Pink Submissions #18 “Round”

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Pink Submissions #18 “Round”
Pink Feature 


15th March 2017, Singapore
– Decided to give a simple yet complex theme for the Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG to interpret, I was rather happy to see the entries covering many genres yet revolving around the theme “Round”. Generic yet diverse, this theme challenges the creativity and composition based on a shape and it was really up to the individual photographers to define the theme.

The submitted images for submission #18 are what is “Round” to the photographer, enjoy! As an added bonus, the best 3 entries gets a limited edition travel adaptor jointly sponsored by Ourshutterjourney.com & Sony Singapore. Once again, good job ladies!

 


 

Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted! Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!) 

 

1) From Soh Chui Lian – It’s twilight outside and the deep shades of blue are seen through the round sky dome (window) which contrasted heavily with the beige interior that goes round and round. One could have easily missed this if the person did not look up. Simple composition but powerful result. Good catch Chui Lian!

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2) From Alice Chia – The round & colorful marbles are fast disappearing from today’s life. When we were young back in the 1970s/1980s, marbles is pretty much a social game and I am sure many of you (from my era) would have played or challenged your peers over a game of marbles during school recess. This image by Alice indeed brought back many memories – thanks Alice!Alice Chia

 

3) From Soh Chui Lian – Another interesting interior shot by Chui Lian. Combining the use of Fish Eye lens, she captured this art installation which is also round and made up of pots & pans which is also round plus the dome at the ceiling line is also round. She included a visitor taking a shot at the display within the composition to further gives viewer a sense of size and extent of the art piece. Simply brilliant!
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4)  From Nora – Nora submitted this image of her and her colleagues forming up a human circle and shot upwards creating an interesting perspective. While this has been done by many, Nora’s image is well-balanced symmetrically and the smiles on the faces simply gives this shot a warm and joyful feel which makes this image special. Nice one Nora!
*Nora is the lady with the red lanyard. :)~
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5) From Yew Peck Leng – While many of you do not know what are these? I am sure the older generations will find this very familiar. These are thread reels for sewing machines and each reel usually has 1 thread one 1 color and the user will slot these reels into placeholders on the sewing machine and have thread run through a runner that goes to the sewing head. During sewing, these reels will spin round & round on the placeholders. This is image is indeed nostalgic. Thank you Peck Leng for sharing this. I used to play with my mum’s (empty) reels when I was a child too!
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6) From Soh Chui Lian – Yes, I cannot help it and I had picked another submission by Auntie Chui Lian. The Wheelock Place Dome is very popular with photographers especially during Christmas season. While many had attempted a shot at this place with almost 90% of images focusing on the upper dome, Chui Lian used a fisheye lens to capture much more details of the surroundings, the full length of the escalator, surrounding retail shops and of course, the floating Christmas tree. This shot is spectacular!
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7) From Cindy S. – Cindy submitted this image which I presumed this had been her lunch. Presented on a round plate that is in a dark shade of brown, the food colors are accentuated easily giving the presentation a palatable boost. The food are further “rounded” within the plate creating a pleasant visual effect. I hope it taste as good as it looks. Cindy please bring me to this place some day!
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8) From Janet Toh – There’s certainly lots of round stuff here. Strangely Chinese Dim Sum comes in a variety of shapes but nearly 90% of all Chinese Dim Sum comes in round shape. From buns to tarts to meatballs etc, round seems to be the preferred shaped. Even the bamboo or wooden steamer tray is round! This images does look every bit the part and very yummy to look at! 🙂
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9) From Pearl Zee – While most bakeries presents cakes, bread and muffins in certain round shapes, rounds shapes does seems to have a connection with everything sweet and sinful. Here’s a nice image of muffins by Pearl. I like how the colorful ones have surrounded the ones with chocolate chips. Pearl if these are made by you, please keep one of those Chocolate Chip version for me ya.
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10) From Yew Peck Leng – These Lava cakes was once round until the establishment decides to cut to open and show potential customers what’s dripping wet on the inside. While this may not be the best way to present Lave Cakes examples, the colors and various textures made up for it. And having all these on a round wooden bake board makes this image legit for this theme. OK Peck Leng, where can I buy all these? 
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11) From Cindy S – Coffee seems to be a favourite subject to submit when round is the theme. Top down view of a cup of coffee sees 2 round circles and the cup handle seems to the only element that breaks the visual illusion reminding you that this is really just a cup of cappuccino. Simple & fits the theme nicely.
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12) From Janet Toh – Need me say more?
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*Image size as submitted by Author. 

 

13) From Soh Chui Lian – Another brilliant shot by Chui Lian! Those of you who had been shooting for a while knows how to do this – but can you get the image right? You need to have a suitable illuminated background and other composition rules comes into play. Here we have hundreds of round chinese lanterns hanging over a busy street at Singapore Chinatown. Nice one Chui Lian!
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14) From Anny Tan – Making back-lighting to our advantage, here we have a statue of a Budhha with a round aura ring around it while the strong back light helped to create this  shadowy silhouette which is interesting to look at.
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15) From Yew Peck Leng –
Looks like a nice decor using various materials which are ALL in round shapes! How many materials can you identify below?
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16) From Soh Chui Lian – 
A round setting/ rising sun can be very charming and emotional if it is composed properly like the below example from Chui Lian. The trees helped a lot in the mysterious department and I like the overall feel of this stunning image. Soh Chui Lian2.jpg

 

17) From Cindy  – Bunnies/ Rabbits are known to have large and round bums. To make this image even more interesting, Cindy shot her rabbit through a round purple tunnel (which the rabbit enjoys exploring) and created a purple frame for this shot and to add to the fun aspect, she shot her rabbit’s butt and not the front view. Ok, I miss my rabbits already.
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Ladies! Excellent round of submission! (pun intended) – My Top 3 Picks are!!!

#01 – Soh Chui Lian(Congratulations! You have Won a Limited Edition Travel Adaptor)
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#02 – Nora (Congratulations! You have Won a Limited Edition Travel Adaptor)
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#03 – Cindy S (Congratulations! You have Won a Limited Edition Travel Adaptor)
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We have come to the end of this round’s Pink Submission. I enjoyed viewing this series very much and I hope you guys enjoyed it too! There will be more photo-share from PINK Photographers SG ! Next theme announcing soon!
– Editor AL

 

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Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART

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Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART
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14th March 2017, Singapore
Sigma Singapore sent me the New 12-24mm F4 DG ART to our office 2 weeks ago and all the Review Editors are debating who should be reviewing this lens – because all of them wanted to try this lens and do the review! Since the announcement of Sigma’s Global Vision, many new super lenses had been released by Sigma progressively and this round, the 12-24mm F4 ART, another much anticipated lens from the Art line. This is the 3rd incarnation for the highly popular 12-24mm lens by Sigma and while there are rumours that the new 12-24mm may return as a new lens under the Contemporary line, then Sigma surprised the world by releasing the new 12-24mm in their top range Art line.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

Like its predecessors, the size & appearance of the lens is somewhat similar measuring 10.2cm x 13.2cm and weights at 1151gm which is manageable by any standard. The lens barrel features the proven TSC compound and the lens feels every bit like a proper Ultra Wide Angle zoom lens. Personally I find that zoom ring is a little skewed towards smaller hands but if you use a lot of front slotted filter this might be just the right clever design too! The demo unit that Sigma sent has a pretty tight grip on the zoom & focus ring which I was later told that it will smoothed out once I used the lens for a few times and indeed, the zoom & focus is indeed smooth after half a day of abuse by me.

Designed as a full frame lens (FF-DG, Cropped-DC, Mirrorless-DN), it is also compatible with cropped bodies giving the user an excellent 35mm equivalent of 18mm (19.2mm on Canon APS-C) to 36mm (38.4mm on Canon). Built with 9 rounded aperture blades, this lens is capable of producing near “full-circle” bokehs which is rare in most lenses at this focal length.  Sigma had spared no effort in giving this lens an optically-corrected view – there’s 16 elements in 11 groups for all that distortion correction, chromatic aberration (both lateral or transverse) & color correction and the new Sigma 12-24mm ART focuses from F4 to F22, perfect for a wide variety of genres apart from the usual landscape or interior design images.

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The new Sigma 12-24mm ART has a minimum focusing distance of just 23.5cm and coupled with a magnification ration of 0.20x, you can also do wide-angle close-ups giving tiny subjects a whole new perspective! Internally, the focusing engine is none other than the company’s long-proven Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM) that focuses lightning fast and operates at an almost near-silent operation. The focusing is not only fast, it is very accurate and it locks on to a subject in milliseconds.

So back to who gets to review the new Sigma 12-24mm ART, over at the editorial office we did a “lucky draw” with all the review editors’ names and I picked the paper that says “Tommy Chia”. Tommy is not new to our readers as he had reviewed quite a fair bit of lenses with us and let’s see what he have to say about the much anticipated Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.

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2017 Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART
– Featuring Tommy Chia
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Image: Tommy Chia mated the Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART to his Canon EOS 5D MarkII.

 

Wide angle lenses are essential tools inside a professional photographer bag. I personally own an array of wide angle lenses covering 12mm to 35mm. Lenses from 16mm to 20mm are called super-wide angle lenses. Ultra-wide angles are used to describe lenses 15mm and wider. 

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Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.

 

When the Editor AL picked me to review the new Sigma 12-24mm DG F4 ART, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens, I was very excited as I have heard about this lens when Sigma announced it and now I get to review it! The lens feel well put together when handled, looks refined and expensive. When AL said go test it, the mental pictures in my mind automatically switched to ultra-wide angle mode. Many people are afraid to use wide angle lenses is because of the challenging composition, it look like it suck in all the scene towards the front, with too many things in the pictures making it looking messy. Actually wide angles lenses are very fun to use just by looking for a main subject or lines to compose with. 

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“The beautiful part of using a wide angle is to watch those lines stretching off into the distance.”
Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.

 

The Sigma 12-24mm DG F4 ART issued to me comes in Canon EF mount. The lens has a metal brass mount just like all the ART line lenses. It is in constant aperture of f4. It fitted on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III nicely. The AF motor is so quiet that I thought it was not working. After I got acquitted with the lens, I decided to take it downtown for some test images.  

 

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“The distortion typically associated with UWA are very minimal, just look at those lines.”
Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART. 

 

AP1_4259s12mm-vert.jpg “The 3 focal length stops of 12mm, 17mm & 24mm offers flexibility of various wide angle composition.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.   

 

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“Because of the ultra wide angle this lens covers, it is so wide and it opens up many new perspectives for photographers and to the surroundings that he would never had paid attention to before he owns an ultra-wide angle lens.  This is because the lens covered double the area of what human eyes can see & cannot see.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    

 

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“I was seated at this location for over 20 mins while waiting for the clouds to cover the midday sun and was rewarded for a bird flying over my frame.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    

 

AP1_4103.jpg“When using UWA lenses, it is a must to keep the camera leveled properly to the horizon to avoid keystone distortion.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    

 

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“This UWA is so wide that the whole scene captured here seems to be rolling out to the viewer!” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    

 

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“If you are into building interior designs, this lens is just perfect, really perfect!” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    

 

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“Believe it or not, an UWA lens made this car showroom looks much bigger and more spacious than it really was.” Image by Tommy Chia – Shot with Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.    

 

The NEW Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART is really an Ultra-Wide Angle wonder-Lens. Unlike the previous versions (which are prety good and value for money), Sigma has gotten everything right for this lens. I enjoyed using this lens totally as it is more than just a “landscape lens” like most photographers will think of UWA lenses. Given its capabilities, I can use this lens for many new things like street photography, ID, wide angle close-ups apart from the usual cityscapes/nightscapes/landscapes. I will say get this lens and open yourself to a new dimension of Wide Angle Photography!

Thank You Editor AL & Sigma Singapore for this opportunity!


Tommy Chia
Professional Aerial Photographer
Tommy Chia
Image: Tommy Chia with his Canon DSLR + Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART.  

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Editor’s Note:
Thank You Uncle Tommy for the excellent and hands-on review of the Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART. The images are inspiring and maybe I should get one too. (lol!). I am sure many will be inspired to try out Ultra Wide Angle compositions too!

OK Guys, You heard the man.

Buy your Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG ART & Other Great Sigma lenses here.
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Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART

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Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART
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7th March 2017, Singapore – Sigma Singapore sent us the latest 85mm F1.4 ART recently and we were thrilled when receiving it. Why? This is the Sigma lens that almost the whole world had been  anticipating since this lens was announced last year. Sigma’s prime lenses had come a long way since the pre-Global Vision time and some of Sigma’s prime lenses had been a strong challenger to propietory brands especially their famous 50mm F1.4. For the previous version of the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG, it was already commanding the portrait lens market with its unsurpassed sharpness and asking price, and now, meet the NEW Art Series 85mm F1.4 from Sigma!

 

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

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Build like a solid weapon, the new 85mm F1.4 ART uses the same TSC (Thermal Stable Compound) for the lens barrel and the same high quality standard are carried out throughout the external design & build of this lens. Focusing ring are precise and creamy smooth and the feel & handling of the 85mm F1.4 ART is addictive to the touch. Designed for portraits & wedding photographers, this lens is much capable of more genres like close-ups or discreet street photography.

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At wide open, the 9 round iris blades apertures ensures a round and consistent bokeh that is pleasing and and gives the out-of-focus area a nice and dreamy background. Inside the lens, Sigma did not compromise in the use of elements and you get a whopping 14 elements in 12 groups for all the corrections that You think of. The result is a stunning lens that produces razor-sharp image and separates the image plane effortlessly so you can concentrate on shooting and composing while the lens ensures you get surprisingly good results!

The lens focuses from F1.4 to F16 which is common for large aperture lenses and the weight (1.1kg) had been kept very manageable for hours of continous use.  Size wise it is pretty much like most of the 85mm in the market (3.73 x 4.97”) which spot a square-ish but large front look! The front accepts 86mm filters if you are after tele-landscape, a ND filter might find its way there. However, as far as I know, most portrait photographers that I personally know do not really use a front mount filter on their 85mm and to add, a 86mm filter is not exactly cheap too.

