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Mirrorless Pro-Class Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses Sony A7, A7R and similar high end cameras that can serve as the sole cameras on Pro-event assignments.

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  #91  
Old January 8th, 2014, 09:32 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Cem,

What I've learned from this down to earth and practical POV is that the A7 is a camera for carrying long distance and bringing along everywhere without stress strain and bulk. But we could then choose an Olympus 4/3 system. However, enlargements would be correspondingly limited. Critically, for the photographer aware of his/her goals, this camera, from your reports and pictures, in the right hands, delivers a first rate image. But for faster work, one has to be prepared for the shot and think of prefocus or zone focus and perhaps smaller apertures for more demanding situations.

For studio work, I'm sure this can work, but the small size is not needed and any camera of any size that one likes works if one has the skill. So that is just a matter of getting used to the camera.

For my special interest, taking landscape and street shots from moving vehicles and stitching with multiple viewpoints, the focus delay could be critical but one could work around. There are two distances involved, about 20 meters and then everything to the skyline. For shooting and stitching the closer distance, one has to be fast one the first attempt and then get a series of follow up shots. I'd love someone to try that and see if one can meet expectations.

In practice there might be no difference. I think that the light weight is such a major factor and the modest size gives one far more entry to take pictures in the first place. when folk see a GR or a GXR they are not impressed or worried that a paparazzi is after them! There's less feeling of trespass and as you point out, long white lenses are really provocative.

Another great advantage for the Sony A7 is that the company is flourishing in its camera business. Other companies, such as Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji, notwithstanding their marvelous cameras, could fall shortly as they are not pleasing their investors, that much, these days. The biggest investment is of course in lenses, and since so many can be used with the A7 and A7R with adapters, that makes the Sony offerings a more solid long term choice.

Your account Cem, is very helpful to us all.

Thanks,

Asher
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  #92  
Old January 8th, 2014, 10:00 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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I can't really argue with anything Cem has said. I find the shutter lag to be more of an issue than him though. Having been a pro wedding photographer for 10 years I would say this camera is not a camera for a pro event shooter or PJ, I'd add studio to that (no PC sync). Perhaps the A7 would be better. Reports of unreliable AF and lack of fast primes (f1.4) and zooms (f2.8) also add to this. What it is to my mind is the ultimate enthusiasts camera. A camera that is tiny, light, unobtrusive (when you've gaffered over the white lettering no one believes it's a modern camera) with incredible IQ, unbelievable IQ and at a great price. Whether you want to shoot street, landscapes, fine art, whatever, it's just so much fun! This camera drives me crazy but I absolutely love shooting it more than anything since my beloved Canon A-1 (which is the same size pretty much).
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  #93  
Old January 8th, 2014, 10:24 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Cem,

Thank you for that superb report on the Sony A7.

You have done a wonderful job of capturing the many dilemmas and paradoxes we face in try to characterize a camera, or to compare two or more.

Last night we went to the monthly meeting of the county Democratic party, at which several candidates for state and local offices spoke (not all Democrats—the local offices are nominally "non-partisan"—hah!). As you know, this places a real premium on (effective) shutter release speed, owing to the challenges of capturing animated speakers.

I took the Canon Powershot G16 plus a Canon Speedlite 270EX. I had a lot of comments, including one from the cameraman for one of the statewide candidates, who said, "I think I have to have one of these."

Of course, the flash metering uses Canon's pre-flash system, and not a real speedy implementation of it, so flash was out of the question from a standpoint of "catching the moment".

I went to available light at ISO 1600, which generally led to exposure times in the range of 1/40-1/25 second (the venue was modestly-lit restaurant back room).

I mostly shot from my own table at the back of the room—I am still suffering some from some unexplained soreness in my right leg, and I wasn't inclined to scurry around paparazzo-like. The smallest FoV of 140mm ff35 EFL was pretty suitable.

I mostly aimed with the dreadful OVF to eliminate finder/display screen lag, which of course contributes to the effective shutter release delay.

I was very pleased with the results upon initial examination. (I haven't really processed the shoot yet.)

Next time I will probably leave the 270EX in the car, and the machine will then go nicely in my pocket.

