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Sony Alpha 7 III

23rd March 2018

The Newest High Performance Mirrorless


As the cold winter weather wares on me, I look forward to escaping for a few days. My destination is the Wedding & Portrait Professional International Conference and Expo in warm (usually) Las Vegas. There photographers can attend any of several hundred seminars, classes, workshops covering the gamut of the photography world. I especially like the expo where I can seek out the makers of new equipment and accessories. And so for this article, you’ll see that I stopped at Sony to have a look at their upcoming A7 III mirrorless camera.

Sony is the leading maker of mirrorless cameras. Early on I was attracted to Sony’s NEX series owing to their compact size and weight. I now own three of Sony’s mirrorless APS-C sensor models. For the past two years, my walk-around “goto” is the Sony Alpha 6000 with which I’ve taken many tens of thousands of pix.

I’ve been holding off upgrading to a full frame, but Sony has been dangling some impressive features in their newer models. The A7 III is Sony’s latest iteration of full-framers and I had some hands-on at the WPPI Expo.


Pick up the camera and it’s lightweight (compared to full-frame DSLR) but solid. The body is made from a magnesium alloy and is sealed to keep out dirt and moisture. The handgrip is comfortable (I’m right handed) as I tested it with the 24-105mm G lens. I cozied up to the bright, crisp viewfinder. Although I was in a lower light indoor setting, the speed of autofocus seemed to be very snappy. I counted four customizable buttons – a plus for fast working in the field. There are also two convenient dials for changing shutter speed or aperture and a welcomed dedicated dial for exposure adjustment.

Among the A7 III’s impressive features are:

 

  • 24.2 MP full frame sensor with ISO from 100-51200
  • Bright 2.3MP electronic viewfinder
  • Advanced AF with 693 phase detection and 425 contrast points
  • “Eye AF” detects and focuses on subject’s eye
  • continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second
  • in camera 5-axis image stabilization
  • high capacity battery provides 700 shots per charge
  • dual SD card slots supports high speed UHS-II
  • tilting LCD screen with touch-screen capability
  • high resolution 4K HDR video

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    At the WPPI Expo, Sony rep David Rhodes demonstrated a new feature for me. Using your finger tip, you can use the touch screen to instantly change the focus point. The LCD screen also tilts up and down for easier viewing from different angles. While I wasn’t able to try it, the A7 III is capable of shooting 10 frames per second while maintaining autofocus.


    In the past, some critics pointed to the dearth of lenses for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras. Sony has been rapidly developing and introducing new lenses and now has a decent stable of prime and zoom lenses – I counted about two dozen lenses.

    Additionally, Sigma recently announced the support the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. While they are not yet available, Sigma will be producing the following prime lenses for Sony E-mount cameras:

    14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art
    20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    70mm F2.8 DG MACRO Art
    85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art


     

    The A7 III is on target for release about mid-April. The suggested price is $2200 with a 28-70mm lens. For more information and detailed specifications, please visit Sony A7 III.

    For more information about the upcoming Sigma lenses, please visit Sigma.


    After my hands-on test and after talking to the Sony rep David Rhodes, I’ve decided to pre-order the A7 III. The two features that pushed my decision are the speedy and more accurate autofocus, the 10 fps shooting capability and the availability of a larger selection of lenses. I look forward to its arrival – I’m told in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I’ll have a review of the new equipment in the near future.

    Note from April 10, 2018: I just received delivery of the A7 III that I preordered a couple of weeks ago. I hope to have a review shortly.

     
     

    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     

    Instant Photography – prints while you shoot


    At the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo held earlier in February, I couldn’t help but notice several attractive displays at the huge Fujifilm booth.

    Fujifilm has been producing instant photo cameras since before the turn of the century (2000) as a successor to the groundbreaking Polaroid line.

    Their most popular model is the Instax 70 Mini which comes in six vivid colors – white, yellow, blue, gold, red and black.

    All of these cameras feature auto focus, auto exposure, self-timer, fill flash and tripod socket. They also have a convenient “selfie” mode.

    Fujifilm’s line of instant photograph cameras are an attractive addition for enhancing wedding, reunion, or party events. Make the rounds among the guests with one of these cameras and there’s an exciting picture for them to see.



