I have seen both photos before: with the upper bird, I had my doubts even before I saw Ross Tsai's excellent photo that you posted here. It might be a Munia pallida. One major difference between vana and pallida (apart from the grey band) are the uppertail-coverts: they should be yellow on vana (great to see on the Ross Tsai pic!). The upper bird doesn't seem to have yellow uppertail-coverts at all (rather brownish) and not the slightest bit of a grey band. That's why I would say it is a Munia pallida. Above all, this is obviously a caged bird.... very unlikely to be Munia vana.
The other photo does look more like a "real" Munia vana to me. The light was obviously difficult when it was taken. Overall, the bird might appear much darker than it really was. At least the grey band is clearly visible, that's why I would think it could in fact be vana. Uppertail-coverts almost impossible to judge on this photo.