Mad dogs and photographers, or just one mad photographer. Sony A7r and a serious winter chill.

All images - Sony A7r 28-70mm zoom

It was VERY cold today. After most of the UK taking a battering from wind and rain yesterday, things calmed down a bit where I live. Some bursts of sunshine but still lots of icy gusts. I used the zoom with OSS turned off and there was less softening at the edges. There is still some, but what I might regard as normal. However despite this I still like the lens and of course it is incredibly useful and a lot easier to work with in this cold weather than my MF alternatives. 

I'm still mightily impressed by the dynamic range the A7r can capture and the overall colour richness. Add all this up and a less than perfect lens is not the handicap it might be. Plus it has to be remembered that with the resolution this sensor has, the A7r images are still better than anything else that 16MP APS-C and m4/3 is capable of, as far as I'm concerned. Now I've been more complementary of the smaller systems that most and used them extensively, but I have to concede that for me 36MP of Sony engineering nous does leave them in the shade. Yes there are some great m4/3 and APS-C lenses (the latter mostly by Fuji) but even this decent, but certainly not spectacular kit zoom produces extraordinary images. Out of interest I downsized some of the images I shot today to 16MP. I was stunned by just how good they were. The jpgs. were sharper than anything I've ever been able to achieve with very careful processing of raw files from my Panasonic and Fuji's. 

And some would have you believe that buying a 'kit lens' like the 28-70mm means that I'm somehow not doing the sensor justice or getting the best out of it. Well that may be true, but the images are extraordinary in their own right and I'd rather have this lens with a less than stellar performance and this resolution currently than any APS-C or m4/3 alternative. Apart from anything else it's the only FE mount zoom I can buy anyway. 

If you have never worked with these files then it's difficult to describe what you get. Unlike m4/3 at base ISO the Sony A7r exhibits no luminance noise whatsoever at it's equivalent setting. The dynamic range speaks for itself and the high ISO performance is again something m4/3 can only dream about. The Fuji X system still has the edge there, but the trade-off is much softer files, even from raw. Plus again I have to say just how good the Sony jpgs. are. Unless I need to pull up the shadows I use them rather than the raw files. Plus I've yet to see a blown highlight on any of my Sony raw files. Really impressive.

But of course there's still lots of sniping. The latest is about some kind of shutter shock with telephoto lenses. Again this is a criticism of Sony because there are problems (or not since there seems to be some dispute about this) with third party lenses and adapters. Again, who knows what these people are doing and what they are using. It's one of the curses of the internet that sites post these criticisms with no confirmation, no checking of results, no validation and then of course everybody with an axe to grind and everybody who has bought into other systems jumps in to rubbish the Sonys. Today there was a post on a forum from someone called 'Mike' who said he had provided these shutter shock samples. He said he was a professional photographer, made huge prints, owned a D800E and Phase One back, blah, blah, blah. And of course there's no website link to verify who he is, very little data and samples and we are somehow expected to believe this. Now it may be true or it may not, but I have no way of knowing either way. Because I have no suitable data, evidence or samples on which to base a judgement. And if I tell you Lloyd (My opinions cost money) Chambers is involved in this then I probably don't have to say anything else.

It's all a question of balance. There is no perfect camera or lens, there never will be. Everything we have available is a compromise. It was always like that and always will be. We all make our judgements as to what to use and choose the most acceptable compromise for ourselves. And instead of worrying about whether the zoom I bought is the best option or the A7 and A7r have this problem or that problem, I've bought them, I put them in my bag and I go and shoot some pictures with them. Instead of obsessing about what somebody on the internet writes I'm out there any day there's some sun taking pictures. Aside from my wide-angle soft edge problem (which I seem to have mostly solved), I've seen nothing to alter my opinion that the A7r and A7 are the best cameras I've ever used. Now whether they are right for you I cannot say, but at this moment in time they are the best cameras for what I do that I can buy. And that's not an opinion, it's a fact.

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