Also in this issue:
- A Death in the Family
- How I Shot This Really Annoying Sculpture
- Rescheduled Seminars
A99 & A77: Same Settings, Different Exposures
It started out innocently enough. Here I was, photographing a science experiment we found in the pantry one night (a potato that decided to start sprouting) and so I thought I'd document it in the studio and go for some dramatic light. I used just one flash on the right, set to manual output. An early shot can be seen above. (As always, click on any image to see a larger version.)
"The depth-of-field is too shallow" I said to myself. "The front leaves are very sharp; but the back ones 4 inches back are too fuzzy". And so I switched from an A99 to an A77, knowing that the smaller sensor will give about 1.5 stops' worth of increased depth-of-field for the same composition. I carefully set up the camera so all the settings were identical, and took a similarly-composed shot:
Whoa! The A77 shot was brighter. I was expecting an identical exposure. Oh, well, time for bed.
The next day I was shooting some publicity shots for a real estate mogul, and while he was preparing for his video I took some additional test shots of a member of his entourage:
|Same lens, same light, same settings. But the A77 shot (left) still came out brighter than the A99 (right).|
Here are two shots taken of a bland, neutral subject with the A99 and A77 set to "Auto".
|Program mode - A77 (left), A99 (right). Pretty close.|
A quick check of the EXIF information shows that the exposure value for the two cameras was actually different. At ISO 400 and f/2.8, the A77 shot at 1/30th of a second, whereas the A99 shot at 1/13th. The A99 let in more light, to make it look as light as the A77.
And here is the same shot with the same two cameras set to manual exposure mode (ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/30th):
|Manual exposure mode using identical conditions - A77 (left), A99 (right).|
Am I the first to notice this? Apparently not. DxOMark tested both the A77 (link here) and A99 (link here) and sure enough, starting at ISO 100, the A99 was almost 1 stop less sensitive than the 77 at all ISO settings. (Click on the "Measurements" tab on each page in the above links to see the ISO test. I don't have permission to post the results here.)
So, if you're like me and shoot with multiple cameras in controlled situations, be aware that switching bodies will yield slightly different results, even though the cameras' settings and lighting and composition are identical.
A Death in the Family
My Mother-in-law passed away at the end of June, leaving behind 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, and 5.5 great-grandchildren. She was much loved by the community, but she left her daughters with a huge estate that needed to be liquidated. Not a fun time for anyone. I cancelled all seminars for the rest of the year (Seattle, Vancouver, Australia, New Zealand) so I could help my wife with what can best be described as a very stressful period.
|My mother-in-law. We had to move the studio down to the garage since she couldn't get the wheelchair upstairs.|
True story: Before my mother-in-law died, our daughter asked her, 'Gram, what thing do you especially like in this house?", thinking she would get a good story and keep the chachkie in remembrance. "That piece!", she replied, pointing to the ugliest thing in the house.
"Why? What's the story behind it?". "No story. I just like it, that's all." So I thought "Why keep a scary-looking ivory carving around the kids when you can just take a good picture of it and hide the object?" Which is what I did.
No studio needed for this one. I took this shot on-site, with two wireless flashes. The first one (the main light) was diffused using a Lumodi beauty dish, and it produced the image below:
Nice, but I didn't like the dark background. So placed a 2nd wireless flash on the floor behind her, taking advantage of the large red wall in the kitchen and producing a subtle gradient in the process (brighter on bottom, gradually getting darker toward the top). A telephoto lens brought it all together. A behind-the-scenes shot of the simple setup appears below:
The worst of the funeral and estate liquidation process will be over by the end of August, and Carol and I will be very much in need of a break. So we are re-scheduling just the seminar for Seattle which will happen on Sept. 28-29. The signup page is here; but if you've already signed up just send me and email and say "ink me in!".
You can learn more about the seminars here.
Until next time...
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman
|She really enjoyed the great grandchildren, but it wasn't always the other way around...|