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July 31, 2015
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Sony Tidbits… (Sony support BBC presenter Steve Backshall).

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Jamie Unwin just sent me the video to his latest project:

Hi Andrea,
Thanks for sharing my film about wildlife crime and the Ivory trade a couple of months ago. Sony UK have again supported another environmental film I have produced, this time I followed Steve Backshall and his kayak partner as they paddled 125 miles from Devizes to Westminster down the river Thames finishing outside the houses of parliament. It took them 23hours and 30minutes of solid kayaking, they were raising money to buy a chunk of Colombian rainforest. So far they have raised enough money to buy a chunk bigger than a small country! I followed them the entire way filming them through the night, Sony UK provided the A7s, Handycam AXP33 and action cam to film their endeavour.
Hope you enjoy the short film!

Many thanks,
Jamie Unwin

Unique combination test: Russian Tair 11a 135mm f/2.8 lens on the Sony A7r on SonyAlphaForum.
Zeiss Batis 85mm test at Yodobashi and Mapacamera.
Zeiss Batis 25mm test at Yodobashi and Mapacamera.

Danas Danulis:I’ve got RX100 IV for couple of days. Tomorrow I’m doing a bit more serious test, but today I filmed coulpe of wakeboarders. If you are interested… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaoXSPE7zyA

July 30, 2015
Posted in news

LOL: SAR reader sleeps with his new A7rII :)

The-a7rII-is-here!

SAR reader John Wilhelm sent me this picture he posted on facebook happily sleeping with his new Sony A7rII toy! While the picture is certainly nicely photoshopped I am pretty sure some of the new A7rII owners will keep the camera close to their bed the first night :)

SAR reader Le Butler posted his Sony A7rII first impressions on SonyAlphaForum:
If I sound critical is this brief description it’s because $3k cameras are not allowed to make excuses  :-)
-It’s massive, I really don’t like how big these cameras have become. I knew the weight had gone up hugely too and expected that to make it feel like a dense, top quality item. It doesn’t – it merely feels just like any other good DSLR.
-Packaging/presentation is standard fare, no more premium than any of their other cameras.
-Included: 2 batteries, USB cable, strap, nicely compact 11W USB charger.
-It accepted my non-Sony battery and happily charged from all my USB battery packs as well as an iPhone wall charger while in use.
-Viewfinder: nicer than I expected though flicker is very noticable, resolution adequate but pixels visible
-Speed of operation: Responsive, some extra (but still not all) functions can be used while it’s still writing to card
-Software: Many small improvements, eg more customisation, can add copyright, zooms into AF area chosen instead of the centre every time, AutoISO limits 
-Shutter: I’m going to love silent shutter and might leave it that way perminantly: I couldn’t make any rolling shutter-like artefacts appear when I tried
-Buffer: A sometimes-limiting 21 shots (RAW+JPG), and only 44 shots/min thereafter using a 280MB/sec card. RAWs are 43.5MB each.
 
Overall – When you say “Oh my God” loudly after viewing the very first shot, you know you have something special…makes me want to go reshoot everything I’ve had success with before and more :-D
Feel free to share your images and impressions on our SonyAlphaForum too!

A7rII preorder list:
In USA: at Amazon, BHphoto, AdoramaSonyStore US, FocusCamera, Uniquephoto.
In Europe at Sony DEUK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, CH, AT, SE, FI, NO, PT. Wex UK.
In Asia at Digitalrev, CameraPro.
July 30, 2015
Posted in news

UPDATE: Sony Australia says the A77II is “no longer available in Australia”.

SAR reader Jonathan wanted to buy the A77II at Sony Australia. But he got the following answer: “this model is already discontinued and is no longer in production

UPDATE: I got an official correct answer from Sony Australia saying: “The A77 II is still in production globally, however, it is no longer ranged locally in Australia.

July 30, 2015
Posted in news

First Sony A7rII owners reports (with RAW files, unboxing video, A7rII special cleaning kit)


The A7rII Stock image from Bojan Glamocak

As reported earlier the very first Stock of A7rII cameras shipped in Europe and Asia. Check the status at:
In USA: at Amazon, BHphoto, AdoramaSonyStore US, FocusCamera, Uniquephoto.
In Europe at Sony DEUK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, CH, AT, SE, FI, NO, PT. Wex UK.
In Asia at Digitalrev, CameraPro.

And here is a roundup of images and info I got from our readers:

1) Davide Roveri:Yesterday, like some other of your readers, I’ve been lucky enough it pickup my α7R II here in London! I’m going to do a evolving hands-on/review of the camera in the next few days and i thought you may be interested! If you want to have a look, here’s the link to the blog page on my website: http://www.drlapse.com/sony-α7r-ii-review/“. Here is Davides unboxing video:

2) Richard Banton sent me the link to his first Flickr image samples.

3) Gwen:Here is the first full set of raw files from the A7rII. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/q0bkmi8s65fow0d/AAD-rSqA6krq5MCODn6UxPcua?dl=0

4) Ed Cheong also got that special A7rII cleaning kit. It has been given as a present by Sony Singapore on a special A7rII launch event. Sadly you cannot buy that :(

Reminder: A7rII RAW support at Adobe: blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2015/07/lightroom-6-1-1-is-now-available.html.

A7rII preorder list:
In USA: at Amazon, BHphoto, AdoramaSonyStore US, FocusCamera, Uniquephoto.
In Europe at Sony DEUK, FR, IT, ES, NL, BE, CH, AT, SE, FI, NO, PT. Wex UK.
In Asia at Digitalrev, CameraPro.

Batis store links:
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lens in US at Adorama, Bhphoto. In Eu at Amazon DE, WexUK. In Asia at Digitalrev.
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0 lens at Adorama, Bhphoto. In EU at Amazon DE, WexUK. In Asia at Digitalrev.

July 29, 2015
Posted in news

Zeiss explains “What photographers should know about the (Sony-Zeiss) partnership”

Zeiss posted an interesting blog entry to explain what photographers should know about the Sony-Zeiss partnership. They do that because photographers regularly ask what the differences and similarities are between ZEISS and Sony/ZEISS lenses. I repost the most important part of the answer to some of the most frequent questions:

Are lenses from ZEISS or Sony/ZEISS identical?

The lenses of the two lines are different, but optimized for the corresponding system. Because ZEISS’s know-how goes into every lens, both versions are highly sophisticated from a technical standpoint. Differences can be found in the focusing mechanism: for example, whereas Sony/ZEISS lenses always have autofocus, ZEISS offers a mix of autofocus lenses (e.g. ZEISS Batis) and manual focusing lenses (e.g. ZEISS Loxia). For the lenses of camera systems from other manufacturers, ZEISS relies mainly on manual focusing (ZE, ZF.2). Lenses that have the same focal length differ in their internal construction.

Who develops the lenses?

ZEISS lenses are developed exclusively by ZEISS. ZEISS also determines the features of the lenses, such as their focal length and internal construction, in line with the company’s product strategy. Sony/ZEISS lenses are jointly developed by ZEISS and Sony. ZEISS supports Sony throughout the optical design and development process and then tests and approves the prototypes. Finally, ZEISS determines the test specifications for serial production.

Adding the ZEISS logo on a Sony/ZEISS lens at a Sony factory after months of joint development, quality checks and final production.
Adding the ZEISS logo on a Sony/ZEISS lens at a Sony factory after months of joint development, quality checks and final production.
Where are the lenses manufactured?

ZEISS still picture lenses are manufactured in Japan and ZEISS cine lenses in ZEISS’s factory in Oberkochen/Germany. It is still economical for ZEISS to produce its cine lenses in Germany due to the more sophisticated skills required to manufacture these special lenses for the film industry. In order to satisfy the much higher global demand for still picture lenses, ZEISS has established a partner network in the optics industry. During the entire development and production processes, ZEISS experts ensure that the high quality standards for which ZEISS has been famous for over 165 years are met.

Preparing a lens element for a ZEISS cine lens at a ZEISS facility in Germany.
Preparing a lens element for a ZEISS cine lens at a ZEISS facility in Germany.

