KamLan 28mm F1.4

sigma
KamLan 28mm F1.4
Reviewed by AL Lee

Image: Editor AL out with the KamLan 28mm F1.4 at Geylang Serai.


09th May 2021, Singapore
– Many of you would have made a joke on Kamlan’s brand name since it translate into a swear word in the Hokkien dialect that was widely used by Chinese in the south east asia. On the contrary, the word Kamlan actually translate into “金蘭” which means “Golden Orchid”. Amazed? Let’s get to the review. Since I have been reviewing a few Chinese Brand lenses for the last 2 reviews (Meike & Laowa), I have since received mixed reactions from our readers. Some are very curious and some are just simply unconvinced.


Image: KamLan 28mm F1.4 mounted to a Fujifilm camera.

All review images posted on our articles are not resized and posted as 100%, all you need to do is – double click on any of the review images, select 100% view or simply use an EXIF Checker. I fully understand why the scrutiny because I was once  skeptical like this group of photographers who are anti-Chinese lenses. We will continue to maintain our stand with what we want to do and share with our readers what we discovered while testing out the Chinese lenses.

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Back to Kamlan, one of our FB Group Trainer – Uncle Koh Lye Huat – recently read my reviews and offered to loan me his Kamlan 28mm F1.4 as well as the Zhonyi Mitakon 20mm Super Macro. I happily accepted his offer and I decided to review the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 on the very same day he passed me.


Image: KamLan 28mm F1.4 mounted to a Fujifilm camera.

 

The first thing that struck me was – the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 was super compact yet weighty. Weighing at 348gm, at size of 66mm x 58mm (without hood), so the weight to size ratio puts the Kamlan 28mm on the heavier scale.


Image: KamLan 28mm F1.4 mounted to a Fujifilm camera.

Small & compact, and made from almost 100% metal (except the lenses of course stupid), the lens does feels very solid and ready to take on harsh uses. Designed as a manual lens (like most Chinese lenses), the Kamlan does have some niceties up its sleeves. To start, it is definitely one of the cheaper standard wide angle prime lenses with a F1.4 aperture out there. The next thing that I noticed was, most 28mm lenses out there has a “pop-up” front element while the Kamlan 28mm’s front element spotted a caved-in design.


Image: The front element is Caved-In.

 

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Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 8 elements in 7 groups – including 6 High Refractive Index Elements, and the lens starts focusing from as close as 25cm (minimum focusing distance). The lens focuses from F1.4 to F16 via its 11 (circular) iris blade aperture that produces very nice bokeh. The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 takes takes 52mm filters at the front and it comes with a slightly larger dedicated lens hood.

 

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And interestingly, the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 comes with its own branded lens cap that comes in Graphite Grey color!

The Kamlan 28mm also spotted a Yellow ring line (Meike has Red, Laowa as Blue) on the lens barrel. It is available in Fuji X mount, Sony E mount, Canon M mount and Micro Four Third Mounts (Olympus/Lumix).

 

So how did the lens performed? I received the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 from Uncle Koh right before the start of a mini group outing. The theme of the day was to take a walk through Geylang Serai and capture whatever that is left of the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations (due to covid restrictions). Let’s check out the images!

At 28mm, effectively I am getting 42mm due to the crop factor of my Fujifilm camera. It is an excellent range for shooting on the streets, tight enough for most applications and wide enough to cover everything else.

 

Even at a wider angle, portraits are good enough to cover the person as well as the surroundings. The bokeh are evidently good too in this example where I shot my good friend Ara.

 

 

It was a rainy afternoon, I am glad I am out shooting as the wet weather allows me to shoot a little differently from my usual style and also to try to take advantage of the wet grounds etc.

The Kamlan feels rather weighty on my camera body, but somehow it just feels right for the balance between the body & the lens giving it a 40:60 weight ratio.

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Strangely, I feel that the Kamlan 28mm was much easier to use (manual focusing) with the camera’s focus peaking as compared to the previously reviewed Laowa or even Meike. The focusing ring was super smooth and nice to the feel. Likewise the aperture ring is super smooth too. At 42mm, I took the above shot from one of the tall flats behind Joo Chiat Complex and spotting a setting sun shrouded by clouds.

 

 

I like how the lens easily captured the different scenes that I was doing and it certainly did well. Although in terms of details it is just slightly above average in my view, the colors rendered are pretty good on my little Fujifilm.

anigif

As the night approached, the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 turned into a real monster. I was shooting between F2 to F2.8 and the light bokeh are sweet, round and beautiful – most likely due to the rounded aperture blades.

At wide apertures, the focused area are very sharp and detailed, this is amazing for a
sub-$200 lens.

The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is certainly a great lens to have. Given its low asking price, solid build and F1.4 aperture, there is certainly nothing to hate about the Kamlan 28mm. The (very) useable focal length allows users to do a wide variety of genres and the easy-to-focus claims that are all over the internet is true, this little prime lens is a street monster. In the dark of the night, the caved-in front elements + the hood had cut many possible flares and stray lights which I personally think this is really well thought of.

If you are looking a fast prime lens at a budget, trust me, get the Kamlan 28mm F1.4.

Buying this Lens
If you are curious about the Kamlan 28mm F1.4 and needed a good prime lens for street use, then you should consider buying this lens from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera/Lens – (Please check for availability first.)
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is probably available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

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Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
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Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom. 

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About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

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Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D

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Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D
Reviewed by AL Lee


Image: Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D mounted to a Fujifilm Camera

02nd May 2021, Singapore – Recently we did an article on China Brand lenses and before that, we did a review for the Meike 35mm F1.7 due to my curiosity – what surprised me for Meike’s review was – it turned out to be an excellent lens. As my curiosity for China Brand lenses grew, I managed to convince a photographer (Daphne Kong) to loan me her  Laowa 9mm for a weekend. The Laowa 9mm F2.8 Zero-D is currently one of the best selling Laowa brand lenses in Singapore with its averagely-low asking price, super ultra wide angle focal range and the various mounts available.

Available mounts: Fuji X, Sony E, Canon EF-M, DJI DL, MFT, L mount

 

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The Laowa 9mm is a tiny lens – possibly the tiniest Ultra Wide Angle lens in the world. Measuring at (ONLY) 60mm x 53mm & weights like a feather at 215gm, this is one of those lenses that can go missing easily due to its compact and negligible size. Jokes aside, the full metal construction (like most China lenses) of the Laowa 9mm feels solid and during the review, I kinda like the handling, the focusing ring was surprisingly smoother than the previously reviewed Meike 35mm and the aperture ring are firmly “clickable” which was good.

Inside the Laowa 9mm, the optics are arranged in 15 elements in 10 groups – including 02 x aspherical glass, 03 x low dispersion glass (LD) the front element came with “Frog Eye” Coating (FEC) – hope no frogs were harmed.

For focusing, the Laowa 9mm came with 07 standard aperture blades, focus from F2.8 and focuses as close as 12cm (minimum focusing distance). The front takes 49mm filters and the Laowa has a magnification ration of 1: 7.5 (this is amazing for a UWA lens)

 

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The Laowa 9mm comes with a detachable metal hood,  and in the retail box, a pouch along some paperwork.

An interesting fact here: If you flipped the Laowa logo, you get the English words “MOVI” or “WON”, not sure if this is intentional or by coincidence, but now, you cannot unsee this.

 

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And so, I took the Laowa 9mm out for a weekend walk with some friends and tried to shoot everything, anything with this lens. Check out the images below (there are more on my FB). We started from Marina Bay Sands’ basement food court Rasapura. The 9mm on my Fuji with a crop factor of x 1.5 which I got a focal length of 13.5mm Ultra Wide – very nice.

 

The Ultra Wide Angle allows interesting perspectives and framing, the below shot allows me to frame all 4 levels of the mall easily.

 

Next I wanted to test out the magnification ratio since it was spec-ed at 1:7.5, I am curious if that is true, then my friends alerted me to this lotus/lily flower right outside the Artscience Museum – and there was 2 moths on it. So I took a shot.

then I cropped a little tighter from the red box below.

And I got this. (Below)

I want to push it a little more and I decided to crop more from the red box area below.

And I got the below image after 2 rounds of cropping. (Can you see both the moths?)
The Laowa is NOT a macro lens but the magnification ratio allows the user to crop in to see details but this is highly dependable on the camera that you are using. The Fuji that I am using has 24 megapixels and a decent image size which allows me to crop more than I should. Do take note of this.

 

  

 

Yes, many of you knows I shoot a lot of toys – but shooting with the Laowa 9mm allows me to shoot toys with a very different perspective. Which was the not the usual toy images that I will shoot.

