Sony A7III motorbike racing circuit test

Sony A7III motorbike racing circuit test

I was helping to run a taster day at Snetterton Race track for Wex Photo Video Events and was luckily enough to be loaned the new Sony A7mkIII camera and the Sony 100-400mm G master lens.

I am going to keep this very short, I am terrible at writing at the best of times. But since using the camera I was admitted to hospital via A&E with a massive eye infection that resulted in me nearly loosing one of them (not my shooting eye). I am on the road to recovery now though.  So expect very bad writing

I am no tech buff and all the gadgets on cameras that do this or that are not for me. I just like good old fashioned reliable auto focus and a crisp clear image. I had not used any of the Sony A7 range of cameras before this day, but I have shot a lot of fast stuff, so I went for a shutter speed between 1/125th and 1/200th sec and iso was stuck on 125 for the day, the Aperture value was fixed at between f/7.1 and f/9 through the day and these following shots. All the images were shot hand held.

I had the camera on Single point to start with then changed it to the option that allows you to change the position on the A/F point and also track within the set square, I cant for the life of me think what that is called and I blame passing out in hospital and my rubbish memory for that.

Once that was done the camera behaved exactly how I expected and was fun to shoot with and would happily have one in my camera bag if finances allowed.

Editing the shots was as nice as well, lots of range to be able to play with as you would be expecting from a full frame sensor and now that Lightroom has updated to be able to read the files on this camera it is all good

Sony A7III motorbike racing circuit test Images

                                   

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Swapping over to the Fuji X-T2

Back in early September I borrowed my friends Fuji X-T2 and a few lens to see what all the fuss was about. I knew how nice the colour came through in their images as I had got myself an X30 for a family holiday in 2015, so I had been keeping a careful eye on what they were manufacturing since then.

Having shot Canon since 2009 and all my equipment being set up for that I did not think that after a weekend of playing with the XT2  I would find myself putting all the Canon gear up for sale just a few weeks later. I even had a 5d MK4 sat there waiting for me to buy and collect from Wex Photographic where I work, but to be honest I think after seeing how well the Auto focus and ISO performed and let’s not forget how much less the weight of the Fuji is in comparison to the Canon that order got cancelled and I found myself parting with my money for a whole new experience with the Fuji system.

2 days after it arrived and I had only had time to mess about with it in the house due to work and UNI commitments, but on the Friday I was running a workshop with the model Bernadette Lemon taking centre stage and managed to find time to take a few handheld shots with various lens. One thing I found easy to use was the Wifi and the fact that all the dials are just in the right place to allow quick use, just like they are with the Canon I had been using.

From this I instantly realised that the A/F on the camera is reliable and also not a problem to be using either .

Shot with the Fuji 14mm

Shot with the Fuji 14mm and a Bowens Light and beauty dish off frame to the left

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Shot handheld with the Fuji 14mm and lit using the Westcott Icelight 2

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Shot on a tripod with the Fuji 56mm @f/1.2 and lit with the Westcott Icelight 2

Next stop with the Camera was a Full Day Landscape workshop I was running with my 2 good photography mates on the Norfolk Coast with Through the lens workshops. I will hold my hand up here and say when I like to shoot landscapes I am probably like the rest of you all and like to spend plenty of time composing and thinking about the shots I am taking, quality over quantity and all that…..

We had paying customers on the session so the time aspect was not going to happen and since that session time nor the weather has been on my side to get out and have a real play about and shoot my favourite style of photography. All the shots I took were with the Fuji 10-24mm and using a selection of different Formatt Hitech filters.

The thing I really struggled with on these shots was getting the focus pin sharp so that when I go into the shots in Photoshop and zoom into 100% the focus is bang on. Some were really good and I was happy with, some were just ok and below what I would be happy to print off. But hey I have just changed camera system completely and I reckon it will just take a bit of getting used to.

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the water and a .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the clouds .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters 3.0 firecrest nd to slow down the clouds .6 resin grad

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Shot using the Formatt Hitech Filters .6 resin grad

If I am honest I will say when I got home I was a little worried about how well the focusing had performed, I was having a few doubts about what I had done buy moving over to Fuji. But in for a penny and in for a pound as they say. The fact that I had got images as sharp as I like did reassure me a little that the camera is going to do what I wanted it to do, so all I needed was a little more time to go out and shoot some more and get up to scratch with how I want the images to look.

