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Thread: alpha 900 first impressions

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    alpha 900 first impressions

    The body looks and feels the part, a solid tool! Including vertical grip and strap, it happend to me twice that I coincidently opened the cardslot while slipping out of the strap. (I like a snug fit) I had not time to adjust and finetune settings. All I did was set to RAW and ISO 320 as base and frankly I was too excited to start reading manuals or Terry's thread with all those hints on optimizing the seetings.

    The Zeiss build quality is simply a dream. WOW! The Sony build quality is a concern. I might be wrong, plastic can be very good, but I can not judge on the quality of the plastics used. The color of that lens plain sucks, but I don't care much about such stuff anyways.

    My 135 did not arrive yet, but if it is close to the 24-70, they are build to last a lifetime. Superb, the very best I owned so far.

    I will have a hard time learning the optimum on processing, unfortunately this stuff doesn't come easy to me. Anyhow, here the first four handheld shots. From top to bottom:

    Zeiss 24-70
    70mm, 1/800sec ISO 320

    Sony 70-400
    400mm, 1/30sec, ISO 320

    Sony 70-400
    70mm 1/10sec, ISO 800

    Sony 70-400
    70mm, 1/5sec, ISO 800

  2. #2
    Senior Member ecsh's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    You will love the 135. Its as good as the 24-70. I have both of them. I was considering the 70-400. Those pics you have taken look beautiful. Is that lens as heavy as they say?
    Thanks
    Joe

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Hi Joe,

    weight is 1.49 Kg, not too bad.

  4. #4
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    a few more....

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    Member APY_JR's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Hi Georg!

    Realy nice stuff!

    Love the first one, the trelis shot is awesome and the white cottage... well it's just beautiful!

    Looks like that 70-400 is a lens to get also!

    Thanks for the post!

    Albert

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    I wouldn't have thought there was much difference between the build quality of the ZA24-70 and the 70-400G. If I'm not mistaken the extending front barrels of both lenses are plastic and while the rest of the Zeiss is all metal. Only the segment where the focus scale is, is plastic on the Sony the rest is metal. Apart from the very lightweight plastic lens hood of the 70-400 which seems too light for durability.

    However the ZA135 is in a completely different class to either of these two lenses, all metal, solid and heavy. Even the focus ring is metal, none of that tacky rubber. it's my precious!

    Congrats Georg, looking forward to seeing some of your output from this equipment.
    A7II, FE 35, 55 C/Y 18, 28, 85, 100, 28-85

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Congratulations Georg
    I hope you'll be very happy together. I'm with Eoin on the build quality of the 135 - it's another world. Just put the lens hood on and give it a ping with your fingernail. Heaven!

    Just this guy you know

  8. #8
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Albert, the cottage .... I need to go back and shoot propperly, I love that scene!

    Eoin, It is probably just me, to me the finish of the lense "feels" cheap, but time will tell the truth. - I have a very expensive masterkeyboard synthesizer from Roland for example, and my first impression was that the finish is dodgy, one year later the paint started to peal, although it has never been on the road, I record in studio only. Having said that, again, I might be completly wrong on the Sony. -

    Jono, this I do preferably with a chateau neuf du pape, but I'll give it a try.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Hi Georg
    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    Albert, the cottage .... I need to go back and shoot propperly, I love that scene!
    I think it's lovely too - I'd like to have a go at that!
    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    Eoin, It is probably just me, to me the finish of the lense "feels" cheap, but time will tell the truth. - I have a very expensive masterkeyboard synthesizer from Roland for example, and my first impression was that the finish is dodgy, one year later the paint started to peal, although it has never been on the road, I record in studio only. Having said that, again, I might be completly wrong on the Sony. -
    I agree - I don't think there is anything wrong with the Sony build quality, but like the Vaio computers, the corners of the A900 go shiny with use and the lens hoods are easy to scratch. Tough I'm sure, but not cosmetically long suffering!

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    Jono, this I do preferably with a chateau neuf du pape, but I'll give it a try.
    I'd rather drink the chateau neuf tu pape and ping the lens hood

    Just this guy you know

  10. #10
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    LOL

    You guys who use C1... am I right to assume that under quick settings tab, under base characteristics, you keeo it normally at film standard and not linear response?

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    Member APY_JR's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    LOL

    You guys who use C1... am I right to assume that under quick settings tab, under base characteristics, you keeo it normally at film standard and not linear response?
    That's all I've used Georg... I may have tried linear a few times when I pegged the exp a bit

    Albert

  12. #12
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Thanks Albert,

    I intend to try the workflow of using C1 for converting to Tiff with liitle changes, then whack to Lightroom and eventually to CS3.

