A7/A7R - REALITY CHECK

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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japa
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A7/A7R - REALITY CHECK
11 months ago

My initial excitement for a breakthrough compact camera with superlative imaging capabilities is waning.

While I am prepared to accept that, miraculously, this elegant little camera might have a comparable sensor to the D800e, that alone does not create a photographic system.

As a landscape photographer, I pack over 20lbs of equipment for each trip. I need stability, optics, filters, batteries, pano rail, miscellaneous accessories and back-up. 50% of my images are shot between 17-24mm. The camera body is a small component of the weight and cost of the system.

The A7R may have the sensor, but what will it replace? Sony has created a potentially wonderful compact landscape body, but no lenses in the foreseeable future for high end landscape work. Wide angle legacy lenses are likely going to be an unpredictable dogs breakfast on this camera, either because of engineering limitations or lack of motivation by Sony who clearly plan to make dedicated high margin lenses. If you have a stable of legacy lenses, some may work very well, but I have yet to hear of wide angle solutions for this camera that would have me leave Canon tilt shifts or a Nikon 14-24 at home.

So if I am forced to bring my DSLR lenses, plus an adaptor, I have invested thousands to reduce my kit from 20lbs. to 19lbs, with weaker battery life and slower focus.

Ultimately, this a system decision, and that means starting from the lenses and working backwords to the body. Sony realizes that, and hopes that the wonderful body they have produced and priced fairly will create a large captive audience for aggressively priced lenses. However, by the time you have spent many thousands on their very limited and pricey future lens offerings, this body could be superceeded by new technology or aggressive competition. It is a bit of a risky system bet.

On the other hand, the A7 is probably a less compromised offering. It could function as a very high end general purpose and street camera. More legacy lenses will be compatible above 24mm and Sony is bringing a few new lenses to market quickly(none of which will make the A7R a great landscape camera). The lesser megapixels, the faster focus and the improved low-light performance  of the A7are all advantages for handheld general photography. I may get the A7 for these reasons.

However, until there are perfect lens solutions for landscape, architecture and other of the obvious applications of a 36 megapixel camera, the A7R may not be ready for prime time

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