Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 368. In today’s episode, I went out for a freelance real estate shoot this week after a realtor contacted me to help spruce up the listing for a home in the area. It’s a beautiful home owned by a local elderly couple who is looking to sell and they thought they could save money by shooting their own photos, but they used a smartphone and the images turned out really noisy.
Word of advice folks, if you want to sell your home, have professional photos taken to make it easier to sell your home. The realtor for this job told me that they have had No bites on the property and she knows it’s because of the bad quality images as the house itself is beautiful but with bad images the home will be harder to sell as buyers cannot get a good feel for how nice the home with with bad quality images.
Looking at the thumbnails on the listing the images look decent as they look bright, but when you pull up the expanded view of the images you can see that the lighting was actually bad as the images have LOTs of noise. Now one of the things that makes things trickier is the fact that the sellers are still living in the home so it is completely furnished. Furniture is going to cause problems when capturing images as it can end up absorbing too much of the light. The human eye can see the home well because of it’s enhanced dynamic range, but trying to translate that into good images with the much lower dynamic range of the camera’s sensor makes the job tougher.
This is where having a professional photographer capture the images will help make the listing look much better as you have to introduce more light into the rooms in order to get great images. For this shoot I took along some of my Godox SL60II continuous lights. By using some continuous lights and bouncing them off the ceilings, you can easily introduce more powerful light into each room and get great images without introducing a ton of noise into the images at the same time. Also keep in mind that in order to have everything in focus you need to shoot at an Aperture of F/8, but by using the added light and also having the camera mounted on a tripod or monopod will allow you to use a slower shutter to make sure the images brighten up more.
Ever since we moved to Roxboro, my real estate work has been pretty much non-existent as we live too far from the major cities, so Planomatic hasn’t been using me to shoot for a couple years now.I recently got an email from them that they now have a sister company that does real estate photography for realtors and home owners and I asked them to share my information as I am interested but I haven’t heard anything. I do prefer to be a freelancer as I make more money that way and I like working with people. Hopefully, if I am lucky, this gig will help the house sell quickly and the realtor will send me more work. I had looked into shooting for realtors in the area but most of them already have contracts with photography service companies that handle their listings. I think the reason I got this gig is because the realtor is based out of Colorado, she doesn’t have any service providers in this area.
Ok, so enough about real estate photography, I don’t want to bore my listeners to death talking real estate shooting. This past week I also had to wrap up shooting with the Fujifilm X-S20 camera and the new Fujinon XF8mm F/3.5 lens. I want to thank Daniel Carpenter from Fujifilm USA for making it possible. I must say after three weeks shooting with the X-S20 I can appreciate it’s capabilities, it may be more of a consumer body but has a lot to offer. With the slightly larger hand grip than the X-S10 which allows the X-S20 to have the larger NP-W235 battery and also makes the ergonomics better as well. The native VLOG mode on the X-S20 is very nice as well and makes the autofocus really great, on par with the Canon DualPixel AF system, allowing it to easily switch between yourself and anything else that you hold up in front of the lens and then back to you again when you put the object back down.
Then there’s the XF8mm F/3.5 lens for the Fujifilm X Mount. When it was first announced, I didn’t think I would like this lens and that it was unnecessary, a lens that no one was asking for, but I must say it is a very good lens. It is very compact and light weight as I have mentioned before and although its maximum Aperture is only 3.5 vs F/2.8 but even at F/3.5 you can use this lens in some very low light situations. The AF is fast and responsive and I love the Aperture ring as well, since it is one of my favorite features on many of Fujifilm’s lenses. The 8mm makes some really great landscapes as well as architectural photography and although I didn’t try it myself, I am sure it would make a great Astrophotography lens as well.
Something that is really awesome is the fact that the 8mm lens at $800 is a good deal since with the lenses and coatings that Fujifilm uses allow the lens to control ghosting and flaring in bright sunlight and makes for images that are sharp and contrasty from the center of the frame to the corners. With it being a 12mm in full frame field of view, this lens is also awesome for real estate photography since in many subdivisions have homes with extremely short backyards making it difficult to shoot the entire back of the home and get everything in the frame. Some of the properties I shot when I lived in the Atlanta area had insanely short back yards of only 6 feet as the homes were built near a ravine or cliff. I’ve never understood why someone would build a home that close to a massive drop off, but maybe that is just me.