    This shot was unusable I thought, but then I started to like it and worked a bit in CS3 on it. It is probably a 80% crop from a 400mm. It is not pristine, then again, I am learning.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Georg
    You live in a fabulous place - please can I come and visit

    Just this guy you know

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Georg,

    great pictures, very nice place!

    It seems that the sleepless nights with the A900 show results

    Have great fun!

  15. #15
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    I feel it is getting slowly better. But still a long way to go.... Patience is not my virtue.... and they forecasted rain.... I must read up on sharpening for web, I never get it right somehow. I use Nik Sharpener 3.0 but this Display sharpening, I don't know, I must do something wrong. When I check it it looks kinda all right, not really mindblowing, but ok, when I reduce the pic size for web after wards, it looks not very good anymore.

    Jono, yeah, it is kinda nice here. I am busy until October, but then we could arrange something.

    Peter, not sure about sleep at the moment, a rare thing in my world. Wish I would digest this stuff quicker, but well, that's the way it is.

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    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    George, I love the estuary shots and I echo Jono's sentiments...........I must also get over to the "green" side sometime soon!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Georg, I think you're supposed to use Nik sharpen after you resize, not before.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    If you make the pictures you are going to post too large (I believe >900 pixels) the forum software adds sharpening. I think it also works differently if you upload pictures to the gallery fist. This is a question for Jack and Guy. I sometimes do two versions of the same shot and the one with less sharpening is for posting here.

  19. #19
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Georg, I think you're supposed to use Nik sharpen after you resize, not before.
    Thanks.... Let's see.... does that come across better?

  20. #20
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    If you make the pictures you are going to post too large (I believe >900 pixels) the forum software adds sharpening. I think it also works differently if you upload pictures to the gallery fist. This is a question for Jack and Guy. I sometimes do two versions of the same shot and the one with less sharpening is for posting here.
    Hi Terry, thanks I must make sure none are wider than 900 pixels then.

  21. #21
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    ....that is 868x537, should be within range then.

    I am wondering, when you guys resize in photoshop, do you change the parameter in the second block, Document size, and reduce resolution until you get down to the pixel width you want, or do you keep the resolution at 300ppi whatever, and just change the width/height?
    Last edited by Georg Baumann; 5th June 2009 at 12:19.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    ....that is 868x537, should be within range then.

    I am wondering, when you guys resize in photoshop, do you change the parameter in the second block, Document size, and reduce resolution until you get down to the pixel width you want, or do you keep the resolution at 300ppi whatever, and just change the width/height?
    Nice picture Georg.
    I just bung 900 in the width for landscape and the height for portrait.
    Leave it at that.

    Just this guy you know

  23. #23
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Ok thanks...

    I give up for today, can't get anything right at the moment...

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    For the rock in the water:

    That still looks oversharpened, to me at least. All the blades of grass and the tiny little crevices in the rock look like they are breaking apart, rather than belonging to a whole, and there are halos around some things. Try posting one without any sharpening at all and see how that looks. Once downscaled from 24MP, it is quite possible it doesn't need any sharpening.

    The next shot, the earth bumps (?), looks better. The house is a really nice shot, but sharpening-wise for me comes somewhere in between the other two.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    With respect to Sharpening
    I agree with Carsten - try with none and see how they look. The rock certainly looks to much, and the house with the tree also doesn't look quite right.

    Just this guy you know

  26. #26
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    .... after working with the alpha a few hours now, I think i can say I do like the layout very much.... The quick funtion comes in handy all the time, and this undoubtedly can be done even better with customisations.

    I am having trouble with the correct exposure strategy though, while the alpha did not show me blown highlights, C1 would show them, I wonder what I am doing wrong. Time to read the manual I guess.

    So, the button layout, and functionalities are extremly well thought through, I felt quickly at home with the basics, and did not need to consult a manual at all, but I am having a major gripe with the package delivered.

    I use the vertical grip, it is on all the time, last not least for battery reason, but that's where I think they should upgrade the package. It comes standard with BC-VM100 single loader, and the loading time fur a full charge is above 3 hours for a single battery. This is very inconvienient, and on calling my dealer they told me that this loader is a replacement part, and not something they can get that easy, apart from that, it appears this Version is outdated already, she spoke of another one that Sony mentioned.

    12 hours for a double pack of batteries seems a long time to me, and I wish they would have a dual loader, or would make a second loader easy to be purchased. I have no timed how many shots, but when i left i was at 996% and it went down rapidly to 15%. I am not chimping on the screen, I just check histogram and composition, that's about it, and it does not take me long.

