Today as I was heading out to my studio I checked the mailbox and there was a small silver box along with the typical envelopes and retail ads. I wasn't expecting much but then I turned to see the label, my eyes opened wide as I saw Nikon Professional Services had finally accepted my application to become a member.Read More
Nikon D610 : Sigma 35mm f/1.4
I made a quick stop at a local independent BMW shop to get a few parts I needed for my E30. Luckily I had my camera in my car and after talking to Paul at the front desk for a few minutes he allowed me to grab a few shots of the cars in the shop. So much to look at. I can spend hours here looking at cars or talking to them about swapping an S52 into my E30 (I wish). If I ever need to actually take my BMW to a shop I would definitely bring it here, I've had nothing but good experiences on all my visits.
Thanks Bavarian Tuning, hopefully I can grab some photos of the cars in action in the future!
On February 2015 I purchased a round-trip flight to Guadalajara to visit family in November for only $180! I convinced my friend Patrick to tag along since he hadn't visited his relatives in 7-8 years. When it came for the moment to pack my bags, I had to decide if I wanted to travel with my digital Nikon D610 or film Nikon FM10. I ended up taking both bodies. On my way to buy some Ilford HP5 the day before taking off I stumbled upon a cheap Nikon 24mm f2.8 at Jeremiah's Photo Corner in Santa Rosa. It was like $175. Sold! Even though I always had my D610 with me on my trip, I shot with the FM10 about 80% of the time. I finally developed the two rolls I went through.
Big thanks to Cory Sanford for teaching me how to develop in black and white. After having a studio with a darkroom for six months we finally got something done in there! It took me a few rolls to get decent results and a few hours of fiddling with the Epson scanner to get sharp files but it was all worth it. The more I'm able to do on my own the better.
The following photos are all 35mm Ilford HP5 taken with a Nikon FM10 and 24mm 2.8:
Shit, time is flying by. I definitely wanted to end the year off by attending Car's & Coffee at Treasure Island with my BMW E30. Since September I've done a lot of work to the suspension and got new BBS wheels so I was excited to get a good spot next to other older BMW's. I bought this car last December for $1000 but it looked a lot worse, I'm pretty proud of the work I've done so far.
This time I had my Nikon D610 with my newly-purchased Nikon 24mm 2.8 AI-s. It's pretty small on camera, I think it was a steal at $150. I used it wide open at f/2.8 most of the time at the event and I still found most of the image sharp. It's all manual-focus but with live view you can get your subject sharp easily.
Check out the images below, starting with my car and friends (I'm in the middle):
I've lived in Sonoma County almost my whole life and before yesterday I had only visited Infineon Raceway once when I was a kid. The scene is still very fresh in my memory: I visited with my older brother, cousin and his uncle. All you could smell was rubber but that didn't matter, we were too busy munching on turkey legs to even realize Jeff Gordon's ride was screaming past us.
Last week I was browsing Infineon's website to see if my E30 was eligible for any events and to my surprise it was. Since my car is a convertible, a roll cage/bar is needed for my safety if any sort of accident were to happen, so I've been having trouble finding events to enter without building a race car. Luckily (or not) you can enter the drag races happening mostly every Wednesday without a roll cage/bar or helmet if your car is slower than 13.49 seconds. I made it my goal to get out there and race but unfortunately I got there a little too late for qualifying runs and eliminations were starting soon. Honestly I'm kind of glad that I didn't race this time. I wasn't too sure what to except before arriving and now I feel extremely comfortable for next week. I'm planning on getting there early, look out for a GoPro video of my race next week on the blog.
Even though I didn't get to race it was still awesome to get out there and enjoy the smell of rubber and sound of crackling engines. So many dope cars. I'm really motivated to get a full race car build going now. It'll happen but for now enjoy these photos from Wednesday night.
