Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘low light

Sony RX1

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DSC00037
 Sony RX1 | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 6400

Got my hands on a brand spanking new Sony RX1 this evening! Despite the high price and the little time I’ve actually spent with this camera so far, I can already tell the RX1 is going to make some waves. It’s basically a point and shoot, and in practice it operates just like you’d expect a compact camera to operate. The fact that it’s packing a 35mm film-sized sensor, however, is just crazy considering how incredibly small the camera actually is.


 Sony RX1 | 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 800

Built into the RX1 is a nice chunk of Zeiss glass, a 35mm f/2 Sonnar. You won’t be swapping lenses with this thing, which actually doesn’t bother me too much since I’ve been shooting with my fixed-lens Fuji x100 for such a long time.  What does bother me is that the RX1 costs more than double what I paid for the x100. Ouch.


Sony RX1 | 1/80 sec, f/2, ISO 3200


 Sony RX1 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 6400

I’ll need to wait until Adobe releases RAW support for the RX1’s files before I can post process the camera’s output myself. For now, the images in this post are all camera-processed JPEGs.

These images where shot hand-held at very high ISO. Pretty impressive performance low-light performance, which is not too surprising considering the big fat sensor Sony stuffed into this thing. More impressions to come on the RX1 as I evaluate it over the next week. Stay tuned!

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Written by Jonathan

December 4, 2012 at 11:41 pm

The Joys of Night Photography

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Fuji X100 | 1/8 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 [hand-held]

You gotta love the daylight savings time shift that happens in fall over here. Setting our clocks back an hour means the sun is already well below the horizon by the time I get out of the office. So during my evening walks with Suki, instead of that beautiful light cast by a setting sun that I love for photographs, I now have only the dim, oddly colored light cast by city street lamps to work with. Sigh.


Fuji X100 | 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Not much else to do besides crank up the ISO and pin my camera at its widest aperture. Or lug a tripod around, which is not very practical on an outing with the dog.

Instead, I try to manage low shutter speeds at night by working on my hand-holding technique. The x100 has a relatively wide lens on it, which makes hand-holding a bit easier than it would be with a longer lens. Bracing myself on something solid helps, as does paying attention to my breathing. I find that taking a shot during the natural pause between exhalation and inhalation works wonders in getting sharp shots at low-shutter speeds.

As far as high ISO performance, the x100 is pretty good. All the images in this post were taken at either ISO3200 or ISO6400, and all are out of camera JPEGs.


Fuji X100 | 1/55 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Files at these sensitivities seem just as clean to me as the ones I get from my D700, though I’d say the D700 still has the edge in detail retention at high ISO. Can’t tell the difference when you’re posting to a blog though, that’s for sure.

Focus is tricky when the light is this dim, especially with a contrast detect system like the one in the x100. Not entirely impossible though, and the electronic viewfinder makes framing in low light super easy.

Coming to the dog park in the dark sure feels strange now. At this time during the summer, there’d still be plenty of sunlight out.


Fuji X100 |  1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 6400


Fuji X100 |  1/70 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

You know what’s depressing? I go to work early enough to miss the morning sunrise as well. What gives with that!? Oh well. I’m totally looking forward to the weekend.

Written by Jonathan

November 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Posted in Photography

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Dinner at Broken Record

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Broken Record – San Francisco, CA | Images: Fuji X100

I’ve been coming to Broken Record for some time now and am never ever ever ever disappointed with the dining experience. I heard some good things about the food not long after they opened, but when we first visited the place, I was a little skeptical. From the outside it just looks like your typical bar, nestled in the middle of a neighborhood where you wouldn’t really expect to find fantastic food…uhhh…


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1600

Cross through the bar, where they have whiskey on tap (yes, on tap), and you’re met with a cozy little dining area. Behind the counter, a tiny kitchen where two people crank out dish after dish. Trust me, when your crawfish grits, pulled pork sandwich, beef and bacon burger, or roasted beet salad hits the table, you’ll know this place is special.


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 2000

Above: cold asparagus with warm prawns and crab meat over a white truffle aioli. Below it a warm chocolate brownie with ice cream. Incredibly good stuff.


Fuji X1001/20 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

The “Nachos Gringos,” pulled pork over waffle fries with a cheese sauce. We get this every time without fail. Oh, and on a photographic note, the Fuji X100’s image quality at high ISO blows me away!

