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Author Topic: Why I Bought the a7R  (Read 21667 times)

Graham Clark

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Why I Bought the a7R
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:52:57 pm »

The decision to jump to the a7R was quite an easy one actually, even though Iíve never owned a Sony camera product. For me personally the Canon 6D is quite possibly the best SLR on the market for landscape photography:
- Ultralight (worlds lightest and smallest full-frame SLR)
- Amazing full-frame image quality
- EF lenses

When the Sony a7R was released the following really got my attention:
- Lighter than the 6D (worlds lightest and smallest full-frame camera)
- Smaller than the 6D
- Medium-format resolution range
- EF lens compatibility


Rodeo Beach Sunset  |  276s  F22  ISO 50  17mm
Download RAW .ARW: https://app.box.com/s/cncipoemhi6o2ar7da3q
Download .TIFF: https://app.box.com/s/tllwrnvwpbudr4qrxotb

Update! Click here for a review I just posted: http://www.grahamclarkphoto.com/sony-a7r-review-canon-ef-lenses/

So I immediately bought one with an EF adapter to use my existing Canon lenses, which I quite like. Thereís some downsides, which Iíll get into in my upcoming Sony a7R hands-on review, however my real drive for the purchase was the ultralight factor, size and image quality, which the verdict is still out on wether or not it actually does perform better than the latest line of Canon CMOS sensors.

The truth is that I donít have affinity with any particular brand, I just use what I think is best for my particular use case. I used to be quite the opposite in fact, and I used to swear by my Nikon D2X and Nikon lenses. Until I read Camera and Lens: The Creative Approach by Ansel Adams:



On the first page of the introduction to the book Ansel Adams outlines something profound - move away from the marketing and branding of the photography industry and focus instead on the creative potential. Interesting how this was written in 1969, however itís probably more relevant today than when it was written!

My reason for buying the A7R is also one of simplicity. Take a look below at how the top of the camera has been redesigned:



Keep in mind that the size here is probably not exactly to scale, and Iíll be taking quite a few images of these two cameras side-by-side. Instead focus on the button layout and the simplicity of top-case design. I really love how Sony has reimagined the control layout, with an emphasis on classic industrial design cues.

I bought the a7R from B&H, should get it this Friday. Will post 35GB or so of test images on Monday.

Graham
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 04:10:29 pm by Graham Clark »
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Telecaster

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 10:26:32 pm »

I've had my A7r for 2 1/2 weeks now. I like it a lot, more than I expected to actually. The 35 & 55mm lenses are really good and my Y/C Zeiss 25 & 85mms work well on it too via adapter. For handheld pic taking, which IMO is what the A7 & A7r are built for, I find shooting at shutter speeds no slower than 2x focal length to be important as the camera is indeed light and the shutter does vibrate some. Being able to use exposure comp. with Auto ISO in "manual" mode is lovely...I wish my other cameras could do this.

I'm not a resolution fanatic so the pixel count isn't a big deal to me, though it does mean I'm future proofed for 8k stills display should 8k ever become a reality.   :D  Mainly I just wanted a 135 format platform for some of my favorite older SLR lenses. So far so good on that! Plus I was curious about the current state of the art in 35mm sensor design. Pretty impressive in that regard. It gives my Pentax 645D a run for its money in terms of spatial detail, though IMO the Pentax creates a richer image tonally. Different lenses for each system too, of course.

-Dave-
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 01:36:47 am »

I've had my A7r for 2 1/2 weeks now. I like it a lot, more than I expected to actually. The 35 & 55mm lenses are really good and my Y/C Zeiss 25 & 85mms work well on it too via adapter. For handheld pic taking, which IMO is what the A7 & A7r are built for, I find shooting at shutter speeds no slower than 2x focal length to be important as the camera is indeed light and the shutter does vibrate some. Being able to use exposure comp. with Auto ISO in "manual" mode is lovely...I wish my other cameras could do this.

