Sony Announces the RX10IV (and it is an amazingly powerful camera for action!)

This morning Sony announced that little camera above, the Sony RX10IV and it is an amazing camera for a variety of reasons.

What's New?

This camera now fires 24 FPS for a substantial burst in it's fastest mode.  What this means is that you will be able to shoot action for a sustained period of time.

And, as Sony increased the frame rate of the camera, it also added Phase Detect AF.  This is the sophisticated and amazingly accurate Sony method of tracking action over a large portion of the size of the sensor.

It's also a SILENT camera at the 24 FPS speed (or any other for that matter) which makes it incredibly useful when shooting in delicate situations or when you just don't want people to know how many photographs you're shooting of your kid while batting!

These three features are the ones that I have been waiting for -- especially the addition of the tracking PDAF AF!  I had used the 3 previous versions of the camera and they were very good -- with the addition of this fast and accurate AF -- this makes the camera useful to me.  The camera covers nearly 65% of the sensor with 315 PDAF points.

What Else?

And while they've added these killer features, they've kept some of the other features like the super sharp 24-600 (35mm equivalent focal length) f2.4-f4 Zeiss zoom lens.

The camera is an all-in-one -- meaning the lens doesn't come off -- so this means that the sensor stays clean (helpful if you're overseas and you just can't clean the sensor)!

The zoom is motorized which also makes it superb for video, because the zooms are sure and steady.

The leaf shutter (mechanical shutter) is still present just like it was in the RX10III and this allows for synching flash at very high speeds.  How this helps a still shooter like me is that you don't have to push the flash into the High Speed Synch mode (which takes power from the flash and slows recycle) and instead lets you natively synch a flash at a speed above the normal 1/160th or 1/200th that you need for an APS-C or Full Frame camera.

Practically speaking it means that you can use a much smaller flash to achieve an effect of a much more powerful strobe -- and this can be helpful to lighten the load and to synch at speeds virtually impossible with a bigger sensor camera.

Who Is the Target Market for this Camera?

In the past I would have said that consumers, advanced amateurs and folks that are just wanting a better, longer reach than a point and shoot (and smartphone, of course) but don't want the hassle or expense of buying into an interchangeable lens system camera.

Those folks will still love this camera -- in fact they'll probably love it a whole lot more.

But this is a camera that I will add to the bag as a pro for both stills AND video.

Now it can really do the work of shooting action -- up until now, it was only a Contrast-based AF system and it just left me frustrated.  No more.  Not with this new camera.  

I joke that it's a "mini a9" because of how fast, accurate and silent it is.

Soccer Moms/Dads, Little League Parents, and folks with kids playing flag football, freshman and junior varsity football will especially  LOVE this camera because now they've got a lens that really reaches and allows you in to see faces.  

For folks going on a safari this camera will track the action much like it's bigger siblings the a6500 and the a9 and will do it at 24 FPS and silently!  Oh how I wish I had had this camera back in July when we were at a game park in South Africa!  It would've paired nicely with the a9 and the 6300 that I was using!

Sony though, in my opinion, has really opened this camera to pros and aspiring pros because of the feature upgrades.

For smaller newspapers, websites that require more than a smartphone and also want to shoot stills and video to a very high quality -- this camera can deliver.  

Pros who require fast and accurate AF will add this to their bag as a backup camera ( I have been using it alongside my a9 at sporting events -- primarily keeping the RX10IV on the very long end (600mm) to take advantage of the reach that I don't have on my FF).

As a great video camera it is surprisingly good -- headphone jack, microphone jack, the ability to click/de click the lenses -- these are all features that make it a videgraphers' dream little camera.  This could be a great B or C cam (or maybe an A cam for some videographers).

Sony has created a camera that will make birders, safari goers, sports parents, and now even more pros in stills and video world very happy because they've added so many meaningful and useful features to an already powerful line of cameras.

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“Steer Wrestling - RMV Rodeo”


Camera:  Sony RX10IV

Settings:  1/2500, f4, 400 ISO

Focal Length:  216mm (587mm equiv. In FF)

Lighting:  Natural Light


A cowboy wrestles a steer during the Rancho Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano in late August.

Using the RX10IV in AF-C and firing at 24 FPS, I was able to capture a sequence from the stands from a side angle at nearly 600 mm equivalent focal length!)




Thanks to the folks at Sony for giving me the opportunity to test this camera prior to launch!  It is a winner!



Cleaning S*#t out and the joys of decluttering!


(This one’s a bit of a dog leg from what I normally talk about (cameras, lights, video, business, portraits and weddings) but it does tie in. The photo at left shows the 25 tubs that have been waiting since January at our house. The cart was perfectly there at storage to assist us, and the clutter in the hallway is about halfway through the day)

Yesterday Nicki and I started (and it’s merely a start) on a project that we have been planning to do since January but realistically we’ve wanted — and needed — to do it for several years. We’ve been kicking this can down the road, as they say, for far too long.

