14th April 2010 – Llew Marsh and Friends, down at No Black Tie! Here is import Natalie, with a powerful timbre.
Natalie and Elvira Arul in a heartwarming duet. Or was it?
From left to right: (I don’t remember her name), Coleen Yap, Elvira Arul and Aaron Khaled.
And of course, musical director Llew Marsh. They did a plethora of medleys and covers, like a Backstreet Boys/Bangles/Wonder Girls medley, a Michael Jackson tribute, a Disney medley, and various others. Definitely a joy to watch, since every voice was very different from the other.
Sony released a whopping number of cameras on the 24th of August 2010 – the DSLR-A560, DSLR-A580, SLT-A33 and SLT-A55!
(Click image for a bigger view. There are a few missing bodies – the white NEX-3 and the Sony A450 launched early 2010, and the discontinued Sony 500mm F8 AF Reflex, Sony 55-200mm F4-5.6 DT (I) and Sony 24-105mm F3.5-4.5.)
I’d usually blog about the latest Sony Alphas and stuff but somehow while I am still very excited and very much intent on buying a Sony SLT-A55, I am not so sure what would be the purpose in blogging about stuff people already know (I am having a hard time compiling it as I’ve gotten information overload since it launched!)
I would rather blog about these once I’ve had a hands-on, so pardon me if I miss out anything in this, as the A560 and A580 have little information known about them.
I would definitely be better served by a 7-series Single Lens Translucent camera (SLT) but I could buy the A55 and sell it when the A77 comes (or if it’s merged in the A700 replacement, even better!)
The A55 and NEX-5 will come with me to gigs since both do video, and the A55 and A900 will come with me for photography work (the NEX-5 doesn’t support an external bounced flash yet.)
I would probably pick the A55 for travel as it has a pop-up flash that is always there, and it supports AF with A-mount lenses and video.
The A560 and A580 are unfortunately not getting the love they deserve from review sites. I could understand why – the A5xx series is more of an inbetween than anything now – it has a small optical viewfinder, doesn’t have phase detect autofocus in video, and is bigger.
However, the A560 and A580 add Hand-held Twilight, Multi-frame NR (and an Auto+ mode to know when to use these), Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama and 15 AF points to the A450/A500/A550 series. Oh and contrast-detect AF in Focus Check Live View – the first ever in a Sony Alpha dSLR! (The NEX bodies use contrast-detect AF but are not dSLRs.)
The A560 and A580 apparently cannot use contrast-detect AF when recording video (I may edit this later if other reports prove otherwise.)
So what’s the big deal about contrast-detect AF and phase-detect AF?
The A55 uses phase-detect, while the Canon 550D uses contrast-detect, and the difference is obvious in Focus Numerique’s video below:
The A560, although being cheaper, still gets 7 frames per second continuous shooting.
The A580 and A55 both get 16 megapixels, instead of the A560 and A33’s 14 megapixels. The A55 also gets 10 frames per second with phase-detect autofocus!
The A33 and A55 can use on-sensor SteadyShot while recording videos but it makes the recording limited to 9 minutes to prevent overheating. With SteadyShot off it can do 29 minutes (darn EU regulations taxing cameras that record 30 minutes or more!)
The A55V has built-in GPS, a first for any dSLR! Note that this is different from the regular A55 which does not have GPS (and this might be the only option in certain countries.)
The A33 and A55 have an electronic viewfinder similiar in size to the A900’s optical viewfinder, at 100% coverage, 0.73x magnification (the A900 does 100% 0.74x.)
And here’s the official trailer for the A33 and A55:
Here’s a video of the A55 doing 10 frames per second:
The translucent mirror on the A33 and A55 will reflect some light up to the phase-detect AF sensors up where the pentaprism used to be, even when recording video or taking pictures, so there are concerns that the 1/3rd of a stop of light loss will cause more noise.
What is 1/3rd of a stop? The difference between F3.5 and F4.0. The difference between F1.4 and F1.6. Not much eh?
Progressive, Not Interlaced
It is very nice to know that Sony now acknowledges that they record progressive video in an interlaced container. I quote Sony Style:
“The DSLR-A560L captures Full HD video at 1920×1080/30p and records in 1920×1080/60i and is one of the very few DSLRs with exactly the same resolution and frame rate as most broadcast and cable HDTV channels. You also have the option of recording HD video in 720p in web friendly MP4 format. ”
MC Reza and his gig – Moonshine: A Homemade Music Show, at Laundry Bar, a certain 11th of March 2010!
As always, the full bands come after the acoustic performers.
Ash (who I haven’t gotten to see in his other band!)
No this is not Car Crash Hearts – this is the rocking Rashdan Harith!
Yes he solos on an acoustic guitar.
This guitar lick is hot! No, literally, it is hot ouch!
Then came Benchmarx, rock and roll!
He looks like a member of The Scorpions. They’re a bunch of teachers from an international school somewhere in KL.
This guy also looks like a member of The Scorpions.
Jimmy North, also a standup comic, brings an energetic frontman persona!