We have many nice tools these days!

Sorry for hijacking your thread on the A7!

Best regards,

Doug
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  #94  
Old January 8th, 2014, 12:55 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Another great advantage for the Sony A7 is that the company is flourishing in its camera business. Other companies, such as Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji, notwithstanding their marvelous cameras, could fall shortly as they are not pleasing their investors, that much, these days.
I'm not so sure about that. Sony cameras are doing good, but they have only a small portion of the market. Besides that, the company is cash strapped and is hurt by the general down on small camera sensor sales.
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  #95  
Old January 8th, 2014, 01:03 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
1) Usability and features: i.e. how practical are the cameras in daily shooting, travels, special projects, etc.
2) Ergonomics: i.e. how do the cameras handle, are the buttons and functions logically placed, can one shoot blindly, etc.
3) Image quality: speaks for itself, or does it? IQ is also related to how one uses the resulting images: i.e. print them (small/large), view them on the monitor, share them on the web, etc.
4) Shooting pleasure and inspiration: this is purely subjective, which camera gives the most satisfaction to shoot with? And. how cameras have inspired me as a photographer to shoot better pictures.
5) Overall: this is the dreaded part where one chucks everything into a single bin and comes up with a magical answer.
Thank you very much for the review.

Could you write a few words about the NEX-7, which is comparable in some aspects? How is the A7 better? I mean, they come from the same manufacturer and have the same viewfinder and same resolution. Sure, the NEX-7 has a smaller sensor, but this allows it to have smaller lenses as well.
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  #96  
Old January 9th, 2014, 01:27 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I'm not so sure about that. Sony cameras are doing good, but they have only a small portion of the market. Besides that, the company is cash strapped and is hurt by the general down on small camera sensor sales.
If only they would concentrate on the 'system' side of things. Apparently that is Sony's way though. Even just a roadmap like Fuji just released.
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  #97  
Old January 9th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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I got my rubber buttons! This ebay item: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3305691951...84.m1497.l2649 They fit exactly and perfectly on both the shutter release and the big button on the back. The 'stick' seems very 'sticky' not the usual cheap double sided tape but I'll have to update after use. They certainly don't shift or feel like they are moving about. The fit really is utterly perfect.

On the shutter release it is a very big help. Only about 2mm but I can 'find' it so much easier. It also gives a far more positive travel when pressing. It's just a feeling but I think it's cutting about a third of the 'lag' I was feeling by cutting down the human element significantly. On the rear button it is a big help. First of all I can find it much more easily with the camera to my face and as I have zoom mapped to it that is a very big difference. It also means that I'm touching and turning the wheel far less by accident.

