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Old Aug 18, 2013, 10:03 PM   #1
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Default A99 & Minolta 85G portrait (NSFW)

I had an opportunity to use the A99 for a portrait shoot and wanted to see how it worked with off camera flash.
As noted by other photographers there is quite a delay from initial push of the shutter to capture (firmware version 1.00).
I really like this camera the features on it are great but I use off camera flash quite a bit and this is not good.
It's about the same delay as with the NEX6 and off camera flash. I use this also.
I really like all the features that the A99 offers and find them extremely useful. The dual AF is a great feature for sure along with focus peeking and even superior auto is amazing for an auto setting. I just have a feeling that SLT is a step to a completely mirror-less system and I think I'll wait until they get the AF with mirror-less issue figured out. If they don't measure up at least the A99 wil be discounted after a while. I have a feeling that my current mirrored FFs (A900 & A850) are going to last me quite a while. There built to last. I used to shoot with an A55 and had an issue with dirt getting on the mirror which directly effects the image.

Here's a JPEG (I always shoot RAW) with the A99, Mino 85mm 1.4GD and off camera flash. I find the IQ is at least as good as the A900s.
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 9:06 PM   #2
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I don't think much what other people say as I have experienced this myself so many times, but IMO the A900/850 has the best AF for studio work!
My D800 struggle in the dark and the 1D's are even worst; However, my Sony always come through when I have issue with low-contrast subject in a dark studio

BTW I hope you don't mind, but I run your beautiful portrait through In-focus, Clarity, and then FocalPoint:
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 11:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by NHL View Post
I don't think much what other people say as I have experienced this myself so many times, but IMO the A900/850 has the best AF for studio work!
My D800 struggle in the dark and the 1D's are even worst; However, my Sony always come through when I have issue with low-contrast subject in a dark studio

BTW I hope you don't mind, but I run your beautiful portrait through In-focus, Clarity, and then FocalPoint:
No disagreement with the A900/850 being great portrait cameras. Although I have not tried many other bodies. The only other modern DSLR I have shot portraits with besides a Minolta/Sony was the Canon 7D- 70-200LII. That was a very high performance camera lens combo compared to the A700 I was using at the time. But for portrait I do prefer one of the Sony FFs with their great optical viewfinders and some good Minolta/Sony glass. I do on occasion do have difficulty with locking focus but I would blame myself for most of those occurrences.

Don't mind the re-edit at all. Nice sharp contrasts look. Is that a quick process? I'm still using Aperture and I believe I could get a similar look but, it may take some brush work to achieve the same sharpness.
Very nice.

Most recent A900 portrait shot.
Yellow Dress.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 8:41 PM   #4
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Love the reflection
Did you use a hood for the flash as the foreground remained quite dark?


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Don't mind the re-edit at all. Nice sharp contrasts look. Is that a quick process? I'm still using Aperture and I believe I could get a similar look but, it may take some brush work to achieve the same sharpness.
Infocus is very easy to use, just three sliders there's all to it... It got so sharp (starting from your already reduced JPEG) that I have to use FocalPoint as the last step to defocus the rest of your picture afterward... That's how I use my 85mm f/1.4G! I don't shoot it wide open but use FocalPoint instead to concentrate the viewer on the subject: A900 and 85G
Clarity was used to vary the coloring!
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Last edited by NHL; Aug 29, 2013 at 8:51 PM.
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Old Aug 30, 2013, 1:38 AM   #5
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For the reflection I tilted the head of the onboard HVL-58 flash up just enough to cover her ankles. It took a few tries but that one came out good. I just figured this out and it does really help out with the reflections as you mentioned.

For some reason I have been reluctant to expand into using any additional processing software. Im tempted by some of the very few good HDR images that I have seen.
Is In-focus, Clarity and FocalPoint in your normal workflow when processing portraits? Are they a package or separate programs?
Maybe it's time.
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Old Aug 30, 2013, 9:09 AM   #6
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For the reflection I tilted the head of the onboard HVL-58 flash up just enough to cover her ankles. It took a few tries but that one came out good. I just figured this out and it does really help out with the reflections as you mentioned.
Either that or a Better Beamer would have worked, but I saw you use a WA and don't shoot bird

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For some reason I have been reluctant to expand into using any additional processing software. Im tempted by some of the very few good HDR images that I have seen.
Is In-focus, Clarity and FocalPoint in your normal workflow when processing portraits? Are they a package or separate programs?
Maybe it's time.
I usually went through the 1st pass without any processing, waited a few days, then reviewed the pictures and see what's bad and what can be improved upon... This is when OnOne or Topaz software can help.
InFocus and Clarity are two different programs in the Topaz package, but FocalPoint is from OnOne. When you get Topaz it comes with Lens Effect which works like FocalPoint, but I found the FocalPoint 'bug slider' interface much easier to use
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Last edited by NHL; Aug 30, 2013 at 9:16 AM.
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Old Aug 30, 2013, 9:21 AM   #7
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BTW if you use flash, and don't mind taking a tripod with you...
-> Try to use some slower shutter speeds as it'll smooth out the waves, but will freeze the subject especially the way you are using the flash - Just a thought for experimenting
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Old Nov 11, 2013, 2:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NHL View Post
I don't think much what other people say as I have experienced this myself so many times, but IMO the A900/850 has the best AF for studio work!
My D800 struggle in the dark and the 1D's are even worst; However, my Sony always come through when I have issue with low-contrast subject in a dark studio

BTW I hope you don't mind, but I run your beautiful portrait through In-focus, Clarity, and then FocalPoint:

imo: too much 'pop' ~ use as a layer above original @ 50% opacity
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