Coming soon

My blog has sure been very slowly updated during the past weeks. It has been a very busy month so far, so my usual post update rate has decreased significantly.

So, let’s see what is coming soon. I am currently at the process of editing a music video I’ve shot with my friend Jimmy Pats. It will probably by ready in a couple of weeks. It was shot mostly with the Sony A7s camera, and all I can say, is that I am very impressed with its performance.

I am currently traveling , and have with me the Sony A7s, Fuji X100 and Leica M7 (loaded with Kodak Ektar 100 film). I am trying to make some identical shots so that I can compare the images at a future post. Nothing scientific here, just satisfying my curiosity and trying to see if I will keep the X100. So far, I am (for one more time) impressed by the performance of the wonderful Fuji X100.

I am also thinking of selling my Nikon D700 (a fantastic camera by all means, even with today’s standards) in favor of a Sony a6000. The main reason is to have a backup body for video, and I read that it’s also a great camera. For backing my Nikon D800E the Sony A7s is good enough with its phenomenal high ISO perfomance, and the 24mp a6000 can also serve this purpose.

My film cameras currently enjoy a long rest in their bags, which is something I do not enjoy, but for now, there are no projects which I need to shoot on film. I will sure try to use my large format camera sometime soon, as I really enjoy the whole process of shooting and developing 4×5 film.

(C) 2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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At the beach

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Image taken with iPhone 5s. We are well into fall, and the beaches aren’t as crowded as they use to durning summer. An early morning snapshot at the beach. The new iOS 8 has added some very useful features for editing images, so I don’t have to rely to third party apps as much as I used to in the past.

(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Sony a7s with Leica and Voigtlander lenses

Although my main reason for purchasing the Sony A7s was to shoot video, it is also a very good full frame camera for stills. It is also very small and light, and since I can use my rangefinder lenses on it, it makes a very practical small and lightweight combo.

The 12 megapixels may seem outdated since we are used at 16mp and 24mp today, but for me this is not a crucial factor. For my large prints which are mainly landcsapes, my camera of choice remains the Nikon D800E, a stellar performer for this kind of photography. I have made great 60x40cm prints from the Fuji X100 which is also 12mp, so I know that for the vast majority of my needs, I can get away with 12 megapixels. Plus, its really great to have at the same body and excellent video and photo camera in such a small size.

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(Sony A7s, Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5)

The 15mm Voigtlander on the A7s was the most pleasant surprise for me. A very difficult lens for use with adapters, but on thenA7s it performs great. I really was very happy that this lens worked so good, since I don’t have to carry anymore the Nikon 14-24 the D800E for wide angle shots. I save it for very special work. Also the excellent high ISO performance of the Sony, anticipates the slow f/4.5 aperture.

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(Sony A7s, Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm f/2.8)

Another great performer is the Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm f/2.8 lens. I really love the rendering of the 90mm and the fact that is a really tiny lens concerning the focal length. I have lost the lens hood which makes it prone to contrast loss in certain situations., so I will have to get another one soon.

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(Sony A7s, Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5)

Another great lens for the A7s, super image quality and sharpness, the Leica Summarit 35mm f/2.5 is one of my favorite lens for the Sony. On the Leica M8 I used more the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 since its almost two stops faster. But the Summarit is clearly a better lens in any aspect, and the two stops difference is negligible on the A7s, so I keep the Voigtlander for really low light situations.

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(Sony A7s, Voigtlander Super Nokton 50mm f/1.1)

This is one of my most used lenses, the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1. The image above is one of the rare times I used it stopped down, since almost all my photos with the Nokton at with wide open aperture to get that special look. For normal uses I find the (now replaced with a newer model ) Nokton 50mm f/1.5 lens a better performer and it’s also a much smaller lens.

I have also used the Leica 135mm f/4 lens with great results. The focus peaking allows for very precise focusing with my rangefinder lenses, so manual focusing is not a problem.

The main advantage of using these lenses on the A7s is the size factor,they are small and light and I can fit many of them in a medium size bag without any problem. This is the main advantage of this camera system for me.

The quality of the adapter plays a significant role when mounting these lenses on the Sony. After using a couple of cheap adapters, I decided to get a Novoflex adapter, which was expensive, but it was worthwhile, everything works like it is supposed to.

Investing on the A7s was worthwhile. Its video performance is stellar, the high ISO performance is also unbelievable and it is a full frame camera in a very small body. It works great with all my lenses and it is also a very good stills camera. My Leica M8 is now almost solely used for infrared photography and for some special situations when I want to get a great black and white image (you can’t beat the b&w look of a photo taken with a CCD sensor which suffers from inadequate IR sealing !)