The lens operation is quiet as this lens works on internal focusing like many of its Art series siblings and it is run by the company’s long proven Hyper-Sonic motor (HSM) that focuses at breakneck speed and proven accuracy! There’s a distance scale meter for those who still look at it anyway. The Sigma 85mm ART starts focusing from as near as 85mm (coincidence?) which are typical of lenses of this focal length. Sound good so far? We decided to pass the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG Art to our guest Reviewer Gary Chow, a portrait & street photographer for a weekend. Let’s check out what he did with the new Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART.
 

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My Encounter with the New Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART
– by Gary Chow
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Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens. 

When Editor AL called me out of the blue, I know he have a lens for me to review and I was surprised that he has the NEW Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG ART for me. I’ve long heard about this lens since it was announced and I am very curious about all the raves and waves that this lens is making on the internet. Now I have it for a week and I decide to use it for my work as well as leisure and see if this lens lives up to its expectations.  

 

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Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.  

On first look, the lens looks every bit the portrait lens that all of us are familiar with and the distinctive profile of a Sigma Art series lens. Not only it feels expensive (although it’s quite cheap), it feels like a super-grade lens from Sigma and it’s even better than some brands that I know. The switches are well-placed and the focusing is very quiet and fast, so good that it is so easy to use. 

20170216-GCP_2429.jpg Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens. 

The colors rendered are very nice and balanced with no visible sway to a particular color band or hue and it works really well with my Nikon FX DSLR. The focusing lands on the subject easily and the accuracy is great. However those of you who are new to portraits may wish to note that most wide-aperture prime lenses have a sweet spot that is usually stopped down to 2 stops. Likewise, this Sigma 85mm ART will be at its prime at F2.0. However, I do like to experiment shooting F1.4, F1.8 & F2.0 with the occasional F2.8. Like some people say, if you buy a F1.4, why not use F1.4? Then again, you must know what you are doing, hahaha.   

 

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Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.  

 
I used the lens for a couple of jobs over the week and I find it very manageable to use for long hours without having my hands feeling like that it is dying of fatigue and no dust seems to be able to stick itself on the lens front – must be the super coating from Sigma I guess. And the switch is easily reached when I need to switch from Auto Focus to Manual Focus and I do not even have to take my eyes off my viewfinder, now that is good design if you ask me.  Importantly, my clients saw the images and they were impressed with the image quality and isn’t that what every portrait photographer is going after?   

 
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Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.    

 

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Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.

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Image: Show with Sigma’s New 85mm F1.4 DG ART lens.

In conclusion, the new Sigma 85m F1.4 DG ART is a great portraits lens that gives ultimate value for its high quality images, color accuracy, fast, accurate & silent focusing, averaged weighted & a reasonable asking price. What more can I ask for? Right? Thanks Editor AL for letting me try and review this new Legend Lens from Sigma. For the rest of you, go get it!

Gary Chow

Professional Photographer.

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Image: Gary Chow
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Editor’s Note: Thank You Gary for helping out with the review and sharing your images that was shot using the new Sigma 85m F1.4 DG ART! I must say that the images are awesome and bokeh are beautiful & attractive. Hope you enjoy using this lens and continue to support Sigma’s lenses too!


OK Guys, You heard the man.
Buy your Sigma 85mm F1.4 ART & Other Great Sigma lenses here.
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Pink Submissions #17 ″BLACK”

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Pink Submissions #17 ″BLACK”
Pink Feature

27th February 2017, Singapore – I decided to give the Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG  a little abstract theme, “Black” and I wanted to see how each of them translate and interpret this theme. We have done several color theme in the past and this round, it’s a thin line between monochrome and black. And given the possibilities, I am really not sure what to expect. Black is no doubt one strange color. It’s mysterious, it’s hard to comprehend yet it is simple as it is. Certainly not an easy theme here.

The submitted images this round are what is “Black” to the photographer, enjoy! Once again, good job ladies!

 

 

Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted! Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!)
1) From Alice Chia – A wall paper at Mcdonald’s that’s filled with shapes and text. Black being the complete opposite of white, complements each other and this is the maximum contrast that one can get when these 2 combined. With shapes, text, this is one interesting wall paper to have. Glad Alice spotted this wall, thanks for sharing!
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2) From Joanna Ng – A nice silhouette of a lady playing with a child in water against the sunlight. When light are restricted and subject are against the direction of the light, it’s a great idea to create a silhouette image like this example by Joanna. The ripples on the water also created many lines and giving this image the texture making it a complete viewing experience. Excellent job Joanna!
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3) From Janet Toh – A wall image, probably at Janet’s house and probably painted (or sticker). White wall are simply too neat and clean and in fact, it’s cold and it’s ironical that a home is supposed to be filled with warmth and love. However, this silhouette design on a wall created an interesting story line of trees and birds & complete with a text “Our home” in solid black makes this cold white wall filled with the warmth of a home. Simple yet meaningful.
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4) From Soh Chui Lian – A museum walkway that had been rendered into monochrome. The designs of patterns and lines makes this shot very interesting and when all the darker areas had “black out” from the rendering, this contrasty scene is created. Now with only shades of Black & White, this scene has a perfect balance of both colors. I like this shot, what about you?
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5) From Jaqueline Zoe Tan – When you are standing with a strong light source behind you, this is the best time to create a silhouette shadow of yourself. Forget about those selfies and this is how we do “mysterious selfies” of ourselves way before smart phone came. We are all nothing but black in silhouette & shadows. Simple shot, but fits the theme nicely.
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6) From Alice Chia – Kopi-O (Americano Coffee) the word “Kopi” is the Bahasa word for Coffee and the “O” is how the Hokkien dialect describes as Black. Yes, Kopi-O means black coffee and in nice blend of 2 languages (pun intended) and this is pretty much a product of cross cultures like Singapore and some of our neighboring countries. A simple yet easy way to interpret the theme. 🙂
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7) From Anny Tan – Another nice silhouette shot from Anny. The theme “Black” never really means monochrome and Anny has proven this by submitting this silhouette image with thousands of colorful glittering lights in the background. Very creative!Anny Tan 1.jpg

 

8) From Iris Eu – A portrait shot of a lady in black. Shot against a light background of white and baby blue, this lady stands out completely and what better way to make an image contrasty by being the the contrast yourself? This is definitely one of my favorite shot from this submission! Thanks Iris for sharing!
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9) From Janet Toh – When light is low and your best bet is that shoot “as it is” for a scene without tweaking the exposure. Instead, you get a shot that evokes inner thoughts and a scene that makes you take a second look. One good example, see below for a seascape image at low light submitted by Janet.
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10) From Joanna Ng – A horn beetle in perfect glossy black moving along. Although many of us knows that this guy is not exactly black but in super deep darkest dark dark brown, it looks black to all our eyes and the glossy surface makes this beetle even more mysterious.
There are several hundreds of species of beetles and the horn beetle is one of the most amazing ones in its distribution order. Nice catch Joanna!
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11) From Soh Chui Lian – This is Chui Lian self posing in this image. She’s wearing black and when this image gets rendered to into monochrome, it makes this image even more interesting to view. I like the final delivery of this image as Chui Lian stood there and face the 3 closed windows, it created an artistic scene out of nothing. Very god idea!
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12) From Yew Peck Leng – I am not too sure what material was used to make this black owl. Surely it looks like stone and this owl was carved out of a rock. Usually materials with a rough surface makes it interesting for carvings and even more interesting if ti comes in black or other dark colors. It masked the surface imperfections with the dark shades and yet brings out the texture of the surface at the same time, don’t you think so too? Yes it’s strange, but it works. Thanks Peck Leng for sharing this!
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13) From Janet Toh – A snapshot of a bed of pebbles. We have seen this almost everywhere from MRT stations to planters, from HDB stone walks paths to Japanese theme gardens etc. If you look carefully, these oval pebbles comes in 4 shades of grey which the darkest shade is near-black. This image by Janet is an overview of a pebble bed which covers various varying levels of shades and of different sizes, a nice shot to be printed and hang in your pantry!
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14) From Anny Tan – Another great silhouette shot submitted by Anny. Instead of figuring out where was this place, I was amazed at the overall composition where Anny made full use of the lack of light and made this silhouette even more mysterious and interesting. I like the “waterfall” and the simple shades of blue color against a completely black out scene. I love this!Anny Tan.png

 

15) From Joanna Ng – Yet another nice macro shot from Joanna. This black guy with deep ocean blue eyes are very catchy for attention, although 90% of its body is clad in black, the leathery textures and patterns on the body makes this guy really unique – and definitely not possible to see it with naked eyes unless shot as a macro shot. Thanks Joanna for sharing this!
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16) From Soh Chui Lian – Making full use of the wall patterns & designs, and further rendering this image into monochrome, the background screams for attention like no other. And by adding a person (in this case Uncle Koh Lye Huat) into the composition, this created a visual illusion that is impactful and creative! Excellent job Chui Lian!
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17) From Janet Toh – Before I end this article, here’s black swan pedaling freely on a lake from Janet Toh. I was hoping that someone submit an image of a black swan and you did it!
Thanks Janet!
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We have come to the end of this round’s Pink Submission. Black is not exactly a simple theme as the word itself encompassed thousands of meanings and translations and it varies from photographers to photographers. I enjoyed viewing this series from the ladies and I hope you guys enjoy it too! There will be more photo-share from PINK Photographers SG ! Look out for the next theme!
– Editor AL

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Pink Submissions #16″Architectures”

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Pink Submissions #16″Architectures”
Pink Feature

09th February 2017, Singapore – The Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG was given another theme for photo-share. This round I wanted Architectures and as the submissions trickles in, I notice a diversity in what does architectures means to these photographers and how they perceived the theme. From old buildings to modern skyscrapers, all these are part of architectures and I am glad to have requested for this theme, it simply shows how a building can be documented in so many ways! Took me a while to select all the submitted images and the below selected submissions are interesting to view, enjoy!
Once again, good job ladies!

Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted! Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!)
1) From Pang Teng Lin – When architectures comes to mind, many photographers will naturally form a mental picture of an external image of a building, while a few will think of the interior, from inside out. This image from the inside of a building with a sky glass created an abstract and attractive feel to it. While the glass reflected the sun creating flares, this is one image that I will print and hang it in my study room. I love this Teng Lin!
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2) From Cindy S – Modern buildings of today speaks of not just practicality, but design and ambient cues are also an integral part of architectures today. Repetitive patterns are a favorite for those who love to shoot interior of buildings. In this example, Cindy chose to compose this shot at an angle that adds to the mysterious feel while rendering it in monochrome to complete the delivery for a strong and powerful image. Good job Cindy!
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3) From Nicole Wong – While many photographers had been to this place and shot this dome from the interior, Nicole shot it at the blue hour and at an angle that is slightly off -center to create a infinity effect along with a contrasting back(twil)light. Although a simple shot, this composition moves away from the usual fare and stands out completely. A pleasant shot to enjoy viewing any time.Nicole.jpg

 

4) From Kee Bee – I like this image by Kee Bee because not that this image is professionally done or edited, rather, I like it with the “as it is” feel, some may say that this is a snapshot but hey, don’t you have tons of images like this in your smart phone too? Looking at this image from the 1st person point of view have me “standing” right at where Kee Bee was standing and it gave me the on-site feel. Some times such images are more real than your technically-correct-finely-framed-and-edited shots. I really like the feel of this image – Thanks Kee Bee!
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5) From Doris Ang – This image was originally submitted in color, I decided to render it into monochrome to add the “coldness” of this image. Nothing is more cold than a subway that is completely vacant and making it colorless just adds the dread to create a stronger image. Although this image may also be interpreted as a scene off a horror movie, this image also shows the contrast of how a busy place can be really dead and quiet. In brief, this image trickles my thoughts, i love it Doris! Doris Ang.JPG

 

6) From Pang Teng Lin – A walkway, a corridor usually features a repetitive pattern which is also another favorite of photographers. Although there’s a photo-bomb in this image, this shot was shot at a right time where the sun from the outside overwhelms the interior by reflecting light to the inner pillars that reflects the same light to the walkway ceiling and illuminating all the details and patterns. This created a unique exposure balance and everything else in this image is so neat making this image a joy to view & enjoy.
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7) From Pang Teng Lin – Recently many local photographers had flocked to this place in one of the “city garden” creating their own versions of this scene. Making use of the arc and framing a “city hotel” within the arc, this is a refreshing composition of this place. Teng Lin picked an angle where the descending curves on the right are in tangent to the hotel’s downward curve on the right. This created a new perspective and very different from what the others had shot, google a bit and you will know what I meant. Teng Lin thanks for sharing this, now I have another angle to shoot this!
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8)  From Carolyn Chee – Guess what interest me most on this image? Nope, not that church, I’ve been there before. Look carefully and you will see the triangle flags flapping in the wind and for a second, i thought its birds flying across the street in an orderly manner. On the overall composition, Carolyn used the road as a leading line for this image to lead our focus to the church at the far end which is technically correct, but the cars weakens that effect, however the flags aka “birds” saved this shot and made it special. Nice one Carolyn!
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9) From Alice Chia – We don’t really see windows like these anymore. Shot at a heritage-conversation area in Singapore, these colonial style folding windows are getting rarer by the day. Alice dedicated the full focus on these windows that allows viewers to have a clearer & detailed look at these soon-to-be-gone fixtures. Nice one Alice!
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10) From Pang Teng Lin – Another colonial-style building that has been transformed into a museum. Teng Lin made use of the shadow-cast from the sun light penetrating through the tree leaves to create this very nostalgic feel of yesteryears. Very clever and creative. And I also like how the building is framed where the top right of the image shows the curve of the roof lines oh my I love this shot! If Teng Lin is going to print this for me, I will hang it up in my office!
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11) From Joleen Tan – And before I move to other modern buildings, Joleen sent this image of an old house with a wind mill that got me interested. It is amazing how architectures can be designed and build to “defy” physics and to harvest physics – go figure. I like the chill & relax feeling when looking at this image – where things are much simpler and people are happier. Totally enjoyed viewing this shot!
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12) From Magdalene Teo-Yong – Enters the skyline of Singapore’s business district! Many photographers likes to capture images of building with a touch of water feature (rivers, sea, lake etc) I like this image as Mag had composed this shot with many interesting lines, some visible on first sight and some are hidden and you can only see it if you stare at it long enough. This is one shot that packs many surprises within an image and this has to be one of my favorite from this round of submission. Thanks for sharing this clever shot Mag!
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13)  From Carolyn Chee – Buildings by the water banks with a mountain in the background complete with low clouds and random tints of blue sky. This is such a quiet and peaceful image that really lifts up one’s spirit! I like the overall feel of this shot although it doesn’t emphasize strongly on the architecture theme. This image will better fit into “travel” or “Scenery” theme. But I allowed this image to pass through this round as the buildings in this image are unique and boast different styles, all within the same side of a water bank.
Still, I like this image very much! carolyn.jpg

