Shutters Inc » 2009 » October - The world's best loved photography podcast


October 28, 2009

The more things change…

Filed under: 7D,alpha 850,Konica Minolta,Shutters Inc,Sony — Bruce Williams @ 9:26

As listeners to Shutters Inc would be aware, I have been salivating of late over Sony’s alpha 850.
My reasons for considering the upgrade are these:
At the 2 workshops I’ve attended (the weekend in Echuca, and the wedding workshop in Melbourne), I have stood shoulder to shoulder with photographers who own cameras less than 12 months old. We have taken the same shots, using almost identical exposure settings, and when you compare the image on the back of my 7D with the images displayed on the backs of some of these newer cameras, the difference has been like chalk and cheese.
So, I had convinced myself that my 7D was getting a bit long in the tooth, that the white balance was not as accurate, that the dynamic range was not as wide, and so on and so on.
Last Saturday, I decided to go to my local camera store and have a ‘hands on’ with the alpha 850 and compare it, specifically, against my 7D.
I explained to the sales girl that I was not planning on buying the camera today, but that I am in the research stage, and wanted to compare. She was ok with me putting one of my CF cards into the alpha so I could take some test shots.
So I grabbed my 135mm f2.8 lens and slapped it on the alpha.
I set a manual white balance (in degrees Kelvin), set the ISO to 400, and set manual exposure at 1/100sec at f2.8.
I took a shot.
I then took that lens and put it on my 7D.
Dialled in all the same settings.
Took the same shot.
Then, I looked at the 2 images on the LCD screens on the backs of the 2 cameras.
The difference was mind-blowing.
The image on the alpha absolutely blew me out of the water, while the image on the back of the 7D just seemed to lack… everything.
So, at that point, I was feeling justified in my desire to upgrade to a newer body.
But, I was going to reserve judgement until I got the 2 images home and into Lightroom.
And that my friends, is where the real story begins.
Upon getting the 2 images into Lightroom and comparing them side by side, I COULD NOT TELL THEM APART.
I kid you not.
They were almost identical.
I did say ‘almost’, right?
Remember that the 7D uses an APS-C size sensor, while the alpha 850 is a 35mm sensor, so the image captured by the 7D was cropped in comparison to the “wider” view of the alpha.
Hence why I’ve cropped the alpha version of the image to be similar in its scope to the 7D image.
With the exception of the cropping of the alpha-generated image, these are both straight out of camera.
Actually, there’s one thing I did do in Lightroom which I did equally to both images.
And that was to set the ‘contrast’ and ‘brightness’ values to zero. I don’t know if it’s a Lightroom thing, or something that the Konica Minolta and Sony bodies do automatically, but I notice that whenever I bring images in to Lightroom, they ALWAYS have a contrast value of 50 and a brightness value of 25.
Not sure why.
So on both of these images, I returned those values to zero, which has made them look REALLY flat, but at least they are equal!
Anyway, below are the 2 images, labelled ‘sample1’ and ‘sample2’.
I’ve done that deliberately so you can’t tell from the filename which image is which.
However, both images have EXIF metadata attached, so you can look to see which image is from which body.
But my point is, WITHOUT cheating, can you tell me which image came from which camera?
To me, this has been both a shock, but also a huge revelation.
What I have learned from this is that what has changed over the last 5 years is not so much the image PROCESSOR technology, but LCD screen technology!
Shelton looked at these before he left for India, and he did make the comment that this was probably not the “be all and end all” test. It’s not exactly challenging lighting, it’s not a high-contrast environment, etc etc, and I totally agree with him on that. Perhaps I need to do some more test shots comparing both bodies under more challenging lighting conditions.
But this simple comparison has been an extremely eye-opening experience for me.
Suffice is to say that had I not done this test, I would have happily gone and dropped A$3k on the alpha 850, believing that it was going to provide a huge increase in quality, and would have then become quite melancholy to discover that that was not the case.
Does this mean I won’t buy the alpha 850?
Probably not.
I’ll more than likely still go that route.
But at least I now have a better idea of what to expect from it when I do.

sample-1.jpg
sample-2.jpg

October 25, 2009

It’s my birthday…

Filed under: Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 15:11

…and I reserve the right not to podcast if I want to!
So there!
:p
Nah, in all seriousness, Shelton and I DID try twice this week to record, but both times, things came up which killed our plans.
Sorry gang.
And BTP and SL… well, just too many other things on my plate this week.


October 18, 2009

No Shutters Inc this week

Filed under: Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 8:32

After 2 failed attempts, we had to call it off this week.
Sorry gang.


October 11, 2009

Shutters Inc – episode 139

Filed under: Podcast,Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 12:06

This week, a bit of ‘giggle giggle crap crap’,
I’ve decided to stay in the Sony camp,
and finally a further exploration of Michael’s “hard’ and ‘soft’ techniques idea.


October 7, 2009

2010 calendars

Filed under: merchandise,Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 10:24

Hi one and all,
I am thinking of putting together a 2010 Audio2u calendar, and was wondering if anyone would be interested in buying a copy?
I’m not asking for a firm commitment to buy, right now… just looking for ‘expressions of interest’.
Basically, there will be 2 different form factors.
A DL sized desktop ‘flip’ calendar, or an A4 wall-hanging version.
Both versions will feature my 12 best panorama images.
Can’t say for sure what pricing will be.
I expect it will be around the A$12-$15 mark for the DL, and A$20-25 for the A4.
And depending on demand, I may also contemplate doing the A3 wall-hanging version as well.
Once I know for sure (on the pricing), I’ll post a revision here.
If you are moderately interested, drop me an e-mail or post in the comments here.
Thanks!


October 5, 2009

No SI this week

Filed under: Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 19:51

Sorry for the late notice (you’ve probably already figured it out), but there’s no Shutters Inc this week.
Shelton and I just couldn’t syncronise last week, and Cath, Max and I went away for the long weekend.
It’s now Monday night and we’ve just got home from an 8 hour drive.
Night night.