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Sony A350 - brilliant for film grain effect

 
 
David Kilpatrick
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      06-12-2008, 11:27 PM
I use the A350 for very high res stock shots, and contrary to whatever
any reports based on JPEG processing in-camera may say, it's a useful
tool in this context. Relative to a 6 megapixel DSLR (I don't use one
any more except in the studio for magazine product shots) it is almost
exactly the same as the difference between using 35mm and using 6 x 4.5,
as long as the lens is up to it. That does mean taking care with lenses
and the Sony kit lens most often sold with the A350 is not adequate.

I don't shoot JPEG and generally use Lightroom or ACR for raw
conversion, despite some failings in both (colour quality and NR effects).

Generally, I don't use high ISOs except in extreme circumstances where a
Nikon D3 would be more useful, but following a lot of negativity based
almost entirely on noise/ISO with the A350, I messed around a bit tonight.

Result - I've found a new tool for large prints! At 3200, with NR
disabled, using ACR for conversion with just some colour NR (no
luminance) and a bit of sharpening to keep the 'grain' crisp, the result
is just like a classic Kodak VR1000 neg.

I used the Minolta 100mm f2.8 soft focus on maximum Soft setting (3) for
this shot:

http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/98575823

Have a look at it full size (original). The noise is very even, without
any of the individual bright speckles which come from some makes with
better overall noise performance. It looks almost like film grain, and
works better than noise-addition filters. I'm sure NIK software have
something which will do the same, but it's quite fun to get it straight
from the camera.

I've written a new review of the A350 which deals with the problems
conventional reviews have in placing the camera. It has many faults, the
design could have been better, but the price-point is often ignored in
final conclusions. Also, it simply suits a different kind of
photographer (it suits me quite well).

http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2008/0...eative-review/

David
 
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Alan Browne
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      06-13-2008, 12:24 AM
David Kilpatrick wrote:

> I used the Minolta 100mm f2.8 soft focus on maximum Soft setting (3) for
> this shot:
>
> http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/98575823


Oh David! What have you DONE! People will refer to this as the
"standard result" for the A350!!!

> Have a look at it full size (original). The noise is very even, without
> any of the individual bright speckles which come from some makes with
> better overall noise performance. It looks almost like film grain, and
> works better than noise-addition filters. I'm sure NIK software have
> something which will do the same, but it's quite fun to get it straight
> from the camera.


I would have liked to see that with more colors and perhaps a portrait.
(Gorgeous lass in fine lingerie is acceptable).

Cheers,
Alan


--
-- r.p.e.35mm user resource: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
-- r.p.d.slr-systems: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpdslrsysur.htm
-- [SI] gallery & rulz: http://www.pbase.com/shootin
-- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
 
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Alan Browne
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      06-13-2008, 12:43 AM
David Kilpatrick wrote:

>
> I've written a new review of the A350 which deals with the problems
> conventional reviews have in placing the camera. It has many faults, the
> design could have been better, but the price-point is often ignored in
> final conclusions. Also, it simply suits a different kind of
> photographer (it suits me quite well).
>
> http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2008/0...eative-review/


Very good review and worth reading. It proves two things that I already
knew:

-the -350 is a better camera than most appreciate
-the -350 is not for me!

Cheers,
Alan.


--
-- r.p.e.35mm user resource: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
-- r.p.d.slr-systems: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpdslrsysur.htm
-- [SI] gallery & rulz: http://www.pbase.com/shootin
-- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
 
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David J Taylor
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      06-13-2008, 05:29 AM
Alan Browne wrote:
> David Kilpatrick wrote:
>
>> I used the Minolta 100mm f2.8 soft focus on maximum Soft setting (3)
>> for this shot:
>>
>> http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/98575823

>
> Oh David! What have you DONE! People will refer to this as the
> "standard result" for the A350!!!


My first thought as well.....

>> Have a look at it full size (original). The noise is very even,
>> without any of the individual bright speckles which come from some
>> makes with better overall noise performance. It looks almost like
>> film grain, and works better than noise-addition filters. I'm sure
>> NIK software have something which will do the same, but it's quite
>> fun to get it straight from the camera.

>
> I would have liked to see that with more colors and perhaps a
> portrait. (Gorgeous lass in fine lingerie is acceptable).
>
> Cheers,
> Alan


It's amusing to see how film grain has gone out of fashion for effects.
Perhaps David's shot will restore interest? I do agree with you about
subject choice.

