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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Sony PSP Go

My mother-in-law bought me a PSP Go for Christmas, thanks Mommy! I’ve had for almost a month now. So far it’s great. But first, let me just say that I came from a PSP 2000. I love the console but I didn’t play it as much so I sold it last year. Now the PSP Go comes out and I started to miss my PSP. I had a choice between the PSP 3000 or the Go. So I spent a few days to weeks trying to figure out which to get. I heard both sides and I have my reasons.

Here are the reasons not to get the PSP Go and some notes as to why I still went with the PSP Go.

  1. More expensive. (It’s free for me since it’s a gift.)
  2. Can’t sell downloaded games when you’re done with them as oppose to old UMD games. (I never sold any of my UMDs either even after I was done with them.)
  3. Not all games are available for download. (I’m more of a classic guy. I like playing older titles.)
  4. New games aren’t available the same day as UMD versions are released. (As I stated above, the new titles aren’t such a big deal to me. I have a PS3, Wii, 360, iPhone, Google OS phone – so the PSP won’t be my primary gaming console let alone the only portable gaming console I have.)
  5. Frequent deals on UMD version games versus the downloaded games. (See #4 and I’m a patient person.)
  6. The controls are awkwardly placed. (As with any new console, we all have to get used to the newly shaped controller. You can also use the “claw” position when playing the PSP.)
  7. Smaller screen size. (No big deal for me.)
  8. 802.11 B only. (I know it doesn’t support at least G or N, I doubt the PSP can process that big of information even if it did. Also, Sony’s servers are slow most of the times, even if it had the capability of 54mbps, I doubt you’ll be downloading at that speed anyway.)

Here are reasons why I like the PSP Go over the old series.

  1. Smaller. It’s more portable and fits easier in my pockets.
  2. Lighter. Not that much lighter, but lighter.
  3. Downloaded content. I hated UMDs. I hated carrying them around. I’ve lost too many in the past. With downloaded content, I don’t have to worry about losing games. I can re-download them.
  4. Bluetooth. You can connect headsets and the PS3 controller.
  5. Pause a game any time. This feature is great. I can pause a game any time without having to look for a saving point. Of course you can only do this one game at a time.
  6. 16GB internal memory. It’s plenty to begin with. I’ve downloaded a few games and demos and still have 10GB of space left.

Other things I noticed.

  1. It took a little over 2 hours to download God of War (1.3GB) and 34 minutes to install. If you have a PS3, use it to download the content and extract – it is so much faster.
  2. Downloading content from PSN is noticeably slow whether on my PS3 or PSP.
  3. There is no L2 or R2 buttons on the PSP. You may run into problems with PS1/2 games such as Twisted Metal and the 4. Street Fighter Alpha series – they use L2 and R2 buttons. You may have to reassign them.
  4. When connected to OS X, it mounts as if it’s an external storage device. Transferring data shouldn’t be a problem. No official software from Sony is available if you want to use your Mac and download from the PSN website (of course).

So far I like it. Many others don’t like it but for what I need and use it for, it fits me just fine. Here are a few pics next to the old PSP.

Sony PRS-505 eBook Reader

A couple of weeks ago Borders bookstores had a sale on the Sony PRS-505 eBook ready. I decided to pick one up. I didn’t need one but I’m starting to get a couple of eBooks so for the price, I though it would be worth it to check out. After opening it, I didn’t realize how light and thin it was. The device felt sturdy and the text are easy to read. The battery life on it is great as well. Mac users can use Calibre to transfer books to the device or use a SD card/ Memory Stick with a card reader. So far everything seemed good. Here’s where it started to become impractical for me.

I wanted to use this with my small collection of eBooks – most are in PDF format. Everyone has noted that PDF files do not display well but you can convert them to other formats like EPUB, LRF, or MOBI which Calibre can do for you. I’ve tried it and noticed some improvements but some sentences wrapped too early. It’s not a big deal though but STRIKE 1.

Most, if not all my eBooks are reference books. I didn’t realize that there is no search feature on this model. Reference books are useless if I can’t search for things. Granted it has bookmarks, it’s less efficient if I can’t search – STRIKE 2.

I recently bought 40 Years of X-Men on DVD and thought wouldn’t this be great to have on the PRS-505. Again, the files are in PDF. The pages would not get larger as I increase the font size because it’s a comic book (images). I even tried to convert them to another format. The text in the bubbles were hard to read and the watermark on the pages didn’t help any either – STRIKE 3.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad eBook reader. For $200, it’s a great basic one. If you can still get one at that price, I would recommend getting one if you are looking for one. For what I need it for, it just won’t work.

Luckily, the Borders where I bought it from was kind enough to return it.