Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Amoeba

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (July, 2019) - The iconic Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood is scheduled to relocate due to a high-rise structure being built. I used to frequent Amoeba and a bunch of other record stores back in the 80's. I walked around for one last visit and hopefully the new location will be equally as cool. Plan to spend at least a couple hours when you go there. They have a little bit of everything. So much to see...









Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Adapted Lens Comparison

(July, 2019) - Because I only own one Sony lens, I am basically forced to adapt some Canon lenses for use on the Sony body. From everything I've read, the majority opinion is that there is performance degradation with auto-focus when using an adapter and non-native lenses. Because I shoot action sports as well, I was very concerned whether this camera would work for me. Thanks to Bryan Crowe for loaning me his Sigma MC-11 adapter to test with. I was immediately impressed with the responsiveness of the auto-focus system. Honestly, I could not tell that the lens (Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8) was not native. Although I didn't get to test any action, the auto-focus felt nice. Here are some test images with the Sigma MC-11.



Shot with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 


Shot with the Canon EF 80-200mm f/2.8 (Magic Drainpipe)

So a couple of days later, I found a used Metabones Fifth Generation Smart adapter. I was able to pick it up at a significant discount. My initial thought was how could it be that much better than the Sigma MC-11? Again, the Sigma is so good, but somehow the Metabones did feel better. So the next test was to photograph some moving objects. With the Canon EF 70-200mm at 200mm, I locked on to a car driving by. The auto-focus locked on in an instant, and stayed locked while the car moved behind another car. Check out the sequence below (note the driver in the third frame is in-focus through the window of the other car). Amazing!







So the true test was to mount some long glass. I headed down to the Vans US Open of Surfing and setup on the beach with my Canon EF 500mm f/4. I've mentioned to a few people that I am still getting used to the electronic viewfinder. It's different than an optical viewfinder because there is a slight lag and coupled with the blackout while shooting you lose track of your subject. I also wrestled with some of the focus settings because of the previous wave in the foreground. Anyway, at the end of the day I was unsure what my keeper rate would be? As it turns out, just about everything I shot was in perfect focus! Again, amazing! Below is a sample shot.



So here's my synopsis of using adapted lenses with Sony cameras. The performance that you experience is a product of your settings. I spent a lot of time combing through the pages and pages of camera settings. In addition, I tried many different combinations of these settings. Just when I thought I was good, the tracking box was jumping all over the place because it was moving between the previous wave in the foreground. Anyway, I made adjustments on the fly and nailed the focus. I highly recommend either the Sigma MC-11 or the Metabones v.5. They were so close that either would be fine.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Mirrorless...

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (July, 2019) - I've been patiently waiting and studying the full frame mirrorless offerings from both Canon and Nikon. In September, 2018 Nikon released the Z7. Initial reports indicated a small buffer and auto-focus issues on moving subjects. In October, 2018 Canon released the EOS R. Similarly, the initial reviews showed the camera has auto-focus issues on moving subjects and only a 30.3 MP sensor. Enter the Sony A7R III. This camera has a 42 MP sensor with fast auto-focus and Eye AF. With rumors of the A7R IV, the used market was flooded with good deals on the A7R III's. I was able to pick one up and so far have been very pleased with both image quality and performance. Below are some landscape images shot with the Sony. Will post some action shots soon.







Sunday, June 30, 2019

GR Challenge

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (June, 2019) - Blind Innocence played their last CA show before their tour at Gallager's in downtown HB. I decided to leave the other cameras at home and showed up with just the Ricoh GR in my pocket. For those who haven't been to this venue, it's pretty much a dungeon from a lighting perspective. The lights do cycle, so if you time them at certain areas on the stage you can get brief moments of light. Christian had the best and most consistent light on him. Mark was pretty much in darkness the whole time. I shot the Ricoh in manual mode at ISO 12,800. While the autofocus struggled (I don't use the autofocus assist beam), I was able to capture the images below.

















Friday, May 31, 2019

Grrr...

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (May, 2019) - Why in the world would a guy with a cabinet full of film, digital and video cameras buy another camera? This month I picked up a newly released Ricoh GR III. I don't necessarily have a good answer to the question, but wanted to explain my reasoning. These are small, pocketable "point-n-shoot" type cameras. While I have many cameras, I also have a very wide palette of things that I shoot. I shoot sports, landscapes, portraits, etc. and each requires specific gear. What I found is shooting has become a big production. Every time I go out, I have to plan what body, lenses, bag, flash, stands, tripod, etc. is appropriate. Because of this, I find that sometimes it's too much work and I'll just use my phone. What's that old saying, the best camera is the one that is with you? In addition, I recently started printing at home again and found that phone photos don't cut it. On the surface the Ricoh looks like a point-n-shoot, but it is actually much more. You can shoot full manual and sync it with external flash/strobes. It has an APS-C 24 MP sensor and captures in DNG RAW. The files are clean and very printable. Anyway, this is my story and I'm sticking to it. I am carrying it with me daily to replace using my phone for daily captures. Below are some samples from the GR III.







Thursday, May 30, 2019

Class of 2019

OMAHA, Nebraska (May, 2019) - Traveled to Omaha this month for my niece's graduation from Creighton University. She is the first of this generation to graduate college in our immediate family. A great accomplishment, and look forward to the rest of the family to follow. The weather was all over the place. When we landed, it was 94 degrees. The next morning it was 50 degrees and raining. The remaining days were split where we got some nice mornings and then rain. I got out with the camera on one of the nice mornings and captured the images below.