a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
shigzeo ?
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a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
7 months ago

I've written a somewhat lengthy report about the a7r's wonderful live view. I praise it as much as possible. It updates faster, is higher in resolution, lower in noise, and more responsive. It retains colours better, and in low light conditions, elicits much less amp noise.

It is a wonder. Wifi tethering to the iPhone/iPad is the major reason I am selling the D800 in favour of the a7r, but the quality of the live feed for real-time product placement and adjustment of lights... that is the area that the D800 with any manner of external cabling or CamRanger simply cannot stand up to.

The below image best illustrates what I put up with on the D800 and how the a7r really is better suited to my work as a still life photographer.

TOP: D800; bottom: a7r. Both cameras @ ISO 100 and 1/160 exposure.

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shigzeo ?
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

I have been contacted by a number of grateful still life photographers. It looks as it the a7r may become a replacement for more than just the D800. One photographer has contacted me about replacing or supplementing his 5DMKIII with an a7r, another two about replacing their D800s with an a7r. It seems we all want the resolution of the D800, but have a hard time managing its ergonomics in our businesses.

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aSevenArr
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

By 'ergonomics' I'd imagine that you really mean it's depleted uranium weight and boat anchor design.

I'm actually carrying my A7r around with me

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Old Pirate
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Where have you guys been????
In reply to aSevenArr, 7 months ago

Sony has been building good and innovative cameras for years.  Ya'll act like the A7's are a surprise.

Many of us aren't suprised, after all, these ARE Sony Alpha's which give ground to few; if any.

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sroute
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Re: Where have you guys been????
In reply to Old Pirate, 7 months ago

Indeed.

Even the cheapest NEX has a far better live view implementation than the D800.

What's changed: Sony has the right sensor now, right body, /and/ even better EVF and live view.

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shigzeo ?
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to aSevenArr, 7 months ago

aSevenArr wrote:

By 'ergonomics' I'd imagine that you really mean it's depleted uranium weight and boat anchor design.

I'm actually carrying my A7r around with me

Yes, it is heavy for a 35mm camera. And large. I meant more that in order to get it to play nice in a still life studio, it must be tethered to something. If you keep it on a tripod or wheel mount and look at the screen, you will get pain in your back.

But the live view is terrible no matter the output screen of choice. It simply isn't an ergonomic camera.

The a7r of course has tillable screen for simple shoots, but on a tripod, weight and that don't matter. It's all about how you interact with the preview image. That said, out and about, I quite dislike the a7r's ergonomics. In particular, the EVF is problematic. It does allow 100% accurate focus when magnified, but its constant switching on and off, its comparably low contrast to even a half-rated OVF like the one in the D200, and its low resolution make using it quickly (vs a D800 for instance) more guess work than anything else.

I like that it is sized the same as a traditional SLR camera. But I'm not ready to throw all in until the EVF / OVF discrepancies are diminished by quite a lot more than they currently are. As good as this EVF is in comparison to other EVFs, it is several steps back in terms of reliability, speed, accuracy, and nature vs even a half-way decent OVF.

Cannot wait for the future.

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sroute
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

I'm not suggesting that EVF's replace an OVF in every case because surely they have not, at least not in ever case, but an OVF comes at a price and that price is a big honkin' moving mirror.

For some the price of entry is acceptable, for others, a mirror - or not - merely affects portability. And for still others the presence of a mirror denies them adaptability options they seek and the price is thus too steep.

shigzeo ? wrote:

and its low resolution make using it quickly (vs a D800 for instance) more guess work than anything else.

Guess work for what? Framing? Focussing?

Surely we aren't talking about exposure, since an OVF does not off a preview of that aspect of the shot.

Can you be more specific about what the EVF leaves you guessing about?

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shigzeo ?
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to sroute, 7 months ago

sroute wrote:

I'm not suggesting that EVF's replace an OVF in every case because surely they have not, at least not in ever case, but an OVF comes at a price and that price is a big honkin' moving mirror.

For some the price of entry is acceptable, for others, a mirror - or not - merely affects portability. And for still others the presence of a mirror denies them adaptability options they seek and the price is thus too steep.

shigzeo ? wrote:

and its low resolution make using it quickly (vs a D800 for instance) more guess work than anything else.

Guess work for what? Framing? Focussing?