(Below) And of course the minimum focusing distance of 12cm allows me to shoot close to the subject, but with a wider perspective.

I am not too impressed with the bokeh at F2.8 then again this is not a portrait lens. So I am not expecting too much, but the Laowa 9amm does gives you bokeh (as below) but the bokeh looks like those from a mirror-lens. I call it “distorted bokehs”.

 

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As an Ultra Wide Angle lens, the Laowa does its job well covering the focal length, but I do notice some light dropoff on the corners for some of my shots.

 

In terms of details, I will say not too bad for a lens of this price. But maybe its just me, you have to test for yourself.

Color wise, I will say it will be unfair for me to comment as I switches around the color profiles on my Fuji camera a lot. But being a UWA lens, it certainly performed up to its intended standard.

anigif   

 

I find the Laowa 9mm to be useful for “abstract” shots of building structures or non-commercial shots. You can see (below) next 2 examples of what I meant.

Although I was told the “Zero-D” on the lens code means zero distortion, I am sorry to report that the distortion is crazy.  Just look at the below example.

The Laowa 9mm may be an Ultra Wide Angle lens. Inexpensive and tiny, a lens that you may consider having it as part of your lens repertoire, not exactly a bad lens – just an usable lens to cover the widest of angles. Image quality is acceptable and the lens distortion is something else. If you really need a UWA lens and do not wish to spend a bomb, then consider the Laowa 9mm.

Buying this Lens
If you are curious and had never owned an Ultra Wide Angle lens in your life, then consider buying this lens from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera – Please check for availability first.
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
IMG_7567.JPG
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom. 

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About Ourshutterjourney.com
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Know Your China Lenses

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Know Your China Lenses
Text by Lee Shi Qing


28th April 2021, Singapore –
China-Made lenses had been around for the longest time. Dating back to film days, I am sure many of you (of my age) would have heard of ; or used brands like Mitakon lenses for your systems. These lenses are some of the cheapest that one can buy back then and since the asking price is rock-bottom low, many of these lenses are flawed & faced many issues with optical quality, build quality etc.

Fast forward to the early 2000s, many of you would have remembered Yongnuo’s release of the 50mm F1.8 which was widely touted as an exact copy of Canon’s EF 50mm F1.8 – although Canon took a legal stand, nothing (really) can be done. Priced cheaper than Canon, the Yongnuo went on to open up the lens market from China to the world’s stage.

Today, China made lenses are everywhere, in almost every photography store, in almost every country. The recent years (in Singapore) had also seen the rise & success of many China brand lenses. In this article, we will share some of the China brand lenses that are really popular today. While Some won by price point, some won by quality and some simply won because they are from another universe.

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Handevision

Image: HandeVision IBELUX 40mm F0.85

 

Handevision is a hybrid brand that was created by Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment Co. Ltd & IB/E Optics GmbH (Germany). Many of you have not heard either of these companies but I am dead sure you would have heard of the brand “Kipon” as it is also from this company. Kipon rise to fame for the array of lens adaptors that are of high quality and very affordable.

The current HandeVision IBELUX 40mm F0.85 offers the fastest aperture in this focal range and built like a German tank with its full metal construction. (anodized aluminum for the lens barrel and main structural parts and brass for focusing parts and stainless steel for everything else)

Not the cheapest of China brand lenses, it will be interesting to watch HandVision’s new releases, probably more F0.85 lenses will be on their way.

See Below for Kipon’s Lens

 

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Jaray & Kaxinda


Image: Jaray/Kaxinda 14mm f/3.5

Very little is known about Jaray/ Kaxinda, except that we found out that Kaxinda specializes in OEM for camera lenses for other brands. According to reliable sources, Kaxinda is also involved with R&D with “Japanese Camera Brands” and from what we had gathered, Kaxinda produces lenses that are of international quality and offering at a relatively low asking price.

At the moment, the Jaray/Kaxinda 14mm f/3.5 is one of the most talk-about ultra-wide angle lens in the mirrorless world. Do google on it. If you have any information to share about Jaray/Kaxinda, please feel free to email to us at media_world@live.com

 

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7Artisans

Image: 7artisans Photoelectric 35mm f/2 Lens


This is an interesting company. Based in Shenzhen, 7Artisans is a group of Chinese camera enthusiasts who met up for a dinner in Summer of 2015. They discussed their passions over the dinner table. Some were interested in optical design while others were more skilled at running factory production lines, and one was an avid Leica lens collector. Everyone who participated came to the same conclusion: “If we involve our skills and work together, we can create new high quality original camera lenses.” That is how the 7Artisans Project began. (Taken from 7Artisans website)

7Artisans is loosely translated into “7 Craftsmen” in mandarin, and their rise to fame is their 50mm f/1.1 lens which was targeted at Leica users.

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Kipon

Image: Kipon 90mm/f2.4 

The KIPON brand was created in 2007 by Shanghai Transvision Photographic Equipment Co. Ltd, who are famed for their various high quality Lens Adapters. From simple functional Mechanical Adapters to Auto-Focus Adapters, Optic Adapters, Tilt & Shift Adapters, Kipon had took the world with their highly affordable offerings.

(You may scroll up and read on Handevision)

Through strategic partnerships, Kipon decided to launch their own series of lenses. Combining the expertise from the various partnerships & coupled with Kipon’s production capabilities, Kipon gave the world Kipon 90mm/f2.4 which had been making headlines in the world of portraiture photography.

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Laowa

Image: Laowa 15mm F2 Zero-D.

One of the fastest growing China lens manufacturer, Anhui Changgeng Optics Technology Co., Ltd (also known as Venus Optics) was established in 2013. The company was formed by a group of photography enthusiasts & industry experts. The company claimed that they had previously designed lenses for Japanese and German brands (which we suspected Tamron & Leica), and as their company expanded, Venus Optics decided to create their own line of lenses bearing the Laowa brand.

Venus Optics’ HQ (along with their manufacturing facility) are located at Hefei, located at the eastern part of China near to Shanghai. However their sales and marketing head office is located in Hong Kong along with a distribution office in the United States.

Laowa currently has many great lenses especially the popular Laowa 15mm F2 Zero-D. Their lenses’ pricing are not exactly cheap, but definitely gives a bang for the money.

 

anigif   

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Meike


Image: Meike 35mm F1.7

Hongkong Meike Digital Technology Co., Ltd was founded in 2005 in Hong Kong, Started as a company that manufactures camera accessories, the company’s biggest selling product was battery grips/ vertical grips (MK Brand, remember?) for many brands. Followed by Meike’s success with Flashes & a few other flagship products, Meike launched four Micro Four Thirds manual focusing lenses. (According to sources, those are not designed by Meike, but rather rebranded versions of existing Kaxinda lenses. Aiming at the lower budget market, the lenses are not exactly bad lenses too. Recently we reviewed the Meike 35mm F1.7 and we instantly fell in love with it. You can read our review here.

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Mitakon / Zhongyi


Image: Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 III

Image: Mitakon Zhongyi 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Macro Lens

As one of the pioneering lens brand from China, Shenyang Zhongyi Optical & Electronic Co., Ltd  was established in 1984 as a joint venture company with a Japanese investor. It was pretty obvious who the “Japanese Investor” was – as Mitakon started producing a lot of lenses for the Pentax Asahi Company back in the 80s. And soon after, Mitakon has lenses for every other system mounts. Although Mitakon lenses has a really bad reputation in those days – lots of quality issues, bad quality images, it was one of the few lens brand that are really affordable. As technology progressed, Mitakon too had caught up with improved quality, still affordable but great leaps ahead. Currently all their lenses are produced and are labelled as “Zhongyi”, “Mitakon” & “Zhongyi Mitakon” brands. Among the China lens brands, Mitakon has presence in more than 30 countries today.

Two of their highly popular lenses are Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 III & Mitakon Zhongyi 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Macro Lens.

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Neewer

Image: Neewer 35mm F1.2

Neewer  is a lens brand from Shenzhen Neewer Technnology Co., Ltd (also known as Shenzhen Xing Ying Da Industry Co., Ltd) is a vibrant multinational company founded in 2010. Neewer entered the industry via cheap flashlights to today’s On-Camera LED lights, their latest cash cow has to be the LED Ring Light that had saturated the online market. Neewer prided itself as a company who believes in online retail, online advertising and in turn saved a lot of money from traditional media, distributorship etc and passing the savings to their consumers keeping their lenses price low and very affordable.

The Neewer 35mm F1.2 had been their most popular lens due to its sharpness when wide open and some say the image quality can match German’s little red dot.

