle Tour, Tour Code : IOYO-01; for 5 nights & 6 days; with Routing : DELHI - JAIPUR - AGRA - DELHI. Is exactly the SAME type of tour that we took for our fashion shoot!

Reading their detailed itinerary and by looking at pictures (in Google graphics) of each location, I am able to identify where my shots were taken! Cool eh?

Our little fashion group from Singapore first landed at Delhi, after a short rest we went to work; trying to get some shots around the hotel.




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Once Upon A Time In INDIA

After the last house flood, our stuff and junk are still semi organised in the garage. While rummaging through the chaos last week end, I discovered some forgotten memories; images that were forgotten.

A CD found was labelled "India Fashion", ahhh... memories flood back, it bring a smile to my face :)

I remember someone said, "It took me a long time to figure out that it's not where you are that counts in life; it's the memories that you make there."

And since, "Everybody has a story to tell, but stories forgotten can never be retold." Here's the great time I had with a group of energetic and creative young Singaporean before I forget!

1994 - I was head hunted and landed a well paid job as the first Picture Editor for Lianhe Zaobao in Singapore. Life was good, the Editor; Mr. Loy liked me a lot. Believe you me, this "LIKE" thing is very important in Singapore ;)

I just bought and set up the first Electronic Picture Desk for the Chinese Paper Division. I was getting acquainted with the Apple Macintosh computers and learning to use Adobe Photoshop 5.0 to scan negatives with a Kodak Professional RFS 2035 desktop scanner then output the pictures to a S$40,000 Kodak dye-sub printer!

Looking at the images in the India Fashion CD gave me a shock! The quality of the scans were terrible and they are all in PICT format, which; Photoshop CS5 DO NOT support! Suffice to say, the "rejigging" of the 1994 scans took me some very late nights :)

But how did I ended up shooting fashion in India?

In 1993, the features section of the Chinese paper ran a nation wide Most Promising Young Models Contest. The winners (male and female) will go with a fashion team from the paper to India for a week of fashion shoot.

Before I start, here is a plead; I had no record of the names of those in the pictures and this old mind cannot really recall their Chinese names! So if you are reading this or if you are their friends, please inform me yours / theirs names. Thanks!

We were in a chartered bus heading for Jaipur, the Pink City; this boy was selling poppadom in the middle of the road. I shot through the bus window.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Once Upon A Time in Wellington

SATURDAY turn out to be a sunny but very windy Wellington day! But that is very Wellington! How windy?  If you view some of the videos, you will realise why THE COOLEST LITTLE CAPITAL IN THE WORLD is also known as WINDY WELLINGTON ;)

Saturday (14 May 2016) was also the day the CHINA CULTURAL CENTRE IN NEW ZEALAND organised an event to celebrate WORLD TAICHI MONTH, this was held at the CIVIC SQUARE in the heart of Wellington city.

We went to the Civic Square early to secure a good spot to film the event, I was given a "STAFF" badge by Master Zhang of the Cultural Centre for easy access around the event.

But after covering many events during my newspaper photographer days, I knew I would still be block by people running around with their mobile phones, filming!  The badge did make my live a bit easier though.

The World Tai Chi Month programme was colourful...

There were Tai Chi 8 routine, Qigong Ba Duan Jin, Tai Chi 24 routine (fast and slow versions), the ever popular Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Tai Chi Chen Style, Wushu performance.

To spice up the event there were also a Chinese dance performed by the children from the Oriental Cultural and Performing Arts Group dress up as cute Kungfu Pandas.

Adding a bit of glamour, a Chinese Cheongsam Show, "Blue and White Porcelain" by lovely ladies of the New Zealand Chinese Cultural and Arts Association.

The show ended with a delightful Chinese dance, "Jasmine Flower" by the dancers of the  Oriental Cultural and Performing Arts Group.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lumix DMC-TZ110, Ideal Travel Camera?

PANASONIC has been producing their TZ (TRAVEL ZOOM) compact camera range for nearly 10 years, their latest offering is the LUMIX TZ110 (with a LARGE 1" sensor) and the TZ80, which has same features but a smaller sensor.

TZ110 (in NZ) are also known as TZ100 or ZS100 in some countries.

The compact but solid TZ110 in "OFF" position.
Before I start, there are a lot of reviews done on the TZ110, some are really detailed and you can find all the features well explained.  I especially like this one, this one and this one.

What I will inform you here are my personal like and don't like on this travel-cam, I will not repeat what others has written about.

