Camera tech is a fascinating thing. What will companies provide us as customers, in hopes of luring us into their systems? I mentioned in my previous article that I’d been awaiting announcements on the update to Sony’s full frame mirrorless cameras before deciding on my own upgrade path, and chose to jump on the discounted a7RII deal as an update to my longstanding a7II.
My main interests were gaining an upgrade to image file quality in resolution, dynamic range and then overall performance upticks on the hardware side of things.
After a few months with the R, here is what I’ve found out…
I’ve long used my Canon Pixma Pro-9000 printer for my home printing needs which I got via a similar rebate when buying my long absent 5D many moons ago, and after about 10 years of use, I jumped on the Pro-100 rebate which is essentially an upgraded Pro-9000 with wireless printing capabilities. Canon has a history of nearly giving their large media printers away when you purchase new cameras, but I’ve not seen this rebate before. This time around, if you “purchase” a substantially discounted 50 pack of 13×19″ Canon Photo Paper Pro Luster (normally $75) for $0, you get the printer (normally $379) for $130 after a $250 mail in rebate (click here to see at B&H) along with the 13×19″ photo paper 50 pack. Considering that to purchase all 8 ink cartridges for this (or just about any higher end photo printer) is $125, you’re basically getting a printer and 50 sheets of 13×19″ paper for $5, while “buying” the ink which is also included in the purchase. Well, the ink is always where they get you, and that doesn’t change regardless of how much you pay for a printer, but in this case, I bit after doing a little research on this Pro-100. C’mon in for links to all the rebate info, which runs through a purchase by date of December 31st this year, and see some prints which I just ran through both the Pro-100 and Pro-9000 printers for comparison’s sake. I’m pretty damn impressed…
It has been a pretty long time since I’ve purchased a new camera body, which is somewhat surprising to me considering the amount of rambling on about gear I do around here. I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of upgrading my Canon full frame body as they’ve been so far behind the curve for me in offering a realistic upgrade in spec and performance for the ever increasing cost, that I’ve just decided to hold onto my legendarily ancient 5DmkII as a full frame backup. The 5DmkIII and mkIV are both solid cameras. I just never saw the asking price as justified when my 5DmkII still compared favorably, spec wise for my shooting. When investing in a new camera body, (which hopefully is never out of physical necessity) I want something new, or seriously upgraded to provide me with a new tool, not just an expensive, shiny version of what I’ve already got. I’ve long been waiting for a new Panasonic GXx model to be announced, as well as waiting to see what Sony would do with an a7III. When Sony recently announced the new a7RIII (see here at B&H), I realized I’d be waiting for a while longer yet to see what they’d be offering in their more budget friendly a7 series upgrade, and seeing what they’re doing to the “R” line, it seems a fairly linear upgrade mostly geared to speed and video, neither of which I’m horribly in need of upgrading. Don’t get me wrong, I think the proposed claim of 15 stops of dynamic range and the ability to shoot 10fps with AF and AE capabilities at 42mp is certainly notable, it’s just a hard sell for me, considering it’s going to be launched for nearly a thousand dollars more than its predecessor is going for with the current rebates. (I can use that near grand toward a GX9 *cough* c’mon Panasonic *cough*)
Be warned, this article is merely me justifying my purchase to myself. It may read as if I’m a little crazy, talking in sporadic, half baked thoughts as I convince myself of this purchase. It’s a good exercise I find, and one that through it, may benefit others who may be in a similar position, so I hope it will aid any of us looking at the recent Sony fire sale in that way.
This led me to the new rebates on the a7RII, which has, since its launch long been (literally, it’s almost 2.5 years old!) one of, and for a long while THE highest performing sensor on the market, only recently displaced by the new Nikon D850 sensor, which was then quickly usurped by the new medium format Hasselblad X1D-50c sensor which may even be leapfrogged by the new a7RIII once all the testing is done. That’s saying something considering that many other full frame (and Medium Format!) cameras have been released in that time frame. I’ve been both a fan and critic of my Sony a7II over the last few years, and if you’re a Sony fanboy and new to this site, be warned as I will have some constructively critical things to say, but I’ve decided to stick with them for at least one more (personal) upgrade cycle, and here’s why…
Believe it or not, I’m still attempting to actively write, and after a very hectic year, I’m getting back into the game, kinda. This article all started indirectly during the total solar eclipse this year. A friend who also shoots micro 4/3 and I got to talking about lenses we like for the system. We were taking turns using my adapted Sigma 150-600mm through a solar filter to snap shots of the celestial event, and we got to talking about the Voigtländer offerings. I, having been the proud owner of the 42.5mm Nokton (review on that bad boy HERE), was excited to find out my friend was toting the 17.5mm version around with him. Well, I’ll spare you the minutiae of the back and forth, but we decided to do a lens swap for a month or so, and here we are. C’mon in for some touchy, feely bits on my time with the Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 lens…
Remember my portrait lens shoot out? Well, it caught the eye of the folks over at Olympus Passion Magazine as they’d previously featured my article testing the Leica 15mm against the Panasonic pancake 14 and 20mm lenses on their website, and had asked to feature the portrait shoot out in the August edition of the magazine. I happily obliged, and it can now be seen in the current issue of their beautifully curated, Olympus-centric mag HERE.
Remember that really cool feeling of camping out in the dark room, focusing and projecting your image onto photo sensitive paper? Watching your creation materialize before your eyes in the developer as you lightly rocked the chemicals back and forth, only to see your final image come to life for the first time? I do. It’s what sparked my love affair with photography, and if you never got to experience that, I think you should try to find a local community college or community space that still has enlargers, and give it a try. Now, fast forward… Do you remember me telling you about Digital Silver Imaging and their unique, digital silver gelatin printing process? To quickly summarize, DSI (find them here) has a process that takes your digital files, and exposes them like a negative, onto photo sensitive paper, and develops them in photo chemistry producing a beautiful, museum quality, archival print. The beauty and depth of a digital file, with the organic analog feeling of a silver gelatin print, is a very cool, very harmonious and nostalgic thing. Well, I’ve been back in contact with those fine folks, and after some delightful conversation surrounding the next step in actual mounting of said beautiful prints, this is what came back to me…
(*this article was originally written for, and appeared on the Alien Skin blog, by me, HERE.)
Put out your torches, and put down your pitchforks. I love film. I shoot film, and have a freezer and fridge full of it from 35mm Kodak Gold and Ilford Delta, to 120 Tri X and Portra 160 NC. The question I’ve struggled with though, is why? Why do I still shoot film? It’s expensive to process, ridiculously tedious to digitize and even with expensive drum scanning, still doesn’t reach the depth and range of modern digital files. Well, the answer for me has been nostalgia, the feel of the image, and the ability to take a step back, and focus on shooting in a more organic way that coincides with my initial falling in love with photography in the first place. A beautiful reality though, is that through software, and remarkable sensor technology, we can quickly and easily replicate the look of film if we want, taking care of one of those (my) criteria.
This post is not meant to be any more than a personal experiment in which I’ll look to answer this question for myself when using my go to digital solution when wanting to help analogize results within my digital reality and workflow because, while I may not need film, I sure do love to replicate the look and feel of it. C’mon in…