Photography by Jon Adams

Feb 2012

Nex-7 Time Lapse Controller

Time lapse interval shooting for Sony Nex cameras. This little controller can do it.

Sony Nex-7 Little Known Features

Sony Nex-7 Little Known Features

Perhaps you are just curious about the Sony Nex-7 Ultra Compact System Camera. It's intriguing for sure. I was on the fence for quite a while. While I liked the idea and the size, the image quality and feature set of the compact system cameras on the market just weren't up to par with DSLRs. I think the Sony Nex-7 changes this feeling. It utilizes a fantastic APS-C sensor. Yep, the same size as in most DSLRs. And it has the control and build quality a demanding photographer wants/needs. The Nex-7 gives you quick control of all crucial settings and even things where I'd have to have gone to the menu system on my DSLR to get at. I am falling in love with this little Sony. It's a joy to carry and use. Image quality is superb. I just printed a couple 16x24s and the detail is fantastic. Soon I'll be printing some at 24x36. I'm excited to see where the next crop of Compact System Cameras take us. No doubt they are now going to start putting the pressure on the old school DSLR systems.

Sorry for the tangent. The video shows some of the navigation and control features of the Sony Nex-7. Most of these weren't shown in the video's and reviews I've been reading and watching.

Photography Basics ISO Part 1 and 2

ISO Speed is one of three basic things you need to grasp all of photography. The three things are Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed. All current photography and old photography relies on these three principles. ISO being used for the sensitivity to light of the medium to be exposed.

In recent years ISO has been a major focus of digital camera manufacturers. It's amazing how far they have been able to push the technology, and how useful it is. Please enjoy the video.

Part 1

Part 2

Sony Nex-7 Accessories

I've been posting some videos about the Sony Nex-7 Compact System Camera sometimes called mirror less cameras. I really am liking this little powerhouse of a camera. I've been getting some questions as to links to where I got my accessories. So I've put together a list of links from mostly amazon. (I really like amazon prime) So here you go. I'll likely update this list as I find more accessories.

Sony Nex-7 Accessories Links

AC Power Adapters

Non Sony Brand

Sony Brand

Hotshoe Adapter

Digital Slave

Semi Hard LCD Cover

Sony Hotshoe Flash

Sony Nex Lens Mount Adapter

Sony Nex Accessories

Whenever you change a camera or in my case a camera system there's a ripple effect that goes through much of your gear. Most things can be repurposed. Sometimes they need to be sold as they are camera specific. But getting the right accessories for the images you want to make can be a lot of fun. Here are a couple videos of the first things I've added to my Sony Cameras.



Sony Nex-5n Cable Release

Why would I want a Cable Release?
It would seem the people at Sony thought asked the same question when they came up with the Nex series cameras. It also seems they didn't find a reason. However, they did make the wireless remote control quite useful. So back to the question. The first and most important reason is to help with camera shake on long exposures. If you are a landscape photographer you know that to be able to shoot at F16 or F22 to get the depth of field you want the shutter speed is often very long. If you are using your hand to release the shutter there's a chance that you'll shake the camera and your images will come out softer than they otherwise might have been. One other thing I do often is bulb mode exposures. Bulb mode is when you open up your lens for an indefinite amount of time. You might be making star trails, or painting in something with a flashlight. You need to be able to lock open the lens and then close it whenever you decide you want to. I guess the other reason is for you to be in the image yourself.

Remote Control

In many ways I prefer the wireless to the wired. The Sony remote control allows you to use bulb mode. Push once to open and push once to close it. The 2 second button I use all the time to give the camera a little delay before anything inside moves. The only thing missing from the standard remote or inside the camera is a interval timer. I have found an interval timer remote control and it's not he way. I'll let you know how it works when it gets here.

Firstly a good tripod, secondly some way to trigger the camera without touching it.
Quick Tip: If you don't have a cable release or remote control, use your camera's self timer feature. You can often set these to a couple seconds, trust me the default ten seconds sometimes feels like an eternity. Using the self timer will allow you to not be touching the camera when the shutter opens.

Light Beam1
You don't want to be bumping the camera when you are making a 2 or 3 second exposure.

DSC 6777
A light painting of my good friend's pumpkin.

HDR Photography Basics

Many people are often let down by camera companies who don't include bracketing options in their cameras. The three frame up to two stop bracketing just doesn't cut it for me. My very high end Nikons could do a 9 frame bracket which is usually sufficient (Not Always) but even my D7000 couldn't do this. Sony has what seems to be the worlds worst bracketing features. you can bracket .3 or
.7 stops for three frames. Does that do any good in any way? Not really, I have that much latitude with a raw file. Why is it even there? Anyway, maybe they think their build in HDR jpg rendering is what everyone in the world wants or that there isn't anyone who really wants bracketing. In any case, you're mostly going to have to bract your shots yourself.

