What's NEX(T)

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samael9
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What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:13 am

Greetings Everyone!

I'm glad to have found this forum and the Photoclubalpha site. I'm a pro shooter from years ago, seasoned on a Canon 1D MK II (Yeah, it's been a while) with L-series glass; 24-70mm f2.8 L USM, 85mm f1.2 L USM and 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM and a ton of other stuff. Got out of the business, got rid off all of it, along with all my video gear, Kino Flo lighting, G5 towers, yada, yada...

Several compact zooms later, bit the bullet and bought an NEX 5 and all the available Sony glass, external mics, etc. It's a fine shooter and I've had a lot of fun with it and still do, but it's time to get back in the game again. I'm living in Costa Rica, moving to Hawaii for 6 months and will begin accumulating new (sort-of) gear again to return to Costa Rica with. The idea (well), we'll come back to the idea...

Mainly, I have to admit that I am a late comer to the Alpha series, but I have a keen interest in getting an A900 and an A77. I plan to use the A900 as a portrait body and the A77 for motion (fast stills and video). I've always wanted an FX body and the A900 can be had for around $2100 USD new. Given the cost of a new 5D3, I figure I can have two bodies for the price of one (good thing being far from a service center) and have two 24Mp rigs.

In reading some of the reviews on CZ glass, it looks like I won't be missing the red stripes of the L's at all. The big deal for me is this... I'm used to the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM. But it looks like the Sony version isn't quite as sharp. Sigma makes an a-mount that reviews better in the same 70-200mm zoom. But when I was using the Canon, I always wished I had a bit more zoom. So, the question is, should I just go for the SAL70400G? The 70-200 was not my most used lens back in the studio days, but down here in CR, the wildlife is pretty spectacular...

I am taken by the minimalist (stills only) approach Sony had when they developed the A900. Looking at the MF format bodies (can't afford 'em, don't worry) they just do one thing: shoot stills. Video is not my favorite either, but the frame rate on the A77 is pretty enticing. My old 1D MK II was good for 8.5 fps @ 8.25 Mp's, so the A77 kick' its a** on res and fps.

Is buying a new 4 year old body a bad idea? I tried submitting to Getty Images back in the 1D days and my work was rejected because of the lower res on the 1D MK II. I would love to get some input from you... Comments and feedback greatly appreciated.

Thank you for having me aboard!

Clint
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mvanrheenen
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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby mvanrheenen » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:25 am

Welcome to our little community here Clint! Sounds like you'll have tons of images to share with us, so please do. Looking forward to your contributions.

Mark

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pakodominguez
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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby pakodominguez » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:26 pm

samael9 wrote:The idea (well), we'll come back to the idea...

so: the idea? What kind of photography do you want to do in CR?

samael9 wrote:Mainly, I have to admit that I am a late comer to the Alpha series, but I have a keen interest in getting an A900 and an A77. I plan to use the A900 as a portrait body and the A77 for motion (fast stills and video).

That's the best solution you have with the actual offer, and it is what several Professionals using Sony Alpha are doing (look the "what is on my bag" page on Brian Smith blog...
samael9 wrote:In reading some of the reviews on CZ glass, it looks like I won't be missing the red stripes of the L's at all. The big deal for me is this... I'm used to the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM. But it looks like the Sony version isn't quite as sharp. Sigma makes an a-mount that reviews better in the same 70-200mm zoom. But when I was using the Canon, I always wished I had a bit more zoom. So, the question is, should I just go for the SAL70400G? The 70-200 was not my most used lens back in the studio days, but down here in CR, the wildlife is pretty spectacular...

I don't know where did you read the Minolta/Sony 70-200 f2.8 is "isn't quite as sharp. It is not the case. The only problem that lens might have is that the close focus is not that close, and that the lens is not correctesnfor macro, so distortion at close focus is weird. Otherwise it is agreat lens. I did rented and used it a couple of times. At the end I bought the Tamron because the price and it's macro abilities.

