Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shape with light

Light does not only to illuminate subject in photography, it also shapes it.  This image, taken with SONY NEX-5 with 18-55 zoom (stretched to the longest end for this shot), the studio light set up ws Protofo, triggered with the compact flash of the NEX-5.
The 2 main light was used to illuminate the model while 2 auxiliary lights for the background.  The main subject, the model, was lit to exhibit the skin tone very close to the background so the model will look a lot lighter (she was no way close to heavy to begin with), as she can almost float in the air. Here the contrast was also reduce to give the picture a soft tone, while maintain a visble shadow on the body so it does not look too flat.
The photographer here has to make the decision before the shoot, and to set up in such wasy so the final image can be achieved, although some might argue that post production can also achieve similar result, true!,  But as a working professional, you simply does not have that much time, and such luxury to rely on post production all the time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This is a short timescape film made for an oil refinery located at east of Bangkok. Shot with Canon 1Ds III with Leica Apo-Tylet-Emarit-R 400/2.8.  The sequence was assembled using Apple Quicktime.  With the power of modern computer, it is not possible to do extremely high quality video with still from camera such as Canon 1Ds III.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moving forward

Shot recently with Canon 5DII with EF 24-105/4L during one of our studio's music short film project, "Poisoned".  The main lighting, in fact the only light was a cinema fresnel, create a soft shadow and beautiful highlight.  The capability of low noise character of picture shot in higher ISO setting allows the modern HDSLR, such as Canon 5DII a hybrid tool for both still and motion picture, sharing the same light source.
We have in 2010 seen the new wave of still and motion picture captue tools flood to the market offering the still, motion picture photographers or those small individual producers more tools, flexible tools, excellent in performance, and inexpensive to use, and we shall see many exciting works coming. And between 2010-2011 shall be remembered as one of those break through years.

What have changed?

In photography?  Perhaps nothing.
The digital technology today, or even the silver base film photogrpahy yesterday, all tried to use the media to express what the artist see, and wished the artwork to be seen.  True, mass market photography equipment has developed a lot, some reach 60 millon pixles in single capture, even some moble phone can allow its user to shoot picture of 10 million pixels, quite enough for most of the populat media today.
This image for example, shot with a 39 million pixel digital back - Hasselblad H3D-39, with HC 120/4 Macro, display on the conventional monitor screen is hardly any different from those captured by much smaller cameras. Although, some may argue that with much larger file size, and especially those from the medium format digital backs allow more leeway of post processing, retouch and print, perhaps.  But it is not the purpose of photography, but then again, the original definition of photography was base on the understanding of technology in its day, certaining meaning do change, and is it photography?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Take Everywhere Camera?

The rise of internet, the rise of facebook and etc. has pave the way for camera makers, include those mobile phone makers and lens makers, to be able to reach more members of a household, and anywhere in the house, and outside the house.
Waves and waves of new product introduction surfaced, photographers around the world have never been offered such many choice before, at such price.  More than 10 years ago, for a common household, it was which camera the family should have.  Now, each one wants different, sometimes more than one. Smaller cameras especially, quickly gained a cult status while some real jems in the day of film, got their name slowly, often silently.  Well, it was then, this is now.
A cemra like SONY NEX-5 hosted the features worth half a truck load of equipment, and may be cost a supercar, compares to what one has to do with silver base media or tapes. But is it a take-everywhere camera?  Almost.  What about the TX-7 from Sony?  Much closer?  Or a iPhone 4 or Blackberry?  Then people started to ask about the available print size (no matter they actually want such print or not - specification is a feel good matter, not really that practical), the capability of this and that, then the search reverse, evnetually may settle at a camera like Canon 550D or 5D2 or even the just introduced Nikon D3100. A complicate quesiton indeed, due to varies human behaviors. It is really depend on what you need.  What I see now as an interesting trend is the real professional took a really small compact as their take-everywhere while a novice one usually carry one (or more) larger with more serious look as their take-everywhere.
This image, however, a snapshot with a NEX-5 and 18-55mm, in a houseware retailer outlet, available light.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clarity and Reality