I'm not a resolution fanatic so the pixel count isn't a big deal to me, though it does mean I'm future proofed for 8k stills display should 8k ever become a reality.   :D  Mainly I just wanted a 135 format platform for some of my favorite older SLR lenses. So far so good on that! Plus I was curious about the current state of the art in 35mm sensor design. Pretty impressive in that regard. It gives my Pentax 645D a run for its money in terms of spatial detail, though IMO the Pentax creates a richer image tonally. Different lenses for each system too, of course.

-Dave-

Hey Dave,

Awesome!

Quick question - are you experiencing shutter vibration when the camera is on a tripod, or is it primarily shooting handheld?

Graham
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2014, 01:57:07 am »

Thanks for sharing!

Personally, I am not buying into the A7r yet. Maybe next year or so, I want to see where the system is going. Personally, I also feel I want a system with an antialiasing filter. From my reading it seems to be a very good camera.

Right now I am more into saving for travel, after buying a P45+ back, so I have a camera with the resolution of the A7r and with no OLP filter.

I am going to read your postings carefully, and it may affect for my planned purchases. Enjoy your A7r. I also wish Sony much luck with the A7r so they develop an A9.

Best regards
Erik




The decision to jump to the a7R was quite an easy one actually, even though Iíve never owned a Sony camera product. For me personally the Canon 6D is quite possibly the best SLR on the market for landscape photography:
- Ultralight
- Very small
- Amazing full-frame image quality
- EF lenses

When the Sony a7R was released the following really got my attention:
- Lighter than the 6D
- Smaller than the 6D
- Medium-format resolution range
- EF lens compatibility

So I immediately bought one with an EF adapter to use my existing Canon lenses, which I quite like. Thereís some downsides, which Iíll get into in my upcoming Sony a7R hands-on review, however my real drive for the purchase was the ultralight factor, size and image quality, which the verdict is still out on wether or not it actually does perform better than the latest line of Canon CMOS sensors.

The truth is that I donít have affinity with any particular brand, I just use what I think is best for my particular use case. I used to be quite the opposite in fact, and I used to swear by my Nikon D2X and Nikon lenses. Until I read Camera and Lens: The Creative Approach by Ansel Adams:



On the first page of the introduction to the book Ansel Adams outlines something profound - move away from the marketing and branding of the photography industry and focus instead on the creative potential. Interesting how this was written in 1969, however itís probably more relevant today than when it was written!

My reason for buying the a7R is also one of simplicity. Take a look below at how the top of the camera has been redesigned:



Keep in mind that the size here is probably not exactly to scale, and Iíll be taking quite a few images of these two cameras side-by-side. Instead focus on the button layout and the simplicity of top-case design. I really love how Sony has reimagined the control layout, with an emphasis on classic industrial design cues.

I bought the a7R from B&H, should get it this Friday. Will post 35GB or so of test images on Monday.

Graham
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2014, 02:00:18 am »

The decision to jump to the a7R was quite an easy one actually, even though Iíve never owned a Sony camera product. For me personally the Canon 6D is quite possibly the best SLR on the market for landscape photography:
- Ultralight
- Very small
- Amazing full-frame image quality
- EF lenses

...however my real drive for the purchase was the ultralight factor, size and image quality, which the verdict is still out on wether or not it actually does perform better than the latest line of Canon CMOS sensors.

...
The truth is that I donít have affinity with any particular brand

Graham,

Well... Compared to the D800/D800E, considered by most on this site and elsewhere as the reference landscape DSLR, the difference in weight of the 6D is 230gr... to be compared with the typical 10-20kg of a backpack for landscape applications. That is between 1 and 2% of weight difference.

In terms of size, the canon is 1mm narrower and 11mm less tall which is... minor by most standards when you consider the bulk of the lenses and the overall equipment you need to carry around.

