In the illustrated position, this Inspired water bag raises the center of gravity of your tripod setup--making it more top heavy. Ask any photographer whose camera has gear toppled over: it makes a bad day. The many recommendations in these posts to dangle a pack, rock, or water container below the tripod head are lowering the center of gravity--a better alternative for adding weight.
For photography, this water bag does not replace a replace a "sand bag" filled with sand, beans, or other granular material. These loose materials absorb and dampen vibration. Water bags jiggle.
I like this image. The nebulous quality, including the fogged-out face, adds to the image, inducing viewers to use their imagination in their interpretations.
Regarding the commentary here, let's just stick to what is relevant to the purpose of the forum.
Way too much noise for my use. What was gained here?
jdc562: All these images would deserve derisive critiques in today's photo forums. Nearly all these photos violate the Rule of Thirds. Cindy Sherman's shot #96 is mangled: one shoulder is cut into, the other arm is incomplete, and the top of of the girls' head is chopped off--very sloppy framing. Gursky's horizon in the L.A. shot isn't level. His Rhein II shot is soft. Both Steichen's and Prince's images have unacceptable levels of noise--they shouldn't bother us with their images until they've learned more about exposure, ISO, and photo processing. In addition, Prince's composition would have been much better if the cowboy were riding into the frame, not out of it. The images in the Gilbert & George piece are all too soft and badly exposed. I hope these photographers haven't quit their day jobs thinking they might have a future in photography.
On second thought, I'm glad the replies bought into the ridiculousness of my parody, even though the last sentence of my post is totally contradictory to the subject of "most expensive photos"--and should have been a dead giveaway. It further demonstrates how willingness to go along with authoritative assertions subverts reason.
To B Craw: I AM thinking about the kids. My parody is directed at the mindless imposition of rules over freely expressed art in many forum comments. What could be more destructive to new minds? See the detrimental effects of imposition of dogma in any K through 12 art exhibition. Creativity and unfettered expression clearly declines with grade level. The creativity of the older kids is increasingly crippled as they progressively succumb to the dogmatic rules of how art should be done.
One of the problems in written posts is that sarcasm isn't always apparent. My comment is really about the mindless dogma typical of forum reviews and not about the 10 most expensive photos. I should have done what Howard did... <sarcasm on/off>
All these images would deserve derisive critiques in today's photo forums. Nearly all these photos violate the Rule of Thirds. Cindy Sherman's shot #96 is mangled: one shoulder is cut into, the other arm is incomplete, and the top of of the girls' head is chopped off--very sloppy framing. Gursky's horizon in the L.A. shot isn't level. His Rhein II shot is soft. Both Steichen's and Prince's images have unacceptable levels of noise--they shouldn't bother us with their images until they've learned more about exposure, ISO, and photo processing. In addition, Prince's composition would have been much better if the cowboy were riding into the frame, not out of it. The images in the Gilbert & George piece are all too soft and badly exposed. I hope these photographers haven't quit their day jobs thinking they might have a future in photography.
For photographers the beautiful Retina display on the Ipad can be very useful for checking camera images in the field. However, the Ipad also has some severe deficiencies that make it frustratingly inefficient for this purpose. The problems are probably all fixable in the operating system and apps.1. There is no direct way to read SD cards larger than 32GB. 2. After downloading the images from a 32GB SD card, there is no simple way to batch remove the images. A 32GB load of more than 1000 images is too much to remove one-by-one. This deficiency is extraordinarily short-sighted--no other computer system lacks this basic capability.
zakk9: Thousands of photos have already been published of this fiasco of a war. Why show more shots from what was little more than a giant killing spree, organised by a gang of misguided politicians and generals? At least a couple of million innocent Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians were killed during the the event and the three involved countries are still suffering from the results of the bombings and the killings.
One photo is called "Charlie Haughey poses with a group of Vietnamese school children." How many Vietnamese school children were killed by American bombs during the Vietnam War? Nobody probably knows. I guess a smiling American soldier with the kids looks nicer than tiny corpses mutilated by bombs and napalm.
Zakk9, You miss the profound meaning those photos have acquired by what is now established truth. Your comments belong to photos of Nixon, Westmoreland, and other perpetrators of the war. Nearly all the people shown in Haughey's photos did not freely choose to be in that conflict and were lied to by morally corrupt American and South Vietnamese politicians. This was the time of the draft: the U.S. grunt soldiers were forced to serve. The children could not flee. They all endured a time of profound stress, being maimed, scarred, tortured, and killed. The very facts you state underline the horrible irony in Haughey's photos of smiling people--for an incongruous moment.
Haughey's photos put real faces on the Americans , Vietnamese, and others killed and injured in this war. More than 58,000 of these American soldiers were killed outright. The numbers include the MIAs. More than 303,000 Americans were wounded, not counting the profoundly psychologically wounded. According to the latest American analyses, this war killed approximately one million Vietnamese men, women, and children. Look at the people in Haughey's photos and extrapolate to all these numbers. Remember this war was not like WWI or WWII; the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was tragically prolonged by presidential politics and political misrepresentations. And all those young American men you see in the photos? In those days, most did not freely choose to be in the military. Instead, they had to make a coerced choice of the draft, enlist, jail, or to become felons by fleeing the USA. And the million dead Vietnamese--what choice did they have?
ProfHankD: Looks great, but then so does my NEX-7.... ;-)
The really big question is: How does this handle legacy lenses? The inclusion of focus peaking is great, but I really want to know two things:
1. What modes will work with unchipped legacy glass? E.g., does it allow A as well as M, also allowing multi-shot modes?
2. How does SSS deal with unchipped lenses? The old answer was assume 50mm (I want to tell it focal length).
Since I have a number of Minolta lenses, performance with legacy glass was critical for me. When I received my A99, I tested it with my Minolta 600mm f4 lens by shooting several hundred images of flying and swimming birds. The focus is as fast as with any previous Minolta and Sony cameras, and the images were very sharp. Sony notes that certain advanced "assist" focus features only work with their newer lenses. However, after trying the advanced features with the new lenses, I still prefer the standard AF-C focus features that I have always used by panning with the moving birds--shotgun style.
One issue missing in the comparison of the Sony A99 to its peers is initial quality. The Canon 5DmkIII's had light leaks. The Nikon D800's had left focus problems. So far there are no reports of systemic manufacturing defects in the Sony A99.
marike6: Sony made a big gamble by dropping the OVF on all their cameras. A top level pentaprism OVF will always be the state-of-the-art, while in one or two years time, the A99 EVF will be old technology, superseded by new models. Just ask Fuji X-Pro1 users how they felt when the X-E1 came out with a higher specified EVF. So perhaps one of the negatives of adopting an evolving technology like EVF is an increased need to upgrade. Whereas a 100% OVF of a 5D3, D800 or A900 will always be about as good as it gets.
What you're saying is that optical view finders can't get any better than they already are, while electronic view finders can keep improving. Since the A99's electronic view finder is already superior in many ways to optical view finders, future improvements will increase the advantages over the optical view finders. How is this a negative?
aarif: one thing has been overlooked as a con. battery only 300 shots now that is very poor
I have been using the A99 for six weeks of intensive shooting. I always get more than 400 shots per charge--which covers my day of shooting and leaving more than "40%" of the charge. Fewer shots per charge may result from more reliance on the LCD, or setting the LCD to be illuminated for longer periods of time before auto shut-off. Since the amount of remaining charge is clearly displayed, and the battery can be replaced in a few seconds, I don't see a serious problem here.
I have been using the Sony A99 intensively for about 6 weeks now, doing critical tests during the first 4 weeks, when I could return it in exchange for a Canon 5DmkIII or Nikon D800--which I planned to do if the A99 didn't meet my expectations. I do a lot of wildlife photography, mostly flying birds. I found that I prefer the electronic viewfinder (EVF) over optical ones. Sony's EVF is as sharp as optical versions (it's not some grainy screen), plus it gives me a live preview of the image, including exposure, contrast, etc., spelling the end of mistaken settings for exposure compensation. The "peaking" function in the EVF highlights the parts of the live view image that are in best focus--great for manual focus, including focus stacking. I get many more than 400 images per battery charge--easily covering a day's worth of shooting. The Sony Zeiss and Sony G lenses are excellent (see the independent tests). The A99 has done very well. So, I'm not switching to the Canon or Nikon.
bossa: People here using the word 'rules' need to list them. And please, while you're at it, list just who it is that carved these 'rules' in stone and made them so immutable. I've been an artist for over 30 years, lectured in colleges, exhibited and sold work and I can assure you, there are no rules, just conventions.
Here is a test of the necessity of the "rules" for successful composition. Make a set of the 100 most revered paintings and photographs, and score the number of them that followed the "rules." I've tried this with a smaller set, and most of them did not conform to the rule of thirds, uncentered composition, golden rectangle, and the other touted "rules." So, even the word "convention" is an overstatement. Instead, it is clear that the artistry is not dependent on the overall geometry.
jamesfrmphilly: rules? rules! we don't need no stinkin rules!
As more accurate pedantry, the banditos in Huston's film were speaking in Spanish dialect, where a double negative is a stronger negative, not a positive. In English we might reply to this rules nonsense in a double positive: "Yeah, right."
Obviously the "rules" have some inherent psychological basis in explaining aesthetic appeal. However, to see their horribly destructive short-comings, try using these "rules" to judge classic paintings and photographs: "We're sorry Mr. da Vinci, but your centered compositions are amateurish. And Ms. Lange, Dust-Bowl Dotty, whatever your name is, your subject, sans make-up, is smack-dab in the middle of the frame--you need to familiarize yourself with the rules of composition. On to you, Mr. Adams: you wasted all of those huge negatives and darkroom efforts on snapshots that ignore the aesthetic beauty of compositional basics. You should have placed that waterfall on one of the 3rds intersections. And, saving the worst for last, Mr. Weston! My God! That bell pepper is dead center in the frame. And that woman, is that her driver's license? Not only is that Mexican looking out of the frame, you chopped off part his hair! What did he say? 'We don need no steenking rules'? "
Dan Ortego: Lately I’m bi-polar when it comes to cameras. I have gone from hitting the buy button for the D600/D800 and then the A99. Every time I read something else on-line about one over the other I’m then convinced it’s the one I want. Currently, I have the A900 and it just works! I also have a new 'blue-logo' lens for it so logic would suggest that I stay put.
The appearance of the A99 looks pretty aggressive to me, and I like it. If it handles and works better than the A900 while maintaining the ‘ease of use’ of the A900, then I’ll want it. The down side is that I don’t really trust Sony to support their gear like Nikon and Canon. Once you buy a Sony you’re pretty much on your own. It’s also hard to find a decent pro-level user forum since most of they’re following is a bunch of snot-nosed kids.
I also like my A900. However, like the other new generation cameras, the A99 performs better at higher ISOs. Among other things, this allows action photography earlier in the morning and later in the evening. For me this means more opportunities to shoot flying birds and rodeo events at higher shutter speeds in dim light. This is one reason I would replace my A900 with the A99.
j900: I own an A900, I would be all in the A99 for better focusing.
However I see that they have done it again, the same APS-C AF and layout used in a full frame camera, same as they did with A700-A900.
What a pity. A top-notch AF system that forces you to focus and recompose each time you do off-center composition. Not to mention the issues with moving subjects.
Oh well, I guess my turn will come with the A99 successor. It seems that Sony listens to customers as they have implemented auto-iso in M mode this time. So next time Sony, PLEASE IMPLEMENT A DEDICATED FULL-FRAME AF MODULE WITH SENSIBLE LAYOUT. Please.
Sorry j900, I have to correct you and Richard Butler's DPreview article on the focus statements. I use the A900 extensively for action photography (flying birds, rodeo events, active children). The A900's focus tracking is not "undermined by the amount of time taken to engage it." To the contrary, the A900 immediately locks into focus tracking by half pressing the shutter button while in continuous focus mode. There is no need "to focus and recompose each time you do off center composition." The A900 continues to follow whatever object was selected with the initial half-press. The tracking is superb and works for objects in dim light (e.g., flying birds after sunset, geese flying at night across the moon), objects changing trajectories (e.g., rodeo barrel racers, two-year old hyperactive nieces), objects rapidly accelerating (e.g., birds taking off), objects moving in multi-directions (e.g., bucking bulls), and so on. Change focus mode to solve problems focusing the A900.