06MAY2018 – OCF Update

This week I’ll finish up reading Larry Correia’s “Monster Hunter Seige” and post a review.  The hard cover version came out back in July but I buy the paperback for convenience and that version just got issued.  The site has been a little slow because I’m putting together a sort of “best of” post on my southwest landscape trip for a link that Captain Capitalism is providing me and it’s a time-consuming endeavor.  It’s like eleven hundred files and I’m still learning how to use Capture One.  So bear with me.  That post should be pretty interesting for the photo enthusiasts.  As I mentioned earlier I’ll get those rental lenses on Friday the 11th and that will spawn some interesting posts on the viability of using Sigma lenses with Canon mount on the Sony A7 cameras.  That may be interesting to Canon shooters with Sigma glass who have been interested in switching to Sony and anyone who is still constrained by Sony’s telephoto and macro lens choices.

The other thing I am interested in writing about is the direction of right wing movement.  I am trying to formulate my own particular spin on what makes sense going forward.  There is a lot of confusion and undirected anger that doesn’t seem to be producing much in the way of results.  And there seems to be a certain amount of opportunism and charlatanism that makes it difficult to know what is solid and worthwhile.  Sometimes it seems that several people have each latched onto a different piece of the puzzle needed to reform the current situation but like the blind men and the elephant they only “see” a small part of the reality and are missing the big picture.  And because of that, they diagnose that small part of the problem and their solution doesn’t address the broader situation.  And some of the “wise men” are too extreme.  They would throw out the baby with the bath water.  The more I think about solutions for the social disintegration the more I think that restoring the common-sense institutions we used to have is the solution.  Stopping unlimited immigration is neither impossible nor radical.  Restoring respect for the traditions and institutions of our forefathers is important and relatively straight forward.  And replacing social justice and reverse discrimination with actual justice is so rational that it shouldn’t even require explanation.  I think some of the emphasis on race reality is a response to the absurdity that occurs when racial and sexual protectionism and intersectionality tactics are used to attack the American white middle and working classes.  If you eliminate these irritants then the rules of American society should be competent to allow different types of people to function relatively harmoniously.  Anyway, that is what I’m starting to think.  I’m definitely interested in other opinions.  And I read around to hear what other people are coming up with.  For instance I’m going to read Gregory Cochran’s “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution” and David Reich’s “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past” to see if there’s anything in biology that rules out my optimism for a functional multi-ethnic America.

And finally, I’d love to get more feedback from the readers.  Even if it’s negative.  It’s useful to know what you like and what you don’t.  Or even to just say hi.  It’s definitely appreciated and part of why I made this site.  I am interested in hearing other points of view.  And if you find something interesting on-line pass along the link.

My Undiscovered Country in Sony Shooting

Where I work there is a formal, company sponsored photo club. They have a budget and they have funded events where they go together to an arboretum or a museum and talk about equipment and techniques.  They have a charter and code of conduct.  They include everyone and value everyone’s contribution.  They give out tee shirts at the end of the year.

I don’t belong to that club.  Life’s too short.  I get together with about four or five guys who work there at lunch time.  We’ll go to a park or walk down the street or try to find a building that’s interesting.    We also occasionally take over a conference room during the lunch hour and throw our personal off hours photo results up on the big screen that usually features power point presentations of diversity training or unconscious bias hectoring or whatever else Big Brother needs us to absorb that week.

And some of these guys are pretty good.  It’s spring, and from a photographic point of view there’s finally a reason to live.  Normally we would already have gone out on a lunch time jaunt to see the dogwoods and weeping cherry trees in bloom.  But this year several of these guys have been shanghaied into a shift change to work on a big engineering project.  All of that ends on Friday, May 11th. To celebrate my brethren’s release from bondage I’ve scheduled an outing for the next Wednesday to a park that we hope will feature birds and bees and flowers and trees.  Maybe even a few butterflies.  And to make it interesting for me I’ve reserved a few lenses from a rental company for two weeks starting May 11th.  I’ve rented the Sigma MC-11  EF to E mount adapter and the Sigma EF mount version of their 150 – 600 Sports zoom and their 180mm f\2.8 macro lens.  I watched a video that the The Camera Store guys made testing out the MC-11 with Sigma EF mount lenses on one of the modern (A9 or third generation A7  cameras) Sony full-frames.  They rated the autofocus performance almost exactly as good as Sony native glass.  Now there is a catch.  It’s only warranted to be that good with certain lenses.  The Art and Sports series are covered.  So the 150-600 is in that group.  The 180 macro is not.  I spoke to the rental company and they didn’t know one way or the other.  But they did say I should try it.  Of course I’m the one paying for the privilege but I figured it was worth a shot.  So in about two weeks I’ll have something to say about the A7 III, the MC-11 and birds in flight.  Sony has never allowed me to even try such a photographic feat but here we are, a brave new world.  And with any any luck the 180 macro will prove to be good for butterfly shots.  Currently my only long macro is the Minolta 200mm f\4.  But it’s screw drive and if I want autofocus I have to use LA-EA4 with its “translucent mirror.”  For me that’s something of a compromise.  If the 180mm and the MC-11 combination turns out to have pretty good autofocus I will most probably buy those two items and retire the 200 mm to static macro and short telephoto opportunities with the LA-EA3.

So this is just me salivating in anticipation of the opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks.  To say that I’m impatient would be the greatest example of understatement since Jack Swigert said “Houston we have a problem.”  So stay tuned.  If you’re a Sony shooter these tests will give you information on options that aren’t currently available in the native Sony e-mount ecosystem.  And, even if they were, the cost would be prohibitive even to someone with my gear obsessed psyche.

Sony A7 III – A Camera Review – Part 1

Helebore flower

 

I’ve had the camera for about a week.  I went out today to get some first impressions.  The first thing I notice is the difference between the A7S and the A7 III is the autofocus.  It’s night and day.  I used center point AF.  Whatever I pointed at was instantaneously in perfect focus.  No hunting, no off-focus just dead on crystal clear.  Now granted, this is in bright day light.  But if you’ve ever shot the A7S you know that even under these conditions the photo had a more than even chance of being at least slightly out of focus.  I took it as standard operating procedure that magnified manual focus was absolutely necessary for guaranteed perfect focus.  Of course, think of what that means for a moving subject.  It meant you couldn’t get the shot.  So, the A7 III is a revelation.

The next thing I noticed was how convenient it was to have the viewfinder stay in magnified mode after autofocusing a view.  Now I can make sure that if the scene is ultra-crowded with competing focus targets that the right one was selected.  Or if something has moved I can re-focus without having to re-engage the magnify steps.  This is especially nice for macro work or distant objects.

The next thing was an item I noticed while inspecting the images on the computer.  The 24-mp files are amazingly croppable.  This contrasts with the 12-mp A7S files.  I’ve attached an extreme crop of a flower.  The focus was excellent and the crop has tons of detail.

And finally, looking at the images on the computer they seem to have a very nice look to them.  Of course, the A7S produced nice files too but these look very rich.

These are just my first thoughts.  Later on I’ll review the various functions on the camera and how they work or don’t work for my shooting needs.  But right now I have to say that except for extreme low light or star photography I can’t imagine using the A7S instead of the A7 III.