Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:23 pm

Change the default image preset in your 60D and the JPEGs will come out with more intense colors. RAW files will still depend on what you do in post processing.
How are you liking the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM? I hardly ever use mine. When I do, the very thin depth of field at f/1.8 combined with my lack of skill leads to more missed shots than usual. Examples:
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... G_4717.jpg
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... G_4898.jpg
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... G_4885.jpg
The moral of the story was that my poor lens choice (taking the 85/1.8 rather than the 17-55/2.8 IS), the crowded exhibits, the dirty tanks, the poor lighting and the ISO limitation of my camera made my photography experience at the aquarium much less fun than at the zoo.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:28 pm

Love the clownfish! What was the aperture on the first one?

I would kill for a good old Minolta 85/1.4. That's an amazing lens and any aperture under 2 at that focal length is a ton of (frustrating) fun. A bit trickier on aps-c, but still has amazing bokeh. Sorry that it wasn't as solid for you at the aquarium. The length on that lens could have been the issue. I probably would have taken my Mino 50/1.7 and the Tammy 28-70/2.8.

And the Minolta 50/1.4 is a very sought after lens. At only ~$250, it is nearly twice the lens of the $70 50/1.7. That little bit of aperture on it is amazing. And those old original Minolta colors are stellar and Sony has done well to recapture them with new designs. I've been nothing but pleased with mine. Now if I could only get better at white balance.....
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:51 am

TheEmrys wrote: What was the aperture on the first one?
I'll recommend this Firefox add-on for all photographers:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fxif/
http://christian-eyrich.de/mozilla/fxif/
It lets you right-click on an image to see the EXIF data. I have used a couple of others, but they weren't supported in the latest Firefox builds. One of these may work better:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefo ... rm=windows

All of my examples above were shot wide open with the 85/1.8. The clown fish are clearly the best of those, at ISO 800. That's the upper range of "good" for the EOS 40D's sensor. The penguin is at ISO 3200 (grainy) and the lion fish is at ISO 1600 (not vibrant). The better light sensitivity of newer cameras (like the EOS 7D with which I replaced the 40D) would make those ISO settings more usable. The shots are all small (¼-resolution) JPEGs straight out of the camera.

Even with the clown fish, if you look closely, you'll see that the focus is only sharp on part of one fish. f/1.8 requires real attention to get the focus right. When I've used that lens more recently, I've usually selected single-point AF so that I have a better idea of what's going to be sharp. Combine that challenge with moving targets and my keeper rate drops significantly.

White balance hasn't been a challenge for me. Auto is usually okay. If I remember to set it specifically for the lighting conditions (tungsten, overcast, etc.) it does very well. I've got a micro-fiber cloth that doubles as a gray reference. If all else fails, it only takes a click of the mouse to change it when you work with the RAW files on the PC.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:07 am

The 85/1.8 requires a bit of attention, distance, and stabilization (or tons of light), but it looks like it will be pretty useful. All of my primes fit into the 15-85 range of my primary zoom but they're all much more capable of controlling DOF and so on, along with having nicer bokeh (if not nicer colors, like the 24/2.8 IS USM).

I've only played around with it, shooting some stuff in the kitchen and my friends cats (along with the 50/1.4), but I'm impressed with both of them and can't wait to put them into portrait duty for family stuff. There, the 24/2.8 IS makes an excellent group/scenery lens, the 50/1.4 can do various body shots, and the 85/1.8 can do head/head and shoulders. With the narrower primes lacking IS, though, I know already that I'm going to be using a sandbagged tripod and wired shutter to nail the right aperture for focus isolation while actually getting the subject in focus :).

I think I'm most looking forward to using the 85/1.8 too. With the longer distance I should be able to get some real focus isolated head shots worth hanging on a wall, and yeah, I have the manual mode and the priority modes set to use the center point only for now, though I realize that I won't be able to focus->recompose and will probably need to set custom AF points for eyes/lips etc.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:46 am

So do you all shoot in RAW or jpeg most of the time?

I can see the advantage of RAW, but it's useless and burdensome unless I'm going to tweak every image. I don't plan on tweaking every image.

Also, I've found that the software Sony bundled with the camera has two distinct drawbacks:
  • Converted images are scaled down very slightly in the vertical axis.
  • A straight conversion sometimes looks exactly like the original, and sometimes it doesn't (half of the converted images were darker - not insignificantly so - than the original

So there's a guy at work that shoots /everything/ in RAW mode and then comes back to the office and simply converts all the images to jpeg before trashing the RAW files. Correct me if I'm wrong: that's completely pointless, is it not?

I got some absolutely fantastic images of the kids riding their bikes yesterday. 18mm seems to be a fantastac focal length for up-close portrait work. Here are a couple shots I took this morning on auto/no flash:

My niece, shot from about 12" at 18mm/f3.5:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing

My mom, shot from 4 feet at the same - 18mm/f3.5:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing

Edit: is my notation of the focal length and aperture correctly stated? I'm such a noob.
Last edited by flip-mode on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:03 am

flip-mode wrote:So do you all shoot in RAW or jpeg most of the time?
I do both. I shoot raw + small JPEG (1/4 resolution). The JPEGs are a good size for sharing and displaying on a PC screen. The RAW files are there if I want to change anything from the way that the image came out of the camera. You don't want to be editing JPEGs other than cropping--they get ugly fast if you're trying to adjust levels, etc.