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Sainsonic / Kamlan / Zonlai 

Image: SainSonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1


Image: Zonlai 22mm f/1.8 lens

Based in Dongguan, Guangzhou, Dongguan Sainstore E-Commerce Ltd Co, was founded in 2011. The company specializes in manufacturing 3D glasses, camera lenses and many home audio items. Among the brands, Zonlai & Kamlan had made quite a name here in Singapore with the Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 & Zonlai 22mm f/1.8 lens. A quick check on SainSonic website also shows Meike lenses – we are really confused right here.

If you have more, or correct information on SainSonic or the brands Zonlai / Kamlan, we welcome you to send us more information to media_world@live.com

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Viltrox


Image: Viltrox 85mm F1.8

 

Established in 2009, Viltrox is a brand by Shenzhen Jueying Technology Co., Ltd. An aggressive company that had made a name with their quality & affordable products –  Camera Lenses, Mount Adapters, LED Lights, Video Monitors and Camera Cages etc.

Shenzhen Jueying Technology Co., Ltd. started to produce photographic equipment since  2007, the company designs and produces every product without a 3rd party. In Singapore, the most popular Viltrox lens is none other than the Viltrox 85mm F1.8.

If you have more, or correct information on Viltrox’s company, we welcome you to send us more information to media_world@live.com

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Yong Nuo

Image: Yongnuo YN 50mm F1.8

Shenzhen Yong Nuo Photographic Equipment Co. Ltd. has four factories, eight direct-sale stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Harbin, and sales company in Hong Kong (HK YONGNUO LIMITED). Started and made a name in the industry with its budget flashes, triggers/receivers, cable release, LED panels etc, Yongnuo moved into lens manufacturing in 2014. Their first lens – the Yongnuo YN 50mm F1.8 caused a storm as it was 99.9% uncannily similar to Canon’s best selling EF 50mm F1.8 but selling at a fraction of Canon’s price. Since then Yongnuo launched a few other lenses which are less controversial but still, the rest of the Japanese brands are watching Yongnuo closely.

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And so, the above China-brand lenses has made waves and giving the Japs & Germans a run for their money. Since China became the “World’s Factory”, we are seeing a huge improvement on build quality and image quality from these lenses. Photography equipment are not cheap to start with, the Chinese had gotten something right – the price point – which is still relatively low as compared to the Japanese/Germany brands. And now the Chinese are capturing the market with better optic quality, offering more for less and this trend will likely to continue for the next few years.

Our Editor AL Lee which was never a fan of Chinese lenses had recently fell in love with the Meike 35mm F1.7 and he will be doing a review for a Laowa lens soon. Do stay tuned.

If you have any information on any of the brand in this article or would like to inform us to add any brand that we missed in this article, please feel free to email us at editorial_ourshutterjourney@hotmail.com

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Contributing Editor – Lee Shi Qing
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A firm believer of Self-Sufficient living and gives no f**k to anyone getting in her way to reaching her goals in life. Kind in nature & Dangerous when provoked. Loves Mcdonald’s Fries and hates all the burgers there. While she helps out in gear reviews, Qing is currently serving as an Online Administrator for Ourshutterjourney.com Facebook Groups and Online Shop.

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LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH

sigma 

LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 90 f/2 ASPH.
Review by Editor AL Lee, Text by Lee Shi Qing

Image: Editor AL with his Leica 90mm APO Summicron mated to a Leica M10.


14th April 2021, Singapore –
Recently, my reviews for the Leica 50mm Summilux & Leica 18mm Super Elmar had garnered quite a high number of views from other Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. I was rather curious as our articles are usually viewed by Singapore, Malaysia and USA. However from the editorial point of view, we are reading it as – there are still many people who are into Leica and the brand following is still (obviously) strong.


Image: Leica 90mm APO Summicron mated to a Leica M10.

By the way, I had sold the 50mm to a new owner after the review was published. The 18mm is still available and I am also letting go this 90mm too. More details at the end.

For those new to Leica lenses, here’s a quick introduction.
Lens type: Elmar – These are entry-level “slower” lenses with a max aperture of F3.8-F4.
Lens type: Elmarit – These slightly faster lenses comes with a max Aperture of 2.8
Lens type: Summarit – Latest Leica lens-line with a max Aperture of 2.5
Lens type: Summicron – The premium line of F2 lenses.
Lens type: Summilux – The “First Class” fast & sharp lenses with 1.4 Aperture.
Lens type: Noctilux – Out-of-this-World lenses with F0.95 Aperture with an unworldly price. (Note: previous Noctilux lenses come in F1.0)

 

Most Leica users who had tried the 90mm Summicron will instantly fall in love with it. Created as a Portrait lens for Leica’s M System users, this lens went on to become the most sought-after lens after Leica users discovered its strength – capable of shooting Portraits, Landscape, Street Photography etc – and the Summicron designation (F2.0) rendered the 90mm as a super fast lens and an all-rounder performer in all lightning conditions.

I used this lens mainly for indoor studio works and when I was doing this review, I realised this very lens had not really seen much of the sun. So I decided to take it out for a walk and write a “goodbye review” since I am selling this lens.

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While most Leica users will described the 90mm Summicron as a large lens, it is by far one of the smaller 90mm when compared to other systems. It weights a mere 473gm and measures just 77mm x 84mm, a little on the weighty side and still a “tiny” lens in my view.
Spotting a full metal construction similar to its sibling-lenses, the 90mm is solid and  built like a tank. I didn’t lost an arm after holding it after a 3 hours walk so likely you will survive this lens. (Hey Leica users, we are stronger than that, so stop complaining or else you just use your 35mm and shut up)/

 

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Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 5 elements in 5 groups including an aspherical element and the “APO” stands for apochromatic, pretty similar to Nikon’s ED glass or  Canon’s UD glass. The aperture has 11 blades which many users credit this to its wonderful bokeh (when used at F2.8). For a mid-telephoto lens, it starts focusing as close as (approximately) 90cm which I personally like it. My other 90mm (non Macro) lenses starts focusing from about 1.8 metres t0 2.5 metres – so there is nothing to complain here really.

The front of the lens takes 55mm filters and the 90mm Summicron has a built in hood which retracts when required. What might surprise you are the magnification ratio of 1:9 – for the record, not many 90mm can achieve such a magnification ratio, go google about it.

 

I took the 90mm Summicron out for a long walk with my friends – starting from Chinatown and I picked the heritage route for early migrants that passed through parts of Chinatown, towards Cantonment and eventually ended up at Spottiswood area. I wanted to try shooting from the sky park at Pinnacle but due to Covid-19, they closed the sky park to public thus the plan B which is Spottiswood.

Let’s check out the images!

 

Usually I can’t find the link between a portrait lens & a street photo lens. However, the 90mm Summicron bridged this nicely. I was rather surprised at the ease of use and I can get my subject in focus fast and accurately.

 

 

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The amount of details captured are crazy. I stood rather far away (about 6 metres away) and shot the above shot.

I marked out the focused area (red box) and did a crop. See below.

Amazing details! That’s more than 80% crop from the original photo!

 

Next on my list, people. I started shooting my friends who were walking with me. The Bokeh is legendary and what many Leica users will die for.  Creamy, Smooth and yet certain details are still visible, check out the below images.

 


Find her familiar? Yes, this is Serene from Serene Digital Crafts!

From the above images, you have seen for yourself what I meant by – creamy bokeh yet with details – in simple terms, unlike other wide aperture lenses where the bokeh will be just a shade of blurred colors and patches, the Leica 90mm Summicron still retains key details so you can make out what’s in the background which also helps to “pop” the subject into a dreamy 3D-like effect.

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Most of the shots for this review were shot in an moment of “impulse”. Moments that becomes available for a rather small window and it is that Shoot-it-or-lose-it kind of situations. I am glad the 90mm Summicron performs as fast as it is expected even outside the studio which it was mostly used.

 

Even the regular Bougainvillea flowers that lined our streets looks more attractive after I shot it with the 90mm Summicron. (Stop laughing, it’s true)

 

anigif   

 

As a mid-telephoto lens, the 90mm is expected to have minimal corner distortions and it is also capable for shooting building details which I tried and I love what I’ve gotten.

 

No, the above photo is not Melbourne, it’s Singapore.

While chasing after sun, we came across the below scene.

Although the sun eventually got masked by the clouds and we didn’t get a sunset, we had lots of fun.

The Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm F/2 ASPH may seem intimidating at first, but the joy of using it and appreciating it comes after the warm up. It produces great bokeh even at F2.0 (I recommend F2.8) while making visible details on the bokeh is really something that you will never get from another 90mm. The colors rendered is also “Leica Standard” which is constant across the M line. It is not expensive to start with and it gives a lot of value to the user in return.

