Catching Up

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It's been awhile since I've last published a blog post.... awhile as in 3 MONTHS! To be fair I've been caught up with project deadlines, and I've been thinking of a suitable topic to write but couldn't quite come out with something substantial.

Last week it suddenly came across my mind that I should write a "current status" post just to show that I'm still very well into photography (followers of my Instagram will be well aware), and also a few plans I have in mind.

So here's some stuff that's been happening since 3 months ago, and some that's hopefully going to happen in the coming months:

Finally a Wide Angle Lens!

Some time after I started photography, I begin feeling that I need a wide angle lens badly. A lot of my pictures got to do with travel, landscape and architecture, having a wide angle lens is considered an absolute must for me. I've ran into countless occasion where my kit lens (28-70mm) just couldn't cut it when framing an entire scene, at times forcing me to improvise but nonetheless frustrating.

Now the thing is for an average joe like me, a wide angle lens is not a lens that you can simply drop by a camera shop, pick your choice, hand over the cash or swipe your card and be a happy man from then... NO, wide angle lenses are EXPENSIVE AF, especially the zoom lenses which unfortunately (or rather fortunately) is the type of lens I want.

Then there's the choice of lenses. First there's prime and zoom lenses, personally I prefer a zoom when it comes to wide angle framing. The only occasion I would prefer a prime wide angle lens is astrophotography. Next there's the question of which brand, manual or auto-focus? I'm using the Sony a7 full-frame mirrorless as my main camera, a main advantage of this camera is the ability to adapt basically any lenses as long an adaptor exist. Canon's wide angle lenses are considered amongst the best in the industry, especially the 16-35mm L series. There's only one choice for native option, the Sony Zeiss Vario Tessar 16-35mm F4, which is considerably smaller than Canon's lens, have more reliable autofocus, similar when it comes to image quality, but also more expensive (excluding the adaptor cost for Canon). In the end I decided to save up longer for the Sony, I'm glad I did.

So how's the lens? A very short review: Pros - Nicely built, full metal construction. Open up the aperture to F4, sharp nearly across the frame from 16-30mm or so, still sharp on 35mm but corners deteriorates. Fast and reliable autofocus. Cons - EXPENSIVE. Taking all things into account I consider this the best travel lens personally, and finally I've been able to frame shots that's impossible previously, check out my new London Underground gallery for some pictures, and there's gonna be more architecture pictures coming up! Incase you're not a follower of my Instagram here are some:


Going into Analogue (Film) Photography

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I wanted to get a classic film DSLR for my film photography, but in the end I decided to try something different so I got myself a rangefinder instead. Found a reasonably priced and mint Voigtlander Bessa R2 body on eBay. As for the lens, unfortunately (or rather fortunately, again) the Bessa R2 uses M mount lenses. For those who are not aware M mount is introduced by Leica for their legendary rangefinders, that itself shows you'll have a hard time finding anything cheap to mount on, but you're guaranteed to own one of the best optics in the industry as long you're willing (or able...) to spend on it. 

Now that doesn't mean a dead end for budget users like me. You can choose to mount Leica Thread mount (LTM) lenses with an adaptor, these lenses are usually much less expensive than M mount and still pretty decent when it comes to quality, or you can opt for some of Voigtlander's M mount lenses. Initially, I wanted to save up longer for a Voigtlander 40mm F1.8 M mount lens but my impatience got the best out of me so I opted for a very cheap Russian Jupiter 8 50mm F2 LTM lens instead. Both of them are showed above.

I'm also planning to do reviews of various colour negative 35mm films, ideally one review per month. I already have a few films in mind, now all its left is the time to do it and hopefully I don't run out of ideas of what to shoot.


Revisiting Mobile Photography

Before I bought my camera last year and started taking photography seriously, I already had an interest in it by taking pictures using whatever smartphone camera I have. In fact one of the most important criteria whenever I'm choosing a new phone is a good camera. From the Nokia N8 (this is a legend) to the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S3 and then the Sony Xperia Z1, you can see one thing in common here.

Now there's a new successor on the line, and that's the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Yes I'm back to Samsung and this time I'm very impressed especially with the camera. This little snapper possess 12MP, way down from my Z1's 20.1MP but I always shoot 8MP on that anyway and megapixel isn't everything when it comes to image quality; a 1/2.6" sensor size, again seems to be a downgrade from the Z1's 1/2.3" sensor but this sensor is from the latest generation of camera sensors; a 26mm f/1.7 lens with Smart OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), the largest of any smartphone camera currently; and phase detection autofocus, now this is the most impressive feature of all. Basically Samsung calls it Dual Pixel autofocus, which is actually the same as Canon's tech, and it comprises phase detection units on every single pixel on the sensor, this guarantees super fast autofocus (AF fast AF literally) and more reliable autofocus during low light. Finally I'm also able to shoot and save DNG RAW files, although I might not make full use of this now since I have a camera.

Samsung advertises the camera on their new flagship by boasting its low light shooting capability, and after a few initial tests I'm inclined to believe them. I'll be posting photo journals with pictures taken on this phone soon, and if I have the time I'll write a review as well.


Shooting Portraits

Also on my plan for this year was to start shooting portraits. I've even bought the lens for this purpose, a cheap Russian Helios 44-2 58mm F2 lens, famous for it's special bokeh. However I couldn't guarantee whether this could take off this year since shooting portraits requires more than just a plan, camera and lens, you'll need humans as well. I've been thinking of friends to get in touch with and also a plan to do street portraits, so we'll see how it goes.


My next travel plan

I'm considering a getaway plan for May/June, around a week or so. Destinations on my list including Faroe Islands (most desirable but most expensive as well), Austria (most likely..) and Italy (tempted to but I'm inclined to visit another country). 


and finally...

My Instagram

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I'll be uploading most of my latest pictures to Instagram, since it's the platform that in my opinion could reach the most audiences. So be sure to follow me if you like my pictures, if you're stingy in sparing a follow or you hate me (Why?! :( ) you can still view my profile since it's public :)

Once again I would like thank everyone for all the nice comments every time I share a picture. I'm also open to criticism so if you feel something is wrong or off in one of my pictures feel free to let me know.