A friend’s Sony A7r review

I lent out a Sony a7R and 35mm and 55mm lenses to a friend who is a very accomplished conventional DSLR photographer. Here’s what he had to say…

I was very excited to try the Sony having been impressed by the overwhelming flood of positive reviews and sample images. At first touch I hated the camera. Coming from a Nikon DSLR, I found the layout confusing and nothing worked the way I thought it should. I couldn’t adjust the focal area without digging deep into the menu. The front and rear dials, which I thought should control aperture and speed respectively, didn’t seem to do anything, and all the photos I took were out of focus. I tried reading the manual, but this was akin to following the instructions of an autistic pedant. The manual mentions every dial and menu option without ever explaining how to use the damn thing. I found some intelligible comments and reviews online and eventually was able to configure the camera enough to make it somewhat useable without too much head-scratching (and slapping).

If your subject is willing to stand still you will be hard pressed to find a better pairing. Set the camera to aperture-priority, open the lens as wide as it will go, ignore ISO, and have fun. If your subjects are mobile 13-month-old boys, load your gun and shoot yourself.

The sample images below were captured in RAW and imported into Lightroom, mainly for slight cropping. Portrait: 1/250 f2.0 ISO 800. Black and white: 1/60 f1.8 ISO 1250.

[Philip says: This is consistent with my experience. I think it is a great camera for landscape photographers who like the 35mm and 55mm focal lengths and who are hiking in the mountains. (Ignoring the sage advice of the 8×10 view camera photographer Edward Weston: “Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.”)]

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