A7 for landscape astro: Does it make sense heading into 2020?

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Dominic Ryan Regular Member • Posts: 397
A7 for landscape astro: Does it make sense heading into 2020?

Hi All,

I'm looking to get a second body to join my a7S for landscape astrophotography. I would like something with higher resolution than the a7S for the likes of star trails and tracked captures, however I don't really have a budget to speak of.

The original a7 would be the most economical, I could maybe stretch to an a7R or a7 ii if the right deal came along. My question is which of these would be best for landscape astrophotography, especially longer exposures between 3-5 minutes ?

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Regards,
Dominic Ryan

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Magnar W
Magnar W Senior Member • Posts: 4,382
Sure, the A7 still makes sense for a lot of work
3

Dominic Ryan wrote:

The original a7 would be the most economical, I could maybe stretch to an a7R or a7 ii if the right deal came along. My question is which of these would be best for landscape astrophotography, especially longer exposures between 3-5 minutes ?

I have used my A7 a lot for landscapes at night with a starry sky, and love the results.

For this type of photography, sensor reflections is a non-issue unless there are bright light sources in the field of view, like street lamps or the moon. Then there might be some visible artifacts, but I can easily live with the result.

Svalbard, panorama from several 21 mm lens shots. Great result and hardly noticeable sensor reflection issues.

The coast at my area, at 63 degrees north. Long exposure at night.

Here sensor reflections are seen for the very bright street lamps. In my opinion they add just as much to the image as they ruin the result, so I am ok with large format prints from this file.

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onlyfreeman
onlyfreeman Senior Member • Posts: 1,984
Re: Sure, the A7 still makes sense for a lot of work

Nice pics Magnar.

I suppose an a7 is fine, but maybe the a7R is the way to go, really depends on price I guess.

Out of the 3, the a7R is definitely the best for landscapes & astro right?

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PWPhotography Veteran Member • Posts: 9,278
Re: A7 for landscape astro: Does it make sense heading into 2020?
1

Why not get A7r instead?  It's a much better camera for landscape especially for astro type, sharper without AA filter, 36 vs 24mp, better DR.

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Mike Fewster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,431
Here's a better. cheaper way to approach this.
1

Dominic Ryan wrote:

Hi All,

I'm looking to get a second body to join my a7S for landscape astrophotography. I would like something with higher resolution than the a7S for the likes of star trails and tracked captures, however I don't really have a budget to speak of.

The original a7 would be the most economical, I could maybe stretch to an a7R or a7 ii if the right deal came along. My question is which of these would be best for landscape astrophotography, especially longer exposures between 3-5 minutes ?

You dont have to get the ultimate camera and lens. Look at the software that is now available, such as Sequator. It's free and it changes everything.

https://sites.google.com/site/sequatorglobal/download

Using software like this you can stack images to avoid noise problems. You can also get away with a cheaper, slower lens. The one thing you would need on the A7 is a timer as there is no timer built into the A7 cameras before the A7R3.

Before buying even the A7, I'd try a timer and Sequator on your A7s. It might just meet your needs.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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Magnar W
Magnar W Senior Member • Posts: 4,382
Re: Sure, the A7 still makes sense for a lot of work

onlyfreeman wrote:

Nice pics Magnar.

I suppose an a7 is fine, but maybe the a7R is the way to go, really depends on price I guess.

Out of the 3, the a7R is definitely the best for landscapes & astro right?

The A7r has higher resolution, but be aware that because of "shutter shock" you might not be able to take advantage of all this resolution within some of the shutter speed range.

But in general, yes, the A7r resolution is welcome for landscape photography. The extra resolution do not offer that much extra for astrophotography, though, especially in the telephoto range, due to seeing conditions and turbulent air.

My take is: Go for the camera you really want!

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Mike Fewster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,431
Gentlemen, the OP is asking about " landscape astro" specifically

Magnar W wrote:

onlyfreeman wrote:

Nice pics Magnar.

I suppose an a7 is fine, but maybe the a7R is the way to go, really depends on price I guess.

Out of the 3, the a7R is definitely the best for landscapes & astro right?

The A7r has higher resolution, but be aware that because of "shutter shock" you might not be able to take advantage of all this resolution within some of the shutter speed range.

But in general, yes, the A7r resolution is welcome for landscape photography. The extra resolution do not offer that much extra for astrophotography, though, especially in the telephoto range, due to seeing conditions and turbulent air.

My take is: Go for the camera you really want!

He needs to explore something like Sequator first. Landscape photography, astro photography  and landscape astrophotography are not the same things. Having got his head around  Sequator (free)  and tried it with his current camera and lens  (he says he has budget restraints) he may find he doesn't need a new camera/lens at all.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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OP Dominic Ryan Regular Member • Posts: 397
Re: A7 for landscape astro: Does it make sense heading into 2020?
2

Thanks all for the valuable feedback, I think I will start hunting for an a7R. My reading is it is a worthy step up from the a7 for my application for the extra $100~$200 it is likely to cost me.

