Resistance is futile - The Sony A7r redefines the mirrorless camera.


All images - Sony A7r
Voigtlander Color Skopar SL II 20 mm F/3.5 Aspherical MF SL II Lens










It's one of those photographic mantras, buying a better camera doesn't mean you create better pictures. The only problem with that is the A7r turns it on it's head. Since buying it, I AM making better pictures. And yes, contrary to everything I've thought and written over the years the A7r IS making me a better photographer. Because it's saying to me 'You want to take this picture in difficult light? OK no problem. Need a huge crop AND high quality for reproduction? OK no problem. Want to see your images finally capture the beautiful light and colour you saw when you pressed the shutter. OK no problem.

The A7r is actually encouraging me to take chances. Except they aren't chances any more, this camera copes with pretty much everything I ask it to do. The light in Stratford-upon-Avon yesterday was simply some of the best I've ever worked in. The low winter sun was warm, golden and clear. However with a 'normal' camera I'd be very careful about what I tried to capture. There were deep black shadows and dazzling highlights in front of me. My eyes could handle it, but my camera? Well this is the camera that likes to say yes. The dynamic range this sensor can capture (if you want it to) is nothing short of breathtaking. And it captures what I see. It captures the colours, the contrast and the definition of what I frame in the viewfinder and it does it with ease. And if anybody is thinking about writing some comment about how these pictures are over saturated or 'punched up' then don't bother. Come and take some pictures in the UK at 3:PM on a December afternoon with laser bright unbelievably warm light from a low sun. It looks just like this.

The problem with people thinking that pictures like this are 'over the top' when in fact they aren't at all, is because we've all accepted the limitations of what our cameras can do. Well the A7r doesn't seem to accept those limitations. If you work with the raw files you don't have to trade off blocked shadows with burnt highlights. Film could cope with a wide dynamic range, but I've never encountered a digital camera that could do the same, until now. The only problem with this of course is that I now want to go back to every place I've ever photographed and capture it on the A7r!!

Mirrorless cameras have been around for a while and for much of that time they were playing 'catch up' to DSLR's et al. But again the A7r redefines the relationship. Now it's every other camera that's going to have to play 'catch up' to the A7r. With the release of this camera mirrorless just did a 'Frankel' effortlessly drifting past it's rivals who can only watch in wonder. Why on earth would you buy anything else when you can have what the A7r offers? Certainly that's becoming clear to me. All the images I'm editing taken with other cameras now just look disappointing. For me the A7r is nothing less than a combination of the best bits of my Nikon D800E, Leica M9 and Sigma DP Merrills. And now it's not a question of whether all my other cameras end up on ebay, but when. 



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