Ordered A7R and lenses at 4:00 AM, cancelled at 9:30

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John Rausch
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Ordered A7R and lenses at 4:00 AM, cancelled at 9:30
11 months ago

A year ago I sold my Canon 5d Mark II, my 5D converted for infrared and a gaggle of L lenses and bought two NEX-7s (one converted for infrared) and a bunch of lenses, flash and other stuff, especially batteries. Then, with all my booty from the Canon sale, I bought an RX1. I have been satisfied with the NEX-7s. Not thrilled, satisfied. The IR one is a pain because Adobe Camera RAW won't believe the white balance can be THAT low and decides to "fix" it for me no matter what I do. I have to use Sony's software to convert the images to TIFFs.

But the RX1! What an instrument. Seeing the A7 and A7R with controls and layout made me think they would be RX1 quality with interchangeable lenses and builtin EVF. Maybe they are close based on what I've read. I barely went to sleep last night.

I couldn't resist the temptation to see what happened at the 7:00 AM announcement in London. Then I placed an order in the wee hours. More specifically, a wee wee hour! About 4:00 AM. But I cancelled when B&H opened after I tossed and turned for the rest of the night. I have several excuses for canceling.

1. I don't need a new camera, but this excuse never works.

2. They are ugly, but also not a good reason, but better than excuse 1.

3. The A7R will only be available with the 35 lens in December and the 24-70 will not be available until January or February, depending on where you read it. The 24 end is still not wide enough for me and I don't want to tote around the high end just to have the 24 end. I'm used to a having a 16 and the 10-18 for my NEX-7 bodies takes care of that. Nothing has been announced and who knows when they will get around to offering an ultra wide. Sony seems willing to rely on the use of other lenses via adaptors. This might be someone's nirvana, but not mine.

The Sony lens availabilty, even for the NEX series has been an issue. Maybe they knew they were headed in a different direction, but lack of a full range of lenses, or even announced plans, is not a good sign. So, new expensive camera, only a 35 until the 24-70 us available and I've already got a kick butt 35 stuck on my RX1. NO other lens that I want until who knows when.

4. The crop (usable area) of APS lenses down to 11MP and 15MP is not acceptable. Even the edges of the crop concern me.

5. I'm not convinced leaving the AA filter off the A7R is a good idea. Even WITH an AA filter the NEX-7s and my RX1 are not the best when it comes to moire. Several bloggers and reviews of the RX1R have said the same. If you are into heavy post processing, maybe. The reviews I've seen take some serious pixel peeping to see a difference.

6. The same contrast-based autofocus on the A7R is disappointing. The Sony autofocus on my NEX-7s and RX1 is less than I think it should be and way less than what I came to expect with my Canons. I end up with a LOT of out of focus photos, even when the camera indicates it is focusing on what I want it to. It's not me, forget the "you don't know how to use a camera" comments.

7. I have returned one NEX-7 to Sony to replace the LCD screen. It is fragile as all get out. I have protectors on both NEX-7s and the RX1 now. Even the Sony protectors are fragile! Why would Sony SELL these expensive cameras and not make the LCD robust. I banged my Canons against each other and everything else the occasional rock and never a scratch. And, the paint on the non-converted (infrared) NEX-7 is flaking off one small spot the bottom of the body on the edges, so I have a bare spot that extends form the bottom up onto the vertical part of the body. I think it happened on the tripod from the quick release plate. Plus, my tripod thread is getting loose and I think this will have to go back to Sony. I do not over tighten! Never put the NEX-7 onto a tripod with the telephoto -- at least not my 18-200. And which lenses do you need the tripod for the most? Duh! An L bracket might help that, but I have read reports that it won't. These issues, which others have reported, are worth looking for in reviews. The NEX-7 feels solid when you get it, but it is fragile -- to me. The RX1, not, but the LCD scares me.

8. Batteries! You need a pocketful! Mine go dead if left in the cameras (NEX-7s and RX1) with the camera turned off. If I take them out, they stay charged. Just an observation.

9. How I use my Sonys! I go for the RX1 almost all of the time. Only if I'm going on a trip where photography is a main objective will I take the NEX-7s. The RX1 is one super camera! Well, the pocketful of batteries! I also almost never use the RX1 EVF. I can count the times on one hand. I'm leery of the A7R (even though I had ordered it this morning) for three reasons, the lack of an AA filter, the lack of phase autofocus, and the questionable necessity of 36MP. More is not always that much better. Of course, the lens thing.

10. I fear these are "throw away" cameras. The eBay prices for used NEX bodies and lenses is pitiful. Not so with Canon and Nikon DSLR gear.

So what kept me awake was coming to the realization (my realization) that, as a complete, system, the NEX and now the mirrorless A stuff is not ready for prime time. Maybe someday, but not now. Some engineering issues, some quality issues and a big business issue -- the lens famine.

I am considering going back to Canon for my main serious camera. Not with all the lenses and other bits I had before, just a Mark III, a 16-35L, a 24-105L and two or three batteries. Find a nice used 5d for IR. Keep the RX1 for walking around.

Anyone want a case full of like new NEX-7 gear? Except for that flake of missing paint.

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John Rausch

 John Rausch's gear list:John Rausch's gear list
Sony RX1 Fujifilm XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 +2 more
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sony Alpha 7 Sony Alpha 7R Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony RX1 Sony RX1R
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