Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for Sony

As I had posted before, I wanted to get the same lens I had with my Canon onto my Sony. Here’s another lens I got for my Sony A65. It’s the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. My wife got it for me for Christmas. It’s a great all-around/walk-around lens. I enjoyed it on my Canon XS and now I’m enjoying it on my Sony.

The focusing motor noise is there but it’s not that bad when recording a video. Using the built-in microphone on the A65 will pick it up slightly. If you use a higher mounted mic or external mic, you should be okay.

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Sony SAL50F18 Lens

Yes, I made the switch from Canon to Sony. I’ve been using my Sony A65 for a few months now and one of the things I wanted to do was to get the same lens I had with my Canon XS. I really enjoyed my “nifty fifty” on my Canon. Sony’s version is the SAL50F18.

I’m very pleased with the lens. It delivers similarly to my Canon. The focusing motor is also loud just like the Canon. I’ve shot a few videos with it and that motor noise can be problem. Canon solved that by releasing apancake lens (40mm f/2.8). I wish Sony would come out with a pancake lens for the A-Mount.

Low light performance is great with the f/1.8. The photos have come out crisp and sharp. In some shots though, I see a slight advantage with the Canon. The Sony is also more expensive than the Canon lens 😦 .

No matter what DSLR you have, you should have this type of lens in your bag.

Here are some pics of the lens itself and a few I took at Disneyland.

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Sony A65

After several weeks of researching for a new DSLR, I finally found one that will fit my new needs. I have a Canon XS (1000D) that will need replacing. It’s a great camera and it still works great but there’s 2 things I was looking for.

  1. Capture HD video
  2. Faster fps – I have a young son who is very active and my XS can’t keep up. I get plenty of blurry pictures. The XS shoots at 3 fps, so I need something much quicker.

Being that I have a couple of Canon lenses already and have been using Canon for years, my obvious choice of brand is Canon. The 3 models I liked were the 7D, 60D, and T4i (650D).

Everyone already knows what they like about the camera so I won’t spend much time with what I like.

Canon 7D: I liked everything about the camera except it still uses the aging DIGIC4 and the price is close to aCanon 5D Mark II – which is a full frame camera.

Canon 60D: Just like the 7D, it uses the DIGIC4 and though it is faster than my old camera at 5.3 fps, it wasn’t holding up against the 7D. There is no auto-focus for video just like the 7D too.

Canon T4i (650D): I’m replacing a Rebel with another, to me didn’t seem like much of an upgrade – although it does have what I’m looking for. The new STM lens from Canon are great, too bad it only works with the T4i (650D) – for now. I was able to play with the [40mm pancake lens]/blog/2012/11/01/canon-ef-40mm-f2-8-stm-pancake-lens/ and during video auto-focusing it was near silent.

In general, I wasn’t too impressed by Canon’s line up. As I looked at other brands (Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc), it just seems like Canon is holding back on using newer technology which comes standard with many similarly priced cameras from the other brands.

I ended up with a Sony because of their translucent mirror technology. Their alpha cameras also come equipped with image stabilization on the body. This means I don’t have to spend so much money on lenses that come with IS. I mean, I’m not a pro photographer so why should I spend that kind of money just to get the benefit of IS when there’s lenses that are less but not have IS. I won’t need it if the camera body has it.

So it was between the Sony A65 and A77. The A77 would’ve been great but it cost almost as much as a full frame camera. I’m not ready for FF yet. But it does have some slight advantages over the A65 like more cross focus points, magnesium alloy body, slightly higher fps, and a very nice kit lens – 16-50 f/2.8. Mostly everything else is the same. I didn’t want to pay extra for those as they are not as important to me at this time. So the A65 it is.

So far I am pleased by the results. The IS on the body makes a huge difference specially when using it with a telephoto lens (75-300). At it’s maximum zoom I had no issues with taking clear photos while trying to keep the camera steady. The EVF does take a little time to get used to than OVF.

This camera comes with many features like the following:

  1. Panoramic mode that’s on the camera and no stitching required on post.
  2. 3D photos – though i won’t be using it, at least it’s there.
  3. Photo filters.
  4. SCN mode like twilight are great for night shots without a tripod.
  5. HDR
  6. GPS – At first I didn’t care too much for it but it does save me some time with Lightroom. Although it does eat up some battery life.

So what don’t I like?

  • Because of the EVF, GPS, etc, I found the battery to drain a lot quicker. I guess having all those features has its price. It’s a good idea to carry a spare battery.
  • Sony is know to be proprietary with things and this camera is no exception. You will need to get a hotshoe adapter unless you plan on using Sony products that mount on it.
  • The auto-focus motor is a bit loud so if you will be doing video with auto-focus, you may want to use an external microphone or switch it to manual focus.
  • It’s not against the camera, but I did have to buy new lenses since I’m coming from a Canon to Sony. Though I was able to sell most of my old lens. I’m keeping my Tamron on my Canon since I don’t plan to sell my old camera.
  • The A65 doesn’t have a battery grip – at least not an official one from Sony, but the A77 does.

