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Now the fun begins

Now the fun begins

My new Sony A7iii arrived on Wednesday, but apart from taking a few test shots with it and the kit lens I got with it to make sure everything works, I haven’t really played with it. I had the Fanwood Prom to shoot on Thursday evening, and I stuck to my 5Diii & 7Dii for that as I am so familiar with those two cameras that I don’t need to even think about settings and buttons etc.- it is all built into my muscle memory- and that’s the best way to shoot an event like that where things will happen and change at a moments notice. So much as I really wanted to play with the new camera I would have missed shots while I was working out which button does what and the way the camera feels and functions.

But now that’s done (well, apart from going through the 900 shots I took at the prom and paring it down to a couple of hundred or so keepers and then editing them) I can start to play πŸ™‚

This camera is amazing, though many reviews I have read complain about the very complicated menu system (and it is pretty convoluted), one of the good things is that almost every button is customizable- you can literally set this camera up any way you like! I have a bit of a head start as I did a lot of reading and watching tutorials before I rented the camera a month ago, and I kept notes of everything I set up on the rental so I can basically set mine up the same way as a starting point. But there are so many functions that this camera has that the Canons don’t that I have got to not only work out how to make it work for me the way they did, I have to make sure I’m not missing any of the killer features too!

What I need to do is shoot and come home and edit and assess, rinse and repeat over and over and over- until I can shoot with this the way I can with the Canons- completely on automatic pilot. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it πŸ˜‰

And that is one of the totally great things about digital cameras- you can shoot and shoot and shoot, and see the results immediately, and all it costs you is time. Not like the old days when you had 36 shots and then had to either go into the dark room or wait for some lab to develop your film, by which time (unless you kept very good notes) you had forgotten the settings you used (and today that’s all embedded right into the digital file).

While I was waiting for the camera arrive (it was backordered for a month) I did research and grab a few extras and accessories… a protective filter for the kit lens, a screen protector for the rear screen, extra batteries and a charger (which it comes without- you have to charge the batteries in the camera, but I suppose they had to do something to ba able to sell it this cheap), and an L-bracket. And this last I am very pleased with! I have an L-bracket that I use with my 5Diii (in fact it was incredibly useful taking the formal pictures at the prom on Thursday), but it made an already large-ish camera even bigger so I only put it on when I needed it. One of my few gripes so far about the Sony is it’s diminutive size- I have big hands and am used to the reassuring bulk of my Canon cameras, but the A7iii with the L-bracket on is perfect πŸ™‚ It doesn’t add weight or any real bulk, it just gives it a bit more height so that when I have it in my hand my pinky has somewhere to sit rather than hanging out in space. It’s a tiny thing, but the way a camera feels in my hand is hugely important to me, and though I would have got used to the way the Sony feels eventually, this just makes me so happy right from the get-go. (If you’re interested, the bracket is this one by SmallRig, a Chinese company who make camera cages and brackets mostly for video shooters, and I got it in a pre-order sale as it’s only just been released).

The picture above shows the camera with the L-bracket on, the Metabones adapter and my trusty Tamron EF 24-70 (the tiny kit lens is next to it), and I’m awaiting a hand-strap so I can do away with the neck strap (I hate them!).

So, I’m off to have a lovely time shooting and getting used to this new beastie… after I finish editing those prom pictures that is…

Kit lens

Kit lens

Just over a month ago I rented the new Sony A7iii with a couple of Canon lens adapters to see if it would be worth making the jump to Sony with my existing Canon glass. It is safe to say the Sony blew me away, and I ordered one… which was back-ordered but finally arrived yesterday πŸ™‚

One of the minor bugs was that with the adapters the autofocus didn’t work worth a damn when shooting video, but as I am 99% a stills shooter that really didn’t bother me. However when I was ordering  the camera I noticed that the bundle with the 28-70 kit lens was only $200 more (the lens is $400 on its own), and I decided that it would probably be a good idea to grab it so that I have a native lens in case I want to shoot more video in the future.

So first thing this morning I decided take a walk around with the kit lens to see what it can do- and I gotta say I’m quite impressed! The kit lens (Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS) is not particularly fast, has a variable aperture, and is not quite as wide as I’m used to, so I think I will mostly stick to my Tamron EF 24-70 f/2.8 with the Metabones adapter; but it performs remarkably well for all that. Here are a few test shots- the first one of Holly is a jpg straight out of the camera I took just to make sure it works, the rest are RAW but with almost no post-processing…

DJI Osmo Mobile 2

DJI Osmo Mobile 2

I am going to be working on a project for the church to produce a nice, slick (well, not too slick- it is us after all) video about us, and so I have been starting to shoot B-roll footage to use so that we can build up a nice library to dip into when we’re ready to start putting it together. However the problem is that while my Canon 7D2 (and the new A7iii- coming soon!!!) both shoot excellent video it is almost impossible to get smooth video shooting handheld, and most of the time it’s going to be pretty much run-and -gun to get this footage while going about my usual business- no time to set up a tripod and do it properly! I tried to shoot some video of our Pentecost procession this last Sunday, and the video is unfortunately pretty much unusable- even though I had the camera on a poor-man’s steadicam πŸ™

You can stabilize the video electronically, but it’s doesn’t always work perfectly, and you always lose a little Quality.

I was chatting about this with Josh, a friend and parishioner who’s agreed to help with this project, and he suggested that we might be able to incorprate some phone footage as the cameras on phones have got so good. He’s right- the camera on my Note8 shoots all the way up to 4K and the quality is amazing, you do lose some of the cinematic qualities of being able to do shallow depth of field shots and obviously a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a good lens is going to be much better, but for B-roll it should be fine.

So, after a little research I discovered that DJI, the clever buggers who made my drone, have just come out with a very affordable gimbal for mobile phones- the $129 Osmo Mobile 2. Now a gimbal is a clever device that you clamp your phone into, and it keeps the phone steady and isolates it from your movements; it can be locked to stay in one direction or it can be set to follow your movements but smooth them out for you. They make gimbals for DSLR cameras, but they are thousands of dollars, so I figured this was worth a shot- and it’s great! Here is a quick video I shot yesterday right out of the box- I need to fine tune it and calibrate the horizon etc. and learn to glide rather than walk, but it is a huge improvement over the handheld DSLR footage!

And for even more fun- it lets you do fun stuff like timelapses, and motion timelapses πŸ™‚ Here is one I shot this morning: 20 minutes in the church parking lot compressed into 40 seconds- it’s amazing there aren’t more accidents!

It annoying focused on the window a bit, but this is the first one I’ve done and there is much to learn πŸ˜‰

Watch this space for more- this is gonna be fun πŸ™‚

Well done Monkey!

Well done Monkey!

Just found out the results for the two classes Crisp took at WCC this semester- B+ in Digital Imaging and A in Digital Illustration!

That’s 6 more credits in the bank to transfer over to Purchase, now we just have to negotiate how she handles her re-entry in the fall πŸ™‚

Family takeover

Family takeover


17 of us have taken over the front of Molly Spillane’s for a postponed Mother’s Day dinner now Jodi’s in from Florida.
I’m at the cool kid’s table πŸ™‚