September 14th, 2015
This is a guest post by Wayne Capili. Wayne was the very first PFRE real estate photographer of the year in 2008. Back then we called it PFRE Idol Contest. If you are a regular in the PFRE Flickr group you’ve seen a lot of Wayne’s work there. The photo to the right is work Wayne has done with his Sony A6000.
With all the talk about equipment, I wanted to tell everyone about my epiphany using a Sony A6000 in real estate photography.
I was in Best Buy and there was an open box sale of a Sony A5100 for $260. I bought it as my pole camera, as it had built in wi-fi, and had the rare feature of controlling the zoom and all controls from the app on my phone. I was amazed by the quality. I used to do pole photography with a DSLR, and it involves a beefier camera mount and is not really mobile. You set it up, you take your show, maybe rotate it, but to go to the next location, it takes a bit of time. With a Sony on a pole, I’m simply just holding it up, it’s so mobile, I now shoot events walking around with this camera on top.
I started to get used to the size, but the A5100 did not have a viewfinder and does not accept external strobes, or triggers. Enter the A6000! It has an Electronic View Finder (EVF) which takes a little to get used to, but now I would NOT do real estate without an EVF. Here’s a fun fact, and something I never thought of. In a DSLR, you can’t SEE the actual depth of field at a given stop. Yeah, depth of field preview is available, but let’s be honest it just darkens the screen. With an EVF, it actually shows depth-of-field. That’s important because you have MUCH better control. How many people, find it frustrating because they think they need more powerful strobes, or more of them to shoot at f8 or f11 just to get more depth of field? I’ve found with the crop sensor at f6 with my 12mm I get 3 ft to pretty near infinity. Now I saw pretty near, because it’s not quite if you are shooting outside, but inside, I’m golden and I’m not pushing my strobe power, and now, I only bring 3 strobes.
Then there’s focus peaking and magnified view. And yes, DSLR’s have this features on the screen, but these features in a viewfinder are magic! Use focus peaking for quick focus, use magnified view for critical focus, and with the new added depth of field in LiveView, you can set critical focus, and adjust the aperture to how much you want in focus.
I’ve found, that since the A6000 is a consumer not a “pro” camera, it has consumer features and interface. Take wi-fi: on my Canon 6D it works, but you connect 1 device, want to connect another one in the field? Nope… the Sony is meant to be connected…they want you to be able to get the images. With built-in near field communication (NFC), just touch your phone to the side of the camera and BAM it’s in your phone. Battery going down? Don’t have a battery charger? No problem, it charges the battery IN camera with the same cord you charge your cell phone with.
When I first got the camera, it had the ability to control the camera thru wi-fi on my phone but very simple controls. I wished there was a more “pro” version. The camera can access an App Store which I bought a better remote and while I was at it bought a time lapse app…in the phone. I can continually upgrade the features of the phone thru it’s software. I’ve had this camera 5 months and have updated the firmware twice. when was the last time you updated the internal features your camera?
So what did I do with all the gorgeous Canon and Nikon glass I have? With adapters, I have used of the best glass that Nikon and Canon I own. Pretty cool…even with all the glass I have I bought the simple 12mm Rokinon. Honestly, I bought it as a joke. Now with the A6000 it’s my real estate camera.
All you need to do is add experience!