There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

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Andy
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There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby Andy » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:25 am

Sorry to be misleading, but this post really has nothing to do with the title :-)

Image

This is a "grab shot" from my car parked on the shoulder, handheld, AP, letting the camera choose the shutter speed. I used f16 to insure sharp results. This is a farm I have observed on my way to and from work for several years. I need to make a study of it when conditions are right. There is a triangle-pattern of roads that approach it so I should be able to shoot it in varying light conditions. Not looking for critique here (though comments always welcome). Purpose of this image was to try out my newest "toy."

In January, I made my second trip to the Caribbean (cruise). I love new places and any photo ops they create. We like to take some of the tours to get some of the history and culture of the places we stop. Since we plan to make a Caribbean cruise a regular thing (perhaps annual - already planning a Feb 2014 cruise out of San Juan to the Southern Caribbean), it is likely we will be back in some of the same places, and with this background, I will have some idea of what and where I would like to shoot.

But I digress (those of you who know me aren't suprised) :-).

In the last 2 years, I have upgraded my photo gear to "pro" stuff, including two f2.8 pro zooms and a Nikon D800 body. I love the build quality, the image quality, and the ability to make the images I want to make with this stuff. But with quality comes size and weight. I schlumped the D800 and the 24-70 f2.8 around the islands we visited in the Caribbean for several days and in spite of some "nice" images, what I specifically brought back in terms of impressions was that I could have been carrying a boat anchor around my neck. It takes some of the "fun" out of the traveling.

I have come, also, to the conclusion, that much of this is daytime shooting in bright sun conditions (not optimal for "artistic" landscape shooting) and is more "travel shooting" than landscape shooting. It calls for a different shooting method and solution. Most of it will neccessitate (gasp!) handheld shooting, at smaller apertures to incorporate good depth of field, and, possibly at faster shutter speeds and higher ISO settings.

I have been watching the development of the "mirrorless," interchangeable lens camera systems. Back in the days of film, it was common for some of the best street shooters, portrait photographers and even some landscape shooters, to use what we commonly referred to as "rangefinder" cameras. They were small, usually interchangeable lens, 35 mm cameras. A big part of what makes Single Lens Reflex (SLR/DSLR) cameras so big and clunky is the TTL ("through the lense") viewfinders and the mirror mechanism and box that is required to make them "see." Rangefinders had a viewfinder separate from the actual film frame. Because it was not TTL, usually not centered on the body, and often not even the same size or aspect ratio as the 35mm film frame, it was not "what you see is what you get." Shooter had to compensate for what they saw in the viewfinder and what they got as a result.

The "mirrorless" digitals are essentially a digital "rangefinder" camera, with an exception. The viewfinders are generally electronic now (EVF) and can be designed and programmed to see an image much more closely comparable to the real thing being captured. Today these EVFs are bright and responsive and really impressive.

My Canon G12, (for years, I have been referring to these as P&S - "point and shoot" cameras. I need to change my thinking. They are "compact" cameras that now do nearly everything I can do on my DSLR), was essentially a digital rangefinder camera. And, for what it was, it was quite good (so much so that many pro shooters were touting it as their primary "backup" camera). I carried it exclusively on my first Caribbean cruise. I liked its convenience and portability. I liked its performance in good light conditions. It really started to break down in challenging conditions. The primary reason: Its very small sensor size. There were, of course, other reasons and technology continues to make even these very small sensors better and better. But it is what has held me back from entry into the relatively expensive, mirrorless interchangeable lens market. Until now.

A couple weeks ago, I packaged up my backup (but treasured - as it was my primary camera on my 2010 Vermont trip, my 2011 California and W. Virginia Trip, my 2012 Grand Teton NP trip, and my very successful 2012 Michigan U.P. Fall foliage shoot) Nikon D700 body, all the "goodies" that were only good for it, and my G12, and shipped them off to KEH. In exchange, I am now the owner of Sony's newest NEX body, the NEX-6. This body has a 16 mp sensor (the exact same sensor that Nikon installed in its superstar N7000 - incidentally, the Nikon DSLR I most highly recommend for new DSLR owners or upgraders these days - unless they want to move to so-called "full frame"). This was the "deal-maker" for me. I briefly owned the D7000, and was very impressed with its image quality and particularly its ability to render noise free images in low light conditions and at higher ISO settings.

I am told by reviewers and users that the processor in the Sony NEX cameras is even better than Nikon's and that I should expect reasonably noise free images at ISO settings as high as 3200! At the same time, my copy has their new 16-50 zoom (f3.5 - 5.6) which is very small and light. The body, with this lens, is almost identical in form factor to the Canon G12. So it is very small, very light, and very convenient. Obviously, the proof will be in the imagery.

My friends who followed my "mental gymnastics" over thge last year, have now confirmed what they always suspected. I am a hopeless (probably schizophrenic) "gear-head"!! Remember that song about the lady who swallowed the fly? Well, I bought the D7000 as a backup after a "scare" in Grand Teton with what turned out to be an after-market battery issue. I "justified" the D7000 purchase with a bunch of reasons. Shortly after that purchase, I "decided" it was time to upgrade from the D700 to the D800. This time, instead of trading the D700, I kept it as the backup and sold the new D7000. :-). Now this. But I am not without a backup! The NEX series, with a relatively reasonably priced adapter, will allow me to mount all my Nikon lenses! Of course, I will have to manually focus, but for landscape, in an emergency, I can work with that just fine. And, in the meantime, I don't have an expensive body, sitting in the bag unused, and loosing its value on a daily basis. I fully expect the NEX will get lots of use in the next couple years.

Will update with some images - when I make some. Thanks for listening to the ramble.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .


deaner1971
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Re: There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby deaner1971 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:50 am

Andy,

As a Sony shooter, I eagerly await your review. I have wondered if the NEX (and its cousins from other makers) will replace the lower end of cameras for Sony as it offers much of the same features with a smaller footprint. Interestingly, I have not yet seen them in broad usage. I still see everyone and his brother bust out a DSLR with a stop lens or a 3.5-6.7 70-300 (or the like) depending on the event. I expect that to change.

I have debated whether a NEX should be my back-up set-up and my "this trip isn't about you and your darned photography" vacation set-up. I imagine I can get the camera and two lenses covering most of my range in a space equal to my current camera and vertical grip. Also, thinking it would help with weight (not mine, my baggage's).

abby
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Re: There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby abby » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:26 pm

Sounds like a good choice Andy. Looking forward to your review.
Carol

Andy
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Re: There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby Andy » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:29 pm

Dean: Watch for my newest blog entry (either tomorrow or Sunday a.m.), which is a more in-depth review of the camera. Next week, as a follow-up, I'll blog my "lens test" of the zoom kit lens that ships with the NEX-6. http://lightcentric.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/my-review-of-the-sony-nex-6/

I think this is a backup camera that will most definitely fit your description. I think it will allow us to shoot in situations where, family, event, etc., wouldn't let us. I am pretty excited about its potential.

My "pro" friend likened the combo to the erstwhile, Medium Format Camera for "Serious" landscape and small DSLR for "utility" shooting. Only now we get to step both down. His point is that he thinks my 36mp D800 is essentially MF film quality equivalent and the NEX is essentially DSLR quality equivalent.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

Andy
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Re: There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby Andy » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:48 am

There is one other plus, Dean, for Sony shooters. Sony sells an adapter that makes all the Sony A-mount lenses work with all their functions and all the NEX functions, when mounted on the NEX. I understand that its a little clunky looking and feeling, but will let you essentially work with the lenses you already have in an arguably lighter, more compact formula.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

deaner1971
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Re: There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby deaner1971 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:30 am

For anyone else considering this option, the NEX with the 16.1 sensor is one sale today at Amazon for $369 with the kit lens. Just a head's up.

Andy, that is one of the draws (the adaptor). Right now, the large purchase plans are 1) get new lens to fill in remaining gap in my 11-200 fast glass range 2) get full-frame camera 3) get a "take it anywhere" back-up. Definitely in the plans though.

Andy
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Re: There are Farms in Michigan, Too :-)

Postby Andy » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:40 pm

Ah!! Be Careful!!

The Nex that is on sale for that price has got to be the Nex-3, which is the lowest end line. I believe it has an older sensor and perhaps not even up to the level of the one that is in the Nikon D7000 DSLR. It also does not have the EVF viewfinder (no viewfinder at all on this one). For P&S 'rs, that may be just fine. But the camera I bought and have now reviewed in my Blog is a lot more camera. I looked on Amazon just a few minutes ago:

Nex -3 selling used and refurb $285 - $400+ (couldn't find the you refer to for $369) No viewfinder

Nex - 5n $650 - $800 No viewfinder

Nex 7 $1150 (EVF Viewfinder) 24mp sensor

Note that all of the above are with the older 18-55mm zoom (much larger, chunkier and heavier than the 16-50mm on the Nex-6)
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .



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