When it comes to post-processing, I like to stick to the basics. If I can’t make a photograph more aesthetically pleasing within a minute of dabbling in levels/white balance/spot removal adjustments in Lightroom 4, then I don’t see the merit in wasting time attempting to make a “good”photograph out of a”bad” one. In that same vein, I won’t even attempt to correct a photograph that I feel may take a lot of computer work (aside from critical portrait work on occasion); shame on me for not getting the majority of it right in-camera!
That said, this kind of light post-processing doesn’t usually find its way into the “My Mind’s Eye” series. In these posts—the few instances where I do take the time to show what my mind’s eye sees that a camera cannot immediately capture—it can be a refreshing change of pace to find that only a little PP work is all it takes to bring a photograph to life. Spring is in the air, and I’m catching up photographing all the flora that comes with the season:
In this straight-out-of-camera shot, I like the creamy bokeh and contrasting blue against washes of green. However, everything is a bit flat–as is typical in unadjusted JPEGs of colorful scenes.
So, how much good can adjusting contrast and saturation do to this photograph? A lot, as it turns out!
The Little Ones
85mm, ISO 100, f/2, 1/400
Taken with the 85mm f/1.4 AI-s, I’m still in the middle of testing this fine telephoto, and also have more to share from some recent sporting events. Until then, thanks for dropping by, guys and gals!
300mm, ISO 400, f/4, 1/1600
Another week, and one step closer to a break. At least, that’s been my train of thought for the past month. As always, it seems, the times leading up to finals week (starting tomorrow) are always a killer in trying to find time for photography. In a way, however, writing posts on here is a way of taking a break from studying, though I do feel a bit productive at the same time. Besides, last week I couldn’t afford any time to do an update. Not today!
A lot has happened lately. Let’s get down to it. Continue Reading
IMPORTANT: If you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, please reference this post first!
Ahh…back to writing another lens review. It feels like it’s been ages since I wrote my last one back in January. Though I can attribute most of this delay to a lack of free time, another part of it is due to the fact that old man winter decided to hang on a little past his welcome this year. As a macro lens, the Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 AI-s has a penchant for taking close-ups of flowers and what-not—with plant life just now starting to come back to life, the photographic subjects are slowly increasing.
But the neat thing about a macro lens is that they tend to be well-corrected at all focus distances. Combined with its fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, the 105mm micro might be a strong performer for landscapes, portraits, or even sports. The question is, can it deliver outside its forte of close-focusing? Let’s find out! Continue Reading
105mm, ISO 100, f/4, 1/160
So…I thought I would be able to finish my 105mm f/2.8 Micro review this weekend; I even set aside some time to work on it. One delay ran into another, and now I’m only about half done writing it. As such, I also haven’t had the time to look through the photographs I have taken this past week. There’s a lot of sports going on lately (especially lacrosse), so next week’s update should be chock-full of action taken with my NEX-7.
In other news, Sony contacted me regarding my peeling NEX-7 and claim that it is, in fact, my camera (hmm…). How they messed the LCD screen up—and left the sensor cleaning dysfunctional—is beyond me, but they are trying to make amends; I’ll be receiving a loaner NEX-7 from them in the mail soon and will send my camera off yet again. Who knows what they’ll do to it this time…
So, in closing, if I can find the time I’ll have that 105mm review up by tomorrow night. If not…well…it’ll get there when it gets there.
Take care guys and gals.
105mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/640
Now that plants are starting to bloom (though this technically is a weed), I will be able to get much more sample shots for when I can make time for the 105mm f/2.8 Micro AI-s review.
To make a long story short, I am in a bittersweet mood about my NEX-7 finally being back in my hands. I’m happy I finally have a “real” camera again, but am a little disappointed that A)The sensor cleaning function still doesn’t seem to work and B)The rear LCD turned out to be peeling when I took the plastic off (when I sent it in, the rear LCD was immaculate). I believe Sony has sent me a refurbished NEX-7, instead of my own camera. Not too keen on getting back a camera in worse shape than when I sent it in for repair, so I’ll be contacting them this week to see what the deal is.
But in the meantime, I’ve been busy! I photographed everything from tiny flowers to the sky this past week and managed to shake off my “camera blues” from not having my NEX-7 for over three weeks.
First up, I learned a little bit more about light painting in my photography class. Though I feel this genre is overdone and cliqué in many ways, I tried to be as original as possible Continue Reading
I must apologize for being a day late on my weekly update, the time got away from me this past weekend. Nonetheless, I do have some news on my experience with Sony Laredo Repair regarding my NEX-7. Unfortunately, as most of you know, Sony decided to overnight my NEX-7 the night that I left for Spring Break. I got to Florida, while my camera arrived at my university. Tough luck for me. At any rate I picked it up today and found to my surprise that Sony seemed to give my NEX-7 a makeover. It almost feels like a new camera (it’s not though, I remember a few scratches unique to the camera)! The viewfinder is spotless, the screen has either been replaced or heavily cleaned (a protective film was over it), the entire body was wiped down, and the IR glass filter in front of the sensor is brand-new (the reason I sent it in). With everything covered under warranty, and the sensor brought back to essentially new condition, I am—finally—a pretty happy camper. I can’t wait to get back in the swing of all things photography: I’m learning some techniques for light painting this week, photographing a few sporting events, and will make time for a photowalk if the rain/cold briefly clears up.