You see, yesterday we faced down the beast — the storage facility — all 10’ x 10’ of unmitigated clutter.

And, I’m very happy to report — we feel incredible and excited to keep on track and doing more.

Yes, throwing s*#t out felt AMAZING!!

We cleared up SO much stuff — papers that need to be shredded, crumbling boxes of negatives that are now in more secure plastic bins (I will be editing and scanning only the best of these and chucking the rest soon). I said to her as we were cleaning : “this is like really looking at the accumulated clutter of our nearly 16 years of marriage” And it’s so true.

We found loads of softcover and hardcover books — many donated to the local library — but also found some photographic monographs (absolute treasures) by some of my favorites — Larry Towell, David Alan Harvey and Josef Koudelka of Magnum, and Albert Watson. These were books that I had forgotten that I owned because the were literally at the bottom of a pile of boxes.

While many folks around the world are being tragically being forced to lose their possessions due to natural calamities like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma (bearing down on Miami as I write — prayers sent for safety of all there), this was a forced separation from “things."

There’s still a lot more to shed. There are cases, some gear (I’ll be selling some older Elinchrom mono bloc strobes), a half dozen bags and backpacks, tripods, old filters — things from my previous life as a freelancer, from the film days and stuff that I really don’t use anymore and don’t need to be carrying around anymore. It’s like going on a massive diet from “stuff” and it felt great!

The goal is now to only keep what we absolutely love, use consistently for business and pleasure and then sell or give away the rest.

I can’t tell you what a burden has begun to lift from the shoulders even though my shoulders and hamstrings are a bit sore from all the moving and lifting.

But boy is it worth it. 

And how this fits in to our business is this: We’re facing something that has gnawing at us but we haven’t tackled. We’re also reassessing and reaffirming just what we love and want to hold onto. Will we make mistakes and throw away something that *might* be useful in a year? Perhaps, but we’ll cross that when we get there.

And while our goal of shedding enough junk so that we can go to a smaller storage facility might not be totally doable….at least we will have a storage facility that is clean, orderly and you can actually see the floor!!!

But I think the biggest thing for us is that by clearing out clutter and junk from the past, we are now free to look forward knowing that what we’re taking with us is serving us now going forward and not merely something to cling to from the past. Sure, we want to hold onto memories and items from the past, but we want to do it in an orderly and more clear and conscious way. And it just feels INCREDIBLE!! 

Clearing out the physical clutter works in clearing out the mental clutter, as my wife says.

Is there a project you’ve been putting off for a while? What is stopping you? Is there anything I can do to help?

Hope you have an awesome weekend and stay safe.




p.s. I’m now offering One to One coaching and you can find out more by sending me an email or by going to my website here. Having a tech issue? Not sure what gear to get? Lighting problems? Are you stuck in building your wedding or portrait biz? Let me know — I’m here to help.


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Sirui Announces a new Video Head -- the VH-10X

Sirui VG-10X

As a Sirui Professional, I am very happy to announce that they've announced a new video head - the VH-10X!

As a still photographer who is doing more and more video this type of head is indispensable in my work.  I'm excited to upgrade from the original VH-10!


The SIRUI VH-10X Video Head has the following features:

  1. Smooth Fluid movement combined with an advanced balancing system – 360 degrees horizontally and +90 degrees / - 70 degrees vertically.

  2. Fully adjustable tilt drag knob.

  3. Four-position panning drag including a free rotating zero setting.

  4. Precision-machined lightweight aircraft grade aluminum construction.

  5. Dual bubble levels for critical alignment.

  6. Counter-balance mechanism (2 kg / 4.4 lb.).

  7. Telescoping handle can be easily positioned on the right or left side of the head.

  8. SIRUI’s patented safety lock system insures your camera will not slide off the head while

    adjusting the position of the plate.

  9. VP-90 quick release plate included.

  10. Padded carry case included.

  11. 6-Year SIRUI Limited Warranty.

Included in the box: VH-10X head, telescoping handle, VP-90 quick release plate, soft case, tools, instruction manual and warranty card.

Product Model Material Height
Total Weight Load Capacity

Aircraft Grade Aluminum 12.5 cm / 4.9 inches
1.2 kg / 2.6 lbs.
6 kg / 13.2 lbs.

Check out their website at:

Post Labor Day/Summer's Over and Fall Portrait Season is officially ON!

The Martinez family, photographed at Salt Creek Beach just after sunset.  This panorama portrait was created specifically for their home and the area over their mantle.