For background, my current main camera is a GH5. I did manage to get some decent astro shots from it with the ISO up as high as 12800 (Laowa 7.5mm f2) with a low of ISO 3200 (Sigma 16mm f1.4). I was finding however that I had to do pretty aggressive post processing (noise reduction, hot/dead pixel removal, contrast and colour shift correction) in RawTherapee and 5+ image stacks in Sequator just to get a reasonably noise free shot. Still, the GH5 is superb for daytime video (especially that IBIS) which I still do a lot of, so it became evident I was going to have to invest in a second system.

I got an a7S not only for landscape astro, but also video which I've loved. It can do in single exposure what my GH5 needs 5+ heavily PP stacked images to achieve. No options on M43 is going to deliver that level of performance for both night based photography or videography in a single hybrid format for under $1k (not even the GH5s). Reason I am looking for a second cam now is that I have recently invested in a Konova motorised slider and a MSM tracker/rotator with 3 way geared Benro head. I see the a7S being a great option for capturing single exposure 4k time lapse sequences on top of the slider that won't be stacked while the second camera will take longer exposure tracked or star trail sequences which will likely be stacked.

Having spent all that $$, I am now very tight on disposable cash. I think the a7R will make the most sense being a photography focussed system and also because I already have a load of accessories from the a7S.

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Regards,
Dominic Ryan

 Dominic Ryan's gear list:Dominic Ryan's gear list
Sony a7S Panasonic GH5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 +7 more
Mike Fewster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,431
Re: A7 for landscape astro: Does it make sense heading into 2020?

Dominic Ryan wrote:

Thanks all for the valuable feedback, I think I will start hunting for an a7R. My reading is it is a worthy step up from the a7 for my application for the extra $100~$200 it is likely to cost me.

For background, my current main camera is a GH5. I did manage to get some decent astro shots from it with the ISO up as high as 12800 (Laowa 7.5mm f2) with a low of ISO 3200 (Sigma 16mm f1.4). I was finding however that I had to do pretty aggressive post processing (noise reduction, hot/dead pixel removal, contrast and colour shift correction) in RawTherapee and 5+ image stacks in Sequator just to get a reasonably noise free shot. Still, the GH5 is superb for daytime video (especially that IBIS) which I still do a lot of, so it became evident I was going to have to invest in a second system.

I got an a7S not only for landscape astro, but also video which I've loved. It can do in single exposure what my GH5 needs 5+ heavily PP stacked images to achieve. No options on M43 is going to deliver that level of performance for both night based photography or videography in a single hybrid format for under $1k (not even the GH5s). Reason I am looking for a second cam now is that I have recently invested in a Konova motorised slider and a MSM tracker/rotator with 3 way geared Benro head. I see the a7S being a great option for capturing single exposure 4k time lapse sequences on top of the slider that won't be stacked while the second camera will take longer exposure tracked or star trail sequences which will likely be stacked.

Having spent all that $$, I am now very tight on disposable cash. I think the a7R will make the most sense being a photography focussed system and also because I already have a load of accessories from the a7S.

OK. That is a different scenario.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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PWPhotography Veteran Member • Posts: 9,278
Re: A7 for landscape astro: Does it make sense heading into 2020?
1

Dominic Ryan wrote:

Thanks all for the valuable feedback, I think I will start hunting for an a7R. My reading is it is a worthy step up from the a7 for my application for the extra $100~$200 it is likely to cost me.

Exactly as I suggested.  A7r is known has a cleanest sensor in A7r-series, only min 25-point CDAF with no PDAF stripping issue, no sensor reflection, no so-called star-eater issue in later A7/A7r-series, no AA filter, very sharp and 36mp.  Its base ISO 100 DR is still #1 in entire A7/A7r-series, surprisingly.  Its draw-back such as shutter shock will not apply in evening landscape and astro photo at all as the shutter is well below the affected speed range (1/30~1/200) that usually only affect tele but not WA/UWA lenses anyway.

For background, my current main camera is a GH5. I did manage to get some decent astro shots from it with the ISO up as high as 12800 (Laowa 7.5mm f2) with a low of ISO 3200 (Sigma 16mm f1.4). I was finding however that I had to do pretty aggressive post processing (noise reduction, hot/dead pixel removal, contrast and colour shift correction) in RawTherapee and 5+ image stacks in Sequator just to get a reasonably noise free shot. Still, the GH5 is superb for daytime video (especially that IBIS) which I still do a lot of, so it became evident I was going to have to invest in a second system.

I got an a7S not only for landscape astro, but also video which I've loved. It can do in single exposure what my GH5 needs 5+ heavily PP stacked images to achieve. No options on M43 is going to deliver that level of performance for both night based photography or videography in a single hybrid format for under $1k (not even the GH5s). Reason I am looking for a second cam now is that I have recently invested in a Konova motorised slider and a MSM tracker/rotator with 3 way geared Benro head. I see the a7S being a great option for capturing single exposure 4k time lapse sequences on top of the slider that won't be stacked while the second camera will take longer exposure tracked or star trail sequences which will likely be stacked.

Having spent all that $$, I am now very tight on disposable cash. I think the a7R will make the most sense being a photography focussed system and also because I already have a load of accessories from the a7S.

A7r has a great reputation in landscape and astro photography.  Even in normal light and with tele lenses upto 200mm personally I have not been affected by so-call shutter shock issue as I went around it.  It has great DR and sharpness.  It's the very first Sony camera I picked up after moved from Canon with tons of photos generated from.  I actually regret sold it.

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