Tag Archives: sony

An Extra Special Gift

This was certainly a first for me. I’ve been doing the photography thing for many years, and while my favourite subjects are things that really can’t move around, I do find myself enjoying the few portrait and wedding gigs that I come across. But when it came to shooting maternity it was all new territory. And it can be a pretty creepy one also. You look at places like Pinterest, and you can get carried away by semi-nude women showing off their pregnant bodies. Now before you lay on the hate, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or wrong. I just don’t like that style of shooting, and when my subjects are my soon-to-be brother & sister-in-law. That’s just not the direction I want to take.

Evan & Holly - Maternity Shoot
Sony a6000 + Konica Hexanon 1:2.8 f=35mm

Evan & Holly - Maternity Shoot
Sony a6000 + Konica Hexanon 1:2.8 f=35mm

The idea is Heather’s who came up with the idea to do a shoot with them once we found out they were expecting, and it became all the more special when the one baby was two. Yep, instant niece and nephew added in, and just before my wedding. It did take Holly a bit of time to warm up to the idea of having maternity photos done. And I can understand that she also does photography, and it’s difficult for a photographer to stand in front of the camera rather than behind.

Evan & Holly - Maternity Shoot
Sony a6000 + KMZ Helios 44-2 2/58

Evan & Holly - Maternity Shoot
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-250 – SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C

Thankfully we had just the right weather to be outside, well it was a little cold for Evan and Holly, I at least could keep my coat on. And for the backdrop, we took advantage of being in Hamilton the city of waterfalls and worked at Tiffany and Sherman Falls. What makes this whole thing extra special is that Evan and Holly had been waiting a long time to start a family, so it was an amazing idea from Heather to document it right from the beginning.

Evan & Holly - Maternity Shoot
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-250 – SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C

Evan & Holly - Maternity Shoot
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-250 – SPUR HRX (1+17) 11:00 @ 20C

The great part was that once I got rolling with the photos it went really well, both Evan and Holly were great subjects, and the process moved along well. I found myself looking only once at a few saved images on Pinterest and then settled into my usual groove when shooting portraits. The only thing different was making sure to show off the baby bump! And no, I’m not getting into newborn photography, but I think I’d be okay doing another maternity shoot of the same style.

Camera Review – Sony a6000

While I’ve already written two blogs on the subject of the a6000 I figured now having owned and worked with the camera extensively on a three week trip to Europe it was due time to do a proper review of it using the same model as my Classic Camera Revival blogs. This is a fantastic camera, perfect for those who are tired of the usual SLRs or just don’t need that style of camera for what they wanted. It was actually weird that several other folks on the trip all had digital SLRs and me, the one usually associated with photography was rocking this tiny camera.

Z-sony-a6000-flash-up

The Dirt
Maker: Sony
Model: a6000 (ILCE-6000)
Type: Compact System Camera
Lens: Interchangeable, E-Mount
Year of Manufacture: 2014

Ready for Action

The Iron Duke

The Good
There are many fantastic points about this camera, the size the weight, feel and usability. Even for me, right out of the box I was able to quickly get the camera into action and figure out how to adjust all the settings and basically tune the camera to what I wanted it to do. Size and weight are perfect and the camera itself can easily be tucked into a large pocket or bag. Of course with digital the one thing everyone looks at is image quality and I can say it’s top notch, even with just the basic kit lens (16-50mm). Sharp corner to corner with no major noise issues up to ISO-3200. Autofocus is quick and accurate in all lighting conditions even on a smokey battlefield or the pouring rain, and if you do need to manually focus the camera both the electronic viewfinder and screen work well in all lighting condition. And speaking of the screen having the ability to tilt makes shooting from the hip easy especially when your 1 year old niece is crawling under the coffee table, you can still get the shot. The 24.3 megapixel sensor can output great prints up to 11×14 without any loss of quality as well. And finally there’s the E-Mount, don’t let the mount bother you there’s tonnes of adapters out there that will allow you to mount any lens you want onto the camera, in fact I plan on getting ones that will let me use my old AI/AI-S Nikon glass, Konica and Contax lenses as well.

Ship Models

Figure Heads

The Bad
There really is only one main sticking point I have with the camera body itself and that’s the battery life. I would have the charge the camera daily after a days worth of shooting and that’s with turning the camera off between shots, if I were to have left it on I’m sure it would’ve died about half way through the day. The biggest problem I have with the camera is the kit lens, we’re talking distortion city anything really between the 16mm mark and 25mm. And then again from about 40 to 50mm. Thankfully Lightroom does have the ability to correct this but it still is a bit of a pain. Also if you do plan on shooting RAW make sure that you’re using a fairly modern operating system, at least Windows 7 so that your Adobe products can accept and read the files or using the Sony software provided (but I never do).

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

The Low Down
This camera isn’t a dSLR killer, that honour falls to the A7r, but this is certainly a camera worthy of looking at if you’re getting into photography and don’t need an SLR for what you’re doing. In the future when people become more comfortable with the idea and I get some more glass (or adapters) for it I may even shoot professional jobs like an event where staying out of the way is needed. But for a wedding or live gig I’d still lug an SLR along. But for a first camera jumping from a point-and-shoot or super-zoom, the a6000 is a winning bet.

Photos taken in: Waterloo, Amsterdam, and the Vimy Ridge National Historic Site
Sony a6000 – Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 OSS

Adapt This!

