Tag Archives: Sony DSC-HX80

Travel Photography When You Can Take Everything

We travel regularly by motorhome.  We don’t live in a motorhome, but we do go for local and extended trips with one.  One of the benefits in doing this over either going somewhere by car or flying when you like to take pictures and video is you can take everything.  Another benefit is that if you are a hybrid shooter who uses both digital and film you have a refrigerator with you to store your unused and exposed film.  We left mid June and I had with me.

  • Nikon D750 Full Frame digital DSLR with two lenses
  • Nikon D5500 Digital DSLR with three lenses
  • 2 Olympus OM2n’s with six lenses
  • 2 Minolta 600si SLR’s with six lenses
  • 1 Voightlander Prominent rangefinder with 50mm f1.5
  • 1 Sony compact HX 80
  • 1 iPhone X
  • At least 30 rolls of film
  • 3 tripods.  None have been used yet.

We are now still on our trip.  Since I bought the D750 shortly before the trip I have used that the most so far to see how well it performs.

DSC_0729
Taken with a Nikon D750 with Nikon 24-120 f4

And the answer to that question is pretty dam well.  Other than the two little corner imperfections that I should get rid of with Lightroom the above photo from Bryce National Park is very nice.  Yes there is a little bit of sky issue caused by too wide of a lens for a polarizing filter, but when you look at the file in full size on a good screen the detail and color of the rocks is stunning.

DSC_0655
Nikon D750 with Nikon 50mm f1.4

The above shot was a couple of days earlier near Page UT.  This was taken at dusk and the file was taken raw and it allowed me to bring up the foreground of the photo so that it blended well with the top of the frame.  When you see this file full size it is very detailed.  Again I have not done as much Lightroom as I could and the top corners need a little fixing.

My experience using this camera when traveling is that if you put my 50mm f1.4 prime lens on it and one of the Peak larger camera straps you can carry it around pretty well without feeling weighted down.  It is nowhere near as easy to use like this compared to the Nikon D5500.

summer trip 2018-1151
Taken with a Nikon D5500 and 18-55mm P

summer trip 2018-1160

summer trip 2018-1161

All three of these photos above were with my D5500 and the latest 18-55 P model zoom.  I took the D5500 with me this day because it is much lighter than the D750 and I felt like using it instead of the 750.  To me the 5500 files are as good as what would have come from the 750.  But when I work with files from both these cameras there is no doubt that the full frame 750 and full frame glass gives more details and less noise.  It seems like you can crop the 750 files forever and they still look great.

And a few times I have put the little compact Sony in my pocket and come up with these results.

summer trip 2018-01129

summer trip 2018-01140

All of these were shot hand held.  You cannot do raw with the Sony so these were jpegs only.

Plus I did use my iPhone X some.

summer trip 2018-1101

summer trip 2018-1107

summer trip 2018-1123

For the iPhone X pictures I used for these three the native Apple app that comes with the phone.  Sometimes I use the Adobe Lightroom camera app which allows you to use raw.  This works very well with the Adobe Lightroom mobile app on the phone and my iPad.  But as you can see from these three shots that the standard Apple app works pretty good.  The middle photo is taken using Apple’s portrait mode.  This now gives what I would call excellent results in most of the times I use it.

Now here is the bad news.  No matter how many cameras you have with you you cannot control the weather.  We have been in the mid west USA mid summer heat dome and we have had bright overcast days for at least a month now.  Blue skies and puffy clouds have been as rare as Leicas.  Bright overcast skies are the enemy of good outdoor photos.  Bright overcast skies are almost impossible to shoot with a digital sensor camera as all digital cameras do not handle highlights that well.  Even if you shoot in raw you might have only two stops over on the best digital camera.  What happens is this.

DSC_1234
Wisconsin Dells shot spoiled by too much contrast in sky to land.   
DSC_1294
North Dakota grasslands spoiled by too bright sky

DSC_1287

So with too much contrast in the sky you only solution is to take shots without sky like the one above.  The problem with this is that when you are at places with natural things to see like National Parks you need to put some sky in the shots sometimes.