Cheers,
David


 
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Focus
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      06-13-2008, 12:54 PM

"David Kilpatrick" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>I use the A350 for very high res stock shots, and contrary to whatever any
>reports based on JPEG processing in-camera may say, it's a useful tool in
>this context. Relative to a 6 megapixel DSLR (I don't use one any more
>except in the studio for magazine product shots) it is almost exactly the
>same as the difference between using 35mm and using 6 x 4.5, as long as the
>lens is up to it. That does mean taking care with lenses and the Sony kit
>lens most often sold with the A350 is not adequate.
>
> I don't shoot JPEG and generally use Lightroom or ACR for raw conversion,
> despite some failings in both (colour quality and NR effects).
>
> Generally, I don't use high ISOs except in extreme circumstances where a
> Nikon D3 would be more useful, but following a lot of negativity based
> almost entirely on noise/ISO with the A350, I messed around a bit tonight.
>
> Result - I've found a new tool for large prints! At 3200, with NR
> disabled, using ACR for conversion with just some colour NR (no luminance)
> and a bit of sharpening to keep the 'grain' crisp, the result is just like
> a classic Kodak VR1000 neg.
>
> I used the Minolta 100mm f2.8 soft focus on maximum Soft setting (3) for
> this shot:
>
> http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/98575823
>
> Have a look at it full size (original). The noise is very even, without
> any of the individual bright speckles which come from some makes with
> better overall noise performance. It looks almost like film grain, and
> works better than noise-addition filters. I'm sure NIK software have
> something which will do the same, but it's quite fun to get it straight
> from the camera.
>
> I've written a new review of the A350 which deals with the problems
> conventional reviews have in placing the camera. It has many faults, the
> design could have been better, but the price-point is often ignored in
> final conclusions. Also, it simply suits a different kind of photographer
> (it suits me quite well).
>
> http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2008/0...eative-review/
>
> David


This seems to be the perfect DSLR for David Hamilton!
http://www.hamilton-archives.com/HTM...o/welcome.html

Congratulations on the first good review of the A350.
I think it's the best written I have seen so far and clearly states for
which people this camera is intended.
If all reviewers wrote so well, there'd be a lot less questions in forums
and newsgroups about which camera to buy!

Now a question:
Which lens, that's reasonable in price (say under $500.-) do you feel would
be noticeable better then the kitlens?


--
Focus


 
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David Kilpatrick
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      06-13-2008, 03:06 PM
Focus wrote:

> Now a question:
> Which lens, that's reasonable in price (say under $500.-) do you feel would
> be noticeable better then the kitlens?
>


Under $500 is a difficult call - I have owned and used a range of
alternatives. The Sigma 18-125mm isn't really much better (you would not
like the distortion as you often shoot buildings and street scenes); the
Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 is a possible option, the close focus is great fun,
but actually it's not that much better than the 18-70mm Sony for regular
subjects. The 18-200mm Sony/Tamron is not all that good; the 18-250mm is
far better, and in fact, we use the 18-250mm as a 'kit lens' - it was in
use alongside the 70-300mm SSM last weekend, and on many subjects when
used around f8 in the 100-150mm range it looks sharper, not less so -
very good resolution. But $500 may not be possible.

Personally, I use the CZ 16-80mm and that remains my unshiftable choice
- it is so much better than any other lens in its class, though it has
predictable and correctable CA especially at 16mm. I also have the
16-105mm Sony, it's nearly as good but has a slightly softer look.

I do not know how the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 works (they have been unable
to supply a loan lens in Alpha mount) but I would avoid the Sigma
18-50mm f2.8 as the focus tends to be all over the place.

If you asked which one, single lens I would want to have it would be the
Sony 18-250mm. My daughter shares that view, she uses Canon
(18-55+75-300 IS) but borrowed a Sony kit for a recent road trip, with
the 18-250mm - she is now having withdrawal problems and doesn't like
the Canon kit any more, wants an 18-250mm, and of course you can't get
it with stabilisation and the Canon has to use IS lenses.

Take a look at:

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photograp...2008&go=1&a=-1

That's my edit for stock sale of the snaps she and her boyfriend took
using Sony A100 and A200 plus the 18-250 and an 11-18mm (easy to spot -
the extreme wide angle New York pix etc!). The sheer range of subjects,
scales and distances tackled by the 18-250mm is great.

We just swapped this lens (Tamron version) for a Sony version which is
better - it focuses faster and quieter, and seems slightly better
centered with less aberration at the tele end, probably 'clean' half a
stop wider open.

David
 
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Focus
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      06-13-2008, 05:50 PM

"David Kilpatrick" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Focus wrote:
>
>> Now a question:
>> Which lens, that's reasonable in price (say under $500.-) do you feel
>> would be noticeable better then the kitlens?
>>

