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I test a lot of lenses as part of my work running the TheFilmCameraShop. Many of the optics that I sell are purchased to adapt to mirrorless cameras, as well as mounted on their originally-intended film bodies. And the one thing I've learned is that you actually have to take pictures with a lens to determine its usefulness. Don't be fooled by minor front glass imperfections.

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Case in point: I recently got my hands on a Nikon Series E 70-210mm f/4 manual focus zoom. I had read that the 70-210 was one of the sharpest members of the Series E family. Unfortunately, there was a ring of light haze/fungus beneath the front objective. And there were some additional light hazing around the edges as well.

Typically, this isn't an optic that I can sell in the shop. Most photographers run for the exit as soon as they hear the terms "fungus" or "haze." So this looked like an optic for my personal use.

The good news was that the back of the lens was pristine. My experience has been that the integrity of the back glass is more important than the front optics when it comes to image quality.

So, I mounted the zoom on my Nikon D700 that I use for testing glass. Here's an image from that series of test shots.

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The pictures look terrific - great sharpness, good color, and no weirdness that I could detect. I also have some film images at the lab captured with a Nikon FM that I anticipate will shine as well.

My point is this: Adapting vintage glass to mirrorless cameras is a blast. And you can get some great deals, especially if there's some light fungus in the front. As long as the back elements are clean, I wouldn't let a little dust or discoloration deter me. Take the big discount, and go have fun.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #712, Nov. 5, 2019. Today's theme is "5 Gear Recommendations for Peace of Mind While Traveling" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

After nearly two weeks away from home, and sometimes under truly bizarre conditions, I leaned heavily on my gear to keep me productive and sane while on the road. On today's show, I discuss five important items that helped me accomplish that goal. You may find some of them surprising. But these are all battle tested and ready for action.

5 Gear Recommendations for Peace of Mind While Traveling

When you're packing for a trip, you may think that everything is going to go perfectly, and you don't need to worry about getting stuff done on the road.

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But if you've spent any amount of time traveling, you know that things rarely go perfectly, and in fact, they can go horribly wrong. The good news is, that being prepared for such situations isn't such a painful exercise. And to do so while keeping it light is even better! Take a look at these gear suggestions for the prepared, happy, nimble photographer.

  • A High Quality Compact Camera - It's ironic to me that compacts have been suffering at the hands of smartphone cameras. But for serious photographers, a versatile, dependable compact allows us to capture a wider variety of shots, yet keep it light, while on the road. Depending on your shooting style, I recommend Olympus TG-6, Canon G5X Mark II, and the Sony RX100 Mark IIV. One footnote about your nimble compact, USB charging is a big plus!
  • Modern Tablet - Laptops are fine when everything is normal and you're sitting comfortably at the dining room table with home WiFi. But when you're dealing with the unexpected challenges of the road, a tablet is where it's at. My iPad mini 5 running iPadOS and with 4G LTE cellular connectivity was a beast on the road. Everything from true web browsing, to article publishing, to text messaging, to image editing, to watching movies on Netflix was handled effortlessly by this compact powerhouse. If I'm going to stay productive on the road, an iPad is required equipment.
  • Ring Doorbell - The $99 Ring Video Doorbell with HD Video was critical for peace of mind when I'm thousands of miles away from home. Not only does it keep track of simple things such as when the pet sitter arrives and leaves, but it notifies me of unexpected package delivery, suspicious activity outside, and in my most recent case, the physical safety of my neighborhood. Fire maps and news reports are one thing, but actually looking at your front porch in real time is a magnitude better.
  • WakaWaka Power+ Light and Charger - I have tried many, many portable chargers over the years, and my favorite remains: the WakaWaka Power+. I like it because it is so incredibly light and compact, yet it provides a 3000 mAh rechargeable battery, 1050 mWatt 22% Sunpower cell, and 2 LEDs (110 lumen/Watt), yet weighs less than 200 grams. I always have one of these in my backpack. It will charge my iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch regardless of where I am. PS: don't forget your cords!

  • Vanguard Havana 48-Backpack - I have tested more backpacks over the years than I care to count. Many of them I liked. But the Vanguard Havana 48-Backpack has become my trusty companion on the road. It's affordable at $103, non-photo looking, roomy, and protects my cameras, tablet, and laptop with ease. And most importantly, it has extra room that I invariably need when on the road.

One of the cornerstones of nimble photography is traveling light enough to have your gear with you when moving from Point A to Point B. If you have too much stuff, it becomes burdensome. Yet you want to be prepared for the unexpected.