I  just purchased the fully manual Samyang 12mm f/2 lens for shooting astronomy images over the winter and landscapes and I am a bit of a wide angle junky so this lens will sit well in the kit bag. I look after my gear so the fact that it is not weather sealed is not an issue for me in the slightest. So what is the 1st thing you do after 12 hrs at work, you take the lens and photograph anything that will let you. In this case it was the dog that I had just woken up. I used the Icelight2 in my left hand to illuminate her and held the camera and focused the shot with my right hand and captured this.

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Samyang 12mm, @f/2, 1/200th sec, iso 400 and handheld

My next trip out was scuppered by even more rain so I opted for a day of photographing church interiors instead of some nice landscapes with the autumn colours. This time round rather than just relying on my eye for the focus being spot on I used focus peaking, I highly recommend this to anybody that uses manual focus a lot. I set it to red high and away I went with photos just how I like them.

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/8 on a tripod

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/8 on a tripod

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Shot with the Samyang 12mm at f/11 on a tripod

So for me did I make the right choice…….. Well, one week after the camera getting delivered I could not be happier. You just have to remember….Like any new bit of equipment or software we use for work, you have to get used to it and this camera is no exception to that. You can’t just expect to pick it up and get the results in an instant. Reading the manual (something I have never done before) was a great help to me even though I am dyslexic.

Customising the Q menu is so straightforward.

Using the wifi is easy and as I shoot a lot of events over the year and I can see this will be very handy for myself and my clients with social media.

The flip out screen is well designed and handy, you dont have to get yourself into funny position to see the screen and that is a blessing.

The dual slot sd cover is nice and rigid and the rest of the camera feels like it is built like a tank.

But the 2 most important things I like the most about the camera are the Quality of the images you can produce if you put your mind to it and the weight of the camera system in comparison to my old 5dmk3.

And I would just like to say thank you to the few mates who I have pestered quite a bit over the last few weeks with some questions being very daft but needing to be asked and answered… So if anybody reading this has any questions you would like to know (remember it is just my opinion) then feel free to send me them over

 

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Norfolk and Norwich Festival Open studios

Today was a nice day indeed. I delivered a workshop that involved driving around North Norfolk for the day with other photographers, and showing them artists studios that were based in the area. This was part of the Norfolk open studios collective and again linked with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. The day was put on by Wex Photographic. I took 5 photographers around North Norfolk and a couple around south Norfolk. I was in charge of making sure the group that was with me was able to use their cameras efficiently and also to just ask any questions that they may of had. All in the day was amazing amounts of fun, but being blessed with lovely weather all day it made a complete pleasure to be able to spend the day up at the coast.

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The events staff with Rusty the dog

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Wolf’s Child

Nestled  within one of the many National Trust sites located in the beautiful county of  Norfolk a dream came true. Three years in the making the year,  2015 saw the show Wolf’s Child come to life as one of the many productions in the  Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Created by the amazing Wildworks Theatre Company and hosted in the site of Felbrigg Hall deep  in the woodland estate in North Norfolk this company  took advantage of the location basing their production within the  Hall, Gardens and the woodland surrounding  the stunning home using the talents of  local arts organisation Tin House for some of the stages and scenes.

I was asked if I could facilitate a lowlight workshop so that 10 Wex Photographic customers could come along and have  the opportunity to  shoot a theatre rehearsal in action, as well as, learn some of the skills needed to shoot in a low light environment. This was an interactive opportunity and the learning gained here can now  be applied to a number of other location shoots for thoses who booked on.  It was stretching for all the  participants, but there were some great outcomes.My focus as tutor was on helping out the fellow photographers, but i did take a few images for myself, so everybody had plenty of fun and learnt a lot from the experience as a whole.

I hope my images give you a sense of what the show ambience. I also attach reviews of the show from The Guardian and The Times……Enjoy!

The Guardian 

The Times

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Former RAF Coltishall photography workshop

I was asked by Wex Photographic If I could put on a workshop showing people what is left behind in the former RAF Coltishall site, so after a few planning meeting and health and safety checks we managed to get the go ahead to take members of the public onto the site. I jumped at the chance as my dad was stationed at the base and it would also seem that nearly every other person that came along for the trip had either served or had family that served at the Former battle of Britain station.

We had originally planned to take 30 people in 2 groups of 15 over the day, but due to popular demand we had to put on a second date and that also sold out.l The weather for both of the events was nice and everybody had a amazing time, although it did rain right at the end of the second day.

Seeing the photos being taken by the people and offering them the support to improve the images they were taking felt nice and rewarding as not only were they shooting in a new environment but also just enjoying the area they were in for all of its historical reasons..

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