a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Started Aug 22, 2015 | Discussions
Geoffreyg123 Junior Member • Posts: 26
a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Hi All,

I'm starting to get paid for photography and I've been using an a6000 for interior work. I am now going to be doing events and I don't think the a6000 is up to the task of low light photography. I am considering an a7s, and at the same time getting maybe the a7r to upgrade my interior work and to have a back up camera (a6000). I generally am against a flash but with the a7s would a flash be necessary at all for events especially in the evening? Also, would the a7r be able to handle events well without a flash, therefore obviating the need for the a7s?

Thanks a lot.

Sony a6000 Sony a7R Sony a7S
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osv Veteran Member • Posts: 9,970
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

you were thinking of getting both the a7s and the a7r? for that amount of money, and for event shooting, i'd just step up to the a7rii.

i've shot some dark venues with the a7r, it's a demanding taskmaster that will deliver if you know how to use it, but things like efcs and ibis can't be ignored for this application.

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dan

Patrick Murphy Contributing Member • Posts: 943
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.
2

I do events and have used the A7, A7S and now the A7Rii.

You will always need some flash, at some times. That said, the A7S is by far the best choice considering low light stills. You'll be able to have more ambient in the background and can use lower levels of flash (remember to gel the flash to match the ambient). And there will be more times you can go flash-free.

The A7S's lower resolution is not usually a problem for events. The pictures are usually intended for online or slideshow use -- there's not a lot of demand for 60" x 40" event prints.

I found the A7Rii to be 1-2 stops worse than the A7S, even if the A7Rii photos are downsampled to match the A7S resolution.

The A7S focuses better in low light than the A7Rii.

All that said, the A7Rii has more consistent focus, quieter shutter, more leeway in cropping, and better ergonomics. You'll do fine if you choose the A7Rii, but I think just for low-light events, the A7S is to be preferred, especially considering the cost differential.

 Patrick Murphy's gear list:Patrick Murphy's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony a7 III
OP Geoffreyg123 Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Thanks all. I was thinking of getting both so that if I do a hotel interior job or something, I have the a6000 as a back up camera. I wouldn't really want to shoot interiors with a 12 mp camera or as a back up.
Anyway the a7s should be ok in most situations for events without a flash then? If a flash is completely necessary which (preferably sony) flash do u recommend? Ideally I could also use the same one for interior work also. Like I said I'd prefer to work without one but if it's essential...

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 9,509
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Geoffreyg123 wrote:

Thanks all. I was thinking of getting both so that if I do a hotel interior job or something, I have the a6000 as a back up camera. I wouldn't really want to shoot interiors with a 12 mp camera or as a back up.
Anyway the a7s should be ok in most situations for events without a flash then? If a flash is completely necessary which (preferably sony) flash do u recommend? Ideally I could also use the same one for interior work also. Like I said I'd prefer to work without one but if it's essential...

If you need solid AF-C.....no!

if not, YES!

osv Veteran Member • Posts: 9,970
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Patrick Murphy wrote:.

I found the A7Rii to be 1-2 stops worse than the A7S, even if the A7Rii photos are downsampled to match the A7S resolution.

better file latitude? because the dr on the a7rii is pretty impressive:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3886997

The A7S focuses better in low light than the A7Rii.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6884391759/sony-alpha-7r-ii-can-match-or-beat-dslr-low-light-af-performance

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dan

OP Geoffreyg123 Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

So would you say I could get away without a flash for events? I don't mind doing a bit of post processing. If I need one I am thinking of getting the HVL F20M. Would this be adequate ?

Thanks

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 9,509
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Geoffreyg123 wrote:

So would you say I could get away without a flash for events? I don't mind doing a bit of post processing. If I need one I am thinking of getting the HVL F20M. Would this be adequate ?

Thanks

That's what I take with me to gigs and festivals.

I don't use it much...just for punter/crowd shots sometimes.

Patrick Murphy Contributing Member • Posts: 943
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

The HVL F20 is adequate as a backup, or as a remote flash trigger, but IMHO not for professional events work. The HVL F43M is a good unit; powerful enough, smaller than the F60M. I have had problems with overheating if using at 100% (bounce flash) for a lot of photos like awards in a short amount of time.

To solve this, I dial down the flash (use direct at say, 1/8 power). I also have a backup flash on my person, just in case the primary flash overheats in the middle of must-get shots. (I hear the F60M may be worse at overheating, even with an external battery pack, but I can't personally confirm this.)

For personal use (vacation) when weight is primary and flash is not super-critical, I have a Nissin i40. I like it a lot but would not rely on it as my one and only flash for a paying job.

BTW, what do you mean by "events?" Are you shooting concerts which tend to have lots of light (at least lots for the A7S)? In that case, you could get away with no flash.

However, my definition of "events" includes parties, receptions, dinners, corporate events, awards presentations, people at clubs, etc. Here the light may be very low. Hence my saying you will sometimes need flash, at least for the quality of photos that the corporate clients are looking for. If your shots are just for you and friends, crank the ISO to grainy levels and shoot all-natural light.

