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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Smile Messin' around with the 200-500mm - low light

    I had a few minutes to try out something I had been considering for all of ... well, five whole minutes. It's like that, sometimes. Inspiration and asking, "what if ...?"

    One of the big complaints everyone usually has was the amount of shake you get when you use long glass. Without stabilization, you should probably subscribe to the "reciprocal method", where you take the focal length and invert it for your shutter speed.

    So, in this rather extreme case of a long lens, a 500mm focal length becomes ... yep, 1/500 sec.

    Well, I have news for you. If you can get 1/500-of-a-second coupled with a base aperture of f/6.3 to produce much indoors ... you are quite photographer. Heck, you cannot even sync a flash to that kind of speed. Hand-holding your camera at that length is a rough go.

    So, here we introduce SONY's Super SteadyShot. What does it do for you?

    In short, SSS reclaims shutter speed. Obviously, if you are pretty steady, yourself, you can get a lot more out of it.

    Through a couple quick low-light situational shots (single 40W fluorescent bulb) ... I was able to use the α700's ISO-6400 capability, coupled with a 1/5 second exposure (handheld & SSS-assisted, of course) to try and effectively reproduce a flash shot of 1/60th sec ISO-400 with a reasonable degree of consistency. Now, admittedly, this is the ""RAGGED EDGE" and you cannot expect precision results. This is a desperation move, because someone did not provide enough light for the camera to 'see' much.

    So, what does this mean? Well, given some pretty lousy lighting/exposure situations ... the α700 can still dig you out a "reasonable shot." 500mm @ f/6.3 is dark by almost any standard. Yet, even handheld ...

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    EXIF: 500mm - f/6.3 - 1/5 sec. - ISO-6400 - Spot Metering - Center-weighted Focus - Fluorescent Lighting (40W)

    Add the flash:
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    EXIF: 500mm - f/6.3 - 1/60 sec. - ISO-400 - Spot Metering - Center-weighted Focus - Pop-up Flash (TTL)

    (the above images are JPGs and only resized to fit on this webpage ... and are as-is with absolutely no post-processing performed.)

    To truly appreciate this, you really need to try it with a Canon or a Nikon camera. Don't forget to dig real deep for the $6500 it is going to cost for the IS-equipped 500mm f/4 lens. SONY's Super SteadyShot comes along for the ride for free.

    If the SONY α700 can pull off this kind of miracle w/o a high performance lens ... just think of what it can do for your own photography with the lighter stuff. I know, I do.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 03-06-2009 at 01:14 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    10,409
    no doubt that there is an advantage of inbody IS for something like this. i ask you though...is this what you bought your dslr for ? shooting trinkets at 500mm indoors at 1/5th of a second ? i can produce a shot miles better with nicer lighting. so really...just cos you CAN do something doesnt make it GOOD. and the way sigma and tamron are rolling out the OS lens' there will be a sigma and tamron 500mm lens with OS pretty soon for those that feel the need to do this sort of thing.

    its not really all that much of a big deal for real photography though is it ? its more a big deal for...dare i say it ? messing around. congrats...you got yourself the ultimate messing around camera. (actually, no its not the ultimate, that'd be olympus who make better glass thats much lighter and all stabilised).
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,364
    If it were a real eagle shot outdoors I'd be impressed.
    US Navy--Hooyah!

    Nikon D700/D300|17-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, Sigmalux, 80-200 f/2.8, 16 f/2.8 fisheye,

    Lots of flashes and Honl gear.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    Cool Nothing to shake a stick at ...

    I guess the point of this exercise has been lost on some. If you have a SONY DSLR ... then I suspect that you are probably just smiling. You already know the value of in-the-body stabilized shots with ALL lenses ... not just a select (and often expensive) few the manufacturer throws out to the public.

    Extremes are done simply to establish a fact. They are not the "preferred" way of getting the job done, but more to simply bracket what is possible.

    Probably the one thing that made me toss my Canon system was when I went to the Museum of Science and Industry, in Chicago. I walked in with my tripod an was immediately informed that I would not be allowed to use it. &

    To truly explain what I felt as I had to return the device to my car, in the parking area, is just not worth repeating. Let's just say ... I was steamed and leave it at that. So now, all the f/2.8 optics I had brought to take images in the museum were immediately cut off to nothing slower than 1/60th to a reasonably steady image as I lumbered from floor to floor, with all my gear.

    When I returned home to process the work, more than 50% was just unusable.

    I went back, a year later, with the SONY α100. I took the same series of shots I had with the Canon EOS 20D ... only having the Super SteadyShot for everything ... because once again, NO TRIPOD! Well, as you can imagine ... it wasn't shake I had to struggle with, it was the level of noise at anything higher than ISO-800. They were sharp, but ,,, speckled.

    As with anything, improvement came the following year, as the SONY α700 eliminates that little point of distress. ISO-1600 delivers a very clean image ... and when you couple that with stability and f/2.8 glass ... you have usable images ... sans TRIPOD!

    Anyway ... there aren't any more of those embarrassing return trips to the car with the "banned" tripod. I can use all my glass with a reasonable expectation that it will work and the shots will be clean.

    Why do I own a SONY α700? Do I have to make it any clearer?

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    Like they tell you when you walk up ... "NO TRIPOD!"
    Last edited by DonSchap; 03-06-2009 at 07:21 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,757
    Now if only those dang athletes would hold still for your shot.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,549
    It's all in the hang time ... Jordan knew that.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,409
    give us a working example where this has been applied in a real life situation thats relevant to photography. oh...and btw: sigma make a stabilised 500mm lens. 150-500mm OS. so thats the end of that discussion.
    Last edited by Rooz; 03-07-2009 at 06:32 PM.
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    72

    wow: tough audience

    No wonder I avoid dcrp forums like the plague nowadays. See yas in another month.. maybe. And nice images, Don - glad your skin is thick enough, mine's getting crispy & I'm only visiting.
    JimR - gear list changes daily
    http://picasaweb.google.com/alphaPDX

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by jimr-pdx View Post
    No wonder I avoid dcrp forums like the plague nowadays. See yas in another month.. maybe. And nice images, Don - glad your skin is thick enough, mine's getting crispy & I'm only visiting.
    We are not always like that. Rooz/Don and everyone else did not mean to scare you away. Please feel free to contribute some pictures and ask questions. Good luck!
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    Quote Originally Posted by jimr-pdx View Post
    No wonder I avoid dcrp forums like the plague nowadays. See yas in another month.. maybe. And nice images, Don - glad your skin is thick enough, mine's getting crispy & I'm only visiting.
    JimR, you have to take these remarks in context. Don set out to provoke this recurring argument with a deliberately contentious statement ...
    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    To truly appreciate this, you really need to try it with a Canon or a Nikon camera. Don't forget to dig real deep for the $6500 it is going to cost for the IS-equipped 500mm f/4 lens. SONY's Super SteadyShot comes along for the ride for free.

    If the SONY α700 can pull off this kind of miracle w/o a high performance lens ... just think of what it can do for your own photography with the lighter stuff. I know, I do.
    and simply invited the harsh words.

    I'm with dr4gon on this one, don't let this misguided thread deter you from participation in useful discussion with other Sony users.

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