Making Room for Smaller Cameras

Today's technology is growing at such a rapid rate. At one point, I remember the phrase "Technology doubles every 18 months" being thrown around and though I have no way of proving that for sure I can say that I would not doubt it in even the slightest. Everything is becoming more powerful and in smaller packages. I remember my first computer, which was the nicest thing out at the time in the consumer market, had worse specs than my iPod. Not to even mention the fact that there are now phones that are faster and more capable than even my first laptop which I received as a graduation present in 2007! That's absolutely crazy to me. Just to know that there are more powerful things in smaller packages being made every day. Now, I said all that to say this: Cameras are moving in the same direction. The first professional digital cameras had price tags of thousands and thousands of dollars. With Nikon's first standalone DSLR, the D1, the price was around 5,000 depending on your model and the photos by today's standards could probably be beaten by an iPhone 4. But here is the dilemma. the D1 looks like a professional camera. It's metal body and rugged features makes the thing look like a big mean picture taking machine and if you show up taking photos with something of that size, most people would assume you know what you are doing. But what happens when you show up with something that looks like a toy?

Take this photo for instance, this is a photo taken with a Sony NEX camera system by Mr Trey Ratcliff(www.stuckincustoms.com). He took his NEX system on a helicopter photo tour with the sole purpose of creating professional images to sell on his website. How crazy do you think the pilot think he was for going up with a such a tiny camera?

Today's cameras are continuing to get smaller and smaller with the same amount, if not more, features. Bodies like the XPro-1 and the X-100s by Fujifilm have been proven to produce stellar work by some of the industry's greats. David Hobby and Zack Arias are both very heavy hitters in the photography game that both make their money for producing stellar images with such small tools. The reason why is because they know that the guts inside these small packages have all the pedigree of the large 5 pound metal DSLR thoroughbreds they left at home in the stable. With new cameras being released every day like the Sony A7 and A7r, who is to say that smaller cameras wont be the new professional camera?

Here's the kicker though, with all the innovations in technology, the population in mass has not accepted the fact that bigger does not always mean better. The Sony a7 is a visionary piece of gear that could very well be the first of a new era of cameras to come, but even Sony knows that professionals won't use these cameras in every situation because it is so small. They are now releasing a grip that almost doubles the size of the camera for this reason. Small cameras make people look at you funny when they have given you a large chunk of money at something like a wedding. But everyone wants the retro styled cameras that are inspired by the days of old. The new Olympus cameras look like near replicas of their ancestors at first glance, and the Fuji X series follow the path of the Leica M2.

My point is, where do you quit paying attention to what a camera looks like and more at what it produces? Some of the most amazing work comes from some of the craziest places, so why pay more attention to a camera that looks more expensive? Little cameras are the way of the future so all I say in advice, is be careful as to what you think about how crazy it looks for a grown man shooting professionally with something the smaller than his palm. He might be producing some of the most amazing images and just don't know it. If you have hired a photographer based on the portfolio you have seen, trust that he or she knows that the equipment they show up with will provide the caliber work that you agreed to pay for.

Thanks for reading!

Recording History: The Pastor's Pen

I am getting married very soon! It's finally becoming very real! See, Annie and I are the last of three couple in my church getting married within a 6 week period and I had the pleasure of photographing one of them. While shooting this wedding for a long time friend Kim, and, her now husband, Kevin, I was able to practice a little for how we would like to set up the church for our ceremony. Bonus Points! With all jokes aside, it was a beautiful ceremony and an absolute joy to shoot. Everyone was relaxed and able to have fun and enjoy the day. Here is a little taste from the photos afterward.

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More photos after the jump!

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My pastor married Kim and Kevin, who happens to be Kim's uncle, and after the ceremony and the formal photos were done, it was time for the marriage license to be signed.

Pastor Buddy pulled his pen out of the breast pocket of his suit jacket. Many forget that a pen is similar to a watch;  a piece of functional jewelry for a man. A piece of his own personal history that holds genuine and amazing history that signifies what he has been through in his life. Well Pastor Buddy's pen is absolutely one of those types of constants throughout his life. After joining the ministry, he was given this pen. a beautiful, slender work of art that he has always kept. A pastor has many jobs; he brings us all together for sermons, marriages, funerals and more than I could tell you. But this pen has a special story because after having it for over 30 years, it has only ever been used for one thing: signing marriage licenses.

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This pen has only ever graced the hands of people on the most important day of their lives as they spiritually, emotionally and, with the pen, legally bind themselves to one another. This pen has one job, and that is to permanently mark a contract of two people's love for each other.

Call me a romantic but I think this pen has an awesome story!

Did you have an item used in your wedding that has a significant meaning? How about something you keep with you every day? Let me know in the comments below!

D7100 - Worth The upgrade?

Though I have not had my hands on the wonderful piece of gear, what I have seen and read an immense amount over, I figured I would give my thoughts on this new camera.

The D7100 is the replacement for what now seems the slightly dated D7000. The D7100 now boasts a 24 megapixel ASP-C sensor and the legendary Expeed 3 image processor from the flagship Nikon D4. It boasts a 51 point AF system that is more spread out than it's predecessor with some new bells and whistles including 6 frames per second burst, a spot white balance mode, and a new 1.3x crop mode which will allow for smaller files(using only 15.4 megapixels), and faster burst(up to 7 frames per second in crop mode). At first I was completely convinced that this was only a ploy to market to nature and amateur sports photographer but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I think my favorite thing about this crop feature is that it crops to where the focus points group, which means that there will accessible focus points on the very out skirts of your image that will deliver tack sharp images.

Another interesting thing about this camera is that it does not have a low pass filter. Similar to the D800E, this feature will allow for sharper images but could possibly cause moiré when shooting fabrics, feathers or other items with fine details. But overall I think the positive of not having the low pass filter outweighs the negatives for sure. On the back of the D7100 is the sharpest screen Nikon as used yet and on top is an OLED screen giving you your camera's vital information. The camera will have a max shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second and a flash sync speed of 1/250th of a second. Finally, one of the features so widely praised on the D600, the D7100 has dual SD card slots with the ability to share between them in numerous variations.

My thoughts:

It would be a wonderful workhorse of a camera. I like that it has a larger megapixel ratio and a faster burst of 6 frames per second which would be great for weddings, capturing certain moments, but I'm not sure it's enough.  I would really need to see some test shots showing off the ISO capability. Many weddings and concerts have dim lighting situations so I would need to see if the 24 megapixel sensor can handle to added stress of higher ISO's. I do not feel comfortable shoot my D5100 higher than 1600 ISO in any situation so if this camera could give my images less noise in a higher register, I would be on board.

I love the focus points and the ability to configure them according to your needs. Though I would love to go full frame, I'm not sure if it is worth the extra 5-600 dollars to reach for the D600. The price of the D7100 should land somewhere around 1200 body only. With D7100 I will have complete handle on all my lenses I currently own, plus open myself to d-series lenses because of the built in autofocus motor. For me, even waiting on test shots, I think I know what camera I am saving up for.