Why I have replaced my D800 with the a7r

Started Dec 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
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shigzeo Senior Member • Posts: 1,818
Why I have replaced my D800 with the a7r

Because my needs are simple, I have replaced the D800 for two very simple reasons: Built-in Wireless Tethering and Live View quality. I have written at length about the two .

I sit or stand and move things around over some sort of desk all day long, day in, day out. Relying completely the camera back or OVF/EVF to frame and shoot a single exposure means back and forthing that ruins work flow. Similarly, relying on a fixed laptop or computer for wireless or wired tethering can mean reorienting left/right synapses, and often in small still life studio situations, the computer may be obscured by the lights, reflectors, flags, c-stands, etc. The ability to wirelessly tether stock, with no required adapters, is great. Free play memories (awful name) app, pretty much endless possibilities. Generally, I will use the camera's rear LCD to frame and focus the shot. Then I will travel around the studio and make necessary changes visible through my iPhone or iPad. Update is fast enough but frame rate is poor. Because I don't need absolutely clear vantages at that point, the combo works perfectly.

But before I ever get there, the a7r's live view amazes- at least when placed next to the D800. Both have the same resolution sensor, but the a7r's implementation of live view is phenomenal. Even with the lens stopped down in a rather dark studio, it maintains somewhat usable update frame rates. The D800's live view screen will go nearly black.

When framed and focused wide open (typically what I do), it is even less of a comparison. Even at ISO 100 in an only somewhat dark studio, the D800's live view is grainy, low resolution, pixellated, and extremely noisy. It also doesn't obtain the same magnification. That is, though it zooms way in, the final image in the live view is blown up many times to unusable proportions, where what I see is like an 8-bit video game console vs. the a7r's 16 bit console screen. Usable resolution is probably less than half that of the a7r.

I have been living with this for over a year. While it works better than what I used before, until I took an exposure, I could never be 100% sure that the exact spot I aimed for was in focus. With the a7r, I can. I use the same lenses via a NEX-NIK & ASTAT tripod collar from Novoflex. True, I dislike the a7r for pretty much everything that isn't inside a studio, but for my work (which could be considered a boring sort of work), it is world's better than the D800.

Below is one illustrative image from a more detailed review I wrote here.

 shigzeo's gear list:shigzeo's gear list
Leica SL (Typ 601) Fujifilm GFX 50S Leica M10 Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH +6 more
Nikon D800 Sony Alpha a7R
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