May 22, 2014
Posted in reviews

The Sony A7r from a reportage photographer’s perspective (Guest post by Guiskard).

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This is a Guest Post written for SAR by Guiskard (http://guiskard.net). Feel free to share your stories and reviews by contacting me (Andrea) at sonyalpharumors@gmail.com.

When I bought the A7r in December last year my decision was based on a couple of key features: Small Body, high resolution plus the possibility to adopt my old nikon lenses. Another aspect was the option to get Zeiss lenses perfectly suiting this camera. Now, almost half a year later I’d like to share my experiences with this blog that helped me a lot in terms of making up my mind if I really should spend money on this particular camera and later when I got it, how to get the most out of it. It’s not supposed to be another review with all the technical details – I think others did already a great job in that term. I’d rather write something about my experiences as a reportage photographer.

Zeiss 35mm f/2.8

Recently I spent some time in India, using the A7r for a couple of features and I didn’t regret it at all. Let’s start with the dimensions. Compared to a DSLR the body is obviously a lot smaller, the Zeiss primes are light and small, too. This means that I could use a slim sling bag for all my gear (i.e A7r, the 35mm Zeiss, 20/50/135mm Nikon legacy lenses, adapter), a bottle of water, one or two books and some food. It’s such a big advantage traveling with just as little luggage as possible. It pays off even more when you are frequently in overcrowded trains or busses. At the same time it is a lot less obvious when you are shooting undercover. The A7r looks much more like an old analogue camera than the professional and very powerful tool that it actually is. To enhance this look I put black ducktape on all the logos and lettering. I got the impression that people were less cautious or didn’t pay that much attention – which was a big plus for me in many situations. If the shutter sound was a bit more discrete, it would have been even better. But the places where I usually shoot have some background noise anyway – so I don’t mind that much.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Nikon 50 mm, 1.8,
More important to me are the lowlight qualities because – again it reduces the weight I have to
carry. I’d rather get that not so fast but small and light lens instead of the heavy and bulky one that might be a stop or even two faster. Besides the whole system is even more compact like this. Up to ISO 3200 the results are very usable and in combination with noise reduction in post processing almost astonishing considering the 36mp sensor (I’ m really curious how the news A7s will behave here). And I don’t want to miss that large sensor anymore! Not only for the narrow depth of field that I really love – which is sometimes almost too difficult to handle, already with the 1.8/50mm – but mainly for the possibility to crop substantially. Again and again I’m totally amazed by the sharpness this camera delivers even if you zoom in like mad. Often things simply happen too fast in front of my camera to be able to think for a long time about composition or how to frame the subject. It’s so good to know that it just doesn’t matter. Sure I have to know which part of the image should be in focus, but for the rest I often do the job in post and still you don’t see it – not even in large sizes.

Zeiss 35mm f/2.8

Being used to optical viewfinders I didn’t really know what to think of this EVF in the beginning. Looking through optics isn’t exactly the same thing as staring on a screen. But again it turned out to be a smart piece of technology. I really like the possibility to display different kind of levels and other information. However, most important to me is the constant brightness no matter what f-stop you choose. Even at night you’ll get a usable viewfinder image to work with. Shooting in bright daylight it’s very useful for briefly checking your results as one doesn’t see anything on the screen on the back of the camera. Another highlight is the the magnifying tool and focus peaking – both very helpful when using legacy glass. However, I must admit that the 35mm is a real always on lens for me.

Quite a lot of users were complaining about the autofocus speed. As I rarely shoot action or birds or something comparably fast – the AF works just fine for me. The only downside is the complicated adjustment of the focus point – I wish that would be easier and quicker to do. Something that really gets on my nerves is the ISO dial. It happened again and again that I touched the wheel with my nose while shooting. OK, you might argue that it’s connected to the size of my nose but whatsoever, it is pretty annoying if you realize that you were using the wrong sensitivity. Usually it’s to high (otherwise I become aware of the slow shutter speed) and eventually the problem emerges only in post when I see noise in the image where it’s not supposed to be. It’s a pain but I’m aware of the issue now and try to be extra careful with my nose.

Nikon 135mm f/2.8

Finally, considering the whole system – ergonomics, built quality and sturdiness, sensor technology, the possibility to adopt a large variety of legacy glass and the quality of the Zeiss lenses – it seems to be a really good package for reportage photographers. I do enjoy the handiness of this camera in combination with the excellent sensor. It delivers great sharpness, offering good lowlight quality and an impressive dynamic range, being unobtrusive at the same time – right now I don’t see any other model to compete with the A7r.
Links: http://guiskard.net

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May 22, 2014
Posted in deals

The week after: RX1000M3 with high demand warning. A7s not. Still no European price for both.

