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Friday, 28 September 2012


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Uh oh. Half of your readers won't understand what SA means, and what it has to do with this post. I'm afraid you just killed an interesting camera.

(SA ... umm, or not?)

No no, this is a good example of Color Focus Shift. In times when light is slower, for example indoors, the camera focuses first on the warmer colors, and then if there's time, on the cooler colors. Clearly this is a fast-moving children's environment, so the camera did not have time to focus on more than one of the balls.

Wait, are you saying the kit lens won't tilt? What kind of cheap junk are they trying to palm off on us!! Who do they think THEY ARE???!!!

Beautiful photo!

I wonder how many fellas won't notice the "Satire alert" :)

I heard a nasty rumour that at f16 diffraction starts becoming apparent.

I looked at that photo yesterday at 100% and was wowed by the glassy clarity. I hope the A99 does as well (the whole translucent mirror thing still worries me some, but it looks like they are getting better and better, with the new A57 being quite good for noise).


Realistically speaking, this is no worse than many other lens reviews on well-known photography sites.

I think if you engage the focal point stretcher you'll be able to pull in those balls.

"Soft towards the edges" and hard towards the pocket book.

I want to know what those balls are! Those things are cool! (I like embroidery, and if they are embroidered, they look like they were made by a master). Oh, and how do they embroider them to be out of focus?

The 2700$ payment will also be sharp at first, but will get soft with time... if the camera fulfills its promises.

Atta boy - keep it up. My wallet is feeling safer already.

Ok, you got me. Sigh...

and the colors arent very bright on the edges either!

...and sadly that's the commentary you will see on various tech blogs and “photography” sites.

Thanks god I caught the asterisk before opening my mouth.

Actually, that was a flash picture of a kitten, but it got overwhelmed by the orbs. With most compact cameras, the phenomenon appears as white orbs, perhaps with a little purple or green fringing. It is testament to the skills of the Sony engineers that they have managed to produce a camera capable of detecting these much rarer multi-coloured geometric orbs.

Its' been in the doldrums recently, but with this camera I see orb research taking on a hole new leese of life.

"I heard a nasty rumour that at f16 diffraction starts becoming apparent."

Tyler: In keeping with the previous topic, did you mean "a parent"?

I bet the back of the balls are really soft. You could tell for sure if it was a mirror camera.

I think its time to rerun the post on carrying a 35mm outfit for a year. That's only $7.40 a day. And maybe you can sell it for a premium at the end of the exercise. Go for it!


Blur is b-OK at best.
Colors are aberrant.
Cubes show extreme spherical distortion.
Projection is not isometric.
Sensor crop is based on obsolete German 1913 "Kleinbildformat" — not true 6 x 6.

No match for Hasselblad Loonar.

I can tell you guys I will buy two one for my wife and one for me what a beautiful camera


Mike, I love this site, not just for your articles, but for the moderated comments, often witty and insightful, as they are today.

I hear the Olympus XA handles the corners and edges slightly better than this. Maybe you should re-consider your dream 35mm fixed focal camera.


The balls are Japanese "temari." A quick web search will get you lots more info.

I understand that factory trained technicians can modify the lens/camera to produce sharp corners (one or two, never all four) with a soft center. An update to the user manual is included.

This is what happens when you don't have enough cross-type focus sensors towards the edge of the frame :-)

What a load of balls!

That is a type of aberration not found in the optical lexicon. It is yet to be defined or discovered. :)
Thanks for that wonderful post

Is there an RX for this condition?

I think it looks really nice, just like my 1938 uncoated 5cm f1.5 Sonnar!

Those lens flaws have some terrific aesthetics. As nice as it looks they might as well have fixed a lens baby on that 28 hundred dollar extravagance. Stupid Sony!

This picture was obviously taken by a prototype, before the lens correction software was completed.

Take a look at the image supplied in the previous piece on this camera.
"Sony Electronics Posts First RX1 Samples"
This example of the lens is even worse - clearly very severely de-centred.

Sometimes Mike, you hit one for six*. Well done, it made me smile.

*(For the non-cricket playing persons here, 'hit it for six' means to hit the cricket ball over the boundary of the field, six being the maximum amount of runs that can be scored from a single ball without running; it's a rare enough feat that the phrase has come to mean that you have excelled.)

That mast is looking weaker by the photo!

Wow, that picture sure has tons of depth of field.

It's a cool effect but you kinda gotta go all the way or not bother IMO. Probably its like easier doing it in the camera? Maybe when you can't be bothered with a proper app, I mean.

(Well I guess you've got no choice when some of these cameras don't even run apps anyway! Talk about taking retro too far...)

Isn't it a shallow DOF effect, in this case?

It took a lot of balls to post that image.

Is it possible that Sony has developed a new "this is what Leica fans who have never had the opportunity to shoot Leica gear believe the Leica style looks like" satire mode?

I've either spent too much time looking at this photo or I need to calibrate the DOF setting on my computer monitor. My monitor must be back-focusing because those two balls in the foreground are way out of focus!

I see TOP is promoting Rickard's new book. I have some serious artistic and ethical objections to the concept and publication of the book. I called Aperture's office and was told that the "photographer" simply projected images taken by Google's Street View cameras and then photographed the projections. To me this is akin to photographing someone else's photographs in any context and claiming that I have created something original. This is not the case. I do not understand Aperture's reasoning behind supporting what amounts to gross plaigerism. The photos are not Rickard's. He did not capture the original images himself. Then there is the possible copyright issue of appropriating Google's images. In all a shameful chapter in photography book publishing. TOP shouldn't help sell it.

Come on, we all know that SA is short for Sagittal/Axial, a term that refers to a lens's ability to offer sharp irony along one axis while allowing a softening wink-wink effect along the other.

I disagree. I think it's an interesting, clever, and creative idea, and moreover has resulted in some pictures that are good to look at. Given the parameters of intent in both cases and how far they are from each other, I have no problem with it at all...even if Google does.


"Isn't it a shallow DOF effect, in this case?"

It is. (No joke.)


You didn't mention barrel distortion. :]

Dean- Save your ire for Richard Prince (who truly deserves it). Mr. Rickard's work required some degree of unique creativity- and everyone readily realizes they originated at Google. I've seen the prints, and they're impressive on several levels- if only for showing us just how "traditional art" can be created from alternative sources, and secondly, how technical proficiency (ie- megapixel count) gets trumped by that very creativity.

LOL. You got me on that one. I even went back to see who posted this before seeing the *. I thought 'No way MJ makes a ridiculous statement like that.' Alas, anyone that has been to a camera/lens forum has seen just that complaint, albeit no so egregious. Nice shot by the way.

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