How do you stand with your Lighting

•April 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Over a year ago at the 2013 WPPI convention, I bumped into another DC area photographer and our conversation evolved around location lighting.   This young photographer invested into several Paul C Buff Einstein’s flash units.   She was more than pleased with the portability and power of her new flashes.   Then I asked her if she purchased the light stands from Mr. Buff’s site and she responded with, “no I have some old light stands”.

Well nine months later, I get an email from this photographer who was mad as hell at herself. During a photo session along a manmade creek that is also a tourist attraction, she was shooting an engagement session when a gust of wind came up and blow her Einstein and light stand in to this creek. Her five hundred dollar investment was ruined with one gust of wind.   She also confirmed that I was correct when it came to what light stand she should be using during a location shoot, but she did not want to spend the extra money.   During the 2013 WPPI convention we talked about the proper light stand for location work, but her argument was cost and the additional weight of hulling around the type of light stand I was recommending.   Her point was somewhat valid but in the end the extra investment would have saved her the grief of losing such a big investment.

So what did I recommend to this photographer originally, I was telling her that she should invest into Century Stands or C-Stands.


My studio has been replacing our old light stands with new and more robust C-Stands and at least one roller stand for the studio.

So where did the Century Stand get its name, one photographer told me that it was because it take a hundred years to learn how to use them, another photographer told me that century stand got its name because they were built to last a 100 years (and I could see that), but one retired motion picture grip told me that when setting up gobo’s for location filming the most comment gobo stands were 100 inches in total height. He told me that the grip truck would a couple hundred of these stands.   And the name C-Stand or Century stand was associated with the total height of the stand itself.   Then there were Junior Stands, they were exactly like the C-Stands but shorter than 100 inches and the Strato Stand a C-Stand with wheels.

Most if not all C-Stands are made to take a lot of abuse.   Parts and accessories from most other manufactures are all inter changeable. So you have a Avenger C-Stand but use a Matthews Grip Head and Extension Arms, or Kupo Studs and extenders, then there is the Hollywood Box Risers.

C-Stands will cost you a little more money but the insurance of knowing that you have a much heavier and sturdier stand that will most likely out last all of your flash heads is well worth extra investment. And one more item that is a must have with your Century Stands

Sand Bags.


Me Ra Koh An Artisan with many passions.

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment


When I met Me Ra Koh for the first time, it was at WPPI in 2010 and the one moment that I wanted to ask her a very simple question, I was turned away so she can devote more attention to one of the many women followers who she had inspired.   At the time I was a little put off by her action and felt belittled at the time.   But I shrugged it off and watch her from the side lines as she garnered the attention of prospective women photographers and provided them with the guidance to become successful in their new careers.   She has built a network of Certified CONFIDENCE Teachers and in addition she also spreads her teachings with teaching videos on the Disney Junior Channel.   But let’s not forget her time on National TV with The Nate Berkuc Show.

Then there is her authoring projects with her best seller “Your Baby in Pictures”.  Then in October of 2013, she followed up that book with “Your Child in Pictures”.  With exposure on National TV and her books on the New York Times best seller list, Me Ra Koh truly won the hearts of many mothers and given them the needed knowledge to capture those special moments in their families lives.

But then, we have “Adventure Family Show” where a family of 4 is taking the leap! As she was quoted to say “We’re leaving everything behind to circle the world and film ADVENTURE FAMILY with Me Ra Koh!”   A travel show that believes having kids doesn’t mean letting go of your dreams to travel, but offers the more thrilling experience of seeing the world through your family’s lens. We are locking our belongings in storage, putting our home on the market, and have bought one-way tickets to New Zealand. Just days from now (March 25th) we’ll be standing in the airport, cameras rolling, as we risk it all to film our pilot episode! As quoted from The Kick Started Web Site.

Today, I have more respect and admiration for Me Ra Koh, and maybe if we meet again, we can actually have a conversation.

To keep up with Me Ra Koh current activities go visit her Web and blog at

Me Ra Koh is a member of the SONY Artisan of Imagery.

Atomos Shogun a Complement to SONY’s a7S 4K

•April 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Atomos Show New 4K HDMI Monitor/Recorder at NAB 2014

Atomos, the creator of the award winning Ninja and Samurai camera mounted recorders, and the pocket sized Connect converters, will launch the new 4K Apple ProRes and RAW capable 12G SDI and 4K HDMI called the Shogun.

