Wednesday, August 31, 2011

{Photo Shoot} JR Fitness

exposure: 1/4000sec f/stop: 2.8 iso: 100

Hi everyone! I did a photo shoot with one of my good friends not too long ago for his business. He is a great personal trainer who strives to get you the best results. If you'd like to get in contact with him for a session, you can visit him at his facebook page, JR Fitness where he also posts very helpful training tips.

Although this was a short photo shoot, it was pretty fun and very well organized so everything went smoothly without any hassles. This is just one of the photos that we took on the day but the rest can be viewed here on our JMCK Photography page. 

Gear used:
- Sony a350 with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm 2.8 lens attached
- one flash (HVL-58AM)

Monday, August 29, 2011

{Self-Portrait Project} Picasso face

exposure: 1/5sec f/stop: 2.8 iso: 800

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to do another close up photo but to make it different I took a couple of photos and printed it out to hold against my face. It is slightly Picasso inspired but in a photographic way.

I took a couple of photos beforehand and used a polaroid printer to print out the photos that I was holding. The camera was prefocused and set on self timer with Marione directing me on where to hold the photos. This small shoot was pretty fun because of all the weird faces and expressions that we came up.

Gear used: 
- Sony a350 with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm 2.8 lens attached
- tripod

Thursday, August 25, 2011

{CameraGear} Sony announce the long awaited a77 and a bunch of new products and accessories

Sony NEX and Alpha range
Hi everyone!

What a day! Sony announced a plethora of cameras and accessories for the A-mount and E-mount systems. There were a total of four cameras announced today, the a77 and a65 for the A-mount and the NEX-5N (NEX-5 replacement) and the NEX-7. Let's not forget, the NEX-VG20 which is a camcorder style video camera was also announced too. Since Sony announced a lot of products today, this is going to be a long post but I'll begin with the a77.

Sony a77 with Carl Zeiss 85mm 1.4 lens attached

The a77 is Sony's much anticipated successor to the a700 that was discontinued a couple of years ago. It takes the crown as being the world's fastest camera with an APS-C sized sensor that shoots at 12 frames per second at full resolution, that is at 24.3 megapixels. The camera is mainly aimed at both professionals and enthusiasts as well as videographers. I won't repeat all the specs of this camera as I'm sure many readers have already done so from other sites but if you haven't click here for the specs with the press release. I'll instead write a little about using this camera from my short time with it.

- The camera is lighter than I originally expected and very well built.
- The magnesium alloy body and weather sealing make this camera great for shooting in a variety of environments.
- It is very quick and responsive
- The XGA OLED viewfinder is a major upgrade compared to the a55. The EVF provides a sharper and more accurate picture of the scene which is great because what you see in the viewfinder is essentially exactly what you are going to get. The camera settings are perfectly laid out in my opinion and though the viewfinder doesn't perform as well as the a900 and a850's OVF it is still the best EVF on the market.

- Lastly, the articulated screen allows for a more easier way of composing your shot. The screen can be tilted up and down for self portraits and can twist and turn all in line with the lens axis. I personally like how Sony implemented the three way articulating screen, because the LCD turning out from the side throws the camera a bit off balance and I much prefer the LCD turned in line with the lens axis.

Sony a77 with new kit lens 16-50mm 2.8 SSM 

A new kit lens was also announced with the a77, that is the 16-50mm 2.8 SuperSonicMotor (SSM) lens. This lens is the first lens to be advertised as weather sealed and with SSM and a constant 2.8 aperture, this is quite amazing for a kit lens. 

The following is a video ad for the Sony a77. Enjoy!

Sony a65 with 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens

The Sony a65 announced along with the a77 is a camera aimed towards enthusiast and family class photographers who want high level performance in a light and compact body. This camera sits between the a77 and the a55 in Sony's line of Alpha cameras. I didn't play around with this camera as I was mainly using up my time with the a77 but with the short time I got to play around with it I can say that the build quality is better than the a55 and it feels a lot nicer in the hand. The specs and press release of this camera can be viewed here.

 Sony a65 with kit lens 18-55mm 3.5-5.6

The following is a video ad for the Sony a65. Enjoy!

