Zander's new kicks. Actually I think "kicks" was the cool term for shoes when he was in grade school; I wasn't supposed to use the word then ("don't say kicks, Daddy, that's what kids say") and I think it's passé now, but I still like it. He designed these himself, on the Converse website, and he's very pleased with them—he says at least nobody at school will have the same shoes as he does! He's got that right.
I got the Sony A900 this morning, courtesy of Matt at Alpha Lens Rental, and just thought I'd post a very quick first reaction:
• It's not that big. Nothing like the big pro N & C's. Not small. But still at least vaguely camera-sized, or what I think of as camera-sized. Seems quite similar to the D700, just going from memory.
• It's pretty light for its size.
• The controls were very easy for me, probably because I'm so familiar with the A900's ancestor, the Konica-Minolta 7D.
• The viewfinder. This is a signal feature for this camera. The first reaction is oooh, but then after using the camera for an hour or two the thrill disappears. Imagine wearing shoes that were too small for a year; it would be a constant annoyance, something you'd never not be aware of. But then if you got shoes that fit perfectly, it's not like you'd walk around every day going, "Wow, these fit so well." You'd just forget about them. Same with this viewfinder—you can see everything you point the camera at, a nice, big, clear, unimpeded view. It's not so much that it constantly calls attention to itself as that it just completely obliterates "viewfinder annoyance."
• Its kinda loud. I don't know if it bugs me or not, though. It seems to be a good kinda loud, rather than a sharp, "lookit-me," annoying kind of loud. We'll see. I'll get back to you.
• File size: remember that scene in "Jaws" when Richard Dreyfuss says, "You're gonna need a bigger boat?" Well, you're gonna need a bigger hard drive. Whew.
• Hand-feel: very good. Very comfortable.
I said I wasn't going to do any test shots, but of course I couldn't resist: I was curious to see for myself what all this brouhaha about noise is about. The picturesque subject above is from my desk looking East. First off, the resolution of this thing is stunning: it sees considerably better than I do.
It was immediately obvious that JPEGs have more noise than raw (.ARW) files. Here's a little patch of the above pic in JPEG:
And in raw:
Same shot, ISO 800, both straight out of the camera. See that stack of CDs on the right hand side? This is a patch of the wall next to that stack and about the same size. I don't know, but I don't think I'm the right guy to ask about noise; I just don't mind noise...in fact my immediate thought was that the JPEG noise looks so good I might have to use JPEG from time to time.
(By the way, PopPhoto.com says the D700 has a 2-stop advantage on the A900 when it comes to noise; they say the D700 at 6400 is about equal to the A900 at 1600.)
More later under this heading, when I've done more shooting.
And now, off to photograph doggies at the doggie park, while Lulu, the A900, and I all get a little exercise.