“Shogun is the culmination of everything we stand for, amazing edit codec’s from the sensor like 4K ProRes and RAW Cinema DNG. Affordable 4K recording through Raided HDD’s and SSD’s and unbelievable custom panels for monitoring. said Jeromy Young, CEO and Founder of Atomos.”

Super light and slim and at a price point under 2K.   We offer a faster more affordable camera to timeline workflow with revolutionary 4K cameras from Sony, Panasonic and Canon”.

The new Atomos Shogun is the world’s first 12G SDI & 4K HDMI I/O monitor recorder and deck and features a stunning 1920×1080 SuperAtom IPS 7″ touchscreen 325 PPI 179 degree viewing. 400nit brightness and multi-frequency (48/50/60Hz) operation, depending on video input, giving super-smooth monitoring and playback.

The Shogun utilises both 4K and HD clean output from HDMI cameras such as the latest Sony A7S, Panasonic GH4, 4K SDI C500, and can record 24, 25 or 30p from the camera and up to 120fps HD if the camera is capable.   It also has genlock in for synced play out and features optional Wifi for remote control from iOS or Android devices.   Improved audio handling with the included Lemo breakout cable for XLR Audio gives balanced audio, mic and Phantom power.

Since the company was founded in 2010 Atomos have broken new ground in the design and functionality of recording, monitoring and playback devices.

Atomos strive to set new standards by working closely with camera manufactures on  essential features like auto record trigger, matching timecode and increased recording

Like the Samurai and Ninja Blade, Shogun allows you to set up the shot with waveform and monitor assist tools, record pristine, 422 10 – bit images straight from the camera sensor directly, all to inexpensive single SSDs or RAIDed HDDs, captured using 4K/HD

ProRes, Uncompressed RAW Cinema DNG or Avid DNxHD codecs.

SONY Raises the Bar in 4K

•April 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Officially released from SONY at NAB:

Sony’s α7S Full-Frame Camera Realizes a New World of Imaging Expression

SAN DIEGO, April 6, 2014 – Joining the acclaimed α7 and α7R family of the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens cameras1, Sony’s new α7S model puts extraordinary sensitivity, low noise and spectacular 4K video quality into the hands of professional photographers and videographers.

The innovative α7S camera features a newly developed, 12.2 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor paired with a powerful BIONZ X image processor, allowing it to shoot at a sensitivity range of ISO 50 – 4096002 with unprecedented dynamic range and low noise.

The new model is also the world’s first camera to utilize the entire width of a full-frame image sensor in 4K video acquisition, and does this without cropping or line skipping as it can read and process data from every one of the sensor’s pixels. This allows 4K video shooters to utilize all of the artistic and creative benefits provided by the unique sensor.

“The α7S gives Sony the most complete, versatile lineup of full-frame cameras in market today,” said Neal Manowitz, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics. “Between the α99, VG900, RX1, α7, α7R and now α7S models, we have completely revolutionized what it means to be a ‘full-frame’ camera, bringing a new level of quality and portability to enthusiast photographers and videographers.”

Wide ISO Sensitivity (ISO 50 – 409,6002) and Impressive Dynamic Range
Sony, the world’s largest manufacturer of image sensors, has developed a unique 12.2 MP sensor with extraordinary sensitivity that allows the α7S camera to collect dramatically more light than traditional cameras and to produce beautifully detailed, low-noise images in even the darkest environments.

The camera also features a newly developed on-sensor technology that allows it to optimize the dynamic range throughout the entirety of the ISO50 – 409,600 sensitivity range. This on-sensor technology also broadens the range of tonal gradation in bright environments and minimizes noise in dark scenes, allowing the camera to deliver impressive results in these extreme conditions where other cameras (and image sensors) typically struggle.

World’s First Full-Frame Camera with Full Pixel Read-out3 (without pixel binning) during Movie Shooting
With the new α7S camera, the high-speed read out of the 35mm full-frame image sensor combined with the high-speed processing of the BIONZ X processor enables significant improvements in video quality.

