Category Archives: Photographic ranting

Aqua drop

columnOk so a few months ago I thought I would play around with trying to photograph some drops of water,  just as a bit of an experiment to see if I could do it.

so I filled the sink with water, set the camera on a tripod nearby, with a speedlight attached, set the tap dripping, plugged in my remote, and fired away.

I set the aperture fairly small f 18 so I could get a good depth of field, zoomed in, and set the focus manually by holding a pencil in the water at the point where the drips were landing and focusing on that.

CraterThe first few shots were taken at a round 1/100 sec  with the room light on, and then I changed to taking some at over a second in a darkened room, and thus using the speed light to freeze the motion.

The difficult part is estimating when the drop is going to hit.  Anyway I was sufficiently pleased that I edited some of the shots for you, and will give it a go in the future when I have time to set up with maybe coloured water, a tray and a drip bag.

Drops

Advertisements

101 ways of not being able to post.

Well its been a long time since my last blog post, and before that they had also been getting quite sporadic.  The main reason was that I was awaiting a new computer and thus had been limiting my photo editing until the new one arrived.  Well the new one arrived, I dived into some editing, but then it promptly developed a fault two weeks later, having to be sent back to be fixed.  The good news is that it will be back with me early next week, just in time for some holidays and therefore no time to edit, but plenty of time to add more photos to the backlog!

I’m nearly a year behind with my editing eek!  But fun times to be had ahead, and I have been doing a lot of reading both about post processing and photographic technique, so expect a few blogs about that, and hopefully some new gear on the horizon.

Well given this is a photographic blog I better add a photo from the last series of edits, so here is a photo from last years trip to Cornwall in October.

101

Husk

Ok so I thought I would go out into the back garden and play around with the extension tubes for a bit. So I happily snapped away for a bit and then retreated within the house to have a look at the results.

Well once imported into lightroom it was apparent that they were quite blurry or rather soft.  Why? Well in some cases the speed just was not fast enough, and in others the aperture was to wide.  With the extension tubes on (only the 16mm in this case), the depth of field is very narrow so a small aperture is needed, and given that shallow depth of field every tiny hand movement can throw the focus off, therefore a fairly high speed is needed.

Therefore I headed back outside to take the same shots but with the camera set to manual with an f stop between 16-20, and speeds between 1/125 and 1/250,  letting an automatic ISO of between 400-3200 compensate for the small aperture high speed combination.

The results – success – below is a shot of the empty seed head of some grass.

DSC01221_HDR

Pentacon auto 2.8/29

Well I was browsing amazon during my afternoon break the other day and I saw a Pentacon 2.8 29mm M42 mount lens for sale.  Well it was a ridiculously low price so I thought I may as well have it.  I had front and rear caps and a hoya skylight, well you really could not go wrong for the price.  At 29mm its very nearly a 45mm on a APS-C sensor, so its very close to the field of vision of the human eye.

DSC01141

So how does it perform?  Well not bad, I’m not blown away, but I didn’t expect to be for the price, and I have only walked around the back garden with it as yet.  I am looking forward to taking some shots of architecture with it though.  So here are some shots with it attached to the front of the a6000.  The first is straight on the camera. I am not sure I like the bokeh that is being produced, I guess I will have to wait until I use the lens with some stronger light sources behind.

DSC01131-Edit

 

The second is with both 16mm and 10mm extension tubes as well.  I quite like the way the lens has rendered the background in this picture.

DSC01137-EditeditAnd finally with only the 10mm extension tube.  Its not regarded as being the sharpest of lenses, but its sharp enough for playing around with given I am only using the center of the lens on an APS-C.

DSC01139-Edit

 

Macros here I come

Well last week I thought I would buy myself some cheap macro extension tubes from amazon, to get myself that little bit closer.

DSC01125

I have some macro filters, but have used them rarely and with little success.  The new extension tubes have pass through contacts, so they record all info to exif, I get to set fstop, and I get autofocus if required.  They are plastic, but I don’t aim to treat them that badly, and to buy tubes with metal mounts would have nearly doubled the price.DSC01126

So how do they perform.  The shots below were taken at 26mm, that being the lowest zoom where I could use both tubes, and the shots were performed handheld.  The macro shots are not that steady and I will need to use a tripod or be in bright light.  I lost between 2-3 stops of light, however this increases with the need to stop the aperture down to gain more depth of field, as this is very narrow with the lens so close to the subject and the aperture open.

So here are two shots without and with the tubes.

Plant:

DSC01127Dead Butterfly:

DSC01128

 

So now I have just got to find some time to get out and take some pictures.

Sensor size

One of the main reasons I bought a new camera was to move to a larger sensor size.  The ability to gain better depth of field, less noise at higher ISOs and sharper less noisy prints at larger sizes were all contributing factors.

