Thursday, May 06, 2010

Work, Spend, Smile

My recent work schedule has been punishing my body, but good food and beer have fortified me and the money is a nice change.
Today I was making my shopping list to get prepared for a brutal weekend ahead, and suddenly remembered the lens I've been wanting ever since it came out almost a year ago.
Then I remembered a recent Sunday newspaper advert that showed a discount for the first time--didn't matter who's ad it was, since Sony only allows price reductions across the board.
This means that if it's on sale at BestBuy, that exact same price will be found at B&H in NYC, and even the Sony Style stores.
Sure enough, a quick peek at B&H's website showed a $25 savings but I didn't want to wait a week when I can just drive 8 miles to La Cantera and throw cash around.
So that's what I did, and it felt good.
The salesman was a little unsettled that someone can walk into his store knowing what he wants and not need any chit-chat before dropping pictures of dead presidents on the counter.
Sylvia was fascinated by their counterfeit bill checking device, which slowed me down but added a little fun for everyone.

This is my brand spanking new Sony 50mm F1.8 lens.

I like how fat and chunky it looks on my Alpha300 body.
Not as puny as I feared.
The F1.8 part of the designation means that it lets in more light than any other lens I've ever used.
When shooting my bands, this translates to over two stops of extra light, meaning that I can use shutter speeds that are 4 times as fast--and this is huge!.
With my other lenses, far too many photos were rejected because of motion-blur.

The 50mm tag means that on my camera it's magnification (focal length) is equal to a 75mm lens on a 35mm film (or full-frame digital) body.
This focal length and field-of-view is just about perfect for shooting bands in clubs, and is close enough to portrait perfection to suit me just fine.
(Good thing, because this is a "prime" lens which means there is no zooming).

It took a few months for enough people to buy these and start putting their opinions on the interwebs, and what I've seen has been very positive.
Glowing in fact.

The camera review websites that do hardcore testing suggest that the image quality is noticeably higher than similar lenses from Canon and Nikon, so that's nice.
Not too surprised, since theirs aren't nearly as new, design-wise.

The recessed front element makes it very resistant to flare from bright light sources, and my own limited testing confirms this. In fact, no lens hood is supplied and there isn't even a mount for one.
I can't wait to try this baby at night!
The zoom lenses I have are very disappointing in this regard and have definitely had an impact on my desire to take new photos under difficult conditions.

Here's a photo I just took using the new lens:

Another nice feature is that the minimum focus distance is around a foot, versus 2-4 feet for my other two lenses.
At comparable magnification it seems to even beat my F828 in this important spec, which makes my life much easier when doing product photography.

I'll be trying the new lens at ReTox Friday night
No doubts at all that it'll do a great job.

BTW--The SPURS Mr. Potato Head was priced around $20 at the ATT Center, but Sylvia got 2 for much less than that from WOOT!.
They arrived on our porch today, and I sure was surprised!
Hers is going to work, but I'll be leaving mine sealed in the package just like all of my HotWheels//Johnny Lightning//Muscle Machines die-cast cars.
Now that some of my collection is over ten years old, it doesn't seem so silly to have bought several hundred toy cars anymore.

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