Overall a very cheap and very useful addition. The lag however is still a real problem. I do hope they can do something with firmware. Can't be bothered trading down to an A7.
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  #98  
Old January 9th, 2014, 01:09 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Thanks to All for your feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
...What I've learned from this down to earth and practical POV is that the A7 is a camera for carrying long distance and bringing along everywhere without stress strain and bulk. But we could then choose an Olympus 4/3 system. However, enlargements would be correspondingly limited. Critically, for the photographer aware of his/her goals, this camera, from your reports and pictures, in the right hands, delivers a first rate image. But for faster work, one has to be prepared for the shot and think of prefocus or zone focus and perhaps smaller apertures for more demanding situations.
We must keep a few other differences in mind when comparing the A7 to a MFT system. The depth of focus is larger on an MFT camera compared to the full frame (35mm) sensor of the A7(R). Also, as of now, the noise of the MFT sensors is higher and their DR is lower in comparison to the A7(R). The MFT systems can of course utilize the many available compact lenses some of which are truly excellent. Keeping in mind that one can use the same lenses on the A7 if one is willing to lose a lot of the image area due to vignetting. Square crops deliver the most usable number of pixels in that case. Hassy, anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
I can't really argue with anything Cem has said. I find the shutter lag to be more of an issue than him though. Having been a pro wedding photographer for 10 years I would say this camera is not a camera for a pro event shooter or PJ, I'd add studio to that (no PC sync). Perhaps the A7 would be better. Reports of unreliable AF and lack of fast primes (f1.4) and zooms (f2.8) also add to this. What it is to my mind is the ultimate enthusiasts camera. A camera that is tiny, light, unobtrusive (when you've gaffered over the white lettering no one believes it's a modern camera) with incredible IQ, unbelievable IQ and at a great price. Whether you want to shoot street, landscapes, fine art, whatever, it's just so much fun! This camera drives me crazy but I absolutely love shooting it more than anything since my beloved Canon A-1 (which is the same size pretty much).
Thanks Ben. I am frustrated by the lack of affordable native mount prime lenses. I dare not say that they will be appearing soon, if the lens lineup of the Nex system is any indication (i.e. disappointing). Shutter lag is also an issue for me indeed. But I suspect that my shooting style suffers less than yours as I don't regularly shoot events/action.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
...Sorry for hijacking your thread on the A7!
Thanks Doug for your nice account of shooting with the Canon G16. I could follow your reasoning and the choices you've made quite well. And don't worry about hijacking, I value all sensible feedback.
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  #99  
Old January 9th, 2014, 02:06 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi Jerome,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
...Could you write a few words about the NEX-7, which is comparable in some aspects? How is the A7 better? I mean, they come from the same manufacturer and have the same viewfinder and same resolution. Sure, the NEX-7 has a smaller sensor, but this allows it to have smaller lenses as well.
A very good question. I have thought hard about this before answering, in order to be as objective as possible. Let me use the same categories to compare the A7 to the Nex-7.

1) Usability and features:
The main differences are to be found in the features. The A7 has some more of those than the Nex-7, such as the two memory banks, additional bracketing options, PDAF using the sensor, WiFi and NFC, apps, remote capture, standard flash shoe, connectivity options and of course the full-frame (35mm) sensor. The Nex-7 has a built-in flash and can shoot 10 fps compared to the 5 fps of the A7. Also, the Nex-7 has a wider choice of lenses without having to crop. One can read all about the features at the well known addresses (e.g. dpreview).

In the end, the usability of both cameras would be nevertheless rather similar I think.

2) Ergonomics:
In this area, A7 is better imo. It has a few more buttons with dedicated functions and the configuration options are better. A7 is also very slightly larger. The two memory banks help a lot when shooting. Because the EVF is more centrally located, it feels more like an SLR. The menu structure in the A7 is revamped and is much easier to use compared to the menu structure of Nex-7. One thing which is worse in A7 is the enlargement of the images during playback as I have mentioned before. Another plus for the Nex-7 is the less noisy shutter.

3) Image quality:
If I compare the images of the A7 with the Nex-7, this is one area where there is a clear difference at pixel level. The A7 is leading, especially when it comes to noise. DR-wise they are similar although I think that the A7 is a tad better. But the differences will become almost invisible when printed up to A2 sizes.

4) Shooting pleasure and inspiration:
When I had my Nex-7, I have enjoyed shooting with it but I kept on longing for a DSLR again. Eventually, I have switched to the D800. One could say that the Nex-7 did not entice me enough at that time. But in hindsight, the real reason for the switch was the strong pull of the IQ and the 36MP resolution of the D800. I wanted to experience how it felt to shoot with such a highly praised camera. It wasn't that the Nex-7 wasn't good enough, it was that the siren call of the D800 was too strong. Now that I have experienced both cameras, I think that I could have saved a lot of money by staying with the Nex-7. The D800 was the better camera, yes, but at a substantial cost. That is why coming back to the A7 has been easier for me compared to the first time I started to shoot with a system camera, i.e. the Nex-7.

So then, does A7 give me more shooting pleasure than the Nex-7? My answer is yes, but I am not 100% certain that this is an objective answer due to the reasons I have mentioned above.

5) Overall:
I think that both cameras are quite close to each other in practical terms. If A7 wouldn't be there, I could use the Nex-7 in a similar manner and not miss anything. But with the full frame (35mm) sensor and the better IQ/ergonomics, the A7 is the winner imo. Albeit not by much.

Would I then upgrade to A7 if I had the Nex-7 with a good selection of lenses? It would be a very difficult decision. The sensible reaction would be to keep the Nex-7 till it is written off. The emotional reaction would be to upgrade. But then again, one would be better off with an upgrade to the A7R due to the extra resolution. So an upgrade from Nex-7 to A7R would be more logical imo. If the extra resolution or the full frame sensor are not wanted, one should just keep the Nex-7.

I hope that this answers your question?
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  #100  
Old January 9th, 2014, 02:08 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
I got my rubber buttons! This ebay item: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3305691951...84.m1497.l2649 They fit exactly and perfectly on both the shutter release and the big button on the back. The 'stick' seems very 'sticky' not the usual cheap double sided tape but I'll have to update after use. They certainly don't shift or feel like they are moving about. The fit really is utterly perfect.

On the shutter release it is a very big help. Only about 2mm but I can 'find' it so much easier. It also gives a far more positive travel when pressing. It's just a feeling but I think it's cutting about a third of the 'lag' I was feeling by cutting down the human element significantly. On the rear button it is a big help. First of all I can find it much more easily with the camera to my face and as I have zoom mapped to it that is a very big difference. It also means that I'm touching and turning the wheel far less by accident.

Overall a very cheap and very useful addition. The lag however is still a real problem. I do hope they can do something with firmware. Can't be bothered trading down to an A7.
Isn't it ironic that we pay so much money for these cameras and we still need to invest a couple of dollars in stuff to make them work better? Happy to hear that the buttons do help Ben.
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  #101  
Old January 10th, 2014, 01:25 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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Isn't it always the case Cem? However in this case I think it really is due to ergonomic design errors. I think there are many compromises we are having to make to get this much IQ in this small a package. Focus, lag, shutter bounce, ergonomics, etc. I do think however that the ergonomics could have been better thought out. That shutter button design wouldn't have been a problem if it had been in the right place on the camera rather than where it is which is rather uncomfortable to reach with the finger. I end up with my middle finger wrapped around the front dial just to get my forefinger in the right position to reach the shutter release. There is also no 'half press' delay in the shutter, you have to guess where the half press is.

Just spent half an hour in front of the fish tank trying to get better at timing the shutter. I'm seeing if I can teach myself to anticipate the lag. My 5Dc was rather laggy but after years I could mentally compute for it. This however is literally double the lag. It's the matter of things happening during the lag that you cannot anticipate for. Specifically when shooting people. I'm really hoping they can knock off 60ms with firmware (though unlikely) I could work with a 100ms lag. Just not sure if 161ms is not just too much to work around for people work.
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  #102  
Old January 10th, 2014, 02:10 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Thank you for the comparison and review with the Nex 7. As you probably have realised, I have a Nex 7. I find the quality to be adequate at 100-200 iso, but I also found it to degrade much faster with sensitivity than a full frame camera. OTOH, the Nex 7 has quite small and light lenses and I like the fact that the viewfinder is in a corner (even if I do not like the EVF).
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  #103  
Old January 10th, 2014, 06:32 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Ben,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
Just spent half an hour in front of the fish tank trying to get better at timing the shutter. I'm seeing if I can teach myself to anticipate the lag. My 5Dc was rather laggy but after years I could mentally compute for it. This however is literally double the lag. It's the matter of things happening during the lag that you cannot anticipate for. Specifically when shooting people. I'm really hoping they can knock off 60ms with firmware (though unlikely) I could work with a 100ms lag. Just not sure if 161ms is not just too much to work around for people work.
I'm glad to see your attention the the matter of (effective) shutter release lag.

That has been a real concern of mine for years, but it doesn't get a lot of coverage in the discussions!

In fact my move from a Fujifilm S602 to my first dSLR, my Canon EOS 300D, was prompted by just that issue.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #104  
Old January 11th, 2014, 10:54 AM
Ben Rubinstein Ben Rubinstein is offline
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I just want to make this camera work for me...
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  #105  
Old February 23rd, 2014, 12:59 PM
Don Ferguson Jr. Don Ferguson Jr. is offline
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Fred Miranda is really working the Sony A7R.
Don
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