My DLSR is also used for very special projects (as it was supposed to, nothing can beat the Nikon D800E for stills with the exception of course of the new D810 ), so for me this was the best solution for my needs. Currently, I am making some video projects with the A7s, and in time I will upload some of these videos.

(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Sony a7s high ISO images

Well, since it seems that the high ISO capabilities of the Sony A7s was the among its key selling features, I had to post a couple of images with high ISO settings.

I don’t like using high ISOs unless it’s absolutely needed (I guess we all do the same !), and this time the ISO performance of the A7s came in handy. During my visit to an old church, I had to use the Voigtlander 15mm lens to capture a wide angle view. This is a f/4.5 lens so its slow. For scenes like this my usual combo was the Nikon D800E with the amazing 14-24 f/2.8 lens. Its large and heavy, while the A7s with the 15mm lens it’s really tiny. So by being able to use ISO up to 32000 I managed to get very good images without having to resolve to my DSLR gear.

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At ISO 32000 these very good results as you can for the crop above. So, the A7s proves to be a wonderful all around camera even in dim light conditions with slow lenses.

One more example at ISO 16000.

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A very good performer as you can see. One more positive thing is he very good performance of the Voigtlander 15mm on this camera. Being an ultra wide angle, I expected to face the usual problems with corners, but to my surprise, the lens is excellent on the A7s.

My next post will also have some images taken with the A7s. Although my main purpose for this camera was video (and it excels in this area), it’s very good to know that I can also get some great stills when I need to.

(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Infrared images

My recently taken infrared photos with the Leica M8. Great weather and a beautiful location was a great combination for infrared photography. It was also a pleasant break from a series of video projects that left me almost no time for stills.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Street images

It’s been years since I “abandoned” street photography in favor of landscapes and although I am not returning in making street images, i used my last 10 frames on a Kodak Ektar roll to shoot some street photos on my way to the film lab.

I had the Voigtlander 15mm lens on the Leica M7, not a street lens, but it gave me some interesting looking photos, much different than a 35mm or 50mm which are considered the appropriate lenses for street photography.

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My favorite film for street images was the Kodak TRI-X, but I also find the Ektar converted to black and white a very good film. Its slower, but on a bright sunny day that is not a problem. The shutter of the M7 has a very discrete and beautiful sound, very appropriate for street photos. Nowadays, there are digital cameras with completely silent shutters, but compared to a DSLR or my NEX and A7s, its much more discrete. Of course, nothing can beat the lovely leaf shutter sound of the Fuji X100 !

Enjoy the rest of the images.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Plaubel Makina 67 with Kodak Portra 400 film

Well, it’s been ages since I shot my last roll of film. I’ve been fully concentrated on video projects, testing my Sony A7s camera and also working on a few photo projects.

I have in a way “abandoned” film, for several reasons. It requires time developing and scanning, and I am not doing much landscape work lately. The Plaubel Makina 67 is the only film camera I use these days, mostly for portrait work, and I usually don’t post these project on this blog.

The three images below were shot after finishing an environmental portrait work, I had three frames left, so I shot them to complete the roll. The film is Kodak Portra 400 Professional, an amazing film with incredible latitude. Some areas may seem overexposed, but even the Nikon D800E struggled heavily in these light conditions !

I rated the film at ISO 250, but next time I will use the box speed of ISO 400, this film really does not need overexposing like the majority of color negative films.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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August images

A few images I shot during my vacations. I didn’t spend much time taking images, since I really needed a break and enjoy vacations with my family and friends. Also, my recent involvement with video, has decreased the time I spend photographing.

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(c)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Underwater images with Panasonic Lumix FT5

The Lumix FT5 is an underwater camera I bought for family photos. It produces wonderful images and great video. It’s also shock proof, which means it can take a lot of abuse at the beach. Besides family snapshots, its a great tool for making some interesting images underwater. Here are some of my first images with this camera.

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(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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Lights and Thunder video

A few weeks ago I witnessed a heavy storm probably far away, since the sky was full of thunders but there was complete silence. I managed to film a part of the storm with my Sony CX730E camcorder. A better low light camera (like my NikonD800E) would probably be a better choice, but I didn’t want to lose time, so I shot the whole thing handheld.

Since there was no sound, I edited the footage and composed a soundtrack for it. For music composition I use Garage Band on a Mac, a very simple but at the same powerful application for writing my music scores.

(C)2014 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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