I have posted many times, and said often, and very much believed so, that there is no rule in photography. Although all the development of camera technology, optical design, tools and so on all biased towards higher definition, more dynamic range, higher resolving power, less noise and so on, they still don't sum up a great picture, or even a good picture, becasue it is still photographer's vision related.
One can put this into contex that although human in the last 10 centuries or so have developed from dweling in caves to sky scrappers, from walk to taking supersonic jets, wearing hides to Armani, but the basic emotion hardly change, the love and hate, like and disgust, joy and sad. And for a picture, perhaps these elements matter more.
So is this simply consumer driven? Or just to fullfill engineers' dream? Or simply just because of our human nature, try to know the unkown? try to do the can't do? May be all of them.
So what leaves to us?  Still the same very basic decision. We like it because we like it.  The digital technology today has enabled a camera on just about anyone's hand, from the small hole in our notebook computer screen, the cellphone, the compact camera, the rangefinder camera, the view camera, the technical camera, the motion picture camera, or just a canvas on a wall with a window for exposure?  All of them.
But still, styles of creative individuals went on using all the tools, basic or hightech, small and big, electronic and mechnical, produce artworks that are none matter to whichever tool or media they use, because those really does not matter.
This snapshot, use SONY NEX-5, might as well taken from a cheap cell-phone, but does it matter?

What's NEXT?

This is a shot taken with SONY NEX-5 with the kid zoom, 18-55mm.  It was shot during one of the recent short film productions of my studio.   The Russian model, Anna, just finished make up, was patiently waiting for the set up of the scene.  Being using the larger COMS sensor, the NEX-5 recorded the detail in shadow beautifully.
I have in previous post discussed about the recent EVIL trend, EVIL - acronym of Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, is the talk among advance shooters, indi film makers and certainly some novice shooter's hot topic. Some professionals also cannot resist themselves from those talk.
At the moment of this writing, SONY NEX line of camera is the camera of the hour. It pushes the EVIL concept a little further, pack more technology, larger sensor, more bells and whistles into a smaller box.  And most likely, we will see more to come.
SONY was an electronic giant in the past, then it ambitiously entered into different, although somehow related fields, to try to market the brand as a multi media company, with some success and some failure.  Along the way, SONY picked up Minolta (and where is Konica now?) and we see the line of camera today very much the childern of this move. So expectedly, we shall see the NEX-7 and NEX-9 coming.  But different from the typical Minolta move which the milestone product being the series 7 while the flagship being the series 9, SONY cleverly introduce the NEX-5 and NEX-3, more or less as throwing stone in the pond - to wait and see. So what will be coming from SONY?  Or as a whole, what will be coming next from the giant like Canon?  Or Nikon?
This is not a post for prediction, but certainly I can see NEX-7 coming - very likely by October, quite certainly by end of 2010. And NEX-9, we shall see.  What's not the change?  The mount and lens system of course. Sensor?  May be, may be not. May be not because the current sensor is quite good, but can be better, so it is a may be. Hotshoe?  I wish, for my own reason, and I suppose so for many professional photographers, for reasons too many to say. Will it be similar size? Yes, but this is not a big matter for the market the 7 series is targeting, I suppose. Focusing system?  Can SONY imporove from the current constrast detection system to phase detection as Fuji recently introduce?  Highly expected, or may be SONY has somethines else in mind.
SONY has introduced the NEX-VG10 which was billed for is advanced amature but I can see many indi movier is eyeing it, me too. And a real pro model?  Better quick, because we will see lots of these coming soon.
Lens system?  Can we ask for a 20/2 prime, 24/2 prime, 35/2 prime, 50/2 macro?  Or is this asking too much?  Or can we even ask for Carl Zeiss?
What about Canon?  Certainly it will be coming, but Canon is less predictable.  Canon is the last to introduce AF in SLR among the maor makers, because they eye into different scale and perspective. I susppose Canon is study, studying hard. Will a new lens mount introduced?  May be and may be not. What SONY did on NEX is a good example that the mount can be somewhat larger in diameter than the camera, so why Canon just don't simply adapt the existing EF mount to an EVIL?  With additional electroniconctact for new lenses?  Or an entirely new lens mount to bring new AF system to the EVIL? More on this later.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Shot with SONY NEX-5 with the 18-55zoom, setting at 18mm, push to ISO 1600 to allow me to use a smaller aparture to record enough depth. It was shot in a parking lot in fornt of a home improvement shopping center, water from the rain shower earlier makes the parking floor a perfect reflection while still showing the nice texture of the floor, and yellow line and the palm tree and early evneing sky.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Appeared too often in a shot with woman, eventually one may find it is hard to make such kind of image difficult to shoot - without releating something has been done before.
An example here, the model was separated physically from the roses, not something that was not done before, but at least a slightly different execution.
Creating an image to claim original is increasing difficult today.  Exposed to an ever growing image galleries in the internet era, by professional and non-professional, and by house wife and student, grand son to grand dad, you might say all together they probably tried everything.  But this also pushed professional photographer to have to go extra mile to get the image a little more standout, can't say it is a bad thing.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Shot with a compact SONY NEX 5, and the beautifully made 16/2.8, at southern Thailand city, Surat Thani. It was the back yard of a little local kitchen. The color is wonderful, and the different colors coming into view that I cannot resist to take this picture.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yes, but!

