Out To Lunch

Idiomatic expression aside.


We have a day or two each week when we’re kid free. Just me and Mr H.


We generally take ourselves out for a meal at lunchtime, nothing fancy, just to a local pub or similar.

Yesterday, the sun was shining. We went as far as Diss town, a mile or two down the road to one of our favourite spots.


Good food, a game or two and views over the Mere.



I don’t normally take a camera to lunch, but im trying to assess whether the NEX 7 has a place in the bag at all, and if it does portability will be feature that wins me over, allowing for ‘from the hip’ style, somewhat covert, shooting.


Stealth is the one thing the A99 lacks.

So aside from lunch, i’m doing my best to use the N7 exclusively for a few days, and even the kit zoom.

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Kit zooms ordinarily are panned. A couple are good, notable the Fuji 18-55mm f2.8-4. But I find this particular one to be pretty decent. Its small, sharp, has good  contrast and colour and a really decent MFD. The E35mm has a pretty pony minimum focus distance, possibly its only drawback.


I’m still pondering.

As if the day hadn’t been glorious enough, being Paddy’s day, we had the perfect excuse to head off out for an evening drink once the littley’s were in bed.

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 Is deoch deas é sin



Take It or Make It

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I read somewhere recently that you either take a photograph or you make a photograph.

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To me those I would describe as ‘takers’ are like my friend Claire of www.itsnotthecamera.wordpress.com whose images require very little in the way of post processing, though she swears she PP’s them all. Technically and compositionally excellent, I reckon she can take a pic, slap it straight on the Net and instantly receive ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.

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Me? no such luck.

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Luckily, I would guess that most of my readers are ordinary folk (as in not photogs), and from feedback I gather that the pix people most like are the ones that evoke an emotive response or the ones that are a little funky, stylised if you will (that doesn’t mean stylish btw).

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Those that don’t practise photography may not appreciate how difficult it can be to compile enough GOOD images for a blog post. On one camera I own I have, in less than a month taken about 2,000 shots. How many get posted to the web in that same period? 50 to 100 tops.

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I, and lots of others I know of, actually spend a fair amount of time analysing our camera/lens combo’s, taking note of things like sharpness, micro contrast, dynamic range and the biggest killer, low light performance/noise at high ISO. Like these, taken (respectively) with the Sony A7R, SOny A99 and Sony NEX 7:

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These are all heavy crops of the original images, and settings, whilst almost identical, may vary a tad. There is of course a clear winner, but without cropping and at web viewing size the differences would be much harder to spot.

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I’m not a reviewer by any stretch, so if that’s what you’re after you can head on over to www.stevehuffphoto.com  for all cameras sans mirror, or kenrockwell.com for Sony stuff in particular. There are countless others, but these are the ones I visit.

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For lens reviews I go to kurtmunger.com (Sony)http://www.ephotozine.com/  and http://www.photozone.de/

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In all this testing, as Claire recently pointed out, its easy to feel dissatisfied with almost every camera, as having checked out some pretty awesome stuff, anything less seems…..well….less.

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But you have to look at it sensibly. The A99 will STILL (over a year after release) set you back about £1.700 brand new, the A7r is maybe £1,600 and the NEX 7 can be had for around £600. Noticeable differences in price, but I challenge anyone who isn’t a Pro to tell me which image from this series came from which camera, not including the noise crops, obviously.

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For me, which camera(s) I stick with has as much to do with the cost of building a decent system as it does about performance of said system. I would dearly love to have the A7R as my second body, but the price to performance ratio just doesn’t stack up over the NEX 7 for my particular needs.

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Maybe next year……..

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Hey Nexy!

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At the moment I have the NEX twins. NEX 6 and NEX 7 bodies. There are various other bodies, but these are at the  current high end of crop sensor Sony E mount.

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My existing Sony A mount lenses are made up of the Minolta 28-75mm f2.8, Minolta 50mm F1.7,Minolta 85mm F1.4, Sigma 105mm F2.8 macro and Sigma 100-300mm F4, aka The Rainmaker.

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This setup made me question how sensible it was to be buying into a second system, namely Fuji. I loved the XPro with the 35mm, and the optics are excellent, but dumping close to 1k on the new XT1, plus another £800 on the 56mm F1.2 really gave me pause.