 

14) From Alice Chia – Very interesting framing here with contrasting brightly colored bridge against a monotonous shrine. The only pity is the water is green and not blue – just a wishful thinking. I like the feel and overall delivery of this image, not for anything else and those of you who knows me well, I can pick tons of faults with images but at the same time, I am able to see & feel things that are also present in the images. I like the feel of this image.
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15) From Carolyn Chee – Here’s another good example of “buildings by the banks”. Simple framing, but combined with a nice blue sky, calm waters and a white tower against a dark colored building in the background, somehow, this image simply got everything right. Nice shot Carolyn!
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16) From Pang Teng Lin – Almost every photographer in Singapore had shot this and done this shot. But I like this version done by Teng Lin, not much crowd at the usually crowded MRT exit, added a litle slow shutter and a good control of the exposure where one gets to view the structure of the unique canopy of this building along with the people that makes this shot interesting. The overdrapping trees on the top left also reminded us nature is not that far way from modernization. Good shot Teng Lin!
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17) From Janet Toh – Nice slant, nice design, nice blue sky, its one of those architecture image that catches your attention easily. For me, I will likely frame it differently going in for a tighter crop of a section or something but this shot is simple, neat and screaming for attention. I like this shot as it is, thanks Janet for sharing this!Janet Toh.JPG

 

 
18) From Trisha Lim – This looks like a super long outdoor staircase. While many photographers prefers shooting the front facade of a building, this image by Trisha looks like the staircase is an emergency exit at the back of a building. Stretched across the full length of the building, it “cuts” across the image nicely and certainly impactful on view.
Nice one! Trisha2.JPG

 

19) From Pang Teng Lin – In our multi-racial, multi-religion nation, religious buildings are common. Like this temple in Chinatown, it had been shot to death from both local and tourist photographers. But I like this shot because Teng Ling got all the technical-stuff right, plus at a moment where there are persons entering the temple and with no vehicles in sight. Further to that, it had been rendered into monochrome so on overall. this has created a clean and neat image that will ensure viewers’ appreciation. I love this shot very much!
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Well, we have come to the end of this round’s Pink Submission. I hope you enjoy viewing the images as much as I do. Architectures are defined in many ways as seen from this submissions and I will encourage all of you to pick up some tips from these ladies and how they visualize buildings – both exterior and interior. Keep up the excellent job @ PINK Photographers SG ! Look out for the next theme!
– Editor AL

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Pink Submission #15 “My Best Food Photo” Editor’s Picks

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Pink Submission #15 “My Best Food Photo” Editor’s Picks
Pink Feature

09th February 2017, Singapore – The Ladies over at PINK Photographers SG had been hibernating for a while since our last Pink Submissions #14. So I decided to “wake them up” by starting a Photo-Share on their “My Best Food Photos”. Then it started, images of delicious-looking food started to appear on the wall and it build up a momentum. Then I realized, hey the standard of the images had improved a lot after such a long break! Good job Ladies! So browsing through the wall, I had hand-picked the ones that really deserves a feature (and almost have me licking my PC screen!)

Let’s see what the Ladies from PINK SG had submitted!
Image appearing not in any order.
(I had also taken the liberty to mildly edit some of the images without the ladies’ permission – lol!)

1) From Cindy S– I guess the Pokemon craze had moved to dining tables since it came & left last year. Still, Pikachu is definitely cute enough and in this case, delicious enough for your palette. Cindy shot this image from a top down (single) perspective which have an overview of all the different food on the plate and presented the Pikachu (Pokemon) correctly. Good Job! (Hope it was delicious too!)Cindy.jpg

2) From Fong Ling – The recent Chinese Lunar New Year had most of us on a Yu Sheng spree and there are more choices today for the fish aka “Yu” than the original fish which is the Wolf Herring, today we see Yu Sheng with abalones, tuna, shrimps and the most popular of all is none other than Salmon.  Fong Ling took a low down approach for this shot and the close-up angle highly accentuated the salmon with ice which let the viewer have a “fresh” feel of the salmon. Excellent job!fongling2

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3) From Iris Eu – The good old  Siu Mai (烧卖 – a traditional chinese dumpling) is a staple breakfast Dim Sum that most of us grew up with. While this is mainly a pork dish, our Muslim friends has a chicken version which I love too. (the chicken version is also very tender!). Iris shot this with the bamboo cover half-opened gave viewers the feel that this serving of Siu Mai is steaming hot and fresh out of the steamer. Good idea & presentation!
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4) From Nicole Wong – The stark simplicity of this shot was what caught my attention. The clean look and neat presentation packs a lot of details within this frame. Nic framed this shot quite nicely although the biscuit was slightly cropped off at the bottom of the frame however she was at the “just-right” distance where there’s just enough to capture every ingredient on this plate nicely. Good one Nic!
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5) From Joanna Ng – What can be more enjoyable than a plate of Char Kway Teow when Chinese flat glass noodles sauteed with egg (sometimes Duck Eggs), garlic, sesame oil, soya sauce, lots of pepper, chilli (optional), fresh cockles, bean sprouts, fish cakes, fresh prawns and topped with chopped spring onions? Using a simple approach to this image where less is really more – Joanna isolate the background and have all of us looking and lusting after the juicy prawns on the noodles – right at our face! Good one Joanna!
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6) From Lily Lim– Fried Glutinous Balls with Sesame is another super popular snack in Singapore. Comes in many choices of fillings, the popular ones are minced peanut with sugar & the red bean paste (dao sa). Although I wonder why there’s a morsel of Chinese parsley on the plate, this close-up angle have me wanted to lay my hands on one of these, I am serious! Nice work Lily!
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7) From Emily Xu – Ice Cream Prata (Ice Cream scoops on Indian pancake or bread) is a form of happy food in my view. Usually you get 3 scoops of ice cream in the typical Vanilla+Strawberry+Chocolate combo with generous whip cream all over and dripping with caramel or chocolate sauce, sprinkled with peanut bits and served on a bed of piping hot prata. Emily shot this at the “eye-level” of the ice cream which is a good move as she had managed to capture all the ingredients that I had mentioned above. Nice one Emily!
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8)  From Cindy – this chicken dish was shot at a near-perfect lighting with all the ingredients properly presented and yet not overwhelmed. Every single details is properly captured and the end result is excellent! Look carefully, there are 12 visible ingredients from this image and see how many can you spot!
PS: Cindy, please bring me to this place one day! I almost lick my PC screen again!
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9) From Ang Qianling – A hearty but light breakfast for four persons. Qianling took the top down approach for this shot and in such example, it created a nice “food scene” rather than a food shot. Very simple composition but yet very interesting to take a 2nd & 3rd look. As usual, people like to associate white color with breakfast & mornings and this shot is what magazines will usually publish for morning/breakfast related articles. Good job Ling!
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10) From Joanna Ng – Charcoal-Toasted Bread are disappearing fast from this part of the world. Many had switched to electric toasters which (trust me) the end result is very different and the taste differs too. Joanna took this shot during her trip to Penang and this is a shot of a hawker preparing the toast like a BBQ (hence “Bakar: in Bahasa) which is getting very rare. You don’t see this very often these days. (in fact none in SG now). The feel of this shot is very interesting and showcased the authentic way to prepare & toast the bread. Thanks for sharing this Joanna!
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11)  From Cindy – Bak Ku Teh (Pork Ribs Soup/ Spare Ribs Soup) is another local favorite. Started as a street snack or a budget meal, today the Bak Kut Teh market is worth at least $10M in Singapore with more & more chain outlets sprouting on top of the hawkers selling this peppery and tasty soup dish. Due to nature of this dish – usually comes with many side dishes – Cindy took the top down approach and she definitely picked the right angle. This is another good example of a “Food Scene” rather than a Food shot. Good job Cindy!
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12) From Fong Ling – Another great shot by Fong Ling. A Shashimi platter given a close-up treatment with near-perfect lighting, right exposure and all details are clearly seen in this image. Like the previous salmon image by Fong Ling, you can see the ice and everything else with lots of details. Everything just look so yummy and juicy here – Good Job Fong Ling!
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13) From Joanna N– Pastries are best shot in numbers especially when they are colorful and part of a huge tray or display. Joanna focused on the 1st piece while she bokeh off the rest using a wide aperture setting makes the first piece stands out and you can’t help staring at it. The glaze also made the pastry looked really fresh and yummy and the low down and close-up angle Joanna used simply makes this an excellent image. OK Joanna, now tell me where is this sold?!?!
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14) From Ellis Tay – Ramen, a favorite dish here and enjoyed by almost all Singaporeans made it to this list here. As most Ramen noodles are usually drowned out by the broth, Ellis did the right thing by using chopsticks to lift up the noodles for this shot. With every ingredient being visible and in focus, this is an interesting shot where you will tend to look at the ingredients one by one. (And if you flip this image upside down, you get a Smiley face too.). The angle and exposure being perfect, this is one great shot of a bowl of Ramen. Ellis, please tell me where can I eat this Ramen. 🙂
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15) From Trisha Lim – Every Singaporean knows Fried Carrot Cake, and given the long list on the net about the bests of Carrot Cake stalls, this is a favorite snack dish. Personally I like to have this as a meal at times too. Trisha did an angled shot of this plate of Fried Happiness and you can see the near-burnt egg that had been deliciously smudged on the carrot cake along with the rest of the ingredients that are visible and so tempting. Nice one Trisha!
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16) From Magdalene Teo-Yong – Apparently Mag’s son Ryan is a budding home chef who takes a deep interest in culinary art. The plating and presentation on this image was done by Ryan himself and Mag decided to shot this with a close-up but top down angle to accentuate the cuttings of the meat, showing all the other ingredients in equal attention creating a very menu-like, but artistic approach to this shot. The contrasting colors of the ingredients also helped made the meat looks even more delicious. Good shot Mag!
(Mag, please help ask Ryan when he is going to cook for Uncle AL can?)
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17) From Kee Bee – An interesting ice cream cone that was animated with chocolate-made eyes. Although this is a simple shot, it caught my eyes. While the focus is strong on the ice cream cone face – the bokeh of the wall paper with a man at the back made this shot situational-contrasty and very interesting to view. OK, Kee Bee, now tell me where is this place.
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18) From Alice Chia – Home-made chocolates made by Alice herself. Being an avid baker, her hobby is creating lots of sweet treats and you can see that she bakes every other day for her family, friends & colleagues. I like how Alice had created this shot by using the focus-on-one-among-the-rest to bring my attention to the Pink-White heart shaped chocolate while everything else is off-focused. Looks so tempting indeed! Alice, like I always said, I WANT ONE YESTERDAY!
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19) From Shi Qing – Gourmet breakfast are the rage these days with more & more brunch cafes/ eateries opening all over Singapore. Shi Qing used the top-down approach for this to an advantage as such breakfast platter usually comes with several different “main” and by using this angle, every single ingredient is visible and well balanced out without overpowering each other. The lighting from the background also made the sausage looks even more juicy and yummy! Simple shot but great shot! Good Job Qing!Shiqing.JPG

20) From Nicole Wong – This simple shot is contrasty due to the colors of the ingredients and it caught my attention easily. Everything was in focus and not overwhelmed in any way makes this a pleasant shot to view and appreciate. Nic picked this angle which accentuated the neatly lined-up meat and the side dishes becomes what they are – side dishes – so all focus will be on the mains. Looks yummy!
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21) From Sue Fang – This is one of those shots that you will see on Instagram but on closer look, this is one clean shot that did away with all that filters and yet looks tantalizing. Everything on this plate are nicely focused and Fang picked this angle that allows viewer to see everything from a nice tilt yet not overdo giving it a balanced and “well-spread” platter with me almost licking my PC screen again. Good job Fang!
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22) From Ang Qianling – What ever this bowl is, I am not into this food-genre -hahahaha! I like how Ling had included a fork and have viewers channel their focus onto the centre of the bowl among the other ingredients that made this bowl (or those ingredients in it) interesting. Given the presentation of this dish, a top down shot is definitely the right thig to do here and Ling got it right. I saw 6 main ingredients here, how many can you spot?
Ling, will prefer to date you for steamboat or Ramen, not this please. You’re Welcome.
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Hungry? I was really looking for 08 nice images and ended up with 22 superb food images!
Excellent job from the Ladies @ PINK Photographers SG !
Look out for the next theme!
– Editor AL

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Valentine’s Day with Olympus

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Valentine’s Day with Olympus
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4th February 2017, Singapore – It’s 10 more days to Valentine’s Day and it is that time of the year again where you crack multiple heads (your head plus your friends’ heads) just figuring out what to buy for your partner. Although buying gifts for guys are generally easy, but getting something that is both practical and useful will be the key to a lovely Valentine’s Day. The tough one (in our view), will be getting that perfect gift for the lady.
Agree or not – well we are speaking from our own experiences (indefinite laughter).

Now, if you are still feeling lost about what to gift your significant other, here’s some suggestions from us.

For Him
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Customize a camera for him. For the gentleman with a keen eye for detail, the customisable OM-D E-M5 Mark II is perfect as it defines Olympus’ pursuit of excellent operability as well as aesthetic perfection. Go the extra mile to show how much you’ve understood your partner’s style by customizing the unit’s mounts and dials.