These powerful components allow the camera to process data from all of the sensor’s pixels and output stunning HD and 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160 pixels) video3 while utilizing the full-width of the sensor. In addition to the benefits for low-light shooting, the read out of all pixels frees the video from aliasing, moiré and false color artifacts (as opposed to pixel binning) to achieve the highest quality video.

Additional Pro-Quality Video Functions
In video mode, the α7S can output 4K video4 at QFHD (3840×2160) to an optional external 3rd party 4K recorder, and can record full HD (1920×1080) at frame rates of 60p, 60i, 30p and 24p directly to a compatible memory card. Video modes can be changed from full-frame to APS-C (super 35mm equivalent) if desired, and in this crop mode, the camera can support high frame rate 120fps shooting at standard HD resolution (1280 x 720p), creating a 5x slow-motion effect.

The α7S camera is also equipped with S-Log2 gamma. Common to Sony’s range of professional video cameras, S-Log2 expands the dynamic range by up to 1300% to minimize clipped highlights and loss of detail in shadows. Additionally, for the first time ever in a Sony α camera, the α7S adopts the workflow-friendly XAVC S recording format in addition to AVCHD and MP4 codecs. XAVC S format allows for full HD recording at a data rate of 50 mbps with lower compression for improved video quality.

Other specialist video functions on the new camera include a picture profile that can adjust settings like gamma, black, level and color adjustment, and can be saved for use in a multi-camera shoot. It also has Full HD and 4K base band HDMI® output, time code/user bit for easier editing, synchronous recording feature with compatible devices, various marker and zebra displays on both the LCD screen and viewfinder and can dual record XAVC S as well as MP4 (1280×720 @30p).

The camera also has a Multi-terminal interface shoe that is compatible with Sony’s XLR Adaptor Microphone Kits (XLR-K1M plus a new model under development), allowing the use of professional microphone systems.

Low-light Shooting Advantages
The high ISO sensitivity range of the α7S camera is extremely effective for still image shooting, especially in low-light conditions, where the camera can shoot at high shutter speeds while keeping noise as low as possible. This is particularly useful for shooting indoor, dimly lit sporting events or other situations where most cameras typically struggle.

The camera is also equipped with the same high-precision Fast Intelligent AF system as the α7R camera, with drastically improved low-light AF sensitivity that can go as low as -4EV.

Expanding α Mount System and New Power Zoom Lens for Movie Shooting
Directly compatible with the growing family of E-mount lenses, the α7S camera can also be used with A-mount and others lens systems with optional adapters. Sony’s complete α lens system now includes 54 total lenses for both A and E mounts, including several premium offerings from Carl Zeiss® and G Series Lenses.

As a whole, Sony’s E-mount lens system is particularly well-suited for video shooting, with a variety of models containing “movie-friendly” features like smooth focusing, powered zoom control, and silent iris/aperture control. Building on this, Sony has announced development of a brand new, full-frame power zoom 28-135mm F4 lens E-mount lens that is an ideal match for the powerful movie capabilities of the α7S model.

Pricing and availability of the α7S full-frame interchangeable lens camera will be announced at a future date. To learn more about the product in the meantime, please visit, and follow #SonyAlpha on twitter for the latest α camera news.


Technical Specifications:

Sony A7S specifications

Body type
Body type SLR-style mirrorless
Body material Magnesium alloy
Max resolution 4240 x 2832
Other resolutions 4240 x 2384, 2768 x 1848, 2768 x 1560, 2128 x 1416, 2128 x 1200, 1376 x 920, 1376 x 776
Image ratio w:h 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 12 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Bionz X
Color space sRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
ISO 100-102400
White balance presets 10
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Extra fine, fine, standard
File format
  • JPEG (DCF 2.0, EXIF 2.3)
  • RAW (ARW 2.3)
Image parameters
  • Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia
  • Movie: Yes (Off / PP1-PP7) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2), Black Gamma, Knee, Colour Mode, Colour Level, Colour Phase, Colour Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Digital zoom Yes (4)
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 25
Lens mount Sony E
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,230,000
Touch screen No
Screen type Xtra Fine LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.71×
Viewfinder resolution 2,359,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Auto
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (via Multi Interface shoe)
Drive modes
  • Single, continuous, speed priority continuous, self-timer, bracketing (AE, white balance, DRO)
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec; continuous (3 or 5 exposures))
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes
Videography features
Resolutions XAVC S 1080 60p(50Mbps), 30p (50Mbps), 24p (50Mbps). 720 120p (50Mbps). AVCHD 60p (28Mbps), 60i (24Mbps/17Mbps), 24p (24Mbps/17Mbps)
Format MPEG-4, AVCHD
Videography notes headphone and microphone ports, XLR support via adapter
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (micro-HDMI port with 4:2:2 8-bit 4K or 1080 video output)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port Yes
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes with NFC and wireless control via PlayMemories Mobile app
Remote control Yes (wired)
Environmentally sealed Yes
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description NP-FW50 lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 360
Weight (inc. batteries) 489 g (1.08 lb / 17.25 oz)
Dimensions 127 x 94 x 48 mm (5 x 3.7 x 1.89)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS None

