16 August 2013

Monte Casino with the Sony NEX F3 Mirrorless camera

In today's day and age of everything smaller and better than days gone by, camera technology is changing at an alarming rate. The days of small "point and shoot" Cybershot cameras are nearly gone with every cell phone now having a camera on board. Most people read the amount of pixels as the quality of the images but little do they know that on those tiny sensors more pixels generally means worse quality. So where do we really go if we want a compact camera but we want quality? We know that quality generally comes from sensor size and good lenses amongst other things like good digital processing by the camera and the ability for the camera to perform in all sort of light conditions. Luckily Sony has come up with the answer with the introduction of their small mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras. These are small and compact but pack punch and quality. The sensor size is exactly the same as their DSLR big brothers and there is an array of lenses for just about every situation available.

To me, being the typical South African male, a camera has not been a camera unless I have this big heavy chunky traditional camera in my hands. I have however recently being toying with the NEX cameras and find myself using them more and more in everyday situations. They are lighter, smaller, easier to carry and conceal in this crime ridden country of ours but deliver the quality that I require. They can be shot in the normal auto and semi auto modes as well as in my favourite  fully manual mode. They also allow for RAW image capture which is something I would not sacrifice at any cost. (yes, I am a control freak and want full control of my images).

Well it was with this history and the little baby of the range, the NEX-F3 that I found myself driving past Monte Casino yesterday and with a few minutes to spare, I thought why the hell not. Now I know that cameras are not allowed and I have heard of many of my photographer friends being tossed out with their cameras. 

The NEX is small and I held it in my hand with my phone as I was searched by security on the entrance to the venue. They were none the wiser. I first shot a couple of images in the bright sunshine outside and then proceeded into the dark abyss. If you have entered Monte Casino you will know exactly what I am talking about. Here the camera would really be put to the test. I only had the small 18-55 kit lens and nothing special extra. No flash was an obvious so the camera's low light capability was going to be put to the test. I set the aperture on F5.6 to get a little depth of field and to get a shutter speed of 1/40, I had to push the ISO to between 1600 and 3200 to obtain a correctly exposed image.

Looking at the results when I returned to the studio, I must confess that I was suitably impressed. The images were clear and of the standard I expect. Noise was very limited considering the higher ISO's. Colours and the dynamic range is very acceptable with nice detail throughout range. The little NEX will be becoming my little traveling companion from now on!

We even had a blue moon!

Radio Jacaranda's studio gave a wonderful colour splash.

Even police seemed to be off for the day. :)

A did a little processing on this image to give it a more antique look.

Loved the colours, contrasts and textures here