The customisation service, available exclusively online here, allows customers to drift away from the full black camera models and personalize their OM-D E-M5 Mark II body from the mounts to the dials. The OM-D E-M5 Mark II features an improved in-body 5-axis image stabilization system as well as a dustproof and splashproof camera body and lenses to make shooting in any environment possible.

Read more about this Award-Winning Camera here.

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For Her-
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Time to pamper her with the PEN E-PL8 is the perfect gift for ladies who love taking selfies and wefies! With a flip-down touch screen and selfie mode, there is no excuse to getting a bad picture anymore. Available in three classic colours, the camera also serves as an ideal fashion accessory! Combining high-performance with premium style, the PEN E-PL8 features sophisticated smartphone and social-sharing integration and unique selfie-oriented technology with a high-resolution touch-sensitive LCD screen and powerful 3-Axis VCM Image Stabilisation (IS). With the first mirrorless camera of its kind to feature the innovative 180-degree flip-down LCD screen, the PEN E-PL8 is the perfect addition for the socially active & trendy photographers looking for high quality pictures.

Read up more about this awesome camera here.

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Hope our suggestions helps you & your partner to decide on a photographic Valentine’s Day. Go on a date and discover what the above cameras is capable of and at the same time, rediscover each other again. Isn’t that Love is all about?

Happy Valentine’s Day to All of You.
– Editor AL.

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Buy your Olympus & Other Photography gear here.

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Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2

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Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2
– Featuring Guest Reviewer Tommy ChiaL1001031A.jpgImage: Guest Reviewer Tommy Chia with the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 mated to his Canon 5D MarkIII.  

 
03rd Feburary 2017, Singapore – Samyang recently released the the NEW Premium Line lenses in the form of 14mm F2.5 & 85mm F1.2 for Full Frame cameras. For this review, we appointed Professional Aerial Photographer Tommy Chia to review the Premium MF 85mm F1.2. Samyang has built a strong following through the last 5 years with its very affordable and high quality lenses and had released many lenses to match up for today’s thirst for high-resolution and high quality digital images. The start of Samyang’s Premium line optics with the 2 most sought-after focal length lenses is probably the smartest thing to do as Samyang has always churned out surprises when the photography industry least expected it.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

The NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 was not modeled after any other lenses of a similar focal length. It was designed from ground zero and with the professional photographer in mind. When we received the 2 new premium lenses from Samyang Singapore, we couldn’t decide if the pair looks closer to the like of Zeiss or Xeen. The 85mm is pretty large at 98.4mm (height) x 93mm (length) and weights 1050gm. While the numbers shows a Goliath, the lens was pretty much manageable. The handling, lens build, the design ergonomics everything spells PREMIUM! It feels expensive to the touch while operationally the 85mm F1.2 is very easy to use & manage.


Internally, it’s designed with a 9 blades (rounded iris type) aperture and focuses from F1.2 to F16. Optics comes in 10 elements in 7 groups and the lens starts focusing from 80cm. (Minimum focusing distance). The lens front accepts 86mm screw-on filters and the retail box comes with the standard dedicated hood and pouch with some paperwork.

We passed the Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 to Professional Aerial Photographer Tommy Chia and let’s hear what he have to say about the new Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 lens.

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Reviewing Samyang PREMIUM MF 85mm F1.2
– by Tommy Chia
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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

When Editor AL passed the Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 to me, my first impression is no doubt the size & weight. However when I research further about this lens, there are a lot of glass elements within the lens and similar focal length * spec-ed lenses by other brands are also massive so this is common actually. And I must add that I thought the Editor was trying to pull my leg by passing me a Zeiss lens and claimed it to be a Samyang. (lol!) Yes, it feels & handles exactly like a Zeiss, believe it or not.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.


The lens is very well constructed and certainly feels upmarket. The focusing ring is ultra smooth and the focus ratio is perfect for getting subjects into focus fast and accurate. Very comfortable to use and easy to handle. The body was constructed with a full metal alloy material that feels cool to the touch and it uses a 86mm filter at the front. As a long time user of MF lenses (I have at least 15 MF lenses – including Samyang’s earlier releases!), I have always enjoy shooting with MF lenses. It gives me full control & accuracy on the focus which I love so much. 

Since I started shooting (and later professionally) in 1974, all we had in those days were MF lenses.
This review unit came in Canon EF Mount and I mated it to my Canon EOS 5D Mark III – now, there’s some getting used to be done as all my Canon EF lenses are AF units. However after spending 5 minutes with it, it’s so easy to use.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.


The shallow depth of field created by the F1.2 separates your focused subject away from the background seamlessly giving the bokeh a fantastic & smooth blur. While many of you may argue that the 9 blades apertures is pretty much doing most of the job in tangent to the focal length, I agree & disagree. Although there are many 85mm lenses with apertures opening from F1.2 to F1,4 (I shall omit the F1.8-F2 here.), there is no identical lens in this segment that creates a similar effect. Take another 85mm F1.2 lens and have them set to the same settings and compare the images you will see the differences. Each of these 85mm lenses has a characteristic of its own. For the Samyang Premium 85mm F1.2, the bokeh is ingeniously addictive. (You can see from all the images posted on this article.)

 

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

Like all MF lenses, there’s no image stabilizer of any sort, I decided to have some fun and have the Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 mated to my Sony a7RII and to take advantage of the Sony’s in-body image stabilizer. It works perfectly and its a difference experience altogether! The 85mm is a mid-telephoto range and with this Samyang’s minimum focusing distance of 80cm, I was able to juice the magnification ratio to its limit, I got up close (optically) with flowers and gotten really sharp and interesting images while off-focus bokeh just simply tempted me to shoot more & more.

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Image: Tommy mated the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 to a Sony a7RII via adaptor.

Honestly, the bokeh is so beautiful that one simply forgets how massive this lens is. And the images produced are so beautiful that I am actually engrossed with what I had produced with this excellent lens. Most of us uses a F1.2 lens because we want to use it at F1.2, hence most of the time when I was out doing this review, I was shooting at wide open F1.2 most of the time.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

 

And so, just a day before I return the lens, a friend was willing to model for me. Without an assistant and without a reflector, this 85mm is a performer in low light scenes. It’s close to evening but I was able to shoot easily. See the next few images of my kind friend!

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

At this point, I was so thrilled with the new Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 and I am sure many like-minded professional photographers will be eager to lay their hands on this magnificient lens. Looking at the images that I have shot, I noticed that there are not even a faint sign of chromatic aberration or any distortion on this lens, all I saw was high quality images produced by this lens.
Do check out all the images on this review article – you may click on the image and select view as 100% to appreciate the quality of the images.

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

 

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia. 

 

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Image: Shot using the NEW Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 by Tommy Chia.

In conclusion, the new Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 is a lens that was designed and built for professional photographers and for those serious amateurs who wants the best image quality possible. The solid build coupled with high quality glass elements, this lens will be a serious competitor in the 85mm segment and popular among the portraitures circle. Although I have no idea how much this lens will be retailing, from my understanding of Samyang (remember I have a couple of earlier Samyang lenses), it will surely be priced to sell. As this is a Premium line, do not expect the price to be too low (stop thinking of those 85mm F1.8 lenses), but it will be competitively prices against the 85mm F1.4-F1.2 range this I can assure you. While I yearn for more time to be with this lens, deadline’s up and I have to return to Editor AL. This lens will be in my shopping list for this year! Go get it guys!
– Tommy Chia.

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Tommy Chia, Professional Aerial Photographer.

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Editor’s Note: Thank You Uncle Tommy for the great in-depth user review. I had personally tried using the Samyang Premium MF 85mm F1.2 and Uncle Tommy had nicely sum it all up for me in his review above. For the rest of you – try it for yourself – and be surprised by the excellent result!

OK Guys, Buy your Samyang Premium Line lenses here.

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Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII

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Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII
(Reviewed with M. Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS PRO)
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25th December 2016, Singapore – Olympus Singapore recently sent me the new OM-D EM1 MarkII just in time for Christmas 2016 – and it came with the new M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 IS PRO lens which had received many excellent reviews and accolades. When I received the package I was thrilled, here I have one of the best Olympus camera body fitted to one of the best Olympus Pro Lens – and I am ready for Christmas!

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the camera & lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

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The Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII had been creating raves after raves by both Professional users and the casual users. This camera was designed to change the photography landscape and how the shallow ones viewed the micro four thirds camera. The OM-D EM1 MarkII was really designed for the professional photographers if you take a closer look at the specifications. The camera packs a slightly larger M43 CMOS sensor with 21 megapixels, dual memory card slots,  built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, 2.36 million dots EVF, touch control, 7 steps image color & kelvin control, 121 focus points, focus peaking, ISO from 64 to 256000, shutter speed topping at 1/8000, sequential shooting frames count of 99 frames, tons of art filters and shooting options plus a whole load more! It will take ages to fully try out all the functions of the EM1 MarkII as Olympus really had packed together an excellent camera “combo” that is capable of achieving many “impossibles” for a Micro Four Third camera.
*For full specs of the Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII please kindly visit Olympus Singapore’s website.

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The new Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm IS F4 Pro lens that came with the Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII is a monster on its own. This PRO series lens comes with its own image stabilizer  – just image what I can do with this lens when I pair it with the EM1 MarkII’s built-in 5 axis sensor shift image stabilizer. Equivalent to 24-200mm (35mm format), this is like the all-in-one-lens that we always wanted!

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The 12-100mm PRO weights just a mere 561gm and it is average sized 116mm x 77mm, accepts 72mm screw-on filter at the front and it has its own image stabilizer. So when I paired it with the OM-D EM1 MarkII’s in-body 5-axis sync image stabilizer, this combo gives me an insane 6.5 stops of correction allowing me to shoot with really slow shutter without a tripod – hahaha! Power!

This 12-100mm PRO comes weather-sealed and feels really comfortable in my hands. Ergonomically well designed and grippy to use. Internally, it has 17 elements in 11 groups and take a closer look, this is one hell of a lens. Among the elements, there’s 01 dual-sided aspherical element, 03 other asperical elements, 05 ED elements, 01 HR element and 02 Super HR elements. Do not forget the Zuiko comes with Z Coating (Nano) too for all the corrections and rendering!

So I took the OM-D EM1 MarkII with the 12-100mm PRO mounted and head out to Orchard recently during 2016 Christmas and came back with all the below shots. All images are clickable to enlarge so you can see all the details captured on these un-edited images!

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The image quality are out of this world! While some may lament that this body+lens is well worth SGD $4K+, but after using it, I can only say that it will be money well-spent! Colors are accurate, i get the zoom range that I needed without having to compromise on image quality, the ISO is very, very clean, I have no complaints!

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The bokeh is nice as seen from the above example, coming from a zoom lens, this is a bonus. The subject in focus is sharp and well defined while the out of focus area are nicely “off”, very easy to get my desired effects. I got my shots almost every time!

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So what can 6.5 stops of image stabilizer do? See the next 2 images!
If you are not impressed by now, you are probably a tripod purist!

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Check out the below scene.
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I selected a portion (Red Box) – about 1/28 of the actual image size.pc170099a

I cropped the small red box and see what remains in the next image below!pc170100

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OK, for the parting shot, here’s an image of my rabbit Bingo Lee.

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In conclusion, the Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII + the M. Zuiko 12-100mm Pro lens is a very competent combo giving users the added edge over many other cameras+lens combo out there. As a frequent traveler, I would love to have this combo for my every trip as it covered almost 80% of the genres that I like to shoot when abroad. As mentioned earlier, this combo is not cheap at retail prices – but hey, quality don’t comes cheap either!

As I reluctantly return the camera & lens to Olympus, I am hoping they will loan me this combo again for my 2017 trip to Taiwan-Okinawa. Japan. (How Olympus Singapore? Can?)

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Editor AL with the ultimate Olympus Combo.

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Editor’s Note: Thank you Olympus Singapore!

OK Guys, Buy your Olympus gear here.

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Samyang 16mm F2.0 ED AS UMC CS

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Samyang 16mm F2.0 ED AS UMC CS
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03rd December 2016, Singapore – The Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS had been around for a while, 18 months to be exact, but the popularity of this lens is still going strong I must say. There aren’t many options for a Ultra Wide Angle lens for cropped sensors and I must say the Samyang 16mm F2 fits in rather well as a good alternative.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

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Lenses for the APS-C sensor bodies had improved tremendously over the last few year and Samyang’s 16mm F2 is one fine example. It has a timeless design and the lens body is solid
& it feels expensive to the touch. Internally nothing was compromised, it has 13 elements divided into 11 groups and the 16mm F2 opens from F2 to F22. Designed as an 8-Blader, it is supposed to give the user excellent bokeh when opened to the widest aperture. Weights about 500gm (estimated) and measures about 80mm x 95mm, this is one tiny lens (when compared to other ultra wide angle lenses of similar range). The front accepts 77mm filters and the minimum focusing distance is just 17.5cm, pretty good to max out the magnification capability for this lens.

For this review, we had passed the Samyang 16mm to Ida Rasid, our guest reviewer for this review. Do check out all her images on this article and read about her thoughts about the Samyang 16mm F2.0!

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Samyang 16mm F2.0 ED AS UMC CS Review
by Ida Rashid

ADR_7336.pngImage by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

Hi Everyone! Here’s my thoughts on the Samyang 16mm F2 after using it for 7 days! I had always wanted to try ultra wide angle lenses but never really had a chance – so when Editor AL contacted me to invite me to be a guest reviewer for this lens, I was thrilled!  For those of you who are not aware, the Editor, AL is Singapore’s appointed Ambassador for Samyang Lenses.

I have heard a lot about Samyang lenses from fellow photographers and friends but never really have a chance to use or try, so finally I got my chance and test out a Samyang lens and a focal range that I sought after.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.


