Travelling to Venice?

Ok, i’ve just got back from a trip to Venice and thought i would share not just my images, but also some travel tips and advice.

gcanalnight

This was my first trip to Venice, so i fell into a couple of EURO sucking traps that can be avoided. Just to be clear

  1. Ignore the people at the travel ticket desk that tell you you need to get the bus into Venice for €18 per person, then spend €45 per person on a 3 day Boat pass. The boat pass is enough as the airport is one of the travel zones covered by the boat! I argued this, but she was not having any of it…
  2. It’s hot, you will always need water with you. You can but a small water bottle from a tourist trap shop for €2, or a large bottle from a supermarket for a 10th of that at 20cents. Use a big bottle. You go through it fast. You can also fill the bottle from many small drinking water points for free and the water tastes great!
  3. Take really comfortable walking shoes / trainers. You will walk many miles down the little passage ways as you try to find where you are during the many times you get lost.gcanalnight3
  4. Speaking of getting lost. Venice is a maze, a puzzle invented by a mad genius. You will hit dead ends, constantly feel disorientated and get really annoyed with your map. But there is a saving grace. If you know the main area where you are heading towards, like the Rialto Bridge, Piazza St Marco etc..Then the one thing the Venetians are good at, its leaving many signs and arrows everywhere. They also are good at showing where the nearest toilets are.DSC06594_5_6_tonemapped
  5. Never eat from a place that has pictures of the food! This has never been truer than in Venice. The food will suck, they will have 15% hidden service charges and the drinks will be expensive.
  6. Try to eat away from the main tourist concentration points. The food is not at its best, its expensive and very busy.
  7. Get eating tips from the internet. There are many recommended places that are rather cheap and the food, service and wine is fantastic…and so is the price 🙂
  8. Never eat in a place that does not show the cost of drinks. It’s because they are ridiculous!
  9. Having a drink in Piazza St Marco is around €14 per glass of wine! It may seem like a good idea, but it’s only really worth it at night when the orchestra is playing and you can just sit and chill out as the crowds melt away. Giving way to some interesting night life.
  10. Try to ignore the many many street sellers. Trying to sell you either a selfie stick, handbags, belts, roses or little LED kids toys! The second they have your eye contact, they are a pain to get rid off. One guy really tried hard to sell me a selfie stick. So i took it, put it up to my camera and asked him how it attached. He look very confused and took it back! 🙂
  11. Take your tripod. Night time photography in Venice is a must! The place is astounding! night3
  12. Take either a laptop or many memory cards! There are so many amazing places and things to photograph. It’s a photographers heaven.gcanalnight1
  13. Depending on your time of year (my trip being August, the hight of the Tourist trade) Venice is extremely busy. The main areas along the Grand Canal, Basilica, and Piazza St Marco, Rialto Bridge etc..They are mad, just mad! Thousands of people all crammed in and sweating from the 34 degrees. But the good news is that there are tones of places just around the corner that are very quiet. I would constantly find little places where i could take my shoes off and dip my feet in the canal to cool off.20469355925_2e18437c1c_o
  14. You love the idea of a Gondola ride, right? You can’t go to Venice without one. That would be like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel tower. The price is high. Around €90 for a 30-40 minute tour. If you are lucky, you will get a Gondolier that is actually more interested in showing you and telling you about the landmarks and interesting places than he is bantering with the other Gondolier drivers.
  15. Most religious places forbid the use of cameras. So if you think you are going into the Basilica to take wonderful HDR images, think again. And if you are female. You have to spend a few €’s covering both your legs and shoulders. A bit of a contradiction considering they believe god made us naked and didn’t want us to cover up and show modesty! But there you go!20469032241_0f1d77f91a_o
  16. Take a sensor cleaning kit if you change lenses a lot. I found i got a lot of dust particles on the sensor, no matter how hard i tried to be careful.

