TWiP #248 – The Sony Re-Org and Photoshop CS6

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This week on TWiP, we’re talking about the Sony reorganization, the D800’s near-perfect sensor, Photoshop CS6’s awesomeness, and the Monty Python killer rabbit. Plus, Frederick sits down for an interview with attorney Allen Melser.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson, Nicole S. Young, and Doug Kaye

Episode Overview:

This week, we’re talking about the Sony reorganization and its focus on Digital Imaging. Does Sony have a chance to beat the big guns (Canon and Nikon)?

The D800’s sensor was given the highest score ever by DxOMark. Also, Adobe Photoshop CS6 is out in public beta form, and the guests talk about their favorite aspects of the new version.

Frederick also sits down for an interview with attorney Allen Meiser to discuss photography-related law, issues of copyright, and more.

Nicole S. Young and Doug Kaye join Frederick Van Johnson to discuss these topics and more on this week’s episode of TWiP.

Please Support our Sponsors:

This episode of TWiP is brought to you by, the Marketing school for Photographers. Use the code “TWiP” and get over 24 hours of full-length interviews, featuring your favorite photographers for just $27 – that’s a full $10-off for a limited time.  Just go to and use the offer code TWiP.

Connect with Our Hosts & Guests:

Nicole S. Young:

Doug Kaye: and “Doug Kaye” on Google+

Frederick Van Johnson: or or Google+, or


Pre-production by: Sohail Mamdani
Post production by: Suzanne Llewellyn
Bandwidth provided by: Cachefly
Intro Music by Scott Cannizzaro

  • This girl needs a day with a Sony dslr. And Nikon uses Sony sensors. 14-24 MPX. Sony has some amazing glass, Minolta G, CZ T* Lenses.

  • I’d have to agree… I can’t imagine Sony being ahead of Nikon in the market, in terms of DSLR usage. There’s nothing wrong with Sony cameras. I just traded in a Pentax for a Sony A55, and it works great. I love it. Stores near me don’t even sell Sony DSLR’s or SLT’s. Everything is about brand loyalty. In any given price range, there’s no real reason to pick any one brand over the other, aside from brand loyalty, an excuse that really doesn’t hold water.

  • Another thing… yes, Sony does go against the grain. However, beta was superior to VHS. Doesn’t really matter that VHS won. Don’t forget their most recent triumph… the Bluray vs HDDVD battle. And my Sony A55 focuses very quick.

  • You seemed surprised that Sony is number two but you forgot to think about an entire new up and coming class of cameras that are in between “Point and Shot” cameras and the big DSLRs. In this group, to just mention two, are Sony and Olympus represented by the new Sony Nex7 and Olympus’ E-M5 both top notch mirror-less cameras.

    I’ve also heard rumors that the great low light performance that the E-M5 is getting is because the sensor is from Sony….. But again that is a rumor.

    Not only do we tunnel vision toward Canon and Nikon but we only see DSLR too. I fall into this trap often!

  • I understand what Nicole, but every time someone asks, “who shoots Sony?” Matthew Jordan Smith is one of Sony’s superstars. But after that…. uhm….

  • so on the one hand you guys continually say it the Photographer not the Camera Equipment – yet you run down Sony Equipment and continually harp on Canon and Nikon as the Best Equipment …

    Which one is it ?  The Equipment or the Photographer….

    BTW my A77 is a very Good piece of Equipment …..

  • Really nice episode. As a Sony Shooter it is always nice to hear the gear being taken seriously. I am a bit curious as to why Doug dismissed the A77 when he tried it – hope to hear more about that.

    But that is not the reason that I write. I think that Nicole hit it on the head. Sony simply lacks photographers that talk about the equipment. Canon, and especially Nikon, have famous photographers that make workshops and talk about the gear. Sony really needs to do something about that. The problem is that Sony makes it all about specs and not about the art. Nikon has been clever in stressing the creativity – and just make sure to make the connection between their gear and the results that they get.

    So Sony does lack pro’s – there are some out there, but not high profile like Nikon and Canon has. And that will continue to be a problem for Sony if they want to penetrate the semi-pro / prosumer level of users. There is really nothing wrong with the gear. The A77 is a great camera (the best I have ever owned), the A55 was … alright (I still keep it as my second video body) and the A700 was really great in its time. We must remember that Sony might be new to DSLR’s – but they took over the Minolta-line – and that WAS a strong brand in its day. That also means that there is a lot of legacy glass to be had. Almost every Minolta-lens from 1985 and ahead can be used on the system (Minolta introduced the worlds first AF SLR in 1985). So in this case Sony did not change anything – when they took over Minolta they stuck to the things that worked. So no – they have not changed the mount, and the proprietary flash-shoe is a Minolta legacy, not something Sony has invented.