Every minute that I spent preparing for the last trip paid me back with interest. Technology plus planning can be a powerful combination.

Welcome Skillshare to the TDS Podcast Community

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Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. You can take courses in photography, videography, audio production - you name it, they've got it. So whether you're picking up a new skill for your day job, figuring out your next side project, or pursuing a long-time passion, Skillshare has classes for you.

I'm looking at a course right now about removing background noise from audio recordings, since that's a situation that I run into every now and then. And there's plenty of other topics to help me stay on top of my game. And that's the goal isn't it? Keep getting better.

Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today with this special offer for TDS listeners: Get 2 months free. That's right, Skillshare is offering The Digital Story community 2 months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free. To sign up, go to skillshare.com/tds.

And a big thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this show!

Adobe fulfills its promise: Photoshop on iPad is officially here

You can read the entire DP Review article here.

Photoshop on iPad relies largely on the same underlying code, but tweaks a few things to account for the more touch-based input method the iPad offers. Like the desktop version of Photoshop, Photoshop on iPad offers full PSD support so working on projects between multiple devices shouldn't be a problem and new projects created on Photoshop on iPad will automatically be saved to Adobe Creative Cloud so you can pick back up on your computer if need be.

As previous reports from beta testers noted, not all of Photoshop's features are present in the current version of Photoshop on iPad. In Adobe's own words, it focused on bringing 'common tasks and workflows that we know will be useful for most Photoshop users.' Specifically, Adobe has included basic adjustments, brushes, cloning, spot healing, cropping, eyedropper, masking, layers and a few other features.

I downloaded it on to my iPad mini 5, and it ran fine. The app recognized my Creative Cloud subscription (Lightroom/Photoshop $9.99 a month), and logged me right in.

I did some work with the healing brush, and the results were good.

Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

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Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Add a Dash of Juxtaposition for Fun

Absolutely we want to come away with meaningful photographs when traveling. Those iconic images add depth to the history of our experiences. But mixing in a little fun adds breadth as well.

90CAB4BB-BD6A-452C-876E-2C545DF6457B.jpeg Signs that miss the mark are one of my favorite juxtapositions. Photo by Derrick Story.

Many of my humor shots are captured with the iPhone, often when I'm not even thinking about photography. I'm just observing life, and there it is!

That being said, I do think that you have to have the awareness in the back of your mind to begin with. In other words, "I'm not looking for funny shots, but yet I am." Does that make sense? For me it feels like a motion sensor tuned to the ironic.

One last thought: If you do post on social, these are often perfect for engagement. For most folks, the world is plenty serious already. Adding a smile to the day is a gift indeed.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The iPhone does a great job of recording panoramas. But what do you do with them afterwards? They are hard to share on social because they're quite small when displayed in their entirety. As a result, those tiny details defeat the original purpose of sharing an impressive scene.

Beach-Pano.jpg Maui Beach Pano - There has to be a better way to display this! Photo by Derrick Story.

I have two suggestions for you. The first, for viewing on the iPhone, is to use a dedicated app, such as PanViewer. You can have your image fill the entire screen, then tilt or swipe to enjoy the image details.

But my favorite way is to incorporate the panorama images into a Photos slideshow, then output it as a movie. Here's an example, titled Maui - Morning to Night that incorporates two iPhone panoramas with a few still images.

These movies are easy to create. Start in Photos for macOS. Click on the plus sign that appears when you mouseover My Projects in the Sidebar. Name your presentation. The click on the Add Photos button (+) at the bottom where the thumbnails are displayed. Mix in a few standard images with your panoramas, and arrange them in the order that you want. Finally, apply the Ken Burns theme, and play. You will be delighted with the presentation.

You can export the slideshow as an HD video, then share on Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, and anywhere else you display your stuff.

You probably have a nice stockpile of panoramas right now. Put them to use! And show them to the world.

And stay tuned for my upcoming training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in November. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now. It will provide you with the info you need for making great slideshows!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #711, Oct. 29, 2019. Today's theme is "Fire in Sonoma County, Again." I'm Derrick Story.

The Kincade Fire, which began on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 in Geyserville, CA has spread south to Windsor, and yes, close to the northern part of Santa Rosa. Because of the danger that it presents to my home, studio, and two cats, Theresa and I are flying out of Maui right away to deal with the situation. This podcast shares some insight to the challenges at hand.

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I've never been one of those grumpy guys who mumbled, "Cameras don't take pictures, people do." In part, because I like new photography gear and enjoy using it. Image making is both man and machine.

But that doesn't mean that I need to pack all of my stuff every time I travel, especially if I'm not on assignment. This week in Maui is a perfect example of how rewarding life as a nimble photographer can be.