Not bad for a little bar in the Crocker-Amazon area of SF! Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Yelp reviews. Yummmm…

The Broken Record
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco
www.brokenrecordsanfrancisco.com

Written by Jonathan

July 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

A Night at the Jazz Cafe in Berkeley

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[ Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/2.8 1/25 second ISO800]

This happened a little while ago, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to post about another of my wife’s recent performances. She spent some time this year training at the Jazz School in Berkeley, California. The training included a performance at the school’s Jazz Cafe, where she had the opportunity to put on a show in front of a full house, together with three very talented instrumentalists.

I roamed around with my latte in one hand and camera in the other, snapping away as the performance continued:

[ Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/2.8 1/40 sec ISO1600]

[ Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/2.8 1/50 sec ISO1600 ]

[ Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2 1/160 sec ISO1600 ]

Bridget sang two beautiful jazz pieces!

[ Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/2.8 1/60 sec ISO800]

Some other people sang too, but I didn’t come for them ;)

[ Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/2.8 1/30 sec ISO1600]

The crowd actually goes way farther back than I’ve shown here. It was packed inside! Many in the audience were friends and family that showed up to support Bridget’s portion of the performances.

[ Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/2.8 1/20 sec ISO800]

I’m always all for my wife pursuing her love of music whenever she can. I know that in photography, you gotta keep shooting to keep improving, and  it’s important spend as much time as you can taking the kind of photographs that you enjoy taking in order to keep your passion for the craft alive. Same thing in the art of music it seems. Bridget seems to get better and better with every performance. One thing is for sure: wherever and whenever she performs, I’ll be right there with her, camera in hand.

Jazz at Les Joulins

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Tonight, we met with friends at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro in downtown San Francisco. We enjoyed some live Jazz to go along with our late-night dinner and drinks, and during their first break, had a chat with the band.

Bridget offered to sing a tune, and the band agreed!

She sang “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and sounded great! They told us we could come back anytime and perform. Very cool.

This particular venue had terrible lighting for photography. Most of the light was actually behind the band, which made things pretty tricky. Pushed my gear hard to get this shots, as you can see below:

Camera Specs:

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G:

Top Image: f/1.8 ISO3200 1/40 second
Second Image:  f/1.8 ISO3200 1/30 second
Third Image:  f/1.8 ISO2800 1/60 second

Written by Jonathan

April 21, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Beautiful (but cold!) Tokyo

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Spent this past weekend in Tokyo, and it was freezing! The cold weather made touring at night pretty difficult, but we and our very nice friends from Chiba went out and braved the cold anyway. On our last night in Tokyo, we went to the Tokyo tower, where I took this shot. Normally, the tower is lit orange from top to bottom, but my friends tell me that during Sakura season, they light the tower in the color pattern you see above.

I was hoping to blog about my trip often and chronologically, but I’m so busy enjoying Japan, that I decided the less time I spend at the computer the better. I’m in Kyoto now, and it’s beautiful. Much much warmer weather, which means tons of cherry blossoms to see and photograph!

Top: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.8 ISO1000 1/10 Second (handheld)

Bottom: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.8 ISO1600 1/8 Second (handheld)

Written by Jonathan

March 31, 2010 at 6:33 am

f/2.8 + VC

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 42mm f/2.8 ISO1400 1/15 Second, Handheld

I love keeping my camera with me at all times, but I can’t always lug my tripod around. That’s why the constant f/2.8 maximum aperture coupled with vibration control in my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC zoom lens makes a killer combination for shooting hand-held in low light.

I took the night shot above on the way home from work a couple nights ago. I stopped to park near this old highschool (that will soon be shut down incidentally), and was drawn by the warm amber light in the archway. I love how the light’s warm glow mixed with the dusky blue sky. Using a variable aperture zoom at this focal length, or even a constant aperture zoom without vibration control would have forced me to use a much higher ISO and would have made this shot very difficult if not impossible to capture without a tripod.

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 19mm f/2.8 ISO220 1/15 Second

This shot is not as sharp as it could be, but considering that I took it from the passenger seat of a car that is just starting to move away from a stop light, I can accept the results. Of course, shooting wide open doesn’t give me the most ideal, razor-sharp results I get from shooting in the Tamron’s f/5.6-f/11 range, but I love the flexibility that the wide aperture gives me in combination with the highly effective VC, a major reason I chose this lens over Nikon’s very expensive 17-55mm f/2.8.