Kids! Kids! and More Kids!

I was able to have a couple of sunny days to work with this weekend. I took my kids outside yesterday, the Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G lens still mounted on my A99. I actually experimented with two settings. Direct Manual Focus and Auto ISO. I shot with Auto ISO at 100-400 for most of the afternoon and then ratcheted it up to 100-800 when the shadows got a bit longer and I used Shutter Priority at 1/500s during the fully sunlit parts of the day and toggled between 1/250s or 1/200s when shadows were present. I hope to nail down precisely how the Auto ISO works in terms of selecting an aperture versus selecting a shutter speed. For the most part, the lens stayed at f/4, and a vast majority of the shots were between f/2.8 and f/4.

This shot may end up being one of my all-time favorites.

SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/250s

Direct Manual Focus is a different beast altogether and one I may resort to more often. In Direct Manual Focus, when you press the shutter button halfway, the lens is engaged and autofocus gets the first focus point to light up and then disengages the lens. At that point, focus peaking kicks in and you can make minor adjustments. If you are confident in the autofocus, you can press the shutter down immediately. If I need to adjust, you can adjust.

The kids are at the top of the driveway and there is about a 6 foot drop to the bottom. I had to stop the race before it started but I didn’t want to miss my opportunity to frame all three of them.

SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/500s

Overall, I can now say I don’t regret my purchase of the Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G lens at all. I feel like there is much to learn about the lens. I mean, there is a screw on the left side next to the distance meter and I don’t know why, but with what I do know I am thrilled with the IQ and color reproduction. Here is a throw away, but it is a beautiful throw away. I am probably 40 feet away from my son, about to run after him to get him to not go in the street.

SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 125, 1/200s

Same shot, cropped to show full resolution.



You can see the Tonka Dump Truck has seen better days. It has been decorated by my oldest son, and has been passed down to my youngest son. At 1/200s, I could have been a tad faster as I had some ISO to give, and the subject was moving.  For a throw-away, I can still learn from the shot.

This shot intrigued me as it was 200’s across the board except for aperture. My son could have had a better expression on his face after I asked him why he had one of my bungee cords in his hand and wasn’t wearing a bicycle helmet, but as a math guy, I like situations where things are simple.


SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 200, 1/200s

I’ll leave you with this final shot, as the oldest of two growing up I have a bit of appreciation for it. Though I will say I may not have been the best big brother on the planet I certainly can, and will take credit for some of my little brother’s toughness.


SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 400, 1/500s

8 comments on “Kids! Kids! and More Kids!

  1. cbsva says:

    This problem I had to solver some years ago: With this little knob you can set the lens to exact infinity.
    One question: Since few days I now have a SLT57. It seems as if not only the steadyshot was developed a lot – compared to my old A700, but the “missing” mirror slap in my opinion is very helpful. I even had some very sharp results at 1/4 s with a 85mm lens… Do you feel similar benefits between A900 and SLT99?


    • No doubt. I can get 1/10s handheld shots with the 85mm or the 200mm with the A99 I wouldn’t dare to try with the A900. The A900 mirror slap is so loud and pronounced. I don’t even dare turn SteadyShot off on the A900 unless I am shooting with the mirror up.

  2. cbsva says:

    I would like to draw your attention to a site of some austrian amateur photographers (some of them are friends of mine) with lots of simply sensational nature images. The site is written completely in english, but as you stated before, images do not need a language, they speak for themselves.!prettyPhoto

    Here you can see some marvellous images out of my country – and from some other regions in the world. Each day a new image is added…This is the perfection I want to reach – in imaging and postprocessing….;-)


  3. cbsva says:

    🙂 Well, why not? Living here is a bit expensive, but holidays aren’t.
    I could show you the rather hilly eastern part of Austria, you could even get a guided tour onto the alps in western Austria, because at least one of these guys is a professional mountain guide, too. Sunrise after sleeping in the mountains (in a tent or a mountain hut, whatever you like) is an unforgettable experience!
    There are many possibilities…;-)
    Simply tell me!


    • What is the closest airport? Vienna? Is it possible to travel by train from Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt or Venice?

      • cbsva says:

        Closest airport is Vienna. I live in a small town north to Vienna, only 10 minutes to drive.
        Everything else only depends on your plans and time! If you prefer to visit some other countries too, each destination would be possible. You can get to Vienna from every town mentioned above, Vienna is easy to reach from anywhere.
        Venice is farthest away, a direct train needs about 11 hours (by night), Frankfurt – almost 10 hours, Zurich – 9 hours, Munich – 6 hours.
        You can find everything here (even in english):

        Only disadvantage, especially when you came from Zurich: You would miss some very very impressive sights in Switzerland, Vorarlberg, Tirol, Salzburg and so on. Driving through the alps you should do by day – you would never forget these impressions. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains through a narrow river valley, churches, castles, ruins nearby at almost every peak, lakes … everyone of these regions looks a bit different.

        Wouldn’t you like to write by direct mail from now on instead of doing it in the public? My email-address should be visible to you in my account. Then you could tell me more details and I could support you with futher info – and a few images, too… 😉

      • Check your mail 🙂

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