    The cable remote is relatively cheap, well, not when you buy it at 30 Sterling, but it is really a bit flimsy and the cable is very poorly mantled.

    This is nitpicking of course, but there is room for improvement I would think.

    To be able to have it always with me in a handy package I got a lowe all weather Top loader where it fits with the 24-70 and the grip attached very shug into.

    All in all, after a few hours, this is a superb camera with a lot of quality potential that needs to be explored in depth. The combination with ZEISS just gives it the final touch. My pictures above in no way reflect what this lense is cabable of, I am just beginning to learn it, but even from a first stumbling around with it, I can say this lense is worth every penny.

    Yes, MFDB provides even better qualities, but hey, what else is on the market that comes closer at this point in time and for the money asked for. I think price value wise this system is giving me bank for my buck, and the lenses are equal and better to the very best I have shot with so far.

    I can not say how well the files will hold together if they are upscaled, but I would not think this to be a problem in a moderate scenario.

    I am very happy with that purchase and I think this camera will be with me for a longer time.... until the alpha 1000 ... may be....

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Hi Carsten & Jono,

    thanks for your help here. I am really bad when it comes to optimising stuff for screen. - I hate the way the rocks look, they are soooo much nicer. -

    I tried this here in the following way.

    NIK 3.0 Raw presharpener, little postprocessing, and resize to 900 pixel wide 9best for reduction) which also sharpens a wee bit, and i left the screen sharpening competly out.

    The earth bumps is what you see often in the bog here. (Denk an Lueneburger Heide, Torf)

  28. #28
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    I think the output screensharping from NIK can only be used in the 5-20% region, it is way too radical to my taste. The defalut is 100% and this looks always totally oversharpened.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Hi Georg
    that looks much better, but why not try it with no sharpening at all, just to see! Sometimes simple is best.

    I don't use the grip - I have one spare battery, and I've never used up a whole one on a day's shoot, it seems a battery will do 300-400 shots with chimping, and leaving the menu on the rear LCD. I've take around 6000 shots since October . . . . hmmm, that's about 15 battery charges, but of course, I've done much more than that. Generally speaking after a day out, the battery in the camera will be low, and the spare will be unused, so I stick the low one in the charger and put the spare in the camera.

    Maybe I don't shoot enough shots!

    Generally speaking around here it's pretty windy (and there's lots of foliage). . . which makes a tripod fairly pointless as well. It's a positive joy to go out with the A900 over one shoulder with the 24-70 on it, and a small bag with the 135 and a wide angle over the other.

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  30. #30
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    You know what folks.... DOH....

    It is the ZEISS! It is that damn sharp that you really do not need a lot of sharpenig at all.... only RAW Pre sharpening applied, I think it could use a touch more, but really only the slightest bit:

    And again, there is so much detail on that bolder, growth, fungi etc. you can not see that in a 900 pixel wide picture on the screen here. But now it looks MUCH better to my eyes.

  31. #31
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    The 135.... I CAN NOT WAIT! LOL It is in the Uk next tuesday, so it takes until next weekend until I have it.

    Yeah, I know the wind is a problem here very often too. That's why I love those rocks, they stand still.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Generally speaking around here it's pretty windy (and there's lots of foliage). . . which makes a tripod fairly pointless as well. It's a positive joy to go out with the A900 over one shoulder with the 24-70 on it, and a small bag with the 135 and a wide angle over the other.

  32. #32
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Raw presharpened and 15% output screensharpening

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    George if in C1 just try presharpen 1. Than after you make the Tif file like you normally would do . In PS downrez it using bicubic sharpener to 900 pixels wide and convert to srgb. Not a fan of C1 for web output stuff. It's sharpening your files
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  34. #34
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Hi Guy,

    I converted in C1 to TIFF, no sharpening, whacked it to LR, no sharpening, and did the RAW Pre and final sharpening, which was way too much, in CS3.

    I am having a bad, day, just don't listen to me.

  35. #35
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    ARGH! LOLOLOL

    There was sharpening happening in C1 as well... I thought when i set that to zero once, it would be this way for all pictures from here, but evidently NOT.

    Boy oh boy... I should sell cars instead of doing photography.

  36. #36
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    all those cottages here... sometimes i think I live in Hobbit land.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    New camera, ah craps. No worries happens to everyone. Just be patent.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  38. #38
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Now I got it.... this tiny arrow beside the reset adjustements button opens a menu, where I can save no sharpening as default.

