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What can change in only 35 years?

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woodrim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What can change in only 35 years?
    Posted: 30 May 2016 at 20:00
I've been a photographer for getting close to 45 years. Those that recognize my handle will know me most for my use of old manual focus lenses. When I went digital, the old lenses was what interested me most, and since my photography was just hobby, I had the freedom to do what I wanted, and still do. However, every now and then I think back to when I did weddings and wonder what it would be like today and if I still have it in me. I should also mention that the last wedding I did was about 35 years ago. Arghhh, can that really be? The calendar does tell me so.

A friend of mine that I have mentored does some wedding work. We were chatting about it and I learned she had a second shooter lined up for an upcoming shoot. I asked if she wouldn't mind me coming along and just doing some extra stuff on my own - free of charge. She was very supportive. My interest was revisiting the type of work and seeing if my somewhat funky style using vintage lenses would work for that type of photography. So this was more for my curiosity, but the images are hers to use as she sees fit.

The event was this past Friday. While I did enjoy the experience, maybe because I wasn't responsible for the results and had freedom to shoot what I wanted. However, I confirmed a few things and learned some others. First, I no longer believe there is much opportunity for some of the things I do with flowers and bugs. I immediately realized how ill equipped I am. That wasn't a surprise really. If I were to consider doing it again, I'd have to upgrade my camera and flash.

Flash was the biggest deficit. I couldn't use my old Metz 403 and 402 due to discontinued batteries. I loved that old flash back in the day.

Bottom line here is that I'm not at all happy with my results.

Now for my questions. Since I am so out of date with using the modern features of the cameras, I could use some advice. I'll have more specific questions, but for not would like to know what flashes people are using for that type of work and what would be the minimum (especially considering cost) camera? Surely full frame, but are the E-mounts up to the task or should I look at the full size cameras?
Regards,

woodrim
 



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rastapartaman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rastapartaman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2016 at 20:17
TTL flashes work better for that kind of work and you still have the option to go full manual.
The old minoltas 5600hs cost around £120 and work like a charm. They will do wireless aswell. The adapter to use on FF emount costs about £13.
I've never used emount so cannot give you any advice.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2016 at 21:04
Originally posted by woodrim woodrim wrote:

... would like to know what flashes people are using for that type of work and what would be the minimum (especially considering cost) camera? Surely full frame, but are the E-mounts up to the task or should I look at the full size cameras?

Regarding E-mount and flash - I'm sure I've seen reports from knowledgeable users (Photosopher comes to mind) that E-mount bodies do strange things when combining TTL autoflash with the kind of non-native manual focus lenses that you are fond of. I can't be more specific unless I go hunting for the posts, but maybe someone else will clearly confirm or deny this.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2016 at 21:30
First, what made made you unhappy about the results?
What camera do you use? I saw some mentioning of you about the A6000, is that correct?

I'll have more specific questions, but for not would like to know what flashes people are using for that type of work
I use a HLV-F58AM, but the Minolta 5600HS(D)/Sony HVL-F56AM will be just as good. If you have the new flash mount, the Sony HVL-F43M also makes sense. More power is better and nicer, but the F43M is powerful enough in most situations.

What would be the minimum (especially considering cost) camera? Surely full frame, but are the E-mounts up to the task or should I look at the full size cameras?
Why full frame? An A6000 is very capable and I've used the Sony NEX F3 for the garden party after a formal party. Any camera will do as long as you know what you're doing. Ricardovaste uses Leica rangefinder cameras with great success. So, the minimum camera most likely is the camera you have. If you want better, you want to look at low light focussing capabilities and I would opt for the A6000, A6300, A7ii or A7Rii in e-mount. If you want the cheapest camera, get the Sony A900/A850 as the double cross sensor is great. Two pictures from weddings, first the Sony NEX F3 and Sigma 19/2.8:


Second the Sony A900 and Sony Zeiss 24-70/2.8:


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woodrim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2016 at 23:48
Thanks much for all feedback so far. I would have provided more information, but my post was long enough as it was. I was using my NEX-5N (have been looking at the A6000) and old A200 (10mp). No flash as mentioned earlier. I have the old Metz 402 that can conceivably be revived with a new type battery arrangement, and I have a handle mount Sunpack which I have yet to investigate the battery situation. Both are older style auto flashes.

I'm well aware that the NEX is cabable of excellent photos. My biggest deficiency I believe was absence of flash.

To describe the lighting on Friday, which was a challenge, it was a very bright Carolina sun, no clouds, and little in surroundings where we could find total shade and good scenery at the same time. We had the sun peaking through the leaves almost everywhere.

Since I was an extra shooter, I didn't position myself where the first and second shooters were during the posed shots. I didn't think we would need three odf the same thing, so I went off to the side and looked for moments. Mine were more candid with some posed.

I haven't asked about the lenses yet, but think I would need to move to a good zoom or two. The lens I used on my A200 is a favorite for when I do AF. I use the old Minolta 35-105 and love that lens. It seems to never let me down. Noisy, but excellent results. Everything else I have is prime and MF. I believe after this that I'll need to put aside my stubbornness and use a couple of good quality zooms. I was on occasion stuck within my focal length when it would have been convenient to have a range of focal lengths.

As for examples, I'll gather some and reduce size for posting. First I'll show some that worked out okay, but I don't consider great. They required too much post process work due to lighting and color challenges. But first here are two that I'm happy with and happened to be from the A200 and old 35-105.

Regards,

woodrim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2016 at 00:51
Some others. One example of a fun shot where my funky lens (I think) worked, and two where it didn't. Almost all were a processing nightmare, resulting in color deficiency at a minimum. The first image is an unprocessed starting point. Note the various skin tones and shadows.