As far as the image quality goes, the 6D certainly has a good sensor that performs great at high ISO, but it is far behind the Sony sensor of the D800 for most landscape applications, as you will soon find out with the Sony a7r tests. The jury has been out for a long long time on this one.

I am sorry, I fail to see how the 6D can objectively be considered the best DSLR on the market for landscape photography. Its minor advantage in size over the D800 is hardly relevant for landscape work and very far from compensating for his inferior image quality.

Now, there are some niche applications, like climbing photography, where weight really does matter, but you'll still be better off with a Nikon D5300 in terms of image quality in good light compared to the 6D... and that will be significantly lighter still when considering lenses. The only scenario I could relate to is climbing photography in poor light where high ISO is required... but is it really a use case you want to dimension your equipment for? ;)

But anyway, you are giving up on the 6D in favor of the Sony a7R, so I guess we have the new best camera for landscape photography identified, correct?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 02:04:33 am by BernardLanguillier »
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2014, 02:00:49 am »

Thanks for sharing!

Personally, I am not buying into the A7r yet. Maybe next year or so, I want to see where the system is going. Personally, I also feel I want a system with an antialiasing filter. From my reading it seems to be a very good camera.

Right now I am more into saving for travel, after buying a P45+ back, so I have a camera with the resolution of the A7r and with no OLP filter.

I am going to read your postings carefully, and it may affect for my planned purchases. Enjoy your A7r. I also wish Sony much luck with the A7r so they develop an A9.

Best regards
Erik





Hey Erik,

Thanks!

Just a couple questions:

1. Why are you looking for a camera without an AA filter?
2. What lenses do you use with the P45+ back? (i'm not familiar with the system)

Graham
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 02:03:52 am »

Graham,

Well... Compared to the D800/D800E, considered by most on this site and elsewhere as the reference landscape DSLR, the difference in weight of the 6D is 230gr... to be compared with the typical 10-20kg of a backpack for landscape applications. That is between 1 and 2% of weight difference.

In terms of size, the canon is 1mm narrower and 11mm less tall which is... minor by most standards when you consider the bulk of the lenses and the overall equipment you need to carry around.

As far as the image quality goes, the 6D certainly has a good sensor that performs great at high ISO, but it is far behind the Sony sensor of the D800, as you will soon find out with the Sony a7r tests. The jury has been out for a long long time on this one.

I am sorry, I fail to see how the 6D can objectively be considered the best DSLR on the market for landscape photography. Its minor advantage in size over the D800 is hardly relevant for landscape work and very far from compensating for his inferior image quality.

Now, there are some niche applications, like climbing photography, where weight really does matter, but you'll still be better off with a Nikon D5300 in terms of image quality in good light compared to the 6D... and that will be significantly lighter still when considering lenses. The only scenario I could relate to is climbing photography in poor light where high ISO is required... but is it really a use case you want to dimension your equipment for? ;)

But anyway, you are giving up on the 6D in favor of the Sony a7R, so I guess we have the new best camera for landscape photography identified, correct?

Cheers,
Bernard


Hey Benard,

I own the Nikon D800e - it's a great camera I agree. Personally I prefer the Canon 6D as the smaller size and weight is noticeable to me.

I'm not saying that the Canon 6D is the best landscape photography camera on the market as a blanket statement. I'll quote my first line in case you missed it:

"For me personally the Canon 6D is quite possibly the best SLR on the market for landscape photography"

I'm completely agnostic to brands, and in this case I own both and prefer one over the other. Let's leave it at that as we all know photographers love to go back and forth about equipment, but I don't. I'm looking at this from a purely practical perspective.
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David Anderson

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 04:25:47 am »

I'm keeping an eye on the A7R as well, though with a focus (sorry) on the lenses.
I get that it's lighter & more packable than my 800e, but the system still falls short on glass.

Is an adapted lens as good as one of the Sony or Zeiss lenses made for the A7r ?


That said, it's exciting where all this is going.