Buy My Lens
Yes, as mentioned, I am letting go of this lens. If you are keen, please email me at media_world@live.com
This is unit is in great condition, no scratches or brassing, inside the lens is clean, no dust and no fungus. Email me if keen.

Buying this Lens
If you have a few more thousands to spare & intend to buy new then buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera – Please check for availability first.
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
IMG_7567.JPG
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom. 

=========================
Contributing Editor – Lee Shi Qing
SQ.jpg
A firm believer of Self-Sufficient living and gives no f**k to anyone getting in her way to reaching her goals in life. Kind in nature & Dangerous when provoked. Loves Mcdonald’s Fries and hates all the burgers there. While she helps out in gear reviews, Qing is currently serving as an Online Administrator for Ourshutterjourney.com Facebook Groups and Online Shop.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

=========================

apd

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Meike 35mm F1.7 – Good Lens?

sigma

Meike 35mm F1.7 – Good Lens?
Review by Editor AL Lee, Text by Lee Shi Qing

09th April 2021, Singapore – As cheap Chinese lenses are flooding the worldwide market over the recent years, many of our readers had asked us if these lenses are of any good. While most seasoned photographers will tell you that cheap does not equals to quality while quality comes with a price, we decided to take a step further and went on to try and check out some of these lenses. We decided to start with the cheapest (almost), someone pointed us to the Meike 35mm F1.7 and we did.

Like most Chinese lenses, most of these lenses are constructed the same way from the yesteryears, with minimal parts, 1980s style and mostly made from metal. For those new to Meike, the brand is also known as Neewer in other market and had been manufacturing photographic equipement and accessories for a pretty long while before they added lenses to their brand line-up. Do you remember the popular battery grip “MK Battery Grip”? Suprise! That’s by Meike! MK is Meike.

With their HQ based in Hong Kong, it is unknown where the actual manufacturing is carried out. Then again, it doesn’t matter where it is made, if it works, it works right?

 

 

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The Meike 35mm F1.7 is a tiny lens when compared to many other 35mm with a large aperture. Weighing just a mere 176gm and measuring just a 4cm x 6cm, this little lens has a Multi-coated front element with an optical set up of 6 elements in 5 groups which is pretty standard for a manual focus prime lens. Meike called it the “All Metal” lens based on its barrel construction all the way to the bayonet mount.

The front takes 49mm filters and this lens starts focusing from about 25-30cm and the magnification is not bad although no official information was available. This Meike 35mm F1.7 is designed as an APS-C lens so it gives an equivalent to about 53mm on 35mm format. Comes in various mounts (Canon, Nikon, Sony, M4/3 & Fujifilm) – we gotten a copy for Fujifilm X mount.

 

Small Group Tours gif.gif

 

Pairing it with an old Fujifilm X-T100, I took it out for a walk and see how good is this lens as claimed to be by many netizens. I took a walk from Bugis to Gardens by the Bay with a group of friends and I tried to shoot whatever I can using this Meike 35mm F1.7.

I used a variety of aperture from F1.7 to F22 and it was a gloomy day right after a storm. So it became a little more challenging to shoot. And as Manual Focus lens, it just gets harder as I am relying heavily on the focus peaking function on the X-T100.

Let’s check out the photos!

 

The Meike 35mm F1.7 takes a little warming up for me before I can really use it properly. The handline feels almost identical to my old Minolta lenses from the previous era. The focusing was surprisingly smooth and easy to get my subjects into focus, the aperture control ring is smooth as butter.

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There are however, some visible chromatic aberration if you cropped a little too much and and there is a strange purple outline that appears when I was shooting at F22. Then again, this happens only in about 4 images among 116 images that I had shot. So I guess this is negligible. This is like a SGD $129 lens, I shouldn’t expect too much right?

 

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I was pleasantly surprised at the bokeh though. The below shot of an Ixora plant was shot at F1.7, blow this image up you will see how sharp the focused area is and how blue the background bokeh is. Unlike some Chinese lenses that gave you “structural bokeh” akin to those made by mirror lenses, this Meike 35mm’s bokeh is really something to shout about.

 

 

anigif   

 

After a couple of hours of using the the Meike 35mm F1.7, I find it competent for a wide variety of use. It is also good enough to be a walkabout lens if you are into street photography. I shot quite a lot of buildings during this walk as I wanted to take advantage of the focal range  (52.5mm after x 1.5 crop factor on the X-T100) to reduce distortion.

And the Meike 35mm did well for night photography too.

Incredible Bokeh.

 

The Meike 35mm F1.7 may be a cheap Chinese-made little lens. There are certainly some flaws and some part which they did great. Price point is attractive, one of the cheapest new lens you can buy, small and well built, the large aperture and nice bokeh – super value for money in my view. The down side as mentioned earlier, there is the occasional CA becoming visible on your image, and it is a manual focus lens that many probably don’t even know how to use it properly.

If you are looking for a cheap lens that will another world war and all you need is nice bokeh, I will say get this lens.

Buying this Lens
If you have a few more thousands to spare & intend to buy new then buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera – Please check for availability first.
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: Chief Editor AL Lee
IMG_7567.JPG
Chief Editor & Founder of Ourshutterjourney.com Worldwide and Principal Trainer at Ourshutterjourney Photography Academy. AL is a commercial photographer as well as an educator who believes in the art of digital memories. An ambassador of several photography brands, AL is well versed in many camera systems. Someone once told us AL’s man cave looks more like a camera store than a bedroom. 

=========================
Contributing Editor – Lee Shi Qing
SQ.jpg
A firm believer of Self-Sufficient living and gives no f**k to anyone getting in her way to reaching her goals in life. Kind in nature & Dangerous when provoked. Loves Mcdonald’s Fries and hates all the burgers there. While she helps out in gear reviews, Qing is currently serving as an Online Administrator for Ourshutterjourney.com Facebook Groups and Online Shop.

========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

=========================

apd

 

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Ourshutterjourney Online Shop Migration

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Ourshutterjourney Online Shop Migration
Text by Melody Tan

26th March 2021, Worldwide – We are pleased to announce that the migration of our Online store had been completed and the new Online Store is fully operational now.

In 2017, we left eBay to supported local brand Carousell, at that point, it seems like the right thing to do as most of the sellers and buyers are based in Singapore. That also means a saving on shipping fees and easier interaction between a buyer & a seller. This helps businesses a lot in terms of costs and accountability.

Things changed when Carousell introduced a listing limit last year in Q4, during a time when our economy was almost destroyed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As more businesses moved online to stay afloat and survive, Carousell chose to impose the listing limit to a 30 listing – unless you pay – via their Carousell Coins which have to be purchased using real cash. Fully understand that Carousell is a business and they need revenue to survive, but imposing such a limit may be unbearable to many small businesses that are almost drowning. Not forgetting the high number of individual sellers (non-company) who are relying on online selling to make ends meet and to put food on the table.

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After much deliberations & careful considerations, we had come to a conclusion to leave Carousell and migrate our Online store (back) to eBay.

As an established brand, eBay reaches an international audience which are many folds of what Carousell can reach. When we were doing the migration, eBay accommodated to our migration by up-limiting our items and retail value which had made our migration smooth and seamless.

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This is how our new Online Store on eBay looks like.

 

For the record, we joined eBay since May, 2011.

And to celebrate the migration, all Ourshutterjourney Card Members enjoys a $50 Cash Back when they shop at our new Online Store on eBay. (Valid till Sep 2021).

Shop Now.

 

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anigif    

 

=========================
Contributing Editor – Melody Tan
melody.jpg
Loves quiet walks along beaches, has a mind of her own and decides everything in life in either black or white with nothing in between. Her priority these days revolves around her 2 lovely kids & teaching them music or photography. A lover of yoga and an avid traveler, Melody aims to visit at least 30 countries before she reach 40 years old – from what we know, she had completed 27 as of 2018.
========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

=========================

apd

 

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OM-D E-M10 III vs X-T100 vs M50 vs a6000

sigma

Olympus OM-D E-M10 III vs Fujifilm X-T100 vs Canon M50 vs Sony a6000
Text by Editor AL Lee


23rd March 2021, Singapore – 
This is probably the hardest review to write. Brand rivalry has always been an entertainment to many photographers from all over the world. In the past, most of us will laugh it off as most of the camera brands from Japan – they are all in the same association. (I am not going to touch on brands from Germany or China here.) So somewhere in December 2020, we received a few requests for an updated review for the above 4 cameras – which we had previously reviewed all 4, but we had only published the review for 2 out of the 4. And do not ask why.