The Martinez family, photographed at Salt Creek Beach just after sunset.  This panorama portrait was created specifically for their home and the area over their mantle.

I hope you had an awesome Labor Day weekend.

The traditional “end of summer” means the kids are back in school, soccer, fall baseball, flag football, HS Football and all things autumn are starting to be in full swing.

This time of year is often “Family Portrait Season” because it is the time that many of my clients (new and old) decide it’s time to gather the family and have an awesome session. (It's also an amazing time for HS Senior portraits too!)

Now is the perfect time to schedule — before the rush.

Plus our fall is shaping up to be very hectic with studio portraits for our new in studio beauty portrait line and a lot of travel in my role as a trainer representing Sony (one of nearly 50 Sony Artisans of Imagery — a HUGE honor).

We want to make sure we can get you in for a shoot so don’t hesitate to call us right now to get it on the calendar.

And in terms of the photographs — this time of year is also the beginning of a photographer’s dream — our west coast beaches at sunset. After Labor Day the beaches are far less crowded and the sky, tides and sunset are amazing. In fact, the best skies in California are in fall and winter.

Here are the top Five locations for family and other portrait sessions here in southern OC:

• Salt Creek Beach

• Riley Wilderness (this place is a madhouse close to Thanksgiving — best to schedule NOW and shoot mid week)

• O’Neill Regional Park — a great location that makes you think you’re out in the woods and not in the middle of the OC

• Thousand Steps Beach — worth the hike back up and the last time I was there for a session basketball star Klay Thompson was there!

• YOUR house. Yep, this is probably my favorite location because it is meaningful and is often different as your children grow and change.

Where do you want to be photographed?

Let us know! Call Nicki today to schedule your session!

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I have photographed the triplets every year since 2008!  The top photograph was made in 2011 and the bottom one was made in the fall of 2016 (both were made at their home).

I have photographed the triplets every year since 2008!  The top photograph was made in 2011 and the bottom one was made in the fall of 2016 (both were made at their home).

Details & Tools for our Epic South Africa Portrait Shoot of Nompilo


Here are photos from our epic shoot with Nompilo, a South Africa member of the Zulu tribe, who modeled for me when my wife and family and I were visiting South Africa.

I wanted to share some of the nuts and bolts about gear that was used for the shoot to give you an idea of what was required (and some of the tools might surprise you!)

Since we were traveling half way around the world and there are strict limits on weight, I was trying to pare down the kit to as little as possible.

For cameras, I brought an a9 (which I used for nearly 100% of my work while there), an a7SII and an a6300 (which I mostly used for video).

For lenses:  I brought a 10-18 f4 Sony (mostly for video), 24-70 f2.8 ZA lens with an LA-EA3 adaptor (A-E Mount), 70-200 f2.8 G Master, 35mm f1.4 FE Zeiss, 55mm f1.8 FE Zeiss, 85mm f1.4 FE G Master and a 90mm f2.8 G Macro lens.

For lights, I traveled with two Godox V-860II S (Sony) strobes and two of the X-1 radio triggers.  I also brought with my my new favorite lighting tool — the Godox AD200 flash that is 3 1/2 times more powerful than a conventional speed light (and not that much bigger).


AD200 Flash:

I brought a couple small light stands, a Manfrotto Nano Stand and a Cheetah C8 stand.

Manfrotto Nano stand:

Cheetah C8:

To carry the stands and my tripods, I used a case from Versa-flex (41”)

I also brought two of my favorite LED lights — the PRL Lighting Lustra 50 (

For modifiers I used a couple of very inexpensive Godox modifiers that are very portable.  

A Godox 32” box was my main source and I used a Bowens S-Adaptor to hold the AD200 flash.

I also used this little Godox umbrella/softbox that was used with the LED light.

To hold a flash and an LED into this modifier, I use the Quad Bar

I use a small QR plate on the LEDs, the AD200 for quick mounting and they are here:

I’ve got six of them on the Quad Bar to place LEDs and strobes throughout the bar as need.

Lighting was done through the camera primarily using TTL and tweaking Flash Exposure Compensation as needed.

The last shots of Nompilo in her Zulu traditional clothing were made with the LED light because it was so dark I could barely see, let alone shoot.  

After the shoot, I hauled out of the conservancy using the Lustra50 to light the way.

For bags:  I carried the cameras in a Think Tank Airport Security Roller

I carried the lights in a Think Tank Airport Antidote

I carried my MacBook Pro laptop in a Sirui Urbanite BP a stylish and elegant case that carries gear as well:

For my tripod, I brought with me a Sirui 1204 Carbon Fiber Tripod:

The ball head I brought was the Sirui K-20X ball head:

I hope you found this helpful and let me know if you have any questions?