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Author Topic: Which Sony for Aerial Photography?  (Read 304 times)


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Which Sony for Aerial Photography?
« on: February 20, 2022, 01:32:07 pm »

Hello friends,

I am doing aerial photography using a helicopter over a few cities. I have the following kit:-

1.   Pentax 645Z with 28-45, 55, 90mm (all top class lenses, with another lens 45-85mm coming soon) : My workhorse camera, great results except when I need to shoot rapidly over parts of city where too many important sites are packed close together and where there are many restrictions on height of the chopper, amount of time you can hang around the airspace etc)

2.   Sony A7 iii with Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 and Sigma 35mm f1.2 (for night photography) - the second camera 

3.    Pentax K1 with 28-105 f/3.5-5.6 as the standby camera if the Sony fails. - the third camera. 

To get the best possible quality of images without missing the image itself (as happens sometimes with the Pentax 645Z with its slow AF), I explored various options including buying a Fujifilm etc. I do not wish to get into the Canon or Nikon systems at this stage or perhaps ever (nothing against them in particular). 

With generous advice from senior members of DPReview, PentaxForums and Luminous Landscape, I have come to the conclusion that a Sony mirrorless paired with a peerless lens like the new Tamron 35-150 f2-2.8 gives me the most optimal combination for AF speed, responsiveness, good resolution, decent DR, excellent buffer, good edge to edge sharpness, ability to shoot at base ISO most of the times and low weight (I have been shooting with Pentax 645Z paired with Pentax 645 28-45mm both together weighing more than 3 kg).

While the print size is mostly going to be 24x36 and I would prefer to shoot as close to the base ISO as possible, I wish to have the following options open to me:-

1. Cropping upto 30% of the original image.

2. Making upto 40x60 prints of the very best uncropped images in future (maybe 5% of those which are selected for printing to size 24x36). Please note that I will be carrying a Pentax 645Z with 28-45mm or 55mm or 45-85mm as the second camera and if a scene is good enough to be photographed after I have shot it with the Sony, I will try to shoot it again with the Pentax maybe by bringing the helicopter around again (I will not succeed in this at all times depending on weather, fuel status, pilot's willingness etc).

3. Once the aerial photography project is over in about two years, I would like to devote time to wildlife photography. The Pentax 645Z with 400mm f5.6, 300mm f/4 and 90mm f/2.8 lenses is awesome for images of animals in habitat, but I would like to have a faster AF Sony camera with 200-600 zoom available for action shots, not being birds in flight most of the times).

I am requesting advice from the esteemed forum members on which of the Sony cameras I should choose - not being Sony A1 as it is too expensive and I am not planning to do video work for a long time. Such a camera should be the most optimum one for reasons and options listed above with a decent safety margin of performance.

So which one: A7 R iv   OR    A7 R iii    OR     A7 R ii     OR    A7 iv?

Pls also comment on whether there is such a thing as too many megapixels for this aerial photography work which will diminish the final product quality rather than improve it. Basically I am asking if the Sony A7 R iv 60MP resolution is either unnecessary or is detrimental to the final expected images/ prints and a camera like the A7 R iii/ A7 R ii or even the new A7 iv would be just fine without resulting in any compromise of image quality, print quality or the three options above which I wish to be available to me.

Thanking you in anticipation. 
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