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I decided that if I am going to have a second (mirrorless) body it really should be from camp Sony, as all my lenses can be mounted on any of the bodies, whether E (crop) mount or FE (full frame) with a simple adapter. Personally, I prefer the Fuji output and user interfacenu setup etc, but i’m not really prepared to put my money where my mouth is at this point.

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This decision begged the question: which NEX – 6? Newer, on chip PDAF for improved AF performance (that’s splitting hairs in my book),  cheaper build, fugly as sin……..but a bargain, and sporting the edge in outright IQ.

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Or, the 7? Gorgeous, sleek, higher MP, tri navi control system, fits my Gariz half case, solid build, etc, etc. It costs more. Of course.

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All of today’s pics were taken with the NEX 6 and E35mm F1.8. A stellar lens. No, it wont beat down the Fuji 35mm F1.4, but I like it.

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I had a couple of issues in the field regarding this system, but hopefully these can be ironed out.

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Right now I am looking to the 7 for one small reason. Those extra MP will come in very handy if the 35mm is the only native lens in the bag. Its a little wide for my tastes, and almost all of the pics in this series are heavily cropped. The 6 certainly hasn’t let me down, but the 7 should allow for similar cropping whilst retaining a tad more detail.

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With DMF & focus magnify I was able to catch this little Robin. Focus magnify upon turning the focus ring seems ONLY to be supported with native Sony lenses. With Minolta or third party its more of a tap dance. Bummer.

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The (Deadville) Hills DO have eyes!

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Ok,  a little dramatic me thinks.

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But I can’t cross my eyes (or roll my tongue)……………….Harding Genes. Nuff said.


The Sigma 105mm Macro to the rescue again, great for macro, great for portrait. Simply great all around. After using its Schwarzenegger cousin  – the 100-300mm F4 for the last few days, its positively light as a feather, and diminutive to boot.

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I’m waiting on the post, for delivery of my new purchase – the Minolta 50mm 1.4, very well regarded and cheap as chips. Hope its a good copy, as the lineup will be complete.

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Come Rain, Come Shine

It’s good to be outdoors and I could actually start to believe that Winter is behind us……you know it will rain, or snow, or something now I’ve said that!


Other than the weather, not a lot else changes in Deadville day to day. Its a nice little village and walking along with the dogs I can hear the littleys playing in the school yard (and it is a yard, I’m not being twee).


I took along The Rainmaker, although I couldn’t actually fit it in my bag whilst attached to the camera, so after what seemed like a Krypton Factor effort to squeeze it all in, we were off……five minutes down the road and we were there. I did mention it was a LITTLE village didn’t I?


Some play time in the teeny park, a little run around the field for the dogs and I managed to get a few shots with the arnie sized combo.


I didn’t actually find it too unwieldy, and getting back to check out the images I find that I have a fair number of keepers. Its pretty sharp throughout the range, and although most lenses hit their sweet spot stopped down a little, I really only shoot at wide open apertures, F4 in this case.


Doesn’t sound super fast, but at 300mm there will be no complaints concerning shallow DOF.

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Will I keep it? Probably. Its a good focal range to have and, unless the much discussed death of A mount actually occurs, I could sell it in a year or so and it wouldn’t have cost me a thing.



The Rainmaker


My friend Nianys has a lens she affectionately names ‘The Bazooka’, a Sigma 70-200mm F2.8, which is very useful tele outdoors for sports, birds in flight and the like, and allows for excellent subject isolation (background and/or foreground blur).


Today I took receipt of a similar type of lens, a Sigma 100-300mm F4, which is generally as well regarded as the 70-200mm but not as easy to find as its been discontinued in recent years. Its term of endearment will be ‘The Rainmaker’.


This thing is Gi-massive (thanks Ty for the word), weighs about 1.5kg without a camera attached and requires some skill to shoot handheld and wide open.


I haven’t much to show right now, as its not a throw in your handbag sort of combo but what I see I like. Although I may have restart P90X just to be capable of wielding the thing!


I shall  enjoy the challenge, hopefully the skill will come with much practise, after all it can only serve me better in the long run…..

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…..Can’t it?