Surely we aren't talking about exposure, since an OVF does not off a preview of that aspect of the shot.

Can you be more specific about what the EVF leaves you guessing about?

I wasn't clear, I'm sorry. I mean for focusing. I turn off the exposure preview function as it tends messes up calculations that I constantly do in my head. I prefer to shoot as close as possible as to what my eyes see, not to what an EVF tells me will happen. But that is beside the point.

All of the problems I have with the EVF (mentioned above) affect the simplest of things: focus speed. I don't find the D800's OVF very good, but it is the best I've used in a modern digital camera. The a7r is a very good EVF and I'm not more comfortable with it than with the X-Pro 1's EVF. But it is only better when I have all the time in the world to focus.

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sroute
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

I've assumed given the work you do you are primarily, if not exclusively, manually focussing lenses, perhaps even using nothing but manual focus lenses.

Do you find that you can focus accurately using the D800 OVF, or does accurate manual focus always for you entail deploying the damnable live view on the back?

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sean lancaster
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Re: Where have you guys been????
In reply to Old Pirate, 7 months ago

Old Pirate wrote:

Sony has been building good and innovative cameras for years. Ya'll act like the A7's are a surprise.

Many of us aren't suprised, after all, these ARE Sony Alpha's which give ground to few; if any.

Having owned an NEX 5N, RX1, Nikon D600, and a Canon 6D, I think I can say fairly confidently that the Live View implementation by Sony is generations ahead of both Canon and Nikon. I still think the 5N did it best where I could touch exactly where I wanted the focus instantly and I could touch where I wanted 100% zoom focus during review, etc. Touch is a killer app to use with LiveView, but even Sony seems to think it's not something that more serious photographers desire. And maybe they don't.

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shigzeo ?
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to sroute, 7 months ago

sroute wrote:

I've assumed given the work you do you are primarily, if not exclusively, manually focussing lenses, perhaps even using nothing but manual focus lenses.

Do you find that you can focus accurately using the D800 OVF, or does accurate manual focus always for you entail deploying the damnable live view on the back?

I use only Nikkor Ai lenses for work. When out and about I use LTM and M lenses. I have no AF lenses for any system I use. To that end, I am intimately familiar with my most-used lenses:

85/2,8 PC Mikro
85/1,8K Ai converted
50/2 Ai
With the exception of the Mikro lens, the other two lenses 'pop' into focus on the D800, but on the a7r, there isn't enough resolution or contrast to see the exact plane of focus. Peaking can sometimes help, but is often off. Magnification works of course, but is slow. And because focusing and exposure are often taken separately (stop-down focus), the a7r is slow to use.

For work, however, I always frame with the OVF and then use the LCD to check focus. The D800 isn't able to nail focus in live view in the conditions in which I use it. The a7r is. Amazing for that.

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Dan_168
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

shigzeo ? wrote:

I have been contacted by a number of grateful still life photographers. It looks as it the a7r may become a replacement for more than just the D800. One photographer has contacted me about replacing or supplementing his 5DMKIII with an a7r, another two about replacing their D800s with an a7r. It seems we all want the resolution of the D800, but have a hard time managing its ergonomics in our businesses.

As a D800E owner I have to attach a Vertical grip to it to make it more comfortable to use as my daily camera, and I am waiting for a camera with D800E sensor in D4 body. I may still go get a A7R for fun though.

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shigzeo ?
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to Dan_168, 7 months ago

Dan_168 wrote:

shigzeo ? wrote:

I have been contacted by a number of grateful still life photographers. It looks as it the a7r may become a replacement for more than just the D800. One photographer has contacted me about replacing or supplementing his 5DMKIII with an a7r, another two about replacing their D800s with an a7r. It seems we all want the resolution of the D800, but have a hard time managing its ergonomics in our businesses.

As a D800E owner I have to attach a Vertical grip to it to make it more comfortable to use as my daily camera, and I am waiting for a camera with D800E sensor in D4 body. I may still go get a A7R for fun though.

I came do digital photography from film SLR cameras, so I was flabbergasted at the first Nikons... so damn huge. And they only got bigger. Today's D800 is larger than any non-gripped Nikon film SLR ever was. And I own a D800. I find its grip to be worse than the D200's grip: it crams the fingers against the function buttons and has less area for the balls of the hand to cling to.