 Patrick Murphy's gear list:Patrick Murphy's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony a7 III
Philnw2 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,683
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

I do a lot of play rehearsals and flash is expressly forbidden for that.  Don't know what the standards/rules are for other kinds of events.  I wouldn't do portraits without flash.  I use manual strobist type flash, strictly off-camera.  I guess its kind of an acquired taste.  Companies like Cactus have reliable radio triggers that can adjust power and zoom on remote flashes.  I think with Sony thats a good thing.  Whichever way you go - good luck!!!

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Phil B
Pentax K-3 Nex 6, 5n, Epson 3880

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MRK 2010 Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Philnw2 wrote:

I do a lot of play rehearsals and flash is expressly forbidden for that. Don't know what the standards/rules are for other kinds of events. I wouldn't do portraits without flash. I use manual strobist type flash, strictly off-camera. I guess its kind of an acquired taste. Companies like Cactus have reliable radio triggers that can adjust power and zoom on remote flashes. I think with Sony thats a good thing. Whichever way you go - good luck!!!

The A7R is a more than capable events camera. I photograph at many concerts where flash is not permitted. You should be aware that this camera has a very loud shutter though and if you need to take discreet photos during quiet concerts etc. that this may be an issue. The Sony A7RII may be better suited as it has a completely silent shutter mode and vastly improved autofocus.

Here are example of my event photos taken with the A7R:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattrkeyworth/albums/72157657689784455

 MRK 2010's gear list:MRK 2010's gear list
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osv Veteran Member • Posts: 9,970
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

MRK 2010 wrote:

Here are example of my event photos taken with the A7R:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattrkeyworth/albums/72157657689784455

water skiing pics with an a7r, nice... i thought that i was one of the few people on the planet that actually shoots action with the a7r.

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dan

Patrick Murphy Contributing Member • Posts: 943
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.
2

osv wrote:

Patrick Murphy wrote:.

I found the A7Rii to be 1-2 stops worse than the A7S, even if the A7Rii photos are downsampled to match the A7S resolution.

better file latitude? because the dr on the a7rii is pretty impressive:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3886997

The A7S focuses better in low light than the A7Rii.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6884391759/sony-alpha-7r-ii-can-match-or-beat-dslr-low-light-af-performance

No, in terms of visible noise. To match the A7S's noise levels, I find the A7Rii's ISO has to be set 1-2 stops lower. This is even after downsampling the A7Rii's 42 MP image to match the pixel dimensions of the A7S's 12 MP image.

For example, I felt comfortable on the A7S going up to ISO 12,800. For the same noise level (even downsampled), I'd set the A7Rii to ISO 6400 or ISO 3200.

Dynamic range is a different matter. The A7Rii has terrific DR. I am amazed by what I can pull out of shadows. It is almost like a single-shot HDR. But the noise on top of the image is 1-2 stops noisier than the A7S at the same ISO.

(Note that this is my own perception based on informal tests comparing the two cameras. I'm no Jim Kasson, so I'd defer to him or to DPR's scene widget when they publish it.)

Finally, referring to the low-light focus, the DPR article specifically talked about using fast lenses to help give the PDAF more light to work with. I need to use zooms, so I am in the f/3.5 to 6.3 range. With these lenses, and especially towards the 6.3 end, I find the A7S achieves focus more often in lower light than the A7Rii. However, the A7S also sometimes blows the focus; the A7Rii is more consistent.

As I said earlier, the A7Rii will be OK in low-light and has some advantages such as a quieter shutter etc. But if someone is asking to compare these two cameras for low-light, no-flash situations such as receptions, parties, backstage, night street, corporate events, etc., I believe the A7S is a better choice -- especially considering the lower price.

 Patrick Murphy's gear list:Patrick Murphy's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony a7 III
osv Veteran Member • Posts: 9,970
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Patrick Murphy wrote:

As I said earlier, the A7Rii will be OK in low-light and has some advantages such as a quieter shutter etc. But if someone is asking to compare these two cameras for low-light, no-flash situations such as receptions, parties, backstage, night street, corporate events, etc., I believe the A7S is a better choice -- especially considering the lower price.

thx for all the feedback on that, appreciate it.

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dan

pako
pako Senior Member • Posts: 1,991
Re: a7s or a7r for event photography without flash.

Geoffreyg123 wrote:

Hi All,

I'm starting to get paid for photography and I've been using an a6000 for interior work. I am now going to be doing events and I don't think the a6000 is up to the task of low light photography. I am considering an a7s, and at the same time getting maybe the a7r to upgrade my interior work and to have a back up camera (a6000). I generally am against a flash but with the a7s would a flash be necessary at all for events especially in the evening? Also, would the a7r be able to handle events well without a flash, therefore obviating the need for the a7s?

Thanks a lot.

Probably a better investment for you is going as second shooter with a photographer that already have experience doing events...

You need a flash (or three) and not just because the amount of light, but because the quality of the light.

I believe the A7S is a better choice for event photography (I use one myself) but there is no mirrorless camera that can AF in low light like DSRL (the A900/A99 have the IR lamp as assistant that won't work on mirrorless)

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Pako Dominguez
-----------------------
www.pakodominguez.photo/blog

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony a7R Sony a7S II Sony DT 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake +18 more
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