Honky Tonkin’ with the Sony A7 and A7r in Nashville!


Honky Tonkin’ with the Sony A7 and A7r in Nashville!

Ok guys, I will be honest. I have had a LONG day of flying, dinners, meetings and very little shooting and I am BEAT. It is 11:20 PM and I have to be up in 6 hours yet I still have an hours worth of work to do, so I will keep tonight’s Sony A7 post short and sweet.

I arrived in Nashville, TN today along with 46 other Journalists and bloggers to spend five days in Nashville with Sony and the A7, A7r and RX10. We will be shooting some VERY cool things including some music artists and other interesting happenings.

But tonight I decided to take a walk with one other guy as we went in and out of a few Honky Tonk bars to see if we could find any bands to shoot on the very 1st night with the new Sony A7 and A7r cameras.

I had the Voigtlander 35 1.2 on one of them and the Sony 50 1.8 on the other.

The images you will see below are  out of camera JPEGS. PERIOD. No RAW as nothing will convert them right at this moment. So what you see here is plain old OOC unprocessed JPEGS. Resized.

What can I say after a couple of hours with the camera? It’s nice, feels great, the shutter is clunky sounding (but not an issue for me), the images can be razor sharp with the right lenses (the two Sony lenses rock) and the Jpegs are not bad at all. Sony seems  to have improved their JPEG rendering.

But remember, this is my very 1st try with the new camera. I expect to get some superb results all week-long when I actually have some light 🙂

Below are just a few that I snapped but it is late and I do not have the time to post more..just yet. Judging from what I see just from JPEGS…this camera will be a force to be reckoned with once I can process some RAW files in my main computer at home.

Be sure to check back EVERY day for more Sony A7, A7r and RX10 samples and thoughts! You can pre-order the A7, A7r or RX10 HERE. 


Click them for larger..and remember, these are all JPEGS!






and a 100% crop from a JPEG shot at f/1.2 on the 7R! 1.2!




and one with some PP and B&W conversion…


and a few bonus images from earlier in the day when I 1st arrived to Nashville…








  1. Hii Steve are there any REASONABLY GOOD lenses available for A7 AND A7r in the price range of 1000$,if any please suggest 🙂

  2. Hi Steve, when do you think the A7s will be released? And does it get you as excited as it gets me? It really sounds heads and toes above the rest. Also, I’m curious to know why some lenses are better on the A7 vs the A7r. thx B

    • I am trying to not get excited as usually I am let down a bit. Hoping to be pleasantly surprised. My guess is that we will see the S sometime near the end of the year but could be sooner. I really have no idea.

      • Thanks for your reply.
        I’ve decided to rent the A7 and take it to a concert/festival. I can’t decide between the A7 & A7r. I don’t have any Sony glass except for a couple NEX lenses so I will have to rent those as well.
        1) Which camera A7 or A7r would you suggest for this particular scenario and why?
        2) what lenses (I’ll rent the LAE4 adaptor) would you recommend if low light sharpness and accurate autofocus is most important? I’m not all that familiar with Sony glass.
        Thx B

  3. Steve judging from the 35mm 1.2 most M mount 35mm lenses should work ok on this? I have a Leica 35mm Summicron Version IV”King of Bokeh” and the Zeiss 50mm Planar and I am wondering how these may perform. I rarely shoot wider than 35mm so if the 35 doesn’t have color issues I very well may keep my A7 preorder with the 55mm lens(36MP doesn’t interest me so much). Do you have plans to test the 35mm lenses on the A7 as well?

    Thanks for all the hard work!

  4. To the more knowledgeable might have an answer to this. I realize some of the M lenses will have color shift, but how easy is that to fix in post? If it’s an easy fix then it might not be a deal killer. I do realize that if it is smearing in the corners then it would be killer.

    Steve, be really interested in your results with the WA lenses. Thanks for posting these.

    • IQ is in another league…Fuji is not Full Frame so will not have the depth and richness of a full frame file. The Fuji will appear flat and a bit sterile in comparison.

  5. Love those shots Steve!!
    Specially A7r with the Voigtlander 35 1.2 the guy tuning his strat …. (tele) is awesome!!


