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Showing posts from 2011

Christmas 2011 at Shopping Mall and Pen Lite E-PL2

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Shopping Malls used to have their premises well decorated in December for the Christmas seasons. However this year not many malls have put up great displays and some are rather quiet with their efforts. Maybe Chinese New Year is just round the corner or maybe 2011 was not a good year and as a result, low on budget as well.  Anyway, only the owner and the management know best.


Those shopping malls who have their decorations put up had it there from the beginning of December 2011 till January 1, 2012. The Christmas decorations attracted lots of kids and shutter-bugs. We visited a number of these shopping malls - some are great while some have nothing much to shout about.

The 2011 Christmas decoration theme for Pavilion Kuala Lumpur was Christmas Wonderland. They had a 40-foot tall Christmas tree designed by Tiffany & Co. set up at the concourse area. Right at the entrance of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur visitors were greeted by some giant candies. There were more giant candies and a three …

Tang Yuan

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Tang Yuan is a very popular Chinese snack since the Song Dynasty (960-1126 AD). Tang Yuan is glutinous rice balls usually cooked in sweet broth. Tangyuan resembles the shape of a white marble ball which is made from glutinous rice flour. Some Tang yuan are plain and some have fillings inside. The fillings are usually made from sweet paste of red beans, peanuts, sesame seeds or other sweet candies.


Tang Yuan is also eaten during many Chinese Festivals. Dong Jie or Chinese Winter Festival is one festival that Tangyuan  is a must-have for the day. Dongjie Tangyuan is made from combination of red and white glutinous rice flour. The two colored red and white Dongjie Tang Yuan symbolize Yin Yang harmony and family reunion.

This year Dongjie or Chinese Winter Festival was on December 22. As usual my wife prepared some Tang Yuan for the day. The round Tang Yuan balls look cute and I took some photographs of the Tang Yuan before they were cooked and some finished products as well.


All the phot…

A New Way of Looking.

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The new generation of mirrorless system cameras such as the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Pen Lite E-PL2 is compact and light weight. The image quality from these Micro Four Thirds cameras is good enough for most applications. The Micro Four Thirds system also has a comprehensive range of compact interchangeable lenses and accessories which add versatility to how images can be captured. All these advantages have made the Micro Four Thirds and mirrorless system cameras one of the fastest growing segment in the digital cameras market.


The Olympus digital Pen series are a very popular mirrorless system cameras. The charms of the Pen series are many, the main one being the total size of the system. The camera body is small yet not too small for the average human hand. The system lenses are in matching sizes and balance well on the Pen camera body. The Pen series of cameras each has a different appeal and character in their design which make them stand out from the rest of the mirrorless syste…

Olympus Pen Lite E-PL2

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Camera manufacturers tend to release new cameras around the third quarter of each year to catch the yearend and Christmas shopping seasons. This is the best time of the year to get good bargain of cameras that are about to be superseded by the newly launched models.


If all you want is a camera to take good photographs most current models in the market will suffice. The newest model might get you faster frame rate, focus faster, better performance in low light and better features in the HD video area. If you need those features or faster performance then wait for those newly released models.

For us we love a good bargain buying brand new camera from reputable shops. That is certainly better than buying used or shopping for second hand goods. We saw an ad on the local newspaper where a large local retailer was having stock clearance of cameras from Canon, Olympus, Sony and others. The E-PL2 single lens camera kits was going at the price of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera. The twin lens E…

Cheapo camera

Whenever the word "cheap" is mentioned someone will be quick to jump the gun and say "Good things are not cheap and cheap things are no good". Although this statement is true most of the  times but it is not absolutely true. For instance sunshine and fresh air are free therefore cheaper than cheap. Do you dare say they are no good? IT products such as computers, mobile phones and cameras are getting cheaper as technology progresses, so are today's IT products no good?


What about cameras? Are cheap cameras any good or no good at all? Personally I think we should open our eyes and look at cheap cameras with an open mind. Most cheap cameras are good or good enough for most users. If you pay more you will buy yourself more features, longer zoom lens with wider aperture and better camera body. However very likely the cheaper cameras and their slightly better brothers from the same company may have the same image sensor.

Recently I did some checking and compared some…

Taking a break @ tea time

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Other than photography I have a passion for tea as well. As usual I am taking my tea break and this time is LongJing cha. In English LongJing cha means The Dragon-Well tea. LongJing cha is the national drink of China and ranks amongst the top 10 most famous tea from China.

In JiangNan area in China LongJing cha is mostly drank from a tall glass tumbler. The officials in Beijing prefer gaibei or lidded tea cup with their LongJing Cha. As for me, I have my Dragon Well tea with a tiny Zhu Ni teapot .


Many tea merchants have proclaimed that no one should use a teapot with LongJing cha. They said the delicate Long Jing tea leaves would get cooked by the heat in the teapot and spoil the taste. Well, if you know the reason "why" you can always overcome the problem with little difficulty.  Since the problem lies in overheating the delicate Dragon-Well tea leaves, so the solution to that problem is quite obvious and clear right? I have been using teapot with LongJing tea ever since I…

Tokyo Street @ Kuala Lumpur

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Is there a Tokyo Street in Kuala Lumpur? Not really but there is a Tokyo Street at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. It's just a name created by some  marketing genius from Pavilion shopping mall to boost more shoppers and visitors to  the mall.  Tokyo Street at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is located on the 6th floor of the mall.


Based on the advertisement they put up and the write-up by the press, I got the impression that the Tokyo Street occupied a big portion of the 6th floor or at least half of one wing of the mall. I also imagined all of it are Japanese shops or shops dealing with Japanese products.