    But I digress – and agree with you. Sony need to go to Nicole and say “here is a lot of gear – try it out – we know you will like it”. They really do need to get some pro’s on their side. Because in the consumer space they are strong. And in the mirrorless-space they continue to lead the pack.

    And btw – small plug. Frustrated after a lot of discussions on general photo-sites about Sony and Sony gear I made a Facebook-group for Sony Shooters. You can find it here: . All Sony Shooters are free to join and be part of the discussion. We talk about gear, creativity, photography in general, give critique to images and much more. So come in if you want to be part of a friendly place where we dont need to defend our choice of brand … 🙂 

  • Listening to Doug Kaye talking about wanting to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 “for the RAW engine alone” while also raving about Lightroom 4 makes me a tad bit confused.

    If you use Lightroom 4, you already have the new RAW engine, right? (Assuming you use the current process version.) My workflow is to start with all basic adjustments in Lightroom (as opposed to ACR), then doing the “Edit in Photoshop” command for the few images that need additional work. To my understanding, this lets Lightroom 4, using the new RAW engine, render out a PSD-file that now nicely opens up in my Photoshop CS5. This will also work for any new RAW file formats added to LR4 only, right?

    Am I misunderstanding how this works, or is there a different reason why Doug wants the RAW engine in two places?


  • Kirk Tuck, a big Pro Canon and Nikon user, claims the Sony A77 is a game changer because of the EVF. I was watching the EVF working via a video on YouTube of the new Olympus OM-D, E-M5 and it became obvious fast why Tuck is excited by these EVF. They make the current mirrored equipment, which I own and love, look simply archaic…. what I call my “Clacking, Flapping” camera! LOL.

    Kirk Tuck, Scott Bourne and Trey Ratcliff are the only Pros that I’ve heard acknowledge this, at least periodically. Derrick Story too because but mostly because they are smaller…. (I’m sure there are a few others). These cameras are developing fast and I have no doubt that most of us will be using one in the not so far off future as this technology continues to develop. (the cost of the current technology will increase till they are specialty cameras).

    It would be nice to see others spend a bit more time seriously looking at these cameras. Olympus is claiming that this new OM-D has the biggest pre-order of any camera that they’ve made. Something is up, it isn’t just Olympus users lining up for it.

  • To Tormod Halvorsen — I have some admittedly strange workflows, documented here: Once you use “Edit in Photoshop CSx” from Lightroom, you’ve tonemapped/rendered the image to low dynamic range (LDR). In PS, you then no longer have access to the extended dynamic range of your RAW image. The solution is to “Edit as Smart Object in Photoshop CSx” in which case the RAW file *with* any ACR tweaks you’ve made is transfered to PS. If you click on the Smart Object layer, it opens ACR under Photoshop — if you have the right version of the ACR engine. Now I admit very few people may want to do this, but I happen to be one of them, which is why I mentioned it and why I’ve recently been researching the problems with various method of moving images between Lightroom and Photoshop and various HDR apps:

  • I’m an amateur photographer with a question about switching platforms.  I have a Pentax K200D, with a couple of lenses (18-55 mm kit lens, 55-300mm zoom, and 35mm prime).  A few weeks ago, I was helping a friend learn how to use a Nikon D3100, and was very impressed with the quality of the images.  I had been considering upgrading to a new Pentax body (possibly the K-r, or something with better low light performance then the K200D) – but do have concerns about Pentax’s longevity and their ability to innovate at a price point that I can afford.

    So – I’ve been looking at switching over to the Nikon platform.  Although I’m an amateur, I hope to one day make some supplemental income as a photographer.  If I switch platforms, I’d really like to do it one time, and then be able to upgrade individual pieces as I go along.

    I’ve narrowed down my upgrade to two choices:
    1. Purchase a K-r body and use my existing lenses (about $500)

    2. Sell my existing equipment and purchase either a Nikon D3100 kit (with a kit lens and a 55-200 zoom), or a D5100.  I’ve seen D3100 kits at $500-$600 on the low end.  I’ve also seen a D5100 with a kit lens and a 55-200 zoom for about $1000.  This option may take a little longer as I’ll have to save more money after selling my Pentax gear to be able to purchase the Nikon gear. 
    Would love to get some guidance and hear your thoughts on the above choices.



