My switch to Sony

My switch to Sony camera system…

As many of you saw me with the Nikon D700 and lenses at functions I read and researched on many forums and also YouTube looking into a newer system that is either better or on par that I had.

A person that I followed is Jason Larnier, You can follow his website here too, who is using the Sony system, he used Nikon too when I started to follow his work. The way he captured the moment was just incredible and I learnt a lot from him and the way he compose the model.

I saw he made the switch to Sony and I think it is just another camera or tool. I looked it from the distance and most of the time it was only on the Internet I saw the cameras. Then I visit a camera store where a friend is working and see the Sony A6000 that Jason shot a wedding with. Yes that tiny little camera but with quality prime lenses and still use the same technique than before. I thought by myself that I should get one of these little cameras and test it out.

I arrange with my friend from the shop to bring it one evening with him after work. It was just to see how I would cope with it and if I would like ot get the hang of it. Man it was a pleasure to use with the kit lens and still I asked how to adjust what setting for….Yes in the beginning there as lot of settings to go through to set it up. After the even I used it I made the choice to get one and saved money for it. Even I know it will be on par with the Nikon D700 at a fixed aperture at F/5.6.

In the mean time I bought the Minolta Beercan lens, the 70-210 F/4 lens, a Tamron 90mm F/2.5 macro and a mini Beercan lens, the 35-70 F/4 lens. It was still a way to go as I need to get the info what adapter to let it work on the Sony A6000. Jason said in his info the Sony LAEA4 adapter will be best to use to make use of the built in autofocus motor. So after another month of saving I found one on the Internet for cheap as it was body only…. End of the next month I got hold of the adapter and I was like boy with a new toy… or bag of sweets…I tested the camera in various ways, from fast focusing and some lowlight settings in high ISO’s.

I took it to a lowlight event and use it as backup where I think it will be best. Stunning results with the settings I applied. Then I been looking on the Internet for the big brother, Sony A7S, the lowlight king… Saw one for sale and contact the owner… With that I already add the Nikon D700 and 24-70 Nikon lens for sale on a website…not very long like three days I got a buyer…. I went after work one evening and sell it for the same amount I can buy the Sony A7S…I was even more in the clouds with the next purchase…

That same day I purchased the A7S I put it through it’s paces with extreme low light, pushing the ISO up to ISO 32 000! With the correct settings it was like very less noise at that rate…I realized I would take more shots I never could take before during the same light setup at the event.

There are only a small amount of things I would Sony to correct in a firmware update.

To save the settings on the memory card

To mark the image favourites

To change the file name when creating new folder

To have time lapse function be part of the setup and not to purchased

The people are complaining about battery life and I made sure I can get more shots than Sony claims with 350.

I also got myself the dummy battery, USB power booster from 5-9V and connect it to the any of my Sony cameras… 2×20 ampere power banks give me the power of roughly 50 batteries, that are more than enough for week’s photos or video taking…


The gear and Kit

Macbook Pro 17″

2Tb My Passport External Hard drive

Sony A7s

Sony A6000 with Sony 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6

Sony 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6

Helios 58mm F/2 Manual Focus lens

Canon FD 200mm F/2 manual focus with Adapter

Minolta 70-210 mm F/4 Beercan Lens

Fotodiox Canon to Sony Adapter

2x Godox 860ii S Flash

3x Godox Flash Reflector and stands

1x Godox TT 350s Flash

X1T S Trigger

Hähnel Trigger system for time laps photography

Since I bought the bags there were updates to newer ones but I link them to the most updated versions from Jessops where I mostly buy my gear….

PhotoSEL BG504 Roller Camera Bag for SLR DSLR Lens Laptop 17 inch

Lowepro Fast Pack 350

Lowepro AW200

Custom Brackets Mini RC

Bushnell Spacemaster Spotting Scope and Camera mount for Sony E Mount

This shows how I add the the Bushnell Spotting Scope to the Nikon D700 to do digiscoping ..

The scope’s 16x power becomes a whopping 750-1500mm full manual scope and you need a sturdy firm tripod..

My Trusty Ricoh KR10X and Ricoh KR 10 M and 35-70mm f/3.4-4.5

Kodak Retinette

Unitron 135mm f/2.8

Manfrotto ART 055 PRO Tripot

Calumet Umbrella Kit

Jacobs Five-In-One Portable Reflector (Grip Type)

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A lens or two….

Bag update.

Since my last update to the blog, I add only the latest shoot I done at Curves Gravesend when they moved to the Riverside Community Centre. I must admit, they had such fun: young and old, I rather won’t go into the sizes…hehehe

Well, why am I typing this blog today is about the two lenses I purchased. The Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 and the Nikon 105 mm F/2.8 VR lens and they are great lenses. They are tack sharp in all the corners and I will never complain about them.

The first lens, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, is my primary lens and it will replace the 35-135mm F/3.5-4.5. Reason is I cannot focus closer that 1,2 meters at the front of the lens. You have to move backwards or you have to do a manual MACRO shot on 35mm and when you have a subject so quick and close to you, you loose the shot. I tried it on many occasions and hate to loose shots.

Therefor the Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 is very handy in that option for it and me doesn’t cause flare when using the lens hood. If you want lens flare, you really have to make sure you do the “wrong” thing to have it. I took amazing shots with this peace of glass and can recommend it to any photographer who just started in the landscape or general photography. It is a workhorse of a lens, when I searched YouTube and loads of other websites where wedding, portrait and landscape photographers add their kit on display, up come this Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens.

