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Field Review: Sony a580 (Day 3)

by Julius Motal on 02/11/2011

Glee

And so, barely a month after I purchased the a580, I was due to visit Thailand for two weeks. With my clothing stowed away, I carefully packed my Minolta glass, and secured the 50mm f/1.7 to my a580. With the a580affixed the to the Black Rapid RS-7slung over my shoulder, I sat in JFK for a short while, waiting for my flight. Once the illustrious economy class began boarding, I began a photographic and deeply personal journey through the cities, mountains, markets, eateries, and temples of Thailand.

Colors

I spent a total of 15 full days in the country. Given every place I went to, the a580 was put through its paces. With lush and dense vegetation, a variety of wildlife, and countless street markets, Thailand is full of colors. Buddha, however, is probably one of the most magnificent aspects of Thai culture.

In queue; Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7, taken at f/2 at 1/80 sec.

Throughout the natural landscapes and temples of Thailand, a great deal of golds and greens dominate the chromatic dialogue.

Abyss; Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8, taken at f/5.6 at 1/80 sec.

The above  image was taken on Doi Inthanon and the “In queue” image was taken at a temple. I noticed that as I took a great deal of photos, the a580tended to lean towards slightly unsaturated. Of course, on the LCD screen, the images looked rather nice, but then again, most images tend to look nice on a screen that big. Upon viewing the images on a considerably larger screen, I came to the conclusion that I would have to make some adjustments to bring the images back to life, to the level of what my eyes saw.

Autofocus

I didn’t spend an equal amount of time in each place, and that determined whether or not I went with AF. For a temple or mountain where I only had a very small bit of time, I thought it best to go with AF. When focusing manually, I tend to take a bit longer when I’m not pressed for time. Both “Glee” and “Abyss” were taken on the same mountain, and my time there was minimal. So, the AF was given some time in the spotlight, and it performed excellently. I mentioned in the first part of this review that the a580‘s AF was a bit funky with Minolta glass. This wasn’t a worry halfway across the world in Thailand. The AF was as smooth and fast as it was when I first experienced the camera back at Photo Plus.

Sweep Panorama

The a580, like other Sony cameras, has the nifty Sweep Panorama feature. While I was walking the expansive ruins of Sukhothai with my travel companion, I thought it might be a good spot to give the Sweep Panorama a test run.

Pillars, Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8, taken at f/10 at 1/200 sec.

I took a number of other Panorama images, but the feature worked best with the 50mm and 28mm lenses. The slide marker barely got a fifth of the way along if I tried to use the 135mm, so I stayed with the smaller lenses. It maybe seem a bit gimmicky, but it does help your posture a great deal as it forces you to keep a consistently steady grip and stance. I grew accustomed to it after a number of failed attempts.

Foreign Press

I know that’s a strange title for a section, but there’s a reason for it. Halfway through the trip, my friend and I were walking through one of Bangkok’s many malls when we noticed a great deal of commotion. One level down there was a celebrity event for something. I’m still not sure what the event was all about, and I wasn’t even aware that there was a celebrity there. I’m not entirely knowledgeable of Southeast Asian actresses. But as it turned out, Savika Chaiyadej, known for her career as a Thai soap actress, was the glittery one seated on stage.

I had my equipment with me, and thought this was a prime opportunity. There was a gaggle of Thai paparazzi snapping away when I squeezed in alongside them. I attracted a number of awkward glances as I was a 6′ 2″ camera laden American standing among considerably smaller Thai photographers. They asked no questions, and neither did I.

Perhaps they thought I was foreign press.

Savika also goes by the name Pinky.

Pinky; Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4, taken at 210mm, f/4 at 1/125 sec.

This post is only a small portion of everything I experienced in Thailand.

In the next post, I’ll detail the a580‘s run with wildlife as it took on parrots, tigers, dogs, and elephants. Thanks for reading.

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