NEX-7 with 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens 

Now we move on to a new class of NEX cameras, the NEX-7. This camera is aimed towards enthusiast photographers that don't want the bulk of carrying around a DSLR/DSLT sized camera. Its headline features include a 24.3 megapixel sensor, world's fastest shutter release time, built in XGA OLED viewfinder (same as the a77) and a customisable and intuitive interface. It has a built in flash and a hot shoe for Alpha flashes which is great news. Now I didn't get to play with this camera as it was in a glass case and I was told it was the only one in Australia so I can't really comment on how it handles but i must say it looks like a great camera and with the Carl Zeiss 24mm 1.8 lens it will surely be a great combo. Press release and specs of the camera can be viewed here.

Sony NEX-7 with 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens attached and Carl Zeiss 24mm 1.8
Sorry for the reflection in the photo

The following is a video of the Sony NEX-7. Enjoy!

NEX-5N black and silver with 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 and 16mm 2.8 lenses

The NEX-5N are minor updates to their predecessors, the NEX-5. These new updated cameras now feature a touch screen, a newly improved sensor, ultra fast focusing and more. I actually forgot to take photos of this model at the presentation but I'll do that next week. For more information of these cameras click here.
The following is a video ad for the NEX-5N. Enjoy!

NEX-VG20 with 18-200mm 3.5-5.6

Last but not least we have the Sony NEX-VG20 camcorder. Seeing as this was not as the Sony presentation I can't really say much about it but the headline features include a 16.1 megapixel sensor, AVCHD full HD video with 50p and 24p, improved ergonomics and handling as well as a touch screen which are all welcome additions over its predecessor, the NEX-VG10. For more information about this camera, click here.

The following is a foreign ad for the NEX-VG20. Enjoy!

Sony also released new lenses and accessories for both the NEX and A-mount cameras. These include:

- The new 16-50mm f2.8 SSM kit lens for A-mount
- Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm f1.8 lens for NEX E-mount
- 50mm f1.8 OSS lens for NEX E-mount
- Telephoto 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 lens for NEX E-mount
-  Adapter which allows A-mount lenses to be mounted on NEX cameras with phase detection auto-focus (LA-EA2)
-  Electronic viewfinder that can only be mounted on the NEX-5N (FDA-EV1S)
- NEX body case (LCS-EB50)
- Lens jacket (LCS-EL50)
- Should strap (STP-XS3) 
- Soft carrying case (LCS-EMF)

LA-EA2 lens adapter

 Sony a77 with flash accessories and lenses

 16mm 2.8 fish-eye lens

 300mm 2.8 telephoto lens

Sony a55 and a35

 Sony a77 taken apart

Now I will finish this post with a summary video of the latest interchangeable lens cameras. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

{Self-Portrait Project} Phone call

exposure: 1/10sec f/stop: 2.8 iso: 800

Hi everyone! Today I did a quick shoot of myself at the Rocks in one of the phone booths. I was trying to make myself look like I was in a movie or something so I actually dressed up for it. I suck at making names for my photos so I titled this shot, phone call. 

This shot was taken from outside the phone booth with my camera mounted on a monopod (can't find the base plate for my tripod at the moment). The camera was triggered via remote cable by my other hand which you can't see. I had to manually focus this and though its not completely sharp, I like how it has a slight out of focus look. No flashes were used and it was ambient light.

Gear used:
- Sony a350 with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm 2.8 lens attached
- monopod
- remote cable

{CameraGear} Product shots of the Sony a77

Hi everyone!

Sony Alpha Rumors has got product shots of the upcoming Sony a77 and its design looks impressive. After all the previous leaks of specs, pictures and even a video, a lot of hype has built up over this camera and the overall impression of this camera is very positive. Many people like myself are anxiously waiting for the official announcement of the a77 which is only 2 more days away at the time of this post and I'm sure many people can forgive Sony for taking so long for the a700 replacement to arrive.

Sony a77 with 16-50mm 2.8 lens

Sony a77 body only

Sony a77 with articulating screen

Sony a77 back with vertical grip and flash

Sony a77 back

Friday, August 19, 2011

{CameraGear} Sony announce DEV-3 and DEV-5 Binoculars

 Sony DEV-5 Binoculars

Hi everyone!

In the lead up to Sony's major camera announcement on August 24th, the electronics manufacturer has announced a new category in the line of high end binoculars. Sony introduced two products in this category that have HD video recording, zoom, autofocus and steadyshot image stabilization which is a world's first. The binoculars can record video in AVCHD at 1080p in 2D and 3D as well as shooting still images at 7.1 megapixels and are also equipped with dual lenses which feature Sony's high end G series glass.

The DEV-5 is the more expensive of the duo with extra features such as 10x digital zoom, GPS, extra accessories (carrying case, large eye cup, lens cover, finder strap). The following chart is from Sony's press release detailing the differences between the DEV-5 and DEV-3.