I am putting the Sony a6000 into this comparison as they are on the same camera class or should I say these are the current Entry Level Mirrorless cameras from the various brands. After like 5 drafts, I decided to do this in a different way. By using scores. So I won’t sound biased in any way or getting accused for siding any brand. While most of you knew that I had been a Olympus Visionary (ambassador) for a few years and I parted ways with Olympus Singapore after the brand’s digital imaging operation pulls out from Singapore and appointed a distributor instead. So I am sharing that to assure you that I have nothing to do with Olympus while this article was being prepared.

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Entry level mirrorless cameras are indeed the door to the world of mirrorless photography. Many who bought their first mirrorless camera were already DSLR users who took a leap of faith and try out something lighter and some claimed even more capable. Apart from those who bought it for their girlfriends and ended up on eBay, who are smartphone users who wanted more for their photography needs & progress.

At the moment, many of these entry level cameras had a Mark II or an updated version – but the fun part is to put all 4 that were launched closest to each other in this article. While we all knew that the Canon M50 & Olympus Em10 Mark III are the newer cameras among the 4, Sony a6000 being the oldest followed by the Fujifilm X-T100, their specs are seemingly close. In fact we imagined all 4 cameras came from the same factory in a country that makes OEM for the world.

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For this article, I am just going to pick the key specifications that are worthy to be compared, because the rest of the specs are closely similar so I shall not waste your time.

Let’s Start!
**I would like to add and disclaim – all comments and comparisons here are my personal views through the hands-on, observation and from feedbacks from users. So don’t send me any love letters.

1. Sensor Size
Canon EOS M50 – APSC 1.6X Crop Factor
Fujifilm X-T100 – APSC 1.5X Crop Factor
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – Micro Four Third 2X Crop Factor
Sony a6000 – APSC 1.5X Crop Factor

Personally I prefers the Fujifm/ Sony’s 1.5X Crop factor for general use and easier to manage on focal length. The added crop factor for Canon & Olympus may be useful for closeups or macro, then again sensor size does matters. Olympus may have the smallest sensor here but the little capable sensor have more Photodiodes than the bigger sensors  in case you wanna start anything to laugh at Olympus. so size is not a factor here. So between Fujifilm and Sony, I will pick Fujifilm’s X-T100 & Sony’s a6000 here as the winners for this section.

Scores
Canon: 0
Fujifilm: 1
Olympus: 0
Sony: 1

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2. Megapixels
Canon EOS M50 – 25.8 MP
Fujifilm X-T100 – 24.2 MP
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – 17.2 MP
Sony a6000 – 24.7 MP

While many of you may argue with me that megapixels are not everything, but personally it is important. Just imagine you are shooting birds or macro, the insane amount or cropping will be highly dependent on the megapixel as that determines the amount of usable details capture within the image and how much you can crop before your image becomes a sandpaper art. I came from the era that has 2mp or 4mp cameras and I truly appreciate megapixels of today’s cameras. Maybe its just me. You can argue, but I will ignore you. So it is clear that Canon, Fuji & Sony all 3 wins in this section, but Sony gets the biased vote with the slightly higher megapixel.

Scores
Canon: 1
Fujifilm: 1
Olympus: 0
Sony: 1

 

 

 

3. In-Body Image Stabilization
Canon EOS M50 – Digital, 3-Axis (Video Only)
Fujifilm X-T100 – None
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
Sony a6000 – None

I know this section is unfair but it has become a real need in today’s photography. Do not forget these 4 cameras are entry level cameras. While Olympus had prided itself for having in-camera image stabilizer since the Four Third era, I am surprised that Sony had forgotten not included their proven SteadyShot – Sony’s version of in-body image stabilizer. Canon stay true to their DSLR roots by selling you overpriced lens with stabilizer while offering mostly a parallel version without the IS for a cheaper price. offering lens that has image stabilizers. Fujifilm probably forgot that beginners may have shaky hands too. strangely did not try to include this as well. Beginners will appreciate image stabilizers more than you can imagine. This round, Olympus wins.

Scores
Canon: 0
Fujifilm: 0
Olympus: 1
Sony: 0

 

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4. ISO
Canon EOS M50 – Up t0 51200
Fujifilm X-T100 – Up t0 51200
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – Up t0 25600
Sony a6000 – Up t0 25600

OK, we are not going to talk about which camera can make the best sandpaper art here. Usable ISO without noise usually ranges between 800 to 1600 for these entry level cameras. Canon & Fujifilm understands that most beginners who sucks at photography will push ISO to the max so they allow ISO expansion to a range-topping level of 51200 which in my view is added value for money – although for the Canon EOS-M has slightly cleaner images over the Fujifilm X-T100 at around 3200 ISO. I reckon Olympus & Sony knows how bad it is to put 51200 on their cameras of this price range so they decided to max up at 25600. On the flipside, at 3200, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 III is the cleanest among all 4 cameras here. But based on the numbers and the level of ISO noise, Canon & Fuji wins this round.

Scores
Canon: 1
Fujifilm: 1
Olympus: 0
Sony: 0

 

anigif    

 

5. Shutter Speed
Canon EOS M50
– 1/4000 to 30 Seconds / Bulb Mode

Fujifilm X-T100
-Mechanical Shutter
1/4000 to 4 Seconds in Program Mode, 1/4000 to 30 Seconds, 0 to 60 Minutes in Bulb Mode
– Electronic Shutter
1/32000 to 4 Seconds in Program Mode, 1/32000 to 30 Seconds, 1 Second in Bulb Mode,
– Electronic Front Curtain Shutter
1/32000 to 4 Seconds in Program Mode, 1/32000 to 30 Seconds, 0 to 60 Minutes in Bulb Mode

Olympus OM-D E-M10 III
– Mechanical Shutter
1/4000 to 60 Seconds, 0.5 to 60 Minutes in Bulb Mode
– Electronic Front Curtain Shutter
1/320 to 60 Seconds
– Electronic Shutter
1/16000 to 30 Seconds

Sony a6000
– Electronic Front Curtain Shutter
1/4000 to 30 Seconds, 1/4000 to 1/4 Second in Movie Mode,
Bulb Mode

Before I proceed, I have to remind everyone that these 4 are entry level cameras before you starting jumping on me. And if you do not know the difference between mechanical shutter & an electronic shutter, you shouldn’t even be shooting you should google a bit how both works. The added advantage of having both allows more options and variations when shutter speed is the priority during use. From the list above, you can see that Canon & Sony gave the same “entry level DSLR” kind of specs while Olympus gave more but not too much else the E-M5 will have problem in moving off the shelves but the range-topper here is Fujifilm’s X-T100. Take a second look again at X-T100’s shutter speed. OK You get it now.

Scores
Canon: 0
Fujifilm: 1
Olympus: 0
Sony: 0

 

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6. Exposure Compensation
Canon EOS M50 – -3 to +3 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
Fujifilm X-T100 – -5 to +5 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – -5 to +5 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
Sony a6000 – -5 to +5 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)

Again, haters are gonna argue   most beginners will not really bother about EV, but do not forget those who are already DSLR users and they are trying out a mirrorless and maybe as their first mirrorless camera, this function now plays a part, a deciding factor. While Fujifilm, Olympus & Sony probably had a secret meeting decides that giving users a wider range from negative 5 to plus 5 is standard, Canon who was not invited to the meeting gave a pretty basic negative 3 to plus 3. But the winner here is definitely Sony – as it is the only camera that offers 1/2 steps and 1/3 steps adjustments as an option.

Scores
Canon: 0
Fujifilm: 0
Olympus: 0
Sony: 1

 

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7. Continuous Shooting (on jpg)
Canon EOS M50 – 10 fps
Fujifilm X-T100 – 06 fps
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – 8.6 fps
Sony a6000 – 11 fps

Today’s camera specs are really something – just imagine 10 years ago, any camera that can do 8fps & above are mostly Semi-Pro or Pro DSLRs. Today, such features has made their way to entry level cameras and as such, it became the new benchmark for entry level specifications. Fuji failed in this section with the laughable 6 fps while Olympus did a reasonable 8.6 fps while Canon and Sony topped the range with 10fps & 11fps. Clearly Sony won for this section.