I have not tried the 70-400. I heard mostly good things about it, until David K got his and he was initially unhappy -I believe he did AF micro adjustments on his camera and now life is much better. I hope he will confirm that.

samael9 wrote:Is buying a new 4 year old body a bad idea? I tried submitting to Getty Images back in the 1D days and my work was rejected because of the lower res on the 1D MK II.


The A900 is a great camera up to 800/1000 iso. Menues, controls and viewfinder are great. It is true it is a 4 years old camera (5 years old technology since the A900 didn't really improved A700 firmware V4 performance). But, other the fact we don't have a FF body to replace this one (and even the next FF body will be EVF, like it or leave it) so we don't have other solution than take what we have available and been happy.

That is what I did, I sold my A850 and bougth an A900 6 months ago, in order to have a new body, mainly for work. And for the rest (small jobs, personal stuff, travel, etc) I did "switch" to the NEX7.
Pako
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samael9
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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:57 pm

mvanrheenen wrote:Welcome to our little community here Clint! Sounds like you'll have tons of images to share with us, so please do. Looking forward to your contributions.

Mark


Hi Mark and thank you for the welcome. Yes, indeed I do enjoy what I've been reading in the 'community'. Lots of questions have been answered as I go scrolling and clicking. Right now, it's just me and my NEX5. I'm just putting the finishing touches on a street catalog shot yesterday in a rather empty and quiet San Jose, Costa Rica. Semana Santa empties this place as most Ticos take the week off and head for the beach.

I'll post a link when she's all uploaded!

Best wishes...

Clint

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:32 pm

pakodominguez wrote:
samael9 wrote:The idea (well), we'll come back to the idea...

so: the idea? What kind of photography do you want to do in CR?

Yoga... lots of yoga happening down here. I love it and practice 5 days per week and teach one class per week in Spanish. I'm thinking about doing a traveler's guide to yoga in Central America, so that's the idea.

I used to shoot modeling portfolios and events. I shot for an NYC publicity company with business ties to RJ Reynolds. When I wasn't shooting for them directly, I did all their image editing work from their other photogs. It was a great gig while it lasted and got me in front of a lot of people. My biggest claim to fame was shooting Camp Freddy with Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra at The Palms in Vegas, way back when...

I usually prefer to be in close when working with people. I'm looking at all CZ glass: 20mm f2.0 wide, 24-70mm f2.8, 85mm f1.4 and a long zoom for wildlife and discrete tele capture.

samael9 wrote:Mainly, I have to admit that I am a late comer to the Alpha series, but I have a keen interest in getting an A900 and an A77. I plan to use the A900 as a portrait body and the A77 for motion (fast stills and video).

That's the best solution you have with the actual offer, and it is what several Professionals using Sony Alpha are doing (look the "what is on my bag" page on Brian Smith blog...

Thanks for that! I'll check it out shortly...

samael9 wrote:In reading some of the reviews on CZ glass, it looks like I won't be missing the red stripes of the L's at all. The big deal for me is this... I'm used to the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM. But it looks like the Sony version isn't quite as sharp. Sigma makes an a-mount that reviews better in the same 70-200mm zoom. But when I was using the Canon, I always wished I had a bit more zoom. So, the question is, should I just go for the SAL70400G? The 70-200 was not my most used lens back in the studio days, but down here in CR, the wildlife is pretty spectacular...


I don't know where did you read the Minolta/Sony 70-200 f2.8 is "isn't quite as sharp. It is not the case. The only problem that lens might have is that the close focus is not that close, and that the lens is not correctesnfor macro, so distortion at close focus is weird. Otherwise it is agreat lens. I did rented and used it a couple of times. At the end I bought the Tamron because the price and it's macro abilities.

I have not tried the 70-400. I heard mostly good things about it, until David K got his and he was initially unhappy -I believe he did AF micro adjustments on his camera and now life is much better. I hope he will confirm that.

