Just seconds after I bought my new Sony stuff and threw away the warranty cards and tore up the receipts I started hearing about the dreaded, "Sony SLT Slide Show Syndrome." Scared the crap out of me. It goes something like this: "When you try to shoot sports or pan the camera for any reason the finder is so primitive that it's always ages behind the actual action. You'll get confused and you'll always point your camera in the wrong place. In fact, you'll be flying blind as the finder slowly projects previous image after previous image." That would make the camera unusable for....anything that moves. Oh dear God! What have I done. Now I have a camera that's unusable for sports. I was beside myself with terror and doubt. Nothing this severe had occurred in my cozy little world since.........the Olympus EPL2 "Red Dot Scare !!!!!"
So I blindly believed all the pundits on the web and trucked the gear out to the city dump and.....Now wait a minute. Why don't I test this for myself before I throw it all away and see what really happens? Wouldn't that be a novel way to test your camera equipment?
My boss gave me most of the day off today. Well, after shooting some portraits in the studio and promising to write some blogs in the early evening...
So I did what good fathers all over the country do all the time. I went to my child's athletic event. In this case an invitational track meet. Ben is the kid in the red shirt that says, "Westlake" across the front. He ran in the junior varsity 3200 meter race. I think he did well because of two things: First, I'm his dad and I'm supposed to think he's great (cause he is). And secondly, because there's no way I could run two miles back to back as fast as he can. No way at all.
And as I was sitting there getting ready for the race to start I suddenly remembered that I'd brought along a camera. And a lens. Sadly, I'd mistakenly brought the Sony a77 along so I started to put it away. I'd been warned about "SSSS" from many quarters. But then, in a moment of plucky intellectual independence, I stepped outside the box and decided that fate had dropped into my lap the perfect opportunity to try the whole Shebang for myself. So I put on a cheap kit lens (the 55-200mm) and set the camera to no review, ISO 400, Manual Exposure, C-AF, and Zone AF. Then I prepared myself for abject disappointment. I could see myself on Monday at the water cooler hanging my head in shame as the meaner photographers from the Nikon and Canon camp taunted me and said hurtful things about my camera choice.
But then a miracle happened. I started shooting the fast moving track guys as they whipped by. The finder was a little contrasty but it had none of the horrifying effects that I expected to see. The camera and cheap lens dutifully locked onto Ben and held on while I shot frame after frame at 8fps.
And I can prove it. See below.
The moral of the story? Convention wisdom is conventional. If you can't vet the source it isn't a fact. If you want to know what YOU can do with a camera you need to test it yourself. Two pluses for the Sony today. And a good race for Ben. Well done, both.