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.
Church of the Open Door in Elyria Ohio has recently joined with Avon Lake Baptist Church to start a new church campus. It is very exciting for both churches and many great things are happening as Open Door’s Avon Lake campus is renovated to prepare for the first services there. The first service at the new campus will be on March 25 at 10am. I have been shooting a lot of photos of all the work being done at the new campus, you should really check it out!
Lately, having been inspired by all the amazing artists and developers I met at the Global Game Jam in Cleveland last weekend its helped me to want to learn Blender even more. Blender is a very powerful 3D graphics tool that can handle video, do 3D animations, and is great for making game assets. It has more features than you can shake a stick at. Getting familiar with it can be a little bit of a learning curve so I’ve just been playing around with it trying maybe make a few nifty things along the way. I actually do have some plans to start designing stuff in 3D which I will likely talk about more later. My first experiment was to create a 3D animated version of my logo, which I think turned out fairly well, though far from perfect:
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.
I’ve always enjoyed making greeting cards of my own, especially as opposed to buying cards at the store. It’s not that the store bought cards aren’t really nice, many of them are even better than my own cards. What I like about creating my own cards is that I can personalize them, either to something I want it to be, or make them specifically for their recipient. For this Christmas I had many ideas running through my head about how I would create these cards, in fact I spent weeks thinking on different ideas and even shooting a few pictures in anticipation for use in my cards.
It wasn’t until just a few days before card making began that I decided I would try something entirely new and unique this year. I decided to learn and use lightpainted images to draw elements I would use to create the Christmas cards. This turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I thought as it took me many tries to get each element just the way I wanted. The resulting lightpainted images still required quite a bit of adjustment in Photoshop before I could use them in the cards too – mostly masking and free transforming but some required a bit more work than others.
The cool fact about these two greetings I created is that every single element, except the typed text was created from photographs, though not all lightpainted. For example, the snow flake was from a snowflake ornament I took a picture of, and the Xmas lights were from real Xmas lights I photographed out of focus.
They turned out to be the most difficult cards I have created so far. I originally had wanted to create a personalized card for each person I was giving them to but I just did not have time. In fact I was so pressed for time, I didn’t even make cards for all the people I originally wanted to, only close family that I saw over Christmas. So I was really bummed about that, but it was the best I could do, and hey, like many of the things I am doing lately, I learned a lot of new tricks, in lightpainting, photography and Photoshop. I also ran into a lot of trouble getting them printed as I was testing out an external ink system (ie CIS system) for my Canon Pixma 9000 printer, and lets just say the color was so terrible I could not get anything remotely acceptable. I switched back to regular cartridges after wasting 30+ sheets of expensive paper.
So after much blood, sweat and tears, well actually there wasn’t much blood, don’t recall too many tears and only a little sweat, so I guess it was mostly just time…here is the greetings I created. The first is the card and the second is a greeting I created just for my savior: