Category Archives: camera

An Upgrader’s Guide to the Sony A7rIV

This isn’t a full review: if you want to check out the SNR then Bill Claff’s site Photonstophotos is where you want to go, and for technical analysis of many features of the rIV the Jim Kasson’s series is by far the best resource. Both of these sites are much to be preferred to any of the camera review sites if you have a modicum of technical knowledge.

This article, though, is more of a personal discussion of how much the differences between the A7r4 and A7rIII matter to me: and a spoiler is that while there are lots of technical differences which you can read about in the sites I mentioned, they aren’t the most important ones.

So as you can tell already, I made the plunge. Was it a good idea? that’s what this article may help you decide!

If you end up finding this useful and decide to buy one, using one of the links below will cost you nothing, and will make a small contribution to the cost of this site. None of us does this for a living, we don’t run advertising, and the small commissions just help make it possible to keep the site going.

You can buy it from B&H here

You can buy it from Amazon here

You can buy it from eBay here

Biggest Benefits

The biggest two benefits for me are the upgraded viewfinder, and the ability to make the AF/MF indicator red.

The upgraded viewfinder is great. It’s now about 5mp, and is noticeably crisper than the A7rIII. I find myself rarely or never using focus peaking, and often magnifying a little less in manual focus. This is really nice: it’s much less distracting not having focus peaking. Make sure you have the viewfinder refresh rate set on standard: the resolution drops at the high setting (the high setting is useful though – for example you might use it in  a  memory setting which uses high burst rates to follow action with autofocus. In this situation refresh rate would be more important than resolution).

The second improvement is the new, red colour available for the AF/MF target. This is wonderful! As someone who uses manual lenses maybe 2/3 of the time, my practice has been to move the focus target over what I want to focus on, then use a press of the joystick to magnify (setting initial mag to 5.9x eliminates an extra press you might otherwise need). But so often I would lose the target – it would be quite invisible. So I would have to reset it to the centre, and move it again, in the process losing the shot I wanted. The red target is really easy to see and I would personally pay big money for it. I’d also resent it big time as well, though, because it’s the kind of thing that could easily be made available on the rIII by firmware.

I think the enhanced sealing is also a big benefit. I have hated the way that I have babied the previous bodies in drizzle. Reports on the sealing of the rIV really do seem to indicate improvement – not just on the achilles heel of the riii which was the baseplate (never set an r3 down on a damp surface). The larger buttons which some people love for their ergonomics also are easier to make seals for apparently.

Image Quality

Continue reading An Upgrader’s Guide to the Sony A7rIV

Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

Okay, everybody is talking about how manual lenses work so well on the Sony a7 series but how does it actually work? And which results can you expect? Read on if you want to know.DSC00720

Manual Lenses on the Sony a7/a7II/a7III

Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28  ~ $250
Olympus OM 2.8/100 ~ $100
 Minolta MC 1.4/50 ~ $60

Why should I use manual lenses?

    • They can be very cheap, you can get a great 1.4/50 lens for $50. For most applications such a lens will give you 90% of the performance of a $1000 Zeiss 1.8/55 FE. For the $1000 you would have to pay for that Zeiss you can buy an excellent set of five lenses from 20 to 300mm.
    • You have a huge choice between thousands of lenses ranging from exotic ones with lots of “character” to some of the very best lenses available.
    • There are 30-year-old primes with better image quality than many modern lenses. Of course progress has happened in recent years but still affordable primes are often sharper than very expensive modern zooms.
    • Old lenses are usually beautifully built from nothing but metal and glass which makes it a joy to handle them. They can last a lot longer than modern lenses which are full of electronics and very complex designs, both of which make them more likely to fail.
    • They also hold their value much better than modern lenses. With some patience you can sell most manual lenses without a loss but with new lenses you can expect to lose 30% in the first year.
    • Manual focusing can be very enjoyable. This certainly depends on application but personally I enjoy working with fully manual lenses a lot more than with any AF lens and I would choose a good manual focus lens over an AF lens (almost) any time. Check out our manual photographers series to read other photographers stories who feel similar about this.
Minolta MD 2/50 ~$25

Why shouldn’t I use manual lenses?

Continue reading Beginner’s Guide to Manual Lenses on the Sony a7

Travel report: A journey through the Balkans

Travel report: A journey through the Balkans

Last two years I already visited (by airplane) the Balkan countries Montenegro and Albania for a hiking vacation with my girlfriend and a photography trip with my photo buddy Rick. The wild nature of the Balkans attracts me a lot. As the Balkans are not well known yet, and a lot of people from West Europe think its still dangerous there (most area’s are safe nowadays), you can walk around in the mountains without seeing anyone for a whole day.
The Balkan countries also have very nice, often old cities at the Adriatic coast which are touristic, but not nearly as those in e.g. Italy.

Below you can find a few pictures from my trip last year, which convinced me to go back again this year.  Most photo’s of this year can be found in high resolution here. The timelapse video my friend Rick made is also worth checking.

a7s | Samyang 14mm t/3.1 | Montenegro 2018
a7ii | Loxia 2/50 | Montenegro 2018
a7s | Voigtländer 4.5/15 | Montenegro 2018
a7s | Samyang 14mm t/3.1 | Montenegro 2018

Continue reading Travel report: A journey through the Balkans

How good a camera you need? – A closer look at the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Introduction

huawei mate 20 pro phone photography smartphone small sensor resolution review bokeh computational photography
Huawei Mate 20 Pro | 27mm equivalent | polarizer

Very often we get asked questions like: should I get lens X or lens Y? Out of lens X, Y and Z: which is the best performer? Which 35/50/85mm lens should I buy? Do I need a camera with 42mp? Is the Zeiss Batis 18mm 2.8 or the Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 sharper?
For several reasons we usually cannot answer these questions: rarely we know what you want to use the lens or camera for and often the difference between a good and a bad sample of the same lens is bigger than that between two different lenses.
So, to give you a different perspective, in this article we will look at the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, a smartphone with above-average camera capabilities and see what results can be obtained from this pocketable 200g device.

Sample Images

huawei mate 20 pro phone photography smartphone small sensor resolution review bokeh computational photography
Huawei Mate 20 Pro | 27mm equivalent
huawei mate 20 pro phone photography smartphone small sensor resolution review bokeh computational photography
Huawei Mate 20 Pro | 16mm equivalent
huawei mate 20 pro phone photography smartphone small sensor resolution review bokeh computational photography
Huawei Mate 20 Pro | 80mm equivalent

Continue reading How good a camera you need? – A closer look at the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Review: Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM

The Sony 1.8/135 GM is a highly anticipated lens that has been rumored for some time. Being a GM lens, it is part of a line which includes some of my favorite lenses like the Sony FE 1.4/24 GM and the Sony FE 1.4/85 GM. My expectations are as high as its price – can it live up to that?

Sample Images

Sony A7iii | Sony FE 1.8/135 GM | f1.8 | full size
Sony A7iii | Sony FE 1.8/135 GM | f1.8 | full size
Sony A7iii | Sony FE 1.8/135 GM | f1.8 | full size

Continue reading Review: Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM