My Time with the Sony A7R

Digital, Project, The Streets

Hello everybody

Recently I had the chance to try a camera system many people have been talking about since it was released to the public, the one used by the Sony A7/A7r and the latest A7s.

If you’re a photo-geek like me, i’m sure you’ve heard about it lol

Seems like some people think of it as a great crowning achievement by Sony, while others think it’s a great attempt that fell short…especially the A7r with rumors of a “shutter shake” rampant all over the interwebs.

I myself haven’t seen any evidence of this yet, but then again i haven’t had much time to fully test how all of the functions of the camera perform.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m some great photographer with this grand knowledge of how each camera should work, whether digital or film.

What I can do is tell you how I felt using it, and show you some of the results of my work and passion towards being a better photographer with each medium in my hands at the time. With that being said, i’ll now continue..

The menu system and the button layout were pretty damn sweet. I picked it up quick and after about an hour of just fooling around with the settings (full manual of course) I got a good grasp at how to work it pretty well

I then set the custom buttons to ones that would fit my style best. I liked this part the most as it felt like you were really making the camera YOUR camera

I will say though some parts were tricky, like finding where to set your Auto ISO minimum and maximum limits for example. That took me a while but i managed to find it within the function menu button settings

So basically through some lucky circumstances I was able to get my hands on the Sony A7r 🙂

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So yea..I got the body but the lens..?umm..well..Totally other story lol..

At the moment, the Full Frame E mount glass is pretty expensive..so I couldn’t get to use a native Sony lens yet. I couldn’t even really afford to rent one…But there are alternatives!

I think this is probably the greatest selling point, as someone who has some vintage glass laying around, of the Sony A7 series..that being the option to use the other lenses via adapters.

So of course, the first lenses I think of…LEICA and VOIGTLANDER..the lenses I use on my Leica M series film cameras

Luckily for me the camera came with an adapter for M mount to E mount, so first thing i got to work with getting used to was the focus peaking (VERY COOL) and focus magnification, which makes manual focus a breeze!

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I sat around the house for a day or two practicing on focusing on objects, and myself through mirror, until I felt I was comfortable with it in my hands.

Something I also like to do is watch loads of YouTube videos that go through each function as well as review the cameras individually, showing their strengths and weaknesses from model to model.

Such as this one from the folks over at DigitalRev

and also, this one from TheCameraStoreTV

I also join forums, talk to other a7 series users and ask them loads of questions. I look at their work and how they prepared their shots, I get involved mentally and imagine myself preparing to take shots of my own

I study the camera, I get infatuated, and in a way I think this is how I choose which camera is for me, it will be a part of my gear if it meets my expectations.

Ok so enough of the talk and rambling (sorry)

Here are some images I took while walking around NYC today taken with the Leica Summicron 50mm F2 mounted via adapter on the Sony A7r

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I must say, i was impressed not only with the performance of the A7r but also the Summicron!

This turned out to be a good combo, and the feeling of using a vintage lens on a modern body was a great one

I also believe it held up pretty well in low light, maybe not as good as my X100S but it was still pretty good

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I plan on going out later and doing some more tests with the Canon 50mm F1.4 LTM 🙂 One of my favorite lenses to use on Leica M cameras as well

Now i haven’t touched a Sony camera since YEARS ago when i owned a Sony DSLR A390 for a short time. It wasn’t a bad camera by any means..just wasn’t performing as good as i needed it to

This is a HUGE leap from that camera and i must say, i did enjoy this camera very much.

I shot manual majority of the time, but at times i did notice some issues when i did use AUTO ISO.

I don’t think the camera metered well when i would change aperture and shutter speeds.

For example, some shots i came back with i noticed the camera metered at 6400 ISO..and this was in pure daylight conditions with aperture wide open and shutter at around 250.

This might be expected since this isn’t native equipment to be used on the camera, but i recommend setting limits on the Auto ISO when using or do as i did and start setting ISO manually as well. It’s pretty easy to change back and forth using the wheel on the back of the camera, very useful and the customizing of buttons is a great benefit

OH! and another thing i wanted to say about this camera..I’ve never had as much fun filming video on the streets as i had with this camera. If only there was in camera image stabilization!

I hear some of the E mount lenses have image stabilization, as well as some Nikon and Canon lenses via adapters but haven’t had a chance to use that yet.

At the moment i am using lenses that are completely manual focus for still photography and video with this camera.

I mean it’s not really a problem if you can keep your hands still pretty good, or even fix that in post processing, but wow the quality of the video is AWESOME.

With that being said, not sure if i will be keeping this camera as part of my arsenal 😉 but only time and experience with tell! I will tell you for now though, it’s a keeper

UPDATE 10-12-14

Just wanted to share a couple more shots from my time lately with the A7r 🙂

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2 thoughts on “My Time with the Sony A7R

  1. I recently bought a used Sony A7R from ebay under $1000, and i want to use bunch of legacy glass from film camera system (Minolta, Nikkor etc). I really enjoy street photography I am currently using Fuji X100s. In your experience, how was auto focus, did you had chance to use other manula focus glass.
    Great Pictures.

    Thanks
    K

    1. Street Photography with manual lenses on ANY A7 camera has always been fun, the focus peaking really helps out when focuses quickly and even with moving subjects.

      The auto focus however on the A7R..is not as good for street photography or with moving objects or people.

      It’s also a pretty loud shutter, but not crazy loud

      It’s primarily high megapixel for use with portraiture and landscape photography.

      If you plan on using the camera for street photography, i recommend getting a bunch of adapters and using manual focus legacy glass.

      Thanks for checking out the post!

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