Wide, wide, wide, just how wide is enough? For me, 16mm (24mm eqv in 35mm format) is just right, as I do not like my subjects to be too small and still have enough space for me to crop later.  And what surprised me was the minimal distortion at the edges, as most UWA lenses suffers a fair bit of softness or distortion at the edges, the Samyang 16mm has very little distortion – you can see from the image below of my daughter standing in the center of the frame and everything else is properly rendered.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

On the lens build, I like it a lot too, the body was very solid and well put together. The focusing ring is creamy smooth and the focusing ratio is really good, very easy to use. Honestly I never knew using a manual focus lens can be this easy.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

  

The colors rendered from the Samyang 16mm F2.0 is pretty nice and the image are contrasty straight out of the camera which is very decent for most photography applications. Another plus point is that the Samyang 16mm F2.0 is a value-for-money lens with a super big aperture as it was priced very reasonably low.

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Image by Ida: Shot using the New Samyang 16mm F2 ED AS UMC CS.

I had planned to try astrophotography with this lens but unfortunately it was raining every night when I was holding this lens. To sum up, the Samyang 16mm F2.0 is really a good lens for money or as an entry point to ultra wide angle photography. Priced to sell and good image quality, no wonder this lens is fast disappearing from the shelves. I say – go get yours!
Once again, thanks Editor AL for the opportunity!
– Ida Rashid

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Image: Ida Rashid, Guest Reviewer.

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Editor’s Note: Thank you Ida for taking time out to review this lens!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts & your experience in using this lens!

OK Guys, Buy your Samyang 16mm F2.0 ED AS UMC CS here.

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Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC

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Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC
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Image: The New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.


09th November 2016, Singapore –
Well, if you had noticed, recently we had been reviewing quite a bit of Samyang’s lenses. Among the recent new releases, came the 20mm F1.8, an Ultra-Wide Angle lens designed for Full Frame cameras. While purists may think that 20mm is not the ultra-wide-widest when put against 14mm and so on, do not forget the standard focal length is 50mm and wide means 24mm, 28mm & 35mm while everything else is ultra-wide. So where does a focal length of 20mm stands? Personally I will call is cross-breed as this lens is capable of many applications from landscape, wide angle portrait, wide angle close-ups or even for wide angle portraits. It really depends a lot on you – the user.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

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The New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC was really designed for bigger (or wider) things, why? Let’s get to the details. The lens build carries the same solid body like the recent new releases and this compact lens will appeals to those who had been using ultra-wide angle lenses which is ultra big and heavy. This compact 20mm only measures 83mm x 88mm & weights slightly less than 500gm. It is compact by any standard unless you are comparing to mirrorless system lenses. It comes with the company’s signature smooth focusing rings with distance scale markings and feels ready to perform.

Inside the lens, the glass are arranged into 13 elements in 12 groups including 02 aspherical elements. Comes with 07 rounded aperture blades and focuses from F1.8 to F22 and from a front distance of 0.2m, this lens is really designed for many uses. The front of the lens accepts 77mm screw-on filters and the front element comes with the company’s popular and proven UMC Coating to minimize dust and condensation.

We have decided to pass the lens to a guest reviewer Mr. Marcus Low and he is known for his stunning landscape images. Let’s see his images and his views on the new Samyang 20mm F1.8 F1.8 ED AS UMC.

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Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC Review
by Marcus JH Low

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

When I was informed by the Editor AL that he will be sending me the new Samyang 20mm F1.8 lens, I was thinking how can I “max” out the lens to reveal its true potential. From the images posted on this article, it is easy to note that I tried on landscape, small tiny close-ups etc and the results are pretty decent.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

Let’s talk about the lens. The built quality has notably improved over the last generation of Samyang lenses. The lens hood fits nicely as compared to my past experience with older Samyang lenses and particularly the focus ring is nice and smooth to use. The focus throw allows me to focus fast and accurately. The body wise is solid and easy to handle.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.
On the image quality, flare control is not bad for its humble asking price. It also produces a very pleasing Bokeh which is nice and when shooting small subjects (as exampled). A plus point will be that this lens focus very near to the subject which I think it will be very suited for those who are into creative macro/ close-up for small subjects.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

 

On the image, the colors rendered is pretty much accurate and I like the center sharpness when I was shooting with apertures wide opened. Although the corners suffers a little softness which is a common phenomenon with such ultra-wide angle lenses, it is very acceptable to me. No problem at all. And of course, this is a full manual-focus lenses and I secretly hope Samyang will eventually release an Auto-focus version of this lens.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

In Conclusion, the new Samyang 20mm F1.8 is not exactly targeting users from the 16-35mm (or 17-40mm) group. Although released as an ultra wide angle lens, this is lens is more of a lens that lets you do what you usually do but with an ultra wide perspective of it. The F1.8 allows many possibilities for night applications or for nice bokehs. Not forgetting the minimum focusing distance actually allows me to do close-ups like miniature toys, food or even product photography!
Try it for yourself!
– Marcus Low.

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Image: Shot using the New Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC mated to a Sony a7.

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Image: Marcus Low, Guest Reviewer. 

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Editor’s Note: Thank you Marcus for taking time out to review this lens.
The images are awesome while giving us and the reader a good idea of what we can use this lens for. And thanks for sharing your thoughts & your experience in using this lens!

OK Guys, Buy your Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC here.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro
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Image: The New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

08th November 2016, Singapore –  Olympus Singapore gave me a surprise recently by having the latest Zuiko 30mm F.35 Macro quietly sent to me. At that point, we had just published our review for the New Olympus E-PL8 and was about to send the camera back to Olympus then came this little macro lens. We were (of course) delighted as we get to keep the E-PL8 a little longer and now with a new macro lens to try out.

The New Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro is a new lens that was designed from ground up. (If you are thinking of the last generation’s 4/3 macro, no.). This mirrorless system (Micro Four Thirds) lens is newly designed to match the capabilities of the current crop of Micro Four Third system cameras and optimized for performance & image quality.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how the lens behaved & performed, the image quality etc. If you are cool with this, read on.

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Image: The New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.


The New 30mm F3.5 Macro is a super light macro lens. Weighing at a mere 128gm, I was tempted to dismantle the lens and count the elements (just kidding Olympus!), and the size is like most Micro Four Third system lenses – it’s small & cute. Measuring at 57mm x 60mm, this is one lens that you might lost it in your own camera bag. The lens barrel build is “typically Olympus” and it feels right ergonomically when handled or during operations. The only thing that I felt missing from the hard ware was the weather sealing.

Inside the lens, there’s 7 elements in 6 groups including 01 x Aspherical element, 01 x ED element (extra dispersion) & 01 x Zuiko-licious Dual Super Aspherical element that promises excellent image quality, clarity, color accuracy and sharpness. The magnification is 1.25x and the 30mm starts focusing from 10cm and opens from F3.5 to F22 with 07 aperture blades. Although Olympus did not specify if the blades are rounded or regular, we noted that blades are “curved” gently but not rounded enough to be called rounded. An internal focusing (IF) lens, it is paired to a Micro-Motor resulting in quiet & fast focusing. The front accepts 46mm screw-on filters and from what we saw & know so far, this 30mm Macro should behave and works like any other macro lenses that doubles as a close-up lens as well as a portrait lens.

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Image: The New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

Just when I was thinking what & how to do review the 30mm Macro, I decided to skip insects and the outdoors for once and tried shooting something else. To start, I took a shot of Bingo (my rabbit) at wide open (F3.5) to check out the bokeh. Pretty nice if you look at the image of Bingo below and see the off-focus area. The bokeh is smooth and well suited for portraits if you use this lens at wide open.

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Image: Bingo, my rabbit. Shot with the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

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So recently I decided to use the 30mm Macro for one of our event and see how this lens perform in an inconsistent-lighted environment. Long story cut short, Hawker Centre. (Singapore’s local food stalls that are consolidated and housed under a proper roof). It had been a casual food photography outing and I decided to put the new 30mm Macro through its paces.

Below is a Kueh, a local snack that was made from Tapioca (I was told) and comes with lots of shaved coconut flakes. I decided to take a shot.

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And I decided to select a section to crop out. This crop is loosely equivalent to about 75% crop. See the red box below which is the part that I will be cropping off the main image.

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After I cropped out the red box from above, see below for the cropped image. The image quality did not suffer much and there are still tons of details shown on the cropped image.
This also means the magnification (1.25x) helps a lot when retaining micro details like the below example.

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I was impressed so I went on to try out on other food that was available. Below is another snack that was made from glutinous rice and topped with caramel coconut. So I took a shot. See below.

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I decided to crop out the red box below which accounts to a 80% crop. I selected the area because it has both rice & coconut and the colors of blue and brown. I wanted to see if 30mm macro can still deliver at such a crop level. See below.

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After cropping from the above red box, see next image for the cropped image. The amount of details is amazing! This is really getting up & really close to the food. Had these snacks been insects, I can imagine what I can get out of this lens, just simply, simply amazing!

 

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Alan Photo

 

And since it was a food photography event, I decided to shoot any food that was within my range on that day and the next few images further proves that the new 30mm Macro is a real performer. Please go ahead and click on the individual images below and view at 100% or 150%. I am sure you will be amazed by what you see.

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Image: Shot with the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

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Image: Shot with the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

 

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Image: Shot with the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

 

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Image: Shot with the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

 

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Image: Shot with the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro fitted to the recently released Olympus E-PL8.

Editor’s Summary: 
Amazed by the images above? (Or are you hungry now?) As an end user, I like the images that I had produced using the new 30mm Macro. The sharpness is incredible, the color rendering is flawless and operationally, this feather-weight lens is easy to use, handles well and as a package, I will say this is one of the lens that you should buy and lost it somewhere in your camera bag. I have not even gone into the versatility of this lens yet.
Get it?

For those who are complaining that how come a macro lens review has no insect or plants images, here, I have a cactus for you below.

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– AL Lee, Editor.

 

Thanks You Olympus Singapore for the Lens!

For the rest of you, Buy your New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro here!

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About Olympus
Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of Olympus Corporation, headquartered
in Japan. Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is responsible for the marketing and distribution of Olympus consumer products in Singapore. The Olympus consumer range encompasses still and video imaging products, binoculars and digital audio recorders.
Your Vision, Our Future. http://www.olympusimage.com.sg

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Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS

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Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS
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03rd November 2016, Singapore – Recently we posted a review of the new Samyang 35mmm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS which is not to be confused with this lens. This review is on Samyang’s new 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS cine lens. Although both are designed for mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors, it is obvious that the T version aka the cine lens was really made for light-thirsty videographers.

Measuring a length of 73.6mm and weights only 430mm, this is probably one of the smallest cine lenses in the market now. The standard focal length of 35mm covers a wide range of genres which means it is versatile for most video needs. Designed for “follow-focus system and an extremely quiet (& smooth) de-clicked focus & aperture gear rings, this is an extremely easy cine lens to use. Like most cine lenses, you get the distance scale meter and the T numbers marked clearly on both sides of the lens – this means instant convenience during filming how nice is that?

 

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The aperture focus from T1.3 to T16, comes with Samyang’s Ultra Multi Coating. The glasses are arranged in the order of 9 elements in 7 groups which includes 02 aspherical elements, and this T lens starts focusing from 38cm while the front accepts 62mm screw-on filters for more videographic options. The Samyang 35mm T1.3 is compatible with four mirrorless camera mounts namely Sony E, MFT, Fujifilm X and Canon M.

Before we proceed, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how does the lens performed, the image quality and the ease of use. If you are cool with this, read on.

 

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For this review, we decided to pass this cine-lens to a well-known Videographer Patrick Poh of Express-Oh Photography (EOP) and let him have the lens for a weekend. Let’s hear about his experience with the new Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS cine lens!

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Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS Review
by Patrick Poh (EOP)

Hi Everyone! I am happy to be invited by AL, the Editor for OSJ to review this latest cine-lens from Samyang. As a crossbreed videographer & photographer, I have always heard about Samyang’s lenses and the new Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS is just great for me to try out due to the commercial assignments that I am doing. However, instead of posting a video that I had done for my client, I decided to make a short clip with this lens so that everyone gets to see what this lens is capable of. (Video below)

Video: Shot using the Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS


Alan Photo

After using the Samyang 35mm T1.3, I felt that the built is very friendly for all videographers of all levels. The Declicked Iris makes the transition of T-Stops superbly smooth or should I say Buttery (wow!). The gearings on the iris & focus ring makes pulling force easy on the focus pull system mechanism. I also like the fact that there are 2 readings available on the lens barrel making it easy for the user to read the distance scale & focus scale be it reading it from the top (for low angle shoot) or from the sides. The lens itself was constructed in a  solid state and definitely made & designed as a workhorse.

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On the optical quality, this lens produces a near-zero chromatic aberration even when shooting in back-lighting situation with the aperture wide open, this is just awesome. Personally I like the color reproduction with a hint of “filmsy” feel to it. From the video above, you may also noticed that the bokeh is smooth, really nothing much to complain about. 

However, I would like to share that this lens eventually grows on you. It takes a while for me to get used to this lens, I am talking about the focusing part. For inexperienced users, you might find yourself out of focus with the slightest movement say at T1.4 – however I am sure for the rest of the seasoned videographers, this is easy to overcome. And not forgetting that this is a full manual lens (with the iris on manual too) inexperienced users may takes a while to get used to using this lens.

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In summary, I really love the Samyang 35mm T1.3, it is one of the good & affordable cine-lens that you may like to use for shooting video in a leisurely fashion. Sadly, this lens has to be returned to AL, else I would have gladly assign it a slot in my gear bag.
– Patrick Poh (EOP)

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Image: Patrick Poh (EOP), Guest Reviewer. 

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Editor’s Note: Thank you Patrick for taking time out and providing us with a short clip produced by the new Samyang 35mm T1.3 and sharing his thoughts about this cine-lens. As Samyang is releasing more & more lenses for both photographic & cinematic applications, the consumers is no doubt smiling. These days when we think about image quality and easy for the wallet – think Samyang.


OK Guys, Buy your Samyang 35mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS here.

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Posted in Accredited Merchants, Brand: Others (Cosina, Carl Zeiss, Leica, Mamiya, Samyang, Vivitar, Zenitar,etc), Featured Photographers, Featured Photography Merchants, Group Test & Reviews, Samyang, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS

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Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS
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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.