 
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PhotoEcosse

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2014, 05:24:39 am »

Let's leave it at that as we all know photographers love to go back and forth about equipment, but I don't.



.....so you post a long diatribe about a piece of equipment you haven't even received from the retailer yet.

Who were you trying to impress?
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 06:10:20 am »

Hi,

I prefer a camera with OLP-filtering. The reason is that I feel it is the right way to go. I also think that the right way to go is smaller pixels (within reasonable limits). This is a small article describing the issue:

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/78-aliasing-and-supersampling-why-small-pixels-are-good

Regarding the second question I use the P45+ on a Hasselblad with 5 Zeiss lenses. Here is a summary of the experience this far: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/80-my-mfd-journey-summing-up

The way I see it, the sensor should outresolve the lens, and the best way to achieve that is reducing pixel size. Adding an OLP filter is second best.

Just to explain, AA-filtering and OLP-filtering are interchangable terms. OLP filtering stands for Optical Low Pass. 

Best regards
Erik


Hey Erik,

Thanks!

Just a couple questions:

1. Why are you looking for a camera without an AA filter?
2. What lenses do you use with the P45+ back? (i'm not familiar with the system)

Graham
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 06:58:24 am »

I'm completely agnostic to brands, and in this case I own both and prefer one over the other. Let's leave it at that as we all know photographers love to go back and forth about equipment, but I don't. I'm looking at this from a purely practical perspective.

So am I, I couldn't care less about brands.

My reaction is not about the 6D, it is about me not understanding the kind of landscape applications for which a camera with the spec/performance of the 6D would be considered superior to a camera with the spec/performance of the D800e.

But I do have very little visibility on what you do which may explain my inability to understand. ;)

Would you mind explaining why this small delta in terms of weight/size impacts your applications? What do you typically pack when you shoot landscape for example?

Cheers,
Bernard

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 06:58:56 am »

A7r seems to be a fantastic camera indeed and a breakthrough as it's short flange distance allows for adapters into various lens systems, such as Canon's excellent TS-E II lenses (I own the TS-E 24 II).

However, there are issues with adapter quality (manufacturing precision, reflections), so I'd wait to buy into it until we see better quality adapters on the market, which seems to be coming.

From my point of view the key advantage over D800e the A7r has is the ability to use Canon glass (and other manufacturers), but with this resolution capability it requires top quality adapters.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 07:04:18 am by torger »
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Manoli

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 07:44:22 am »

However, there are issues with adapter quality (manufacturing precision, reflections), so I'd wait to buy into it until we see better quality adapters on the market, which seems to be coming.

If I'm not mistaken doesn't this relate to the Metabones Canon EF/E-mount adapter - particularly regarding TS lenses?

I own a series of Novoflex and Metabones adapters for both Leica M and Nikon. I have had zero issues with QC, always working with manual focus and live view combined with , if necessary, focus peaking.
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Manoli

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 07:55:04 am »

Ö my real drive for the purchase was the ultralight factor, size and image quality, which the verdict is still out on wether or not it actually does perform better than the latest line of Canon CMOS sensors. [Ö]  Instead focus on the button layout and the simplicity of top-case design. I really love how Sony has reimagined the control layout, with an emphasis on classic industrial design cues.

Graham/
As you say the trick is to reassign the Fn menu plus the custom buttons to a layout which is comfortable for you. Anyone who has used either version of the RX100 will understand what I'm referring to.

Not sure about the canon CMOS sensors part, but we'll skip that - FYI Sean Reid has today published an informative review of the A7r v Leica M(240). Regarding the many lens/IQ combinations there are quite a few references throughout the forum Ö e.g.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=85244.msg696857#msg696857

Good luck!
M


« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 09:14:41 am by Manoli »
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torger

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 08:15:24 am »

If I'm not mistaken doesn't this relate to the Metabones Canon EF/E-mount adapter - particularly regarding TS lenses?