In 2010 I concluded that...

A good travel camera should have the following quality:

1) It must be relatively light weight.
2) Take interchangeable lens.
3) Digital, with video.
4) Larger sensor than a point and shoot.
5) Able to shoot RAW.

Six years later, look like the TZ110 fit all the bill, except 2) on interchangeable lens!

But six years later, the TZ110 come with a Leica branded 25-250 10X zoom!  So may be I do not need my ideal travel-cam to be able to change lens anymore?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

LUMIX GX85 with MF PRIME LENS

According to Wikipedia... In film and photography, a prime lens is either a photographic lens whose focal length is fixed, as opposed to a zoom lens, or it is the primary lens in a combination lens system.

My manual focus PRIME LENSES hibernating in the cloth closet 
Like most photographers living through the FILM ERA, we accumulated a few manual focussing prime lenses from our SLRs.

You can see from the above picture that I have a few Nikon (Nikkor) and Leica-M prime lenses. Most of the time, these once highly sought after lenses are hibernating in my cloths closet!

I have used my selections of old Nikon and Leica M optics on my Olympus E-P2 and OM-D before, the experiences were not intuitive mainly because it is so bloody hard to get an accurate manual focussing on these digital cameras! Not until I try out my 25 year old 50/2 Leica Summicron-M lens on the GM1!

If you read that review, you will realise I LOVE IT!

Now with the Lumix GX85, it should be even better, right?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Shooting Video With LUMIX GX85

FIRST OF ALL, I am NOT a VIDEO / MOVIE sort of guy...

In the last two years, the only time I shoot videos were of my wife's line dancing sessions, I shot them with different "point n shoot" cameras, I then turn those movies into a DVD so she can practice her dances by watching them on TV.

Then three weeks ago, my wife asked me to film a Tai Chi Master from China. Master Victor Zhang is giving some free Tai Chi lessons, I went and record his demonstration with my little GM1.

My GM1 is set to HD, MP4 (720, 25P) mode.

This is a movie taken with the GM1 with the 12-32 kit lens.

The kit lens has build-in I.S., I am not sure if it work for movie mode. I doubt it because my hand holding clip look a bit shaky.



Friday, April 15, 2016

LUMIX GX85 Did Panasonic GET IT RIGHT?

MY FRIEND ask me why I am excited about the recently launched PANASONIC LUMIX GX85, well, let me count my way...


First of all, the GX85 look like a SMALLER GX8!

The Panasonic Lumix GX85 is also known as the GX80 in some parts of the world, or alternatively as the GX7 Mark II in Asia.

I love the GX8, but personally, I feel it is a bit BIG; mind you, I can live with it but now we are having the baby GX8... time to replace my GM1?

Last week, Panasonic New Zealand let me try out their new baby with three lenses.


The new GX85 is seen here wearing the retractable Lumix 12-32 zoom (the GM1 kit lens), in New Zealand, however, it come with the new  LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH with MEGA O.I.S. as the kit lens (the lens in the middle).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

NEW LUMIX GX80 a Smaller GX8!

SOMETIME TODAY, Panasonic Japan is going to launch a NEW compact, GX80!

This is exciting (to me at least) because from the leaked data, the GX80 is like a smaller version of the GX8 which I tested and like very much!

Take a look at the composite digram I created to give you an idea of the GX80 size compare to the larger GX8 and mini GM1.


Look like the GX80 is the perfect upgrade for my heavily used, dropped, but still kicking mini GM1!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Can You Bounce Tiny GM1 Flash?

I dislike using flash in my photography, but most indoor lighting condition are not really bright enough for even illumination.

Direct flash can cause even the most flattering photos to turn out bad, direct flash is harsh and highlight in photos are "burn out" and lack detail.

If you are serious about your photography, the first technique you must learn is how to BOUNCE your flash!

Sadly, virtually all the smaller, so called "point & shoot" cameras came with tiny, fixed flash that you cannot tilt and bounce! Even if it can, the output is just too weak for that purpose.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Panasonic launch LUMIX TZ110, TZ80 and Compact Zoom

PANASONIC today launch a very exciting premium compact travel camera with a 1"-type sensor. The new Panasonic Lumix TZ110 is the first in the Lumix TZ series to incorporate an f/2.8-5.9 Leica (25-250mm equivalent) DC lens with 10x optical zoom and hybrid O.I.S., the compact also do 4K video capture and Post Focus!

TZ80, with a smaller sensor is announce at the same time.

TZ110 in black