After reading through Brian’s field test of these awesome cameras, I am now more excited than ever to try one out! I might unload a few pieces of gear that are on the “not sure if I still need” list so I can get an a7R. Check out what Brian has to say about these amazing new cameras here.
With the announcement of the a7 and a7r, hopefully the RX10 announcement will not be overshadowed. This is possibly the most high tech Cybershot Sony has yet produced. Sony revived the R “series” (I place series in quotes because until recently there was only the original R1 released in 2005) at just the right time last year with the RX100 and RX1, now they are looking to fill in the line-up. As you may know, the Sony R1 was a legendary camera, the first fixed lens camera with an APSC sensor, giving it incredible performance and capability for its day. I used to own one, and even when compared to my much more modern DSLR’s, it fared quite well and at times I would love to use one again. The new RX10 uses the same 1″ sensor format as the RX100, which has already proven to be quite good, a good compromise between large size sensors while being small enough to allow a much larger zoom range on the fixed lens. The RX10 wields a lens with a 24-200mm equivalent focal and and constant 2.8 aperture. Don’t be fooled when comparing this to other long zoom fix lens cameras with much larger zoom ranges yet the same or similar aperture range. The small sensor on other cameras are what enables the long zoom range, but at the cost of much smaller equivalent apertures, which affects image quality in certain ways significantly. There is one huge drawback to this camera, at a $1299 price tag its hard to think that very many people will be buying one, if Sony can get the price down that story could change.
DP Review has released a nice preview write up on the RX10, its certainly worth reading.
First, well done Sony! I have been hoping for Sony to produce high-end FF E-mount cameras since the release of the NEX-5 back in 2010, now they’ve finally done it, and I am glad they waited. The technology is just right now for cameras like these to succeed, as on-sensor AF tech has gotten successively better over the last few generations.
I kind of like the unusual look of the cameras, they combine the look of some of the classic high-end Cybershot’s, like the V3 – which was a great camera for its day. They also incorporate some of the styling from the NEX-7 and RX1, and as DPreview put it, resemble some European film cameras from the past. In any case, the looks are not a reason to buy a camera, whether for or against.
I think Sony has hit a home run with these designs, though I am a little unsure of the choice to provide the 36MP version without hybrid AF (I know they claim it has something to do with the AA filter). For me personally, I would not be an early adopter of EF lenses so it won’t affect me either way. This is mostly because I have a nice A-mount line up that I am mostly happy with. So I would probably need an LA-EA4 if I were to get either of these. I can see how lack of hybrid AF on the A7r would be a turn off for anyone wanting to use the shiny new EF lenses to their full potential as they slowly trickle out. It will be interesting to see how the cameras fare in performance testing, particularly I want to know how those sensors do on low light.
One of the big interests I have in these cameras will be the ability to use them with classic lenses, which I have put together a small collection of Minolta Rokkor lenses over the last 6 years. These lenses have been great on my NEX-5, it will be great to see what they can do on full frame.
For more info and detailed specs highly recommend reading DP Reviews first impressions of the a7 and a7r.
Recently I went to use my Bamboo pen tablet for some photo editing. It really makes things easier when you are doing lots of erasing or clone stamping, or other similar edits. Well I was quite distraught to discover that it would only work in a very small corner of the Photoshop window, instead of allowing me to use the pen across my entire monitor which is normally how I have it set. If I minimize Photoshop, it works across the whole screen like it’s supposed to. I went into Windows Control Panel and verified the Bamboo mapping was still set to my main monitor. I then tried changing settings and changing them back in my Bamboo preferences, but to no avail. After that I tried switching the Bamboo to a different USB port on my machine and then tried installing the latest drivers from Wacom, both of which failed to resolve my issue.
I was ready to take the Bamboo outside and use it as a one-time-use frisbee, flinging it as hard as I could and shouting a variety of obscenities as I ended its miserable existence by hurling it into a tree. As a last resort, I went into my computers start menu and looked under the Bamboo folder, here I found this wonderful little utility called “Bamboo Preference File Utility”. When you open this utility it only has a few options – under My Preferences chose “Remove” and was prompted to confirm I wished to remove my preferences, which I confirmed. Oddly, it reported that no compatible Bamboo device was found on my system, however the change was immediately apparent because my pen was now working across both monitors. I then went into Photoshop and with great joy I found that I was now able to move the cursor anywhere in Photoshop again! All I had to do after that was go back into Bamboo preferences in Control Panel and re-map the pen to just my main monitor. Here’s a shot of the helpful little utility:
I just thought I would share this with all you Photoshop aficionados out there. For me, being in tech support as a profession it always really annoys me when I can’t solve a computer problem, especially if its something preventing me from using my computer the way I need to. Needless to say, I was quite glad to get this one resolved.