>
> Under $500 is a difficult call - I have owned and used a range of
> alternatives. The Sigma 18-125mm isn't really much better (you would not
> like the distortion as you often shoot buildings and street scenes); the
> Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 is a possible option, the close focus is great fun,
> but actually it's not that much better than the 18-70mm Sony for regular
> subjects. The 18-200mm Sony/Tamron is not all that good; the 18-250mm is
> far better, and in fact, we use the 18-250mm as a 'kit lens' - it was in
> use alongside the 70-300mm SSM last weekend, and on many subjects when
> used around f8 in the 100-150mm range it looks sharper, not less so - very
> good resolution. But $500 may not be possible.
>
> Personally, I use the CZ 16-80mm and that remains my unshiftable choice -
> it is so much better than any other lens in its class, though it has
> predictable and correctable CA especially at 16mm. I also have the
> 16-105mm Sony, it's nearly as good but has a slightly softer look.
>
> I do not know how the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 works (they have been unable to
> supply a loan lens in Alpha mount) but I would avoid the Sigma 18-50mm
> f2.8 as the focus tends to be all over the place.
>
> If you asked which one, single lens I would want to have it would be the
> Sony 18-250mm. My daughter shares that view, she uses Canon (18-55+75-300
> IS) but borrowed a Sony kit for a recent road trip, with the 18-250mm -
> she is now having withdrawal problems and doesn't like the Canon kit any
> more, wants an 18-250mm, and of course you can't get it with stabilisation
> and the Canon has to use IS lenses.
>
> Take a look at:
>
> http://www.alamy.com/stock-photograp...2008&go=1&a=-1
>
> That's my edit for stock sale of the snaps she and her boyfriend took
> using Sony A100 and A200 plus the 18-250 and an 11-18mm (easy to spot -
> the extreme wide angle New York pix etc!). The sheer range of subjects,
> scales and distances tackled by the 18-250mm is great.
>
> We just swapped this lens (Tamron version) for a Sony version which is
> better - it focuses faster and quieter, and seems slightly better centered
> with less aberration at the tele end, probably 'clean' half a stop wider
> open.


Thanks a lot for that David.
I think I'll go for the Tamron 17-50 2.8 I've read some good reviews about
it.
The bigger zooms are more heavy and I'd prefer a separate lens for tele.
In Sigma I don't have so much trust ;-)


--
Focus


 
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David Kilpatrick
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      06-13-2008, 05:58 PM
Focus wrote:

> Thanks a lot for that David.
> I think I'll go for the Tamron 17-50 2.8 I've read some good reviews about
> it.
> The bigger zooms are more heavy and I'd prefer a separate lens for tele.
> In Sigma I don't have so much trust ;-)


It's bit limiting and much bigger than the 180-250mm:

Maximum Magnification Ratio 1:4.5 (at f=50mm MFD 0.27m)
Filter Diameter 67mm
Overall Length 81.7mm
Maximum Diameter 74mm
Weight 434 grams *

that's for the 17-50mm - it can only manage less than quarter life size
close ups, like an old 50mm standard lens

Max Magnification Ratio 1:3.5 (at f=250mm, MFD 0.45m)
FIlter Diameter 62mm
Overall Length 84.3mm
Maximum Diameter 74.4mm
Weight 430g

that's for the 18-250 - just under 1/3rd life size, and from a greater
working distance. And it is 4 grams lighter :-)

David
 
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Focus
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      06-13-2008, 06:58 PM

"David Kilpatrick" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Focus wrote:
>
>> Thanks a lot for that David.
>> I think I'll go for the Tamron 17-50 2.8 I've read some good reviews
>> about it.
>> The bigger zooms are more heavy and I'd prefer a separate lens for tele.
>> In Sigma I don't have so much trust ;-)

>
> It's bit limiting and much bigger than the 180-250mm:
>
> Maximum Magnification Ratio 1:4.5 (at f=50mm MFD 0.27m)
> Filter Diameter 67mm
> Overall Length 81.7mm
> Maximum Diameter 74mm
> Weight 434 grams *
>
> that's for the 17-50mm - it can only manage less than quarter life size
> close ups, like an old 50mm standard lens
>
> Max Magnification Ratio 1:3.5 (at f=250mm, MFD 0.45m)
> FIlter Diameter 62mm
> Overall Length 84.3mm
> Maximum Diameter 74.4mm
> Weight 430g
>
> that's for the 18-250 - just under 1/3rd life size, and from a greater
> working distance. And it is 4 grams lighter :-)
>
> David


Sounds tempting ;-)
But with the range of 18-50, what sharpness can you expect compared to the
18-70 or the 16-80 CZ?


--
Focus


 
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David Kilpatrick
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      06-13-2008, 07:03 PM
Focus wrote:

> Sounds tempting ;-)
> But with the range of 18-50, what sharpness can you expect compared to the
> 18-70 or the 16-80 CZ?
>


Within the range 18-50, the 18-250 Sony/Tamron is much sharper than the
18-70mm, and can actually beat the CZ at 45-55mm - the CZ has a bit of a
weak spot there, while the 18-250mm is very good.

I've commented on this before. The main advantage of the CZ is that it
is about half a stop faster in this range. The 18-250mm is a VERY
surprising lens, especially for anyon who has owned the 28-300mm XR or
the 18-200mm model. They fixed a lot of problems and created a lens
which should not really be possible.

David
 
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