Page 1

APRIL 2011





5H pho


New loca
















there f


legitim texts,


in any






is here


CONTENTS 4 Opening Comment

ISSUE 24 - APRIL 2011 27 Feature Madagascar’s Nosy Bé Islands

5 Happening at 6 Scoop News from the photographic world locally and internationally

30 Review Sony NEX-5

34 Final Comment Keep It Clean

8 Professional Portfolio Andi Lowicki

12 Technique Worldwide Pinhole Day 2011 Front Cover Image by: Armani Quintas Student Portfolio See Page 16

16 Student Portfolio Armani Quintas

22 Reader’s Portfolio Ross Adami

25 Submit Your Portfolio Get your portfolio published

LEGAL STUFF International and local Intellectual Property and Copyright laws protect all material (text, images, photographs, graphics, software and icons) used herein. You are only permitted to download, copy or print this on-line publication or any features there from for personal, instructional and non-commercial use. Whilst all care and attention is employed to ensure the legitimacy, accuracy and correctness of the information, data, texts, images, ideas, photographs and opinions expressed herein, PHOTOCOMMENT cannot be held responsible or liable in any way whatsoever for the content as it appears herein. Similarly, PHOTOCOMMENT makes no express or implied

ABOUT Published By: Comment Media cc Founder: Tristan Hall 084 465 0195 Design & Layout: Greg Wrench Printed By: United Litho Digital Edition By: DigiMag SA Contact:

warranty or representation as to the proprietorship or intellectual property inherent in the images and photographs published herein and which it has commissioned for use from external sources on good faith dealing. Accordingly, PHOTOCOMMENT is hereby indemnified, defended and held harmless against all claims, liability, damages, costs and expenses in regard thereto.

PhotoComment is available in print at selected outlets or as a digital magazine. For more information visit us on the web:




arch has past and will not be


remembered in history as easily for

the launch of Apple’s new iPad2 as much as it will for the natural disasters that impacted Japan on 11 March 2011. As images of the


devastation covered magazines, blogs, television and social networks one is reminded of the great power to communicate in visual medium and also just how small the world is becoming. It certainly feels that people are more connected to these events

Wh in p http

than any similar occurrences a decade ago. Our thoughts are with this great industrious nation as they pick up the pieces.




Sadly the world must press on, though it

jud into priz 5x O http

hardly feels right in such circumstances. This issue brings great portfolios from Andi Lowicki, Armani Quintas and Ross Adami.


We also bring you a review of Sony’s NEX-5



from a user who has owned and used it for some time, Craig Damlo. April is the last month of this quarter of Photo Friday. April is world pinhole day (check out the

Enjoy the read and give us your feedback on Facebook,

scoop section) so look out for a PhotoWalk

Twitter or the PhotoComment site.

before then to practise. Also remember that

Tristan Hall - Founder of PhotoComment

ide rec con http




sha res http




term pag wel http




pho Ma pho Pho http


Select the issue of PhotoComment Magazine you would like to read here

Follow PhotoComment

PhotoComment Magazine

While you may only be able to get your fix of PhotoComment in print once a month, you can indulge in photographic news, reviews and even inspirational images every day of the week at here are some of the things you may have missed by not visiting the blog. Apr

01 2011

Photo Friday Competition, News

Each week readers get to submit photographs into the User Gallery where we judge the weeks entries for the title of Photo Friday. The Friday winners from each week will go into a final round of judging every few months to see which image will scoop the prize. The next prize period is from February - April 2011 and in the Prize pot is a Fuji FinePix AX200 (12MP with 5x Optical Zoom) Apr

01 2011

Photo Tip Tuesday Technique, PhotoTips

Each week we aim to bring you a photographic tip that will help spark new creative ideas or just improve your understanding and application of a fundamental of photography. A recent tip that got a great deal of attention is Top Tips For Outstanding Pet Photography by contributor Lisa Solonynko Apr

