#164. My next Camera ? Welcome to the Sony A7r !

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Oct 14

Rumor websites are often criticised but here’s my big THANK YOU to Andrea, administrator of SonyAlphaRumors, who has rekindled my love affair with Sony.

Sony A7r & Zeiss Sonnar 35 mm f/2.8

Sony A7r & Zeiss Sonnar 35 mm f/2.8

Readers might recall my steamy love affair with the Sony NEX-5n a couple of years ago that was interrupted by two technical break downs and ended in a divorce by frustration but with lingering deep feelings.

Since then, my gear has been submitted to the greatest period of change ever : an Olympus OM-D E-M5 soon followed. In my mind, this is a better camera than the previous NEX, but doesn’t have the fun factor.

Some time later, I pondered whether you should or not buy a Sony RX1, the answer for me being a clear NO, because of the lack of grip and viewfinder. My mind never doubted the decision but my heart though differently, so desirable is this marvel of a camera.

Tired of waiting for the rumored Sony NEX Full Frame to finally appear, I bought a Nikon D800e with a slew of Leica-R and Zeiss ZF.2 lenses. An extremely competent camera for which I feel no love (although the lenses come close). The fact that I haven’t reviewed it on this blog says a lot about how I feel about it (but I will, I promise ;))

The phoenix rises : Sony A7r

And when SAR first leaked information on the coming NEX-FF, it left me cold. What else is new. Late to the party.

But the specs eventually caught my attention and now have me gnawing at the woodwork in anticipation ! I won’t repeat them in detail as they are all constantly updated on Sony Alpha Rumors, but here’s why I think you should buy this camera immediately !

(1) The ugly : none that I can see. Unless the sensor turns out to be a let down, this should be a fantastic tool.

(2) The bad : no in-camera stabilisation.That’s a real shame. The IBIS on the Olympus OM-D is incredible !

3:2 format. That’s a very subjective point of view, but the 24x36mm format is ugly to me. It also lacks compositional strength. I often end up cropping pictures in a 4:3 or panoramic mode. Rudolph Arnheim wrote a very interesting book called the power of the center which explains the importance of frame format. It really is recommended reading. But still, I can live with that one.

(3) The good : where to start ? When my NEX-5n failed, I really got the feeling Sony still carried the DNA of a consumer electronics mass vendor, not a camera maker. Two years later, I really think Sony has got it !

The micro cells on the sensor indicate compatibility with (at least some) Leica-M lenses, which is FANTASTIC news. If you’ve always been stuck with lifeless Nikon or Canon lenses, your life will light up when you discover how expressive some of the Voigltander, Zeiss ZM and old Leica lenses can be. It’s a completely different world of joy, believe me 🙂 🙂 This – if confirmed – is a brilliant move towards an open system by Sony. A move similar to the open app platform on the NEX-5r (I couldn’t resist buying one a few months ago, but shh, don’t tell).

The build seems very sturdy. The RX1 is wonderful in that respect. If thats anything to go buy that A7 should be a solid trooper.

The Zeiss lenses. Sony/zeiss are not producing as many lenses as users would like but they are slowly and consistently building a high quality system, which means Sony sees itslef in the game for the long term and as a high end player, yet with reasonable prices !

No AA filter ! Thank you Sony. I seem to be in the minority, but I can live with moire in 0,01% of my shots and not have all the others artificially blurred for no good reason. In one year I have taken over 15,000 pictures with my D800e using very sharp lenses. I have tried my best to provoke moire and seen it so far in 2 (two) pictures. AA filters are a ridiculous pain for the vast majority of users. Kudos for Sony for providing a very intelligent choice with the A7 and A7r ! Brilliant thinking and marketing based on segmentation rather than artificial feature deprivation.

Nex steps

If you’re convinced, check out Sony Alpha Rumors at 7am (UK time) next thursday for a live account of the official launch.

Me ? I had an Olympus OM-D E-M1 on preorder (really not expecting to be interested in Sony’s move) but have cancelled it and have replaced this with the A7r.

I have started selling my lenses. My Zeiss ZF.2 DIstagon 25/2 is on sale on Amazon.fr and my Nikon D800e and Leica lenses are yours for the taking. I’m keeping the Summicron-R 50/2 and Elmarit-R 19/2.8 but the rest is going.

Anyone interested in a Summicron-R 35/2 (latest version, killer optics) an Elmarit-R 90/2.8 (also the latest version, a fantastic mix of sharpness and well controled contrast) or a Micro-Nikkon 55 just drop me a comment.

Stay tuned 😉

  • Tim Ball says:

    Pascal, I’m amazed that you’re selling the Summicron-R 35/2 and Elmarit-R 90/2.8. Having followed you on here, I thought these were your favourite lenses. Surely they will still work on the A7r with an adapter?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Tim,

      yes, you’re quite right.

      But I have kept the M version of the Elmarit-R 90/2.8 from my Sony Nex days so the R will no longer be needed (have to convert it back to Leica mount, now … 😉

      As for the Summicron, I am more hesitant, but the lure of the Voigtlander 35/1.2 is sooo strong.

      I love to test stuff and cannot afford to keep it all ;)I need help !


  • […] and my Nikon D800e to make room for the camera that could (lamost) unite the qualities of both, the Sony A7r, here I am, as naked as a newly […]

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