Actually,  Tokyo Street Pavilion occupies just  the end corner of the Mall on the 6th floor. There are 32 shops at the time of writing but some are really tiny. Maybe the lot size and the rental rate follow Tokyo properties as well.

The entrance is marked by a giant lantern similar to the iconic landmark lantern of Asakusa, Seno-j Buddhist Temple in Tokyo.


The Tokyo Street area is shaped like the…

Crappy camera

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I bumped into a few talented photography geniuses who claimed that they couldn't and they wouldn't know how to handle any camera if it weren't a DSLR. This could be egoism or lack of self-confidence. If they did not have a big formidable looking DSLR with them they just didn't know what to do.


Equipments should be used according to the situation and requirement. If you need a medium format camera for a pro shoot then use one. If you need to have pro equipment with you to impress your client by all means.  If not don't limit your choice - just pick up any camera that works best not necessary a DSLR. I don't think a DSLR is so easy to use or anything less than a DSLR is so complicating either.

While looking for some old photographs I found some shots I took with a crappy cheap web-cam back in early 2000s. The camera was an Umax AstraPix 380 web-cam with no LCD screen. It could double as a digicam and run on a single AA 1.5 volt dry cell. Exposure adjustment was l…

Am I The Pen Fan?

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I named this blog The PenFan Photo-blog. But am I really The PEN Fan? Honestly I don't think I am one or qualify as one. When the original PEN was launched 50+ years ago I was too young to bother with Olympus or the PEN.


When Olympus launched the digital PEN the E-P1 two years ago, again I didn't bother with the new PEN camera or the launching. It was only this year after the fourth Pen camera E-PL2 was launched that by chance I bought a E-P1 camera. I have never owned any Olympus PEN series before.

I have a strong interest in new camera developments.  I have been following the development of the Four Thirds as well as the Micro Four Thirds since the E-1. So I am no stranger to the new digital PEN Camera.  If I were a PEN Fan I should have become a PEN owner two years ago.


Having used the Olympus OM System film cameras since the OM2n for over three decades,  I still hang on to my OM2n, OM3 and OM4ti.  Well, may be I am more an OM Fan. l still love my OM cameras and love manual…

Macro with Dimage X31

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Two macro photos of a lime butterfly alias chequered swallowtail. Taken in the garden after a light morning shower with Konica Minolta Dimage X31. This little camera has very good macro mode but the tiny LCD screen has very low contrast - it is impossible to view the screen in bright sun light.


Wesak Day

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This year Wesak day wasl on 17 of May. We visited the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields in the morning. The traffic was really bad due to the construction of The little India project in the area.


Wesak day marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha.

The Maha Vihara Temple was thronged with Buddhist devotees. Despite the hot weather huge crowd of devotees were queuing outside the Main Shrine Hall waiting for their turn for the prayer and blessings.


A statue of a golden Buddha was placed at the front entrance of the Asokan Hall to cater for big group prayers and offerings on this auspicious day.


Thousands of mini Buddhist flags strung from the top of Wisma  Dhama Cakra to the Main Shrine Hall.


The Lotus fountain with its new coat of paint contrasted well with the spouting water of the fountain.





Canton Tower and Image stabilization

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To take a perfectly sharp photo the tripod is the best tool for any photographer. However the tripod can only be as steady as the platform it is standing on. If you are standing on a hanging rope bridge or on a cruise boat the tripod is just as wobbly as the boat or the ropes.


The solution is usually higher shutter speed or high ISO setting. High ISO will be a problem for smaller sensor cameras.  However we don't normally bring bulky and heavy cameras to dinner cruise or high hanging rope bridge.

The answer is Image stabilization or IS. There are three types of IS  -  a lens base or Optical Image stabilization, the second one is sensor base image stabilization. These two are highly recommended and the results are equally good. The last one is called electronic image stabilization which is not as good as the other two but is better than none.

The photographs below were taken by my better half when she was on a Zhujiang dinner cruise in Guangzhou, China during her visit to some rela…

My decade old riddle.

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Sometime back in 1998 the company that I worked for ask me to look for a digital camera for the company. In those year the market for consumer digital camera was quite new. The prices of consumer digital camera are crazy. A high end point-and-shoot camera of 2 mega pixels is about the price of a mid range DSLR of 16 Mega pixel of today.


I started visiting camera shops, visiting website of various camera manufacturers, searching online reviews. However there were not many model or that many info you can find online in those day. DSLR  are out of the budget set by my company.

Finally I narrow down to three cameras models. The Sony Mavica, a Fuji Finepix and the Olympus Camedia. My company director finally decided on the Camedia base on my input on the FAB from each of the three cameras.


I was given the task to become an expert with the new camera and provides advise and instruction to anyone who want to use that camera. In short a talking and walking camera manual is what the company ex…

Our Pen story begins....

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We are Olympus OM system SLR cameras user for over 3 decades, When Olympus launched the Four Thirds E-1 DSLR in 2003 we were there to witness the launching. Despite being a believer of the Four Thirds concept suffice to said we left the E-1 launching disappointed with that camera.


At launch the E-1 camera was overpriced, a little under spec, and under performed comparing to other DSLR in the market at launch time. However the quality of the Four Thirds optics live up to the claim of the Four Thirds concepts. The Four Thirds concept  of "digital camera from the ground up" of lens and sensor relationship also deliver the deep color of the now often called "Oly color". Nevertheless Olympus had sold a lot of E-1 to many happy users who still love it till now. Maybe we are expecting a digital OM that made us disappointed with the E-1!

So we started our search for a digital SLR from other brands(sorry Olympus we are not brand loyalist). We have not found any that we real…