#325. Waiting for an epiphany that ain’t gonna happen

#325. Waiting for an epiphany that ain’t gonna happen

Rumours spoil us. I’ve been longing for an A7r replacement since the first faint suggestions of curved sensors, 50Mpix medium formats and other exotica were aired on the interwebs.

Not that it’s a bad camera, but my past experience with Sony has not been one of extreme reliability, and 18 months – 30.000 frames – into my noisy, lazy, wonderful A7r’s life is long enough to hanker for fresh blood.

Lothlórien - Sony A7r & OTUS 85/1.4

Lothlórien – Sony A7r & OTUS 85/1.4

Plus, change is nice.

Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to test exotics glass from Zeiss that made me realize how much the “it’s not the gear, it’s the photographer” mantra is hocus. Yes, the photographer creates the art. But excellent gear just makes the experience so much more easy and natural. That’s why photographers are willing to pay obscene money for average-testing lenses, to the bemusement of those of the lab-rat persuasion. The Soul always kick’s the mind’s arse (butt).

A frozen puddle makes patterns like a first and a foot. Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 ZM and Sony A7r

Foot and fist – Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 ZM on Sony A7r

With all the recent agitation around 50Mpix FF sensors, my fear is that Sony will soon reveal to us more of the same: tremendous sensor technology built into passable bodies. When current sensors built into better bodies is so much more like what I’d like to see released. Using a truffle to make average broth usually isn’t a chef’s excuse for cooking more of the same from even better ingredients, yet that’s the line of reasoning I’m expecting from Sony HQ.

The Opera Bastille in Paris, France. B&W in contrasty light

Opera Bastille, Paris. Zeiss Loxia 50/2, Sony A7r

Follow the lenses. Is, always has been, always will be my line of reasoning. If the recent Canon 5DS and 5DS R Image Samples prove anything (to my eyes) is how easily glass can water down good sensor technology. Lenses give the shot its soul and style, or lack of. The 3 photos above were made using the same camera and 3 lenses, each excellent, and each very different in rendering.

Even more so than the stunning OTUS 85/1.4, my current favourite is the new Zeiss 35/1.4 ZM. For me it is in a class of its own, so much so that I’ buy a camera for that lens rather than search for another great 35mm for the A7r. As inspiring as the ZM’s results are on the A7r, articles such as this Second go with the Leica M Monochrom By Chris H, on SteveHuffPhoto, remind me how much more copacetic the results when photographer, camera and lens bond deeply.

But a Leica M Monochrom ? I love the idea, but paying that much money for outdated electronics and a shooting style that’s never been conducive to great results for me, not happening.


Constant planks – OTUS 85/1.4, Sony A7r

So here I am, hoping for an epiphany such as the M4/3 open format to happen in the Sony – Leica world.

Hoping for a more Leica-like A7r successor : built to last, ergonomically sound and uncluttered, and more inclined to exploit the goodness of M-mount designs, starting with the landmark ZM 35/1.4 from its very own partner company, Zeiss.

Or for a more Sony-like Leica body: superb sensor, great live view, great rear screen, great EVF.

Knowing full well neither will happen.


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