Finally, grips are no more secure than regular cameras like the X-Pro. The idea is that they are because they are grips. That is their job. But I can demonstrate the same or less amount of opposing force causes a camera to more easily dislodge from a sturdy grip than it does from a thin body. A grip must be designed perfectly for it to be even close to a two-finger and butt-of-the-hand mangle on the camera body.

A grip only really helps steady a camera when a heavy lens is attached. It should not be considered a support method by itself.

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hip2
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

If you connect the A7R to your smartphone, you have even better live view, though it is a bit less responsive depending on the environment.

but at least, it prevents the camera shake you get from pressing the shutter, without having to use a timer

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BlueBomberTurbo
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to hip2, 7 months ago

Considering the camera can only operate in Live View mode, it had better be decent.  Switch to viewfinder, and the D800 would be miles ahead (focus speed, tracking, visibility in low light, battery life, etc.)

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captura
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to shigzeo ?, 7 months ago

shigzeo ? wrote:

sroute wrote:

I'm not suggesting that EVF's replace an OVF in every case because surely they have not, at least not in ever case, but an OVF comes at a price and that price is a big honkin' moving mirror.

For some the price of entry is acceptable, for others, a mirror - or not - merely affects portability. And for still others the presence of a mirror denies them adaptability options they seek and the price is thus too steep.

shigzeo ? wrote:

and its low resolution make using it quickly (vs a D800 for instance) more guess work than anything else.

Guess work for what? Framing? Focussing?

Surely we aren't talking about exposure, since an OVF does not off a preview of that aspect of the shot.

Can you be more specific about what the EVF leaves you guessing about?

I wasn't clear, I'm sorry. I mean for focusing. I turn off the exposure preview function as it tends messes up calculations that I constantly do in my head. I prefer to shoot as close as possible as to what my eyes see, not to what an EVF tells me will happen. But that is beside the point.

All of the problems I have with the EVF (mentioned above) affect the simplest of things: focus speed. I don't find the D800's OVF very good, but it is the best I've used in a modern digital camera. The a7r is a very good EVF and I'm not more comfortable with it than with the X-Pro 1's EVF. But it is only better when I have all the time in the world to focus.

Where an OVF can fail to deliver the goods: say you are shooting in dim light with a telephoto lens and you are at 250 mm so it's at f5.6...won't open any wider. You get a very dim view, not good! An EVF can be much better under these conditions.

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captura
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Re: Where have you guys been????
In reply to sean lancaster, 7 months ago

And with the 5R/T you can touch to fire the shutter, too!

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Dennis
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Re: Where have you guys been????
In reply to sroute, 7 months ago

sroute wrote:

Indeed.

Even the cheapest NEX has a far better live view implementation than the D800.

What's changed: Sony has the right sensor now, right body, /and/ even better EVF and live view.

Exactly. Prior to that, NEX probably wasn't even on the radar of most D800 users.

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sroute
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to BlueBomberTurbo, 7 months ago

BlueBomberTurbo wrote:

Considering the camera can only operate in Live View mode, it had better be decent. Switch to viewfinder, and the D800 would be miles ahead

Do tell...

I used my D800 extensively over the course of the past year.

I bought an A7r.

I sold the D800.

My choice to keep the A7r over the D800 has nothing to do with live view (an A7r advantage to be sure) as I am not primarily a tripod bound, live-view (rear screen fixated) shooter. The advantage of the A7r is that I get a good camera for use in both modes of operation.

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BlueBomberTurbo
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Re: a7r LIVE VIEW superior to D800
In reply to sroute, 7 months ago

sroute wrote:

BlueBomberTurbo wrote:

Considering the camera can only operate in Live View mode, it had better be decent. Switch to viewfinder, and the D800 would be miles ahead

Do tell...

Well, since my D7100 has the same AF as the D800, I'd say its ability to focus in low light, plus ability to track fast moving things continuously (animals, children, sports, cars, etc.) is much superior to the A7r, especially since it doesn't have phase detection like the A7/NEX-6/5R.  I tried shooting a friend's dogs with the NEX-6, and it was pretty rough trying to keep them in focus.  D7100?  Zero problems.  Even my D7000 with the lesser 39pt AF was fine.

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