I may not like it much, but it's one great camera - The Sony A7r + 55mm f/1.8 lens

All images - Sony A7r 55mm f/1.8 lens








In a previous post I wrote about how I don't like Sony cameras much. It's a personal thing and it's a bit like a musician selecting one instrument over another, it's just what they get on with. And I don't get on with Sony cameras. However, my admiration for what they come up with, particularly with sensors, is unreserved. Walking around yesterday on a lovely Spring day with what is, or close to it, the best digital photography can offer in terms of a sensor / lens combination currently, it was brought home to me just what we have at our disposal as photographers these days. 
 
I shot 16:9 ratio for the whole day. Plus a variety of ISO settings including ISO 3200 which I downsized to 12MP. The images below show just good the results from doing that can be.


All of this is undeniably impressive. There is the lens issue of course. However I read an article by somebody (I can't remember who) who made the point that Sony DO have lots of decent lenses that will do the A7r sensor justice, but not at a price point and not of a size and weight that most likely customers for that camera might contemplate, plus they need an adapter because they are all a-mount lenses. 

The Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 24mm f/2, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/1.8 are all superb. Then you have the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 and the telephotos. These are all terrific optics, but they are seriously expensive and seriously heavy. They might well be as good, or better than anything that Nikon or Canon produce but you can body build with them and as I indicated they are all a-mount and require an adapter for the FE cameras. Sony did however push this a-mount range in their A7s presentation and with the above list you can see why. Some pretty amazing stuff but some pretty amazing prices too. In the light of that it did occur to me that Sony might have put these FE sensors, including the one in the A7s, in the wrong cameras. If these had turned up in an a-mount series of cameras then they could have seriously worried both Canon and Nikon. However they presumably wouldn't have sold as many, since the amateur / enthusiast mirrorless market is I would imagine bigger than the professional DSLR market.

Currently the only e-mount lens that can compete with those a-mount monsters is the 55mm f/1.8 and it is special. But the others in Sony's range reflect the down side of the Sony lens offer, too many ordinary lenses when it comes to the cheaper, lighter and smaller options. They don't seem to have learnt anything from what Fuji are currently offering. High-spec. lenses at non-alarming prices and with an exemplary build quality and small, light form factor. However, they aren't the only ones with regard to that.

Sure a 35mm sensor is more difficult to work with, but Sony are going to have to come up with something soon to avoid all the advantages of the FE system being ignored by a lot of photographers. Surely they must realise that a lot of the customers for this system are the same customers who own, or are contemplating owning m4/3 and Fuji X cameras. These customers are used to high quality and innovative lenses that don't cost a fortune (mostly) and need a prop forward to carry them. Sony however seem to missed this, but I'm not sure they afford to be so lax for much longer. If Fuji do indeed have a 35mm sized X-Trans sensor in the pipeline, then you can bet your boots it will get released with some pretty impressive lenses. Probably fast primes. However that's a vapour rumour currently.




I can say that the A7r, in it's nifty leather case, (From Amazon - somebody always asks) and the 55mm f/1.8 is a combination that is nice to use. I wouldn't go so far as to say I like it, but I don't actually hate it. However, I still don't have that sense of enjoyment that I have with my Fuji's and even with the m4/3 cameras I've used. The quality of the images I shot yesterday though is stunning. While I have to admit also that I prefer the look of what my Fuji's produce, as I've never been a great fan of the conventional Sony Bayer sensor look. It's a bit 'antiseptic' for me and I do like something with a bit more 'grit' and character, but none the less A7r files are undeniably impressive and really can't be beaten for sharpness, cleaness and dynamic range at low ISO's. 

So will my Sony's stay or will they go?. I'm so unpredictable about these things that I can't really provide an answer. However I would point out that I've taken an awful lot of A7r and A7 pictures and I still seem to be using both cameras on a regular basis. And it is that image quality that keeps seducing me. Now if only Fuji made the cameras and lenses that housed the A7r sensor I'd be a really happy bunny. But they don't so I'll have to come to a decision. However, it could happen at any time (or not which is just as likely!) And if someone wants to organise a sweepstake on when or if I dump my Sony's, then feel free. Just don't imagine you'll get many clues from me. Because I haven't got one.

 
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Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 
 
N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.




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