    Instax Mini film is packaged in sets to produce 10 – 62mm x 46mm photos – about the size of a credit card.

    In addition to photographs with white borders, the packages of film can be purchased with these designs and colors: black, sky blue, rainbow, candy pop, stained glass, shiny star, comic, air mail, stripe, and Hello Kitty. There is also a monochrome film package for producing black and white photos.

    Here’s a photo of me taken with a colorful border. It takes about 90 seconds from pressing the shutter release until the photograph is fully “developed”.


    Here’s a couple of wedding displays that were created from Instax cameras.


    The suggested price of Instax 70 Mini is $110. The Instax Mini Film sells for about $15 for 2 x 10-exposure packages.

    There is also an Instax Wide 300 model camera which can take instant photos that are double wide: 62mm x 92mm.

    For more information about the Instax line of cameras, please visit Fujifilm.


     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


     

     

    Wrapping Up the Event

     



    The cold and snowy winter days in Michigan have me longing for a warmer respite. So the call of the exciting Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo is excuse enough for me to hop on a plane to visit the warm climes of Las Vegas.
    The goal of the conference portion of WPPI is to hone the skills of professionals who specialize in weddings, portraits, video, school and sporting photography. Classes, seminars and photo walks are led by noted pros and educators who share their techniques with attendees to help grow their business.

    The expo portion of WPPI takes place in a huge hall where manufacturers of photo equipment, accessories, materials, and services can present their products to attendees.

    The venue for WPPI was the huge Las Vegas Convention Center. Event organizers told me that the show outgrew the space at MGM Center. The LVCC was easily able to accommodate the 13,000 attendees and 230 exhibitors.


    Convention goers are attracted to WPPI by the many well-know photographers and instructors that conduct more than 200 different classes. You may recognize some of their names and work: Joe McNally, Sue Bryce, Joe Switzer, Lindsay Adler, Tamara Lackey, Me Ra Koh, Bambi Cantrell, Katrin Eismann, Bob Davis, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela and Julianne Kost to name a few.

    At the expo, I made my way through the exhibit hall and stopped often to listen to many of the seminars and demonstrations sponsored by the major equipment manufacturers. Here’s a quick look at a wide variety of topics presented to attendees.

    Lighting Techniques


    A Nikon Demo


    Self-Portraiture & Posing


    presented by Brooke Shaden

    Posing the Family


    presented by Michele Celentano


    Nikon Ambassador


    Dixie Dixon

    with an attentive audience



    Photojournalist Joe Bussink

    Talking Mirrorless Cameras at Fuji

    My stay in Las Vegas was short but I did talk to dozens of equipment and accessory suppliers during my visit to WPPI. As soon as I get my act together, I’ll review some of items that caught my attention.

     

     
    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     

    WPPI 2017

    20th January 2017

    Wedding & Portrait Photography International


    Conference and Expo

     


     

     

    In just a few days, the WPPI Convention will be underway. I’ll be heading out to the (hopefully) warm climes of Las Vegas to attend this annual gathering that takes places from Feb 5th through Feb 9th.

    The WPPI is for photography professionals who are looking to enhance their various skills – posing, lighting, printing, marketing and sales. More than 200 classes are taught by expert photographers and speakers. In addition to the core wedding and portrait photography classes, a new Professional School & Sports Photography (PSPI) program has been developed to capture this growing segment.

    To accommodate an expected 12,000 attendees, the WPPI has moved to the spacious Las Vegas Convention Center. These classes are led by 175 instructors including notables such as Katrin Eismann, Julianne Kost, Lindsay Adler, Joe McNally, Jerry Ghionis, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell and Bob Davis to name a few. Click here to see the wide variety of classes and instructors.

    The expo portion of the convention has some 250 exhibitors in the hall showing the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers have booths where they demonstrate their latest wares.

    For more information on this year’s convention, please visit the WPPI Conference & Expo website.

    I hope to see you there.


    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     


     
     

    All Things Techie

    The Consumer Electronics Show has been the face of the electronics industry for almost 50 years. Except for one year, I’ve attended the show continuously since 1980 first as an exhibitor for many years, next as an industry member and lately as part of the press.

