Monday, December 6, 2010

FuRaiBo Double Jane Course Japanese Fried Chicken

Our random meal of the day brings us some wonderful Japanese Fried Chicken. If I had to choose my favorite restaurant, I would have to say that it is FuRaiBo. I think the fried chicken is just magical. I think it is one of those places where you either like it or you don't. The chicken is so deep fried that the skin actually bonds to the chicken meat. The two are magically infused to become one. Some would say that it is too dry for them. In my opinion, this dryness is what makes the chicken spectacular. You get this crispy piece of chicken that you cannot get somewhere else. The sweet, savory, and spicy all blends together to give the chicken a distinctive taste. You do not need any additional sauce. The chicken just stands on its own. When you get it extra spicy, you get more seasoning and not the hot spicy in the typical sense. Extra spicy translates to extra flavors and not burn your taste buds until you taste nothing...

This is also the fifth time I have featured FuRaiBo. Funny thing is I am always on the hunt for another random spot to eat but when FuRaiBo is close, I can't seem to resist. Well this time it was more than just a random meal but a camera test at the same time. At this point the food talk is done so feel free to tune out until the next random meal. I am a self confessed camera nut with a bit of a shopaholic tendency. I can't seem to resist buying a camera every few months. My square day job pays for my hobby. I saw a funny quote the dpreview forums and it was something like this: "Money does not bring happiness until it is turned into Photography gear." I was about to go mad during the Black Friday weekend and buy yet another camera but I resisted. The reason, I saw in front of me four SLR, one micro 4/3, and two point and shoots. Normally I don't have all my cameras with me but our office closed for a week for the Thanksgiving holiday and I brought everything home. Normally I would leave a couple of cameras a work for the lunchtime blog photo ops. I randomly take the train to work so lugging an SLR camera around is just not ideal on certain days.

Well, back to the camera test. On previous random meals at the Gardena FuRaiBo location, I hit the limits of my Nikon D700 while shooting with my 50mm 1.4D lens. My favorite view is at 50mm. At 50mm the rule of thumb when shooting with a film or full frame digital camera handheld is 1/x where x=the focal length of the lens. So in this case 1/50 should be your minimum shutter speed to avoid a blurry shot. For me I am a bit shaky or so I normally bump up the shutter speed 2/3rds of a stop to 1/80. Since most of the time I am quickly shooting my random meal so I can eat it. The little bit of shutter speed helps avoid the blurry shots. With the 50mm lens, I normally shoot two shots at starting at 2.8 and forward two more full stops until 5.6. Each random meal with get at least six shots. My D700 noise levels are acceptable in my opinion up the 6400 iso. You may be able to push another stop if you shoot in RAW but I am a JPEG shooter. I prefer to get the shot right the first time rather then fix during post as my goal is to become a better photographer. The last photo opp was then 50mm @f2.8, 1/80, iso 6400 with the Nikon D700. This is the max that I would push with this setup. With the older Nikon 50mm 1.4D lens, it gets soft with any aperture larger than 2.8 so I really try to avoid it. From what I read, the 50mm 1.4G should be good at f2.0 so maybe one day I will upgrade. So based on where I was sitting in the restaurant the last time, the ambient lighting in the restaurant pushed my equipment to the max.

Now for this visit I actually sat in the same seat. We have for this time, the Sony A55 with the 30mm 2.8 macro for this photo opp. Since the Sony has a "Translucent Mirror" it becomes a very interesting food blogger camera. The first thing is that I use it like a point a shot. Forget looking though the EVF, I use the gigantic 3 inch LCD screen on the back of the camera to compose and shoot. Because of the new translucent mirror technology, focusing is incredibly fast in live view. There is no comprise when using the live view for shot to shot as long as you turn off image preview. This also allows you some very nice angles that would make you look like a knucklehead it you had to look though the viewfinder at a restaurant. For this camera since it is a DX cropped body, the lens crop factor is 1.5x. So the 30mm becomes effectively a 45mm. If we go back with the previous rule of 1/x then your minimum shutter speed should be 1/45 or 1/50 rounded up. This is where the Sony can shine over all my other DSLRs; inbody image stabilization. For me this means I can effectually gain one stop. This equates to a non blurry shot at 1/25. In my opinion, I can push this camera up to iso 3200 for acceptable noise levels. With the extra stop image stabilization advantage, then at the same light level I can take the same shot with both cameras! Not bad for a $750 camera (body only). The $200 30mm 2.8 macro lens is nice and light and makes a great setup for the food blogger in everyone.

Granted my favorite camera is still the Nikon D700 but the Sony A55 at a fraction of the cost is a nice alternative.

(Sony A55, 30mm, f4.0, 1/40, iso 3200, +0.70ev)

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