Regards,

woodrim
 



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woodrim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2016 at 21:54
Sooooooo, what I'm getting from here is that Minolta had some very good flashes a while back that are capable today. Is there a consensus that the A850 is a decent FF performer? Would I be at any disadvantage with it combined with the mentioned Minolta flashes?

Any thoughts about my using the old 35-105? Strikes me that with FF I would need something with a longer range too. Any old Minolta on the level of the 35-105?
Regards,

woodrim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2016 at 23:20
Mmmm, I really don't want to be rude, and I do actually *like* old lenses, but I think from the pictures you've shown you need to get a new lens . . . The flare is pretty bad and the bokeh is horrendous. I think you'd get better pictures with a modern kit lens.

On those occasions (such as those above) where you need fill-in flash becuase of shadows and uneven lighting, I think even a cheap on-camera flash will help some. For me the A58's built-in flash does a good job much of the time (with the kit lens), but the thing you will need if you want to use wide apertures to minimise the DOF is HSS (to allow a high shutter speed for the wide aperture), or else an ND filter to get the wide aperture without a high shutter speed, in which case you may get away with the normal flash sync speed but need a powerful (non-HSS) flash.

Otherwise you're into the category of off-camera flashes (possibly plural) which is a different order of complexity and not one I'd comment on!

Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2016 at 15:24
Yes, some funky lens results. I used just a few MF lenses in addition to the 35-105 dedicated to the A200. I don't think the 35-105 let me down. The worst bokeh came from the Meyer Oreston, a lens that I absolutely love for close up work, but that wonderful bokeh turns ugly at a certain distance.

The shot with the glasses I intended to have funky bokeh and am okay with it for that less-than-serious shot. I used a Trioplan 50mm. The only other two lenses I use were the Bokina and Tair-11. Bokina no complaints, Tair best when open.

The flashes recommended already seem powerful enough guide numbers and inexpensive on used market. I have seen cheap prices for the A850.

My next set of questions pertain to using A-mount AF lenses on E-mount cameras. Are the AF adapters good enough performers or do they result in slow focusing?
Regards,

woodrim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2016 at 15:37
I've been considering getting an A850. As far as sensor it seems to be about level with current APS-C sensors, which is a bit disappointing.

If you want screw-drive AF on E-Mount you need the LA-EA4 adapter which uses the entire SLT AF system from the cheap SLTs (A33/35/37/55/57/58/65). That seems pretty limiting for full-frame use. Support for screw-drive A-mount is looking pretty weak compared to support for Canon EF through third-party adapters.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote berlin steve Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2016 at 19:20
Hi Woodrim,

The A850 is a great camera and you can pick them up pretty cheap these days. I'd sell you mine, as now I have an a99 I don't use it... but shipping to the USA probably means you'd cut a better deal in CONUS

I cannot comment on the e mount cameras. However there are lots of options to use so many mounts that the a-mount cannot cgompete with. But most of my glass is mostly a-mount and I'm bought in, and so I'm happy using an a77 and a99 with 10 or so lenses. I have an 85mm manual lens which works well too with chipped adapter. You are limited to certain lenses that fit onto A-mount, but there are some out there.

Of course FF gives you the same wide views as 35mm film. You 35-105 would behave differently than it does on your a200. You have advantage of reach with aps-c, or the wider field of view with FF. Having both can be complimentary to each other.

The a850/a900 are 'old school' bodies. If you don't want bells and whistles, these offer purist functionality without gimmicks. Sure, some of the latest sensors offer great ISO performance, but let's face it, we all want great high ISO performance, but only need it occasionally. You can push the a850 to ISO1600 without losing much to noise. For most photographers this is more than sufficient
If you get an a850 or a900 you can use the same old Minolta flashes (HS3600 or HS5600) which also work on your a200.

You can get adapters for the newer e-mount for flash, but I hate the adapter on my a99. It works, but it also works loose. You need to keep a eye on it not losing contact or falling off. The iISO Minolta flash on the older alpha models sits much better in my opinion.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2016 at 15:47
I appreciate all advice given. I will need to look into the camera, flash and lens separately, but with the camera coming first so that I can match capabilities with the others.

In addition to my old Metz 402 and 403 flashes. I have a Sunpak Auto 522 that came with a bundle I bought in December. I'm going to give it a try with some rechargeable batteries and see how well it works with my A200. Seems a good old thyristor with plenty of power from what I have read. I have a circuit protector on my hot shoe where I'll plug in the PC cord.

Does anyone use the beercan for professional use? I know it isn't up to my old primes, but seems to focus fast and have decent results.
Regards,

woodrim
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2016 at 18:04
The Beercan is a useful lens. Its focus is fast enough (I wouldn't call it fast) and its strength is people photography. So, yes, it can be used in that respect.

This is with the Beercan:

Sony A900 | Minolta 70-210/4 | 130mm | f/4 | 1/160s | 160iso

Even at f/4 it is sharp enough and it is a good portrait lens for formals.

I don't know why it is dissapointing that a 7 years old camera can compete with state of the art cameras. But the A850/A900 is a great camera for weddings. Stick with the centre focuspoint and it will be better then anything that came after it.
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woodrim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote woodrim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2016 at 18:26
Since it is one I have and a constant f/4, it may be a decent choice. I'll test that focus statement I made. I use my AF lenses very seldom and zooms even less, so I was reflecting on an experience a while back when I got some birds in flight at the beach. However, it was very bright and I'm sure that helped.

I also appreciate the A850 comments as it seems the more economical choice, but I can get more from the A7 line when I do want to use my MF lenses.

I am obviously into cheap... eh, inexpensive alternatives by necessity, but I do also like to hang onto and use older equipment; perhaps it is a reflection on my age.
Regards,

woodrim
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