Category Archives: Canon S95

My New Pocket Rocket

Catchy title, isn’t it! I’m referring to my Sony RX100. Technically it’s a point and shoot camera, but that’s a good thing, really!

You may be wondering why I got myself a point and shoot (P&S) when I have so many other choices. That’s because I’m always on the the hunt for a small camera with excellent image quality.  After doing quite a bit of research, I picked the Sony RX100.  Yes, this is the original.  There are 2 revisions to this model on the market.  As nice as these newer versions are, they come with a hefty price tag and I decided that I really didn’t need the additional features.  Some of these features seem like gimmicks and marketing ploys, and I probably wouldn’t use them.  My primary “must haves” were excellent image quality, shoot in RAW, and it had to fit in my pocket.  The RX100 does all of this, and more.

Before I share a few examples let me say that this little P&S is not a DSLR replacement much less a M43 (micro 4/3rd’s) replacement.  As good as it is, it does have its limitations.  One of the things that makes it so good and also the reason it won’t replace my other cameras (like my Canon 60D or Olympus E-M5) is it’s sensor.  The little RX100 comes with a 1″ sensor.  This is much, much larger than what typically comes in a P&S camera.  The 1″ sensor is also much smaller than the sensor in either my 60D or E-M5.  The other thing that makes the RX100 so good is it’s Carl Zeiss lens.  It’s fast (f1.8 on the wide end) and provides excellent image quality with very little color fringing or chromatic aberration (so far).  It also has an image stabilizer and can shoot up to 10 frames per second.

I probably won’t try to use my RX100 at an air show for fast moving air planes.  The long end of the lenses zoom range is only 100mm, and while it can shoot 10 frames per second, it doesn’t have a view finder, either electronic or optical.  It would be very difficult to track and shoot the planes as they quickly pass by using just the screen on the back of the camera.  And if I did manage to grab a shot or 2 the planes would look like little dots.  I would however take it along for photos of the static displays of aircraft on the ground, or in an air museum.

The main reason I got the RX100 was for those times when I don’t want to bring anything that wouldn’t fit in my pocket.  There are times when even my trusty Olympus E-P3 or E-M5 can be bulky (in comparison the RX100).  I’ve been on a quest to shrink my photo gear footprint for a while now.  Since I got the RX100 and used it alongside my E-M5 I think I’m pretty close to where I want to be.  So much so that I’m even thinking of selling a couple of my other cameras.  I’ll keep the Canon 60D and big lenses mostly for air shows, the E-M5 for just about anything else, and now the RX100 as a backup or primary camera when I want to go very fast and light.

There are a lot of P&S cameras on the market.  Some are ok, like the Canon S90 to S120.  Nikon and Fuji also have some very good P&S cameras.  I’m sold on the RX100 mainly because of the image quality and other reasons I already mentioned above.  This obviously isn’t a scientific review, just my thoughts and reasoning for picking up this great little camera.  Here are some examples:

The images above with the exception of RAW conversion and resizing were not “enhanced” in any other way.

That’s it for now, there will be more to follow in future posts as I’m able to spend more time with the RX100. Until next time, Happy Shooting!

What’s New Is Old

If you’ve followed my work on either Google+ or Facebook, you know that I’m very interested in black and white photography.

Not only am I interested in black and white photography, I’m branching out and doing my best to recreate the same look and feel as some authentic,  antique black and white and toned black and white photos.  You may even think I’m obsessed with it (and you might be right)!

I’m not going to go into the mechanics of how to do black and white, or processing to give an image a vintage look.  There are plenty of resources available for that.  Youtube is one of the best places to start.  This is more about my thoughts behind the pursuit of creating these type of images.

To start off, what makes a good candidate for black and white?  For some folks, it’s a street scene.  For others it’s an interesting face.  For me, it’s old buildings, aircraft, and other antique or abandoned items.  That’s not a hard and fast rule, just something that works for me.  Every once in awhile a seascape or landscape will also work in black and white.

There are many tools available to help you create the perfect black and white image.  Yes, some cameras have this feature built in, and sometimes you can get some good results this way.  Personally I find shooting all originals in color and in RAW works best for me.  I prefer to do my conversion on the computer.  It’s very easy to convert a color image to black and white, but very difficult or next to impossible to convert black and white to color.

My favorite tool for black and white work starts with Photoshop.  But while Photoshop is very versatile, there are some plugins that make it even better.  Perfect Effects by OnOne Software is one of my most used tools.  Nik also makes a plugin called Siver Effex Pro that I like, but lately I’ve been using another Nik tool called Analog Effex.  These plugins also work with Lightroom if you happen to have it.

In todays world of bright vibrant color, why work with black and white?  It’s hard to explain.  I’ve always been amazed with the work of Ansel Adams.  The mood that he created with his richly toned black and white masterpieces was amazing.  In some ways, he captured the raw drama and emotion of a scene without color getting in the way.  Sometimes the tone and textures of a scene are brought out in a way that color just can’t do.  And when it’s done right you may not even notice that it’s black and white.

One last thing regarding the tools – which camera did I use?  My opinion is usually that the camera doesn’t matter, and I’ll stick with it here too!  Most of these were done with my Canon 40D, but in one case, I used my Olympus E-M5.  I really don’t think it matters that much.  I could just as easily have used my wife’s Canon S95 point and shoot.  Just use what you have and concentrate more on capturing the scene rather that what you have or don’t have in the camera bag.

While black and white isn’t for everyone, you may still want to give it a try.  You just never know when you are working an image and it jumps up and grabs you in a way that it just couldn’t when it’s in color.

Before I close, I want to let you know that the good folks at OnOne are still giving away Perfect Effects 8  for free.  That’s right, FREE!  Just click on the link and you’ll be able to download your copy.  Try it, use it, love it!

Here are some of my most recent examples:

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!

Photo Fun at the Pier

It was hot again in the Inland Empire of Southern California.  My wife and I didn’t have any plans for the 3 day weekend, so decided to go down to the beach for a few hours.  Our target was the Seal Beach Pier, in Seal Beach!  This last-minute plan for a beach run would allow a little time for photography (we were having a bigger than normal surf) and dinner on the pier.

It was almost 5:00pm by the time we arrived, and the parking lot and beach were very crowded.  People were running around, playing in the sand and in the water.  There was even a professional photographer taking photos of a young family with the pier and ocean in the background.

The sun was still fairly high in the western sky, and pretty bright.  We were on the south side of the pier with the sun to our right.  Luckily some of the harsh bright light was blocked by the sea wall on the north side of the pier.

While I was standing just outside of the piers pilings watching the waves, my wife got busy and immediately started shooting.  She got right in the middle of the lines of pilings under the pier and was clicking away with her Canon S95 Point & Shoot.  Here are a couple of her photos:

I think she did a good job of showing some scale in this shot.  You can see the size of the wave crashing on shore compared to the 2 guys standing on the sand.  There’s also a sense of depth here with the pier’s pilings framing the scene, the guys on the beach in the middle and the ocean in the background.

This one is right in the middle of the action.  All things considered, it’s not bad for a point and shoot camera.  There’s a definite sense of depth here, with the larger pilings framing the shot, and continuing on all the way in the background.  There’s also some drama here with the wave crashing and coming right towards you!

This next image is one of mine.  I was using my Sony NEX3, with 18-55mm lens.  Some of the settings were:

  • Auto ISO
  • Aperture Priority
  • High Speed Continuous Shooting
  • File Format = .jpg

 The Sony NEX3 performed well!  I actually snapped more than 100 frames for this short trip.  At 7 frames per second it was easy to do.  Considering how many people were around, and how bright it was, I am quite pleased with this shot!

I’d like to leave you with one more image, this one is from my Motorola Atrix HD Smart Phone.  It was a spur of the moment idea to take a quick shot, and instantly post it online to Instagram.

So, what do you think?  Not bad for a phone camera!

That’s it for this post!  Until next time, Happy Shooting!