After many months of putting it off, I finally went to Cars & Coffee. It takes place on Treasure Island right off San Francisco, the perfect location, on the first Saturday of every month. I arrived at about 7:40AM and about 50/60% of the lot was full of every car you could possibly think of. BMW M3/M4's, Nissan GTR's, C7 Corvette's, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, a Koenigsegg Agera R, and even a rainbow of Dodge Vipers. It was like watching Top Gear except that the cars where right in front of me, the television never did them any justice. I was honestly more interested in the older, more unique cars than the flashier exotics. My favorite was probably an older generation Toyota Supra that was modified into a wide body, or the Nissan Skyline R33 with the clear drivetrain cover. It is the ultimate enthusiast event. Even my little BMW was getting some love.
The photos below were taken with my Nikon D610/Sigma 35 1.4 combo. I also used a Nikon FM10 with Ilford HP5+ that i'll be uploading later on.
UPDATE (12/6/2015): I finally developed the roll of film with photos from the event. I've attached a few below.
I received a call at about 7pm last Friday and since it was an unknown number I let it go to voicemail. Apparently I contacted them via Craigslist about a fitness shoot and confirmed once I looked through my outbox. The director was Neil, I called him back and after very little details were shared I decided to go ahead and accept the job. We were scheduled to meet the next day at 5pm in Oakland.
At 4:30pm I walk through the gym's roll-up door and see a video crew setting up lights. Neil quickly greeted me then I introduced myself to the guys in charge of the lights and ask them what we're shooting. Bluetooth headphones. From 5pm to midnight. I was in charge of taking photos while they filmed a video. The last time I did that was in Columbus for the Arnold Classic last year and it was pretty simple.
I think I did pretty well for Photive:
After owning this camera for over a month I think I can finally share my thoughts on it. Since I've owned an A7 already, I can definitely say that his feels/performs like a "mini A7". You're working with the same interface in a smaller body with fewer dials/buttons. It still has an OLED viewfinder, like the A7, and it even includes a convenient little pop-up flash that can be pointed up to bounce off a low ceiling. The fact that it fits in a jacket pocket is a huge plus since you can have a quality camera in many places where you can't have a DSLR, like a concert. Here's a little more info on the third generation Sony RX100.
- Weight/Size: I don't know what to really compare the weight/size with, but it's perfect. There should never be an excuse for you to never have this with you and settle for iPhone photos. It's not much heavier or bigger than my iPhone 6. Its build quality is very solid as well, being made of mostly aluminum. You'll have this compact with you at all times.
OLED Viewfinder: The A7 introduced me to an Electronic Viewfinder for the first time and if you remember that review you'll know that I love it! Personally, it's easier to see than with an optical viewfinder. Plus what you see is what you get, making it really easy to make quick on-the-fly adjustments to fix exposure or focus. This little 1.44m dot display will not disappoint.
Image Quality: This is the BEST compact camera I have ever used in my life. I would easily prefer this over my old Nikon D40. I think a lot of people would. Sony's style of cramming massive sensors into tiny bodies paid off, the 1" sensor wows under all conditions. I've pushed it to ISO 12,000-something and while it wasn't jaw-dropping it was still useable for sure. It'll blow your phone's camera out of the water and keep up with your 5D.
Lens: FF Equivalent 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8. Enough said.
- Battery Life: It's pretty simple I guess, small body = small battery. It lasts about 350-400 shots, so I'm constantly turning the camera on and off as I'm shooting. A spare would easily solve this problem.
Like I said, this is the best compact camera I've ever used. If you're looking for a camera for vacation or as a back-up, get this. You will not regret it. Seriously.
As everyone in San Francisco knows, Outside Lands Music Festival happened this weekend and ended tonight in Golden Gate Park. A friend offered me a ticket for Friday for $50 and there was no way I was refusing that. Next I had to figure out how to sneak my camera in because I definitely needed that with me. I decided on my A7 since it's pretty small. I detached the lens and snuck that in a pocket inside my backpack. The body, I stuck that in a plastic bag and in the middle of a container surrounded by salad.
