The Sony A7r is Looking Strong for Landscape Photography

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I’m about to leave for Nepal to go trekking for a month and won’t be blogging about the new camera until I return. It will hopefully be waiting for me when I arrive home!

I’ve been scouring the internet for details to the most important questions for landscape photographers. With the help of Michael Bolognesi and Achim Sieger we’ve accumulated some important facts.

As the camera is a huge draw for Canon landscape photographers (Nikon users have the stellar sensor in the D800), the big question is how does the camera perform with Canon glass, most specifically, the Canon 17mm and 24mm TS-E lenses? A Dutch magazine reports that the tilt shift lenses work perfectly on the A7r with the Metabones Mark III adapter. The magazine article can be found here:

http://www.pf.nl/19555/hands-on-sony-alpha-7r-metabones-adapter-eos-lenzen/

The Metabones Adapter Mark III can be purchased here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/983747-REG/metabones_mb_ef_e_bm3_canon_ef_to_e_mount_nex.html

In addition, an L-Bracket for the Mark III adapter will hopefully be in the works from:

http://hejnarphoto.com/ebay/products/metabones2%20spacer.html

Achim is working with him to see if it’s possible. Using the L-Bracket with the Metabones adapter would be fantastic option.

Reports of the Canon 17-40mm f/4L IS and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II are coming in as well, and both can be used with the camera.

Another reason other than tilt shift lenses that Canon landscape photographers have not made the jump to the Nikon D800 is the nearly unusable live view of the D800. It has a green tint screen, does not give an accurate representation of the image, makes manual focus extremely challenging due to interpolation, and has trouble focusing in many situations. The Canon Mark III is the polar opposite with phenomenal live view. So what does the Sony A7r bring to the table in regards to live view? Achim shared with me this article from Matt Kloskowski discussing live view on the A7r:

http://www.mattk.com/2013/11/01/my-two-favorite-features-on-the-new-sony-a7r/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-two-favorite-features-on-the-new-sony-a7r

Matt is a fan and provides confidence that the live view will deliver. He discusses focus peaking as well which should be standard on all DSLRs, yet is missing from the Mark III and D800. Matt also mentions diffraction reduction, which could be a fantastic feature but will need to be put to the test when the camera arrives.

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to make an argument for Nikon shooters out there. If you own the D800 or D800E or are in the market for one, why would this camera interest you? Here are 5 points to consider:

1) It’s half the weight

2) It has competent live view (and since landscape photographers use live view almost exclusively, this feature cannot be understated)

3) It can still be used with your excellent Nikon glass via an adapter!

4) It would make an excellent backup body. Same great image quality, less weight!

5) It’s more affordable (if you are debating between purchasing the two cameras)

Is the image quality better than the D800E? According to JPEG results the answer is yes, but the real test is RAW so that is yet to be seen. Want to see the A7r paired with the incredible Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G wide angle lens? Check out Gordon Laing’s review where he tests the camera with the Nikon lens: http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sony_Alpha_A7r/index.shtml
Exciting times ahead!

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16 responses to “The Sony A7r is Looking Strong for Landscape Photography

  • marionowen

    Yay, thanks for this update, Justin. I’ll still go forward with a new 5DM3, but am really watching how the Sony develops, adaptors, etc. I’m a cautious geek, I guess, but I really respect your take on things. I’m looking forward to Hawaii tour and the details when you get back (we need to make travel res’s soon as they block out fast for Alaska travelers) Have a ONE-derful trip!

  • Green Cathedral of South Africa

    I work with Sony A77 and I like the camera very much. Working in RAW is excellent. I assume the latest addition with the A77R won’t be much different in this respect. Many Canon/Nikon users tried my camera and without exception admitted that they should like to have one but they are stuck to their lenses. So good to read that there are adapters for the lenses of the two big brands. BTW: The photo department of Sony importer in South Africa is unaware of the new addition of the A77 ……. Another thing I found out; all ‘high tech’ in the D800 of Nikon is Sony …… but that’s a sideline … ;) Any idea how to obtain (online but with decent warranty) an A77R outside South Africa?

  • Achim Sieger

    Great reading, Justin! Well done!

  • Achim Sieger

    I enjoy to share my findings with you! Additionals point to consider for me as a Nikon shooter:

    The camera allows to shoot the stellar 17mm TS-E from Canon on a 36MP sensor. You can’t shoot the lens on a Nikon D800E and there is no alternative that wide on the market for Nikon F-mount.

  • Terry

    Thanks for the update Justin! dpreview.com now has A7r RAW lowlight and daylight comparisons: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sony-alpha-7-7r/7

  • Celso Mollo

    If this camera turns out to be better than the big canons and nikons it’s going to be a hit for landscape photographers all over. I would love to see a large print from it.

  • Jan Zwilling

    The more information I gather the more interesting this camera becomes. It seems to be a wonderful piece of equipment specifically for landscape photography. Some minor downsides could be solved with an app, which is a cool thing. I am think of a “creative exposure” app, which mainly does two things:
    # Advanced exposure bracketing functionality: Making it possible to design an automated set of exposures (free number of shots and ev spacing) that runs with just one click (perhaps with 2 sec delay).
    # Advanced iso bracketing functionality: Making it possible to design an automated set of equally exposed shots with varying ISO settings (resulting in different exposure times) that runs with just one click. With this you could shoot a range of ISOs of one scene (free specification of number, lowest and highest ISO and spacing). This would dramatically improve the convenience of water photography!

    Wouldnt it be nice to have this app with a camera body that’s as potent at the A7R?
    -Jan

  • Patrick

    Awesome post. I am a Canon 5D Mark III shooter with TS-E glass and I have been eyeing the A7R for landscape and architecture work. You’ve answered 99% of my questions about the usability of the A7R for my needs. Thanks so much.

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