These are the best travel photography tips i can give you. Maybe avoid Summer peak times too. It can get very hot and very crowded. But all in all, Venice is a fantastic place to go if you are a photographer or not. My wife enjoyed the Wine, food and scenery while i was happy snapping away!

Safe travels!

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Venice and my Sony A7RII

I’m spending the next 4 days in Venice on a romantic mini break with my Sony A7RII. Oh! and the wife! 🙂 After all it is our 12 year wedding anniversary.

I’m hoping to enjoy some good food and wine in the City of Love with the wife. In-between, get out as much as i can to take photos. Unfortunately it’s around 34 degrees and

Pulling in the details with the new sony.
Pulling in the details with the new sony.

i can only stay out for a few hours at a time. Then i am drawn back to take a shower and enjoy our air conditioned room :-).

This place is incredibly busy and expensive! But i promised i would not complain!

Sony A7RII Dynamic range

One thing i have noticed since having the new Sony A7RII. The dynamic range of many pictures often looks like i have used HDR. They are full of detail, colour and visual range across the perceived light stops.

And interesting article shows the comparison against the original A7R, A7RII and the Canon 5DSr.

Sony A7Rii compared with Sony A7R & Canon 5DSr

My image below shows how much you can get out of a single image. After a bit of post processing of course 😉

Hide and seek

Sony A7RII 42MP’s of Glory

I Dragged myself out this afternoon for a walk with the kids. In truth, i was dying to use the new camera. The light was pretty dull, so i opted to do a little Auto-braketing HDR work. This is a subtle 0.3EV9 (9 frames :-)) All handheld and very little post processing apart from stacking, de-ghosting. But no crazy Photomatix profiles. Personally i am blown away by the dynamic range, natural looking HDR and colours. I’d love to know what you think. Back to bed now!

0.3EV9
0.3EV9

Having the Man Flu sucks!

Hi

Having the man Flu sucks, but having the (whatever a temperature, no energy and feeling pain and nausea is…) when you have a new Sony A7RII to play with is just torture.

So, ignoring my wife instructions to stay in bed and rest. Then waiting for her to go shopping. I dragged my self out of bed to take a couple of shots in the garden. Not something I ever do to be honest. But the pull to just take pictures of anything i could was just too strong! And I managed to get back in bed before the wife got home. Unfortunately she spotted the trainers by the back door. DOH!

I took this with the LA-EA4 and Sony 135mm famed Zeiss lens. AF was not especially any different than with the A7II. But the image quality is epically better!

A leaf with water drops

Sony A7RII Observations

Hi

I have now had the Sony A7RII for 5 days and thought i would comment on what I have found so far. These are my honest opinions only, while using the camera. If you disagree, that’s fine, that’s life! I just hope you have as much fun as I am. I love this camera. I thought i had made a mistake moving over from my Canon a few years ago. But Sony are just getting better and better with both their Cameras and lenses!

The plus points:

  1. High ISO shows amazing low noise and quality of detail. Low light photography is really nice.
  2. 42MP Sensor shows amazing details, colour and sharpness. The image quality is far better than any camera i have ever owned.
  3. The silent shutter mode is awesome! And i will use it a lot.
  4. The shutter is much better than any of the other A7’s. Vibration is very well handled.
  5. Steady shot built in stabilization is in my opinion better than my A7II. But that could be the sensor handling low light so much better.
  6. Auto focus is insane and i mean fast! Even in low light.
  7. The camera body is really nice, feels good in my grip and is very solid.
  8. Auto bracketing now supports 9 shots, which is Mad for HDR but welcome.
  9. The dial lock on the functions dial, i used to catch this a lot. Now it has a center button lock!
  10. 4K video looks fantastic, even low light recording.
  11. Battery life seems a little better, but not much.
  12. Focus tracking is very fast. (I walked around taking photos with both A7II and A7RII, leaving the cameras on while walking. The A7RII seems to have a more efficient hibernation impact on the batteries. As the battery on the A7RII lasted longer but got the same use. I used it for an additional 30 minutes after changing the battery on the A7II. And took around 50 more shots.
  13. Very stable. I have had issues with my A7II, but the A7RII has had no issues freezing up or showing errors.
  14. Auto switching between electronic eye piece and the screen. This has infuriated me with the A7II. Constantly not jumping back to the screen. But it works without fault so far on the A7RII.

