Stuff to soothe the curious soul


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 28: deceptively simple, exceptionally delicious

Stir-fried ground chicken on rice. 
(ground chicken, onions, bacon, shitake mushrooms, madeira wine, parmesan cheese, celery, green pepper, tarragon, secret mushroom sauce.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 26: the Sony a65: not bad for a first generation SLT

At the Guelph Arboretum, under tall maples, birches, poplars, and cherries are areas that are flooded in the winter and spring. I came across two U of G students, Joey and Ben enjoying a game of hockey on an unseasonably warm early February day.
The credit for the music should be:
JS Bach, 23 French Suite No. 6, BWV 817, E major_ Sarabande

The Sony a65 was an ambitious camera: an SLT APS-C camera crammed with 24 megapixels. Lowlight was a struggle at ISO1600 but in good light, it had a years-ahead-of-its-time EVF and Live View display that was brilliant and true to life, PLUS, continuous autofocus using phase detect. This was a camera that even now, Nikon and Canon are hard-pressed to match.
So here's a video from 2013 shot with the Sony a65 on full auto.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 25: a rediscovered respect for the Sony a99

Often times, the plethora of new and newer digital developments would led us to believe that yesterday's (last year's) technology was not very good. The Sony a99 was never known for having superior video capabilities. But if you work within its limitations, AND, with good content, the a99 can deliver.
Here's a video from when I was just exploring the a99 for video.

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 24: wedding cake

 January 24th.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 23: Single-Malt

January 23rd.

Depth of Field: explained

A colleague of mine recently asked how to obtain shallow depth of field (DOF) and so for her and others, here are the 4 factors that affect DOF, in order of greater impact to lesser impact on DOF.
1. Lens aperture, or lens f-stop #, e.g., f1.8, f2, f3.5, f4, f5.6, etc. 
A smaller f-stop # = wider opening = shallower DOF. A lens with a smaller f-stop # is said to be a faster lens (lets in more light) and is always more expensive than a similar focal length with larger f-stop #. It will also be bigger and heavier heavier since it will incorporate more glass elements and more exotic coatings, etc. All things being equal (same sensor size, same lens focal length, same camera-to-subject distance), a smaller f-stop # will produce a shallower DOF.
2. Camera sensor size. Cameras come in different sensor format (from largest to smallest) such as Full-Frame (Canon 5DIII, Nikon D800, Sony a99), APS-c or cropped sensor (Canon 7D, Nikon D300, Sony A77II), micro 4/3rds (Olympus EM-D, Panasonic GH4), 1" (Lumix L100, Sony RX10), 1/1.7" (Panasonic LX3), 1/2.3" (all point-and-shoots). All things being equal (same f-stop #, same lens focal length, same camera-subject distance), the bigger sensor will produce a shallower DOF than a smaller sensor. For example, a 50mm lens on Full Frame will have significantly shallower DOF than the same lens on a micro 4/3rds.
3. Lens focal length. All things being equal (same f-stop #, same camera, same camera-to-subject distance), a longer lens, e.g., 100mm will have a shallower DOF than a shorter lens, e.g., 50mm.
4. Camera-to-subject distance. All things being equal (same f-stop #, same camera, same lens focal length), the closer the camera is to the subject, the shallower the DOF.

If it sounds confusing, it shouldn't be. Thankfully, some advanced cameras have a stop-down button, that when pressed, "closes down" the lens to the desired taking aperture (or f-stop) so that one can have an approximate visual idea as to the DOF. (All cameras always have the aperture wide-open until the moment  the shutter is pressed, at which time the aperture "closes down" to the desired aperture.)
There are a lot of samples on the web to illustrate what I have just explained.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 22: Mutt & Jeff & the Lion-Hunter

ISO12800. January 22nd.

Sony Alpha Diaries Day 21: a guest post using the Sony NX30

Almost pitch-black (aside from the wall lights).
I had to use the fastest only camera/lens combination I had in the room: the tiny-perfect Sony NX30 wide-open @ 26f1.8, full gain (+2.0), 1080 24p. Post-processing in Premiere Pro CS6, using Magic Bullet. Audio was from the mounted shotgun mike and a Sennheiser lav mike taped to a stand facing one of the speakers.