Sea Turtle on Maui Sea turtle rising for a breath of air. Olympus TG-4 compact camera in UW mode. Photo by Derrick Story.

I almost bought the Olympus TG-6 for this trip. It's a great camera, but I have the TG-4 that's still performing well. So well, in fact, that I couldn't justify spending the $449 for the latest model. So I didn't. And so far, I have not regretted that move once. (Or should I say: non-move.) The TG-4 is performing wonderfully both topside and while snorkeling.

Butterfly Fish on Maui Olympus TG-4 while snorkeling is wonderful at capturing the sights beneath the surface. Photo by Derrick Story

As an aside, if you spend any time on adventures at all and want to be able to take pictures regardless of the conditions, the Olympus Tough ($449) is an amazing camera. I highly recommend it.

Lapping Waves at Sunset Waves rolling on shore at twilight. Olympus TG-4. Photo by Derrick Story.

Another essential item on the island has been my Apple Watch Series 2. Again, not the newest kid on the block by any measure. I must admit that the Apple Watch Series 5 is impressive. But the Series 2 is what's on my wrist right now.

There are a few things about the Apple Watch that I really like on these trips. Since I'm swimming a lot, I can leave the hotel with the watch only and leave my iPhone X back in the room. (I do carry the iPhone when I'm not in the water.) It's wonderful having the watch log my exercise, tell time, and play music through my AirPods (which I stash in a waterproof pouch while swimming). It basically keeps me on track when I'm out and about.

egret-maui.jpg Ergret on Maui. Olympus TG-4. Photo by Derrick Story.

My goal here isn't to sound off like a tightwad. But I think the pace of change with our technology has slowed enough to where we can still use gear that's a few years old, and with excellent results.

The TG-4 does capture in RAW and my photo processing software is better than ever (Photos for iPadOS, Luminar 3, Photos for macOS). Having solid post production applications allow me to get more out of my images. I use Luminar 3 as an editing extension for Photos for macOS when I'm on vacation. They're a wonderful tandem.

So yes, software has been one of the keys to all of this. The other of course, is being a good photographer at capture. By giving the hardware every opportunity to be successful when I'm taking the picture, I set up a good opportunity to finish off the image with the modern software that's available. The upshot is that I'm able to walk around with just a TG-4 and an Apple Watch for the better part of the day.

I'm having a a great time traveling as light as possible. Life as a Nimble Photographer has its rewards, for sure. And I'm still coming home with many, many wonderful images.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #710, Oct. 22, 2019. Today's theme is "The Evolution of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I first learned about the original E-M5 in a closed door meeting at CES 2012. Olympus broke the news to the public the next month, and we started a whole new era of mirrorless photography. Now with the Mark III ready to hit the streets, I thought we'd take a look at this latest model, and the 8-year journey it took to get here. I hope you enjoy the show.

The Evolution of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is once again a substantial improvement over its two previous generations. Before I get to the evolution of this camera, let's review the basic specs for the just-announced model.

E-M5-MarkIII-Front.jpg The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

  • 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • TruePic VIII Quad Core Processor
  • Dual F.A.S.T. AF (Contrast & Phase Detection AF) 121 Point (All Cross Type) On-Chip Phase Detection)
  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization with up to 6.5 Shutter Speed Steps Compensation with Sync-IS
  • 2.36M dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" Vari-Angle Touch LCD
  • Dust, Splash and Freezeproof
  • 10fps [H] mode 6fps [L] mode mechanical shutter 30fps [H] mode 10fps [L] mode silent electronic shutter
  • 4k Video Capture (30/25/24 fps) with Flat Picture Mode
  • USB In-camera Charging
  • 30fps Silent Electronic Shutter
  • PRO Capture Lag-Free Electronic Shutter Mode
  • Some people have referred to the Mark III as a mini-EM-1, and I think there's good reason for that nickname.

    But its evolution really took a different path, and I think its worth going back to 2012 to understand the real significance of this camera.

    PA202695.jpg Top decks of the E-M5 (left) and the E-M5 Mark II

    The first E-M5 was actually a fairly simple camera to operate. It had a mode dial on the left top panel with PASM, i-Auto, movie, Scene, and Art Filter options. On the right side were unmarked twin control dials with function and movie buttons. That was it.

    But its functionality was fantastic. You could program the function buttons and the dials to suit your shooting style. The body was weather resistant, and the handling was very comfortable. I still shoot with one today in the studio. I use it for my product shots.

