A follow up to last night's post about the one inch professional cameras from Sony and Panasonic.

I spent an hour at midday walking the four mile loop on the high and bike trail and finished up with a detour over to the downtown area. My goal was to get some weight bearing exercise (cross training from swimming) but to also put my money where my keyboard is as relates to my recent, lavish praise of three different one inch sensor cameras. Today I chose the most basic of the three cameras to get covered with sweat and to share the near 100 degree (farenheit) temperatures with me. It's the Sony RX10ii. At this point I consider it to be one of the most under-rated cameras on the market today. Why? Because I know that it punches so far above it's price and sensor size but most people disregard it believing it's been replaced by the RX10iii. Not true. It's still in stock at most dealers and has not been removed (in any public way) from Sony's inventory. 

Yesterday I wrote a post extolling this kind of super-zoom, bridge camera and, after my use of it today I am even more certain that many people would be much better off with a device like this one than the myriad of boring, homogenous mid-level DSLRs that plague the market. I may be wrong. I may be blinded by my own circumstances and experiences with this camera and the one inch sensor brotherhood, but I'll be darned if I can see many shortcomings in the files. You can, of course, vociferously disagree but we're all entitled to our opinions. Since yesterday's blog post just used existing one inch images I'd previously shot I thought I use today's bandwidth to show shots taken with the intention to use the camera as I think it was designed; as a ready tool for quick and quirky shots. Video to follow? Click on the images and go into "big gallery" mode. See them at 2198 pixels on your bigger screens. Believe me when I tell you that the 5472x3648 pixel files are filled with luscious detail....


I think photographers have been looking at one inch sensor "super" cameras all wrong.

I think so many ardent amateurs and unimaginative professional photographers have been looking at the Sony and Panasonic one inch sensor cameras all wrong. From my conversations with so many photographers I find that most feel that the "bridge" cameras, like the Sony RX10 series and the Panasonic FZ series are "step down" cameras or "convenience" cameras designed to be dragged along during assignments or travel opportunities where a big, fat, awkward bag of lenses and traditional interchangeable lens cameras would be too big a burden. They see the bridge cameras as a compromise, thinking that everything in "real" imaging should revolve around traditional cameras. But I think they are misguided. 

I went out and used my Sony RX10ii today. I had almost forgotten what a solid and proficient tool it is for all kinds of photography. But more importantly I became reacquainted with the many ways in which these cameras really are the best suited options for nearly all the image making people do these days. There are exceptions to the general rule but for the most part these cameras run circles around traditional DSLRs in handling, feature sets, and yes----even a certain set of quality parameters.

The biggest hit the cameras get from naysayers is that the sensor is too small and this won't allow for images where the backgrounds go quickly out of focus behind the main subject. This is true and it's the one limitation I'll grant to DSLR users. There is little out there that can match the look of an 85mm or 135mm f1.4 or f1.8, focused at six to eight feet from a main subject, with the background another 10 to infinity feet away. That's it. That's the one advantage of the bigger sensor from an artistic point of view. 

But the one inch sensor brigade does so many things so well. I spent time walking around shooting in full sun today with the ISO of my RX10ii set at 64. The detail I was able to get in the images I took easy rivals the image quality (sharpness, color saturation, detail, even dynamic range) that I get when I shoot the same things with my Sony A7ii and my little collection of modern Zeiss

A quick video about a useful flash adapting product. Go Godox.

Godox All Purpose Flash Bracket from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.

This device is great for mounting small and medium softboxes and all but the biggest and heaviest umbrellas. I love using it to mount speed lights to umbrellas because the flash reflector is positioned almost in the middle of the umbrella. It's about $20. How can you go wrong?


Shooting a series of portraits in the studio with Speed Lights.

"Those whom the gods would destroy they first make bored."

It's finally happened. I am officially bored by cameras. By cameras and all the lore and ritual surrounding their selection, their use and their supposed intrinsic power. I wanted to so love the Fuji X-Pro-2 but even though Fuji's website said all the right stuff the magic was nowhere in sight. I wanted to want to rush out and impoverish myself with their GFX 50S but when I held it in my hands there was no spark; no instant rationalization about how this camera was going to the one that would finally unleash my photographic super powers. I can't even glance at the Nikon website without thinking, "been there, done that so many times before..." And don't get me started on Canon. Not even the prospect of something new from Sony was enough to spark some neurons of anticipation. 

It's an odd realization and, like intestinal gas, this boredom with cameras may be a passing thing. But whether it's transient or permanent it doesn't mean that I've lost my enthusiasm for the actual process of photography. Far from it. What this new boredom has done is focus my attention on a different aspect of picture taking; away from the cameras and lenses and back to


The photo gear downsizing continues. The video gear upsizing is temporarily paused.

Two Photogenic Powerlight 1250 DR's with one umbrella reflector and two speed rings.

I bought my first real studio strobe (electronic flash unit) back in 1979. It was a Novatron 120, pack and head system with one flash head and a box that generated about as much power as a brawny battery powered light that you'd put on top of your camera today. The box, with two connectors for flash heads, was gray metal and the flash head, with its 20 foot cord had a black plastic case and a polished reflector. Of course there was a flash tube and a 60 watt light bulb that served as a modeling light. 

For the first twenty years of my photographic career in the studio I used only power pack and head systems. After the Novatron I bought an 800 watt second Norman flash and two nice, metal heads that had built-in fans. I liked those so when I started to get busy I added more stuff from the Norman system. I eventually ended up with two of their PD2000, two thousand watt second packs and a collection of eight heavy metal flash heads. The PD800 also stuck around. At that point in my career we were shooting advertising projects nearly every day and sometimes for ten or twelve hours at a whack. Flashes had to be robust because when we were shooting still life with 8x10 cameras at f64 we might need to pop the flashes (in a dark room) a couple dozen times at full power to get enough cumulative light on the film. There was this thing called