From the pits, crowds and stages

FFF 2015 - Peaches

Leica Q – Impressions from a Sony RX1 Shooter


A longtime user of the Sony RX1, – I’ve written about my extensive history with the original. Even with the excellent a7 bodies in my bag, I still prefer the concept of a compact, FF camera to have by my side for those definitive moments. Since the release of the original Sony RX1 in 2012, the camera has been labeled a modern classic – a full frame compact that you could use as your main tool without compromise. But technology moves fast and today there is competition in the space from both the Leica Q and the just released update to the RX1, the RX1RII. and after spending a weekend shooting the hard to find Q, a few things have become clear.

Click through for thoughts and samples from both the Leica Q and the Sony a7RII (same sensor as the new Rx1RII).

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FFF 2015 Web Selects-159

Fun Fun Fun: The Best Fest

Celebrating its ten year anniversary, FFF Fest proved yet again why it is one of the best festivals in the nation. With headliners such as Jane’s Addiction, performing their 90s classic Ritual de lo Habitual in its entirety, and a resurgent Ms Lauren Hill topping Sunday night in a big way, FFF provides the alternative to overgrown festivals recycling the same lineup of whatever acts are on tour.

Mammoth gallery of all three days after the jump.

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Photo Plus Street -012

Photo Plus Expo – On the Street

Didn’t get much time to explore NYC this weekend during the Photo Plus Expo but I was able to grab a few shots on my mundane walk from the hotel to the Javitz Center. Even on the 10-minute stroll you could feel the energy of this city. I’ll be back.

Peep the small gallery after the jump… Read More

a7RII Zeiss Planar 45/2

Photo Plus Expo – From the Zeiss Booth

I stopped by to see my friends at Zeiss during this year’s Photo Plus Expo in NYC. I wanted to show them the old Zeiss Planar 45/2 (Contax G) that I was shooting adapted with AF on the a7R II. They had a booth model posing so I snapped a few shots to see if this old lens was a good fit for portraiture compared to a more recent optic like the Loxia 50/2. I don’t have a comparison but I was very pleased with the results. No touch-ups here, just some color and b/w editing.

Click through for a small gallery… Read More

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

***UPDATE*** On October 7th,2015 TechArt released v2.1.0 of the firmware described in this post that remedies many if not all of the problems with the initial release. Read on for my original review. I have made edits throughout the text to reflect the new version.

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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