Scores
Canon: 0
Fujifilm: 0
Olympus: 0
Sony: 1

 

sigma

 

8. Autofocus Points
Canon EOS M50 – Contrast Detection: 143 / Phase Detection: 99
Fujifilm X-T100 – Phase Detection: 91
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – Contrast Detection: 121
Sony a6000 – Contrast Detection: 25 / Phase Detection: 179

As a person who uses only 01 center focusing point for the last 18 years, the number of focus points does not matters to me. But for photographers who relies heavily on zone focusing or focus detect, this means a lot to them. Canon, Olympus & Sony all offers Contrast Detection while Fujifilm only offers Phase Detection with 91 points. Sony offers both Contrast Detection 25 points and Phase Detection with 179 points. So Olympus is out. Canon offers both Detections which topples Sony on Contrast but lose out on Phase. But Canon won Fujifilm slightly on Phase. Given the above ratio, the number of points and the type of detection, Canon is clearly taking the lead here.

Scores
Canon: 1
Fujifilm: 0
Olympus: 0
Sony: 0

 

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9. Maximum Flash Sync Speed
Canon EOS M50 – 1/200 Second
Fujifilm X-T100 – 1/180 Second
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – 1/250 Second
Sony a6000 – 1/160 Second

I do not know what Sony was thinking when they set the speed for Flash Sync for the a6000. Maybe they thought that a6000 users are likely not going to use fast speed flash. Then again, Olympus & Canon gave users flash sync speed of 1/250 & 1/200 respectively which is a marvel for entry level cameras. My vote goes to Olympus & Canon for being thoughtful on this.

Scores
Canon: 1
Fujifilm: 0
Olympus: 1
Sony: 0

 

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10 . Battery
Canon EOS M50 – LP-E12 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 875 mAh
Fujifilm X-T100 – NP-W126S Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 8.4 VDC, 1260 mAh
Olympus OM-D E-M10 III – BLS-50 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 1175 mAh
Sony a6000 – NP-FW50 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 1080 mAh

Lastly, the next thing that matter to me is the battery life. Large capacity battery will ensure more shots to be taken while smaller capacity batteries means frequent change of battery while shooting and incurring more costs to purchase more spare batteries. From the stock batteries for the above cameras, Canon’s battery has the smallest capacity (875 mAh) while Fujifilm top the range with 1260 mAh. A quick research on internet, I saw claims that some Canon users swore by the battery and claim Canon camera consumes lesser power as compared to the rest so the stock battery is smaller capacity. What a load of bullshit. For me, I still feel that it all depends on the user and how the user uses the camera matters more. But for comparative reasons, Fujifilm has the most power here.

Scores
Canon: 0
Fujifilm: 1
Olympus: 0
Sony: 0

The above 10 items that I had chosen to compare are mostly for the reason that there are some noticeable differences in a way or another – the regular specs of other features are vastly similar so I did not use those as a comparative items.

The Total Score.

Scores
Canon: 4 out of 10
Fujifilm: 5 out of 10
Olympus: 2 out of 10
Sony: 4 out of 10

===========================

4th Place
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
– The latest camera to be released on this list and the one with the most expensive RRP, I am kinda disappointed that the EM10-3 is inferior on specifications – even losing out to the Sony a6000 which was launch 11 months ahead of the E-M10-3. I enjoyed using it as it is light and compact then again the Fujifilm X-T100 has about the same weight and size and far more superior in many ways. The little OM-D is well built and it has the design cue from the 35mm OM which many will appreciate.
I hope the EM10 Mark IV will be able to catch up and outclass the rest one day.

3rd Place
Canon EOS M50 – Clearly made and designed to the likes of Canon’s basic EOS DSLR range. Everything about the EOS M50 is Basic, functional and Easy to use. Slightly plasticky and does not feel as solid as the Olympus or Fujifilm, the M50 made up for the lack of features by compensating with the price point and with the backup & interchangeability of all the EOS EF lenses via adaptors, the Canon EOS M50 will be the best-seller among the 4. Still it loses out to Sony on an overall despite getting the same score as Sony due to the total customisation capability and specs.

2nd Place
Sony a6000
– Its like wine that had aged well. The oldest camera on this list managed to be on the 2nd place of this list. Sony had always used specs to win customers since the Alpha days – think a230, a700, a900 – those DSLRs back then are already ahead of the game but the public are so into Canon & Nikon so Sony indeed lost out back then. Sony’s E mount and subsequent FE mount became the real game changer. After the early E series mirrorless cameras were launched, indeed it had caused a storm and Sony finally showhand with the release of the Full Frame a7 series cameras capturing the hearts of many photographers and capturing a huge market from rivals like Canon & Nikon.

1st Place
Fujifilm X-T100 – The X Series are the Fuji cameras that managed to put Fujifilm back in the race. When people say Fujifilm gives a lot of value for the money you paid, that is true. Banking on the long legacy of Fujinon lenses, the X Series (rangefinder style) cameras are built like a tank, offers many interesting functions – my personal favorite are the digital filter-rendition of films in the digital form. Fujifilm cameras have never been fancy like Olympus, or overly marketed like Canon, or opt for new age design like Sony. Fujifilm had took on the digital face with a classic feel and everything remains Fujifilm – as it is.

I am not forcing you to agree with me or with this list, as mentioned, I did this list based on facts and specs and through usage experience. If you disagree, I can always give you a kite. I am surprised too with the result when I was tallying up the scores. So if you are in the market looking for a used entry-level camera – do go for the Fujifilm X-T100. It’s worth your every dollar.
– AL Lee
=====================

Renting any of the Camera on this article – Please check for availability first.
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: AL Lee
Chief Editor
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About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

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Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH – Revisited

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Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH – Revisited
Reviewed by Editor AL Lee

Image: Editor AL with Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH mounted to a Leica M10.   

 

21st March 2021, Singapore – Last week when I did a walk with the Leica Summilux 50mm, the article garnered almost 5,000 views in 24 hours – that got me thinking, is Leica still generating interest with younger & potential photographers that have not bought-in into the history of Leica cameras? Well, for me, I have always perceived Leica as a “progression” in many photographer’s journey. It is not a must-have, but definitely a must to own a Leica once in your lifetime in my view. For me, my love with rangefinder cameras started when my Dad gave me a Yashica MG-1 in 2010. (It was a 1975 camera and he bought it to shoot me as I was born in that very same year.) I find shooting with a rangefinder challenging but fun at the same time. It is hard to describe but it’s another level of photography that many will probably not experience or have not experienced it. The Leica M10 is the epitome of everything you can image from a digital rangefinder camera – all right let us not go that far. Back to the Super Elmar-M 18mm that I am re-reviewing today.

 


Image: Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH with the special 77mm filter adaptor mounted to a Leica M10.  

For those new to Leica lenses, here’s a quick introduction.
Lens type: Elmar – These are entry-level “slower” lenses with a max aperture of F3.8-F4.
Lens type: Elmarit – These slightly faster lenses comes with a max Aperture of 2.8
Lens type: Summarit – Latest Leica lens-line with a max Aperture of 2.5
Lens type: Summicron – The premium line of F2 lenses.
Lens type: Summilux – The “First Class” fast & sharp lenses with 1.4 Aperture.
Lens type: Noctilux – Out-of-this-World lenses with F0.95 Aperture with an unworldly price. (Note: previous Noctilux lenses come in F1.0)

We shall call it the Elmar 18mm for this review. Search the history of Leica and you will be surprised why the Elmar 18mm is special – because Leica has not added any ultra-wide angle prime lens for the M series line since 1958 – since the 21mm that is. Many have touted the Elmar 18mm as the “Millennial lens” since most of the younger photographers prefers wider angle photography. Whatever you call it – to me, it is an extremely useful and a great lens to use. The only thing that puzzled me was – why Leica does not make it as a Elmarit (F2.8) since the price point for the Elmar 18mm is close to the Elmarit price bracket. Anyway, Leica being Leica, we can only remain puzzled.

 

 

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At 18mm, the Elmar 18mm is under the category of Ultra-Wide-Angle lens. The optics are lined up into 8 elements in 7 groups with 2 aspherical (on surface) elements (that explains the ASPH code on lens). The aperture is a standard 09 blade which was rumoured to give nice starburst at F16 – which I have not tried since I own this lens.

 

As expected from Leica, the anodized aluminum Elmar 18mm was built like a tank, the lens is solid and weighty but not heavy at 309gm (with the special filter adaptor) and it measures only 48.8mm X 61mm – can be easily passed off as the smallest ultra-angle lens in the world. The Elmar 18mm starts focusing from 70cm to the front and although this is not really impressive – hey, this a UWA lens, not a fisheye or macro lens.

 

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Image: Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH with the special 77mm filter adaptor mounted to a Leica M10.

 

Due to the Elmar 18mm’s construction and design, I had mounted the special 77mm adaptor to it and to put a filter over the front element to protect it. I have always “over-experimented” almost every lens/camera that I had and that goes the same for this Elmar 18mm. In the case of this Elmar 18mm, it is an “over-engineered” lens which gives a lot of value, usability for the price it retails.

