I was shooting a wedding on Sunday, and as planned originally, the main camera system would be Olympus DSLR E-5 and two primary lenses I use on it: ZD 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 that provides me with all my wide angle needs and ZD 50mm F2 macro for close up shooting and medium telephoto range. The Sony DSLR system that I recently acquired as a back-up tagged along in a separate bag, just in case something unexpected happens (I hear horror stories on assignment on all levels, including a Nikon D3 that just wont turn on to a Canon 5Dmk2 that died halfway through the shoot without warning), I have a reliable camera that I can work with.
Then a thought hit me, why don't I start using two camera bodies? My usual shooting style was quick changing lenses, between two main lenses and that has worked very well for me this far. However, I think sometimes it is good to try something new and different, and see what how that new method or alternative could help or improve the game. I have the 11-22mm fitted on my Olympus E-5 at all times, with FL-50R flash mounted, for most important shots of the wedding day. I then have alongside that, with the Sony A350 and 50mm F1.8 lens attached to it, and I used this combo to capture close up details and expressions (emotions, laughter, smile, hugs, etc). And you know what? I am starting to open up to working with two camera bodies. Not bad at all, and all that trouble of changing lenses, though I am already very efficient with the whole process, still came in handy when I needed to do some macro work, or know that I need the incredible sharpness and superior image quality the ZD50mm F2 macro brings.
Do take note that the wedding only took place yesterday, and I shall not include any photographs that show faces or people from the event, as I have not delivered the images to my clients. I always made sure I deliver the photographs to the clients first before blogging here, and also seeking their permission in advance.
Therefore, I can only show details and close up shots, which I have taken with the Sony Alpha 350 and the 50mm lens.
Nigel Sia, the official videographer of the day. Do check out his amazing work here (click).
The dinner reception was in a hotel sky-lounge, hence the lighting was very dark. I decided to utilize the Sunpak TTL flash (Guide Number 42), together with the Sony A350 and the 50mm F1.8 lens. Camera settings: Manual Exposure with Shutter Speed at 1/80sec to 1/100sec, Aperture wide open at F1.8, ISO400 and TTL Flash at +1.0EV bounced off high ceiling. The results? I quite like the overall color output and balance between available light and flash exposure. It is very crucial to maintain the available light so the images won't appear washed out, and at the same time, using the flash to gently fill in the skin exposure for more pleasing skin tone appearance. I have shot mostly with this combination for expression and close up portraits, which I am not showing in this blog entry. Sharpness from this 50mm F1.8 lens is indeed poor, and falling miles behind the Olympus 50mm F2 macro, which I would use without hesitation for more important shots. However, NOT every photographs have to be critically sharp, especially shooting a large events when you come home with more than a thousand photographs.
Oh and I found a mirror and some time to camwhore.
No doubt my main Olympus system, even if I were using the older Olympus E-520 (if only it was not dying) would have produced much more pleasing colors and consistent results. You have got to admit, Olympus Zuiko lenses are amazingly sharp, and I am starting to really appreciate how wonderful my Olympus main system really is after pixel peeping what the old Sony was producing.
Nevertheless, Sony has come a long way now, they have made many improvements in their latest iterations of cameras (NEX and SLT line) and most of the concerns and complains addressed by the users of Sony older systems have been fixed, and improved further upon in the latest upgrade. I am sure many Sony users (some of my readers also commented the same thing) would say that the A350 was not the finest Sony camera, and was the earlier version which did have some flaws.
Perfection was never what I looked after, not in camera system, not in photography, because chasing perfection is a waste of time, considering the best camera today will be surpassed by a new camera tomorrow, and there is no such thing as perfect photography. Reflecting humanity which is flawed in so many ways, photography as an artistic medium, including the tools to create photographs all come with flaws as well, and acknowledging this fact, it is more important for us to accept the flaws, and work with it. There is no need to complain or go into endless debate/argument (as seen rampant on photography forums and online groups these days) on which system is superior, which camera can shoot better higher ISO, full frame vs cropped sensor, mirrorless system vs DSLR, or whatever common discussion which started initially as something innocent and harmless, turned into war-like crisis. Just choose what works for you, and learn how to make the best out of it.
I think the most important thing is to be happy with the gear you are using. I am VERY, VERY happy with my Olympus gear (if you have not figured that out, you must be very new to this blog, then do take some time to browse my other 1000 blog entries available through the span of years discussing about Olympus system and tens of thousands of photos taken with Olympus camera). And now, I am starting to warm up to the Sony.