25th October 2016, Singapore –
Samyang Singapore is getting really active recently with the launch of many lenses including Auto-Focus & Cine-Lenses. Among the new releases is a little monster that we least expected from Samyang. It comes in the form of a Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS – a super bright aperture lenses for the APS-C Mirrorless cameras. (Compatible with Sony’s Full Frame A-series cameras when used in “Auto-Crop” or “APS-C” mode.) While some (in fact many) people was trying to compare the huge difference in size over Samyang’s 35mm F1.4 for DSLR, all we can say is, the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS is really a difference lens catering to a different system altogether – so do your homework before you start comparing and make a fool of yourself.

Those new to Samyang lenses, the lens code can be a little mouthful to read and understand, so let us help you on that.
Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS –
1) Samyang = Brand
2) 35mm = Focal length
3) F1.2 = Aperture at widest
4) ED = Low Dispersion Element
5) AS = Aspherical Element
6) UMC = Ultra Multi Coating
7) CS = Crop Sensor.

So from the above, we understand that this is the latest lens from Samyang, it has a focal length of 35mm (angle of view), comes with a super wide aperture of F1.2, images are corrected via ED + AS elements (glass) + UMC and designed for crop sensor cameras. Not that difficult right?

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Before we proceed, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how does the lens performed, the image quality and the ease of use. If you are cool with this, read on.

The Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS is tiny and compact measuring a mere 74mm length x 67.5mm and weights 420gm. In the world of gearheads, this lens is considered “feather weight” and small enough for most your pockets. Featuring an alloy construction, the lens does feel very solid to the hands. The focusing is smooth and well-geared out as it is very easy to get subjects in focus easily. The front accepts 62mm screw-on filters and this lens starts focusing from as close as 38cm! Internally, the glass are arranged as 9 elements in 7 groups including 02 Aspherical elements & 01 Extra Low Dispersion element- we went WOW! Samyang’s proven UMC has also been long recognized by professional photographers for its ability to reduce light flares & ghostings, this is something which matters a lot to many photographers.

What we love best is the 9 blades round aperture that focuses from F1.2 to F16. Now, in most mirrorless system lenses, you are getting 7 blades apertures most of the time – hey this Samyang gives you 9 blades! For an aperture like that, you know this is made for creamy smooth & flawless bokehs. The new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS will be produced in 4 mounts namely Sony E, MFT, Fujifilm X and Canon M.


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To make things interesting for this review, we have decided to pass this lens to one of our administrators, Kenneth Chui. He took the Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS for a pretty long walk that covers from China Town to Raffles Place. Let’s check out his images shot with the Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS and hear what he thinks of this new lens from Samyang!

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Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS Review
by Kenneth Chui

I was excited when the Editor (AL) informed me that he will be sending me the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS to me for review. I have always been a fan of large aperture prime lenses and this lens sounds very interesting to use. The standard 35mm focal length are suitable for a wide range of photography genres – from landscape to street photography, wide angle portraits to big view close-ups, I can’t wait to try out this lens. So I decided to take this lens for an extended walk that covers a favorite route by street photographers from Singapore’s Chinatown to Raffles Place/ Singapore River area.

Do check out all my images posted on this article – all were shot by the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS and the images are not edited except some straightening, cropping & adding of watermarks. You may also click on the images to view at 100% too – trust me, you will be amazed.

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.

 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.
The new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS was surprisingly a joy to use. It is light and small, very easy on the hands. Since I am versatile to focusing, the manual focusing was very easy as the focusing ring is smooth and I like the feel of it. The lens was well designed and it will find home in many people’s hands. I got my subject in focus rather easily and fast, a really one from Samyang.
In low light, the wide aperture helps a lot without having me to compromise on a slower shutter speed, this again is something that I really like as a user. 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.


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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.

 

Alan Photo

 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.

The sharpness is amazing as you can see from the images on this article. Even when I blow up the images, there was little loss of quality and the image are excellent and suitable for large prints.
At the point of reviewing, I do not know what’s “inside” the lens and it is until much later then I found out that this lens has a few “goodies’ among the elements. This is a pleasant surprise.

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.

 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.
The F1.2 wide aperture when paired with the 9 blades round aperture blades, it created an outstanding bokeh that many photographers will die for. It’s so creamy smooth that you will not believe that it comes out from a mirrorless system lens – or better still – from a Samyang!
I am truly impressed at this point.

 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.

 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.
Conclusion – Be it indoor or outdoor, the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS is really a lens that you want it to be with you. Depending on what you shoot, this lens is capable of many wizardry and every photographer should have the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS on their camera or in their bags. While falling in love with this lens, time’s up and I have to return the lens to the Editor.

Let’s hope he will point me to a dealer who will offer me a big discount – for helping to review this wonderful lens!
– Kenneth Chiu.

 

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Image: by Kenneth Chui using the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS.


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– Kenneth Chui, Guest Reviewer.

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Editor’s Note: Thank you Kenneth for the good review and awesome images. Indeed, the new Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS was pretty “unexpected” and it is poised to outperform many other lenses in the same class – but only to be priced much cheaper!
Samyang is indeed very pro-active recently with more & more good releases and we are contemplating what Samyang will do next. 2016/2017 will be the year to watch.
Excellent lenses, Priced to Sell & fits most systems, Samyang – you very gooder*.
*a local slang.

OK Guys, Buy your Samyang 35mm F1.2 ED AS UMC CS here.

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Posted in Brand: Others (Cosina, Carl Zeiss, Leica, Mamiya, Samyang, Vivitar, Zenitar,etc), Featured Photographers, Featured Photography Merchants, Group Test & Reviews, Samyang, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[•REC] by Alan Photo

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[•REC] by Alan Photo
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Image: [•REC] Studio Area

21st October 2016, Singapore – Alan Photo Trading is not new to the photo retail market and currently has 2 photo video retail stores countrywide. Alan Photo Trading has recently soft launched a new concept store, [•REC] By Alan Photo, at CT Hub 2. Its aim is to break away from the traditional photo retail market by establishing itself as a one-stop photography and videography hub that provides a full range of products and services all in one space.

Conventionally, the camera retail scene involves the average consumers moving from shop to shop in order to sieve out the best price. With the rise of the Internet and E-commerce, the average customers are now more price-informed and knowledge eccentric and these has caused the need for retail stores to diminish. Coupled with the advent of camera phones, which have similar capacities to a digital compact camera, the photography market has shrunk by more than 30%. As such, Alan Photo have further refined our target consumers to be the mid-tier photo and video users and identified the needs that have yet to be fulfilled in this industry.

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“At [•REC], we stand to Resolve, Experience and Create. Resolve photography problems, provide an Experience like no other and allow the Creation of content. Accompanied with our friendly and knowledgeable staff to help Resolve worries, we have not 1 but 2 multi-purpose photo/video studios for our dear customers to experience products at its fullest capacity, a café to enjoy a cuppa and a photo printing station catered to meet their needs. Create content with us as we guide customers through our post-production editing software. Definitely, we are not ordinary photo retail store. Above all that, we also have a photo wall for aspiring photographers to showcase their works. However, the flexibility of such a space is boundless as we can be transform our studios into a seminar room that could accommodate at least 50 participants for workshops, events, launches, etc.” – Alan Photo Spokesperson.


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Image: [•REC] Make Up Room.

 

The one-stop hub will serve as a platform that connects a full range of services to their (Alan Photo) community. The services include photo shoots, workshops, classes, networking platform, studio rental, printing, etc. It will be a place that caters to all their customers’ needs. The main goal of providing such a platform is to create a community that is ardent to Alan Photo’s services. The company aims to expand their database of Alan Photo’s customers by providing value added services and reasonable priced products. The measure of the company’s success is indicative to the size of their already huge database.

Alan Photo

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Image: [•REC] Make Up Room.

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Image: [•REC] Photography Showcase & Retail Area.

 

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Image: [•REC] Photography Showcase & Retail Area.

Studio Rental
-51m2 Cyclorama Studio

$60/hr – Public
$30/hr – Alan Photo members (Oct to Dec 2016 ONLY)
& Ourshutterjourney.com Registered Card Members ONLY.*

*Terms & Conditions Applies.

Located near Lavender MRT. The studio features a 7.6m wide cyclorama wall, up to 4m depth from studio backdrop, and fully equipped with lightings and other essential equipment for your production needs. Furnished with air conditioning, sound system and a make-up room, the prices are inclusive of lightings and equipment provided. Prices applies only during retail hours.

Booking
Reservation:
– Call Alan Photo at 6384 3592
– PM Alan Photo at www.facebook.com/RECbyAlanPhoto
– Email Alan Photo at enquiries@alanphoto.com.sg

Editor’s Note: We all have seen so many studios opening in the last 3 years and we found [•REC] an interesting concept. Almost every other studios have a shooting area and a make up room, but what makes [•REC] stands out is (Surprise!) the Cafe & the Retail Area.  Image this, I can meet my client at the [•REC] Cafe to discuss an assignment, then show the client the actual location that I will be shooting, this will be an added edge when prospecting to potential clients. Further to that, it will be a nice place to hang out and do a little shopping for photography gear away from the crowd and noise in the city. This is way chic cool & [•REC]  had raised the level of how a great photo studio should be! Congratulations on your opening!
– AL Lee, Editor. 


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Posted in Accredited Merchants, Featured Photography Groups, Featured Photography Merchants, Group Announcements & Notices, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Buying Gear Online? Read This First.

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Buying Gear Online? Read This First.
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Image Courtesy of www.makingdifferent.com

 

19th October 2016, Singapore – With Christmas 2016 creeping up slowly, many of you will be buying gifts for your photographer friends, or for yourself etc. In today’s shopping trend, many of you would have turned to online shopping sites and browsing for items and comparing prices while some of you will be purchasing online already. I have decided to write this article at the requests of several photographers & even merchants from our network to share the unseen side of online shopping.

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Before I proceed, I would like to disclaim myself that this article is not to cast a shadow on online shopping but to present all the possible risks, potential losses and things that you will never expect that will really happen. It’s a wild world out there and sometimes wilder in the cyber world which we call the Internet.

With permission, I had spoken to a few photographers who regularly purchase gear from online plus inputs from feedback received from some of our merchants. I have put together 05 case studies here including one that is of my own personal experience from shopping gear online. Please read carefully as I do not wish anyone of you to fall prey or become a willing victim one day. You have been warned.

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*Important Disclaimer: All names had been changed to protect the identity of the individuals. Any similarity of incident or reference to anyone, alive or dead, are purely incidental and coincidental.  

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Case Study #01 – Paid, Item Never Came.
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Image Courtesy of http://www.lawyer.ie


Alex
had been calling up local camera shops and comparing the prices of a particular camera that he is interested in purchasing. After calling every camera shops that he knows, he decided to search online alternative as he have heard from his peers that buying online can be cheaper. He searched through a few reputable online shopping sites and even auctions sites. Finally he found an online shop that sells the camera that he so badly wanted that sells cheaper than all the prices that he had came across. The savings, he calculated including shipping – he saves about SGD $200.00. Without giving a 2nd thought, he click “Buy” and paid with his credit card. (No, he doesn’t have a PayPal account). He received an email confirming his payment and the email provided a date for the estimated delivery of his new camera. Everything seems legit and with a peace of mind (the confirmation email), he eagerly waited for his new camera to arrive.

3 weeks later, he got a little restless as his new camera had not been delivered. He went back to the online site, found the online store had been removed. He panicked. He remembered the confirmation email and decided to write to the seller. The seller did replied and informed him that his camera had been shipped and the online store was going through a revamp – assuring Alex that his camera will arrive soon.

1 week later, no camera came, Alex decided not to email but call the number of the seller as stated on the email – the number was a dead line. He emailed the seller again, his email bounced. He tried to contact the online site admin to report this seller, but the online site admin replied Alex that they have no way to trace back an online store who had closed (b*llshit) and they do not know how many persons are managing the account.

It is at this time that Alex realized that he had been cheated. Thinking that he could saved SGD $200.00 for a camera that he love, but instead got cheated of SGD $2,480.19 & gotten a life lesson that he will never forget.

Editor’s Note: Alex’s incident is one of the many cases that gets reported on a daily basis. There are certainly many reputable and trusted online shopping sites, but there are just as many scam sites/ sellers lurking out there too. A simple advice will be to check the ratings of the seller, research a bit on the stores or even google for reviews since many of us takes to complimenting or complaining online – I am sure you will find some materials to read up. And for trying to save SGD $200.00 Alex lost SGD $2,480.19 – is that even worth the risk? You decide.

 

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Case Study #02 – Wrong Item Delivered.
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Image Courtesy of AL Memes.

 

John was shopping online for a DSLR lens. He was browsing on several sites and finally decided to buy from an online shop. He carefully selected the Item, checked on all the right boxes, selected his shipping option, confirmed his address and finally paid. He received a confirmation email with information of his purchase and happily, John waited for his new lens to arrive. Little known to John, his nightmare was about to start.

5 days later, a parcel arrived at his door. He was excited and happy. New lens are always a joy to photographers. After carefully removing the shipping tags and package, he excitement turned into disappointment. He ordered a premium 70-300mm lens which he paid SGD $580 for, but the lens that came was the cheap version that cost a mere SGD $299.00 based on MSRP. He contacted the seller immediately via messaging, the seller retorted that that was the correct lens that he ordered and paid for.

John was shocked at the attitude of the seller and apparently this seller is not very helpful. He swung into action by sending the seller the 2 different specs of the 2 similar focal range zoom lenses and even clearly stated the item/ product name that he had clicked on. The seller continued to deny any responsibility. Dangerously angered and feeling cheated, John threatens the seller if the wrongly-sent lens is not changed to the lens that he initially ordered, he will post all over social media about his purchase and threatens to smear the seller’s reputation. He also informed the seller that he flies to Hong Kong regularly and he will hunt the seller down or even get his Hong Kong “friends” to find this seller.