    CES is held each year in early January in Las Vegas. This makes traveling to CES a respite from the cold and snowy winter weather of my home base in Michigan. I walked many miles through the aisles and took in the breath of new gadgets that may make their way to our homes and businesses in the next months.

    Along with 170,000 attendees, I was privy to see some 3,800 exhibitors that occupied 2.5 million square feet of floor space showing their products.

    Here are a couple that caught my attention.


    DXO One – iOS Camera

    One of my first stops was at the DXO Labs booth where their rep Elodie Petiot demonstrated a small, standalone camera that melds seamlessly with the iPhone and iPad.

    The DXO One has a high resolution 20MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 32mm equivalent lens and attaches directly to the iOS device through a Lighting connector thereby eliminating the need for a wifi connection. An iOS app provides control over all of the cameras’s features – focus, exposure, shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO setting, more. Captured images are immediately transferred to the iPhone for editing or sharing online.

    The suggested price for the DXO One is $475. For more information please visit DXO.


    Sony Alpha 7R II Mirrorless

    I’ve been using Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras for the past four years, but Sony’s new full-frame a7r II has been on my radar scope since it became available late last year. With a whopping 42-megapixel sensor it should fits into my fondness for landscape photography. Its BSI (back sided illuminated) sensor enables Sony to pack more light gathering power onboard, thereby boosting sensitivity to 102,400. Autofocus speed is said to be 40% faster than the earlier a7R model. Other improvements include five-axis image stabilization and shutter dampening for less camera vibration.
    What’s holding me back from purchasing this camera? I’d also have to shell out a big investment for a set of full-frame lenses.

    The suggested price of the a7R II is $3200. For more information, please visit Sony.


     
     

    Stay tuned for a look at a couple of 3D printers that caught my eye at CES 2016.

    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     


     
     
     

    CES 2015 – The Drones

    24th January 2015

    The Consumer Electronics Show – Drones

     

    For more than 30 years, I’ve started the New Year with a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is the premier showcase for new and innovative techie products that are in line to hit the store shelves.

    This year I notice the proliferation of 3D printers and picture-taking drones at the show.

    Earlier, I wrote a short article about 3D Printing Technology that I saw at CES.

    There’s plenty of controversy surrounding the use drones for commercial purposes, manufacturers from around the world are gearing up for battle as they try to outdo each other on features, price, and speed to market. This article presents several of the picture-taking drones that I saw at the show.


    Robotix Ghost+

    This is the Ghost+ quadcopter.

    Its payload is a GoPro camera mounted on a controllable gimbal and has a GPS receiver, gyroscopic controller for smooth flight, retractable landing skids and can stay airborne for 18 minutes.

    The WiFi module lets you stream the video remotely to a smartphone and/or tablet.

    The suggested price of the Ghost+ is $1300.

    For more information about the Ghost+, please visit Thunder Tiger Group.

     


    DJI Inspire 1

    This is DJI’s newest model – Inspire 1. It has a bult-in gimbal-mounted 4K video camera that can be remotely positioned, real-time feed to the controller and automatic takeoff and landing.


    while in the air, the landing pods fold into the “up” position for obstruction-free video recording
    Price is $3400 with dual remotes – one for flight control and the other for camera control.

    For more info, please visit DJI.

     


    Proto-X FPV

    The FPV quadcopter is equipped with a 1280 x 720p video camera.

    Notice that the controller has a built-in video screen that displays the captured video in real time. It is gyro stabilized for steady movie.

    The suggested price is $350.

    For more info, please contact Hobbico 


    Zano – the nano drone

    Zano calls itself a “sophisticated nano drone”. It’s so small that it fits in the palm of your hand.

    Your smartphone or tablet is the controller. Simply tilt your phone left, right, forward or backward and the Zano follows. Other onscreen icons control the altitude, rotation, capture, etc.

    This is a prototype model and Zano tells me that production begins in July 2015. Price in UK Pounds £170.

    For more information, please visit Zano.


     

    As a former participant in the flight simulation industry, I’m in awe of the drone “landscape”.

    As I watch these new models flying at CES, I am amazed at how quickly the technology surrounding drones has progressed. In addition to highly competitive prices, these devices are much easier to fly – many with auto takeoff and auto landing capability – and features such as gimbals, streaming and navigation are truly impressive.

    Written by: Arnie Lee