  6. Hi Steve,
    do you have first impressions wether the A7 or A7r is the better body for leica-m glass under 35 mm?
    It`s important for my preorder!!

  7. Thanks Steve, your reviews are just the bests! But sometimes i have the feeling that you could do incredible pictures with ANY camera…!
    I ordered the e-m 1 last week, but as it may take a while to arrive here (Switzerland) I have the possibility to switch to the A7. As I do half portraits, half sports, it’s a difficult choice… Any advice?

    All the best from Europe!


  8. Hi Steve
    Thank you for your great website – I have read it for awhile but never posted until now. I have sold off all my Nex7 gear and lenses and pre-ordered an A7 kit. I also have an X100S and have no manual lenses. Based on your experience so far and the fact that I just want to take great pics of my active kids, would you keep the X100S or change my preorder completely – Incidentally I would like just 1 setup and therefore am tempted by the Zeiss zoom but would need to sell my X100S…..decisions decisions!!
    Cheers, Steve.

  9. These images look great… darn it.

    I mean, a few weeks ago, here I was: I have an Olympus E-M 5 and was happy with the results, but had a little extra money and was trying to decide whether I should move up to the E-M 1.

    Then I started reading about the Fuji XE2 and started thinking, “Maybe it’s time to make the jump to Fuji.” (After all, that 56mm lens is bound to appear SOMEday.)

    And now here’s Steve rocking the A7, and I can’t help thinking this would be a nice platform for the collection of M-mount lenses I still own but never use.

    But then what about this rumored new Nikon, the one they’re hyping with the phrase “It’s in my hands now.” (Somebody should tell Nikon that if they don’t stop that, they’ll go blind.)

    Or should I wait and see what’s on the X-Pro 2? That’s bound to be announced any time now, right?

    The blogosphere is so full of appealing almost-but-not-quite-here options that I feel totally paralyzed from buying ANY camera at all! Somehow I don’t think what the camera industry intends, but there it is…

    • IQ potential or IQ realized under real world conditions? Depends on how and what you shoot of course. I just shot the RX1 side by side with the E-M1 casually with similar focal lengths and shutter speeds (not scientific) and I got pictures that looked sharper, had better white balance under mixed lighting, and had skin tones I preferred coming from the E-M1. The focus speed/accuracy and stabilization of the Olympus more than made up for the higher resolution and ISO of the Sony in most situations for my photo journalistic (moment and story) style of shooting. For a more deliberate style, maybe the Sony would be better – and the new Sonys, I have not used them. I will say upgrading to the E-M1 (from E-M5) has been worth it to me.

  10. oh one more question…you mentioned sony 50 f1.8 but on the picture it says 55 f1.8, is it the full frame or asp-c e mount?

  11. Awesome job Steve. Part camera, part lens and perhaps mostly because of a great photographer :-)! BTW, a question re. the shot with the top hat….did you use a helicoid adapter or was the picture cropped? Can’t wait to see how the 12mm CV ultra wide will do outdoors. I suspect not well as these shots but I am still hoping.

  12. How much better would the shots have been if you had processed RAW images? Not much, I suspect. There’s no substitute for getting it right when you click.

  13. Great fun Steve, having an experienced shooter/blogger posting often from the scene. Sure keeps me coming back when it gets this good! Hope you will try some vintage M mount on the A7r. I have a 35mm Summulux-M pre-asph that I love on the Nex7, but high ISO is not good. Maybe the A7r will be the solution.
    Thanks and keep up the great work

  14. Thank you, Steve! Looks great! 🙂

    Processing the RAW files (from the 28/2, Sony’s IDC could do it)) would make it even better. I understand the lighting conditions are not that easy for those shots.