The seller at this point is definitely not going to have an angry Singaporean man knocking on his door while eating his Dim Sum at Temple Street (Hong Kong), the seller offers to change the lens. But John must ship the wrong lens back to him at John’s cost. John agreed. The correct lens eventually came via Fedex 2 weeks. Consider the initial savings, John gotten the wrong lens, got angry & disappointed, waited for weeks and even have to cough up the shipping costs to return the wrong lens. When added the costs together, it costed about the same if John had just visit any of Singapore’s camera shops and buy off the shelves – minus the anger, weeks of waiting & a nasty experience to remember for life.

Editor’s Note: John’s account & experience is not uncommon. Some of the online shops or sellers are dedicated E-businesses and it is common that during packing & shipping, things like this are bound to happen. However, in the online shopping world, one must understand that if a wrong item is shipped to you, and you are going to reject the item, most of the time, the seller will require you to ship the wrong item back so that they may send you the right one – however at your cost. Now, let me rub a little salt, what if they (again) send you the wrong item again? Or in extreme cases the seller/shop simply denies all responsibility? Now with a little common sense in place, wouldn’t it be better for you to just go to the retailers, ask to try the lens, test it & purchase it? Not forgetting the warranty that comes it. (Some brands denies warranty if the unit/ item is not purchased from Singapore – do not forget everything comes with a serial number & a bar code. (more on this at #05)

 

Alan Photo

 

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Case Study #03 – Damaged Item Delivered.
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Image Courtesy of www.moneysavingexpert.com

 

Emily was thrilled when she heard that her photography friends bought a DSLR & a Lens online with a sizable discount. Out of curiosity, she went to the same site and browse. Indeed some of the prices are marginally cheaper, but the offer of a cheaper combined shipping means if she is to maximize the deal and buy a few item at the same time, the savings works out to about SGD $300.00 cheaper. So she decided to continue shopping.
During check-out, she had 01 DSLR, 01 Compact Camera & 02 lenses on her shopping list which she paid for the items with her credit card.

A parcel came 7 days later. Emily was excited that her new gears have arrived. Happily & carefully she remove the shipping tags and tapes then opening the shipping box. She received a rude shock. There were glass bits everywhere, the seller/shop had simply placed all her items – loose – into the shipping box without the original boxes. Everything was in a mess, both her lenses were badly scratched with the lens cap off, charging cables and sockets had also partially destroyed the LCD Screen of the DSLR and it was a photographer’s nightmare. Emily broke down crying. When she finally calm down, she wrote to seller/ shop and question about the shipping packing standards and even sent images of the broken items in the box.

The seller/shop brushed all responsibilities citing that she had picked “Standard International Shipping” without insurance and additional packing options. Emily was shocked! She went on to check her email for the purchase confirmation, indeed, she had forgotten to click on the options for packing, which gave the seller/ shop the rights to remove all the original boxes and packages and pack everything together to save spaces & on shipping costs! To save SGD $300.00, this expensive and painful lesson had cost Emily SGD $3,800.00 and she have to spend addition money close to SGD $700 to have her 2 lenses repaired, replace the LCD screen on the DSLR.

Editor’s Note: It is common for online sellers and for some online shops to mark-up the shipping costs charged to the buyers and also they will try to save as much money as possible for the shipping packaging. I’ve met some really cool sellers that will take the effort to pack my purchase nicely and properly protect the item while I have also encountered some really irresponsible ones. Just imagine you receiving a camera from Russia without a bubble-wrap and a half-empty box. And of course, the camera that I bought was damaged during the shipping process. For the rest of you, if you are buying something online, when it comes to the shipping part, open your eyes and read carefully, and if several options are available, read them carefully too. Although most of the online sellers / shops does exercise common sense when it comes to item packaging for shipping, I must warn you there are some idiots out there who doesn’t have common sense. Worth the risk?

 

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Case Study #04 – Too Good to be True.
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Image Courtesy of http://www.sscfdl.com/

We have all heard of this famous saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
Yet among us there are still people who falls for scams using the above as a base for deceit. Anna was browsing online for a travel camera, she was comparing the prices stated on the brand/ manufacturer’s website against the prices published on the other reputable online electronic stores. She saw that the price was somewhat close and she was not impressed.

Anna decided to google for the camera that she wanted and something caught her attention from the search results. An online seller was selling the same camera for just half the price! Anna was really excited, while thinking to herself that her effort in searching for a better deal online had finally paid off when she found someone selling a NEW unit for just half the price of what every other shops are selling! So Anna started to make contact with this seller.

The conversation went on fine with Anna asking about the authenticity of the camera, shipping process etc. And Anna was convinced that this camera that she will be buying is new and the source of the camera was this is showroom unit thus the huge discount. Greed kicks in – since Anna only need to pay half price for this camera, why not buy 2? So she can give one of the camera to her friend whom is her travel buddy. Next day, She paid for 2 cameras via her credit card via a portal and waited for the delivery which the seller promised to ship to her within 14 days.

At this point, I am sure all of you know the outcome. No cameras came, all attempts to communicate with the seller failed and the portal who had facilitated the sale denies responsibility. Anna immediately called her Credit Card company however, the amount had been credited ( thus the 14 days) and if she is to dispute the purchase, she must produce evidence, however the email from the “seller” stated that Anna had agreed to the terms on the sales contract and no refund or whatsoever after 7 days of the purchase. In this case, Anna has not rights to dispute the sale unless that item delivered was wrong – but no cameras came. Anna also made a Police Report, but was later told my friends that the Police cannot really do much as the seller is not based in Singapore – and she willingly make the payment – ouch.

So instead of just making a trip to our local camera stores and buy off the shop, she decided to outsmart the pricing system in Singapore by trying to buy online. And her greed feeds her gullible mind that she is getting a super deal as she can pay the price of one camera but gets away with two cameras! Anna’s losses amounted to SGD $980+ (02 cameras + shipping + insurance) and the local camera shops are selling the camera at SGD $499.00 – Anna agreed for me to share this as she wish for no one to get scammed while buying camera gear online.

Editor’s Note: People are Gullible, this is true. People are Greedy, this is also true. And the 2 mentioned points formed a useful sales tool for Scammers preying on such online buyers. People, all photography gear comes with a base cost from the manufacturer, which then got distributed to a network with many exchange of hands before the camera/ lenses reached the retail front. This network feeds the whole photography industry so price wise, you must understand gear are not cheap. So if someone is trying to sell you a camera for $299 that worth (for example) $999 – you should be sounding the alarm for we all know that this is impossible! I call these scammers the fast-deal, fast-run scams. They act fast when a particular gear is new or in demand, then disappear after many victims falls prey to the scam. The whole process will be repeated again and again with a new name, a new payment account with every new gear launch in the market. So don’t be gullible or greedy, play safe & buy from your local camera stores. (Even if the local stores promises you 2 for the price of 1 – at least you get both the cameras right after paying.)

 

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Case Study #05 – Warranty not Recognized.
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Image Courtesy of www.fs.com

As a Singaporean, Ben frequently visits Hong Kong for recreation and leisure and as a photographer, he cannot but help realized the retail pricing over at HK is slightly cheaper than what we are being offered here by local retailers. During one such visit, Ben decided to visit the camera shops near his hotel which is located near in-between Bristol Avenue & Hart Avenue at the east of Tsim Shai Tsui. There are several camera stores in this area catering to both locals & tourists. Ben went into one of the shops and check out the prices. Yes, the cameras & lenses are slightly cheaper than Singapore. Ben was hesitant as the savings are negligible but the prospect of buying more means more savings.Ben left the shop without buying however the salesman had promised Ben that if he decides to buy, they can throw in free shipping for him and the warranty is valid world wide.

When Ben returned to Singapore, he is still very keen in purchasing the lot. So he went online to the website which the salesman told him about and he placed his order from the store in Hong Kong for 01 DSLR & 03 Lenses. With the free shipping, he saved about SGD $350.00. Ben received his order 4 days later from Hong Kong. Everything is proper and Ben was a happy man. Then something happened. Ben was out shooting with his friends when his DSLR suddenly went dead. He checked everything from battery to contacts but the DSLR remain dead. He decided to pay the local service centre for this brand to seek help.

At the service centre, after Ben told the service person what happened, the SP asked him if the DSLR is still under warranty. Ben replied “Yes” and the SP started to key in the serial number of the DSLR. A few seconds later, the SP told Ben that his DSLR was not purchase locally to Ben’s surprise. “How did they know??” Ben’s thoughts started racing. At this point, Ben decided to be honest and admitted that his DSLR was bought from a HK based online camera store. He told the SP that he was promised “International Warranty”. The SP informed him to read the fine text about International Warranty and what it covers. Now people, every warranty has limitations I am sure all of you would know. In Ben’s case, his 3-weeks old DSLR died from a faulty motherboard and if Ben is to claim from his International Warranty, he has to do it in Hong Kong. The local office will offer other service/ technical/ repair support apart from replacements.

Ben is in dire straits, what he had got himself into? For saving SGD $350.00, his new DSLR is dead and the local office is not going to give him a replacement. Ben decided that he will not pay SGD $480 to replace the motherboard here in Singapore but instead, planned another trip up in 2 months’ time – so he can bring the set to HK’s service centre. Back in Hong Kong, the service centre replaced Ben’s DSLR Motherboard for free, but charged him a service fee the equivalent of SGD $80.00. When Ben narrated his account to me, I burst out laughing – laughed so hard that I almost laughed away my spare tire. His parting words – not worth doing it.

Editor’s Note: Singaporeans travels a lot and many times, ended up in countries when the currency exchange rates is in our favor. We are so tempted to buy gear at times as the savings can adds up to be a lot. And many online shops promises International Warranty, tax rebate, free shipping etc so sometimes it is just easy to buy from overseas or just order from these stores’ online portal. However, many people do not realized that they are not buying just camera & lenses. They are buying electronics and optical instruments and among the lot, there will bound to be some faulty ones, some lemons, and some in-betweens. Warranty comes into the picture and each manufacturer has some differences when it comes to warranty terms & conditions. As a consumer, it is your job to understand, read and know your rights of coverage, and what legal recourse & obligations, and on which/ what area that your warranty is in force or voided. Confusing? You may skip this part if you bought your gear locally in Singapore. 🙂 

 

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Conclusion – Personally, I prefer to buy from a shop where I can feel the item, view the item and talk to real humans for advice. At the very least if something does goes wrong, you can always go to the shop and seek assistance and in worse scenario, taking legal action against the shop will be easy. Not forgetting warranty are honored and recognized by local service centre too! Online stores/ sellers may be cheap – but cheap does comes with risks & a price too.

Things does goes wrong (if you are unlucky to meet unethical merchants)! So ask
yourself if you are willing to take risks to save that couple tens or hundreds of dollars.

Thanks to all who had shared with me their personal experiences and accounts. This article will not be possible without all your inputs. Hope our readers will learn something from all your experiences and hope no one have to go through what you guys & gals went through.

ONLY Buy from trusted merchants for your gear or gifts for Christmas!
Click here to buy from our Accredited Merchants Network!

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– AL Lee, Editor.

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Olympus E-PL 8

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Olympus E-PL 8
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Image: The NEW Olympus E-PL8 

17th October 2016, Singapore – Olympus Singapore recently launched the latest Baby Pen the E-PL 8 just when Christmas Shopping is heating up in Singapore. For those unfamiliar to Olympus, the E-PL series sits on the entry-level line of Olympus’s mirrorless cameras. The “E” stands for Olympus E-series, “P” stands for Pen, a model line, “L” stands for “Lite” which means a more basic camera meant for entry-level users and “8” stands for the 8th model or 8th generation model for this line. Being made as an entry-level camera, this does not means the E-PL8 is only capable of basic photography. Looking through the specs, this little baby does pack a punch.

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Image: The NEW Olympus E-PL8 
Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how does the camera performed, the image quality and handling of the camera. If you cool with this, read on.

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Externally, the layout of the camera is very much similar to its predecessors while new users or brand-switchers will find it easy to use & to locate the buttons to the settings. The E-PL8 also carries the same design cues from the earlier Pen series mixing contemporary designs with retro styling – not sure what I am talking about? Do google for the 35mm (Film) Olympus Pen from yesteryears.

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Image: The NEW Olympus E-PL8 

On the specs, the E-PL8 is a 17.2 mega-pixel that comes with a micro 4/3 Live Mos sensor in a mirrorless body.  It features the latest TruePic VII image processor from Olympus and a supersonic wave filter for dust-reduction.  On shooting, the E-PL8 is capable of a decent shutter speed of 1/4000, ISO 100 (Low) to 25,600, brackets up to 7 frames or ISO-Bracketing up to 3 frames, not bad. Like its other Olympus siblings, the E-PL8 does comes with an array of shooting options comprising 25 scene modes & 14 art filters that you get further tweak a selection of 18 different colors under the “Pale Color” mode. Those who are lost at this point, what I meant earlier was – you can do a whole lot more of creative stuff to your images! Personally I have had hours and hours of fun with the art filters. But not part of our review criteria where we set everything to “0” or Default.

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Image: The NEW Olympus E-PL8

This little Pen (as expected) was built in solid metal alloy, weights 374gm (body only) and measures 117.1 x 68.3 x 38.4mm, very similar to its earlier siblings. This means, the E-PL8 is super compact, but made solid for heavy use & abuse. Olympus passed us this Brown unit for review while we understand that the E-PL8 does comes in White & Black color too.
For more in-depth review or specifications, please visit Olympus’s website. We are really more keen to what kind of image can this little Pen produce. I took the E-PL8 with me for a couple of days and do check the images that I am sharing in this article. All images are clickable and you can view the 100% for each images (except the images of the camera where I took it with my iPhone 7). All images are not edited except for the usual straightening and cropping + watermarks. Enjoy!

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Image: An old estate in Singapore (Dakota), shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  

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Image: An old estate in Singapore (Dakota), shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  

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Image: An old estate in Singapore (Dakota), shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  

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Image: An old estate in Singapore (Dakota), shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  
I must say I am impressed with the color and the image quality. While remembering that the E-PL8 was designed as an entry-level camera, this little Pen is capable of much more things. It worked seamlessly with the issued kit lens 14-42mm that translates to (based on 35mm format) a wide angle focal range of 28mm to 84mm medium telephoto range that is commonly used and it this range covers many photography genres. Having said that, don’t forget this E-PL8 takes all Olympus Zuiko lenses (interchangeable system) and you can expand your photography needs easily!