    Yeah you are right Guy... new camera, new computer, new software.... but same old clouded brain....

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    The one without sharpening looks best to me, much more coherent and relaxed. Given the amount of information in a 24MP image, by the time it is bicubic sharpener resized, I don't think it needs any more at all. Bruce Fraser's book was written for Canons!
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    The one without sharpening looks best to me, much more coherent and relaxed. Given the amount of information in a 24MP image, by the time it is bicubic sharpener resized, I don't think it needs any more at all. Bruce Fraser's book was written for Canons!
    I agree Carsten . . . no sharpening. But I do that because I'm a lazy bastard, not because I have any real knowledge

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  41. #41
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Sony 70-400

    I left it at 1200 width to see what happens... LOL

    P.S. Yeah, I think Terry was right... the forum sowftare does something....they should stay at 900, ok mea culpa mea culpa... from here on me posts nuttin but 900 and only pre sharpened. The weired thing is, if you click on the picture, then the version looks right, clos it again, and you see it is oversharpened
    Last edited by Georg Baumann; 5th June 2009 at 16:38.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Jack knows which ways of attaching work best. I go bigger than 900 pixels if I upload the shot to the gallery and not just upload to the thread. I will send him a PM and see if he can weigh in.

  43. #43
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Terry is correct. If you upload to your ALBUM on this site (remember it's FREE) you can upload any size image, and the software creates three versions: a small thumb, a decent looking 900 pix jpeg and the original.

    However, IF you upload your images as ATTACHMENTS, everything gets sized to a maximum of 900 pixels -- and more importantly, the down-sizing for larger attachments will almost always over-sharpen a jpeg, so it's definitely advised to size them BEFOREHAND to 900 pix max before uploading a file as an attachment!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  44. #44
    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Thanks Folks,

    So when you put a file into the Album, how do you send it into the Fora? Do you use the INSERT IMAGE icon and paste the URL of the bigger version?

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Now you've got it. Wow, what a shot. Certainly isn't taking you long to come to grips with the camera! What lens?

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Really great shots Georg!

    What WB were you using for the last one? I tried today to set it to Daylight for sunny outside shots (as Jono suggested) and it worked pretty well. A bit cooler than AWB would have delivered, which I personally prefer.

    Looking forward to the Greycard procedure I will go through with Guy and interested if it brings any further improvements or consistence compared to a fixed WB setting.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Georg - the BB code places a thumbnail in the thread (as you see above) but clicking on it takes you to the gallery (your gallery - Georg Baumann's Images) where you placed the image.

    Nice work, btw.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Really great shots Georg!

    What WB were you using for the last one? I tried today to set it to Daylight for sunny outside shots (as Jono suggested) and it worked pretty well. A bit cooler than AWB would have delivered, which I personally prefer.

    Looking forward to the Greycard procedure I will go through with Guy and interested if it brings any further improvements or consistence compared to a fixed WB setting.
    When we all went through the WB adventure on Nikon we found that at least if you shoot them all at the same temp (using daylight) if you find that you do want to make a change, you can change all the shots at once. When shooting AWB we had all different temp and tints as starting points making it harder to consistently get the same look from the whole shoot.

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    When we all went through the WB adventure on Nikon we found that at least if you shoot them all at the same temp (using daylight) if you find that you do want to make a change, you can change all the shots at once. When shooting AWB we had all different temp and tints as starting points making it harder to consistently get the same look from the whole shoot.
    Yes, I think this is a good starting point.

    I find that I fooled around pretty much with AWB in the past years. Now that I am doing a lot of high end scanning and workflow on my old film archives and use calibrated monitors, I am getting more sensitive to a somehow correct WB - which means a WB coming close to what I remember I have seen when taking the picture (and this is all what counts to me, although I am aware this might not be the technical 100% correct WB).

    Now with that workflow of using a certain preset, one can be much more efficient in changing WB on multiple pictures.

    To my understanding - if I would find "my" correct WB for a certain situation with a certain camera (say the A900) using a greycard and editing a custom profile, I would even be closer from the beginning to my way of viewing the colors - right?

    I look forward to try these during the upcoming workshop

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    Re: alpha 900 first impressions

    Interessting thread - especially the WB-"issues" - and nice pictures too.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    To my understanding - if I would find "my" correct WB for a certain situation with a certain camera (say the A900) using a greycard and editing a custom profile, I would even be closer from the beginning to my way of viewing the colors - right?
    These posts from Carl Weese on TOP might be worth reading:

    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...balance-p.html

    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...balance-1.html

    regards

    Johannes

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