Fire and Ice1

What is HDR?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Your eyes see in High dynamic range, at least when compared to cameras. Even the most expensive cameras don't see detail in the highlights and shadows like your brain does. Photographers have been trying to keep detail in bright clouds and deep shadows since photography began. This is just where the tech has taken us. This technique is one way to extend the range of detail your camera can capture. Actually, you capture different exposures of the same scene. This technique doesn't work well for moving subjects. Landscapes and Architecture are where this works. So if you've ever taken a shot of a landscape or sunset and wished there was a way to get more detail in the shadowy areas, this is for you.

Reflecting the Son1

What you need to get a good HDR capture? First you need to secure your camera. A good solid tripod is very important for best results. Also don't skimp on the tripod head. You should be able to lock down your camera on your tripod and it shouldn't move. If it moves when you let go of the controls, well, your tripod and or head aren't strong enough for your setup. So step 1 Lock down your composition. Second, figure out Where the information is in the scene. My Nex-5n has a live histogram on the screen. This is very nice for HDR shooting. I compose my shot, then set my camera to manual and pick the f-stop I want. Usually F16 ish. It's important to keep your F-Stop constant for the entire series of shots. Now, I go to one extreme of the exposure. You can slow down your shutter speed until you see the dark side of the histogram come into the middle or the shadow areas are all the way opened up. Then you take a shot, if you are concerned about sharpness, use a cable release or remote control. Now turn your shutter speed dial. My camera moves exposure in 1/3 stops, most do this the same. So I count three clicks on my wheel, this is one full stop. Take another shot. Repeat until you've captured all the detail in the highlights, such as the sky or the sun. I love shooting into the sun for HDR shots. When you are shooting directly into the sun and a subject in the shade, you'll end up with 13-15 stops needed. By taking a shot every stop you are able to get a very clean highly detailed HDR image.

1 2

To Recap.
1. Frame your shot and lock down your camera.
2. Pick your F-stop and ISO and lock those down.
3. Set your shutter speed to one end of the exposure. I usually start with the image overexposed.
4. Shoot then change exposure by one stop and shoot again and again until you've captured all of the dynamic range in the image.
5. There is no step 5, you're done. Recompose and make another image.

Now take your images into the HDR software of your choice. I'll list three that I use. There are many more options and price points available.

1. Nik Software HDR Efex Pro.
2. Photomatix Pro or Photomatix Light
3. Photoshop CS5

Photomatix is the easiest and fastest. Nik HDR Efex is also easy. You get different looking images from each of these software packages. Photoshop for me is the most difficult way to get a pleasing image.

Some people (photographers) are haters of HDR, I'm not sure why. Most non-photographers love the look. You can make an image of a scene that is more realistic than a standard capture. You can of course go very unrealistic too. It's an art form. Make it look pleasing to you and have fun.

Thanks for reading and watching today.


1 31The Lord Is With Us52

Sony Nex-5n Studio Camera?

Maybe you want to play with flashes a little more, but don't feel like buying a different camera. Perhaps you just want to have a way to shoot with it in a pinch if some of your other equipment breaks down. Whatever the reason, you can sync your Sony Nex-5n with studio strobes. You just need a Digital Slave. An optical slave that ignores the pre flashes the camera emits. This video shows one model that works well.

Sony AVCHD video in Lightroom 4 Beta

Problems Solved!

I have had one enduring problem with certain video files for the last several years. I've been carrying a little panasonic indestructible point and shoot camera. First it was the TS1 and now I have the TS3. As of late, I'm loving the Sony Nex-5n and I have a Nex-7 on order, I hope it gets here soon! Now these cameras are fantastic cameras and they have the ability to shoot very nice video too. However, the video they shoot is in the AVCHD format and that hasn't always played nicely with Aperture and Lightroom. So in order to see the videos you shot in the AVCHD format you'd have to bring in the files through some translating program.

What I did and What I want.

I want to keep my video and still images together, for the most part. Aside from specific projects. So what i've had to do is save the original files manually from the camera card. Then convert the files into a format viewable by the software programs I use. Import the converted video with the stills. Then later if I want to do much with the video, I'd have to convert the video specifically for the output, unless the small videos I converted were sufficient for the project or slideshow. Often I just would like all my media to import and let me look through it to decide what I want to do with it.

Enter Lightroom 4 Beta, I didn't know it would be so wonderful, I put in a card from my Sony Nex camera, and the Lightroom import window popped up as usual. I imported my images, and to my surprise, video files were showing up in the library. Are these my movie files? I thought to my self, Are they in their original format?… Why yes, Lightroom 4 is reading my native video files right off the card and bringing everything in. Just as it should be. I no longer have to remember if I shot video on the card and check for it separately. I can just pop in the card and let everything come into Lightroom. Fantastic!

Here is a quick video so you can see.
Thanks for visiting today!