Alan Photo

I chanced upon a group office workers doing a mid-week workout at Raffles Place (Singapore) beside the Singapore River and I decided to try the E-PL8. Focusing was fast and accurate (I am on P Mode) and I like how this little Pen behaves at a scene like below where 90% of the frame are moving objects. Check out the images below.

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Image: Evening Workout by the Singapore River, shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  

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Image: Evening Workout by the Singapore River, shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  

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Image: Evening Workout by the Singapore River, shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8  

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I decided to stay around the river and wait for the sun to set. At this point, light is getting lesser by the minute and the E-PL8 seems to be adjusting itself fine. (metering) Below is a bracketed shot of 3 frames and the shop houses near the centre of the frame was almost black but the bracketed shot “recover” the dark areas well. Aren’t you impressed?
I am.

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Image: Evening at the Singapore River, shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8

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Image: Blue Hour at Raffles Place, shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8
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Image: A Moody shot by the Singapore River, shot by the NEW Olympus E-PL8 with one of the Art Filter. Make a guess which one did I used. 🙂  
Without saying, I am definitely impressed with this little Pen. It handles well, feels solid, shoots well and produce really nice images. Although it will be silly of me to compare the E-PL8 with its bigger siblings like the OM-D EM series, but as an Olympus user, I can assure you the feel, the touch, the operational aspects are similar, it’s just so Olympus.
If you need a “partner” camera to complement your set up, or looking for a reliable travel camera, the new Olympus E-PL8 is for you. Get it.

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– AL Lee, Editor.

Thanks You Olympus Singapore for the camera!

For the rest of you, Buy your Olympus E-PL 8 here!

About Olympus
Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of Olympus Corporation, headquartered
in Japan. Olympus Singapore Pte Ltd is responsible for the marketing and distribution of Olympus consumer products in Singapore. The Olympus consumer range encompasses still and video imaging products, binoculars and digital audio recorders.
Your Vision, Our Future.

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Members-ONLY – Cullmann Sale!

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Members ONLY – Cullmen Sale!
(While Stock Last!)
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17th October 2016, Singapore – Cullmann Singapore is partnering Ourshutterjourney to offer an ONE-OFF SPECIAL MEMBERS-ONLY Special Sale! Cullmann, a leading established brand for camera support from Germany had been around for ages and the quality is known & proven to many professionals. All Cullmann products comes with a 10 year warranty too! For the individual specification, please google yourself!

Do Check Out the Items on Sale below and Ordering Details Below! Membership Number will be Required. Limited to One Item Purchase per Member!

1) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 622TC TRAVEL TRIPOD
Members Sale Price – SGD $180.00
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2) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 622T TRAVEL TRIPOD (Editor’s PICK)
Members Sale Price – SGD $125.00
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3) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 625 OH2.5V TRIPOD
Members Sale Price – SGD $170.00
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4) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 628 OH4.5V TRIPOD
Members Sale Price – SGD $190.00
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5) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 628M OH4.5V TRIPOD

Members Sale Price – SGD $220.00
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6) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 628C TRIPOD
Members Sale Price – SGD $210.00
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7) CULLMANN CONCEPT ONE 628C TRIPOD
Members Sale Price – SGD $425.00
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8) CULLMANN TITAN 970 MONOPOD
Members Sale Price – SGD $130.00
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How to Order Online?
Remember, it’s While Stock Last!

1) Email to ourshutterjourney@live.com.sg
2) Subject Title :  Cullmen – SJS Members Sale!
3) Please Indicate your Name & Membership Card Number.
4) The Cullmen Model You are Purchasing.
5) Delivery to your doorsteps can be arranged at $25.00 nett.

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Alan Photo

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Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART

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Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART
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12th October 20116, Singapore – This review came a tad late as the lens was issued to us and this review was completed in April 2016, but for some strange reasons, the whole folder for this review – including all the photos & text went missing among our backup servers. And last night while we are backing up our servers, the folder mysteriously appears again. Strange as it is, we decided to post this review as it was a really good lens as reviewed by our Review Editor Trisha Lim.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how does the lens performed, the image quality and handling of the lens.

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The Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART lens certainly did not came as a surprise as Sigma has always been serious in capturing the mirrorless market. With Sony now leading the market (kind of), the lens was released at the right time. The previous 30mm F.28 had been a great performer and this version is the ART version so do not be confused and ended up buying the wrong lens. Comes in black or silver, there are more than just a nice cosmetic makeover. For those new to Sigma, the “ART” series means Premium if that is layman enough.

The Sigma 30mm ART gives a focal length of 45mm for APSC (E-mount) system and a 60mm for other micro Four Thirds system with a large aperture that is well suited for many shooting conditions. To start, this lens is super compact measuring a mere 40.5mm x 60.8mm and weights like a feather at 140gm. Designed and built as a fast prime, this lens focus really fast (not sure if it is just me) as compared to its predecessor, and the focusing operation is so quiet that we have to place our ears on the lens to check if it is (even) working.

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The optics are corrected via 7 elements in 5 groups  which includes 2 aspherical elements that gives you excellent image quality with very minimal distortions and a good control over Chromatic Abberation. The 7 aperture blades are rounded so it gives a nice cylindrical bokeh similiar to those lenses with 9 blades. From F2.8 to F22, that is pretty much expected too for most of Sigma’s prime lenses. The front element is coated with Sigma’s proprietary Super Coating that reduce dusts and corrects colors as you shoot which is pretty standard. The front take 46mm screw-on filters and the lens feels tiny but well balanced to the hands. The Sigma 30mm ART focus from just 30cm from the sensor to the subject and has a very decent magnification ration of 1:8.1.

Our Review Editor Trisha Lim, took the Sigma 30mm ART to Thailand and used the lens throughout her trip. Let’s check out her review!

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Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART Review
by Trisha Lim
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Image: Inside a Thai Temple, Shot with Sony a7 with the NEW Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART. 

Trisha: When Editor AL told me that Sigma had delivered the review unit for their new 30mm F2.8 DN ART, I had a crazy idea. That is to just bring this lens and pair it up with my Sony a7 and do away with my usual insane gear combo. And I did not regret the decision!

My first impression of Sigma’s 30mm F2.8 DN ART was – it is a cute little lens. Light and small in size, I was contemplating if I should just bring along my zoom lens for the trip just in case. However I managed to survived the trip with just the 30mm. The lens performed beyond expectations and I like the image quality & colors that it produced.

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Image: River Kwai, Shot with Sony a7 with the NEW Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART.
The Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN Art focuses really fast and very quiet. Although it hunts a little when I was trying to focus on faraway subjects, I came to know later that it is pretty normal for lens of this focal range especially when you try to focus on “all-inifinity” subjects. So I am cool on this.

 

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Image: Ancient City, Shot with Sony a7 with the NEW Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART.

I like the feel of the lens barrel, very solid feel & very “metallic” but weights next to nothing. This is great especially for travel as heavy gear also means extra fatigue. The amount of details captured are awesome. I shot in jpg, not even raw, it is amazing how the Sony a7 + Sigma 30mm ART complements each other!  Do check out some of the images that I am sharing here!

(Editor: All images posted here are clickable to view in full res 100%)

Alan Photo


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Image: Aerial View of Bangkok from Bai Yoke Sky II, Shot with Sony a7 with the NEW Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART.

Large aperture lens are perfect for night photography! I went up to Baiyoke SkyII and took a few shots from the Observation Deck and I am amazed by what I can shoot with the Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART. Do see my example above. Isn’t it amazing? Do check out the rest of the images that I had shared for this article too!

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Image: Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Shot with Sony a7 with the NEW Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART.

(Below) I cannot resist not shooting my Sister who was with me. Shot at wide open, check out how creamy smooth the bokeh is. This 30mm ART is a wonderful lens!

 

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Image: My little Sister, Shot with Sony a7 with the NEW Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART.

 

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Conclusion – The New Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART is a well-designed, well made lens that is capable & reliable. I believed Sigma will not just allocate the “Art” designation unless the lens is meant for performance and high quality, so this 30mm is no exception. Going through my images for this trip, I am so glad that I had decided to leave my other gears at home and to just bring & use this lens throughout the trip. You should consider buying this lens for your next holiday!

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– Trisha Lim, Review Editor.

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Editor: Right! The Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART lens is not just another lens that was made to compete, but to give high quality images and ease of use to users! And the last surprise? The lens is priced “below market expected” rates and you can own this lens for that little money. Time to hit the camera stores!

Thank you Sigma Singapore for the lens!

Buy your Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN ART here.

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Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE

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Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE
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Image: The NEW Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE mated to a Sony a7. 

10th October 2016, Singapore – Following our recent review of Samyang’s NEW Auto-focus 50mm lens by our review Editor Trisha Lim, the new Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 is the 2nd Auto-Focus lens from Samyang which we were lucky enough to review. As mentioned in our Samyang 50mm article, with the new Auto-focus 50mm & 14mm, Samyang is putting all the competitors on their toes. In the past, other manufacturers pretty much ignores Samyang as they are making manual lenses, but now with Auto-focus & a very friendly asking price, we sense there will be a huge shift in market shares for lens shoppers.

Before we proceed with the review, I would like to (again) share that if you ended up here looking for technical in-depth review, then you are certainly in the wrong place. Over here we are only keen how does the lens performed, the image quality and handling of the lens.

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The new Samyang AF 14mm is made and designed as an Ultra-Wide Angle lens with a near “full horizon” view. The lens barrel is made from a light weight aluminum alloy that seems to be ready for some heavy use or abuse. Weight at a mere 500gm (estimated) & measures at 97.5mm length, this lens is compact too! The focusing ring is creamy smooth which makes the 14mm a joy to use as the “feel” is expensive and for some moments, it feels like some SGD$3,000.00 lens but the Samyang is only asking for 1/3 of that price.

Optical wise, we went wild after knowing that this little monster was designed with image quality in mind as the optics were corrected with a whopping 14 elements in 10 groups!!!!! And among the elements, Samyang included 03 aspherical glasses! For the asking price, this is like striking slots bonus 3 times in a row! A 7-blader, the aperture opens from F2.8 to F22 which is pretty much standard. Although Samyang did not indicate the style of the aperture blades, it looks semi-curved blades to us that means the bokeh will be decent and for F2.8, this lens is a great lens for wide-angle portraits too – for day or night. And this lens starts focusing from 20cm distance and with a magnification ratio of x 0.12, this lens will be loved by wedding photographers too. (go figure.)

Those who are on Sony’s APS-C bodies, this 14mm will become a 21mm F2.8 which is also great for low light street photography!

Our Review Editor Trisha Lim was so thrilled with the new Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 while doing the review, she begged us to let her review the 14mm too. And so we did. Let’s hear her views on this Ultra-Wide monster of a lens.

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Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE User Review
by Trisha Lim
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Image: ASUS Store Opening, shot by Sony a7 + Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE.

Trisha: Yes, I was thrilled and amazed by the Samyang AF 50mm F1.4 FE while doing the review! And definitely I wanted to try the 14mm! When Editor AL (also Singapore’s Ambassador for Samyang) passed me the Samyang AF 14mm, I decided to use it for one of my assignment – a store opening event. (ASUS). For such assignments, going wide is the way as most retailers will want to have a “wide open” feel of their stores and the Samyang 14mm is a perfect fit. What amazed me further is the low level of distortion – a common phenomenon with such ultra wide angle lenses. This Samyang 14mm has very little distortions which is just really great!


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Image: ASUS Store Opening, shot by Sony a7 + Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE. 
On handling, the Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE is pretty light on my hands and after using it for a full assignment, I do not feel tired holding the lenses after several hours. I like the focusing of this lens, it is fast despite it is an ultra-wide angle lens. Some ultra-wide angle lenses hunts a bit during focusing due to the much larger area and the number of possible subjects within a frame but not this Samyang. It auto-focus fast and it is very accurate. Always spot on every time I start to focus! 
Operational noise are minimal too, in fact when I was using it, I can barely hear the focusing motor at all!


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I tried focus-peaking with the new Samyang AF 14mm on my a7 too and surprisingly it is equally easy to use an the accuracy is meticulous! However since this lens was made as an AF lens, I was 99% on auto-focus hahaha!

With all ultra-wide angle lenses, this lens will also be very suitable for landscapes and other applications. If you do interior shoots for properties, this is a super good lens to use too! And so, recently I have some time to attend photo events by this site so I use the new Samyang AF 14mm for some light-painting against a cityscape.

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Image: light-painting against a cityscape, shot by Sony a7 + Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE.


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Image: light-painting against a cityscape, shot by Sony a7 + Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE.


From the above images, you can see that distortion is very, very low and the amount of details captured are awesome! Not forgetting that the colors are rendered accurately with good balance. 
If you are into nightscapes or cityscapes, this 14mm is the lens to use!


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Image: Editor AL at close range, shot by Sony a7 + Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE.

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In conclusion, the new Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE is a brand experience for me. Initially I thought this is just a mutated 14mm where Samyang squeezed in an autofocus motor into the old manual 14mm UMC lens and man I was so wrong. This lens was designed from scratch and presented to the world as a new lens. From handling to the optical quality, this lens is a performance lens and yet, the asking price is ridiculously low! Readers, yes, I will be BUYING this Lens! Go get yours soon!

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– Trisha Lim, Review Editor.


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Thanks again Trisha for the sharing on your thoughts and user experience of the new Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE lens & the nice images that you had shared from using this lens. OK people, you heard the lady, time to get yours!

Thank you Samyang Singapore for the lens!

Buy your Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 FE here.

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Posted in Accredited Merchants, Brand: Others (Cosina, Carl Zeiss, Leica, Mamiya, Samyang, Vivitar, Zenitar,etc), Featured Photographers, Featured Photography Groups, Featured Photography Merchants, Group Test & Reviews, Photography Articles & Videos, Samyang, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment