Nov 7, 2011

Review of Pie Five Pizza in Irving

Does America need another pizza chain? Pie Five Pizza Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pizza Inn Holdings Inc., seems to think so. I received a buy-one-get-one-free postcard from their new location in Irving and headed over.

It helps to imagine Pie Five as a Subway for pizza, because that's exactly what it is, down to the assembly line addition of banana peppers and olives from behind a glass sneeze guard. The pizza is done in less than five minutes and it's priced at a flat rate, regardless of how many toppings you choose. The optional salads are all pre-assembled in recyclable plastic containers, same as the dressing packets.

We had two pizzas - one thin crust with vegetables, the other a regular crust with all the meats. The verdict? Not surprisingly, this tastes like a pizza made by Subway. Not offensive, but without any real positives either. I didn't taste anything that would set this pizza apart from what you'd get at Pizza Hut. So while I wouldn't mind eating here for lunch, there's not much that would draw me in either - it's just your ordinary fast food. When I want really good pizza in Irving, I'll stick with Cavalli's.

Here's a couple of Pie Five pizza photos, taken with a Sony Nex-5N and a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 ii.



Nov 6, 2011

Nex-5N and the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 ii Review

The Sony Nex-5N has decent high ISO capabilities but it's not in the same league as full frame cameras like the Nikon D700, so fast glass is critical for available light shooting. The new Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 ii fits the bill when you add a Leica M-mount adapter. It adds some weight but is still a very compact package; here's what it looks like on the 5N:

Manual focus with this lens at f/1.2 takes some practice as the depth of field is razor thin. But when you hit the focus just right, sharpness is surprisingly good, even wide open. Color and contrast are excellent and chromatic aberration is well controlled. Here's a few sample shots:




Nov 5, 2011

Nex-5N and 16mm f/2.8

The Sony Nex-5N and 16mm f/2.8 lens are a portable combo that delivers solid picture quality without a flash, and still fits in your jacket pocket. A couple of sample shots from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson. There's a few more photos if you click through to the flickr set.





Nov 4, 2011

Nex-5N and Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 (Nikon mount)

The Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 is a cheap, fast lens with very good image quality; the only thing it lacks on Nikon bodies is autofocus. This is less of an issue when you adapt it to the Sony Nex-5N. Here's a size comparison with the kit 18-55mm lens. The Rokinon isn't a huge lens, but with the added bulk of the Nex-Nikon adapter,

I picked up a used copy of the Rokinon for $150 - it feels solid and the focus ring is well dampened. This isn't a full review, but my initial impression is that the lens represents a tremendous value given the image quality and low light performance it can deliver. Manual focus takes some practice but isn't too bad given the Nex's focus peaking and MF assist. Below are a couple of shots taken with the Nex and the Rokinon wide open.



Nov 3, 2011

Nex-5n Review - Initial Reactions

I took my new Sony Nex-5n with the kit 18-55 lens out to shoot a family birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Here are my initial thoughts.

I was shooting indoors with moderately poor lighting. Focusing was relatively quick although it did get fooled a few times when there was strong backlighting from a row of windows along one wall. The automatic focus point selection wasn't bad but wasn't great either - I need to set this on using the center focus point and then recompose.

I shoot in raw - many photos at ISO 3200 were perfectly usable for my purposes (screen and small prints) with a little noise reduction in Lightroom. The kit zoom gets to f/5.6 pretty quickly so it wasn't optimal for indoor, ambient light shooting.

The flash was a disappointment - I tried the fill flash setting but everything I got was way blown out. I haven't had time to tweak this but maybe there is a setting I'm missing. Otherwise they're going to need a firmware update as the flash is close to unusable.

Auto white balance in the camera was ok, but most of the photos benefited from some WB adjustment in Lightroom.

The camera handles very well. Tilting the screen out to shoot from the hip is a nice feature, as is the touch-to-focus.