Funny, now that you mention it, I don't recall where I read it (regarding the 70-200mm f2.8). But at the same price point, I think that the long reach will afford more versatility without the addition of a tele-converter. We'll see. It's not the priority piece right away.

samael9 wrote:Is buying a new 4 year old body a bad idea? I tried submitting to Getty Images back in the 1D days and my work was rejected because of the lower res on the 1D MK II.


The A900 is a great camera up to 800/1000 iso. Menues, controls and viewfinder are great. It is true it is a 4 years old camera (5 years old technology since the A900 didn't really improved A700 firmware V4 performance). But, other the fact we don't have a FF body to replace this one (and even the next FF body will be EVF, like it or leave it) so we don't have other solution than take what we have available and been happy.

That is what I did, I sold my A850 and bougth an A900 6 months ago, in order to have a new body, mainly for work. And for the rest (small jobs, personal stuff, travel, etc) I did "switch" to the NEX7.


Thank you, Pako. I'm a little on the fence over the NEX7 and the A77. Love my 5, but it seems that there are come clear advantages with the A77 which appeal to me, including external mic jacking for lavalieres, etc. I might just keep all my 5 stuff for fun/walk-around.

The A900 just seems so elegant in its design and control. The superlatives written about the view finder are about enough to seal the deal. I understand the low ISO situation, but given what I intend to use it for, it shouldn't be an issue, because I am a bit obsessive over lighting any way :-)

Are you pleased with your NEX7? Does it have readily available access to AE lock? Also, did you get the LA-EA2 adapter? If so, does it do what it is supposed to as well as one would expect? This is why I'm just drawn to the A77. Given the cost of the 7 and the adapter, they are just about the same price...

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby Birma » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:07 pm

Welcome to the forum from me as well Clint :D . Looking forward to hearing your views and seeing your pictures. (I've never used the Sony 70-200, but the reviews I've read, as Pako also says, suggest it is a very good lens if you ignore the close focus ability, and at least as good as the Canikon alternatives.)
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby artington » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:34 pm

Interested to hear the comments about the Canon 70-200/2.8 L because it is my understanding that the IS version II is peerless. That said, my a900 is permanently mated to a Minolta 17-35/3.5 G which is a union made in heaven. Canon is not renowned for its WA lenses! I also have a NEX-5 and NEX-7 which are mainly used with alternative lenses, such as Leica M- and R- mounts. The latter are still cheapish for what you get but are best for tripod use with the Nex. The Zeiss ZM lenses are great with the NEX although you do get colour banding below 35mm with the N7, which has to be addressed in pp.

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:01 pm

Allow me to join the rest and welcome you in the forum. We are all great guys here, including me :mrgreen: ... and even David... you know, he's the boss... and as they say, the boss is always right (you know the remaining rules concerning the bosses, don't you :wink: ).
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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:05 am

Birma wrote:Welcome to the forum from me as well Clint :D . Looking forward to hearing your views and seeing your pictures. (I've never used the Sony 70-200, but the reviews I've read, as Pako also says, suggest it is a very good lens if you ignore the close focus ability, and at least as good as the Canikon alternatives.)


Hehe.. Canikon. Love it. Thank you too for the welcome! I loved my 1st v 70-200 f2.8 L on the 1D2. Funny; it was the early version 24-70mm f2.8 L that I disliked the most and used all the time though... I guess I could have bought a prime, but that's in the past now. The newly released v.II of both Canon's immortal glass all tests wonderful with the 5D3.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to get the longer 400mm G zoom for the A77/A900 when I open the card up for drainage, but that'll be in July at the earliest, likely August.

Meanwhile, here's a bunch of NEX5 from yesterday's beautiful weather in the central valley of Costa Rica. I was having a bunch of fun... yessir.

http://ckapp.smugmug.com/Other/Semana-Santa-San-Jose-Costa/22321850_Z9WnDt

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:06 am

Dr. Harout wrote:Allow me to join the rest and welcome you in the forum. We are all great guys here, including me :mrgreen: ... and even David... you know, he's the boss... and as they say, the boss is always right (you know the remaining rules concerning the bosses, don't you :wink: ).


