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Sony E-mount system – my journey so far page 3

5) Hope rekindled:

Sony A7R - large full-frame sensor
Sony A7R – large full-frame sensor (NICE)

But as with all things Sony, they do innovate and the latest cameras are a testament of this. I was intrigued and excited about their Sony A7R and knew this would be a camera I would own and get me back into the E-mount system (and the many accessories I had accumulated for this system). And every time I look at that large sensor in there, I am reminded of what an amazing camera it is.

What I like about the Sony A7R?

1) Great full-frame sensor with 36 megapixels – I think this will cover most of my needs for what I shoot, and give plenty of margin for cropping.

2) Improved menu system compared to previous systems.

3) Multi-function hotshoe (as in NEX-6) and a remote control port for wired remote control.

4) Three custom white balance settings, as well as two user settings modes on the mode dial, each of which can store another 3 white balance settings.

5) Did I mention it looks great? Especially when partnered with nice-looking glass such as the Leica 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH.

6) Faster autofocus than the NEX-6, and will acquire focus in the dark better than the NEX-6. In the dark, these cameras do revert to using contrast-detect autofocus, and so the larger sensor of the A7R helps with its improved low light sensitivity due to larger pixel size.

7) This camera does not have an anti-aliasing filter, which makes the sensor capable of capturing great detail in landscape and portraits, which covers a lot of what I shoot.

8) It is definitely useable to ISO 6400, and I suspect with the right post-processing even ISO 12800 will be useable. But it is at ISO 100 where this camera truly shines, with its great dynamic range and colours.

9) It allows for various apps such as remote controlled shooting or shooting with various different filters applied for different looks.

10) The inclusion of eye autofocus, where pressing the button you set for this function will make the camera focus on the eye of the subject. This is a great tool for portrait shooting, which does away with the issue of having to manually move the focus point to the eye for each shot. This function is still glitchy as it can fail to activate at times, but I am hoping that this will improve with further firmware updates.

As you can see, I really like this camera. I am now much happier about the autofocus speed. But the A7R does have its limitations. Its contrast detect autofocus cannot keep up for continuous autofocusing, nor shoot at fast frame rates. If that is what you are after in a camera, the A7R is not for you. But what it can do, it does do very well.

6) Further joy:

Sony knew that fast continuous autofocus was a feature which was lacking in their E-mount lineup, which is why they came out with the Sony A6000 to plug that gap. I knew the A6000 was another camera I had to buy, as it provides me with new capabilities which none of my other existing cameras can do i.e. fast continuous autofocus and ability to shoot at fast frame rates.

Sony A6000 @ ISO 6400
Sony A6000 @ ISO 6400
100% crop
100% crop – even better than NEX-7 at ISO 1600

What I like about the Sony A6000?

1) Great sensor 24 megapixels, which is easily useable up to ISO 6400, perhaps more with the right post-processing.

2) Fast and accurate continuous autofocus and subject tracking, paired with fast frame rates – higher chance of catching the crucial moment in sports or bird-in-flight photography.

3) It has the same improved menu system and ability to use apps as the A7R.

4) Although it only has one custom white balance setting, it does have a user preset mode on the mode dial, which will allow for 2 sets of user preferred settings to be saved and recalled. Each of these can have a different custom white balance, which means you can save 3 different custom white balances on this camera.

I do feel now that the combination of the A7R and A6000 has given me a system which will cover what I will shoot nearly all the time in visible light (for UV-imaging I still use my full-spectrum Olympus EM-5).

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