To me not being able to handle over-brignt highlights as well as photo film is digital photographies biggest weakness.  In one very well done you tube video I have watched a couple of time “The Slanted Lens” showed how the Nikon D850 compared with Kodak Portra film.  The Nikon shots were not usable at 2 stops over and the film was OK up until about 4 stops.  This is a very big difference.  Remember that each stop doubles the amount of light.

  1. Mirrorless cameras with good EVF’s and indications in the viewfinder are helpful at knowing when the highlights are too bright.  However, this does not fix the problem.  It tells you to turn down the exposure, but then you can plug your shadows.  Or if you don’t plug your shadows, you darken them.  And when you turn up your shadows in post it increases noise.
  2. Film tends to work better than digital in situations where you have very bright highlights and lots of contrast.  At least film with lots of dynamic range does.

Thats it for now.  Time to go shoot some film in the classic western town of Medora with classic old SLR.

iPhone 7 Plus Camera Plagued By Poor Connectivity Choices

As I wrote two posts ago, I think the iPhone 7 plus has a brilliant camera for a cell phone.  I have taken many very good still and videos with it.  But even though you can capture very good shots and video it is a general pain in the ass to put them in an organized file system. When you turn on the Apple auto upload (which you really have to do to get the camera to work well) it sends photos to your other IOS devices and your iCloud photos automatically if you are connected to wifi.  If you are traveling and only have access to mobile data, too bad.  Apple waits till you connect to wifi.

But lets say you do connect your phone to wifi and the pictures auto go to the Apple pictures app in iCloud.  If you only want to use the Apple photo app to adjust pictures than you are set.  That is unless you want to have a regular file system like almost every good photographer does.  Then you have to export from the Apple app to your file system.  Or you can use the hard to find “Apple image capture app” and download by wire to your computer.  Apple’s photo app stores copies of your photos in places it is almost impossible to find.  And all of this works best if you have a Mac.  If you have a Windows computer, well then you have to wait for your photos to go to iCloud and then you can download them to your computer.  If you are not on wifi then you won’t be doing this until you are.  Supposedly there is a way to download photos from your iPhone to a Windows computer.  There used to be as I did it.  But sometime in the recent past that ability was deleted.

Or lets say you want to take a raw photo.  Well you have to use Lightroom or some other app that has raw ability.  To do this though you need Lightroom mobile.  And to get the Lightroom mobile camera pictures to your computer or say an iPad you have to use a wireless connection.  I have found no way to take Lightroom photos off an iPhone with a wire.  It is true you can move the Lightroom photo to the camera roll and then use Apple image capture to remove photos by wire.  But your raw pictures are converted to jpeg when you do that.  And lets say you want to move your camera roll photos to Lightroom mobile on your phone to edit or download pictures wirelessly when you don’t have wifi, well then you will end up with a giant Lightroom mobile file on your computer.  Mine got to 16 gigs before I shut it down.

Confused yet?  So while the iPhone 7 plus has a brilliant camera it is hard to live with in practice if you want to carefully file your pictures and videos, or edit them with Lightroom.  This problem could easily be solved by Apple if they made their phones like most Android phones where you just plugged them into your computer and moved the pictures off.  Easy peasy.  But I think Apple is too busy designing the next iPhone to make these kinds of changes that people like me want.  So once more, I do love the Apple iPhone 7 plus camera, but do not like (hate) the complex “Kafka-like” crap you have to go through to get the files off.

A few days ago I bought a Sony compact camera DSC-HX80, for the sole purpose of not having to putz with this issue.  So far my $400 Sony takes pictures that are a bit better than what you can get from the iPhone.  It has a zoom lens that goes from 24mm – 720mm.  It is astonishing how good the pictures come out using 720mm.  It has a lot of the same adjustments my Nikon DSLR has, meaning, it is much more adjustable than the standard Apple camera app.  And it even has a viewfinder.  Taking photos off the Sony is exactly like what you do on my Nikon DSLR, meaning very easy, and it fits with my file system.  I do not intend to not use the camera in the iPhone, but I do intend to use it a lot less.

Below are a few test shots from the Sony.  BTW the Sony has really good color rendition.

DSC00051

DSC00035

The shot below is my first telephoto test shot.  This is amazingly good for how far away these kids were.  It froze the action and this was hand held!  You could never ever get a shot this good out of the iPhone 7 plus.

DSC00019