Thank you too, Dr...

Are you in love with your A77?

Clint

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:21 pm

samael9 wrote:...Are you in love with your A77?

Clint

You bet I am :D
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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:46 pm

The flash situation...

Greetings, everyone!

I've been reading boatloads about portable flash, arrays, channels, triggers (radio and optical), on camera, off camera, diffusers, modifiers, gels, etc... I've also been enjoying reading a couple of books by Joe McNally on the subject. He's got some really creative ideas on how to work with speedlights on location. So, I'm a bit inspired, as I plan to make up a lighting kit for traveling.

In the studio, I did something that most at the time were not... I used to used Kino Flo hot lights. I had two parabeams, a couple 4 banks, a beauty ring and a bunch of modifiers. Rarely did I ever use flash, because I was getting wonderful results with the Kinos. My needs now have to do with portability.

Just got off the phone with a very well-informed Walter @ Quantum Instruments (631) 656-7400). In looking for ways to trigger 3 T5DR flash heads, the picture is a bit fussy, given the fact that QI does not (yet) make a hot shoe adapter to work with Sony's proprietary TTL. I had one of these lights for shooting in clubs back in San Diego and it was amazing, but it was aboard my 1D MK II. No problem, as QI has full support for Canon & Nikon.

So, just in case anyone's interested, here's how it can go... I want to fire 3 flashes wirelessly. The way to go, according to Mr. Walter is to get one of those Sony - normal hot shoe adapters, like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hot-Shoe-Flash- ... 0477604112

Use a thin piece of plastic, like a wallet calendar to block off the four pins located just ahead of the central triggering pin in the hot shoe adapter. No TTL, but full manual control of all the flash heads. This has a limitation when using the Pilot transmitter, though. Once the H/S adapter has been modified, the Pilot mounts to the hot shoe, thus relieving us from an on-camera flash without using a bracket. We get all the manual control on all 3 flash heads, using the FW7Q receivers mounted to each flash, but no TTL. The problem is that when using an on-camera flash (bracketed) it is too close to the Pilot to get reliable triggering, so the on-camera flash needs to be PC'd. No biggie, but another fiddle to establish. Fortunately, the A900 has a PC port.

A less expensive solution if you don't care about losing radio control of flash intensity, etc. is by using the modified H/S adapter in conjunction with the FW9T transmitter to trigger the remotes, while using a PC cord to fire the on-camera flash mounted to a bracket. Easy enough...

So, it looks like this:
Pilot (Canon or Nikon) $437.00
FW7Q Receiver $155.00 each
Hot shoe adapter $10.00 approx. on Ebay
T5D-R Flash head/Turbo 3 battery kit (only) $1305.00 each (B&H kit)

Cheap? Nope. Cool? Yup. Portable? Oh, hell ya...

Add any light shapers/modifiers to the package and away we go...

What's everyone else using for remote location shooting? Love to hear about it, if you have the inclination to write about it.

Oh yes... Walter @ QI said that they are currently considering making a hot shoe/TTL enabled adapter for Sony Alpha, given the recent surge in interest... Call 'em up or email them and keep bugging them. The boss, according to Walter just needs a bit more 'shove' to R&D the thing...

Thanks!

Clint
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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:21 pm

I would just use a Skyport on the camera and an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX kit. LED modelling lights, ultra light lithium battery power or rock-solid lead acid gel if you prefer, two heads per pack, control the output from the Skyport (mounted on a hot shoe adaptor).

I do not use location flash much now, used to use Norman in the 1980s, but today I would go for the Quadra:

http://www.elinchrom.com/products.php?p ... references

It's just a much more versatile kit than Quantum as you can get full size ring adaptors and use it in the studio with softboxes, you can get a ringflash etc. And you can adjust the power of two separate packs from your camera position by just clicking the button on the Skyport up or down.