 

Final inspection of ZEISS SLR lenses in a production facility in Japan.
Final inspection of ZEISS SLR lenses in a production facility in Japan.

Sony/ZEISS lenses are manufactured by Sony in factories across Asia. In these factories Sony uses lens testing equipment that has been developed and manufactured by ZEISS. An example is the MTF-tester K8, a versatile and compact instrument used to measure the modulation transfer function of photographic lenses, or similar systems, at an infinite object distance.

Quality check of Sony/ZESS ZA lens with ZEISS test equipment in Sony factory.
Quality check of Sony/ZESS ZA lens with ZEISS test equipment in Sony factory.
Who is responsible for customer service?

Owners of ZEISS lenses can rely on an established worldwide service network where they can send their ZEISS lenses for inspection and repairs. ZEISS also offers an online and telephone central support desk. ZEISS places great emphasis on providing customers with a personalized service, delivered by qualified experts in the company. The inspection and repairs of Sony/ZEISS lenses are managed by the Sony Service Centers directly.

Is the quality of both lines identical?

In all its brand partnerships, ZEISS sets the technical and quality standards to which partners, such as Sony, must adhere. ZEISS regularly audits the production process of Sony/ZEISS lenses in Sony’s factories. ZEISS experts examine the production processes, management systems and measuring installations. ZEISS certifies the suppliers and provides all the equipment that is needed to ensure product quality, including the equipment of third-party suppliers.

Inspecting a lens in a ZEISS production facility. The high quality standards are the same for all lenses that carry the ZEISS name – even if they are manufactured by its partner Sony.
Inspecting a lens in a ZEISS production facility. The high quality standards are the same for all lenses that carry the ZEISS name – even if they are manufactured by its partners.
Final inspection of a Sony/ZEISS lens.
Final inspection of a Sony/ZEISS lens.
Who sells the lenses?

Sony/ZEISS lenses are sold exclusively through Sony’s distribution channels. ZEISS lenses are sold exclusively through ZEISS’s own sales channels in all German-speaking regions and internationally. ZEISS also ensures that its local dealers have the required professional qualifications. Dealers who sell the company’s products are regularly trained by ZEISS experts.

Local ZEISS dealers can be found here: www.zeiss.com/photo/dealer

Product strategy

Sony and ZEISS each follow their own product strategies depending on market and quality needs. With their outstanding image quality, fast autofocus and innovative features, the new ZEISS Batis lenses are in a class of their own. The ZEISS Batis 2/25 and ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 are the first full-frame autofocus lenses for Sony’s E-mount cameras. The Batis 2/25 and ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 lenses have an OLED display which shows the distance and depth-of-field range – a true innovation. As a result, a photographer can also compose creative images in the dark. For more information about ZEISS Batis lenses, please visit www.zeiss.com/batis

ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 and ZEISS Batis 2/25
ZEISS Batis 1.8/85 and ZEISS Batis 2/25

 

Freedom of composition in photography was the guiding principle in developing the ZEISS Loxia lenses – a family of manual focus lenses for the E-mount full frame. They are optimized for digital sensors and electronic viewfinders as they are used in Sony’s α 7 mirrorless cameras and feature a mechanical aperture setting and the mechanical deactivation of the click stop (de-click) for ambitious videography.

Various other ZEISS lenses, for example those from the ZEISS Touit family for cameras with APS-C sensor and E-mount, compete with Sony/ZEISS lenses. Both companies will continue to develop their respective product portfolios, and in doing so offer customers even more choice.

This puts photographers in a comfortable position: they can choose their desired lenses from a broad portfolio provided by both brands in order to meet their specific requirements.

Many Thanks Zeiss for writing that!

Both Batis lenses are now available for preorder in USA and Europe (UK/Germany)
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lens in US at Adorama, Bhphoto. In Eu at Amazon DE, WexUK. In Asia at Digitalrev.
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0 lens at Adorama, Bhphoto. In EU at Amazon DE, WexUK. In Asia at Digitalrev.
In Europe and Asia the Loxias can be found in Stock via eBay sellers (Click here) and Digitalrev (Click here).

P.s.: Thanks Colin!

 

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