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A week ago Sony announced the RX100M3 and Sony A7s. In the meantime the RX100M3 got a high demand warning at Amazon US (Click here) while the Sony A7s has no such warning. What’s weird is that Europe is the only area that still got NO official pricing for the A7s and RX100M3! something messy must be happened at Sony there! Here is the updated preorder list:

A7s and RX100M3 Preorders:
Sony A7s preorder in USA/CA at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), BHphoto (Click here), Sony (Click here), Sony Canada.
RX100M3 preorders in USA at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), BHphoto (Click here), Sony (Click here).
RX100M3 preorders in Eu at Sony DE, UK, ES, FR, IT, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, NO, FI, PT.
RX100M3 in Asia at Amazon Japan and Sony Australia.
Sony A7s EU pages (no preorder yet): Sony DE, UK, ES, FR, IT, NL, SE, FI, PL.

 

 

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May 22, 2014
Posted in rumors

Next competition rumor: Nikon D800 successor to come next month with same Sony 36MP sensor.

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The Sony 36MP sensor was already powering the Nikon D800 (Image Source: Chipworks).

Sony is rumored to launch one (or maybe even two) new Full Frame A-mount cameras soon (likely this summer before Photokina). But before that Nikon will announce their new D800/E successor camera in June. According to Dr.Photorumor and Nikonrumors the camera will sue the same Sony A7r 36 MP sensor and overall the camera will feature a lot of small improvements and no real new big feature (like 4K or so).

There are a couple of interesting aspects of that rumor:
1) Nikon will not get a new Sony generation sensor (we were used before with Nikon FF cameras getting brand new Sony sensors 6 months ahead of Sony itself).
2) Nikon will not add 4K to their pro FF cameras. If Sony A99II will have 4K this will be one big unique selling point for Sony.

Can’t wait to hear more about the A99II. Some hints from my trusted sources maybe? :)

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May 21, 2014
Posted in reviews

First Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 FE lens review.

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Wimarys.com si the first site posting a more detailed review of the new Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 Full Frame E-mount lens (preorder here on eBay). They posted a sharpness test article (here) and a bokeh test article (here).

Well, the reviewer says the one challenging thing is actually…to find the focus point at f/0.95 aperture :) And that’s what they write about the sharpness of the lens:

First image is taken at F/0.95. It is indeed soft. Not in an unpleasing way, but don’t expect a razor sharp focus point. There is heavy vignetting apparent too.

And about the bokeh his conclusion is quite “artistic”:

If you have a busy background, you get an effect not unlike an abstract impressionist painting. Think Excavation by Willem de Kooning.

The Lens will ship the first week of June. So preorder now at MXcamera eBay store (Click here).

 

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May 21, 2014
Posted in deals

Up to $650 savings on bundles with the new Sony A7s at Adorama.

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You can save up to $650 on Sony A7s (yes the new 12Mp A7s) bundles at Adorama (Click here and than click on “buy together and save” to see it). As far as I know it’s the only US store offering such a deal.

Sony A7-A7r deals:
Sony A7 body only for $1498 at Amazon (Click here), BHphoto (Click here) and Sony Store (Click here).
Sony A7 with 28-70mm lens for $1798 at Amazon (Click here), BHphoto (Click here) and Sony Store (Click here).
Save $200 on the A7r with lens too at Amazon (Click here), BHphoto (Click here) and Sony Store (Click here). You also save $250 on the A7r with LA-EA4 adapter at Amazon (Click here) and Sony Store (Click here).

Here are the full updated preorder links to the A7s and RX100M3:
Sony A7s preorder in USA/CA at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), BHphoto (Click here), Sony (Click here), Sony Canada.
RX100M3 preorders in USA at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), BHphoto (Click here), Sony (Click here).
RX100M3 preorders in Eu at Sony DE, UK, ES, FR, IT, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, NO, FI, PT.
RX100M3 in Asia at Amazon Japan.
Sony A7s EU pages (no preorder yet): Sony DE, UK, ES, FR, IT, NL, SE, FI, PL.

A77II Preorders:
Sony A77II body in USA at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Sony Store (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
Sony A77II with 16-50mm lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Sony Store (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
Sony A77II body in Europe at Sony Germany, Sony UK, Sony France, Sony IT, ES, NL, BE, AT, CH, PT, NO, SE, FI.

SonyAlphaRumors support note: If you use these store links to preorder the camera I will earn a small commission that will help me to cover the cots and if preorders are high also reward me a bit for the daily work I do on SAR. Thanks for your help guys!!!!

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