I took the Elmar 18mm out on a gloomy Saturday afternoon for a walk with a couple of friends and I am doing this as a last review for this lens as I will be selling off this lens to make space and I have always used the 21mm more often than this Elmar 18mm. Instead of wasting its time exhibiting itself in my dry cabinet, it is time for a new owner who will appreciate this lens to own it.

(This lens is for Sale by the way as I have the 21mm which I am keeping – do scroll down for the details)

 

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Let’s see some of the photos that I had shot using the Elmar 18mm paired to a M10 below.

 

With an Ultra-Wide-Angle lens like the Elmar 18mm, I almost feel that I can rule the world. Most people will not think that an UWA can do anything decent for street photography, but I beg to differ. That was why I decided to do this review to prove many of you wrong. In fact, with the wider angle of view, you can achieve wide angle street scenes, coupled with landscapes, cityscapes and you can do wonders in really tight places.

 

 

I decided to walk from City Hall to Chinatown, a short 4.2 km walk via Connaught Road, Boat Quay, Hong Lim to Chinatown. The Elmar 18mm is a wonder when space is tight or subject is too tall/large – while my friends struggled the above shot with their 24mm, I got everything framed and composed in seconds and took the above shot.

 

 

The Elmar 18mm is not just another UWA lens, it renders colours very accurately (paired with M10) and it gives shit loads of details – even when I shot some of the scenes in F3.8.
In a way, this is amazing, yes you may argue many other brands produce wider angles prime lenses than Leica – but wait till you check out the details – the Elmar 18mm is not just wide, it captures details like no other.

 

 

 

 

The Elmar 18mm is a lens that one must first understand its strength before you can use it to its max capability. Despite owning the lens for a while, I have not really mastered its effective use except learning how it processes light slightly differently from other UWA lenses. The above image taken at Esplanade MRT is such an example – the Elmar 18mm is really good at “dividing lights” and I can create the above shot easily without much effort. While other systems may end up giving the user an over-exposed image due to the “smarter” metering, the Elmar 18mm gave me the above image in One Shot.

 

 

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I believe I do not have to explain the benefits of having an Ultra-Wide-Angle lens while on the street. It was absolutely amazing for me to see the images that I had shot with the Elmar 18mm for this walk. If I had brought the Summilux 50mm with me, I believed many of the images in this review would not be possible at all.

 

 

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I chanced upon a group of youngsters having fun with skateboards and I decided to take a group shot for them. These guys are cool and friendly, do say hello to them when you see them, they are near to the underpass leading to Esplanade.

 

 

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Walking around with the Elmar 18mm allows me to shoot almost everything from anywhere. Some of these shots were cropped – and because I can do so. The Leica M10 has enough pixels for me to crop up to 70% off the original image from the Elmar 18mm.

 

 

Yes, the above image was shot right at the foot of the spotlight structure, I was that close, and the Elmar 18mm allows me to shoot it standing right below it. The beauty of 18mm.

The below shot was the back alley of Boat Quay – I had attempted this shot at this location many times with many lenses, the Elmar 18mm nailed it in just one shot. Another great example of what this Elmar 18mm is capable of.

 

The Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH is in a class of its own. At F/3.8, I really think Leica could have made it as an Elmarit (F/2.8) so the Elmar 18mm will find a home with nightscape photographers. Very capable lens for landscape for sure, it has also become a class-leader for wide angle street shots among the younger photographers of today. If you are a Leica M System user, you will love the Elmar 18mm – I promise.

Here’s a parting shot (courtesy of Serene | Digital | Crafts). See you again soon!

For Sale
This very unit here from this review is for sale. This Leica Super Elmar-M 18mm F/3.8 ASPH comes with the special Leica 77mm filter adaptor and the everything else that came with the box. I am selling because I really prefer the 21mm due to my shooting style. I had only used the Elmar 18mm for a few times and it had been dormant inside my dry cabinet for a long time until I did this review – so you can imagine how mint this unit is. There is no dusts, no fungus, no mould and at a pristine condition.
**This review unit is yours for SGD $2,700.00**
Buy Here: https://www.ebay.com.sg/itm/Leica-Super-Elmar-M-18mm-F-3-8-ASPH/294076925353

Buying this Lens
If you have a few more thousands to spare & intend to buy new then buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera – Please check for availability first.
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

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Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: AL Lee
Chief Editor
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Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH – Revisited

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Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH – Revisited
Reviewed by Editor AL Lee

Image: Editor AL with Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH mounted to a Leica M10. 

**UPDATE: Lens Sold**

16th March 2021, Singapore – It had been a while since I took a Leica out for a walk. Been itching to visit Orchard Road as my last visit was 2 Christmas ago so I decided to warm the M10 up and do a revisit review for one of the most sought-after bokeh lens from Leica – the Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH.

For those new to Leica lenses, here’s a quick introduction.
Lens type: Elmar – These are entry-level “slower” lenses with a max aperture of F3.8-F4.
Lens type: Elmarit – These slightly faster lenses comes with a max Aperture of 2.8
Lens type: Summarit – Latest Leica lens-line with a max Aperture of 2.5
Lens type: Summicron – The premium line of F2 lenses.
Lens type: Summilux – The “First Class” fast & sharp lenses with 1.4 Aperture.
Lens type: Noctilux – Out-of-this-World lenses with F0.95 Aperture with an unworldly price. (Note: previous Noctilux lenses come in F1.0)

The Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH is widely known for its legendary bokeh and sharpness.  My Summilux 50mm comes in anodized black while a slightly heavier silver is available out there. It’s one of my favorite lens from Leica which grows on me over the months that I started using this lens – the more I use, the more I love it. Sitting just below the Noctilux range, it is a little solid lens. Made as if it can withstand another world war, the Summilux 50mm weights just 335gm and measures only 53.47 mm X 52.60mm, (if you ask me, I secretly wish all M-Series Leica should comes with this lens as a kit.)

**UPDATE: Lens Sold**(This lens is for Sale by the way as I have the Silver Version which I am keeping – do scroll down for the details)

 

 

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Inside the lens, the optics are arranged in 8 elements in 5 groups including one aspherical element (thus the ASPH code) and it is probably the ONLY 50mm in this world that has a floating group of elements if that matters to you. It has 9 unique aperture blades that curved inwards to which I wonder if this has anything to do with the crazy bokeh that this lens produces. When you focus down to F16, the apertures looks the roundest otherwise the inward curved blades created a strange but pleasing look though.

**UPDATE: Lens Sold**(This lens is for Sale by the way as I have the Silver Version which I am keeping – do scroll down for the details)

 

 

 

The Summilux 50mm starts focusing from a distance of about 70cm which makes sense since most photographers will be using this lens for street photography, portraits or newsroom images. The front of the lens takes 46mm filters which is common & easily available. (I recommend the use of B+W 46mm Filters for this lens) I like the idea that this lens comes with a built-in retractable hood, although small but definitely served its purpose. The thumb rest for the aperture ring control was also designed for maximum control which I love it.

**UPDATE: Lens Sold**(This lens is for Sale by the way as I have the Silver Version which I am keeping – do scroll down for the details)

 

 

 

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For this review, I paired it with a Leica M10 and took it to the streets of Orchard Road in Singapore for 3 km walk – passing by 3 MRT stations, several key landmarks and malls along Orchard Road. You may wish to check out the full album over at my FB.

Now, let’s check out the photos!
*All images on this review are clickable to view at 100%.

**UPDATE: Lens Sold**(This lens is for Sale by the way as I have the Silver Version which I am keeping – do scroll down for the details)

 

 

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The walk begins. I start from Dhoby Ghaut MRT/ Plaza Singapura.

 

OK, I got naughty during editing. I know of many Leica users loves to set their M10 to infinity and shoot at random street scenes but personally I felt that they might as well go get a mirrorless like an Olympus or Fuji if they are shooting that way. Using a Leica M10, the joy-of-use is really the take-your-time focusing and waiting out for subjects/ scenes at my own pace. While some may beg to differ, I will attribute that to using the right camera for the right mood & purposes.

 

The Summilux 50mm – apart from its fame as a Bokeh monster, it is also a very competent street lens promising sharpness that are unmatched. And the details are crazy – just click on the above image of a tailor shop, you can probably see me from the mirror that is inside the shop and I shot this from across the street – that is what I call details!

The colors produced from this combo (M10+50mm Summilux) is super rich and defined. The accuracy is almost 99% correct which makes editing a breeze when it comes to color management.

 

 

 

Now let’s test the bokeh.