Shooting portraits with a wide angle tends to make things in the foreground (noses) appear larger and things in the background (bodies) appear smaller.

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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:30 am

I shoot RAW for everything that may become a picture I want to keep. Not necessarily print, but to keep. Reason being is that RAW tends to get you an extra stop of light you can play with in Lightroom (what I use), Photoshop, or whatever else folks use. However, for walkaround, typical fun shooting I will do jpegs, unless its low-light. For light low shooting, the extra stop is huge.

As for shooting with that 85/1.8, there isn't much you can do about the shallow DOF. I don't see your shots as being OOF, but that its just the shallow DOF doing its thing. You are in a tough spot with shooting conditions as its so dark and you are a bit limited with your ISO constraints. You might have been able to take a couple of shots at f/2-3, with varying changes to white balance as well as extending the shutter speed. But with fish... yeah. That's a toughy. Might have been one of those instances where you'd shoot 100 shots, with 2 being amazingly good. And that sort of takes the fun out of it for your daughter.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:24 pm

I shot a bunch of RAW + JPEG and for the Fuji X-E1 the entire lot of photos were right on the money. I had a 30 day trial to try out Lightroom and it kinds blew my mind that the entire lot needed no adjustment.

Now I have owned Photoshop since 'Big Electric Cat' an Adrian Belew song I have on vinyl. That's 4.0 in 96, and I can use it. The Fuji, unless I shoot outside of what's right, needs almost no tweaking. I will still shoot RAW + for serious shots but it's JPEGs kill.
Last edited by PenGun on Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:36 pm

I still do RAW + Full size jpeg, but I'm using a 64GB UHS-1 card and a USB3 reader, so space and transfer size are trivial, and 16GB of RAM makes editing a cinch. Canon's jpegs seem to add gobs of contrast and have a more pleasing color balance and more immediate detail, but I like having the RAW files available for real tweaking later in Lightroom along with a data source for Photoshop etc.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:25 pm

flip-mode wrote:Also, I've found that the software Sony bundled with the camera has two distinct drawbacks:
  • Converted images are scaled down very slightly in the vertical axis.
  • A straight conversion sometimes looks exactly like the original, and sometimes it doesn't (half of the converted images were darker - not insignificantly so - than the original

So there's a guy at work that shoots /everything/ in RAW mode and then comes back to the office and simply converts all the images to jpeg before trashing the RAW files. Correct me if I'm wrong: that's completely pointless, is it not?


Not entirely. The Sony jpeg is converted in-camera, and it is a bit lacking. Because its simply an on-the-fly conversion and compression, it is going to have some issues. However, Sony's in particular have a bit lesser quality. If you take in RAW+JPEG, you can do some "pixel peeping" and compare. The colors just aren't as good. For myself, I bought LR4 for tweaking, but to also do RAW->JPEG conversion. I am happier to let the slower conversion in LR occur than to get off-colors.

But, for a working solution, shoot jpeg for fun family outings where you are just having fun. Same with walking around and you bring the camera. However, when you are composing shots such as portraits or being artistic, shoot in RAW. There just isn't any substitution for the quality in RAW.

Also, I highly recommend you play with the DRO options. I either use AUTO or the highest option. It does some interesting things with the color and balance.

Also, shooting jpeg and in HDR will give you some fun results as well.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:34 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:P.S.: Only folks logged into Google that you have authorized can view those documents.


Whaaat? Crap. Apologies. I've fixed it - at least I think I have. Someone verify if possible.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0YgU7S ... sp=sharing

By the way, JAE, I thought your aquarium pics were great. I'm sure you're looking at them with a more discerning eye.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:55 pm

I shoot an Olympus OM-D E-M5, I generally keep it in RAW only now. Previously I was shooting RAW + JPEG because Lightroom 4 didn't handle the OM-D's RAW perfectly when I first got the camera, but Adobe's since put out an update and it works great now.

For those interested Lightroom 5 is currently in open beta. You can download it for free from Adobe though you will need to create an account with them I believe.

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom5/

flip-mode, DSC00170 is a really great portrait.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:58 pm

Working now.

Pictures look really good. If you are looking to take indoor photos, I'd seriously consider a Minolta 50/1.7. In terms of light it allows, its an f/1.7 vs the f/3.5 you are shooting with now. And its a very inexpensive lens. Like, $70 inexpensive. I run across them all the time. If you want, I can give you a heads up when I find one. Maybe even less. But you'll be able to run a higher ISO (sharper pictures) and it will give you a very nice DOF.

Here is this really cool chart that helps with aperture. It also includes info on what that does to your picture.

http://www.shortcourses.com/use/using1-9.html
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:44 pm

This thread has inspired me to take some pics of my favorite model. Here are a couple of him a couple of minutes ago with my wife holding him.