Below is a pic of my camera. Picture is the kit lens 18-55mm, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (I have this on my Canon and love it), Sony 50mm f/1.8 (mounted on the camera), and the hotshoe adapter.

It’s a great camera to have and as far as features, it blows away the competition. For picture quality, I’ve been pleased with the results so far. I will be blogging about my other lenses soon, so you can check out the samples there.

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Carry Speed CS-3

After using this for a couple of weeks, I can honestly say that this is by far the best accessory you can buy for your digital SLR. Before this strap, I was using the strap that came with my camera. At first it was okay. But once you start using lenses – other than the kit lens – you will start realizing how uncomfortable the strap is. It’s gotten so bad that during my research of finding a new DSLR, I ignored any of the weather sealed and magnesium body cameras because they weighed more than my current camera.

After posting about looking for a new camera and mentioned about the weight of my existing camera, someone had suggested to change my stock camera stock. Why didn’t I think of that (/facepalm) ? Some have suggested Blackrapid. I checked them out but instead went for Carry Speed. It was slightly cheaper and the videos and demos I saw were what sold me. The ballhead system is great as well. The CS-3 model is what I went with. It’s a pleasure to use and very comfortable. I can easily carry my Canon XS (1000D) by my hip and pull up for a shot to my chest in a second. The strap is padded so it doesn’t put much strain on my shoulder. The strap also has tripod holes so that you don’t have to remove it if ever you need to use a tripod while the strap is connected.

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My new Canon Rebel XS

I finally get a chance to spend some of my tax return this year. The last couple of returns was spent on a wedding, vacations, and petition fees. It always pays off filing early because you get your return early.

So with some extra cash, I decided to look for a digital SLR. I never owned or used one so it’s a big decision to make. I spent a couple of days researching online and visiting stores to play with demos. I ended up with 3 models, the Canon Rebel XSi, Nikon D60, and Sony Alpha 200. Why I even looked at Sony, I don’t know. I guess I just wanted to throw a third variable in there.

Since it was going to be my first DSLR, I didn’t want to spend too much. I’m not that all too familiar with manual settings or lenses. By the way, the most I spent researching on that Sony was to see how much it cost. After that, I ignored it all together. I never did like Sony cameras for some reason.

So I had to decide between the Canon and Nikon. What kept me away from Nikon is the simple fact that most of my digital cameras and camcorder are Canon. I’m already familiar with the interface and have some accessories from my PowerShot G9 that should be compatible with the Rebel XS series. Don’t get me wrong, Nikons make great cameras, but I’m just a Canon guy. Maybe one of these days I’ll give them a try, maybe.

Now I’m left with 2 cameras to choose from the Rebel XS and XSi. Here are the main differences that I saw between the two.

** XSi is at least $150 * XSi has 3” LCD display VS 2.5” – This isn’t a big deal to me since I’ll only be view photos on the screen and not using Live View to take pictures * XSi is 12MP VS 10MP – I’m not planning on printing larger than 8×11 and even if I did, 10MP will produce decent quality. * XSi has 9 AF points VS 7 AF points – I wasn’t too familiar with this so I asked my bro-in-law Al and co-worker Thomas and they both said, for what I’ll use it for and my current skill in photography, I won’t miss/need the addition 2 AF points and it wasn’t worth paying the extra money for it at this time.

So the winner is the Canon Rebel XS. So far I like it a lot. It came with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. Also the package I got included another Canon lens, EF-S 70-300mm f/4-5.6.

I’ve been playing around with this camera for more than a week and am liking it very much. I’ve picked up a bag for it too – Lowepro Slingshot 200AW. It’s a very nice bag and it comes with a water resistant cover for the bag (AW = all weather). I checked it out at Best Buy but felt that the price was too high. I found one on eBay for $60 with shipping included. I’m able to fit the lenses, additional memory cards, charger, my Canon Elura 100camcorder and a charger, and still have room for other things. The sling design is great and my camera is accessible while on the go.

So far the two things that surprised me after playing around with the camera are:

  • It does not capture video. This isn’t much of a big deal. I still have access to my PowerShot G9, SD550, Aiptek A-HD+ 1080p.
  • It does not come with a lens strap. This bugged me a little. I don’t know why something like this isn’t included for the price of the camera. So far, the only ones I’ve found at the stores come with a lens cap, which I don’t need. I guess I’ll have to find some online.