01 2011

Photo Friday Weekly Winner

Random User Gallery Images

Photo Website of the Week Websites

We tend to find inspiration or information from all over the web. Each Saturday we share some of our favourite sites with you. One such site is Kruger-2-Kalahari which is a great resource for wildlife photographers out there. Apr

01 2011

News & Reviews News, Reviews

While we give you a condensed Scoop in the magazine of whats happening in terms of industry news and we do print products review there just isn’t enough space in our pages to give it all to you in print. On the PhotoComment site you will find reviews and news as well, like our comparison of the Nokia N8 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Apr

01 2011

Contributors Contributors

We are excited to launch a new section on the site where you will find photographers from SA and abroad who share their stories, tips, lessons, images and more. In March we got some great articles from Kathy Ann Bugajsky including details of a great photographer who work was discovered after her passing. If you would like to explore being a PhotoComment Contributor, get in touch via the Contact Us page on the website.


New Nissin Di662 Mark II Flash So you have been exploring sites like Strobist or reading books like “The Hotshoe Wow, its suddenly gone very quiet in the photographic world with very little news at the moment that is worth reporting other than what is being discussed in financial markets around the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan and its impact on brands like Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic etc. Not wanting to travel the same road we simply wish to express that our hearts go out to those impacted by these tragic events.

Diaries” by Joe McNally and now want to try your hand at small flash strobe lighting, there is just one catch, cost. We know that it isn’t cheap to shell out on your camera brands own flash but there is nothing wrong with going third party. Nissin’s (no not

In view of the seasonality of news we will begin making changes to the Scoop section which will see it shrink and change focus. The point is that most of the news is posted when its fresh on the PhotoComment website which should be your home away from the magazine

the car) popular Di662 has just been revamped into a Mark II format and apart from the Wireless Slave function it had previously, it now also supports Wireless TTL flash. Look out for a full review on or in the next issue.

each month. htttp:// B+W Filters Now in South Africa When you mention precision engineering most people World Pinhole Day

think German and when you talk German glass there is

We missed it the last two years in the noise of other

one company that deserves greater recognition that it

news but we vowed this year not to make the same

currently has.

mistake. In light of this, mark the 24th April 2011 down

S c h n e i d e r

in you calendar as World Pinhole Day. In essence taking

Kreuznach was for

photography back to

many in the days of

its most basic, we will

large format film



cameras, the lens of


choice and within


PhotoWalk ahead of

their stable are what many regard as the highest quality

the time in April so

filters on planet earth, B+W (again, not a car). Now

that you are prepped

B+W filters are in South Africa and before you go rush

for the big day. In the

out for a R100.00 cheap as you can find UV filter I

mean time, visit

would ask you how much you spent on your lens to

have such “sharp glass”? Now does it really help

for more information.

putting anything less than the best in front of it? Starting from R349.00 for UV and R799-00 for Circular Polariser depending on the size.


o not

nto a



w on


ere is

hat it


Now rush

lter I

ns to help

0 for


i k c i w o L i And

Interview By: Tristan Hall Images By: Andi Lowicki


to this

AL: N their



you a n issue or two back, Andi Lowicki sent us some feedback on the magazine, which was

published in our ‘Readers Comment’ section, along with some images from his portfolio. After seeing his work, we thought we would share it with you. Enjoy... PC: How did your interest in photography begin? AL: My interest in photography started with me admiring good photographs. I did art direction in the advertising industry for ten years. Quitting advertising and starting to take good photographs myself seemed like a logical next step.




PC: Your work is portrait-orientated. What attracts you

constructed in your mind’s eye before you begin, or do

to this genre of photography?

you take things as they come?

AL: No two people are the same: their faces always tell

AL: I usually begin by taking things as they come and

their life's story. There is always a 'true essence' to a

then start directing more throughout the shoot.

character which I try to capture in my shots because when I succeed - I create a photo which interacts with

PC: What challenges you most in your photography?

you as the viewer and leaves a lasting impression.