Model nameDEV-5DEV-3
Video recording format2D HD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD format Ver.2.0 compatible
3D HD: MPEG-4 MVC/H.264 AVCHD format Ver.2.0 compatible
Video resolution2D HD: 1920x1080/60p, 50p (PS), 1920x1080/60i, 50i (FX,FH),
1440x1080/60i, 50i (HQ,LP)
3D HD: 2x 1920x1080/60i, 50i
Still Image Max. Effective7.1 megapixels
Still Image Size (Photo Mode)7.1 megapixels (4:3) (3072x2304)
5.3 megapixels (16:9) (3072x1728)
1.9 megapixels (4:3) (1600x1200)
307K pixels (4:3) (640x480)
LensDual G Lens F1.8 - F3.4
Image sensor2x 1/4 type (4.5mm) back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor
Image stabilisation Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilisation with Active mode
[wide(3D)/ wide to tele (2D)]
ViewfinderDiopter Adjustment: Yes (-3.5 - +3.5)
Apparent field of view: 35.6°(16:9)
Interpupillary distance: 55– 75mm
Magnification (Movie Mode) x0.9 - x10(2D:Digital zoom is OFF) / x0.9 - x20(2D:Digital zoom is ON) / x0.5 - x5.4(3D)x0.9 - x10(2D) / x0.5 - x5.4(3D)
Magnification (Photo Mode) *x0.5 - x20 (16:9) / x0.3 - x15 (4:3)x0.5 - x10 (16:9) / x0.3 - x7.5 (4:3)
Minimum Focus DistanceMovie Mode:
2D: Approx. 1cm (Wide) / Approx. 80cm (Tele)
3D: Approx. 80cm (Wide) / Approx. 7.5m (Tele)
Photo Mode:
Approx. 1cm (Wide) / Approx. 80cm (Tele) / Approx. 25cm (Tele
Audio recording formatDolby® Digital 2ch Stereo
Recording and Playback Times (32GB Memory Card) 2D HD PS: Approx. 2h30m
2D HD FX: Approx. 3h00m
2D HD FH: Approx. 4h05m
2D HD HQ: Approx. 7h20m
2D HD LP: Approx. 12h50m
3D: Approx. 2h30m
GPS Yes (without map display)-
Interfaces(HD video) HDMI® output (mini) /Component Video Out
(SD video) A/R remote (Composite / Component / S video out
USB Type A, mini-AB/USB2.0 Hi-speed
Headphone (stereo minijack) / microphone (stereo minijack)
(Power supply) DC-IN
Compatible recording media Memory Stick PRO Duo ™ (Mark 2) / Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™
(no internal memory)
Weight (approx.)Approx. 1.2 kg (body only)
Dimensions (approx.)Approx. 219(W) x 155(H) x 88 mm(D) (Body only including protrusion)
Battery typeInfoLITHIUM® with AccuPower™ Meter System (V Series)
Power Consumption in recording2D HD: 4.2W (FX)
3D HD: 4.8W
Power Requirements6.8V (battery pack); 8.4V (AC Adaptor)
Recording time2D:
Approx. 3h05m NP-FV70:(fully charged battery)
Approx. 6h10m NP-FV100:(fully charged battery)
Approx. 2h40m NP-FV70:(fully charged battery)
Approx. 5h20m NP-FV100:(fully charged battery)
Playback time2D:
Approx. 4h50m NP-FV70:(fully charged battery)
Approx. 9h40m NP-FV100:(fully charged battery)
Approx. 4h20m NP-FV70:(fully charged battery)
Approx. 8h35m NP-FV100:(fully charged battery)
Supplied accessoriesRechargeable Battery, Pack (NP-FV70), AC adaptor/Charger AC-L200C(D), Power Cord, Large Eyecup, Lens Cover, Finder Cap, Neck Strap, Carrying Case, A/V Connecting Cable, USB Cable, CD-ROM (Video Camera Application Software), Operating GuideRechargeable Battery Pack (NP-FV70), AC adaptor/Charger AC-L200C (D), Power Cord, Neck Strap, A/V Connecting Cable, USB Cable,
CD-ROM (Video Camera Application Software), Operating Guide

In my opinion, if you can live without the extra accessories, GPS and digital zoom, then the DEV-3 is the way to go in terms of pricing. The DEV-3 is set to be priced at $1,399US which is $600 less than the DEV-5 at $1,999US.