I could also see this lens coming in handy for my Forgotten Pieces projects since it is very wide and would make capturing very large buildings super easy, if I shot my projects with my APS-C bodies, which I don’t as I use the Medium Format GFX 50R for that work. I just really love the increased dynamic range of my 50R and the beautiful images I can get with it’s massive 50MP sensor. I am bummed that it doesn’t look like Fujifilm will ever make a 50R MK II, but maybe the next GFX100 coming out next month will be a range finder style body with Phase Detect AF and a new generation of their 100MP sensor. IT would also be nice if they could offer it at the same $4,500 price point of the 50R, I know wishful thinking but hey what can I tell you.
Well, Tina and I are headed up North for a couple weeks for Labor Day to spend time with our kids, grandkids and moms. We like making the trip up home but as we get older we cut back on going so many times per year. We used to go up four times a year and this is our third trip this year but Tina wants to cut back to two times next year. We stopped going up over Christmas as 3 years in a row we caught nasty colds that lingered on for months which is no fun. But, on the up side, it will also give me a chance to use my new DJI Osmo Action 4 some more for my Youtube content so we’ll see how that turns out. I did recently use it for my two videos for this past week as I forgot my Rode Video Mic Pro+ and the videos did turn out really well.
Sony this past week released two new cameras, the A7C II and the A7C R adding more bodies to their line of camera bodies.
Main Features of the Alpha 7C II
Equipped with a full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R® CMOS sensor with approximately 33.0 effective megapixels and the latest BIONZ XR® image processing engine to achieve high imaging performance. For capturing either still images or movies, users can easily enjoy high-quality image capture in a wide range of scenes such as travel and daily snapshots.
Compared to the Alpha 7 IV which is approximately 5.1 inches x 3.8 inches x 3.2 inches and weighs approximately 1.54 lbs, the Alpha 7C II is approximately 22% lighter and has approximately 45% less volume.
The standard ISO sensitivities range from 100 to 51200 for both still images and movies (expanded ISO 50 to 204800 for still images), enabling high-sensitivity, noise-free shooting.
Main Features of the Alpha 7C R
Equipped with a full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R® CMOS sensor with approximately 61.0 effective megapixels and the latest BIONZ XR® image processing engine to achieve high-resolution and high-definition imaging performance.
Compared to the Alpha 7R V which is approximately 5.25 inches x 3.875 inches x 3.25 inches and weighs approximately 1.6 lbs, the Alpha 7C R is approximately 29% lighter and has approximately 53% less volume.
The standard ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 32000 for both still images and movies (expanded ISO 50 to 102400 for still images).
In addition, with 7.0-step optical 5-axis in-body image stabilization, even slight blurring at the 1-pixel level is detected and corrected.
Equipped with Pixel Shift Multi Shooting that takes multiple images and combines them on a PC to create an ultra-high resolution image.
By combining with the grip extension GP-X2 included with the Alpha 7C R, you can shoot comfortably with a stable hold even when shooting for long periods of time or using a telephoto lens
Common Features of the Alpha 7C II and Alpha 7C R
1. Compact size and high mobility
Both models are easy to handle and easy to carry. Compact size (both models are approximately 4.88 in wide x 2.8 in high x 2.5 in deep) and weigh approximately 18.1 oz for the Alpha 7C II and approximately 18.2 oz for the Alpha 7C R. When combined with the wide-angle zoom lens, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II, announced today, it achieves the excellent image expression and high-speed AF that are unique to the G Master™ series, with the brightness of F2.8 at full zoom range. The user can choose their favorite lens from Sony's extensive E-mount series of more than 70 lenses and enjoy a variety of image expressions in both still images and movies.
2. AF performance with improved subject recognition performance thanks to the built-in AI processing unit
Equipped with the same AI-processing unit as the Alpha 7R V, which recognizes subjects with high accuracy with Real-time Recognition AF. For example, when taking a picture of a person, even if the subject strikes a complicated pose or their face is hidden, human-pose estimation technology can be used to capture and track the subject with high accuracy. In addition to the existing tracking capabilities for people and animals already found in the Alpha 7C series, it is now possible to recognize birds, insects, cars, trains, and airplanes as subjects in the new models.
3) Advanced video performance
The Alpha 7C II and Alpha 7C R condense high-resolution and detailed video data equivalent to 7K and 6K, respectively, and can output high-quality 4K video. Equipped with S-Log3, which supports a wide latitude of 14+ stops it renders rich gradation with little overexposure and underexposure even in scenes with contrast. Also, in Log shooting mode, the LUT imported by the user can be displayed on the camera monitor image, allowing the user to shoot while checking the finished image in post-production. In addition, it is equipped with S-Cinetone™, a unique Sony feature which can create a cinematic look straight out of the camera without post-processing. Based on Sony's Cinema Line technology, S-Cinetone delivers natural mid-tones that are essential to healthy-looking skin color and deliver cinematic quality. It also features Creative Look, which allows you to easily change the look and feel of video and still images.
