8.07.2012

I think I'm getting the hang of this Sony Nex-7 stuff. Need more practice.


My friend, Noellia the actor, just wrapped up a six month project for Disney and came home to Austin to visit friends and family. She called me up to see if we could get together and spend a little time shooting some photos.  I first met Noellia when I cast her for an ad campaign nearly nine years ago.  She had just turned eighteen and answered a casting call.  We've done many projects together since then and she was a consistent and wonderfully patient model for me during the production of four of my five books on photography.

I thought our "around the town" photo session would be the perfect chance to try out the the little Sony Nex7 and see of what it was capable.  My first intention was to shoot a bunch of images with the bigger a77 camera and to kind of toss the Nex7 into the mix from time to time. But I started out with the 50mm 1.8 lens on the front of the Nex7 and, after a few minutes going back and forth between the two cameras I tossed the a77 into my camera bag and leaned on the little camera for the rest of the day.  Nearly all of the images in this particular blog were shot wide open at f 1.8. I thought the lens performed very well when used wide open.  I also like the focal length and, when used at the right distance from my subject, it was good at throwing backgrounds out of focus. 


I'd read so many articles and reviews that mention two "faults" in this camera.  The first one being battery life that's limited to about 350 to 400 exposures.  I was careful to bring two fully charged batteries along with me but surprised to find that I shot nearly 1,000 frames and still had over 50% power remaining on my first battery at the end. (I don't post-chimp much and never use the built in flash...) The second fault was said to be the rather logically opaque and chaotic menu interface and dial set-up.  It didn't seem very daunting to me.  If you shoot in aperture priority your left control dial takes care of selecting apertures while the right side dial gives you immediate exposure compensation control.  Easy as pie.  Once you figure out that a couple touches on the navigation button gets you to the white balance menu you're pretty much done messing with stuff. I don't change ISO frequently and I tend to find modes I like and to stay with them.  

We started our photo spree at the Barton Springs spillway and then walked down to the bridge that brings Barton Springs road over the miniature train bridge and pedestrian bridge on the east side of Zilker Park.  (The image above was shot under the bridge).  The day was steamy and hot but we didn't pay much attention to the heat.  We were busy having fun photographing and catching up.  Noellia, being the consumate NYC professional actor brought her own make-up and hair pro along with her...

After playing around in the park we headed downtown to make some fun images in the open shade of the buildings on the south side of Second Street.  Of course we ended up at Caffe Medici where we shot with abandon.  (The owner, Michael, is very photo friendly).


I had heard from misguided reviews on the web that the Jpegs out of this camera were mediocre compared to other cameras so, of course, I chose to shoot everything as a large, fine Jpeg.  In fact, I thought the jpegs were highly detailed and well mannered.  At a certain point I tossed everything but the Nex 7 and the 50mm 1.8 back in the bag and stuck the bag in the car.  Intellectually I like the idea of having other lens options.  Aesthetically, I like the black finished 18-55mm lens because it matches the body so well, but the reality is that the 50mm, on that cropped sensor is a pretty compelling match for the way I like to see stuff so I don't see it coming off the front of the camera any time soon.


The only thing I had problems with out in the field was setting the DRO (dynamic range optimizer).  I could get to it in the menu I just couldn't figure out how to change it.  Every thing else seemed pretty straightforward to me.


Noellia and I had a fun afternoon.  She got to see Ben.  Ben got to see her.  She reminded me of why I like to shoot professional actors.... it's the talent.  Tomorrow I'll go out and shoot more stuff with the new camera.  Me liking the Sony Nex 7 camera right now doesn't mean I think all other cameras are bad.  I just think this one is really good.










19 comments:

Mr said...

one of these days ill run into you on the streets
i always walk by your cafe of choice and glance in! lol!

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Very nice portraits as always Kirk. Congrats to both of you.

cidereye said...

Stop it, just stop it now Kirk!

After reading your exploits so far with the NEX-7 and Mike's over at TOP I am standing in front of the box for my M8 debating whether to pack it up and finally sell it on to fund a purchase. Interesting to hear one commenter on TOP saying he was using his OM lenses (24 & 50mm) as his go to lenses and has even turned his back on his M6.

On the verge of caving in, almost there!

FotoEdge said...

Your working method with the NEX-7 in aperture priority mimmicks exactly the controls in aperture priority of my Olympus OM-D. The left top dial is for the control of the aperture and the right one is to control exposure compensation. With the OM-D's in-body 5-way stabilization, I can use any lens I need with no worries about shaking.. the scene through the EVF is under control, as I see vividly the results of my exposure compensation... It is not so much a particular camera...the secret is an excellent EVF that gives photographers direct control of their decisive moment...easy, easy... and very predictable.

Bill Beebe said...

Excellent as always. Great photography that proves, once again, that the "conventional wisdom" coming off the greater web is wrong.

Robert Roaldi said...

It's interesting how often your own experience (and others) does not fall into line with the interweb consensus. Maybe crowd-sourcing ain't so perfect?

Anonymous said...

Kirk,
Great photos. I'm drawn to the very natural looking skin tones. So, to get that oh-so-natural skin color, and given you noted you were shooting JPeg, did you have the white balanc set to auto, or were you using shade or cloudy? And did you use a soft reflector on the outside shots? I'm really impressed with the skin tones if that's what came straight out of the camera.
Craig

kirk tuck said...

Yes, yes, yes. It's all about shooting with the EVF.

Keith I. said...

I have had my NEX-7 for months and agree on the battery life. I very, very rarely use the pop up and try not to spend much time reviewing photos. I also found that turning it of when carrying it helps since I have my eye sensor on, and having it around your neck will often cause it to juggle between the EVF and LCD.

D&E Photography said...

After having used EVF on the EP2, GH1 and GH2 I see (no pun intended) why and when I like them, but also why and when I prefer the traditional DSLR. When I'm shooting portraits in the studio with big lights the DSLR is still my preferred view. The GH2 has reinforced for me that if you want to go hybrid with video and stills the EVF is the only way to fly, but it has also shown me the challenges presented in shifting from stills to "full" media capabilities. In the end, as a guy with a young photography practice I weighed the Sony offerings and instead picked up the Nikon D3200, as find the lens offerings more to my liking and budget.

cidereye said...

Argh, gave in after trying one. Got the NEX-7 kit & sigma 30mm for trading in my Leica M8 + £50. Couldn't resist the trade in at that level, now to charge the battery.

Kirk, you are so right about the OLED finder, sure it will take some getting used to after a RF but life moves on.

Low Budget Dave said...

I would be interested in your opinion of the AF on the NEX7 for shooting kids and for shooting indoors. I would hate to carry around an a77 if an NEX7 would do.

kirk tuck said...

LB Dave, The AF is not so great. It's a bit slow and, as light levels drop so does the system's ability to lock on. It's fine fo the stuff I want to shoot but it's not a sports or kid action camera. At least not for me. I'll keep the Sony a77's around for that stuff.

Brad C said...

There is the difference between a reviewer and a working pro. The reviewer points out flaws in the camera, the pro quickly moves on and figures out how to actually use it !

thequietphotographer said...

I promised myself not to but anything before Photokina, but this kind of reviews are making difficult not to buy...
robert

thequietphotographer said...

opps, excellent portraits, of course :-)
robert

Keith I. said...

I agree. When I need the faster AF I either use the LA-EA2 adapter with an A-mount lens or break out the A900.

Poagao said...

Except the decisive moment is blacked out when you press the shutter button. That I could do without.

kirk tuck said...

Not too much different than a typical DSLR...