    Some people complained that the buttons were too "spongy" due to their weather sealing. I know what they mean, but they never really bothered me that much. The camera is quite durable, and it's performing as well today as when I first bought it.

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    Then, in February 2015, the Mark II was released. This was a very different camera, and one of my all time favorites.

    First of all, it was a wonderful HD video camera. Olympus replaced the up and down tilting LCD with a fully articulated model. The sensor-based image stabilization was further refined. And with the optional grip, you had jacks for both mic and headphones. The video it rendered was truly beautiful. Again, I still use this camera today. It's really good for live streaming.

    The top deck of the Mark II was more sophisticated than its earlier sibling. A convenient on/off switch was moved to the mode dial, and there were now four buttons and two dials on top. I really liked the program lever on the back that allowed me to switch from my still photography settings to movie settings in one easy motion.

    This camera was equally capable for both stills and movies. Plus Olympus added the 40MP High Res Shot feature. And they continued to refine its features and performance through multiple firmware upgrades.

    One thing that held back both the Mark I and the Mark II was computer processing power. In particular, burst modes in RAW were limited and the camera often had to pause to write to the card. And the second limitation was the 16MP sensor. And this brings us to the Mark III.

    Not only does it look more like an E-M1 Mark II on the top deck, it features a more robust TruePic VIII Quad Core Processor inside. The overall appearance is sleeker than the chunky Mark II, plus we now have 4K video (which many wanted in the Mark II), Pro Capture, 30fps silent electronic shutter, and a 20MP sensor. Horsepower is no longer an issue.

    In a sense, we've returned to the cleaner look of the Mark I, but with the firepower of the E-M1. I think this is going to be a winning combination for Olympus. It was worth the 4-year wait.

    Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

    This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

    You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

    Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

    If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

    Amateur Photographer Magazine Celebrates 100 Years of Olympus

    You can visit their site here.

    I downloaded a copy to my iPad for $3.99 using their app, which is free in the App Store. It's a terrific article with lots of pictures of Olympus gear over the years, including the Olympus Flex twin lens, Olympus 35 rangefinder, the original PEN f, and of course, the amazing OM series.

    They also show selected Olympus print ads from over the years, a cool article, What Olympus Means to Me, a discussion on the Micro Four Thirds Era, and an article on OM to OM-D. There is a lot of great stuff here for those who appreciate the innovation of this brand.

    Updates and Such

    Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

    Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

    B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

    Affiliate Links - The link to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III contains an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

    And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

    See you next week!

    More Ways to Participate

    Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

    Podcast Sponsors

    Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

    The Nimbleosity Report

    Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

    Want to Comment on this Post?

    You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

I was curious to see if my iPad mini 5 could be useful in Sidecar mode when working with Photos for macOS Catalina. What I was looking for here is an out-of-the-box experience. I didn't want to buy additional software or learn how to become an illustrator. What I did want to see is if this new Catalina feature would be useful in my existing workflow.

The answer is a qualified "yes."

01-ENABLE-MARKUP.jpg Enabling Markup in the editing mode of Photos.

The positive qualification is for those who use Markup in Photos (which I love!). Beyond using the Retouch brush in editing mode, there isn't much to do yet in Photos when using your iPad as a tablet with the Apple Pencil. But if you go to Markup, everything changes for the better.

02-Enabling-the-iPad-from-within-Markup.jpg Enabling your Apple Pencil from within Markup.

And the cool thing is, it's super easy to do. First, you have to make sure that your hardware is Sidecar enabled. Basically that means you have an iPad that uses an Apple Pencil. (In my case, that's an iPad mini 5.) And you also need a Mac that's essentially 2016 or later. If you have any questions about compatibility, I recommend this "Sidecar" white paper from Apple for reference. Once you have your gear in order, just follow these steps.

  • Launch Photos for macOS Catalina on your Mac, open a picture and go to Edit mode.
  • Turn on your iPad and have your Apple Pencil ready.
  • On your Mac, in Edit mode, click on the Options button (3 dots in a circle) and choose Markup from the list.
  • In Markup on the Mac, look for the little tablet icon in the toolbar, and click on it. Your iPad should show up in the list.
  • Choose your iPad from the popup, and start using your Apple Pencil on the iPad to illustrate your picture.

It's that easy!

03-Choose-Pen-and-Color.jpg Once your Apple Pencil is enabled in Markup, choose the right tip and color, and start having fun.

If anything goes wrong, just refer to the "Sidecar" instructions to get your tablet up and running.

I've always liked Markup in Photos. It's so powerful and fun. But using it with an Apple Pencil and my iPad takes it to a whole new level. Give it a try.