4) Operability and connectivity
Equipped with a touch-operable vari-angle LCD monitor, intuitive operation with the latest touch menu supports comfortable shooting. In addition to the new front dial that allows the user to assign their favorite functions, the still image/movie/S&Q switch dial, and an XGA high-resolution viewfinder, etc., the camera is easy to use. The camera is equipped with a 7.0-step optical 5-axis in-body image stabilization to support stable camera work.
In terms of connectivity, the camera is compatible with the smartphone application Creators' App that uploads videos and still images taken with the camera to a cloud service, while allowing remote camera operation and image transfer from the camera to mobile devices. By the end of September 2023, Sony plans to support a new version of the software development kit Camera Remote SDK that enables remote operation and settings adjustments.
5) Designed with environmentally friendly principles in mind
Over the past 11 years, Sony has replaced approximately 395 tons of virgin plastic with recycled plastic in digital cameras and digital video cameras. Recycled materials, including SORPLAS™ix, are used for the camera body, reducing environmental impact without sacrificing functionality. In addition to being equipped with Sony's Screen Reader function that reads menus and video playback screens aloud to assist operations, a new menu Magnify Display function has been added to support the creative activities of a variety of creators.
Pricing and Availability
The new Alpha 7C II will be available in Fall 2023 at a variety of Sony's authorized dealers:
Camera only: MSRP $2199.99 USD, $2999.99 CAN
Camera w/ 28-60mm lens: MSRP $2499.99 USD, $3399.99 CAN
The new Alpha 7C R will be available in Fall 2023 at a variety of Sony's authorized dealers:
Camera only: MSRP $2999.99 USD, $4099.99 CAN
The new GP-X2 extension will be available in Fall 2023 at a variety of Sony's authorized dealers for MSRP $159.99 USD, $214.99 CAN.
We also have two new events coming up soon, with both the next Fujifilm X Summit coming on Sept 12th, 2023 as well as Apple’s iPhone event on the exact same day. During Fujifilm’s X Summit, they are expected to announce the third generation GFX100 body as well as 2-3 more GF lenses for their medium format system. There is also the possibility that they might announce some new X gear as well.
Apple is expected to announce their line of iPhone 15 models for this fall and talk some more about their new Operating Systems for this year as well. I have personally been Beta testing the new iOS17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10 and I have for the most part been enjoying them. I wish Apple would fix the bug in watchOS since version 9 where the watch won’t stay connected to the same WiFi network its paired iPhone is on.
According to rumors, the new iPhone 15 Pro Max is supposed to also sport a Periscope lens offering 6 times optical zoom as well as the Action button like my Apple Watch Ultra, which will allow some new possibilities. On my Apple Watch Ultra I use the Action button for GPS waypoints when I am out shooting and hiking in nature doing wildlife photography.
An interesting development on the Canon front, it seems Canon is finally reversing their policy on not allowing third party lens makers to make AF lenses for the RF mount with some conditions. When a manufacturer applies for the a license for the RF mount from Canon, it seems that Canon treats each application on a case by case basis and that there are no rigid guidelines on how to qualify for approval. What are decisions based on? We don't want to guess, but there are likely some quick assumptions to be made.
What isn't mentioned is what the licensing grants the third-party manufacturer. Are the manufacturers on their own to come up with the autofocus algorithms, or are those provided? Would there be ongoing Canon support through firmware compatibility updates? Perhaps there could be different tiers of licensing? There is also mention that Canon will only approve licenses for lenses that don’t compete with theirs, so someone like Tamron, Sigma or Viltrox cannot make any lenses in the same focal lengths as Canon. This means both current lenses and future lenses that Canon may be planning on releasing. So although Viltrox could now offer their AF75mm F/1.2 PRO lens for the RF mount, which they have already done for Fujifilm, Nikon and Sony. None of the third party makers could make a 70-200mm F/2.8, so don’t count on getting much less expensive lenses in ANY existing for future planned focal lengths. This means that for the most part, third party lens makers hands will still be tied quite a bit.
On the Fujifilm front, Patrick from fujirumors.com released a video this week saying that according to his Sources there will be a new film simulation released as part of their third GFX100 body being announced on Sept 12, 2023. This new film simulation will be called REALA. REALA was a film stock that Fujifilm offered up until 2012 that was popular with wedding photographers especially and available as REALA Ace and REALA Superia. The original film was Fujifilm’s first with a 4th layer technology for exceptional color accuracy, especially in fluorescent lighting (no green cast).
Now let’s take a look at a couple of news stories for this week.
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