Plans aside, last week down in sunny Florida was a blast. I chose the stress-free option for break, staying far away from any sort of partying. Instead, relaxing on the beach and catching up with/making new friends took up the majority of my time. That little Canon point-and-shoot I brought along did an O.K. job, at least for a 5 year-old camera. I definitely had to take a step back and focus on getting exposure, white balance, and composition right: with only 8 megapixels of low-quality JPEG to work with, there isn’t any leeway for post-processing!
Pardon the dust/sand.
As I mentioned last week, this PowerShot has a nice macro mode at the wide end, allowing for some SUPER close focusing that gives me some good control over depth-of-field. As such, there’ll be a lot of macro shots in this post. To work out your own equivalency in focal length/field-of-view, this camera’s 6-60mm lens covers the 36-360mm field-of-view in 35mm-format terms. Simply take the mm’s listed in the following picture’s EXIF data and multiply by six.
6mm, ISO 80, f/2.8, 1/160
It’s been another busy (and cold) week here in Lexington, but not one where I have neglected photography. Allow me to get you caught up.
All of the following taken with the NEX-7. First up, Valentine’s Day was this past Thursday. I hope you all were able to spend it with your special someone!
105mm, ISO 100, f/4, 6 Seconds
Apart from holidays, I also took the stellar 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro Nikkor along for another photo-walk downtown. This one had to be cut short due to biting winds, but I still managed to find some interesting subjects and patterns along the way.
105mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200, 1:2 Magnification
I may have stated in my last post that there would be no “weekend update” post today. Though that is technically the case, I was able to make some time to go on a much-needed photowalk with a friend downtown yesterday with my NEX-7 and trusty 105mm macro to get some more impressions on the lens for all types of photography. Just as I wrote about my “first” impressions with my 300mm f/2.8, I’ve had this wonderful macro for many months now, and it has been my go-to lens for product shots and “serious” macro work for its crazy edge-to-edge sharpness stopped down (just exactly how sharp remains to be determined via formal testing). However, with it’s fast f/2.8 aperture (providing the same shallow depth-of-field control as the 100mm f/2.8 Series-E), the 105mm f/2.8 can be used for anything from sports to portraits, if need be.
I hope to do some testing on this lens for the next few weeks when I can make some time, so don’t hold your breath for a full review by next weekend. All of the following taken near sunset through a walk in the city with the NEX-7 and this macro, handheld. First up, for most of the photowalk I had this strange fixation on seeing and capturing patterns. I’m not sure why, but so many stood out to me:
105mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/400
Winter’s chilly grasp has taken hold recently. Combined with my sickness (which I’m almost out of the woods with), any photography outside of assignments has been mostly a wash this week. However! I did want to at least get one photograph with that 105mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor. Before I move on to the rest of the post, I’m working on a project 52 (speaking of which, I will share all of them upon its completion), and this week’s theme was “Still Life”. Being a college student, I do not have the luxury of drapes, wooden bowls, and picture perfect fruit at my disposal. Looking into the meaning of still life photography–that is, the depiction of inanimate subject matter usually as a small grouping of objects–I glanced around my room and got as creative as I could. I had one banana, a few chocolate turtles, and some paper.
Let’s combine them all.
105mm, ISO 100, f/8, 8 Seconds
IMPORTANT: If you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, please reference this post first!
I knew I would come around eventually to buying an autofocus lens for the NEX system. The only problem was that all the autofocus lenses that have been released up to now from Sony have been zooms (large and/or slow apertures), primes with “O.K.” image quality (16mm f/2.8, 30mm f/3.5 macro), lenses I already have focal lengths well covered for (50mm f/1.8 OSS), or crazily overpriced optics (Zeiss 24mm f/1.8).
What I was waiting for was a cheap(er), high performing lens that would give great performance at most settings in a small a package as possible—in other words, one that fit with NEX shooting style. Well, it seems Sony has finally done it, releasing their new 35mm f/1.8 for E-mount. With the field of view of 52.5mm in 35mm format, this is the only first-party “standard” solution for the camera apart from using their alpha-mount lenses via a relatively bulky adapter. At $450, it’s not cheap, either. In fact, in my first impressions of the lens, I had my doubts as to whether or not Sony was deliberately price-gouging when compared to the Nikon/Canon equivalents. But a few of my readers brought up great points. Not only does optical stabilization make lenses more expensive than I thought (looking at Canon’s brand-new 35mm f/2 IS), but I am totally incorrect in comparing an SLR lens to a mirrorless lens. With their inherent design differences—mainly, working with a MUCH shorter flange distance—it simply costs more to design compact lenses that cover a whole APS-C sensor without severely compromising optical quality.
Instead, the 35mm f/1.8 should be compared to fellow mirrorless equivalents. A couple to look at, the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 and the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 XF R. All three lenses have essentially the same field-of-view, and are close in aperture speed (the Sony only 2/3 a stop slower). The Panasonic/Leica lens runs at about $500, while the Fuji is a whopping $600. Seeing as neither have optical stabilization, the $450 asking price of the 35mm f/1.8 could be argued to be the better deal!
But a cheap(er) lens shouldn’t merit praise on its own, does the 35mm f/1.8 stand up to the power of the NEX-7′s huge 24MP sensor? Let’s take a look! Continue Reading