AL: Every shoot yields a few very special moments

PC: How do you plan a shoot? Is there a final image

seconds is my ultimate challenge.

which produce the best photos. To not miss these split


PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO PC: In portraiture, there is almost


always editing that needs to be done


after the shoot. What are your


feelings about the boundaries to


such editing, or are the boundaries


limitless for your style of work?


AL: It depends on the motif. I have

paid a

been working with Photoshop for 15 years, so it's part of my daily work


flow. Knowing what amount of


post-processing is necessary and what is too much is essential.

Gear Corner Andi Uses: Nikon D300 Various Nikkor Lenses 2 Nikon Speedlights Manfrotto Tripods Apple iMac Adobe Photoshop CS4 FOTO FIRST for all printing



PC: What advice could you give someone looking to

PC:How important is it what gear you use?


pursue portrait photography professionally?

AL: Good gear is important although I don't think that


AL:Start with TFC (Time For Cash) shoots; helping

only ‘top-of-the-range’ equipment produces high-

es to

models to expand their portfolios. This gives you good

quality images.


looking people who know how to pose which lets you


concentrate on the photography. Then branch out into


paid assignments.

Andi can be contacted on for enquiries regarding photo shoots and classes (He teaches photography & Photoshop).

for 15


PC: What inspires you?

nt of

AL: The beauty of special moments.








Worldwide Pinhole Day 2011

Article & ‘How To’ Images By: Paul Poulsen


aving discovered this event a couple of years ago I now eagerly await its advent each year.

Last year I stuffed up my 4 x 5 view camera pictures -or rather intended pictures -- on a rainy day, and never sent them in. But this year is going to be different... (he


said bravely).

thin --

which The event held on the last Sunday of April for the last


10 years attracts interest from all over the world, hence

Cut th

the name: Worldwide Pinhole Day. And last year, 2010

bit big

there were only 5 entries from South Africa! So what

the sa

say you? Shall we all get on the bandwagon and send in




I've decided to chicken out on the 4x5 and will use a


carefu digital camera with a pinhole instead of a lens. To be precise, a Nikon D90 with a pinhole fitted into a body

If you don't, borrow from a school-going child.

cap. This will give me a reasonably wide-angle

Measure the interior diameter of the body cap. Stab the

pinhole, and I guess if it were used with an extension

compass into the card, with the correct radius to match

tube or two I'd have a telephoto pinhole. Now there's a

the interior diameter of the body cap. Radius equals


half the diameter you just measured.

Making a pinhole in a body cap is an easy and

Draw the circle and cut it out. It should fit inside the

inexpensive process and I'd like to share it with you.

cap snugly and you'll have the exact centre marked by

Paraphrasing the old cook book, first find, obtain,

the compass point. Use a

catch or otherwise -- a body cap for your particular

pin, pushed through the

camera. If you don't have one they are available from

card, to mark the centre of

real camera shops. The brand of body caps doesn't

the body cap. Drill

matter; It just has to fit your brand of camera.

through the body cap with at least a 6mm drill

If the one you have or buy doesn't have the centre marked you can make a template from a piece of card and a compass. Most people have one kicking around. 12

and then flare the outside of the hole with a larger drill or rose bit.

Rest the circle on a piece of glass or a glass cutting

e 1


board. Pierce the centre of your metal circle with a sharp pin. The glass backing will prevent the pin going all the way through the metal and leave you with a dimple and tiny hole. Use very fine emery paper to polish away the dimple and you should be left with a very small hole, your pinhole! The alternative to the pin trick is to buy a .3mm drill bit at about R40 and try not to snap it as you drill your hole. Next, take an empty cold drink can. The metal is very

Glue the piece of sheet metal carrying your pinhole

thin -- about 0.13mm. Be careful with the next steps,

into the body cap. Don't get glue in the pinhole. If

which involve sharp edges and corners. You may cut

you've been careful the holes should match up and the

yourself if you're clumsy, and we wouldn't want that.

pinhole will sit in the middle of the hole in the body

Cut the can up so that you have a piece of thin metal a

cap, or as near as dammit!

bit bigger than the inside diameter of the body cap. Use the same template as you used to find the centre of the

You could paint the pinhole metal matt black or cover

body cap or use the compass you used to make the

the sheet metal with blackened card, with a suitably

template and draw a circle on the sheet metal and

large enough hole in not to mask the pinhole.

carefully mark its centre as before. Cut the circle of metal out.

Your new pinhole 'lens' is now ready for use -- mount it on the camera. You won't be able to see much, because the f number will be approximately 100 and the


exposure time will be long. You'll need to use a tripod


or stand the camera on a very stable surface.





TECHNIQUE If possible, use your camera on manual or aperture priority and just take pictures! Exposure testing will soon get you into the ball park. Worldwide Pinhole day may be found at Because the last Sunday of April is Easter Sunday they are accepting photos taken from 23 April to 1 May. Visit the site! It's packed with hints and the galleries are good to look at. What do you think, can we manage 100 contributions from South Africa this year? [o]

Above Image By: Rikki Hibbert Right & Below Images By: Werner Strauss



g will

d at




utions [o]


ARMANI QUINTAS Interview By: Tristan Hall Images By: Armani Quintas


t is always interesting to meet photographers

very scary, difficult and intimidating and so I wanted

whose background did not begin in photography,

nothing to do with it. I was good at information design

but in other areas of the arts, or visual design and

so I stuck with that. As a result, when I finished high

communication. In some ways they see still images in

school and I had to decide what to study afterwards, I

a different light - excuse the pun - and frequently bring

decided to study what I was good at; so I enrolled at the

a fresh perspective to what we “photogs� may take for

Open Window School of Visual Communication, in

granted. Armani Quintas is one such person who also

Pretoria, where I wanted to study graphic design and

demonstrates that knowing your subject makes a

advertising. Photography was a compulsory subject,

greater difference to your final image than your gear.

so even though I didn't want to study it, I had to. As it turned out, once I got the hang of photography, I was

PC: How did your interest in photography begin?

much better at it than graphic design and advertising. It

AQ: In high school, my main subject was art. I had the

became my favorite subject and the one I put the most

option of either studying information design

effort into. I'm now at the point where I'm obsessed

(advertising), or photography. Photography looked

with it.




AQ: A time

also q

we us



all ntas



d high

ards, I

at the

on, in

n and


. As it

I was

ing. It most


PC: Correct me if I am wrong, but you didn't study

enjoyable; sharing the same passion. Having the same

photography alone - correct? How did your studies

school, subjects and lecturers, it was easy for us to help

influence your photography?

each other out with assignments. I was lucky to study

AQ: At the time, I was studying with my (then) long-

at Open Window as it is a highly regarded school for

time girlfriend who was also at Open Window. She

the quality of its standards. I'm very grateful for the

also quickly developed a passion for photography, so

lecturers that I had and for what they taught me.

we used to shoot a lot together which made it more



PC: You seem to have a wide variety of subjects in your portfolio: from


motor sports to portraits. Is there a favorite?

can w

AQ: Yes. I enjoy studio/fashion and motor sport photography the most.


Studio work is the easiest to make a living off, (apart from wedding

of alw

photography, which I don't do because I don't enjoy it at all) so I do a lot


of that. I love the creative process of fashion work.


Motorsport photography is something I only do because of the love I have for motor racing. Locally it's very difficult to make a living off it, so I don't do it for the money. I probably love cars more than I love cameras. My Dad raced cars for many years, I even did it briefly, so I grew up with motorsport my whole life. I can't race anymore, so the next best thing to being in the driver's seat to me is shooting the cars I love. It's a way of me combining my two favorite pastimes. I'm not a huge fan of macro or landscape photography, but i do shoot it on occasion if I find something worth shooting or when the mood strikes me. PC: Where do you find your inspiration? AQ: I find it from doing a lot of research. I'm always researching new techniques, styles, the latest trends in different looks and looking at 18

images from my favorite photographers. Glossy magazines help with

inspiration for fashion work. I try to be as original as I

where everyone with a digital camera considers

can when possible, and break the rules normally

themselves a "photographer," one has to produce both

associated with specific genres of photography instead

quality work and be different to everyone else. So I try

of always producing the same type of work as all other

to think outside the box.

photographers. I believe that to be a successful photographer and to stand out in today's industry,

PC: You shoot on Pentax which, while I don't normally


STUDENT PORTFOLIO ask gear questions - we don't think its about the camera - there are those who frown upon Pentax as a non professional brand. What are your views on your gear? AQ: I believe a camera is only as good as the photographer who uses it. It's not the amount of your megapixels, but what you do with it that counts. A good photographer will achieve great images, no matter what equipment they use. I've seen photographers with the best, top of the range equipment, cameras and lenses, who's work, in my opinion, is nothing to rant about. In comparison, I know photographers who shoot with old, outdated, simple equipment, but have some of the most amazing photographs I've ever seen. Great camera equipment only makes the job easier for a photographer. It doesn't compensate for talent. Photography is an art and camera equipment is only a tool. And when it comes to art, the artist is more

important than the tools used. In my experience, while studying, I had very basic entry level equipment, and it

Gear Corner Armani Uses: Pentax K5D Pentax 50mm f1.4 Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro Pentax 75-300mm

forced me to have to work harder than other photographers to get the same quality work, which forced me to learn and helped me be a better photographer. If my camera did everything for me then I probably would have become a lazy photographer. I'll admit the Pentax equipment I had when I started studying wasn't great, but the equipment I have now is fantastic. The new Pentax K5 is phenominal! I love what I shoot with now. I don't find it restrictive at all. PC: What are your goals for the future? AQ: To carry on making photography my career and hopefully get as many award winning photos as I can get. But ultimately I want what I create to be memorable and to carry on loving what I do. I doubt I'll have problems with the latter.




and it




e then



ow is

5 is

now. I


y my



and to have [0]



me to

ross adami


s you are aware, we really enjoy getting your reader portfolios and this issue is no different. Meet Ross Adami; an aspiring

Interview By: Tristan Hall Images By: Ross Adami

see th

fashion photographer who took up photography only 4 years ago.

that I have



that i

you a PC: How did you first become interested in photography? RA: My interest in photography began in 2007. I joined the photography club at my school and began working as an assistant to many student photographers at the university in my area. PC: You say your interests lie in fashion and portraiture. What appeals to you about these subjects? RA: I was introduced to the world of fashion photography by a series of portraits that had been photographed by Norman Jean Roy. The effortlessness of each photograph and the way in which he captured each of the subject’s individual identities was astonishing! I enjoy this form of photography as it enables the photographer to convey a message, share a story, or capture an exciting moment through the photograph of a single subject. I also enjoy working with new and interesting people and the reward of presenting them with the end product. PC: What is your inspiration in your work?




RA: I am inspired by everything that I see

ed in


ol and


n and


around me. Photography has taught me to open my eyes to the world and see things in a different light. I am constantly looking out for new photo-shoot locations, or people that I may want to photograph. I also have a large pile of fashion magazines that I often page through.

PC: Do you have any photographers that influence your work, or whom you aspire to be like? RA: I am influenced by the work of Mario Testino; a well-known fashion photographer. He has photographed for all of the top fashion magazines. I also enjoy the nature in which he conducts his shoots; taking all attention away from the model and placing it on himself. This allows the model to relax and ensures a successful shoot. What an awesome experience it must be to work with such a brilliant photographer!


t had

. The

e way



s the

are a



e and

e end

I see



PC: Describe the first photograph you ever took.

PC: How heavily do you rely on photo editing?

RA: I have been taking photographs for as long as I can

RA: I try and keep a natural look to all my

remember. I recall buying those disposable film

photographs. Obviously, I alter all technical aspects;

cameras that I would take with me on holidays and on

such as contrast, exposure and sharpening, but at the

school camps. My first commissioned photo-shoot,

end of the day, it’s about the person in the photograph

however, was with a friend of mine who was a very

and the message that you are trying to bring across.

talented ballerina. I had her performing ballet moves on the side of a busy road in an industrial area, whilst

PC: What are your dreams for the future?

wearing a ballet tutu. I imagine that this must have

RA: My dream is to work for American Vogue

been quite a site for passing traffic!



I enjoy looking at these old photos and looking at how far my business has advanced since then.

Gear Corner Ross Uses:

PC: To date, what is the greatest lesson you have learnt? RA: Photography is more than just capturing a good

Canon EOS 5D mkII Canon 50mm f1.8

image. If you want to make it big in the industry, you need to have a passion for what you do. Entrepreneurial skills are also important and you need to treat each photo-shoot as if it is a million-rand business deal. 24

Contact Website: Email:



egular readers of PhotoComment

Magazine will know that in each issue we

publish at least one portfolio. This could be from a professional photographer, a student who is currently studying photography or from one of our readers. You will know that the quality of these portfolios has been excellent and we are very appreciative of those who have gone to the effort of putting their portfolio together for PhotoComment.


cts; the



Now it is your turn. We are always looking for portfolios to publish, so this is your chance to get your images published! For each issue we (the editors assisted by a panel of industry leading photographers) will choose a portfolio from each category that inspires and celebrates the art and craft of photography.



How to submit your portfolio Select 10 of your best images, include a selfportrait and about 150 words about you and what inspires your photographic style and your philosophy. (Images should be approximately 1024x768, we will request high resolution copies when your portfolio is selected) Email these items to us along with your contact details to with “Portfolio for PhotoComment� as the subject. We look forward to receiving your submissions.















Madagascar’s Nosy Bé Islands L Article & Images By: Frank Krummacher

arge enough to be a small continent, Madagascar

supports a huge and diverse number of habitats;

many of which are home to unique flora and fauna, found no-where else. The reason for our trip to Madagascar was our Honeymoon in Decmeber 2010 / January 2011. As we were travelling to a tropical island paradise, the ideas that were popping up in my mind’s eye were white, sun-drenched beaches, palm trees, lemurs, chameleons, and maybe even some underwater shots. With this in mind, I packed the camera bag and even invested in a small, waterproof Fujifilm camera which turned out to be a great decision.


FEATURE We spent a blissful 10 days either lazing on our own island, or catching one of the numerous speedboats to several of the many smaller islands. Some of these – like Nosy Komba, a Lemur sanctuary – are close by and quite ‘touristy,’ while others take about 2 hours to reach; like Nosy Iranza, where you really feel like you’re on a desert island: fantastic! Everywhere, you

Nicole and I flew from Johannesburg to Antananarivo, (Madagascar’s capital) on the 29th of December and transferred immediately to a smaller plane that took us to Nosy Bé. There, our transfer taxi drove us around to the western side of the island, where we hopped on a water taxi as there is no other way to get to Sakatia island, where we made our home for the next 10 days. Sakatia lodge is one of only 2 on the island and I can’t recommend it highly enough! It only accommodates a small number of people and is owner-managed by Isabella and José, whose personal attention to

are served scrumptious food and whether it’s the local beef (Zebu), or crab, crayfish, prawns or fish, you are never disappointed. The local beer (Three Horses Beer or THB) is also great and is normally served in quarts – perfect for the tropical heat. They also make a moreish shandy called Fresh, which us equally delicious. Altogether we found Madagascar and its people to be very friendly and helpful. We had only pleasant experiences, attributed to everything really makes the place special. You’re right

the Malagasy way of life - epitomised in

on the beach and on Sakatia island, there are no cars, or

their saying, ‘Mora mora’ (slowly slowly).

even bicycles! What a pleasure! 28

It suits the islands completely.

ng on

f the

f the

– like

– are



re on

, you





ed in



nd its

l. We

ted to

ed in

wly). 29

FEATURE Photographic highlights for me were, naturally, the lemurs, but almost more so was the huge profusion of beautiful plant and animal life. I spent a lot of time rummaging around the bushes at the lodge; photographing chameleons, geckos and other stuff. On the last day, a shot that I had really really looked forward to getting – and had almost given up on – was the world’s second smallest chameleon, only the size of your little finger. A dream come true, thanks to a guide from the lodge who located one in the undergrowth for me. Will we go back? Definitely! It may be to a different part of Madagascar, but with the same enthusiasm. Have a look at my photographs and make up your own mind… [o]


y, the

on of time




– was

e size

s to a

n the



r own [o]

USER REVIEW User Review By: Craig Damlo -


’m not a professional photographer but, like many,

I am a dedicated amateur. Like most dedicated

amateurs out there, I have a full-time career that helps to support my photography habit. Luckily for me, I







have the advantage - in my everyday career - to travel, both domestically and internationally. I don’t always have the space or weight to bring my full DSLR and

The s

lenses with me on business trips.


I have heard, (time and time again) that the best way to




improve your photography is by shooting more. The ‘number one’ way to take more pictures is to always carry your camera with you. While most phones today can take pictures, camera phones do not have the option to control the more technical aspects of your

effective grip. Sony also did a great job in keeping a


simplistic design with very few dials and buttons.


This, along with the hand grip, allows for settings to be

his / h

easily adjusted with one hand while shooting.

photography, which leaves three other options: 1) A

For th

point-and-shoot pocket camera, 2) Carry your DSLR

User friendly


camera everywhere you go, or 3) an electronic view

As mentioned earlier, Sony have done a great job of


interchangeable lens (EVIL) camera.

balancing the user-friendliness for novices with the

be cu

needs of more advanced users. My main DSLR is a


Size matters

Sony Alpha 900. When looking at the EVIL cameras, I


A point-and-shoot camera can be a good option,

was worried that the user-assistance options would


especially based on the size and portability, but most

simply get in my way and impede my use of the

be set

have the same problem as your phone: limited control.

camera, but with the release of firmware version 3,

to thr


This sets limits on creativity. In a perfect world,

Sony has allowed the advanced user to remap the

carrying your DSLR with you would be the best

functions of two buttons, (Sony calls them “soft

option, but for an individual like myself, one doesn’t

buttons”), which make the camera quicker to use.

always have the option to pack and carry an extra 5 lbs

Sony seems to have found a very nice balance between

in one’s suitcase. The sweet spot seems to fall in the

advanced user options and my ability - for example-

EVIL camera camp and the Sony NEX-5 is a great

to hand the camera to my mom: both of us can use the

option in that market.

camera easily and happily .


Helpful soft buttons

Many reasons went into my selection of the Sony

For the novice user, the camera offers “Scene

NEX-5, but the ‘number one’ reasons were the size and

Selection” modes, as well as an “Intelligent Auto”

ergonomics of the camera. The Sony NEX-5 is one of

mode that does everything for you. When using the

the smallest EVIL cameras on the market. Rather than

“Intelligent Auto” feature, the soft buttons offer some

being a typical candy-bar shape like many point-and-

helpful features for the complete beginner. One soft

shoots, it is wider on the side thanks to a small but 32

button is mapped as a “Shooting Tips” button that

com brings up a handy tip, based on the type of photo being

the usability of the camera and they have allowed

taken. These tips range from basics on how to hold the

advanced users to make adjustments quicker, without

camera to optimize the best stabilization to more

the need for digging through camera menus.

advanced tips, such as: how to control the depth of focus in a macro photo.


