Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sony Diaries #1053: Comet Neowise: A tail of 3 days

Thursday, July 23, 2020.
Made a last-minute decision to go out into the night to capture this comet. I only had the Sony RX10 with its 1" sensor.
Resolved to go out the next night, Friday, with the full frame sensor of the Sony A7III.

Friday, July 24, 2020
A disappointing night with clouds moving all over the sky. Just managed to get this moon shot.

Saturday, July 25, 2020
The day started out cloudy but cleared up by nightfall. This night would be the last night the comet is visible: since mid-July, it had been moving away from Earth, never to be seen again for the next 6000 years.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Sony Diaries #1052: "I recommend Sony..."

Yesterday, I received this in my Inbox.
I'm reaching out in the hope that you could give me a few suggestions in regards to buying a camera. Ages ago, I knew how to develop films, (dark room, chemicals and the whole shebang) but that is the extent of my photography knowledge, meaning I know pretty much nothing about digital cameras. 

I would be using this camera mainly to take pictures of costume/clothes related things for work, so mostly indoor, up close/focus on details, emphasis on colour accuracy (is that a thing?) and the "subjects" would pretty much always be perfectly still! If it films, awesome, but it's not the priority for me, and pictures would probably only be seen on screens, not printed. (Michael said he would build me a whole website/costume portfolio!!) 

I'd be most happy with something around 500$, but if it truly makes a difference in quality/long lasting-ness, I could go up to 1000$. And I don't know if I'm really up for the hassle of buying secondhand, but I'm not against the idea. 

So if you have any advice or suggestions, it would be most welcomed! 

Here is my response:
First of all, I would go mirrorless. I switched to mirrorless years ago and I have never regretted it. At work, we have older DSLRs and I am always reminded of the advantages of mirrorless systems. Even in high speed sports where the DSLR was king, pros are switching to mirrorless.
Here is a good summation of the pros and cons of mirrorless. Mind you, this video is about higher-end mirrorless but the content also applies to the lower-end (budget-conscious) buyer.

For your purpose of taking product shots where colour is critical, mirrorless has the WYSIWYG concept (What You See Is What You Get). As long as the White Balance is set correctly, you should be getting the colours precisely.
I am partial to the Sony system, and I am most familiar with Sony. All your photo needs will be met by either the Sony 5100 :

or the Sony 6000:

Both have the tilt-screen, best for us short people wanting to shoot above people's heads, or to shoot low without having to lie down on the floor.
One fact to remember is that next to the person behind the camera, the lens is the most important gear you will have. The photographer is only as good as the lens. The kit lens that comes with these cameras are not fancy lenses, not the best for low-light. The cheapest low-light lenses start at $1000CDN. Still, taking low-light pictures with kit lenses (lenses that come with the camera) is of course possible with the right technique. you can plan for in the future is to get a prime lens, such as either a 16mm or 30mm F1.4 lens. From my experience, it is possible that you'll end up getting the vast majority of your photos with just 1 lens.
Here are two lenses that I would plan for if I were in your shoes:

The interesting thing about excellent lenses is that not only will you be very happy with the images, you can sell these lenses after a few years of use for a price close to or over what you paid for them (depending on the yen exchange rate). Good lenses hold their value.
One of the reasons I got into Sony from the beginning is that I could use Minolta lenses. A bit of history here. When Sony, a huge video-centric company, wanted to get into the Stills business, they needed a platform to start with. They bought Minolta, one of the premier Japanese camera makers with a reputation for really, really good lenses.Here are my posts from 2012 and 2018. when you are ready, you can go into the used market and shop around for a Minolta lens. You'll need an adaptor but this adaptor will be your gateway to the Minolta world. For example, here are ads I found this morning on kijiji in the Montreal area.
Other manufacturers of mirrorless systems with low-cost offerings are Fuji, Olympus, and Panasonic. Canon is a little late into the market but I hear their EOS M Series is good. I'm sure any camera/lens combo will work for you. After all, it's still the brain behind the camera that matters. Personally,  if I had to do it all over again, I'd still go with Sony.