I don't use this blog to reveiw camera or lens although often times I did mention the camera I use, or sometimes hinted my bias over Contax, but the fact is that really the camera or lens is not a matter, not a decisive one anyway, in final pictorial quality. But this is not to say the camera and lens has absolutely no affection on photography.  Some may say that the particular sound of a shutter of a camera does more inspiration to photographer than another, example of the classic film based Leica M, or the sexy sound of Contax RTSIII, or the whisper quiet Olumpus OM-3Ti and so on and so on.  By the same token, this can be applied to particular bags or hats for woman, penor watch for man, and so on and so on.
In my last post I gave the SONY NEX a status as "The NEX Big Thing" but this does not render the M4/3 obsolete. Far from it, in particular the Panasonic GF1, is still a powerful tool.  In practical terms, GF1 focus faster (as of this writing), more accurately and the final picture quality in most often used ISO setting, is just as good as NEX, although I would safely predict that evnetually with the advantage of sensor size, the NEX might be able to pull away more visible lead later, BUT not right now as it exhibits.  I also carefully mentioned the "most often used ISO setting" also pointed out I do beleive the larger sensor's advantage over smaller sensor.  This is simple physic, this is not a problem of Panasonc, Olypus nor as it is an advantage exclusive of SONY.  Four Third System has a lot of hype but never did deliver its size advantage until the introduction of M4/3, but then again, quickly proved by SONY that larger sensor does not necessary need a larger package, or as my last post mentioned, the Contax T2/T3 or even Minolta's TC-1, they all proved long time ago the full frame 135 format camera can be made small.  Into digital age, it is just a matter of time.  And eventually, one need a comfortabe size camera to work, not the smallest.  So the pursuit of size will eventually halt, as it is on mobile phones, to such matter, I really really don't see 4/3 or M4/3 and any more card to play.
The NEX is big because it is developed base on a lens mechanism that allows more fluid focus on video capture, something less capable by M4/3 system.  Speaking of picture taking, the camera such as GF1 is simply just as good as NEX if not better. The NEX probably designed with a price goal so its control has in most parts - electronic, rather than dials and buttons as it is on Panasonic GF1, this results the GF1 a more photographer's tool and SONY a more point and shoot camera. The GF1 alos has a hotshoe/accessory shoe that allows the use of a radio slave, for this shot of a nice Thai lady, Ploy.  GF1 + Olympus Zuiko 50/2 ED Macro.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The NEX Big Thing?