A Great Book to learn photography and the SONY Alpha A7.

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment


SONY Artisan of Imagery Brian Smith’s latest book is more than photos that tell a story, but a book will help you tell your story.   The book “Sony A7 / A7R From Snapshots to Great Shots” is truly a must have book on both your Apple IPad or Kindle and also a hard bound version as well.    Though the book might a bit technical in parts, with patients and careful reading, you will be able comprehend those parts and understand both the camera and the techniques using these cameras.     Brian is very thorough in many of his explanations and the stories behind many of his shots.

The book starts off by giving the reader an in depth overview of the features and capabilities of both the A7 and A7R cameras. Then he provides the reader an overview of the camera features by photographic style and provides many valuable tips from a more professional view of these cameras.    The book steps the reader through different shooting scenarios that covers many of the camera features, from auto and program modes to using these cameras in manual shooting mode.   Brian also shows you how to shoot in all of these modes and what to look for in your captured images. Brian provides you with clear lessons on composition and timing that is backed up with his own stunning photographic examples taken with the SONY A7R.

And like a great teacher, Brian also provides you with self-assignments in each chapter to help reinforce what he is trying to teach the reader. If you are new to photography and have invested into a SONY A7 or A7R, these self-assignments will definably take your photography to the next level and give you a better appreciation in the abilities of SONY Alpha A7 and A7R.

The book rounds out by discussing advanced techniques in manual mode, and covers the wide array of accessories plus the broad range of lens adapters from many of the third party companies that are available for the SONY A7 and A7R.   And for those photographers who have been using the SONY Alpha A7and or the Alpha A7R, you will find benefits mixed throughout the book.

SONY Artisan of Imagery Brian Smith’s book is available at most major books stands on in ebook format through most of your online book retailers.

The Hibernation is over.

•March 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We had to step back and play catchup with life.

Reorganizing my life, money, and studio has taken a large chunk of my time and the SONY Alpha Pro Blog has become a victim.    Now with everything back on track, I can look forward in putting to press facts and people who are working SONY Alpha Pros.
We will be on the search for more professionals who are utilizing their SONY Alpha’s and creating some stunning art in the process. Besides the Artisans of Imagery, we will be targeting other notable photographers and their work with the SONY Alpha line of cameras. Photographers like Frank Doorhof, Tony Gale, Zabrina Deng, Jeremy Chan and many others.

P Thomas Lambert

A Look ahead.

•March 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment


I have been toying with many different type of articles and trying to provide live coverage of event like PP of A’s convention in Atlanta and the WPPI convention in Las Vegas this year, but I also have the task of trying to rebuild my own business and so writing a blog can be at times a full time job.   After some careful sorting of the information that I did collect this year, I am going to approach this blog in a more meaningful manor that will make sense to everyone.

Noted Photographers, but not just the SONY Artisans of Imagery, but many other well known photographers who have dipped their toes in the Alpha waters then took the dive.

Techniques, not very well covered in the past but with the emerging new technology coming from SONY for the Alpha camera, there will be some very innovated techniques that many photographers would be willing to share.

Equipment, just not SONY but equipment that can enhance to capture process, and by the way equipment can include software as well.

Events, in the past I was very good in providing solid information of upcoming events, well I need to get back on the ball and get back on the event track again.

I could spend more time pontificating on my future direction for the SONY Alpha Pro Blog, but for now, I will just share what I have for now.

If you have any ideas about what you like to see in the SONY Alpha Pro Blog, Please, I will not post rumors, but write me back with your ideas.


%d bloggers like this: