January 24, 2010

Shutters Inc – episode 145

This week, Bruce is excited about having potentially sold his first large format canvas print,
which led to a bit of a discussion about marketing ideas for limited edition fine art works,
tales of woe over how our listeners killed the server after the Joe McNally epiosde was released,
Joe’s video confession,
Bruce’s lens dilemma,
and getting together for a photowalk with your local fellow photographers.


January 10, 2010

Shutters Inc – episode 144

Filed under: !Podcasts,alpha 850,CPW,Joe McNally,Shutters Inc,Travel — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

Happy new year!
In the first ep for 2010, we talk about our cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu,
the new Creative Photo Workshops website,
My new Sony alpha 850,
the Sydney photographers are getting together monthly,
the 5MP/SI party in Melbourne,
and finally, our special guest interview.


November 1, 2009

Shutters Inc – episode 140

Filed under: !Podcasts,7D,alpha 850,Dave Honl,Konica Minolta,Shutters Inc,Sony — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

This week, a verbal version of this blog post from earlier in the week regarding the Konica Minolta and Sony alpha850.

Then, a couple of very special guests:

Dave Honl, strobist extrordinaire and creator of the Honl light modifiers, and his actress wife, Claudia Christian.

There is going to be a giveaway alongside this episode.

Dave has generously given us a copy of his 2 DVD set “Light” to giveaway, along with a “starter pack” of HonlPhoto accessories!

Watch this space!

m4s0n501

October 28, 2009

The more things change…

Filed under: 7D,alpha 850,Konica Minolta,Shutters Inc,Sony — Bruce Williams @ 9:26

As listeners to Shutters Inc would be aware, I have been salivating of late over Sony’s alpha 850.
My reasons for considering the upgrade are these:
At the 2 workshops I’ve attended (the weekend in Echuca, and the wedding workshop in Melbourne), I have stood shoulder to shoulder with photographers who own cameras less than 12 months old. We have taken the same shots, using almost identical exposure settings, and when you compare the image on the back of my 7D with the images displayed on the backs of some of these newer cameras, the difference has been like chalk and cheese.
So, I had convinced myself that my 7D was getting a bit long in the tooth, that the white balance was not as accurate, that the dynamic range was not as wide, and so on and so on.
Last Saturday, I decided to go to my local camera store and have a ‘hands on’ with the alpha 850 and compare it, specifically, against my 7D.
I explained to the sales girl that I was not planning on buying the camera today, but that I am in the research stage, and wanted to compare. She was ok with me putting one of my CF cards into the alpha so I could take some test shots.
So I grabbed my 135mm f2.8 lens and slapped it on the alpha.
I set a manual white balance (in degrees Kelvin), set the ISO to 400, and set manual exposure at 1/100sec at f2.8.
I took a shot.
I then took that lens and put it on my 7D.
Dialled in all the same settings.
Took the same shot.
Then, I looked at the 2 images on the LCD screens on the backs of the 2 cameras.
The difference was mind-blowing.
The image on the alpha absolutely blew me out of the water, while the image on the back of the 7D just seemed to lack… everything.
So, at that point, I was feeling justified in my desire to upgrade to a newer body.
But, I was going to reserve judgement until I got the 2 images home and into Lightroom.
And that my friends, is where the real story begins.
Upon getting the 2 images into Lightroom and comparing them side by side, I COULD NOT TELL THEM APART.
I kid you not.
They were almost identical.
I did say ‘almost’, right?
Remember that the 7D uses an APS-C size sensor, while the alpha 850 is a 35mm sensor, so the image captured by the 7D was cropped in comparison to the “wider” view of the alpha.
Hence why I’ve cropped the alpha version of the image to be similar in its scope to the 7D image.
With the exception of the cropping of the alpha-generated image, these are both straight out of camera.
Actually, there’s one thing I did do in Lightroom which I did equally to both images.
And that was to set the ‘contrast’ and ‘brightness’ values to zero. I don’t know if it’s a Lightroom thing, or something that the Konica Minolta and Sony bodies do automatically, but I notice that whenever I bring images in to Lightroom, they ALWAYS have a contrast value of 50 and a brightness value of 25.
Not sure why.
So on both of these images, I returned those values to zero, which has made them look REALLY flat, but at least they are equal!
Anyway, below are the 2 images, labelled ‘sample1′ and ‘sample2′.
I’ve done that deliberately so you can’t tell from the filename which image is which.
However, both images have EXIF metadata attached, so you can look to see which image is from which body.
But my point is, WITHOUT cheating, can you tell me which image came from which camera?
To me, this has been both a shock, but also a huge revelation.
What I have learned from this is that what has changed over the last 5 years is not so much the image PROCESSOR technology, but LCD screen technology!
Shelton looked at these before he left for India, and he did make the comment that this was probably not the “be all and end all” test. It’s not exactly challenging lighting, it’s not a high-contrast environment, etc etc, and I totally agree with him on that. Perhaps I need to do some more test shots comparing both bodies under more challenging lighting conditions.
But this simple comparison has been an extremely eye-opening experience for me.
Suffice is to say that had I not done this test, I would have happily gone and dropped A$3k on the alpha 850, believing that it was going to provide a huge increase in quality, and would have then become quite melancholy to discover that that was not the case.
Does this mean I won’t buy the alpha 850?
Probably not.
I’ll more than likely still go that route.
But at least I now have a better idea of what to expect from it when I do.

sample-1.jpg
sample-2.jpg

September 21, 2008

Shutters Inc – episode 114

Surprise!!
We’re back!
After some catching-up chit-chat, Shelton goes on to talk about
the new Sony a900,
Canon EOS 5D Mark II,
the Nikon D700 (which he’s about to get, naturally!),
and some more about off-camera flash.
Remember to learn those formulae, folks!

Guide number divided by f-stop equals distance, and
Guide number divided by distance equals f-stop.

And apologies up front for the “squawks” in Shelton’s audio… had some bandwidth issues while we were recording.


August 3, 2008

Sine Language – episode 094

This week, an e-mail from Steve Mayfield regarding the Tascam US122L usb interface.
Quite a decent looking portable audio interface which might suit those wishing to record direct to a laptop.

* 2 XLR mic inputs with phantom power
* 2 analog line inputs (1 switchable to high impedance for use with guitars, basses, etc.)
* 1 MIDI input, 1 MIDI output
* USB 2.0 equipped (also supports USB 1.1)
* Up to 96kHz/24-bit for high quality recordings
* Zero-latency hardware monitoring
* Headphone/level control
* Bus powered for use with any PC or Mac, including laptops

Also, what’s happening with that hand-held field recorder shootout?

E. Bernhard Warg sent in another demonstation of the Coles 4104 Lip mic in action.

Plus, my dramas trying to get get a PS3, an Onkyo home theatre amp and a Sony Bravia talking and playing nicely together.
And for those interested in home theatre stuff, some reading material for ya!

HDMI and Blu-Ray

Progressive scan

Interlaced scanning

Sony Bravia XBR 40″ LCD