I took the dive and finally settled on upgrading from the a200 to the a850. The a700 replacement seems as if it will never appear and the charm of the a200′s quirks had outlived their welcome, as too many moments were missed due to the weak low light AF and shutter lag. So maybe not the camera I was most willing to buy, but one I will probably grow the most with as a photographer.
Generally speaking, the camera is a beast. The feel, the sound of the shutter, all echo of deliberate actions and fine tuning. The large sensor fills up CF cards with ease, but the flexibility of the RAW files in Photoshop has saved more than a few shots. Going from a D70s, to an a200, to an a850 has had it’s own learning curve and the last week or so has been in effort to get over that hump.
First night out was Freaker’s Ball, a variety show of sorts hosted by Clownvis and his partner Teddy Longsworth. Being Thanksgiving Eve, my angle was mostly of compromise with those around me and being slightly weirded out by the guy who stared at my camera most of the night. I’m pretty sure he wanted to catch me outside and take my bag for a quick $250 at the pawn shop. The settings were sort of there, iso 1600-3200 has very pleasant noise, it’s there but it doesn’t compromise the quality of the image as much as one would think.
By the weekend I was getting into the swing of things. The 50mm no longer has the grab that it once did, though I like the IQ of the 50mm on the full frame rather than the crop sensor. Feels like I may not have the sharpest example, a 1.4 upgrade might be in my future. The 28mm stays in my jacket pocket but I can’t say I’m in love with it right now like I was before. The AF on the a850 is excellent, but still has a few quirks in low light, low contrast situations. Nothing terrible, though.
F3.2, 1000iso, 1/50. Not a perfectly focused shot (Kevin, left, is a bit soft) but nevertheless an attractive snap. I couldn’t get something like this from the a200, not at those settings. Kevin Renick, A contributing writer to Playback:stl like myself, fell on hard luck like many of us these days, losing his job and his mother in a very short period of time. Long story short, he found himself writing music again and through a bit of chance and gusto, his song “Up In The Air” found itself on the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. The song, the movie, and Kevin’s story have become quite popular here in St. Louis. The shot is from an in-store performance at Vintage Vinyl.
Last Tuesday was Holly Golighty at the Firebird with This City of Takers and Kentucky Knife Fight. I hate being that guy with the camera at venues with low, tight stages but tonight I was determined to really get the shots. Funny how that didn’t really happen. City of Takers went well enough but Kentucky Knife Fight hired a photog. Homeboy rigged the stage with 4-5 strobes and shot with a Nikon D3 with $1700 lenses. I kept my camera in the bag. A real shame as I’ve been waiting most of the year to shoot them. Holly Golighty really got me bent out of shape in a way few musicians ever could. The duo opened up with an inspired, heart melting cover of Skip James’ “Crow Jane” and then I realized that the dim, red wash across the stage was never going to go away. Any other color I could’ve made due, but red just kills it. I’m sure the wash went to green the second I left.
It’s been a week.