  • To Adam — When I “tried it” I spent less than five minutes with an a77 in the local Best Buy, which I hope I explained in the show. I was/am very impressed with it. The only reason it didn’t become my alternate/backup camera is that it wasn’t substantially better for what I shoot than my Nikon D7000, which is my current cropped-frame backup. I also think (or at least hope) I said this technology is the wave of the future and that in a few years we’ll all be using it. I probably mistakenly referred to “mirrorless”. I should have included “translucent mirror” technology in that discussion. I have the bad habit of lumping those into one group, which they’re certainly not.

    I’m currently following two camera lines for my personal use, both very different: Sony Alpha and Fuji X-Pro. Both of these systems are very close to offerring me, personally, something I’m not getting from Nikon. At the moment, Nikon does more of what I need than the others, but not 100%. For example, my Nikon D3s is getting way too heavy for my aging wrists. It’s hard to handhold the D3s with a large lens during a 2+ hour event. And it annoys me that I have to have a clunky external GPS receiver when smaller, less-expensive cameras have this built-in. But the D3s sensor and the Nikon glass simply can’t be matched (yet) by anything except another top-of-the-line DSLR or medium format camera. (Yeah, you Leica M9 guys are gonna whine now, aren’t you?)

    The Sony Alpha and NEX systems are awesome, and I’ve recommended them to many people wanting to get serious about their photography. But no camera has everything. It comes down to the right camer for the mission, budget, personal preference and the lock-in because of investments in glass.

  • My concerns about Sony come from my experience of many years in pro audio as both a recording and concert engineer. Every year Sony would come out with some new fantastic product and hype it like crazy. The next year, the product was no longer available, and good luck getting any support for it.

  • To Droidobscura — There’s no question that Beta was better than VHS, but that wasn’t the issue once VHS won in the marketplace. Compatibility always trumps quality in the long run, perhaps unfortunately. Memory Sticks might be better than CF or SD, but that isn’t important in a world where CF and SD are everywhere. My Sony MiniDisc recorders were awesome too, but Sony was too stingy with their licensing so they went the way of BetaMax.

  • M — I think it’s fair to say that once you have an investment in any brand (Nikon, Canon, Sony or any other) you automatically have a vested interest. If nothing else, it’s familiarity. I can’t answer many questions about Canon gear other than based on what I read, for example. But that doesn’t keep me from faking it. Isn’t that what co-hosts are for? 🙂 I think Frederick, Nicole and I all think the Sony a77 is a great camera to the extent we’re familiar with it first-hand.

  • If I had a D7000 and Nikon glass i would stay with Nikon too. That is very understandable. Shifting the investment is hard – and a77 is not better than D7000. Not worse either. In your use I would go NEX instead when you need something smaller than DSLR. Nex 7 is a really nice camera (i havent tried it personally, but I know the sensor from A77).

  • Thanks for the clarification. I understand that once I render the image in LR, it calculates to a lower bit-depth than the original RAW file. I’m generally using the 16-bit PSD option, so I have yet to run out of gamut 🙂

  • You are right (and you know it). It is not about the gear – but the gear still produce the images. Just like painters have discussions about brushes and paint. It is not all alike, but afterall it is not about the gear/paint/brushes …

    Cant blame you for loving your own brands. I would too. I was “married” into Sony from Minolta … if I had been Nikon back then this conversation would not have been happening.

  • I see this show as a reference to any photography related debate, and a fantastic source of great insights not only about gear but the photo market as well. Having this said, I find it a bit disappointing that you would have whole discussion about Sony without a deep research on what you are talking about, not to mention, not even having a Sony shooter on the show to point out the features that apparently you are all not aware of, and that puts Sony in #2.

    I know that Sony still has a lot to prove to the semi/pro and pro market, but it’s totally unfair to have such discussion on TWIP and not giving Sony the right credit for what it is doing to the photographic market, specially when you portrait it as a brand for point and shoot cameras. They are leading the entry-level DSRL both in quality and price, and although it’s just in the rumor level, you know what it’s coming in terms of semi-pro and pro level gear (A99 and A101)… don’t act like Sony is a minor player. Just compare how long has Sony dwelled in the DSLR market and where they are now.

    BTW, I’m sure you all know this and still you fail to agnowledge it, but both Nikon D7000 and D800 are actually Sony sensors wearing Nikon colors.

  • Beta won over VHS if your measure is, which one made it’s inventor more money. Guess what, JVC hardly made any money on VHS while Sony make a killing on Betamax with pros.

    This is why I use Sony:

    World’s best EVFs in the NEX-7, 5N, A65, A77.

    World’s best OVF for 35mm in the A850 and A900.

    Only cameras where you can use AF Zeiss and those ZA lenses are astoundingly good and trounce L lenses except for the 70-200 and TS/E.

    Incredibly useful and unique flash system.

