After a few weeks with the A7

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Nordstjernen
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After a few weeks with the A7
4 months ago

After using the Sony A7 for a few weeks I feel quite comfortable with the buttons and menues, and also the handling of this camera. Sure, this small camera felt a bit awkward at first since i am used with the much larger, heavier and more bulky Sony A99 and Zeiss/Sony G glass. Fact is that ergonomy is much more than first impression - this is about how things work and feel after you got used to the camera. Now most buttons are where I expect to find them, also the customized buttons. For most of the time I don't feel the need of taking my eyes from the viewfinder.

Pretty much everything is under control: exposure, AF and manual focus, focus peking and enlarged view, etc. The only situations I feel lost is when putting the camera on the ground and so need to switch to the LCD screen (not using auto switch). Then I have to move the camera to my eyes to find the correct menu setting and then replace the camera on the ground. I find this a bit annoying.

Using the menu system is pretty quick and straightforward when you remember the position of the most used settings. What really is on top of my whish list is a 'user's personal menu' where I could group my most used settings, like switch between viewfinder and screen (hate the auto setting), first electronic shutter on/off (an issue with at least one of my 3. party lenses), and setting effects on/off (often using speedlite with radio trigger/studio flash systems). For use with telephoto lenses and focus tracking I also really cry for a shutter/autofocus release priority setting! Hopefully an A9 will take care of this, or at least some of these camera settings and options.

I don't really know what else should be different with the camera, since replacing buttons would cause new problems, and more menu options would make the camera more complex - especially features that are turned on and off, which might be forgotten when using the camera under different conditions. Oh yes, better battery capasity ... now always carry more than one spares.

A few days abo I took a trip to the middle of Sweden, to Östersund. The light was dull most of the time, and while waiting for the spring there is not that much that catches the eyes. I took a few random shots though, playing with abstractions and more personal views most of the time.

What really was great was how I now interact with the camera. For now I just have the Zeiss 35 mm f:2.8 lens which suits my style of shooting perfect, but I am waiting for the 70-200 mm f:4 lens. After playing a lot with the camera for these two weeks, using this small beauty now feels like a breeze. Also, the small size makes the powerful 24 Mp fullframe camera look like a compact camer, so nobody cares. You can move close on everything, and people think you are just a tourist (that is what I was on this trip!). I think that after a few more weeks I don't think of the camera when photographing, just concentrating on the subject, framing and camera placement.

I find the camera great and ergonomics pretty good after getting used to this camera. I think customizing the buttons is a key to get the most out of the feel & speed for the camera. What really attract me though is the compactness of the system, making me travel light and making me almost 'invisible' as a photographer compared to using the A99 and it's much larger lenses.

Using this camera also is great fun - a key factor to better photographs!

So what about image quality? More than sufficient for my needs (professional and personal work), and as documented in earlier treads, impressive dynamic range and shadow cleanness.

Here are some from Sweden, all taken with the Zeiss 35 mm f:2.8 lens. Enjoy!

Waiting for the spring on a gray day with dull light.

Ice is still covering Storsjöen, but temperature is raising and the sea will soon turn blue.

Clouds and a glimpse of blue skies.

From the middle of the city.

A small house between large buildings in the middle of the city Östersund. Great color!

A man on bicycle and part of the downtown.

A woman passing a building in the harbour area. Three eyes (and my camera) looking at her!

A small house in the middle of a small wood - almost like a fairytale.

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So easy to be negative - so hard to be constructive!

 Nordstjernen's gear list:Nordstjernen's gear list
Sony SLT-A99 Sony Alpha 7
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