Living up to its fame – I did a few shots in wider apertures and I am truly AMAZED. I still think that the inward-curved aperture blades has something to do with this creamy bokeh. The focused area are sharp and full of details while the bokeh area are simply silky smooth!

I took a few shots of Serene from Serene Digital Crafts using F1.7 & F2.4 (yes the apertures are half-steps clickable) and you can see the bokeh progression. In fact you can click on the image and view the EXIF Data.

 

 

 

I am loving the super creamy bokeh, the amount of details captured on the focused area and to add – I did not edit the above 2 images.

 

 

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Street scenes & situation in Orchard Road can change very fast given the high amount of activity and people that are moving around all the time and everywhere in Orchard Road.

 

 

One of things that I like to observe while shooting on the streets are showcase displays – some are really interesting to shoot or simply watching. The Summilux 50mm did an amazing job when I was trying to shoot this lighted display – the lens did not mess up the focusing despite the display was behind a glass that reflected the street behind me.

 

 

Some say architectures are not a thing with the Summilux 50mm, well I do not care and did/ shot everything with the Summilux 50mm during this walk. Personally I think it is great for shooting buildings too since 50mm focal range has less distortions compared to other wider lenses.

 

 

 

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Focusing at areas/ scenes with inconsistent lights are a challenge for many cameras/lenses, but definitely not the Summilux 50mm (with M10). Say all you want with your auto-focus cameras – I got all my shots accurately & easily with this manual combo. No details were compromised.

Orchard Road is not one of the top choice for street photographers – even locals don’t even really visit this place. Then again, I just want to take a walk here since I had not been to Orchard for a really long while.

The crowd observed on this day seems to have forgotten about Covid-19, but luckily everyone is masked up.

 

I love the below shot of 2 boys chilling outside Civic Plaza. Among the busy surroundings, these boys are enjoying peace in their own world ignoring the real world that they are in.


 

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As the skies turns dark, the Summilux 50mm takes on the incoming darkness with ease. I set the lens to wider apertures and shoot. The Leica M10 by itself is really an amazing  night camera – paired with the Summilux 50mm, this combo is ready for a night out.


The Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH will continue to be the street photography staple-lens for Leica M users. Built like a tank and performs well in different lights & environment. Being a Summilux, this lens is definitely built to last a few lifetimes. If you are a Leica M user and had not tried this lens, I wonder where on earth have you been.

For Sale
This very unit here from this review is for sale. This Leica Summilux 50mm F/1.4 ASPH comes with the Leica custom leather pouch & everything that came with the box – including the box. I am selling because after months of deliberating, I decided to keep the Silver unit and sell this black unit. I had only took this Black unit out once to Chinatown and I had not used it again until I did this review – so you can imagine how new this unit is. There is no dusts, no fungus, no mould and at a pristine condition.
**UPDATE: Lens Sold** **This review unit is yours for SGD $4,000.00**
Buy Here: https://www.ebay.com.sg/itm/Leica-Summilux-50mm-F-1-4-ASPH/294074090479

Buying this Lens
If you have a few more thousands to spare & intend to buy new then buy from our accredited merchants for a peace of mind!

Renting this Camera – Please check for availability first.
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

crclogo-small.jpg
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

=========================
Reviewer: AL Lee
Chief Editor
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========================
About Ourshutterjourney.com
Visit Our Online Store
Join Our Membership.

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Shutter Journey Now in Malaysia, France & Germany

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Shutter Journey Now in Malaysia, France & Germany
Text by Lee Shi Qing

11th March 2021, Singapore – Malaysia – France – Germany – After months of planning and discussions, Ourshutterjourney.com is pleased to announce the Official launch of Shutter Journey Malaysia, Shutter Journey France & Shutter Journey Germany! Although we had planned for Shutter Journey Vietnam, we were faced with challenges with the local authorities – with that, we decided to bagged the idea and instead, we invited our Vietnamese friends to join us on our FB Page.

Ourshutterjourney.com has always been an advocator for carefree photography since 2009. Through the years, we had perfected the formula for a photography community that was created and built by photographers. From Photography Exhibitions to Competitions, from Photo walks to tour, from workshops to courses, we had managed to piece every bit together slowly over the years. Today, Ourshutterjourney is a registered business entity is Singapore and an academy as well as an online retailer. Not forgetting the 4000+ registered card members and our network of photography merchants along with our very own Service Centre to better serve our members helping them to make informed choices and purchase options.

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Shutter Journey Malaysia (SJM) 


Shutter Journey Malaysia will be lead by Terence Tan. Hailing from Johor Bahru, Terence is mad about cars and he became interested in photography after he tried to record his first car purchase. He did it with the intention to document the process as a memory, however, that led him further and deeper into the world of photography.

 

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Image: Terence Tan, Country Head, Shutter Journey Malaysia.

“Buying my first car in Malaysia in my 40s is quite special for me. That is mainly because everyone else bought theirs way younger than me here in Malaysia. You may ask why I bought my first car only in my 40s? Well, that’s because I have stayed overseas since graduation and I had only recently moved back to my home country here in Malaysia. Since then, photographing cars starts to grow on me, as much as driving the cars themselves, if not, more.”
– Terence Tan, Country Head, Shutter Journey Malaysia.


Email SJM at shutterjourneymalaysia@gmail.com
Join SJM at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ourshutterjourney.malaysia/ 

 

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Shutter Journey France (SJF)

Shutter Journey France will be lead by Men-hau. Men-hau’s love for photography started with a simple wish for wanting to explore the world. Using photography as an expressive tool, Men-hau wants to share his feelings, emotions and visions by photographing breathtaking landscapes or indulging in street photography capturing unique and fun images off the streets. Through his works, he hope to share & inspires more photographers to express themselves using images.

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Image: Men-Hau El, Country Head, Shutter Journey France.

“I want to explore the world, the cultures, the seasons, the different places and the people. It may be a small world today in the digital realm, but the world that we lives in are far more interesting and much complex. From the Alps to the Desert, from Europe to Asia, it’s just a journey to a different world within this world, and this journey will be through photography.”
– Men-hau El, Country Head, Shutter Journey France.


Email SJF at shutterjourneyfrance@gmail.com
Join SJF at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ourshutterjourney.france 

 

 

 

 

Shutter Journey Germany (SJG)

Shutter Journey Germanywill be lead by Bill Watts. Started photography as a child of 5 years old, Bill started his photography journey with film cameras of yesteryears that many of us can only dream of. He made the move to digital in the year of 2000 and but had “kept in touch” with his love of film all these while.

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Image: Bill Watts, Country Head, Shutter Journey Germany.

From an early age, I was fascinated by photography, by both the technical aspects and its uses in advertising, business, reporting and as an art form. It can be used as an expressive tool, a recorder of history, documentation of events gone by or simply a memory jogger. Having travelled extensively, photographs evoke memories of places I have been and things I have seen and will do for times to come. From Film to Digital photography, technology has come a long way, but nothing has really changed, photography will always be photography..”
– Bill Watts, Country Head, Shutter Journey Germany.

Email SJG at shutterjourneygermany@gmail.com
Join SJG at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ourshutterjourney.germany

Ourshutterjourney.com would like to congratulate & welcome Terence Tan (SJM), Men-hau El (SJF) & Bill Watts (SJG) to our worldwide family of photographers!

For existing members in Singapore, do join the respective groups and start interacting from fellow photographers from all over the world!

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Contributing Editor – Lee Shi Qing
SQ.jpg
A firm believer of Self-Sufficient living and gives no f**k to anyone getting in her way to reaching her goals in life. Kind in nature & Dangerous when provoked. Loves Mcdonald’s Fries and hates all the burgers there. While she helps out in gear reviews, Qing is currently serving as an Online Administrator for Ourshutterjourney.com Facebook Groups and Online Shop. 

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About Ourshutterjourney.com
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Join Our Membership.

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Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro (ART) Part 2

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Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro (ART) Part 2
Reviewed by AL Lee

31st January 2021, Singapore/Malaysia – I did a review last week on the new Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro (ART) and I didn’t have enough of this lens and so I requested for another week extension from Sigma Singapore to use this lens. You can read my last review here.

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I decided to take the same macro set up out to shoot again. (Sony camera, Sigma 105mm, Godox TT350 flash, Victor Cheah’s Custom Diffuser). Went somewhere nearby and hunt for insects, these are some of the images that I’ve gotten.

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As expected, the Sigma 105mm Macro ART really delivers. All images can be viewed at 100% – just click on it and select view. See to believe how much details were captured.

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Since this the second time I am using this lens, it feels so much easier to use than the previous round when I decided to just take it and shoot without really reading up on the lens specifications. This round, I set the focusing to 0.295-0.5m for the whole session.

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