From the pits, crowds and stages

Brook Bday-064


Inaugural trip to Columbus (and Granville) Ohio this labor day weekend for a good friend’s birthday. As a native of upstate NY, the Columbus area feels a lot like home with its rolling hills, big oaks and maples, and corn; lots of corn. As always, the Sony RX1 was the perfect travel companion, always on my shoulder but never conspicuous.

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Golden Eagle Zeiss-002

Phase Detect Autofocus with Carl Zeiss Contax G lenses on the Sony a7R II

On August 29th, TechArt, maker of the Golden Eagle Contax G to Sony E adapter quietly updated their firmware to support the Sony a7R II. Originally the adapter did not work with the new camera so I contacted the folks over at TechArt hoping against hope that they would soon have a solution. An individual named Lau wrote me back, assuring that an update would be released before the end of August. True to their word, on 8/29 the new firmware v2.0.0, popped up in the TechArt Update app for iOS (download here for iOS and Android). But they didn’t just fix what was broken, they also added support for the 399 fast phase detect sensors on the a7R II!

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GCJ Taping-007

Austin’s Bright Light, Gary Clark Jr. ACL Television Show Taping

Last night, Austin’s own Gary Clark Jr. took the stage for his second stint headlining the legendary Austin City Limits television show. With an expanded band that included backup singers Stevvi Alexander and Sophia Stephens and members of the Austin Afrobeat act Hard Proof on horns, Clark set things off with a smoking rendition of ‘Bright Lights”. Longtime bandmates, guitarist King Zapata, drummer Johnny Radelat and bassist Johnny Bradley anchored down the sound for the rest of the set that included tunes from his LP Blak and Blue and Clark’s upcoming release The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. The set will air later this fall on your local PBS station.

Click below for photos from the show.

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Sony a7R II and Zeiss Batis lenses – Initial thoughts and shots from the coast of Maine

Blasphemy be damned, I’m going to admit that I wasn’t all that excited about the a7R II prior to its release.

I’m a simple stills guy so the 4k video is wasted on me; I also like my fat pixel 12mp a7S files just fine, thank you and I dreaded having to deal with both the processing and storage requirements of a 42mp image. Furthermore, I already enjoy the refreshed body style and IBIS on the a7 II and I’m not a switcher – been shooting Sony for a few years now and sold all my Canon L lenses long ago.

My prior detachment aside, the release of this camera is a watershed moment in the mirrorless epoch. The a7R II spec sheet reads like something out of the future, a no compromise piece of kit that is both evolutionary and revolutionary at the same time. Who wouldn’t be interested in this camera? As professionals or even enthusiasts, we desire the best and this camera promises to be that at a great many things. Even if it falls short in a single category like low light (little brother a7S still reigns supreme), its second best still trumps most everything else on the market.

So yeah, I want the best and I want it compact and rugged and efficient and with a great compliment of lenses. I know it will eventually be eclipsed by something newer and greater but at this point in time, I can with a good conscience state that it is the best digital camera I have ever owned.

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Lonesome City

I always enjoy spending time in Tacoma, the under appreciated step sister to nearby Seattle. Walking the streets after dinner with my trusty Sony RX1 revealed the lonesome nature of her streets; the wide open spaces and artful public architecture sparsely affected by humans. Maybe it was the time of day and week or the particular district, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was walking a lovely ghost town.

Click below for a small gallery

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SAU Tear-1

Part of the Universe

Been sitting on this news for a while but today, I’m proud to share my association with the Sony Artisans of Imagery program. The latest issue of Sony Alpha Universe Magazine just dropped, featuring an interview with me about SXSW and their new lenses.

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King Tuff performs at Red Bull Sound Select, in Austin, TX, USA, on 5 June, 2015.

Red Bull Sound Select // King Tuff

Red Bull Sound Select kicked off June with a wicked show at one of Austin’s finest venues – The Mohawk. The bill was headlined by King Tuff with support from local favorites, Residual Kid and Portland’s Summer Cannibals.

Check the pics after the jump.

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RX1 Marfa Bunny-1

The Sony RX1 Maintaining its Relevance

Two years can feel like a lifetime in the digital camera market, with fresh faced models seemingly delivered on a frantic six month schedule. But that’s roughly how long my RX1 has been in service – two full years. It was the golden child back then, always with me, consistently impressing with the sweet render of its Zeiss Sonnar 35/2 and the jaw dropping dynamic range from the 24-megapixel sensor. But new interchangeable lens models were released by Sony and the RX1 would often be relegated to the drawer. The newer Alphas boast faster AF, built-it EVFs, higher resolution or better low light performance, and the ability to mount nearly every lens ever made for the format.

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Zeiss Batis 25mm and 85mm hands-on, plus FE 28mm f/2 comparison

Don’t expect this to be a well controlled, thoroughly tested discourse on the new Batis lenses. I literally had each lens for about five minutes at Precision Camera here in Austin, TX where the store was hosting a dealer day. Lucky me when I strolled up to the Sony display and there they were, the new Batis lenses – apparently the only copies in N. America.

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