I got a call from Fullframe Magazine to review the newly released SONY A7r and was instructed to meet with Arpit and Heena from Sony Middle East. This got me excited getting my hands on this much awaited brand new mirror less camera. This post will be a summary of how this camera works as i brought it to test in the Studio and on location. I will also answer the question most of us are asking, “Will it be a replacement for professional DSLRs?”
This is definitely one of the highest MP count in a mirror less camera that the market can offer and without an AA filter assures you of superb details for each image capture. But I wouldn’t go into much into that as it’s already given. You can print billboard size images with this. Anyway, I’ll start this post with it’s ergonomics.
ERGONOMICS. In buying a camera, we always make sure that when we hold it – It fits like a glove. Thing about the Sony A7r is that it’s size and touch are things worth noting. It’s really small compared to a traditional SLR camera that has a fullframe sensor. The weight, size and being discrete when in a crowd are on top of my list. I’ve attached my rapid strap on the A7r and carried it the whole saturday and never strained my shoulders. Say goodbye to DSLR backpacks and your regular visit to massage treatments after photo sessions. Seriously, the weight of the camera is like 50 times less than your regular DSLR body.
DIALS. Aperture is in the front and can be control by your point finger. Shutter speed is accessible using your thumb. ISO is at the wheel dial just like where aperture is with the Canon 5Dm3. Exposure EV sits on the top right side of the camera and can sometimes be confused with the shutter speed dial.
BUTTONS. There are far too many. I only need ISO, APERTURE, SHUTTER SPEED and AF. That’s all you need to take a photo. But it’s nice to know that some can be customised. The shutter release button is too backwards from the body. IF you have long fingers this is not a problem.
HOTSHOE. Finally, Sony decided to join the crowd by creating the FLASH hotshoe in accordance to all cameras in the market. I remember bringing an A77 to a photo shoot and realize it doesn’t have the same mount as my Canon therefore my radio triggers weren’t compatibility. Ended up shooting natural light because of it.
EVF. This by far is what’s really interesting about the camera. Electronic viewfinder. It works perfectly in any natural light situation. WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get. We can preview the last exposure by pressing the shutter button halfway down. One of the greatest thing about the EVF is it’s ability to give you focus peaking and live magnification of images. To make it clear, with focus peaking you are able to see white stripes/yellow and it signifies that those areas in the image are in focus. Manual focusing has never been this easy. This is the perfect combination for those manual lenses that grandfather gave you. Yep you can mount different lenses by purchasing third-party adapters and others are AF capable too. The live magnification gives you 100 % focusing accuracy with Manual lenses. Pixel peepers will love this feature.
EVF does not work well in a studio setting. EVF can only read what you set your camera to. Most of the settings in the studio is at F11/16/18 at 125th, ISO 100. What do you think the image will be in an indoor place with this settings? DARK. totally dark. That is what you’ll see with the EVF. The AF illuminator will aid you in focusing but it won’t stay on for more than 2 seconds. It is advisable to turn on your modelling lights if you want to use this camera in a studio setting. I just wish that there’s an option to toggle between EVF or OVF in this kind of situation.
FOCUS. A7R has contrast-detection AF with 25 points. I find the AF inaccurate at times. It will focus on the brightest part of the image. In this case, if your background is brighter than the your subject on the foreground, it will focus on the background. In continuous shooting, AF will lock on the first image captured, leaving the rest of the images shot blurred/ out of focus.
BATTERY. Due to EVF and high resolution screen, it drains quickly. On the first day of getting the camera, I drained a fully charged battery by just fiddling with the camera menus. I also noted draining a fully charged camera after 3 -4 hours of photo walk. An extra battery is a must. The battery can be charged with a micro USB cable straight to your computer. It means you can charge it with your laptop or in my case a power bank to charge my iPhone and it works well with the A7r. I charged the camera while having lunch in a restaurant.
PANORAMA. It was always a challenge to shoot Burj Khalifa with a lens at 50mm focal length. It gave me a winning smile when i got it all in the frame with this feature.
Shutter. Whenever you take a photo, people from about 10 meters away can hear you yes it’s that loud. If you want to scream attention this is a good thing. But i prefer something more silent as I don’t want to disrupt people specially if I’m taking a candid shot.
IMAGE QUALITY. ALL PRAISE when it comes to this. I have never seen something much better than images from this camera at the 35mm level. Something this small can give you amazing image quality.
IMAGE QUALITY, SIZE, EVF, FOCUS PEAKING, FOCUS MAGNIFICATION, Compatibility of various lenses using adapters
EVF, AF, BATTERY LIFE, LOUD SHUTTER, LIMITED NUMBER OF DEDICATED LENS
I’m excited to where this will take us in the future. I’ll definitely have this in my bag. It will be my constant companion for trips where a DSLR is just too much hassle to bring.