'Pure' photography with the Sony A7r




For virtually the first time since I was shooting film I'm creating images mainly 'in-camera' without lots of post-production in Photoshop. With the Sony A7r's ability to produce lovely jpgs. with great sharpness and deep rich colour, I'm doing very little work on these files apart from some straightening and very minimal levels adjustment. And I absolutely LOVE it. I'm back being a photographer again and not some kind of 'imaging engineer' or 'photo-graphical manipulator'. It's SO refreshing to have these images pop up on my screen looking really close to what I want without having to spend lots of time getting the colours right and the sharpening spot on. The fact that they are 36MP and capable of reproduction at enormous sizes is just the icing on the case.

I've written post after post on how to get my images right for picture libraries and the elaborate workflow that often entails and now I can contemplate a photographic life without that chore. Now if Sony can come up with a way for the files to caption and keyword themselves, I will sell them my soul!!

And it's this rather than the 36MP's, the large sensor, the incredible resolution and superb rendition that makes me love the A7r, though all of that is a huge bonus. It's really exciting to be able to think about composition, timing and what I want my images to convey, rather than contemplating what I need to do in Photoshop when I get back in front of my computer screen. It's liberating and it's actually making me feel really excited about what I can achieve with this camera. And for these reasons I can see it becoming a 'must have' for serious photographers who shoot the kind of material I do. This has to be pretty close to the landscape / location / travel / outdoor photographers perfect camera. Image quality to die for, amazing colour 'pop' and a camera that takes the strain without consigning me to complicated routines to compensate for the fact that the camera was designed by what an engineer or marketing executive thought I should have.

Sony have pulled off an amazing magic trick here. They haven't got the camera entirely right yet but they seem to have got the images it produces as close to perfection as I could reasonably expect. I'm sure that not everybody will think the same, but for me and I suspect many other photographers this is what we always wanted from digital, the ability to continue to think and shoot like a film photographer with all the benefits of digital. Instant playback and the ability to 'tweak' in post production is great, the wholesale creation of something meaningful from a dull, flat, inaccurate and flawed raw file is not. 

How many of us feel trapped by the tyranny of the monitor and the mouse? Is this tiresome IT work what we imagined being a photographer was about? And how many of us have come to the conclusion that we were going to have to endure doing this this in perpetuity? A lot of us I suspect. But there is now hope. As the days pass I can feel the A7r 'setting me free' and I can't think of anything more important for a camera to do.

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