If you really want to you can control them from an iPhone or iPad, or laptop, as well.

David

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:44 pm

Dear David;

Thank you very much for taking the time to compose your suggestions. Yup, it's a bit of a jungle out there, especially because I am nowhere near a place to go and see all of this stuff. I've been on Elinchrome's web site and it is just a tad confusing, like Quantum's.

Yes, I like the idea of Elinchrome's expanded range of modifiers. I am looking for the most efficient kit because of the amount of traveling I plan to do to create my yoga book. I'll be shooting lots of yogis in action and will need a portrait-quality kit to capture. Mostly, the yoga studios in Costa Rica are situated in jungle environments and they are covered, but open air. From what I've seen so far, the dynamic range situation is steep, because the studios themselves are darkened by the roofs, but the landscape around the studios is always quite bright. The vistas from some of these places is spectacular (ocean, jungle, etc.) In order to get the subject and keep the landscape in the picture, I will need some good poppers and the Rangers do look like they are easily up to the task... Thank You!

Clint

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Re: What's NEX(T)

Unread postby samael9 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:16 am

Well, shoot...

I've been reading tons and thinking about my shooting style, and everything I point a camera at is moving. As we all know, the price of capturing moving subjects increases with the subject's speed exponentially. Having shot with an NEX5 for the last year, I can confidently say I am not a contrast-detection auto focus kind of guy, although I was impressed when my friend let me fiddle with his Oly E-P3. Quick, but...

All the tests confirm that getting those really yummy creamy-dreamys are not so easy to capture in m3/4 given the size of the sensor. I think I've read virtually every article on the internet regarding M3/4, OM-D included. I just can't do it... Just like a owning a Ducati, I've wanted an FX sensor body ever since I knew what one was. B&H has several A900s in their used department and Ebay has a few listed as well. The complexity arrises with the A77; I want one of those too. So, I would imagine that the new A99 (if that's what it's going to be called) will be upwards around the price of a new 5D3. Given that an A900 can be had for close to $2k and the A77 rolls in @ $1399 (masomenos), I can have two 24mp bodies for the price of a 5D3. I just don't want to deal with the file sizes of the new 36mp Nikon, so I guess I am still Team Sony.

Yeah, the NEX7. Still contrast detection unless the LA-EA2 is attached, but still no IS unless stock Sony OSS glass is attached. I think I'll just hang on to my NEX5 for a walk-around, but likely I'll be so enamored with the A77 (love the articulating screen) that the NEX5 will grow dust & mold.

Hello, Craig's List? I'd like to list some NEX gear...

For now, it looks like I'll either get a CZ 85mm or 135mm prime for the A900 and a CZ 24-70 and a 70-200mm for the A77. Not sure whose on the tele... open to suggestions. All the CZ glass is expensive. I'm certainly open to alternatives, but want to make sure what ever I'm spending money on is going to make good partners for these amazing sensors.

Flash will happen with an HVL-F58AM main and two HVL-F43AMs for fill. Likely will get external power packs for all, just to keep things fueled. Any preferences on outboard power for the Sony speedlights? And then the modifiers... Lots of cool things out there. Elinchome strobes are on the next year's 'Clint has been a good boy' list.

And then comes the new Macbook Pro. Gotta have a quad-core with 8gb of RAM, because the core-duo MBP 13" isn't happy when P/S and Aperture are open at the same time. Plus, my eyes aren't getting any younger, so a larger screen is in order as well.

Anyone using DXO Lab's software? Specifically Optics Pro, as a plug-in to Aperture? Like it? Hate it? Was it worth it in terms of distortion capability? Love to hear what everyone thinks...

Thank you so much to everyone's replies! This is a nice community of pixel-geeks and glad to be a part of it :-)
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