The latest Photoworld edition, No 1 2011, is now available to electronic edition subscribers (Normal or Premium) and is being printed to mail out before the end of January to all print edition subscribers.
The cover shot is by Shirley Kilpatrick, and is an uncropped capture very rapidly taken using the Alpha 550 with Sigma 18-250mm OS zoom at 250mm, a single frame as the hoopoe changed position and flew off immediately. With no time to make adjustments and the camera set to ISO 200 and aperture priority at f/8, the metering produced the dark result which would be expected from this situation and a shutter speed of 1/500th:
The Alpha 550 14 megapixel file is extremely low noise, so adjusting the image using Adobe Camera Raw produced hardly any loss of quality – including lens corrections for the Sigma automatically loaded, as all Sigma lenses are now included in Adobe’s database. For a rapid grabbed shot, the focus is spot-on and the Sigma lens at full focal length and only 2/3rds of a stop down from full aperture has performed extremely well. Shirley was testing the Alpha 550 for a week in November, after two years of using the Alpha 700. She found the smaller viewfinder acceptable and the general success rate and image quality to be an improvement; she has now traded the Alpha 550 up for the 580 which is even better.
Subscribers can download the full size 14 megapixel ACR converted file from our Extra Content area.