I own a series of Novoflex and Metabones adapters for both Leica M and Nikon. I have had zero issues with QC, always working with manual focus and live view combined with , if necessary, focus peaking.

I'm basing this on info from this review among others: http://www.fredmiranda.com/A7R-review/

Quote: "Step one in adapting a lens: Find a high quality adapter. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. My options were limited, and my good options few and far between. After trying a couple brands, the best I found was the Metabones Mark III. But, I had sample variation among the different Metabones adapters I tested. Before you start out, itís crucial to get a well-centered adapter. Any mount tilt will translate to blurry edges when using ultra wide lenses."
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Manoli

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2014, 09:13:49 am »

Ö  the best I found was the Metabones Mark III. But, I had sample variation among the different Metabones adapters I tested. Before you start out, itís crucial to get a well-centered adapter. Any mount tilt will translate to blurry edges when using ultra wide lenses."

Toger/
Absolutely true but just to point out that this is a SmartAdapter III incorporating amongst other things both AF and IS, in short electronic integration. I can't remember where I read it but both novoflex and metabones have 'shaved' the depth of their adapters by a fraction of a millimetre - to allow accurate manual focusing via LV (especially at infinity ?) - not sure how that will integrate with the canon adapted AF lenses.

I'm not sure that it's mount tilt that gives lack of edge contrast using ultra wides. Many believe it to be the acute ray angle.
Paul Roark posted this:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=86470.msg703283#msg703283
Also MR's review :
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/a7r_m_lens_report.shtml

« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 09:15:39 am by Manoli »
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2014, 01:14:29 pm »

I'm keeping an eye on the A7R as well, though with a focus (sorry) on the lenses.
I get that it's lighter & more packable than my 800e, but the system still falls short on glass.

Is an adapted lens as good as one of the Sony or Zeiss lenses made for the A7r ?


That said, it's exciting where all this is going.


 

Excited to see the test results from the Canon and Sony A7R side by side.
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2014, 01:14:54 pm »



.....so you post a long diatribe about a piece of equipment you haven't even received from the retailer yet.

Who were you trying to impress?

lol.
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2014, 01:18:25 pm »

So am I, I couldn't care less about brands.

My reaction is not about the 6D, it is about me not understanding the kind of landscape applications for which a camera with the spec/performance of the 6D would be considered superior to a camera with the spec/performance of the D800e.

But I do have very little visibility on what you do which may explain my inability to understand. ;)

Would you mind explaining why this small delta in terms of weight/size impacts your applications? What do you typically pack when you shoot landscape for example?

Cheers,
Bernard


Hey Bernard,

I'm seeing very little difference when printing up to 40x60 between the 5D1, 5D2, 5D3, 6D and D800e. Therefore I perceive the performance more theoretical and the 6D more practical from a size / weight perspective.

Recently traveled to 30+ national parks in North America, before that from Alaska to Argentina by land. Usually with a 30L backpack with the lightest and smallest L lenses. My ideal setup would be a point and shoot without sacrificing image quality. So any advancements in this direction are more ideal for me and I'm willing to buy and test them to that end.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 01:20:58 pm by Graham Clark »
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Graham Clark

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Re: Why I Bought the a7R
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2014, 01:23:06 pm »

A7r seems to be a fantastic camera indeed and a breakthrough as it's short flange distance allows for adapters into various lens systems, such as Canon's excellent TS-E II lenses (I own the TS-E 24 II).

However, there are issues with adapter quality (manufacturing precision, reflections), so I'd wait to buy into it until we see better quality adapters on the market, which seems to be coming.

From my point of view the key advantage over D800e the A7r has is the ability to use Canon glass (and other manufacturers), but with this resolution capability it requires top quality adapters.

I saw one mention of machining quality with a 4x loupe on one Amazon review, but I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere!

I agree with you that it's significant but bottle necked at the adapter level, and I'm particularly interested to see first-hand what the adapter quality is like.

Graham
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