A quick intro to the current state of digital cameras. For the most part, you've got point-and-shoots, and DSLRs. DSLRs have a mirror that flips up inside, allowing you to look through the lens itself when you use the viewfinder. DSLRs have a much larger sensor than point-and-shoots, allowing for much higher image quality as well. Recently, the new Micro Four-Thirds standard attempted to bridge the divide between point-and-shoots and DSLRs, by removing the mirror element and maintaining a larger sensor with a live image displayed on a screen. But the sensor in Micro Four-Thirds cameras is still much smaller than the (still cropped) APS-C sensor found in most DSLRs. This is where Sony comes into play.
What you see here is the new Sony NEX-5 camera, coming out this July. It features a full APS-C sensor in the smallest mirror-less interchangeable lens system to date. Retailing at $650 with a 16mm f2.8 pancake and $700 with an 18-55mm zoom lens, both crafted out of metal and not plastic like most modern lenses, the cost is a steal for the phenomenal image quality that samples have produced thus far. In many ways, it even surpasses my current Pentax body. For those looking for a cheaper option, Sony is also releasing the NEX-3 with plastic housing (as opposed to the metal casing of the NEX-5) and reduced video options, but with a $100 savings.
While nothing is set in stone, there's a very good chance that the NEX-5 (with the 18-55mm lens) will become my new secondary body. As of late, I've been taking my primary camera everywhere I go, which gets rather cumbersome and challenging depending on the circumstance. If I had a camera with identical image quality, better video capabilities and more casual features in an incredibly small form factor, I would definitely feel safer bringing that instead. Though it could never replace the pure power that having an optical viewfinder provides, mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras fill an interesting niche in the increasingly diverse camera market. And there's a very real chance I'll own a piece of this revolution come later this summer.
I was lucky enough to take another trip out to Anza Borrego State Park these past few days, and managed to take my paper photography gear with me. Luckily, my friends are amazing, and let me take the long exposures required to get these shots right! The image below was taken of a gas station in Borrego Springs, which had only a single pump. Though the street was busy and people came and went, the long exposure made them disappear, and makes it look as though the station is abandoned. So far, this might be my favorite shot with this new method.
This was another one of those 'spur of the moment' shots, taken at the Snowbird ski resort in Utah. I was aiming to photograph something in particular, but my autofocus caught the wrong subject. Give it a second, you'll see what I mean.
I meant to start posting these photos from day one. Honestly, I did. But that first night on the road was spent in a cheap hotel room that lacked anything even remotely resembling WiFi, and my cell inexplicably refused to show even the slightest sign of a data signal floating around out there. The next couple nights were spent at Snowbird Ski Resort, where I found myself too pampered to want to work (though my definition of pampered basically equates to them offering free coffee). Next thing I knew, I was nearly a week into my short vacation, and I had yet to post anything other than a barrage of Twitter updates. So here I am, making up for my lack of effort.
Snowbird provided countless photo opportunities, and was far from what I expected. Snow was still on the ground and in the mountains, allowing for many winter-esque photos that I never imagined I'd be taking halfway through June. One such cluster of photos came to light via the famous Snowbird Tram, which takes passengers up to the top of Hidden Peak in the resort. At 11,000 feet, the quick ride takes you to a whole new world, as your small group of fellow passengers braves the sudden cold to snap a few quick photos before heading inside the warming hut (which I proudly never set foot in).
And for being the summer season, it was surprising to see how many winter sports enthusiasts refused to give up their passion as long as snow still sat on the ground. Though for someone who doesn't (yet) snowboard like myself, spending a few nights at a ski resort at this time of the year is a great experience. The snow still lingers about, without being too intrusive. And the winter crowds are long gone, while the summer crowds have yet to arrive. The result is a private little snowy wonderland, complete with a complimentary pillow mint.