Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kelly Slater, Alana Blanchard, Surf POLL 2013 Winners
Shot the Night event with SONY A7r and A7 only.

on this shot at f2.8, iso1600, A7r+LAEA4+50mm f1.4 ZA SSM  Kelly had stepped forward. I just took the shot (the only shot at this location of the two).  Those that have been in this situation, know. You just take the Shot. (it's a Gift)  Had just stopped Kelly as he was running thru the lobby to get out the door at the end of the event, and I just so happened to be standing next to Alana.   Talk about luck.

LOVE the Wheels, Dials, customize-able buttons of the A7r / A7!
 Would go so far as to say it is the best set up I have used on any camera. No more button push and wheel roll to change a setting, even Exposure Comp.   Button push and wheel roll to change a setting is DEAD to me!
Now I wish it will be the same for a A-Mount PRO Sony with 36mp Non-AA, that is Blazing Fast on AF and CAF in low light.

SONY does need to include ALL of the Menu items on the List of choice to change on the "Function Menu Set".
and the "Custom Key Settings" need more choices.    Like a LCD/EVF toggle, CAF-ON (with a AF shutter OFF), and the MUST have "Live View Display - Settings Effect ON/OFF.  

On this night in this lighting ... backdrop , Lobby (bad lighting) , dark ballroom  the AF had ZERO problems.  AF is quick enough for these run and gun type shoots.  I would not hesitate to use these cameras "all the time" on these type of shoots.  You just need to use the Center AF point if using the LAEA4 and look for contrast. The collar next to the face is a good place (top edge of dress that lines up on the same plane as there face/eyes). And when pressed for time, you can get the AF lock quickly. With practice and experience.  Should it be faster in Low light  for PRO event work , Sure. Is it fast enough NOW - YES!   You just need to know what the camera can and cannot do and work with it (just like any camera)

What I noticed is the A7r+LAEA4+50mm f1.4 ZA   because of the SSM (and PDAF on the LAEA4)  the 50mm f1.4 ZA SSM seems to move to the AF point FASTER.  BUT, it is NOT seeming to use the CDAF on the Sensor of the A7r as Surrounding Dynamic AF "HELPER" AF point to help Track and AF in Low Light.
Is the AF as fast in Low Light / Low Contrast as my D800, NO ... but close enough.  Remember 36mp vs 36mp it's the A7r vs D800/e
Image Quality, they are basically even. DXO test and ratings bare this out. 
BUT, the A7r has HUGE SIZE/Weight Advantage !  Basically half.    Seeing and Reading it on the web does not impact you like the first time you shoot with two cameras on a Black Rapid Double Strap and you FEEL the Difference. It is HUGE!  and all the talk and web pictures does not do it justice.
Shooting two Nikon D800/e with 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 VRII - to a two A7r/A7  FE set up is really hard to imagine with just words and web pics.  and then you look at the Images/IQ and it's the same. It's a WOW that any D800/e can apprectiate. They are the one's that would "Get It" First. :) 
Then, you ADD up all the Feature Advantages of the EVF (yes, advantages over OVF)  ZEBRA (Highlight blinkys live view) and Peaking, and Exposure Live View thru the EVF so you never have to review (chimp). = PRICELESS !
Ok, maybe that was "over the top". :)
Lets ADD Wifi/NFC , camera control via easily downloadable Smart phone APPS (forget remotes/wires, use what you carry with you all the time ... smartphone). and because SONY opened up the API , you will see MORE smartphone APPS that can control the camera.  Did I mention it is downloadable to your camera and the list of APPS is viewed (& downloadable) on your camera. The A7r can easily connect to your  WIFI Access POINT with "WPS button Push", easy being the key word here.
Is the APPS great yet? NO ... but has the Potential to be.  When you use them, you will know what I am talking about.   Just clear your mind of how you "used" to do things in the PAST. :)
Does already have a easy Direct UPLOAD to Facebook and Flicker FREE.  
It needs a good Instagram with a square crop tool , that lets you fill in with Black or White the blank spaces.
But, now this is all in the reach of the possible , and Quickly. via Software APPS and open API. 

A7+55mm f1.8 ZA FE

The A7+55mm f1.8 ZA FE does AF in Low light/Low contrast that the A7r + LAEA4 (and a99) could not. 

Just as a note: the D800/e can AF with its PDAF system in as  Low light/Low contrast as the A7 + FE , but does this small/short/quick hunt at the end that some reviewers have mentioned. (and I don't like, because it does seem to make it slower on AF vs the D700)
IF , SONY could get the PDAF AF points to work with the CDAF AF points (let you configure how many / how wide the array is)  I  could envision a FW update that would both speed up AF (and CAF) AND help AF in Lower light.
Just my opinion, it's not the Hardware that is limiting the A7r/A7  from being Faster on AF "maybe" , I think better AF Software  can go a long way.
Hmmmm Olympus stock buy by Sony? Sony probably has access to the Olympus tech  ...  and how ironic that Olympus is now the Best Auto Focusing in Mirrorless!  Trust me, old Olympus shooters will get this one   LOL.

Used two(2) sb900 Flashes with RadioPoppers JrX Radio Triggers to fire them all "off camera".
Set Flashes All in manual.

Does SONY need RADIO wifi Flashes ... with control like Nikon CLS ?  YES   ... badly.  and a sb910 like flash (no overheat and quick response for event shooters) and a 200mm ZOOM on the Flash.  also like the EVEN light feature of the Nikon flash.  

I should note that on these shoots everything needs to be uploaded the next day. Everything that night was shot with the SONY A7r + LAEA4 + 50mm f1.4 ZA SSM + JrX Radio Triggers + two(2) sb900 / A7 + 50mm ZA f1.8 ZA. Nothing shot above f2.8, all shot at iso1600 or higher (well a few at iso1000). B&W shots with A7 combo above iso2000+ and f1.8. particularly the B&W in the Ballroom. Post workflow is thru Lightroom v5.3 the newest update with Sony A7r / A7 RAW support and a lot of new support for Sony lens, fyi: ALL the FE lens.
BUT, NO 50mm f1.4 ZA SSM support , or 70-200mm f2.8 G2   strangely.
More pics from the 2013 Surfer POLL Awards:

In red on the right is the wife of the late Andy Irons.  Pipeline Masters start the next day. 
f2.8, iso1000, A7r+LAEA4+50mm f1.4 ZA SSM

On all the shots of the women I took off sharpness. PP Lightroom 4.3 RC from RAW. My first use of LR 5.3 RC , worked well.  Right after I install the RC (betat)  Adobe releases the final version of v 5.3.  I just knew that was going to happen. :) 
The light on the wall is mixed.  my flashes had to battle other photogs flashes and video LED lights (and there was a mix of those too)

Hope this helps,

Ross Hamamura
The Tourist of Light
SONY ALPHA Camera Ambassador
Please follow me on Instagram:  @RDHphoto
Facebook Sony ALPHA - TALK  Group:
SONY Community ID:  Hawaii-Geek

1 comment:

The Photography Indonesia said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)