Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Got the A99ii

The A99ii got here two days before deadline from The PIXEL Connection in Chicago.
The box was surprisingly small which I liked. No more boxes that are too large!

Immediately selected the front button as Eye AF :)
Two things I already wish Sony would have fixed from previous model: USB-3.0 support also meaning support for higher speed SD cards, like the A9 does, and video modes.
I can't believe that after all this time, the mark ii sill uses the video mode to select M mode for video. This was a real annoyance on the jobs where I took both stills and video and often forgot to switch to video mode then realized it, stopped the recording and switched to video mode, creating unnecessary small video files and wasting time. Why not just press the record button and use whatever settings the regular dial is using for stills? Too easy? Not distracting enough from your work? To switch from stills M mode to the same M mode in video I have to take my eye off the eye piece and look at the top of the camera to make sure I get the dial to the right location. That is really uncomfortable when doing documentary work.
Something else that is still weird. Looking at a photo I took at ISO4000 in camera, shows a LOT of noise, and higher ISOs even more so. That noise disappears when you look at it on my laptop. Does Sony cleanup some of the noise, or does the internal viewer reads the files wrong? Wish I had answers. That said, I am impressed in how the ISO 4000 version looks on the PC as useable  as the ISO 12800 one. I don't want to upload the test photos, but will have three gigs on Saturday to test the camera in different settings.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Yes, it's been a while since I posted. I was kind of busy moving to the US, where I now live in Portland, OR.
I moved from relying on the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 to using the Sigma 85 1.4 and the Minolta 200mm 2.8 more and more as I like look that they give me. I only revert to the (rather expensive) 50mm when taking photos in receptions where I "pose" people together. Even then when I have room I will use the Sigma 85 1.4 because I like the look and I can stand away from people and disturb their conversations.

I still use remote radio flashes to operate my Yongnou flashes. As you can see in the above photo the flash is far away from the people and not mounted on my camera. This makes for pleasing soft shadows and kind of looks as if the light is coming from a window. I was actually using a cheap LED light for back light on this one because one of my flashes was acting up.
 I am starting to add external batteries from Godox that use Lithium-ion batteries instead the AA batteries that I have grown to hate. I did get a cheap AA battery run external battery but it was so awful I returned it. It didn't even tell me when the batteries were dead. Godox's prices are coming down and if I had a time machine I'd probably buy Godox flashes as well.
Had some issues with my camera, problems with auto-focusing and some dirt on the sensor I couldn't get rid of. Luckily, Sony sent their technician here to one of the local stores for a special promotional day and I got my camera and Sony/Minolta lenses cleaned for free after biking there and waiting in the rain. Was so worth it!
Oh and some "small" news - I just ordered a brand new A99mk2 for my birthday! I seriously like the A99 but truth be told, even with fast lenses, I still feel like I need to rely too much on flash photography. Sometimes you come into a room and the lighting is great, even if there is not a lot of it. I could try to recreate the same atmosphere with my flashes, but why bother if you have a good sensor? In that sense the A99 was seriously behind comparable cameras such as the Canon 5Dmk3, pretty old now but still does pretty well in high ISO with relatively little noise.  Sure, the A99mk2 will not shoot in absolute dark like the A7s but it will definitely provide me with more artistic options and functional solutions for when my flashes run out of juice, overheat or get broken.
I want to thank my parents for helping my finance this important purchase and my friend Ori Cohen for helping me to choose where to buy from.
My A99mk2 should arrive by the end of the month from Amazon Canada. I hope to post more often and tell you what my experience with it is like.
 Also, my Instagram is now more active showcasing my work so feel free to follow me @zinmanamit