In October I had the awesome opportunity to go on a missions trip with my church to Vietnam. My objective for the trip was to shoot photos and video that we could use to get other folks on board with missions abroad, to motivate people to get out there and serve. It was a very busy 10-day adventure for me to say the least, a lot of fun, but extremely tiring. During my time there I shot around 5000 pictures and 2+ hours of video (all in short clips). I ended up processing around 350 pictures which you can see here on my Flickr stream.
As I side note, I absolutely loved the food there and did not get sick of it at all (most Americans do I guess) – but honestly when I landed in Chicago I had a burger, and was really really missing the delicious Vietnam food already! They eat a lot more vegetables and fruits there, with smaller portions of meat and also a lot of seafood and I really think that is the way to go. I believe in moderation, rather than strict vegetarian or vegan diets. I like meat, and a certain amount of it is good for you, too much is bad, along with all the other crap we eat in the US, which has more grease than stuff your body can actually use. Lets just say I ate like a pig in Vietnam for 10 days and lost 10 lbs.
A lot of my photos and video will by used by my church to create presentations, but I too decided to use them as a way to say thanks to all those who supported me on the trip, through prayer and financially. To do this I decided to take on video editing. I spent several weeks researching software, learning techniques, watching my vid clips over and over, and writing out ideas for how I wanted to make a short vid. I think the end result was well worth it and I definitely picked up a lot of new skills along the way.
I used Sony Vegas Platinum HD as my editing software, I didn’t want to spend too much money on software to use for my first time editing. I am really quite happy with Vegas and may upgrade to their pro version later, as opposed to moving to Premiere or something else. I definitely want to do some more video editing in the future as I really enjoyed it, and its very satisfying to work and work on something and then see it come to life in a final rendered video! Here is the video:
Along with this short video, I created several longer clips showing some things we did on the trip (I will not be posting the others online, but if you know me personally, feel free to ask to borrow the DVD I created). I put these all together on a DVD, complete with a DVD menu, created in Sony DVD Architect. The software made it really easy to create a simple DVD menu with video background.
To make it a nice finished product, I created some album artwork completely from photos (except for the text) I shot on the trip, along with a Lightscribe DVD label:
I am really thankful to have gone on the trip, thankful to have learned a number of new skills, thankful to be used by God to serve others, thankful to all my friends who supported me. I really hope that the video and photos I captured motivate others to want to go out there and serve Christ. I know it doesn’t make sense to those of you who are not Christian, but all I can say is that it is the purpose for which we are meant, living in relationship with our creator, and it is awesome.
There is a Flickr member who goes by the name Okinawa Soba who posts many amazing old photos from Japan. Among the most interesting images on the stream are the old 3D images by Japanese photographer T. Enami. I love getting to see old world things using techniques that are usually thought of as modern (but believe it or not, they aren’t that new) – such as 3D imaging. T. Enami used a pair of cameras to take proper 3D images and then generally put them in stereogram format. It did take me a bit of practice to learn to see a stereogram, but once learned it can be quite rewarding.
Here are some examples of the amazing 3D photography by T. Enami:
Old Japan in 3D
If you ever find yourself in Maracaibo Venezuela I highly recommend this restuarant. They specialize in a type of sandwich called a patacone which instead of bread has a crispy flat tortilla like thing made from flattened plantains.
I found this 4 year old receipt in my suitcase while packing. Now I have used this suitcase since, but somehow this went unnoticed. Now I really want a good patacone.
Did you know that the first color film wasn’t invented until 1935? Before that different photographers had to find ways to add color to their photos. For some it meant hand coloring the photos, but for one Russian fellow, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorski (say that 10 times fast, I dare you, oh and only with your best Russian accent!) figured out how to use color filters over his film to take 3 simultaneous exposures. The resulting black and white images could then be layered together to create a color photograph. It is really amazing seeing the photos he took as he traveled across Russia documenting the people and things he saw with his specially made camera.
Note that if you see red and green separation in his photos, they are not anaglyphs – its just where the images did not get lined up perfectly during processing. So your red and green glasses for viewing old 3D movies won’t help you.
You should really check out some of the photos here.