Another New Camera

August 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Updates:

9/18-EJ Pieker, over at Naturescapes.net has posted a pretty comprehensive field report of his impressions of the A7R2 HERE

9/18-Also, if you have a Metabones4 adaptor for Canon lenses, on 9/18, Metabones released new firmware that enables phase detect auto focus with Canon lenses.  Should improve AF performance.  You can get it HERE.  

Original post:

As many of you know, I am a long-time Canon shooter.  I have all the gear from 11mm all the way up to 800mm.  My main bodies are the 1DX and 5D3.  I love the images the gear makes but have a problem.  As I age, lugging a bag full of heavy gear is getting increasingly difficult, let alone annoying.  When I add the fact that most of the photo tours I go on require a couple of days to get to and from and the problem becomes more than annoying.

So, I have been searching for a high quality, smaller and lighter solution.  For travel (read family vacations) I acquired a Panasonic micro 4/3's system.  I love the weight, there is a good selection of high quality lenses and the image quality is ok.  But it is a mirrorless system and for my ability doesn't do well with high speed action like birds in flight.  The other complaint I have is that very often, when traveling, we visit some great landscape opportunities.  In this situation, and this is my personal opinion, a 16 megapixel sensor doesn't produce enough image detail to render the scene the way I like it, lots of fine detail.

Which brings me to the next evolution - Sony.  I have been shooting the RX100 series point and shoots since the first generation and have been impressed with the images from such a small package.  So, with a lot of interest, I have been following Sony which has jumped into full frame mirrorless in a big way.  The latest generation of their flagship body, the A7R2 was released last week.  I picked one up as the potential "bridge" to solve my problems.  Here is a very light body with fairly high iso capability that, if you use f/4 lenses, produces a package at any given focal length that weighs about half of my Canon gear.  

The camera came this week and I have been giving it a workout.  Here are my observations:

First, there are a lot of videos on youtube that show an unboxing, explain the camera and make recommendations as to how to set it up.  I recommend that you visit them as it will save you time.  There are a lot of menu items to make choices about and many aren't glaringly obvious as to the best set up.

Having some experience with the RX100's, at least pushing buttons and navigating the menus was somewhat familiar.

My intent would be to use this body as a replacement for my 5D3 and the wide angle Canon lenses.  I have a Sony 16-35 and 24-70 and 70-200, all f/4.   And this arrangement will save several pounds in the bag.  Since longer lenses  are generally used with the 1DX's for wildlife they will continue to go on these adventures.  As an aside, I have noticed that I increasingly bring the 200-400 instead of the 600 on these trips.  Maybe it is because I'm shooting more wildlife in nature vs. portraits, and....maybe it is the weight.

The other interesting feature with the A7 series is the ability to buy an adaptor and attach Canon lenses to the body.  I picked up a Metabones IV adaptor and can report that Canon lenses work with the A7R2.  Auto focus works fairly quickly, and is more than useable for more static subjects, like landscapes.  This is particularly useful as a lens like the 11-24 Canon wide angle zoom is able to make images with interesting perspectives because it is so wide at 11mm.  

The highlight features of this camera that interest me are the full frame, 42 megapixel sensor, a new design, the in body image stabilization which is particularly helpful for 3rd party lenses and, of course the size.

While it is still a challenge to get used to an electronic view finder, they are getting very good and I'm pretty much over my objections.

All in all, I think this is a second major step for me, at least, to the world of mirrorless.  It will be interesting to see if the Sony replaces the M4/3 system for travel photography.

Here are a few images taken in my neighborhood with the A7R2, the metabones adapter and the Canon 11-24.

11mm,iso200, 1/160 @ f/5.6; processed in Lightroom and OnOne Perfect effects, bottom crop to pano

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11-24 @ 16mm, iso 200, 1/80th @ f/8, Lightroom and OnOne Perfect Effects, Full frame

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11-24 @ 11mm, iso 200, 1/80th @ f/8, Lightroom and OnOne Perfect Effects, Full frame

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