In my previous entry about the wonderful Sony a6000 (seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a digital camera since I got my first digital SLR the D70s) I mentioned that there were a pile of adapters for the E-Mount to allow users of the camera to mount older lenses like M39, Nikon F, Contax G ect, well I went into Burlington Camera and was talking with one of the co-owners Joan about it and she happened to have one of the better adapters out there in stock for M39 also known as Leica Thread Mount (LTM). The adapter is manufactured by a company called Fotodiox and have probably the widest range of adapters.

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Yes, that’s a Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2 lens mounted…cuts a fine figure eh?

Unlike the Nikon digital SLRs and using old AI and AI-S lenses is that with the a6000 you have to first enable the “Release without proper lens” setting in the menu, once you’ve done that you’re ready to rock. You also don’t have much in the way of full automatic control so you have to run in either Aperture Priority or full Manual. I highly recommend Aperture Priority. Now I really only have the one lens, but I had on loan at the time a Fed-2 and a couple Russian 50mm lenses as well, so with three different lenses I figured it was good to put them all to the test with the adapter.

ЮПИТЕР-8 2/50
First on the camera was the JUPITER-8 this is a 50mm f/2 lens and is one of the more common Jupiter lenses available. Performance wise on the camera is did a bang up job, good coverage edge to edge sharp, and very little vignetting even with the aperture wide open. The results, well they speak for themselves.

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 1

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 1

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 1

Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2
Nothing like throwing on a classic piece of German optics and man the lens even though it’s from 1948 still rocks on a modern body. Honestly only the a6000 could handle such an amazing lens.

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 2

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 2

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 2

Индустар-22 f=50mm 1:3.5
The Russian copy of the Leitz Elmar lens, the Industar-22 was probably the weakest of the group not because it had poor optical performance because the images were great, it’s more the design of the lens and the focus lock lug keeps it from locking to infinity. Which isn’t really much of a problem, it’s just harder to work with. A non-collapsible version might have better performance.

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 3

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 3

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 3

Don’t dismiss these old lenses, many of them have a large number of blades in the aperture which makes for very pleasing bokeh (the descriptor for the out of focus blur) than the average consumer grade lenses. Not to mention they’re usually cheaper than most. Plus the adapter is about 30$ in change.

First Thoughts – Sony a6000

In the world where everyone and their uncle has a digital SLR cameras the idea to introduce smaller compact system cameras is a rather unique one. My first experience with these cameras was the Olympus E-P1, the very fist in what would spawn several different ones from across the camera manufacturing world, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, Ricoh, and Sony all started making these rather neat cameras. With the E-P1 getting long in the tooth and a big trip this summer I wanted to get an upgrade. I eventually settled on switching away from the Olympus Micro 4/3 system to go for the Sony E-Mount.

Commuter Sunset

First Light

The technical low down on the camera is pretty impressive for the size. Packing a 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor backed by the Bionz X image processor, a format that I am familiar with from my work with Nikon digital SLRs. The image quality is stunning, and even a photo shot at ISO-3200 on the a6000 has really acceptable noise, and the same type and amount of noise that I found with my D300 at ISO-1600. The Autofocus is fast and pretty darn accurate and is decent in low-light situations and the manual focus is super easy to use both with the big screen on the back and the electronic viewfinder.

Milton Camera Club - March Photowalk - Limehouse

Milton Camera Club - March Photowalk - Limehouse

As for ergonomics I like a camera that feels good in the hand and easy to access all the functions. And despite the small format this camera is just that! I can easily use this camera with the big screen (the tilting is awesome for composing shots at a lower angle and the auto switch between the screen and electronic finder means I can use the camera in a more traditional manner without having to to through any complex menus. Speaking of menus they can be a bit hard to navigate at first, but usual functions that you need to access while out shooting are clearly laid out in buttons. There’s even two custom buttons you can use to access things you need the most. Both the Screen and Electronic viewfinder are sharp and easy to work with in any light condition. And for those who love video the camera does a really good job with full 1080p HD Video and a decent sound pickup with the built in microphones. Not to mention the accessory shoe on the top can be used to mount an external mic or a flash/radio transceiver for off-camera flash work as it’s a standard shoe. While small the built in flash works in a pinch but can be hard to diffuse or tilt.

CCR - Review 5 - Nikon F2 Photomic
Example shot at ASA-3200, run through simple noise reduction in Lightroom (v.5.6)

The Sony E-Mount has lots of amazing lenses for it out there both from Sony and third party manufactures but more importantly has the greatest number of lens adapters that let you mount your old manual focus Nikon, Contax G, Canon EF, K-Mount, M42, M39 and more out there. I know that I’ll be getting a handful of these adapters to use some of my favourite lenses on this camera later. The one beef I have is the kit lens, optically the lens is great and the power zoom function on the Sony E PZ 16-50mm 1:3.5-5.6 is super handy, there is wicked barrel distortion at 16mm. Of course this is a mild problem as Lightroom can easily fix that distortion with a mouse click. If you’re like me, you shoot all your digital work in RAW, to get your Adobe Products to read the new format you will need the latest Camera RAW plugin for Photoshop/Lightroom which is fine, but you must be running Windows 7 or better to install this plugin. Over all I’m very happy with this camera and can see it being the one I bring along more than the big D300 system when I go on vacation or just personal photography.