Sony designed these binoculars with bird, wildlife and sporting watchers in mind. There probably won't be too much of a market for this product compared to their other products like the Alpha cameras but even though I don't need this, I sort of feel like I want one for the sake of it. It looks pretty awesome and kudos to Sony on the design and features of these new products.

Click here for more information about these products.

DEV-5 top rear

DEV-5 front

DEV-5 rear

DEV-5 with slots open

DEV-5 in action

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{Snapshots} City 2 Surf

Hi everyone!

I took part in an annual race called the City 2 Surf. It is the largest fun run in the world and has a record of over 85,000 participants this year. It was a cold and cloudy day with some rain but luckily it had stopped before the run commenced. This year I decided to not run for a personal best time but run with my camera again to take some snapshots of the event. It was a bit of a hassle but I love taking photos at these events so I had to take it with me. I made the camera as light as possible so I took the vertical grip off and shot with my nifty 50mm lens.  Enough of me talking, here are a few of the shots from the race. Enjoy!

Panadol  rapid group waiting for the race to start at Hyde Park

 The first km of the race

 Heartbreak hill

 Volunteers at one of the drink stations

 Shaggy and Scooby Doo (lol at Scooby)

 Checkered runner

 Waiting to tackle someone

 The end of the 14km fun run at Bondi Beach

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{Snapshots} Sydney Winter Festival

Hi everyone!

The Sydney Winter Festival was held in front of St Mary's Cathedral and next to Hyde Park during July and August. It was a fun event offering international food stalls, unlimited free chai lattes, daily entertainment and most importantly an ice skating rink. Here are a few snapshots that I took.

Ice Skating in front of St Mary's Cathedral

 The Alphorn

 Ice skating performances during the festival

Winter Festival accordionist, Phillipe Wittwerh performing at the tents

Unlimited free chai lattes thanks to Lipton

Skaters at the winter festival enjoying the snow

Monday, August 15, 2011

{Self-Portrait Project} My Daily Routine

exposure: 1/160sec f/stop: 5 iso: 100

 Hi everyone! This is a quick photo of me on my desk since I've been out all day and haven't had much time to do my original plan for today's self portrait. Its just me on my laptop looking up on any updates of the soon to be released a77 from Sony which should be a killer camera, more camera gear and various other photo topics on the web (its a daily routine and I love it). I love photography and camera gear so much that I had to get a camera sticker on my laptop too!

The photo was taken in the studio with a flash behind the laptop to add extra light, since the light from the laptop wasn't enough to illuminate my face. I could have used a longer shutter speed or increased the ISO but I wanted the photo to be blur and noise free. Camera was triggered via remote cable and for some reason I forgot that my little toy (Domo-Kun) was left on the table. 

Gear used:
- Sony a350 with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 lens attached
- one flash (HVL-F43AM)
- monopod
- remote cable

Monday, August 8, 2011

{Self-Portrait Project} Meal Interrupted

exposure: 1/50sec f/stop: 2.8 iso: 1600

Hi everyone! After a failed self portrait session at the bay run, Marione and I decided to go to Broadway to try one of my other ideas that I had in mind for this week's photo. That photo didn't turn out as well as I planned it so we decided to give that another go some other week. We thought of a completely new idea whilst we were eating. Not many people like to be photographed while they're eating their food and that also applies to me. This is the facial expression that you would see if you took a photo of me while I'm eating.

The photo was taken outside the store with Marione guarding the tripod and camera. The camera was triggered by a wireless remote with a two second timer and when it was triggered, I quickly put the remote down and grabbed the food and got prepared for the shot.

Gear used:
- Sony a350 with Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 lens attached
- tripod
- remote trigger

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

{Snapshots} The Rocks Aroma Festival

Hi everyone!

The Rocks Aroma Festival was held on the 31st of July from 10am to 5pm. It was an event for people to experience food and drinks, watch live entertainment and of course to try coffee from countries around the world. The festival was great with live entertainment in different locations and the vast variety of food stalls wherever you went but enough of me talking about the festival. Here are some snapshots that I took. I'll also be uploading more photos from the festival on my Facebook page soon so be sure to check them out. Enjoy!

Gloria Jeans Baristas serving coffee

Grupo Capoeira dancers 

 One of the stalls with attractive displays

 Quick shot of the crowd outside the Orient Hotel

 Macarons by Baroque Bistro Patisserie

 One of the baskers performing during the festival

 Ruchi Sanghi Dance Company Performers

I forgot what this guy was called but he had a massive gourd of cherry drink that he poured out into cups from his armpit =P