So how does a larger intermediate DSLR sensor compare to a sensor found in  a point and shoot, or bridge camera.  I will take my new a6000 and compare it with my old HS20exr.

The Sony Alpha 6000 has a 24 megapixel, 23.5×15.6mm Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor.  A diagonal of 28.21mm, a surface area of 366.60mm², and a pixel density of 6.65MP/cm².

The Fuji HS20exr has a 16 megapixel 6.4×4.8mm EXR CMOS sensor.  A diagonal of 8mm, a surface area of 30.7mm², and a pixel density of 51.93MP/cm².

So what do the actual sizes look like?

Print

Looking at the specifications its easy to see that the a6000 is going to be getting a whole lot more light per pixel, the pixel size is greater and they are less densely packed.  That is going to mean a better image with less noise, and the ability to crop down much more without loosing definition, so I should not miss the ‘superzoom’ that much.

Lets have some crop comparisons at different ISOs.  In all cases the shot was at roughly 50mm full frame equivalent, and at f5.6.  The a6000 shots are on the left and the HS20 on the right, jpegs straight from the cameras.

ISO100100

ISO400400

ISO32003200

It is easy to see just how much better the a6000 is as you loose light, the HS20 gets very grainy.  So am I pleased – oh yes.

Why I chose the a6000

So why the a6000?  Well I had been wanting to make the move from my Fuji HS20exr for some time, wanting to move up to a larger sensor size.  I had been looking at all the usual suspects in the DSLR world the Canon 70d and Nikon D71000 being top of the list, but suddenly found myself wondering if I could find an APS-C size sensor in a smaller body.

Well there are lots of four thirds systems out there at the moment but as far as I could see that was a compromise on sensor size,  I mean I would really like a full size sensor but the purse just wont stretch that far and  I wanted decent control over my Depth of Field. So eventually the choice came down to the Sony a6000 or the Fuji X-T1, in the end I just could not warrant the extra cost of the Fuji, as the Sony is such an exceptional deal when you compare its price to its features.

Main reasons explained:

  • 24mp Leading class APS-C size sensor – The sensor size I wanted, and the ability to crop down in (Digital zoom) or out of camera and still get a decent image.
  • Rangefinder size body -I found the HS20exr slightly to bulky, and it is smaller than most DSLRs, after a long day with it around my neck it became a pain, getting a DSLR would not have solved this.  I also wanted something less conspicuous, something small with. . .
  • Fast autofocus – The focus on this is great and couple that with a blisteringly fast 11fps, well so what if a few are out of focus, even if it droped to 50% in focus (which it does not) that would still be 5.5fps in focus, thats better than some DSLRs!
  • Rear tilt screen – after having the tilt screen on the HS20exr, I just could not live without this.  Shots taken low to the ground without having to lie down, tick.  And also for what Karen calls my “Stalker shots”, that is sitting down with the camera on my knee with the screen tilted, and taking shots as life goes by. Oh and of course . . .
  • Wi-fi -I wanted the ability to control the camera to some degree via my ipad, and to have an immediate method of sending the photos from the camera to the ipad, which the a6000 does, it can also send directly to facebook should I wish it to.
  • Electronic View Finder – Well I rather like the idea of  wysiwyg, live view, the ability to see what you are going to get.  Yes I know you get this on the rear screen of DSLRs these days, but I like using a viewfinder, the HS20exr was a let down in this area, it was like looking at a very small picture at the end of a tunnel.  In good light the a6000’s viewfinder is exceptional, far better than some of the DSLRs viewfinders, only in very poor light does it begin to fall behind a through the lens model,  with noise appearing in the viewfinder, but still very usable.
  • Manual lenses – With the sensor so close to the front of the camera body it is possible to get an adapter to mount nearly any lens to this camera, and if you want to fork out on a metabones adapter you even get electronic data throughput from AF lenses.  I have a couple of old M49 mount prime lenses, and am so looking forward to trying them out.  To those that scoff and say but you will have to focus manually, and maybe even meter manually, I say well I always did with my old film cameras – and this camera has the ability to use focus peaking on the manual lenses, and focus zoom, so I should stay sharp.
  • Does everything most other cameras do – to be honest there are some compromises with all cameras, no one camera has all the functions at a given price point that we want.
  • A hundred and one other plus points – whats not to like?

Whats missing from this Camera?

  • Battery life – The battery life is poor around 350 shots, you can almost see the battery draining when using continuous focus and the powerzoom lens.  Well that is why I bought a second battery, might have to buy another though.
  • GPS – No inbuilt gps, a good thing given the battery life.  Its no problem given I usually cart the ipad around.
  • Creator/Copyright name on Exif – You cannot enter it in camera, oh well Ill just leave it as a default to edit it it when I upload to Lightroom.

Probably other niggles, but nothing that has made itself apparent yet.  Watch this space for the good and the bad.