Ah, how lovely them videotapin’ ladies are.
I don’t even remember what this effect was but I think it was a siren. Pretty darn cool!
This guy has killer chops and sings a bang on rendition of Bon Scott. Or was it more like Brian Johnson? I don’t remember. Heck I didn’t even realize there were two (major) vocalists in AC/DC until I looked it up today!
This video can help you can identify the difference (Brian is the grouchier sounding guy with cap; Bon has a slightly more classic rock voice.)
Jimmy raps too, in one of those old school Aerosmith crossover ways!
To keep up the high voltage rock, Pitbull Inc. was next!
Man you gotta hear Steven. One powerhouse vocalist he is!
Gotta love that weathered sunburst top look.
“I don’t know why I looked, but I did.” Thank you!
Steven dude you gotta do that Queen cover you’re fantastic at! Next round yo.
Over a year ago, 10th July 2009 to be exact, I built my own ring flash light modifier! One can either stick a lens of 77mm diameter through the hole, or turn the modifier upside-down to become a directional light, looking very much like a beauty dish.
This is how it looks, straight on, through the ring.
Enche Ted the lighting guru with the directional light.
Muzzammil against the wall.
Muzzammil not against the wall. I have to say I really like the directional light mode!
This was a far more difficult shot (thanks Kevin Wong for taking this!) Two flashes with wide-panel diffusers pulled out, and one flash with ring flash light modifier from above.
My inspiration to build this came from another lighting modifier master, Templar! His far more refined version is on the right. Trust an engineer to make precision look easy!
There was, also, this O-Flash RF175 light modifier – it was significantly heavier, but gives one stop better light transmission. Did I mention that the light modifier sucks power and decreases range significantly?
The bottom left picture with with the O-Flash; the bottom right, with my version, which had a warm cast.
Version 2, built on the 1st of August 2009, transforms and holds a Sony HVL-F58AM flash. However I’d rather lug around the Version 1 because the collapsed Version 2 doesn’t fit in much smaller bags.
Someday when I am freer, I shall revise this into an even smaller design, I hope. It would be too easy to make a collapsible beauty dish – but ring flash?
Left is Version 2 next to a Metz Mecablitz 15 MS-1 Digital. Powered by 2 AAA batteries, that ring flash amazingly packs a punch – it can even be triggered by your camera’s pop-up flash! Now, if only it would fit lenses having a filter thread size bigger than 72mm… (though, you’d want to stick a medium telephoto through this, so you’d probably zoom your lens through it.)
More pictures from the same setup: (and some are the same but in lower resolution…) Lucky 8
On the 16th of June 2010, I got myself a Gakkenflex DIY twin-lens reflex camera! (Hand model is Lydia Kwan.)
It comes with a Japanese magazine, Otona no Kagaku, which includes a DIY kit in each issue. Very cool idea, and this particular issue number #25 is a hit, with many reprints!
Ironically, this is the back of the magazine.
This is what it looks like, unassembled.
The shutter mechanism. Fixed at F11, 1/150th of a second, unfortunately, limiting it to bright light even with ASA400 film. In theory, I could remove the aperture plastic, but it also holds the lens in place – so even if I did take it out, I’d have to find something else to hold it in alignment, or else my pictures would be out of focus.
Here it is with some other buddies who didn’t last the SLR revolution. Top left is the Blackbird Fly, a TLR where the top viewfinder does not show focus, but shows everything in focus – so it does not give you that amazing TLR experience, focusing on a viewfinder from above and having a most 3D viewfinder.
Technically, the Hasselblad 501CM here is a Single Lens Reflex since it does have a medium format-sized mirror…
There is also the Polaroid Land Camera to the left, with a very cool rangefinder mechanism, and a Leica M6 and M3 somewhere in the picture. At the bottom is the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, which I will blog about sometime later.
Thanks to Azrul of 807studio for your hospitality and having a few cameras to pose with!
This is what it looks like from above. You can’t really see much focusing going on unless it’s at close range. The viewing lens is brighter than the image-taking lens, though, and it thus does not represent depth of field exactly.
There is a sports finder, which I have not managed to teach anyone how to use.
And now, on to my first roll, with Kodak Gold ASA 400!
My first shot. Metered with my A900, I had to do a little trick where I flip the shutter down, pull it slowly up, and it goes into Bulb mode. The exposure here was 20 seconds, I think.
Azrul and I then went to the demolition of the Pudu Jail wall. With streetlights, I could get 5 second exposures.
The machines eat into the wall.
Here’s a hotlamp going as close as it can go through a softbox. F11 1/150s at ASA 400 is hard to satisfy! That would be almost three stops below Sunny F16.
The lens has decent central clarity, and rapidly diffuses into softness, and some sort of shakiness I can’t put my finger on.
The last shot I took with it, 14 frames into the roll of 36. The remaining 22 were black blanks! I had no idea why this was so, unless the shutter had malfunctioned.
Sadly, I would only know when I finish the roll of Fujifilm Superia ASA 400 currently in the camera – then I could open it up to inspect it again.