Thursday, October 28, 2010

Long Journey...

Tomorrow, my colleagues and I will be heading to Kudat for a weekend trip/getaway. It was a plan we came up a month ago, and after a few hiccups, we managed to set the date and did all the necessary arrangements.

We even prepared car stickers for the trip. :D

It has been quite a while since we have a trip like this. Everyone was ecstatic to go there because of its tourist attractions like Simpang Mengayau, Bak-bak Beach and the longhouses. Besides that, Kudat will host Coconut Festival this weekend, and, to top it all up, on our way back, we will stop at Kota Belud for the annual Tamu Besar.

Gonna be back with lotsa photos! Have a nice weekend ahead.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Minolta 50mm f1.4, Nex-3, LA-EA1 adapter

Last night, I got the chance to test one of Minolta's rare lenses, the 50mm f1.4. Built quality was very good for an old lens. Because it wasn't a SSM or SAM lenses, focusing is manually done, but having said that, it was easy to get sharp photos. No pp done on these photos except resizing and WB.

1/25, iso 800, f2.8

1/25, iso 800, f2.8

1/20, iso 800, f2.8

I recorded a short video afterwards.

opps...I mistakenly put the title as Sony 50mm f1.4 whereby it should be a Minolta.

What's with the mistake? Hehehe. I just bought a used Sony 50mm f1.4 from an Alphanatic's forumer, for RM400. It's cheap because the blades are stuck at f1.4. Perfect for 'bokeh master' as he said. Finally I have a good prime to play with once I get it repaired.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wasai revisited's Sunday again. What a good day to rest and do other things beside work. My friends suggested we go to Wasai, which is a popular waterfall located not far from Lawas town. I quickly agreed, as I've been shooting less nowadays.

Before that, some portraiture of Azmi, my colleague using 55200.

Besides that, I got to try the SAM1855, mounted via adapter. The AF was faster than SAM55200. The shot below was taken with a CPL filter attached. Speaking of filters, I just bought cheap CPL and GND filters to use with the SEL1855. Because the diameter of the lens was 49mm, and the filters are 52, I bought 49-52mm step-up ring for RM29(plus postage) from Yamiya.

Whoah blue skies! By the way, my colleagues and I will be going to Kudat at the end of next week, that's why I'm getting those filters.

Let's get back to Wasai. I have blogged about this place a while ago. Today, the place was packed, so we walked further up which is a first for me. The drought season affected the amount of water but still there's a few places that we can dip in. Most of the shots here were taken using the least-used lens in my kit, 16mm f2.8 unless stated.

55200. My housemate Safri.

Slow shutter as usual.

The walk up. It is slippery so be careful.

The view from above where we had our dip.

Azmi and Jonikal.

Shots below taken with 1855SEL.

1.6 sec slow shutter, f22.

One of few hi-speed shots, this one taken on is03200, f5.6, 1/500.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sony Nex-3, LA-EA1 and 55200 SAM

Since I installed the new firmware for the Nex, I eagerly waited for this to arrive. It's a used Sony SAL 55200mm SAM which I bought for RM410. To mount in, I bought the LA-EA1 adapter too! A used but still mint unit for RM560. Because of the eagerness and anxiety, I brought along my netbook to the post office last Saturday to collect both items, and quickly updated the adapter right outside the building!

The lens itself is bigger, but everything is NICE!

The first shot right after the updating process. 1/800, f6.3 iso 400, 200mm.

As reported, the AF speed is slower and sometimes it hunts even in broad daylight. To me, having AF with Sony's SSM and SAM lenses is just a bonus. I still can make do with the slower AF though I do wish it's a bit faster. :p

After that, I went to Mega Avit with a friend of mine. I was planning to mount SSM lenses to see if there's any differences with the AF speed. Guess what! A33 SLT just arrived! I on the other hand, requested for the 70200 G to be tested.

Cute orange box! 55mm, iso 800, 1/320, f4.

A33 with 1680 Zeiss. 70200G, f4, iso200, 70mm, 1/30.

