Fresh back from Art Wolfe’s Olympic Peninsula workshop last weekend, I’m still buzzing about the terrific A7r. After just two weeks the Sony has crushed both of myformer camera’s, the 5D Mk III and the D800e. So, I’m not one of the people standing in line waiting to argue about Canon versus Nikon. Having shot both for a couple years, I feel no real brand loyalty or superiority. Both had strengths. I simply want the best camera for my needs… Seems simple enough right?
My little world doesn’t really care about AF, which the most documented drawback of the 36.3 MP A7r. Almost never use it, except on the rare occasion I photograph another human! Maybe some wildlife for which I’m pretty woeful at anyways. My two favorite lenses are both manual focus and I tend to manually focus the others. All that said, the AF on the Sony is very crisp and fast on the Vario Tessar 24-70mm. It’s quieter than my other lenses for the Canon or the Nikon. When I say quieter I mean it’s much less of an event for the camera. To be fair to Nikon I only had one AF lens, and it sucked, a 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom. Let’s talk about focus! Anthony Hayward, one of the instructors of the workshop, and I, were talking about critical focus, pre-shot zooming. I didn’t know the capabilities of the new Sony. He called a colleague of his from the middle of the Sol Duc rainforest to get the answer! The Sony performs right behind the Canon 5D mk III. Using this feature takes some practice because it turns off after 5 seconds. (choices are 2 sec, 5 sec or no limit). It also does well in both using the viewfinder(electronic) or the screen which tilts by the way. No appreciable difference in battery life by turning off live view and using the viewfinder exclusively. Battery life was pretty good. I shot about 100 pictures a day and got into a second battery twice. Plugging camera into mirco usb in car while switching locations kept me charged. Maybe it was the Red Bull.
With a limited sample size of only two weeks there is little to complain about with the A7r. It isn’t touch screen. Probably not a videography 1st choice(A7s). If Auto Focus is a priority, then maybe an A7 with only 24MP… If you’re not into hefty… price or weight, and you can get over the fear of switching camera brands, then this camera will be at your side for a long time!