(while out yesterday, I had the same issues with this on the A7II, while the A7RII did not display the bug once. Infant I kept trying to replicate it) I want to highlight this as i have had comments stating i am wrong and the system in both is the same. That maybe. But i am reporting on real world usage with the camera in my hands. This is not an opinion but the result of testing the side by side in the same conditions. This has driven me bonkers with the A7II, so i would certainly be complaining if it was the same with the A7RII!

(new update regarding the View finder switching. It has happened recently when i have been wearing a new very dark coat. So the black of the coat stops me from viewing the screen. Very annoying but i can understand why. I will have to get a new coat 😉

  1. I can use my Sony 70-200 G lens. And every shot is sharp!!! This makes me so happy as i nearly sold it a few months ago. But I love this lens.
  2. Adobe support the Raw files from day one in Photoshop and light room!!!! Never had this before. Great Job Adobe! When the A7R came out, i had to wait weeks. Or at least it felt like weeks.

Negatives:

  1. The weight! The camera is a little on the heavy side. But not much difference than the A7II.
  2. I had a couple of issues with Focus tracking when other things move through the frame.
  3. My wife won’t let me bring it to bed 😉 and it’s not very comfortable to spoon…
  4. I need to spend more money on a bigger Storage device!

Addition

  1. Another issues is that the A7RII highlights weaknesses in lenses more. the 16-35mm Zeiss lenses shows more distortion in the edges at 16mm than i noticed before. Even after applying a lens correction profile. But my 55mm and 35mm primes give an outstanding image. Don’t get me wrong here. The lenses are still great especially the 16-35mm. But pixel peaking i perceive more distortion at the edges. And perception is reality!
  2. As i said about the storage, each raw file is around 43mb.
  3. At times it seems to start up a little slower than the A7II.
  4. A new issue. Using the LA-EA4 adapter i had low light auto focus issues. Mainly because the little red LED that assists the AF is not engaged when the adapter is connected.

NEW UPDATE

I have been asked a lot of question regarding HDR, Auto bracketing setting on the 9 frames.

The max for the 9 frames is 1.0EV9.

After 1.0, it’s 3 and 5 frames up to 3.0.

OK one very big complaint!

I put the camera into sports mode to take some photos of my kids on a swing. The burst shooting was good for the first 15-20 shots. After that I could not take any more shots for around 20 seconds or so. The red light was on and it was writing to my card. So in Raw and even with a fast card, you are very limited with sports shooting. And there is a very real chance of missing those important sports moments.

“New observations”

13Level13

Ok, so i have been using my Sony A7RII for over a month now.

Yes i still love it. It’s easily the best camera i have ever had. I’ve read that some lenses like the 50mm Zeiss is not as great as with the A7II. Thats not what i am finding! And i have had both cameras.

  • I still struggle with the menu system.
  • The A lenses don’t focus that fast with the LAE4 adapter.
  • The built in stabilisation is very reliable.
  • Image quality is epic!
  • Handling is sweet in the hand, i don’t have very big hands mind you!
  • Now that i have a fester SD, the buffer issue is not as bad. But still not DSLR!
  • Now that 14bit raw is coming, lets hope it is lossless Raw and not compressed lossless. (which makes no sense to me and is a contradiction.)

So after a month, would i recommend this camera!

The answer is a very honest…YES!!!!!! I put my foot down, no other camera in my kit bag.

09Level13

It is a truly remarkable piece of kit! I love it in most ways. Is it perfect? No! No camera is. But it has so many strengths. It’s good in so many aspects. Sony’s lenses are so sharp and awesome and complimentary to this camera. I can’t help but feel excited to shoot with it. And this camera as really added to my Joy.