Photography equipment and flash reliability

I’m considering doing portraits either of people or pets, and perhaps some interior shots. Ideally I’d like a sony 16-35 f/2.8 g master lens, broncolor move, 105mm voigtlander macro, sony 85mm f/1.4 g master lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8 g master lens, haha. However, I cannot afford all of that :’).

I’m not really sure if I should start by buying a 15mm voigtlander lens and then perhaps get an 85mm or think about the lighting more. My longest lens, the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8, isn’t quite long enough for some shots I’d like to take.

 

This shot for example would have looked a bit better if it was slightly wider. I’m sure a better photographer would have worked around the problem but I wanted to include the flowers and the little house.

 

Something else that’s caught my attention is the various lights available… Profoto B1x, Broncolor Siros 400 L and the Godox AD600Pro. I own some Godox lights and I think they’re severely underrated. I also think that the Profoto A1 is EXTREMELY overpriced for a speedlight, and this makes me question whether their other products are also a rip off. I’ve temporarily owned the Profoto B1 and it felt quite plasticy to me. To me it seems like the Godox AD600Pro probably does what I want at a much lesser cost.

So I could be looking at the Sony 85mm f/1.8 FE lens, Godox AD600Pro, and the Voigtlander 15mm FE lens too. In an ideal world, a 100mm f/2 G master macro lens would exist. That would be good for portraits and macro use. Lastly, the Rotolight AEOS LED Light might be worth considering too. They are around the same price as the Godox AD600Pro. My concern with the latter two is they are perhaps not as reliable as Profoto or Broncolor. I’d really like to see Broncolor come out with something to compete with the Profoto B2.

Aperture: ƒ/16
Camera: ILCE-7RM2
Taken: 2018/06/24
Focal length: 21mm
ISO: 320
Shutter speed: 1/125s

Nikon Z 7 and why it’s has failed already

I think the Nikon Z 7 has failed before it’s been released. A while ago, I wrote a page about the Sony mirrorless system, the article primarily focused on defending Sony against people who blindly hate the company. I didn’t write it to engage in internet drama, but I know there’s a lot of people who read the internet, listen to the negative comments and get put off from buying a product. I am not a Sony “fanboy” as they get called. I have no loyalty to a particular brand. I’ve spent my money, they already have enough from me.

Please note that these are my thoughts so far. It hasn’t been released yet so I can’t know for certain if my opinions are based on accurate information. I can only go by what I’ve seen in pre-release videos and whatnot.

The Nikon Z 7 is quite a failure

I’m not a great photographer but I understand a lot about technology, and on a technical level, the Nikon Z 7 is a bit of a failure. Despite owning a Sony camera and being invested in the system, I still wanted it to succeed. Why? Competition is always good. It helps companies innovate and also decrease their costs.

One Card Slot

My Sony a7rII has one card slot. It received a lot of negative points in reviews for this. I doubt the Nikon Z 7 is going to get hammered in the same way for it, but I think Nikon should be criticised more. Why? When Sony made their cameras, there was nothing really like it to compare to. Nikon have seen the failures Sony made (of which there’s quite a few e.g. RAW file problems, etc.) and should have learned. Additionally, the Sony a7rIII is in a similar prize bracket to the Nikon Z 7 and it’s going to get compared to it. People making a purchasing decision, people who were perhaps on the fence between Sony and Nikon, might just think hmm “this has more features”.

It’s not a particularly well used card type at that–XQD.

Lack of lenses

Again, I got into a few discussions with this. People said there’d be a hybrid Nikon camera others argued “There’s also a very easy way for Nikon to provide an EVF without changing the viewfinder at all.” The reason this is illogical is because of the way DSLRs are designed. They have a secondary autofocus sensor, separate to the image sensor. When the mirror is up, light doesn’t hit this secondary autofocus sensor; therefore, it’s as good as inactive. If you design a hybrid camera, you have to think about ways in which the light can hit the sensor. Sony tried it with a translucent mirror, but in my opinion it was a failure. Additionally, if you start adding mirrorless into a DSLR body, the camera has to have a sensor far back into the body. You also need to have servos with specific servo designs and it’s all a bit of a mess.

I’m keeping this a bit bland because I’ve already discussed it at the link above and this isn’t the issue here. Nikon did right to pick a new mount for their mirrorless cameras. It allows them to design different lenses compared to a DSLR lens (lens element groups don’t have to be added to extend the back focal length unnecessarily for the non-existent mirror).

They’ve failed in terms of their lens line up. They must have known what the sensor to lens mount distance would be, ages ago. They didn’t have to wait for their camera to be manufactured. They could design lenses in the lab with a sensor mounted to a board, pretty much. I’m being a bit facetious but what they have here is similar to what Sony came out with, with the Sony a7. You may think I’m holding them to a different standard to Sony, and I am. Sony didn’t have competition in the mirrorless market. Nikon has it, they had to do better.

The focus system

It’s like the liveview in their DSLR. Lacklustre, not nearly as good as the Sony. I’m sorry I keep quoting Sony, but aside from Leica, there’s not really any full-frame cameras to speak of in the mirrorless market.

The PASM dial

I like where they’re going with the OLED screen. I would like one on my Sony a7rII and I’d certainly like to see one on the Sony a7rIIII. My issue is that the PASM dial is ridiculous. If you’ve got an OLED screen, there’s no reason you can’t make your dials do more than one thing. For example, you move your dial and it selects from “M” to “A”, and this is shown on the screen. Then imagine you press a button, and now the screen shows ISO instead and when you move the dial, it changes the ISO.

Having a marked PASM dial, with a lock nonetheless, limits it somewhat. Perhaps the lock acts more like a switch, where you press it the once and it locks, press it again and it unlocks. Perhaps the PASM dial can be configured to control different things. I guess we’ll see :).

Up to 9 fps shooting

It’s a minor point, and I don’t need anything that shoots this fast. I doubt the average person does either, but if the competition is offering 10FPS and 20FPS options, Nikon probably should too.

The lens mount is ridiculous

People argued the Sony lens mount is too small for a full-frame sensor. When you look at where the light comes from and whatnot, this is complete nonsensense. The Nikon mount on the other hand, it’s gigantic. It seems unnecessarily large, unless the sensor is moving ten meters left and right because of image stabilisation? On the full frame camera, I admit it’s not quite as terrible. What about if they use the same mount for a potential crop camera though? That’s going to be ridiculous.

It’s as if they thought, “hmm, Sony received a lot of criticism from people with absolutely no knowledge regarding physics, optics or lens design. Let’s go against what we know and just make the biggest lens mount possible!”

They’ve succeeded in a lot of areas

The screen on the back looks well designed. The cameras ergonomics look good, as does the menu systems, the OLED, the button layout, the sensor performance, etc.

Wacom Cintiq Pro, Wacom Mobile Studio, Mini ITX and Intel Hades NUC

I’ve been taking a brief look at what computer equipment is currently available on the market. It’s easy to lose touch of what’s a good buy as technology improves at a rapid pace and prices change equally as fast. For example, I bought my workstation computer a few months back and it’s already out of date, haha.

If my work permit problem is dealt with and I get to work in Canada as I’d like, it’s not viable for me to take a large computer with me (especially on a plane). I originally started looking at the obvious things, such as the Dell XPS and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and also the Microsoft Surface Book but they’re all quite expensive.

I’d really like a pen

Most of the editing on my photographs is quite bad and it’s something I’ve been working on lately–a more subtle look. I’d like to develop my own style too but that’s a long way off. For this, I can imagine myself using a pen quite a lot… I miss having a pen.

Needless to say, for a 16GB Laptop, you’ll quite easily pay around the £1,500 mark plus an additional amount if you buy a pen. This could be the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium. That’s quite a lot of money–money I don’t have right now.

So I got thinking about computers similar in size to a playstation. They’d fit in a suitcase quite easily, but obviously I’d need a screen. The current generation of Wacom Cintiq screen is actually really, really good. It captures about 94% Adobe RGB if you get the larger model, with 100% SRGB and it has etched glass that’s supposedly meant to be fun to write on and not get scratched too easily. The smaller model is not as colour accurate; however, the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13″ is as colour accurate as the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13″. It’s a bit confusing, and I would have liked to see a Wacom Cintiq Pro 13″ with a screen as good as the 16″ model, simple because it’s more affordable.

 

In summation, for less than what a laptop costs, I could buy something like an Intel Hades NUC and a Wacom Cintiq 13 FHD Pro for less than a Laptop and a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium. The advantage is that I’d be able to write directly on the screen, and the screen is probably better than a stereotypical laptop (with the exception of some of the Dell Laptops). The performance would be better too. You can also make machines based around the Mini ITX form factor, not to mention Slim Mini ITX.

The Intel Hades NUC is rather expensive as barebones PCs go, and you don’t necessarily have to get that model. I certainly think it’s something to consider if you’re not planning to take your laptop anywhere other than from a home location to new accommodation.

Another advantage with this method is I could sell all of my desktop equipment, excluding the peripherals, and then use this as my regular machine. I believe it’s certainly powerful enough. This would help off set the cost a bit. Unfortunately, as I’m not sure what’s happening with Canada, I may have to save up, study a bit and then study in Canada at a later date.

I felt like writing about this though because perhaps you’re in a similar predicament and it might help you :).

Working in Canada – IEC

Everyone in England is talking about how hot it is at the moment. I feel like we should never complain when it’s above 30c because we get months of overcast/rain shortly after, hahaha. It is difficult to be at a computer when it’s like this (especially when there’s no air conditioning) though! One thing I really liked about Calgary was that even when it was a similar temperature, the breeze from the river kept you at a decent temperature :).

After returning home, I’ve really noticed little differences like this, and I’m desperate to go back. Unfortunately, the work situation is not simple once you’re above 30 years old.

For most countries, you can apply to join the IEC programme and get an open work permit between the ages of 18-35. However, the UK is different and it’s actually 18-30. As I’m 32, I’m slightly outside of this range. There’s possibly a way to circumvent this by using a third party, but apparently it’s a bit of a lottery. For anyone that’s read my US visa trouble, you’ll know I’m simply cursed when it comes to things like this. Short of being sponsored by a Canadian employer (or a cute Canadian woman… who wants to marry me?), my options are somewhat limited. For that reason, most of my time/energy is spent on this at the moment.

As stated in a previous post, I’d like to completely revamp this website. I am thinking of starting a second site, that way I can isolate subjects a bit better but it’s down to cost really.

Lastly, now I’ve had the chance to look through a few hundred photographs, I can see which ones I like and those I dislike.

If you look at the photograph in the middle, it’s not composed particularly well but I think the mood is quite nice. Yet the last photograph has absolutely no mood or anything, and it makes it a bit boring. My plan of improvement is to try and take photographs with more of a mood. I can’t really describe it very well, but I have something in mind.