The Way I See It

Archive for the ‘gizmos’ Category

Market After Dark

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All-Way Crossing

All-Way Crossing

So I’ve been playing with this gizmo called a Sony NEX-7. One of the things that I’m especially interested in is how it performs in low light…how the images look when shot at high ISOs. Last night, after dinner, the rain finally let up. I made a quick trip to the Pike Place Public Market and got in some shots of the place as it appears after hours (those of you who have visited Seattle have probably seen it in it’s crowded daytime glory so this is a somewhat stark contrast 😉 ).

Red Jacket

Red Jacket

Photo Notes
All images were made with the Sony 18-55 kit lens, shot mostly wide open. What stunned me was how great the JPGs looked, right out of the camera. Nonetheless, I decided to process the RAW files in Lightroom, to see how things could be pushed and pulled. For these first three  images, I applied a minimum of processing, mostly mimicking how they looked when they came out of the camera.

Take Me Home With You?

Take Me Home With You?

I was more heavy-handed with Chef. A tough scene to meter, I had underexposed it quite severely when I shot it. I thus applied an additional stop of exposure in processing. As is to be expected, the dark areas came out somewhat noisy, but Lightroom did a reasonable job in clearing it up (I tend to favor putting up with noise over losing detail).

Chef

Chef

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Somewhere Between The Cake and The Eggs

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Christmas Eve, 2011

Christmas Eve, 2011

My last two errands on Christmas Eve were to pick up the cake for the party, and the eggs for breakfast on Christmas morning. While heading to the cake shop, I saw that beautiful clouds were beginning to form on the horizon and surmised that with the current conditions there was going to be the chance for a decent sunset. After picking up the cake, I headed down to the water. All I had with me was the Canon S100 point-and-shoot but no matter, I had been wanting to try out it’s low light capabilities anyway.

Photog Notes
This image is a composite of two images, one exposed for the sky and distant water, the other for the foreground. Without the big camera and filter set up, I knew going into this shoot that the game plan would entail multiple exposures, then blending them in post processing to create an even exposure across the frame (aka a high dynamic range composite, if you will). Luckily, I had my regular tripod with me – this sturdy setup allowed me to set up in the water without any movement or change in position between frames.

In post processing, I converted the RAW files with Canon’s Digital Photo Pro, then built the composite in GIMP. Both images for the composite were shot in manual exposure at ISO 80, f/8 to allow the sensor to capture the most detail. I exposed the foreground image at 3.2 seconds to allow the water surface to glass over. The distant scene was exposed at 1 second to preserve the colors and patterns in the clouds. As expected, the S100’s sensor-lens combination performed like a champ when satisfied with the proper amount of light.

 

Brrrr!

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winter style

winter style

We’re pretty spoiled in Seattle. Our geography and proximity to the ocean (currents) provide us with mild weather all year round. Wet maybe, but definitely tolerable. December, however, blew in with some attitude. I made this image earlier this week on a morning when the frost was thick on the ground.

Photog Notes
This is another image from my ongoing test of the Canon PowerShot S100. I made this exposure at 1/200 second with the camera set at ISO 400. To control the depth of field, I shot the lens at a wide-open f/2. What I like most is the cool tones that the auto white balance imparted. In processing the RAW image, I tried a variety of settings but nothing came as close to reproducing the light and color that day as the in-camera white balance.

 

Potpourri

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Potpourri

Potpourri

For the past several weeks, I have been testing Canon’s new S100 point-and-shoot camera. I made this image while walking around Green Lake (our local urban lake). I had stopped at a local fishing spot to survey the fall colors that fringed the water and discovered this scene, undulating gently at my feet. As I leaned toward the surface to take a closer look, the sweet, earthy bouquet of maple rose to greet me. What a pleasant surprise gift of nature.

Photog Notes
I made this image at ISO 400, exposure set for 1/30 second at f/8. What you see is the full frame. The details and clarity speak to the sharpness of the lens and it’s superior integration with the sensor and electronics. The from-camera JPG was beautiful and eminently usable but I decided to process the RAW file to correct for a bit of blueness from the auto white balance. I also applied the tiniest bit of tone mapping to bring out the wonderful gradations in the scene.

Written by xinapray

December 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm

What Lens(es) Should I Buy?

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Shanghai Freeway at 60 mph

Shanghai Freeway at 60 mph

Quite regularly, friends who are moving into the DSLR/EVIL world ask this question. Here are some thoughts that I hacked out this morning…

“Regarding lenses, I think the important thing to consider is what your requirements are. If you are looking for a versatile all-in-one lens, the 18-200 might be a better choice. I use the older VR (not VR II) version and for travel and convenience, I like it a lot (it was on my camera most of the time that I was in China). The tradeoff is that it is not as sharp at the larger apertures (i.e., small f-stops) as the more specialized (more $$) lenses. But as I recall, it is just as sharp (if not more) than any of the Nikon 18-something zooms.

Alternatively, instead of an 18-something zoom, you might consider getting the 18-55 VR and 55-200 VR kit lenses. These are also plenty sharp and great value for the money.

If sharpness is the most important (within budgetary considerations), I’d go with the 16-85 + the 70-300 VR. These are the best of the consumer/prosumer lenses. I love my 70-300 and have almost bought the 16-85 a couple of times (I’m still trying to decide whether to go full frame). Plus, the extra 2 mm at the wide angle end is incredibly useful for interiors and landscapes.

As far as fast lenses go, (apart from the 50 mm f1.8), you are looking at a pretty significant investment….so it’s important to first figure out what kind of focal length you will use most often. I think that first playing with that 18-something or 16-something lens will probably help you decide. But overall, I think that you are on the right track.”

Written by xinapray

October 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

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