Monday, December 1, 2014

Lots of Announcements!

Also in this issue

  • AF modes explained on video
  • Least Likely Place to License an Image
  • Retraction to last month
  • Parting Shot
Before I get to the interesting stuff, let me share with you some news on some long-awaited titles:

Best of the Blog - Free with Cameracraft subscription!

Blogs are usually free to read – just go to the website.  So why am I packaging the "Best of the Blog" and having the audacity to charge for something that you can read for free?

Well, if you've ever tried to peruse someone's long-running blog, you already know the answer.  You almost always end up going backwards, there's a lot to read, and there's usually a lot of crap you have to plow through (in my case it's the incessant promotion of the seminars.)  (In. Every. Single. Post.) Plus, after some time passes, the fact that the A700 ebook is now out is somehow not interesting.

Over the years, many have written to me saying how much you've enjoyed reading it, how you appreciate the useful information it contains, and that it's a cut above most other blogs.  And so for those of you who have not followed the blog for long (and even for those that have!), for your sheer convenience and enjoyment I have compiled this collection of the most popular blog posts from 2007 - 2014, based on the number of clicks, the volume of comments, and my own sheer biasness.  

The 288-page e-book can be downloaded for just $9.95 from , OR you can get it for FREE by subscribing to Cameracraft, one of the last ad-free magazines left that puts photography front-and-center.  Just email me your subscription receipt and your "Best of the Blog" holiday reading will be on its way.

Other Ebooks

As alluded to last month, the ebook on the Alpha 77 II (read that carefully - two 7's!) is now out!

I've also created a free video clearly explaining the different focusing modes of the A77 II, although most of it applies to any Sony SLT camera.  Scroll to the bottom to view the video and to read the story behind why it was made.

There's a new ebook by Tony Phillips covering the large topic of Flash for ALL Fujifilm X-cameras.  If you already own one of Tony's Fujifilm camera books then you'll find the info here mostly redundant; however you can feel free to let your Fuji-shooting friends know about this valuable resource.

Don't forget the ebooks on the Sony RX-100 MK3, Fujifilm X-T1 and Olympus E-M1 are out too.  Need a gift for a photographer in your life?  These might just be it!

Next project: Version 2.0 of the A6000 book (co-written with Ross Warner) is next on the list.  Biggest difference will be the new epub and .mobi fomatting technique which should finally make this book palatable on e-readers like the Kindle.  People who purchased it from my website will receive automatic free updates; and if you bought it elsewhere just email me your purchase receipt and I'll send you a free download link.

After that I'm giving myself a day off. :-)

Next Seminars

Blah blah blah Florida Seminar blah blah blah Jan. 10-11 blah blah blah sign up now while you're still thinking about it.  Boston and Austraila are next for planning.  Send an email expressing interest at Gary at Friedman Archives dot com.

Least Likely Place to license an image

It's easy to forget that I run a stock image website as well, licensing to book and magazine editors worldwide.  Nothing to write home about, really, but sometimes I'm surprised by the unusual ways my images are used.  Below are just a few examples.  As is often true in this business, the images that end up getting licensed are not what I feel is my best work.

Here, some of my Las Vegas images of old Freemont Blvd. were used by a set designer for a theater (click on any image to make it larger):

Here a company in the School Cafeteria business decided to issue commemorative plates for an industry national conference using my photo of Boston fireworks:

This image of the world's smallest Post Office (well, as far as I have seen) was used as part of a float for a parade:

Paul Simon recently toured with Sting, and there were a lot of glossy brochures being sold for fans to buy.  Recently I received one in the mail, but I wasn't sure why.  

Aha!  See that yellow rectangle in the image above?  That's a close-up of this portrait I took of his musical director, Mark Stewart:

Technically, this wasn't a licensed image.  Mark had helped me sell Xaphoons at NAMM (a musical industry trade show) and he also posed for this publicity shot.  I gave it to him as a personal "Thank you".  A nice surprise to see it used in this way!

Retraction from last month

Boy, did I get some flack on dpreview for last month's post where I showed a situation where the A77 II should have been able to track focus but only did so only 75% of the time.  It wasn't the test that raised people's ire; it was an offhanded (and blatantly incorrect) statement I made about the camera not being able to track focus in 12-pictures-per-second mode.  (And I knew better than to say that!).

I've since corrected the language, but in following the thread and reading the questions it became clear that my attempt to explain the new focusing modes in last month's blog could have been clearer.

That prompted a new section in the book called "focusing essentials" where I build, from the ground up, the essentials of phase-detect autofocus: how it works, where it fails, and what the new modes were designed to address (and how they all differ from each other).