    IBIS. Probably one of the biggest reasons Zeiss partners with Sony. Zeiss doesn’t want parking errors and imperfect elements polluting their optical paths. Every lens you have is stabilized, including adapted ones.

  • Both Matthew Jordan Smith and Brian Smith are prominent professional Sony shooters. I was surprised that no one on the show mentioned the Sony Artisans of Imagery program.

    To answer the question that Frederick posed, here is what I would do at Sony to better penetrate the professional space:

    1. Come out with a full frame, SLT camera for about ~$2000. Also do a full frame SLR at the same price point. With a full frame SLT shooting 12fps at that price point it would be hard to ignore. Leverage the audio and video knowledge at Sony to make the best HD video enabled SLT/SLR out there. Sony has the tech to eat Canon’s lunch on this if they want to.

    2. Get some “rock star” level pro shooters in the fold. Let’s face it: there are some rock star photogs out there and they all shoot Canon or Nikon (or more recently medium format). I am talking the likes of Chase Jarvis, Jeremy Cowart, Zack Arias, David Hobby, McNally, Kelby, etc. Sony just needs one to make the switch and tons of folks will follow.  

    3. Get involved at sponsoring some college photography programs. This should get some aspiring pros with their hands on the Sony gear before they really get started in their careers. This will produce a crop of pro shooters that are very familiar with Sony gear.

  • The problem here is not so much TWiP not knowing about Sony Artisans of Imagery – the problem is that Sony does do NOTHING to tell the world about it. Doing a Google-search for it does not even bring up a official webpage.

    And to the points:1. I agree. The A99 would really make an impact. On the other hand – the A900 was a lot cheaper than the full frame competitors, had more MP and the best viewfinder around. But then the 5D MkII came with video and blew it out of the waters. So Sony really do need to leverage their video and audio knowledge. The new NEX FS700 camcorder should indicate that this is what they intend to do ( – 4K pro camcorder for 8000$. I think Canon is a bit afraid of that one.

    2. The rock-stars are the big problem. When you go to Kelby Training every single video is showing how to use a Nikon or Canon. Not one of the other brands are featured. That is a real problem for Sony. Lets hope they realize that.3. That is just a good ideaI still love my A77 – it can do everything I want in a camera at the moment. Maybe I will upgrade to the A99, but I doubt it. I use it for both stills and video – also for paid jobs. For doing really beautiful video it is incredible. And again a small plug for the FB-group for Sony Shooters (so we dont have all our debate in TWiP’s comments) – 

  • I think it is unfair to blame TWiP that they did not have a Sony shooter on the show. On past shows they have had Tristan Hall on board as “resident Sony expert” – and Tristan does a nice job – the problem with that is that the discussion always turns to features and specs, and not about imagery. Tristan is mainly a journalist and secondly photographer – and that is appearent in his analysis (dont take this the wrong way Tristan, I just mean to say that you are not a pro photographer).

    We should be happy to see that TWiP is at least acknowledging the impact that Sony has – but it would be nice to see one of the hosts challenge themselves using Sony gear for a month (or at least a week), and then talking about the experience. Which again leads to the conclusion that Sony needs to be active in this space and get some people on their side.

    And for the A101 – that was a april fools joke. But the A99 is real.

  • I’m a bit surprised that none of these experts have ever dealt on
    It’s by far the best 2nd hand camera exchange and buy/sell forum. It is also an excellent site to get an idea of the value of your used equipment. Right now on can get a D3s for about 3100-3500 and a 5D MK II for about 1500-1900 from reputable sellers (read the intro on the website to find out how to use the site safely).

  • I have a Sony A55. I know that professional photographers use Canon and Nikon. There are barriers to using Sony – namely lens restrictions. Many lenses designed to fit Canon or Nikon cameras are not also available for Sony. So, while there are some very good lenses available for Sony Alpha, the range of really good lenses is restricted.

  • Hi all. Great show as always.

    One comment on the copyright segment: while I’m sure that 75% of it was universally good, at the end of the day, it was about US law. Other laws apply to the majority of the Earth’s population, so I suggest if you’re some somewhere else, you hit Google.

    FWIW, a very good site for Australian law is at

    Regards as always

  • I agree Shane, most of the interview was decidedly US centric. Are there any folks you can recommend to interview for a “non-US” perspective on copyright as it applies to Photographers?

  •  I have not found this in my experience. I have been a Sony shooter (and Minolta shooter) for over 20 years. There is a large stable of Sony and Zeiss lenses currently available. There are primes, wide angle, mid range zooms, and telephotos. Additionally there are a ton of used Minolta Maxxum lenses available on the used market.

    What shot are you trying to get that you cannot find a lens for?

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