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Magic of Fresnel

Now and then, photographic industry comes out with a product designed to make our lives, as a working photographers, easier,  while also providing us with new ways to approach the image capture process. Newly introduced Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f:/4 E PF ED VR lens (Yes, product names are getting ridiculously long, while the lens itself got shorter) is certainly a product with a potential to be such.

300mmNikonPF592px

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What it Takes

Regularly I stumble upon photography evangelists repeating over and over again a false mantra, saying that equipment doesn’t matter. I’m sure that it really doesn’t matter what type of gear you are using, but in a way it is similar as saying that money doesn’t matter … As long as you have it.

Ljubljana-Gear592px

It is reasonable to expect, from skilled masters of the craft, ability to easily compensate for potential inadequacies of equipment. On the flip side, some mediocre shooters might be propelled a step forward by the payed for artificial intelligence of their latest toy. To easily understand relationship between the craftsman and his tools, we can simply visualize this as a combination of a vehicle and a driver—one can be better than the other.

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Sony introduces stabilized A7II

Sony continues with their full frame mirrorless offensive and my guess is, that their rivals and industry leaders such as Canon and Nikon are not sleeping very well lately. New Sony A7II camera body adds another first, and also the last piece of the puzzle, to the full frame 24x36mm mirrorless concept, namely a 5-axis SteadyShot in-body image stabilizer, similiar to the one introduced with Olympus E-M5. The question has been answered. Yes! This incredible feature can also be implemented in a reasonably sized FF mirrorless camera.

Sony A7II

So what does this introduction means in relation to the already crowded market filled with various solutions?

Other than mentioned 5-axis SteadyShot, this Sony A7II is basically a marginally improved A7 model with a known midrange 24 megapixel sensor.Camera body has gained some weight and size, but still remains comparably light and small. Materials used and ergonomics are also said to be better.OLED electronic viewfinder and a single combined SD/MS card slot remain the same.Battery type is the same and its performance also. AF is believed to perform better, with never algorithms, and promises decent tracking performance at 5fps as opposed to 2.5fps in its predecessor. Video guys, you know who you are, will surely know how to appreciate better XAVC S codec.

Another great camera from Sony, but …

This camera must be viewed as a universal solution, meaning it’s great at most tasks, but it might not be the perfect solution for your particular needs. Landscape photographers will probably miss 36 Mpx A7R sensor, sports and action shooters will long for AF capabilities of the Sony A6000 or better, low light and wedding pros might prefer high sensitivity and responsiveness of the 12 Mpx Sony A7s camera, with latter sensor being also preferred by the users of legacy glass and of course by the videographers, who these days wouldn’t settle for anything less than a full 4K solution, which A7 mark II unfortunately is not. A fact that all currently available E-mount zoom lenses, marketed by Sony, already come with built-in OSS stabilization, will also make current A7 series users think twice about the need for an upgrade. To be fair, it has to be mentioned that existing OSS works with a little help on the “roll” axis, coming from the new in-body component. Clever approach from the Sony or former Minolta team or whoever is responsible for the idea of joining best features of two completely different systems.

Conclusion

This great and improved Sony A7II camera, which is rumoured to arrive in Europe in the Q1 2015, priced at 1.799,00 €, undoubtably presents a capable and quite compact solution for most any task, but for those of you, who need a bit more to be convinced, there are already circulating rumors about the new Sony flagship, namely a new Sony A9 alpha series professional E-mount camera body. Let’s wait a bit more and prepare to be amazed once again.

© 2014 The Unpublished Journal by Peter Mlekuž, All Rights Reserved; Source file of the featured product image is © 2014 by Sony corporation

Fireworks Live

Fireworks at Lake Bled Slovenia

The ancient Chinese invented this fascinating art of throwing fire at the sky, known as the fireworks. As a photographic subject it stands a bit on the “amateurish” side, whatever this is supposed to mean. In an essence this is a subject of pure enjoyment and amazement, but containing hardly any meaningful depth or message. It is an equivalent of your popular talent show instead of the sophistication and seriousness of National Ballet or Opera. It is no secret that the popular votes and “likes” will always go to the easy and the smart.

But on a technical side photographing fireworks is not an easy undertaking at all and requires quite a bit of “smart” and even some luck. Equipment such as a tripod and cable release is necessary, unless you are going for random unpredictable results. Choosing your location is of significant importance as well, if you would like to achieve complex landscape images instead of a simple one dimensional impression. And do I have to mention that you have to be completely ready and set before the display starts? Firework displays do not last. Try not to forget this fact and always keep in mind a quote from a 1986 classic movie Top Gun: “This thing will be over in two minutes! Get on it!”

 Fireworks at Lake Bled, Slovenia (more…)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review I.

Olympus OM-D camera review

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with a M.Zuiko 12mm lens

This is the first article on this site, that is dedicated more to the practical aspects of photography and particularly to the technology behind the image making process. For my first camera review I have chosen Olympus OM-D E-M5 digital camera, a nice example of a retro looking modern design, that also serves as a great preview of the future camera designs. (more…)

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