But guess what?  Not everyone learns in the same way, and some things are better seen than read.  And so I spent an afternoon making this video, clearly showing how PDAF works, and how Sony analyzes the Live View feed to intelligently select which AF points to use.  I then also build up to Center Lock-On AF (formerly known as "Object Tracking") and finally Lock-On AF, the A77 II's newest focusing mode.  Most of this applies to other SLT cameras too.  It's only 12 minutes but it will solidify your autofocusing knowledge and might even provide a couple of "Aha!" moments:

(In an unrelated note, Youtube is providing free studio time to any creators that have more than 5000 subscribers.  I don't have any ideas on what I would do with that access, but I always believe in having options.  So if you enjoyed this video, you can subscribe to my channel using these complex-sounding steps:

  1. Hover over the video window above, and click on the "youtube" logo in the lower right-hand corner.
  2. This will take you to the native Youtube page for the same video.  
  3. Then click on the red "subscribe" button right below the video.  
That's it!  Many thanks for your support.)

Parting Shot

Think you've got a bad case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.)?  Check out this personal collection from a reader who's also a professional Minolta / Sony photographer.  In my life I've never seen a personal collection this large.

Until next time...
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman


  1. Collection photo makes me wish I had kept my A700 I sold for peanuts (well not actual peanuts). But I did keep my all Minolta film cameras and Minolta 7D as well 5600 flash. Unfortunately I don't have unlimited space or money.

  2. Gary, I had asked you in an email if you are familiar with the Phase One Capture One Express for Sony. You said you haven't had time to look at it.
    Well, have any of your readers had the time? I am curious if anyone thinks it is a viable (the Pro version) alternative to Lightroom. The Express version is only compatible with Sony cameras but the Pro version is compatible with most cameras.

  3. One last thing on the Capture One Express I keep forgetting to say is the reason I am interested is because I read Capture One allows tethered shooting where you can actually view the image on what you're tethered to.

  4. "Next Seminars: Blah blah blah Florida Seminar blah blah blah Jan. 10-11 blah blah blah sign up now while you're still thinking about it." - Is this the description of your workshop's content in Florida? :-)

    1. If you click on the hyperlinks in that paragraph it will take you to the course content. Thanks for asking. :-)

  5. I've used Capture One for a while now (as well as Lightroom). The free Sony version is simply a "lite" locked copy of the full version with a few of the high end features blocked. Entire a valid SN and it unlocks the software. C1 has a decidedly different workflow than Lightroom, so it takes a while to get your head around it. It's got built-in DAM with you ca choose to use or not. I think the RAW processing in C1 is better than Lightroom, but at this level it's really a matter of taste. If you are proficient in both programs, you'll be able to get the results you want from either. Probably the best thing is to just pick one and learn it in depth, rather than bounce back and forth (voice of experience here).

  6. Haven't tried tethered (just got my A7 today), but C1 only works with certain models of certain cameras (as does tethered with Lightroom). It won't enable tethering on All Sony's.

  7. Off subject Gary, but has Sony forgotten the A99 there hasn't been a software revision in over a year. I thought it was meant to be Sony's flagship model but I see that now the crop sensor SLT has a better focusing system. I feel a little disappointed shelling out the extra for a full frame and lenses. Should have just kept my A77.

  8. Great AF video (ah aha) - looking forward to you visiting Oz!

  9. Hi Gary, do you have an estimate of when your book on the A7II will be out? I had posted elsewhere that I wouldn't move to the E-Mount system unless it had IBIS. Then the A7II came out . . . While there's plenty in common with my A77 a lot has changed and I suspect that there's more than just the IBIS changed from the A7. In the meantime I'm sure there's more that I can get out of the A7II that I haven't found yet. I'd dearly love to get hold of your book - the A100 & A77 books are great and I'm sure the A7II will be too.

    1. I'm shooting (no pun intended) for the first week in February. I'm writing a supplement for the A7/A7r ebook which covers just the new features. Watch the blog for an announcement!

  10. Gary, I want to buy the X-T1 book, but I want to make sure you cover the electronic shutter in it. If not, will existing owners be able to get a free upgrade if you update the book? The new firmware is out and I don't know how old this e-book is. Thank you. Chris

    1. Hi, Chris. If you bought the ebook from my website you'll automatically be notified of the free update covering the new features from the firmware upgrade. GF

  11. Hi Gary
    Don't know where else to say thank you......
    I had an annoying ( because I use focus magnifier a lot ) hot pixel just off centre in the evf of my shiny new a77ii. The only sensible information on how to get rid of it came from extracts of one of your books found through Google, So thank you again for the best first of the month white rabbit.



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