I don’t have to mention that this will nearly glued to the Nikon D700 accept if I get another Nikon D700.

A friend of mine who lives in Canada have this funny saying and I quote from his direct words:

I need a money guy with very deep pockets and lots of time and a heart for hunting. 
Don’t waist my time, if your filthy rich let me know I’ll help you spend your money.

So if you have a spare £2000 to waist, I will need that for the right purpose… Just joking you know what I mean peoples…

The day I add the lens onto the Nikon D700 in the shop for testing, I knew that THIS is the’ lens I need. After about seven or eight weeks since I tested it in the shop, I bought it and can say I will never get rid of this lens.

I did a few test shots after I bought it and realized that I will not easily give this lens away; accept if it can be replaced with something better…. Doubt if it is currently possible.  The only negative I have against this lens is when it is attached to the Nikon D700 when in the small Crumpler bag. When the lens hood is attached to it for storage it becomes loose and is not locked in place. It locks perfectly when in use, but not when you have to store it in a bag.

On the positive side of this lens, it is fast on focusing and excellent in low light. The manual focusing override is great when I focus very close and there are a lot of objects when the camera cannot decide where to lock the focus.

For a detailed specification on this lens I’m not going to type out ALL the technical details, you can view it here

You can view most of my images I took with this lens, I used to have to look what other photographers take with this piece of glass and now I can experience it in full.

If you have any requests and further detail about this lens, feel free to contact me during the day, that depends where you are in the world….

Just remember I live in the UK and if you call me when I’m sleeping, you must be will to receive a call during night time too….

Have a Blessing of time and keep me posted with your images too….

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A lens or two…. Part Two: Nikon 105mm Macro F/2.8 … TBC

Canon Days….

Canon days.

When I saw that I needed a faster camera for action and built-in continuous drive shooting, Estelle Claassen suggested a Canon EOS 600, because she used one. It was the state of art in photography when I changed to automatic SLR camera with my budget. She went to the UK and bought it for a mere £125 with two lenses. In South African money at the time, it was a LOT of money to invest…..

I didn’t have a Canon flash at the time and used the NISSIN flash from my Ricoh. All I had to do was to adjust under the head a pin and it can be used on Canon.

What I really liked about this camera was the fact that you could adjust the points where you want to have in focus. Can’t remember the custom setting on this but it worked like this. You press the shutter half way where you want to focus, release the button and then focus on the other point that you want to have in focus. Press the shutter release and all in that focal distance will be sharp. Bear in mind you must have a small aperture setting if you want to have a nice depth filed for landscapes.

After I got a new Sigma 28-300lens from Jessops in London, the camera for some reason inside the camera where you attach the lens, a plastic pin that activates the auto focus broke by where and tear. I took it Jessops in London and they couldn’t fix it for me. The alternative was to buy new technology and the best model in my budget if I trade it there was to buy the Canon EOS 30 with a data back. The price was bit steep for me and I had to decide if I’m going to bite the bullet and do it. There was a customer who was after a Canon EOS 600 for spares, he must have overheard my dilemma and as I want to leave the shop, he called me aside. He said he will do me a deal, he will buy the camera from me and then I could use that money to get the Canon EOS 30 with data back. I was in the clouds and done the deal.

My biggest disappointment was when I attached the Sigma 28-300 lens to it and it gave an error message, I couldn’t use the lens on the newer technology. I remember my friend Philip Fischer, who was working at a pub in London Victoria who also had a Canon EOS 600 and only a 35-70mm lens. I called him and said I want to see him. I explained to him my situation and we agreed that I can use his lens and he mine. At last I could use the new toy and took loads of 36 Fuji Reala film that coming past months.

Digital Photography

I always heard about digital cameras and just browse the streets of London, Tottenham Court Road to be precise. I visited about every shop that has digital cameras and knew one day I will be able to purchase one.

The Canon EOS 600 was still in use for me and I could afford the digital SLR at the time and my mouth was drooling when I saw a guy or girl just walked into a shop, asked a few questions and write the cheque or use the plastic money and walk out of the shop with a £1600 camera, lenses and flash included.

There it began serious photography and after about six years I bought a Canon A70 point and shoot camera. Nice and compact and did what I need that time. After about three years later I bought a Canon EOS 30D and used various lenses and was happy for 18months and upgrade after another 18months to the EOS 50D. I though I was in the clouds with the camera, but began to give me more trouble than I thought.

It could not give me pin sharp images where I focused, doesn’t matter what setting I used. For example when I attached a F2.8 lens on it, the only sharp images I could get was at F4 or F5.6 and had a big problem with back focus. I realised that when I done the 3D paper test, placing paper containers with writing with a distance of 25mm apart form each other. Focused on the centre of Object number 3 there was no sharp image but only on Object number 1 at the back, leaving me with a focus drop of 50mm. On the micro adjustments at custom settings, I had to dial a full +20 out to get an average sharp image on Object number 3.

I took the camera to a well know company in London where they replace the IS USM system on the lens that was NOT the fault, even after I explained to the desk clerk what the problem is on the camera and NOT the lens. They even want me to pay for the wrong work but it is under warranty and not the lens. I asked them if they did not have the lens, what work have they done? Then I read the job card they did do a full recalibration of the Canon camera.

I did report this to CANON UK and did not hear from then since even I emailed them to say if this cannot happen to many customers. I did say I will change brand, they didn’t even bother to reply to me to apologize for what have happened to me.

Next up: Swap to NIKON

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