My first 6 months with the Sony A7
by Alfredo Guadarrama
Well, the first 6 months with my A7 went pretty fast and I thought it was a good moment to gather some thoughts on this system. I’m a former Nikon user that had a D600 and a D7000 before with a plenty number of lenses. I had the opportunity to have a variety on focal lengths that gave me a lot of versatility to take decent pictures in most of the common scenarios.
After having several problems with my D600 and D7000 due to oil spots issues in the mechanism that drives the mirror, I decided to sell all my Nikon equipment and look for an alternative system. This was a very disappointing quality issue. I spent a considerable amount of time removing oil spots in photoshop and lightroom. I thought this situation was unacceptable due to the high prices in this gear.
After doing extensive research on systems I didn’t have a lot of alternatives. I wanted a lighter body but also high performance with good quality lenses. The Canon system offered excellent quality with the 5DMIII and the 6D coupled with high-end lenses. The problem is that these bodies are as heavy as the D600. Most of the time I do travel photography, carrying a heavy body all day long is not very nice.
Then, I went to the Fuji X-system. The glass versatility and quality are great, but the bodies are not full frame. Despite this situation, I think that Fuji is doing a great job in terms of quality image. I think that the jpegs from the current line of cameras/lenses are superb. Finally, I decided to go with the Sony A7. I chose this body because it is full-frame. When compared to the A7R (A7S didn’t exist at that moment), I chose the A7 because it had a better autofocus system, lower megapixels (less hard drive space with very good image quality), and was significantly cheaper. The only downside was the lenses. The variety of lenses was and it is still very small with high prices. As we are seeing now with the appearance of new lenses (e.g. Loxia), my hopes of a larger variety of lenses is becoming a reality. I know that you can use third party lenses with adapters, but I’m not the best fan. I think lenses are made specifically to work well in a system, and second, I love having autofocus (I know that peaking mode works wonders in the A7).
So, the lenses I bought were the 35F2.8 and the 24-70F4 from Zeiss. Shot with the A7 and the Nikon 35mm f1.8G (Fotodiox Adapter)
And here is the Sony A7 + 35F2.8 with a leather half case. Shot with the iPhone 5c
Since I received my A7 I have had the chance to shoot 6000+ photos with the camera and I must say that it has pros and cons. To make it simple for readers I put them as a bullet list:
- Lightweight when compared to a DSLR.
- Small size that doesn’t take half of the space in your backpack.
- Viewfinder screen, you see what you’ll get.
- Superb image quality, especially with the 35 mm (Zeiss).
- Intuitive and well positioned controls and dials, you have dedicated knobs for aperture, speed, ISO.
- Internal Wi-Fi, the app works much better than the one for Nikon and the camera has built-in wi-fi. For the Nikon you need to buy a 50USD adapter.
- Tilting screen is very useful when shooting over a crowd or close to the floor.
- Battery life is ridiculous, cannot last one full day of shooting. I had to buy a lot of additional batteries (40 USD each).
- Usually one stop slower than DSLRs in the same situation. I think this is related to the fact it is a mirrorless system.
- Small variety of lenses, current line is very expensive.
- Some distortion with the 24-70F4 at 24mm, the lens works pretty well as a general purpose lens (could be better for the price).
- Extremely noisy. This camera has been hard to use while shooting inside a church or temple where you need to be quiet.
- Not weather/dust resistant (would have been nice for travel photography)
I had the opportunity to use the camera in the Boston, Miami, NYC, London, Dubai and several countries Asia. I was surprised with the camera. It performed very well, it was very easy to use and despite being one of the first times using it, I didn’t have any trouble finding specific settings. The lcd screen is big enough to review sharpness and focus in the pictures. The wifi worked wonders when I wanted to share a picture with my family or in Instagram.
Here are some of the shots I have taken so far since I got the camera, most of them are edited in Lightroom with VSCO film presets:
Charing Cross in London, UK
Ultra Music Festival in Miami, USA
Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE
Sumo tournament in Tokyo, Japan
Low light performance is astonishing for a camera of this size (no tripod was used in this shot).
Geisha District in Kyoto, Japan
Men playing cards near Guilin, China
French Concession in Shanghai, China
The skyline in the shot below was taken using a mefoto tripod, Victoria Skyline in Hong Kong
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
In case you own a A7/A7R/A7S, I recommend you watching this video from Ralfs Foto-Bude in YouTube:
It presents an in-depth analysis of the different menus and options inside the camera. I found it pretty useful when learning how to use the A7.
As a conclusion, buying this camera was a very good choice, amazing are results. This camera was a good choice because it adapts to my photographic needs and delivers the quality I’m expecting. It is not a perfect camera, but is the best solution for me in the current market offering. Please share your thoughts and comments. They will be interesting to read.
Thank you Steve, for giving your website readers the opportunity to share their thoughts. Congratulations for your great work.
P.S. If you want to see more of my work using this camera please go to: