Formula 1: Belgium Grand Prix

So this isn’t photography related, well not much but….. I’ll let you in to a secret!

I am a HUGE motor sports fan. It started in 1976 (oh gees, I kinda hated writing that) and it has lasted to this day. My hook into the sport was the tussle between Hunt and Lauda that year, since memorialized in Ron Howard’s excellent movie Rush, and to this day I watch Formula 1 religiously. Ask my wife!

I confess that I miss what for me are the glory days back in the 80’s when 1.5l turbo engines were throwing out up to 1,300bhp and rear tyres (yes I am a Brit so for now they are TYRES LOL) had to be bolted to the rims otherwise the tyre would spin around the rim and let all the air out. Whoops!

There have been many changes since then and I don’t think many of them have been for the best. I realize that safety had to be an issue after Formula 1 managed to kill arguably it’s most iconic champion, Ayrton Senna.

Predictions for Spa? Okay I guess it won’t be a shock to say that I am sure a Mercedes will win. Which one? I feel that Lewis Hamilton wants it more than Rosberg. Don’t mention Monaco!

Best of the rest, Williams. I have a fondness for Williams that goes back to the early 80’s when Alan Jones drove for Frank’s team. Loved how outspoken he was! Good to see that Ferrari are looking better and also McLaren.

Lets hope that it is a good race! In the meantime, below is a pic of Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari, official practice for the British GP in 2005 (I think!) Enjoy!

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Choosing a Camera

Just recently I was in the market for a new camera. Our little family are going on vacation to Europe soon and I did not want to bring the trusty Nikon with it’s panoply of lenses, speedlights, memory cards, etc. The total weight is somewhere the other side of a neutron star and it is so uncomfortable and restricting that 9 times out of 10 you’ll end up leaving the whole lot back in the hotel room.

I did still have a few requirements for a walkin’ around camera. Interchangeable lens, shooting in program auto mode as well as manual and aperture priority mode. A few other “like to have” items filled out the wish list so off I went to check out what was available.

Oh my! I fairly quickly started to whittle the list down. Several likely looking options from Nikon, Canon (yes I even looked on the dark side lol), Leica etc were dismissed because of cost. So I start looking at Sony and Samsung, as well as some cheaper options from Nikon.

It became apparent fairly quickly that mirrorless was the way to go. Also at that point I insisted on a viewfinder. I just cannot see how anyone can compose properly using the lcd screen and holding the camera at arms length. Perhaps on a tripod, yes. Hand held in front of the Eiffel Tower… not so much!

By now I was scouring web sites and comparing features as only a photographer can. Checking review sites, weighing options….

Finally I ended up with the Sony NEX-6. Mirrorless, electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens and an APS-C sized sensor. It has a 10mm-50mm lens and while this kit lens is nothing spectacular more research led me to the Sony store.

And there I found the gorgeous 50mm Planar T F1.4 Zeiss lens. This was pared to a Sony Alpha 7R full frame camera. Oh boy. I was shocked at just how good this tiny camera felt in my hands. The camera oozed quality through its all metal construction. I should not have to tell you that the lens is just optical butter…and bacon! Just gorgeous!!! At $1,500 not too bad if you say it quickly!

There is a fully range of lenses and accessories for these cameras and I have to say that I am seriously considering making a swap to Sony in the near-ish future. The quality of image from these small cameras is amazing and the size means that you can get into places that you’d struggle to with a full frame full sized dslr. As a veteran of well over 20 years using Nikons this is not something I would undertake lightly but….. I’ll keep you posted!