Not a spelling problem, I am referring the Sony NEX line of camera and lenses, the NEX 3 and NEX 5 and beleived many more to come.
I was not always a SONY fan! On the contrary, as an industrial designer, I thought SONY's style of industrial design is very out of date, many new products when introduced, looked old.  Old in its way of looks and old in its way of concept and execution.  To me, SONY is a giant at lost, lost its way and lost its market share, as well as its image of being innovative and quality standard. The NEX is not going to change that fact much, as still that its segment is new and also relatively small for SONY as a company and it will not save SONY as once the Walkman did.  But still, the NEX is a big thing.
"Small format, large print!" was once a synonym of original Leica camera, whereas the excellent optical quality and second-to-none craftsmanship is still very much Leica, the original concept of capturing spontaneous image, high quality image, is no longer Leica exclusive.  In fact, to me, what Leica stands for today is "Luxury Niche", it is a celerbrity camera, not necessary represent the best pictures producer.  Many would swear to defend Leica, I wish I will as I am also a long time Leica user, but it is simply not the most effective and efficient picture making tools today.  OK, enjoying using a Leica is another thing.
So why I think NEX is big?  In many ways.  Many who follow my blog know that I use lots of cameras, very small to very big, many many different brands.  Before there is a serious SONY camera,  I use the original Minolta Maxxum 9000 - the first professional AF SLR, I love the camera, but later on I passed it to  my relative; years later, I picked up 9xi - the first professional DSLR using SUS 304 stainless steel body chassis as well as for its beautiful 85/1.4 lens.  And that is the last Minolta camera I use, until now the NEX 5, arguably a 1/2 SONY, 1/2 Minolta camera. I also use Four Thirds cameras, the original Olympus E1, and then E330, and a handful of lenses, but to me, the 4/3 did not really deliver what it meant to deliver so I sold the system. It was until later on it found it niche with M4/3 format - which I quickly follow with a GF1 - and a few lenses, and very happy with it, and still very happy with it, it is in fact my prime snap shot camera and travel companion.  Then came along the NEX 5!
First impression is of course the size, what SONY did is what exactly M4/3 trying to achieve, only more effective. But I don't think the size will be staying there, my beloved Contax T2/T3 is full frame and roughly similar size of NEX cameras, so potentially there is more room to squeeze, watch out.
The NEX is big, not on its absolute image quality but on the hybrid concept - and why it pushes Leica to "Luxury Niuche" category.  First is the larger sensor, which allows NEX to deliver image quality slightly edged over GF1, but more on its ability to shoot with more flexibility in poor light, something GF1 might try to avoid, and NEX 5 delivers OK. And the most important feature, the entire lens system is buit for the benefit of video capturing.  Many motion picture professional says AF is not really needed for serious productions, they can change their mind later. The NEX 5, which I use, offer much more smooth recording than GF1, and of higher resolution.  Panosonic seemed to believe that consumer will be quite happy and appreciate with 720p recording, is obvious wrong.  Or one will not see such hype over Tester 13 and his hack of quite many dideo-able DSLR and EVIL. We may soon see his hand on NEX 3/5, wish him good luck, and please do it quick Test 13!  And finally, a powerful and capable video and image capture tool in such small package, will have its stand in history. NEX is a sad news to M4/3, a great news for photographers, go try it, and try its video.
And what happened to Canon and Nikon?  They will have answewrs, as they always have.  My hunch is, as with the original EOS cameras, a company seemed to embrace new technology the quickest, is working their brain out day and night to get the next move right, Canon will deliver its hybrid camera the last, and best.
This image, shot with Sony NEX 5, with 16/2.8, set to 2.8, 1/30s, ISO 1600.