And stay tuned for my upcoming training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in November. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

ISO 32000 with the Sony a7R Mark IV

In my podcast review of the Sony a7R IV, I commented that the images it captures at ISO 32000 and 64000 are quite useable for certain subjects. I thought you might want to see what I was referring to.

ISO 32000 with Sony a7R IV

These photos were recorded in very low light conditions with the Sony a7R IV with G-Master 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom at ISO 32000 in RAW. I processed the files in Capture One Pro 12 (latest build) and exported sampled-down pictures as Jpegs for publishing.

DSC00173-a7Riv-D-Story.jpg

The shoot location is the Blind Scream haunted house in Santa Rosa, CA. The sets and actors there are top notch. It's worth a visit if you're in town. If that's not doable, here's how the Sony a7R IV renders the scenes.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #709, Oct. 15, 2019. Today's theme is "The Sony a7R Mark IV Field Test." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

It's big, it's beautiful, and it captures 61 MP files: the Sony Alpha a7R IV mirrorless digital camera with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is a technology marvel. I wrapped my hands around one and spent a month using it on photo assignment, from darkened haunted houses to mid-day festivals on the green. And today I'm going to share what I learned during those shoots.

The Sony a7R Mark IV Field Test

The kit that I've been using for the last few weeks is the Sony a7R IV with G-Master 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom. What a tandem! I basically felt like I could walk into any assignment with just that camera and lens and come away with the shots I needed. It is a confidence-inspiring rig for sure.

In case you haven't been online for the last month, here are the basic specs.

sony-a7r-m4.jpg

  • 61MP full-frame back-illuminated sensor
  • 15-stop dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 102,4005
  • Up to 10 fps continuous shooting at 61MP with AE/AF
  • Autofocus: 567 phase-detection / 425 contrast AF points
  • Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF for human, animal and movie
  • APS-C crop mode delivers 26.2MP high resolution images
  • 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder
  • High-speed 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi / FTP transfer and wireless PC remote
  • In-Body Stabilization: 5-Axis Optical
  • Max Video Quality: 4K 30fps
  • Twin SD card slots
  • Weather sealed.
  • After shooting with this camera for a month, here are my real world observations.

    • It's true, low light performance is fantastic. I shot regularly at ISO 6,400 with acceptable results. ISO 3200 is a piece of cake. ISO 64,000 is acceptable for certain situations.
    • Full frame sensor with Sony G-Master 24-70mm zoom is a pro rig. Optics and camera complement each other well. The results are impressive. File dimensions is a crazy 9504x6336 pixels. RAW files were around 123 MBs per shot. Extra Fine Jpegs were 34 MBs per shot.
    • The Jpegs are good, but the RAWs are better. I did my testing with Capture One Pro 12.1.3. The out of the camera RAWs with C1P looked better, especially colorwise, than the Jpegs. This probably had as much to to with C1P as it did Sony. Editing the RAWs, however, provided less headroom for highlights and shadows compared to some of my other cameras. You do, however, get built-in lens corrections with the Jpegs.
    • Autofocusing, tracking, Eye-AF, animal-AF, and everything else AF is impressive.
    • This is also a movie-making beast. Videographers should be very interested in this camera.
    • You have to spend some time to learn the menus and customize the camera. If you don't, it will frustrate you.
    • If I were a portrait photographer only, I'm not sure I would choose this camera. Skin appears more ruddy that with some of my other rigs. I would probably seek out a lens that was better for portraits.
    • The 24-70mm GM produces lovely background and bokeh, however. Its image detail is incredible.
    • Viewfinder, ergonomics, and shooting experience is excellent. This camera is a pleasure to use.

    The bottom line is, I have no problem recommending the Sony a7R IV with G-Master 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom $5,696. If I were to buy a full frame camera right now, this would probably be at the top of my list. And I much preferred shooting with it compared to the Panasonic S1.

    Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

    This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

    You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

    Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

    If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

    The 5 fastest lenses in 2019

    You can read the entire article here from Digital Camera World.

    All of these are faster than f/1.0...

    • Handevision / Kipon Ibelux 40mm f/0.85 Mark II - Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, Leica L - $1,480.
    • Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 - Canon RF, Nikon Z, Sony FE, Micro Four Thirds - Full frame version is $799.
    • Voigtländer Nokton 10.5/17.5/25/42.5mm f/0.95 - MFT - $799
    • Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH - Leica M - $11,295
    • Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct - Nikon Z - $8,000

    Updates and Such

    Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

    Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com.

    B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

    And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

    See you next week!

    More Ways to Participate

    Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

    Podcast Sponsors

    Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

    The Nimbleosity Report

    Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

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