Soundimageplus Camera of the Year - Sony A7r

I thought I might as well get this out of the way since it's a forgone conclusion and it's so far in front of the other contenders that it's pointless to prolong any artificial excitement. (If Only!) The Soundimageplus Camera of the year is the Sony A7r.

Two things spring to mind. Firstly Sony probably come bottom of any lens of the year competition and secondly I've had this camera a week! However, despite having no AF lens for it, in terms of body size and weight and the extraordinary image quality it's so close to the camera I've always wanted that it's an easy winner.

I walk around with this thing and have to do a double take when I realise that it's got a sensor the same size as the D800E I used for over a year. The EVF is beautiful to work with and the ergonomics are very photographer friendly. It does have this noisy shutter, but you can't have everything. However it's when I open up the files that the fun really starts. Spectacular jpg. quality, wondrous super saturated colour, biting sharpness, great dynamic range and this incredible film-like richness is what I've wanted my digital camera files to look like ever since I stopped using film. It's a great vehicle for the Nikon lenses I love using and the combination gives me this souped up ultra clean film scan look that fits perfectly with my idea of what a digitally captured camera file should look like. I do very little to the files in Photoshop other than applying auto contrast and a bit of straightening and general tidying up. My workflow has halved while my image size has doubled.


Yesterday was a prime example of what this camera does for me. In the middle of winter where I live there is this incredibly warm light just before the sun sets and I've always wanted to capture it and do it justice. The above image is straight from the camera with no adjustment whatsoever in Photoshop. And it's right on the button. The light is captured perfectly, the point of focus is razor sharp and the dynamic range and contrast is exactly what I would want. I can get these files uploaded, captioned and keyworded and sitting for sale on my picture library websites within minutes of opening them up and in the case of the picture above within an hour of shooting it. In the last week I've gone from being a Photoshop editor who breaks out occasionally to take a few pictures to someone who feels like a photographer again. I'm actually as excited now by what this camera offers me as when taking pictures took over my life all those years ago. My only regret about this is that I didn't have it during the wonderful summer we had this year.

How could I not love this camera? It's the best image quality I've ever used and it gives me the closest representation of how I see the world in my photographs. And I don't have to put in lots of Photoshop hours to achieve that. The Sony engineers could have bespoke designed this cameras output for me, it's just what I wanted. Other people will have to make their own judgements as to whether this is for them and we all work differently and like and want different things, but the files from this camera are so perfect for me that I almost cry with joy when I see them on the screen. And yes I'd love some decent AF lenses for it and I won't always want to be manually focusing my Nikons, but at the moment I could forgive the A7r almost anything. Cameras will come and go and the A7r will probably follow that pattern, but unless the five hard drives on which I store my files all self-destruct I will have the images this camera shoots for the rest of my life and that gives me a warm glow!! I like the A7r but I simply love the images it produces. My congratulations to the people who imagined this and then made it a reality. Could you now sort out the lens range please!!



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