Submitted by Member Mark Karney
Late this spring I took my family on a vacation to the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. The island is just a short (but very tall) bridge ride away from Nassau the capital of the Bahama Islands. Normally I would bring a small Casio point-and-shoot because my Nikon gear is heavier than my luggage, and something I don’t need to be saddled with while on vacation. But this year I had just purchased a Sony Nex 7 that while not pocketable was certainly small enough to cart around even with a few Lenses.
My goal was to get to know the camera system, try out the main lenses I had purchased for it (18-200mm, 50mm, 16mm), and to get some use out of a fisheye lens all without using a tri-pod. Also like the Casio, the Nex 7 had video capability, so I wanted to test this capability.
The Nex 7 is so light and portable the entire system fit into a very small camera bag that was easy to tote. It was remarkably small, but with its large sensor generated relatively large files sizes for each pull of the trigger. Since I was getting to know the camera and it was easy to pull its trigger, I generated hundreds of images, more than half of which were discarded. The ones I did keep were for the most part sharp. The camera’s auto focus worked extremely well although not as quickly as on the Nikon D700, and I did have trouble adjusting to the small size of the camera. Many of the images I did discard were blurred because of camera movement (operator error) as I got used to the small camera size, or impatience shooting before the auto focus kicked in.
Nassau and Paradise Island are separated by a busy commercial harbor. Since the island’s main income is tourism it was common to see lots of cruise ships coming and going into the harbor.
The resort at Atlantis has its own harbor and is a short distance from the United States. So it attracts a wide variety of boats from large super yachts to smaller fishing vessels.
It is also a cruiser’s destination as boats land there from all over the world.
There are a number of attractions for tourists who don’t arrive by boat, but paramount is the warm weather combined with wonderful beaches. Atlantis and its sister resort the Ocean Club have lots of beachfront for swimming and lounging
And despite the large number of tourists it attracts, you can always find room to relax by yourself. Either in typical tourist fashion:
or like one of the locals.
I was pleasantly surprised by the “Sweep Panorama” shooting mode on the camera. Essentially it allows the user (Jpeg’s only) to take a whole series of images that the camera then stitches in-camera into a panoramic shot within seconds. You simply stand in one spot and move the camera in a straight line as consistently as possible in one direction until the camera stops shooting.
It also works in any of the four directions (Left-right, up-down).
This feature took a while to get used to and didn’t produce large files. Also, the detail on some images was sub par. But overall it was a great feature that was fun to use and got me thinking outside the box for shots I might not normally have envisioned. It was also a great way to document aspects of the trip without having to come home and stitch images in a photo editor.
I also got some use out of the fisheye lens I brought. It screws onto the 16mm “pancake” prime lens I have for this camera. Both lenses are so small that together they don’t create a big footprint. I was pretty amazed by the clarity of the fisheye and had fun shooting images of the grounds at the resort:
and also a large dome at the entrance to one of the towers at the resort:
Like the Atlantis resort, the Nex 7 is bit pricey, but well worth it. Both were a real good time.
Speaking of good times, many islands in the Caribbean are known for their rum products, which have been known to contribute to having a good time. But the Bahamas are not a producer of sugar cane the main ingredient of rum. However, the resort did seem to have an inordinate amount of vodka.