Sony a65 Tamron 28-75/2.8 @f2.8 ISO800

Image

Image
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:49 pm

I went out yesterday, inspired by this thread, shooting RAW + JPG. I was also partially inspired by the how poor FOSS is at handling Canon RAW files.

My results were disappointing. The RAW files have much richer colors when displayed in Windows than the JPG files did.
Taking both at once also meant that taking the exposure bracketed shots (trying out HDR, not built-in to my camera) took longer than I would have liked.

slowriot wrote:For those interested Lightroom 5 is currently in open beta. You can download it for free from Adobe though you will need to create an account with them I believe.

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom5/


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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:36 am

Lightroom is usually cheap enough if you can prove that you're a university student, and nothing really approaches it's capabilities for dedicated amateur/low volume pro work. Shooting Jpegs as well gives you something to reference as to what the shot could look like, whether to use as a proof for a customer or as a guide for your own RAW work in the lab. Also, if you're a Mac type, Apple's Aperture software is rated near the best in the business.

If you're a student, it's worth trying to get a real copy of it and shoehorning it into your workflow. I know I'll be digging into this stuff real quick, what with a collection of Canon USM primes weighing down my camera bag!

May even hit up the Dallas World Aquarium with a light load consisting of the 24/2.8 IS, 50/1.4, and 85/1.8, the Canon 270 EX II flash (currently on sale!), and a monopod with a wired external shutter. Just hope I get in before all of the school tours!
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:36 am

TheEmrys wrote:Image


I love the color in these pictures. Are these straight out of the camera?
flip-mode
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:07 am

Yep. Jpeg, with light set at incandescent. The light is from a ceiling fan a bit behind my son. But yeah the color does come out well.And remember this is a Tamron lens so it has different lens coatings than a Sony or Minolta lens.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:04 am

Also, I have the DRO set to Level 5. Drop makes shadows fade a bit, and brings out a bit more color. Here is a neat little overview of it in use by a pro. I don't use it all the time, but in darker room where you want a bit less shadow, its pretty nice. If you want shadow or have a neat lighting setup, it is a pretty nice option.

http://williamporterphotography.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/sony-a77-expanding-dynamic-range-with-dro-or-hdr-or-not/
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:07 am

slowriot wrote:flip-mode, DSC00170 is a really great portrait.


Thanks, man. That could be one of the better pics I've ever taken.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:43 pm

I took a walk through Mt Adams this afternoon:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/95096101@N ... 304036533/

If anyone wants full size of any of those let me know.

If anyone ever visits Cincinnati, put Mt Adams at the top of your list of sights.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:48 pm

Hotness, is what that is. I see Sony's kit lens doesn't disappoint! Very sharp narrow aperture shots with excellent color and contrast.

I'll be adding what I can to my Flikr stream as soon as I beat Lightroom into submission :).
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:41 pm

Airmantharp wrote:I'll be adding what I can to my Flikr stream as soon as I beat Lightroom into submission :).


Don't make me wait too long! :P

I did what some here suggested and took RAW + JPEG. The pics I put up to Flick are the JPEGs straight out of the camera. My primary purpose this afternoon was to practice framing shots. The shots on Flickr are only 1/3 of the pictures I took. The other 2/3s weren't framed to my liking. Even some of those I posted I'm not entirely happy with. But that's what practice is for!
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:57 pm

Oh I have a LOT of work to do. I went ahead and grabbed the Flikr Pro thing, as I need somewhere to put pictures that isn't an aging spinner, and Flikr will let you send, organize and share 'full size' shots. I'm also going to have to dust off some BD-Rs :).
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:03 pm

Ugh. I'm seeing a dark spot in some of the photos. Here is one that shows it really well - look just to the left of the top of the telephone pole...

Anyone have any thoughts on what it might be? I see nothing on the lens or the UV filter... nothing on the interior optics that my eye can see either...

Image

I'll take some more test shots, but it has already appeared in multiple shots, so it's not a one-off...
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:46 pm

flip-mode wrote:Ugh. I'm seeing a dark spot in some of the photos. Here is one that shows it really well - look just to the left of the top of the telephone pole....


Dust on the sensor.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:06 pm

Dust on the mirror. Put it in cleaning mode exactly how your directions state in the manual. It should vibrate it right off.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:17 pm

TheEmrys wrote:Dust on the mirror. Put it in cleaning mode exactly how your directions state in the manual. It should vibrate it right off.


Alright. I'll do that. Weird thing is that I've only seen the spot on particular shades of blue. But I'll definitely go through the cleaning routine.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:42 pm

flip-mode wrote:Alright. I'll do that. Weird thing is that I've only seen the spot on particular shades of blue. But I'll definitely go through the cleaning routine.

Mirror/sensor dust usually shows up first on broad, relatively uniform colors which usually means sky.
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Re: Just got a Sony a57 (name changed)

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:46 am

Image

My first shot run through Lightroom to Flikr. Jalapeno poppers my dad likes making (there's some nice cheeses and a green pitted olive in each, seeds and cores removed). This was on a tripod with on-camera shutter with a 2-second delay, and it's still not as sharp as I'd like, though I think I nailed the DOF with f/2.5.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
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Airmantharp
Maximum Gerbil
 
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Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:41 pm

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