Chua examined the A33, and made up his mind to get the a55 which is coming end of this month.
60mm, iso800, 1/50, f6.3.

IMO, SSM lenses autofocus a little bit faster than SAM lenses. As for the 70200 G lens, I don't have much problems handling it, even on manual focus because of the big zoom and focusing ring.
Back to the real world aka using my own SAM lens, I shot some more photos from this 'underated' lens.

The newly installed tweets. 1/1000, iso200, f7,1, 200mm.

1/800, iso200, f7.1, 200mm.

1/25, iso3200, f5.6, 135mm.

1/125, iso400, f5.6, 200mm

1/400, iso400, f5.6, 200mm cropped.

Back at home, I mounted my friend's beercan.

Manual focusing only, but the focus ring was smooth.

Beercan, 1/40, f4.5, iso3200, 160mm.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nex's firmware version 3 installed!

Yay! As promised, Sony has released the new firmware for it's Nex cameras. I downloaded the files, and installed it which is very easy to do. Just follow the instructions! What do I like the most about the new firmware? Custom button, where you can set up to three most-used settings and you can access them quickly without going deep into the menu.

Version 3 all right. The Lens/Mount Adapter version will change by this week.

Go to Setup menu to set your custom button.

Here's how my display looked like. What changed is the Custom button from the usual Shoot Mode.

After pressing the Custom button, ISO settings comes up cause I change ISO often.

Press the right side of the ring, DRO/Auto HDR settings.

Another press brings me to the White Balance settings.

Other than the three settings above, you can opt for Shooting Mode, Shooting Tips, Precision Digital Zoom, Metering Mode, Flash Compensation, Creative Style, MF Assist and AF Area.

Besides the introduction of the Custom button, other notable features that comes with the new version are Aperture Priority mode during HD movie recording which means you can set the aperture manually before capturing movies. The MF assist for manual focus gets a new feature. Previously the MF assist only enlarged the centre of the frame during focusing, but now you can
select any particular area in the frame. Very useful for portraits and doing 'rule of third' composition.

After testing/meddling with the new firmware, I can gladly say that shooting with Nex will be more enjoyable from now onwards!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SEL18200 and LA-EA1 adapter for NEX tryout

When Sony Nex was launched few months ago, it only came with either the SEL18-55 and the SEL16mm lens. Finally, the long awaited SEL18-200 reached our shores and I got to try it at my local favourite Sony Centre(Mega Avit) at Wisma Merdeka.

Looks weird, but image quality is the main point here.

Built quality was good. Metal body and weighted nicely even when mounted on my camera. I did not have any problems handling the camera with one hand. However, I did feel the zoom ring a bit stiff, maybe because it's still a new lens. The manual focusing ring was smooth though. Some test shots using the lens, at f5.6

18mm, or 27mm on Nex.

200mm. The sharpness was good in my own opinion.



Crop tryout.

Original size.


Then, I tried the Sony LA-EA1 adapter. It enables Sony's A-mount lenses to be mounted on Nex, but no AF. This month however, Sony will be releasing new firmwares for it's Nex and also for the adapter. The best thing is, the firmware for the adapter will finally enables auto-focusing. Yay! Only Sony's SSM and SAM lenses will have AF support when the firmware is out.

Retails for RM599. Street price is much cheaper.

Phil from Mega Avit asked me what lens that I want to mount, and with a big smile I asked for the Zeiss 24-70 f2.8. This beast was heavy and pricey but image quality was exceptional. Nex's MF assist helped manual focusing very easy on the big LCD.

24mm at f2.8.

70mm at f2.8.

As much as I like the image quality and the range of the SEL18-200, the price made me think more than twice to get it. It is retailed at RM2399. How I wish Sony released the lens earlier with the camera + lens combo. Having said that, I did some thinking and finally I think I have made quite a sensible choice for my kit setup. I just purchased a used LA-EA1 adapter and SAL 55-200 SAM for less than RM1k and both will arrive at the end of this week. I will then have a decent kit in the bag with the 16mm, 18-55mm, the 35mm 1.7 and the 55-200 SAM, just nice for general photography.