It worked. I was through with my camera. Next year Im attending all three days. Here are some photos from the festival.
Went to the Goodwill again on Monday and picked up this Nikon FM10 body for $12. After a good cleaning it looked like new and luckily I had a spare manual 35mm lens for it already. My buddy got an even better deal, he picked up a slightly damaged Olympus OM-D EM-5 for $5. He sent it in for repairs and the total was $160. Pretty good day. I shot a roll through this Nikon on Thursday so I'll be uploading those soon.
UPDATE (5/15/15): I took the camera and a roll of Kodak Portra 400 along to Yosemite. I've uploaded a few images below.
I've had this camera for about a month now and I really enjoy using it, more than my D600. The reason I have this Sony now is because one of my Nikon D600's was stolen from my car a month ago. It was pretty terrible, but shit happens. Then the time to purchase a new camera came. The options I had in mind were the Sony A7, another Nikon D600, a Nikon D800, or a Nikon Df. I ended up going with the A7 and Sony FE 55 because I got it for $1000 off retail brand new. It was too good to pass up.
- Weight/Size: Sooo much smaller and lighter than my D600, obviously. I just didn't realize how much of a difference it was in real-world situations. I can sling the A7 around my neck and hardly even feel it as I walk around the city. The D600 wasn't terrible, but the A7's weight puts it to shame.
OLED Viewfinder: This is the feature I was the most excited for. Since I'm pretty blind and refuse to wear contacts/glasses, the viewfinder being an actual screen helps me out a ton over a traditional optical viewfinder! Being able to see what you're going to end up with is amazing. Plus focus peaking/magnification are two features I can't live without now. Every time I go back to my D600 at the studio I have a hard time readjusting to the optical finder.
Image Quality: Amazing. Sharp. Crisp. The photos that come out of this camera are truly amazing. I really don't miss using the D600 one bit. The colors pop without being too over-saturated and the in-camera lens corrections make barrel distortion and chromatic aberration pretty much nonexistent. If anything, the only downfall I see in the image quality is that you start seeing grain at about ISO 800. Maybe the A7s will perform better in low-light situations, not that the A7 is bad. I'll include samples at the end.
- AF: I'm not too fond of the autofocus system in the A7. It's a hybrid system with contrast AND phase detection, while the A7r only has contrast detection. I was so used to picking my focus points on the D600 and being able to count on the camera to focus correctly the first time. On the A7 you can pick a "zone" if you want a specific area focused, but you can't select preset points like on regular DSLR's. It usually means I'll miss 1-2 shots out of 10, and while it's not much it can still cause you to miss "the moment". Hopefully they improve with the next generation.
- Battery Life: It's pretty simple I guess, small body = small battery. The A7 actually uses the same battery as the rest of the NEX family so if you a few already that's a plus. It lasts about 400 shots, so I'm constantly turning the camera on and off as I'm shooting. And the vertical grip is about $300 from Sony. I'd rather keep spares in my pocket and swap them when needed.
- Lens Line-Up: Since the A7/r are full-frame, Sony had to release some lenses to go along with the new system. There's only 4-5 out right now I think; 24-70 f/3.5-5.6, 24-70 f/4, 35 f/2.8, 55 f/1.8, and a zoom I think. The only ones that caught my attention were the 55 f/1.8 that I own and the 35 f/2.8. I almost bought the 35 but I'm waiting to see if they release a 35 f/1.8 or 2. I'm still unsure about the FE system but who knows what can happen within a year.
I personally think the Sony A7 is the best mirror-less camera system out right now and if you're hesitant about getting one, don't be and go for it. You will not regret it. If you're able to, I'd say wait for the next generation so they work out the autofocus/battery/lenses. If you're in need of a camera now and don't do too much work involving motion, I'd say the A7 is a no brainer.