In a nutshell, I don’t care for the camera and I’ve sold my kit. The obvious issue is a lack of lenses. I knew that getting into it of course, but thought the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 would be a good start, followed by the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 out now and the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 out in the fall. That’s a great lightweight full-frame kit! This is keeping in mind that the two primes already released are not relevant for landscape photography. Guess what, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 is not a good lens. Not even an acceptable lens in my opinion. That throws the holy trinity of lenses out the window and where do we go from here? The Metabones adapter turned out to be a pain in the butt. Supposedly you had to add flock paper in order to reduce the glare in the adapter and improve contrast. OK, did that. Now the flock paper is in the scene! I would take a picture and have flock paper in the lower left. I would remove the lens and reapply the paper. Not fun. The Sony is clunky with the adapter. You lose a great deal of the lightweight factor and it doesn’t pair well with the larger Canon glass. Then there’s the light leak issue. Supposedly it’s common in most cameras but I followed recommendations and added a hair tie around the adapter. Next we have the vibration issue. At certain shutter speeds you get blurry images? How this got past Sony quality control is beyond me. Other issues include poor battery life, lossy RAW compression, poor UI, unusable EVF in low light and the feel factor. This can’t be measured but only assessed in the field when you are using a camera. It either feels right or it doesn’t. In the case of the Sony A7R it doesn’t feel right. My Canon 6D feels perfect in the hands with incredible UI and live view performance.
Sony will keep throwing darts at the wall trying to get it right and they just may. This is clearly a first generation camera and I anticipate the second version is right around the corner. They are doing a great job of innovating, but sometimes at the cost of perfecting what’s current. In addition, they are pushing out cameras that don’t have a cohesive system. The full-frame mirrorless family, the Sony A7, A7R and now A7S are years away from having a flushed out lens collection. While the image quality may be better than my current Canon setup, it comes at too great a cost of usability and options.
My next mission, especially for the next edition of my Gear Guide, was to tackle the Fuji X system. With the release of the weather sealed XT-1 and the Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4, I decided it was worth the plunge to explore the system for landscape photography. I will write a more detailed blog post with the results, but first impressions are the opposite of the Sony. The camera has great feel factor, an incredible selection of lenses, and solid UI. If you are looking for a quality lightweight landscape kit, the Fuji X-T1 is the way to go!