Dec 14 2012

The case for the Sony RX1, digital vs film and cases of beer

This may be the golden age of digital point and shoot cameras or it may be the amber ale age I’m still undecided.  At the top of this heap of little mighty cameras is the new Sony RX1.  It’s reached that peak by pairing a sensor equivalent in size to 35mm film with a fast 35mm focal length lens.  After a wander in the photographic wilderness it seems Sony has conjured the spirit of Minolta once again, likely before they slip back into the dark and we wonder where they went.  The stand out feature of the camera though is its price.  I don’t doubt that the price is closely related to the developement and production costs but $2799 buys a lot of consumables (Beer and film).  My tongue in cheek chart explains this as clearly as an unfiltered beer.  I have no doubt that the camera will actually produce quality images in the hands of competent photographers but then a good photographer would no matter what the camera is.  For disclosure one of my all time favourite cameras was the Sony DSC-V3 which I used for years and my primary SLR camera was a Minolta x700.

Sony RX1 vs Beer

Other autofocus cameras with a full 35mm size frame and a 35mm lens that now cost less than 1% of a RX1  include; Pentax PC35AF, Canon AF35ML (OK it’s 40mm but it’s also f/1.9), Nikon L35AF, Olympus Stylus Epic.  I’m sure there are more but I think I’ve made my point and shoot.


May 7 2012

Infrared Blossoms (Sony DSC-V3)

I’ve posted previously about creating infrared images with the Sony DSC-V3  but never shown the actual contrivance that I use to do it.  In an ideal world I wouldn’t need all the step rings but I’ve tried to use only what I have available to me and as the infrared filter is the most expensive item everything else must revolve around that, literally.

Starting at the camera side is what would appear to be an extraneous item a 48mm extension ring however what this does is, through having less threads than the extension tube, over ride the cameras sensor for detecting the extension tube.  This allows you a limited amount of zoom which would other wise be locked at its maximum.  The next thing is the extension tube itself which places the rest of the filters out of the way of the cameras lens.  Ignoring the step rings the next important item is the Rodenstock RG715 filter.  Within its name is a clue to its function, the 715 refers to the wavelength of light that it allows through.  The RG715 blocks light bellow 715nm and passes the near infrared above this.  As visible light is defined as between 390 and 750nm you can see that most of the light we see with our eyes is blocked.  After the IR filter I use neutral density filters to cut down the total amount of light coming in. When the camera is in “Night Shot” mode in daylight the sensor is overwhelmed and the image is completely washed out.  This happens because the camera locks out all user adjustment in this mode forcing the shutter speed to 1/30sec and bellow.

And of course the camera itself needs to be set to Night Shot mode.  What happens in this case is the camera flips it’s small internal infrared filter out of the way allowing those higher wavelengths of light to fall on the sensor.  Normally this extra light would be unwanted and be detrimental to the image but this is the light I am after.  The results are mixed, yes you get a near infrared image but the overall image quality is lower than the camera can produce in normal operation and without being able to control the exposure that too can be hit and miss.  I’m not aware of any current cameras that have provisions for IR photography without actually modifying the camera but a modified DSLR would give better results for sure.


Jun 1 2011

Tire Swing

Taken with the Sony DSC-V3, the top image was shot at f4.0 again showing that you can get interesting bokeh under the right conditions with a small sensor.

May 26 2011

Two very different pictures

I took both these pictures this week with my Sony digital camera and as I was importing them into Lightroom it just struck me how different they were, that’s the great thing about digital cameras.  I think that it’s easy to forget how much creative power we have through technology.   This trend will continue as new features are added to cameras and I for one look forward to it.   On a side note anyone who has seen enough of my images will realize I often take pictures of whatever catches my eye whether it something people consider a traditional subject for photography or not.

Jan 31 2011

DSC-V3 Black and white

While by digital camera standards this camera is now ancient, November of 2004, I still enjoy using it for Infrared photo’s and sometimes just because I really like it.  One thing I’ve recently started to do is to shoot RAW with it despite the fact that the write times with RAW are very long.  By shooting RAW and processing in the latest version of Lightroom 3 I am able to wring a lot more detail out of the files than ever before essentially giving it some new life.