The second soft button is programed as a “Background

Alpha 900 as my only camera, it has proven itself as a

Defocus” button. When the user presses this button, it

great travel camera. Shortly after getting my Sony

Although the Sony NEX-5 will never replace the Sony

brings up a slider (which is controlled with the scroll

NEX-5 in early 2011, I took an international business

wheel) that goes from “Defocus” on one end to

trip and packed the Sony NEX-5, leaving my Sony

“Crisp” on the other. This “Background Defocus”

Alpha 900 at home. It showed its value before even

ping a

simply controls the f-stop, however, it does so in plain

boarding the aircraft. My carry-on bags came in just


language, allowing any user to control this aspect of

under the limit to allow me to bring them on the plane.

his / her photographs.

The added weight of a full DSLR would easily have

For the advanced user: any time the camera is set to

been forced to check that valuable equipment into the

“Aperture Priority,” “Shutter Priority,” “Manual


to be

put my bag over the weight limit and I would have

ob of

Exposure,” or “Program Auto,” the two soft keys can

h the

be custom programed. The first soft key can be set to a

The Sony NEX-5 has also turned out to be a great

R is a

single function from a list of many options, ranging

camera for a rushed afternoon of site-seeing around

eras, I

from the Sony Shooting Tips, to ISO setting. The

the Palace at Versailles in France and an evening in


second soft key is a bit more advanced because it can

Paris... Although it was still winter in France, my

f the

be set to allow quick changing of a single option, or up

jacket pockets were the perfect home for the camera

on 3,

to three settings by pressing the button multiple times.

and I wasn’t the traditional target of thieves with a full

p the

These programmable soft keys have vastly improved

camera hanging around my neck.

“soft use.



se the



g the


e soft

n that


By: Tristan Hall Founder of PhotoComment

Keep It Clean


t is so difficult at this time to write anything with

even the slightest humour and not feel guilty, what

with the events in Japan on 11 March 2011. I hope as I write this less than a week following those events that the world will seem slightly less gloomy in April when you will be reading this. With that said, our hearts go out to those in Japan who have been impacted in such a terrible way. Once again we have seen the power of images to effectively communicate the human tragedy in a manner that is truly heart felt. That is not the main focus, however, for this month’s final comment. I wanted to share a lesson I learnt

was good and there were some good laughs as we went

recently, and which I honestly thought I would know


better than to fall victim to... showing again that we are all human and capable of making mistakes.

All was good, seemingly, until the next morning. No, I hadn’t forgotten the memory card, or lost the images;

I was booked to photograph some business portraits

trust me I made multiple backups before I even left the

for a former colleague. I agreed to do it, as I thought

studio. No, I opened up the files and to my horror I

that it was time to stop making excuses and shoot

found that there was alot of dust in each and every

(some of you may have seen my post on this a few

image - bar the first one - before I had put the 135mm

weeks back on the blog.) I hung up the phone and it


began to sink in that it had been months since I had last worked in a studio, I quickly became a nervous wreck!

It took ages to edit those images; three days in fact, for

On the day, I was greeted by my ‘client,’ who had

your sensor, the back element of your lenses, etc and

brought a Sony 135mm f/2.8 STF lens for the shoot,

it’s probably a good idea to not borrow gear just

24 pics. So, what is the lesson I learnt? Keep it clean:

(benefit of photographing a former colleague from my

moments before you shoot. Save time, save money and

former employer). I excitedly put it on my Sony A850

save embarrassment.

and began to shoot. Despite my nerves, the lighting 34




No, I

ges; the

or I



, for




and [o]

PhotoComment Issue 24  
PhotoComment Issue 24