  15. I don’t really care about the loud shutter personally. I won’t be using it for street, in fact, I never shoot street. Not to put down anyone who does, but I would be using this camera for portrait photography and some event photography as well. If you shoot street 99% of the time then go with the RX1, it’s the only focal length you’ll likely need. If you shoot subjects that are supposed to be aware of your presence in the first place then the louder shutter won’t really matter. As much as I am interested in eventually purchasing this camera, it is difficult for me to determine where exactly this camera would fit in my photography where it’s extra feature set could really be taken advantage of. I have an X-Pro1, and an x100s. I shoot portraits and SOME events for money, but I do this part time. The “slow” auto focus is fast enough for the majority of my paid work since I always work in adequate lighting. The light in my home is almost always “low” by camera standards and I do miss shots in those scenarios. In fact I was in a restaurant the other day when this camera would have come in very handy. It was a low lit high class diner where I had the x100s boosted up to iso 6400, f/2 and still had to shoot it at 1/15. The pictures weren’t exactly tack sharp, and then handing that camera off to someone else…forget it. I never imagined that explaining “put that square box over my face” would be an impossible task for the average person…so some face recognition would be outstanding! Not to mention eye ball recognition…now that’s killer…

  16. Nice shots, but from I have seen to date, the A7(R) lack the full frame wow factors, I will skip this one I guess

  17. I understand what you’re saying; it will be interesting to see which lenses perform without colour-shifting on the M, but will on the A7/r. Like building up a safe-use database.

    I’m hoping the 28 Summicron will work at least on one of the A7s.

  18. The only thing putting me off these cameras is the shutter noise!
    Why is this?…. The RX1 is a dream…nobody is aware of the camera
    being used it is so silent….. this is the only reason the A7 and A7R
    will not be on my shopping list

    • Would imagine there will be a firmware hack (or better yet an app) that takes care of the shutter sound mess in the first week of release… (first time I’ve actually thought that the open app / API environment makes sense for a camera…perhaps a sign of things to come)

      • I would not call it a “mess” by any stretch of the imagination. I have used louder shutters – I have used some that are silent. This shutter is loud but it in no way hampers it’s abilities. I shot street, I shot at a party and I shot a band. No issue whatsoever. It’s a camera.

        Would I like it to be a notch smoother? Yes. But it’s sort of getting blown out of proportion. It’s not a make or break. It’s a camera and cameras have shutters 🙂

  19. I preordered the A7r because I have a cv 35/1.2 that I just love. And it’s looking pretty good! Have you shot a sonnar on the A7R yet? That’s the 50 I’m most likely to get…

  20. Wow, great shots! I have been waiting for these cameras to get into a good photographers hands who has time to actually USE them not just shoot a wall in a conference room. I can’t wait to see what you get the rest of the week.
    How did you find the AF on the a7 in low light?

  21. Ohhhhhh – nice images! I’m not normally a fan of Sony jpegs but these look nice, and much improved. I could live with these until Lightroom gets RAW support.

    Just a few quick questions Steve:
    – did you set the white balance, or are these AWB?
    – just wondering how you carried the camera on your walk-about (in hand, pocket, should strap, pouch, etc.)
    – did you find much difference uploading the 36mp files to your macbook (compared to the 24mp files)?

    Looking forward to more of your great coverage!

  22. Steve, I know what it’s like to struggle to find inspiration with the material around you, so I gotta say, your concert photography has always been spot on in my opinion. The first photo is truly great, and not just the came is solid. Also, as far a the camera is concerned the OOC results are impressive! I love my xpro 1 and x100s for the colors I get, and I have always felt that sony really lagged behind in this department. But these are excellent. I didn’t want them to be good because I didn’t want to have to buy them, but so far it looks like I’m being left with no choice! Btw, it’d be nice to see some portrait shots side by side comparisons between the a7 and a7r.

  23. Thanks for the samples, Steve!

    I understand the current (and outstanding) Iridient Raw Developer will handle the Sony A7/A7r raws.

    Please be the first to show us how these lenses perform at infinity, we really need to see which wides smear corners!

  24. Thanks so much for testing the 28mm focal length. There is colour-shifting evident in the sky in the street portrait (man in glasses wearing checkered shirt). My enthusiasm for the A7/r as an m-mount body is waning.

  25. Sweet! I can’t wait to get my hands on the A7R. Would be great to have some comments on the A7R versus Leica M240 when using the Voigtlander 35 1.2…

  26. Great shots Steve! Can we get some more detailed exif information for the first color shots as well? The camera seems to be in great hands :).

  27. Hi Steve, OOC JPEGs are looking good.
    If you have a chance, would you please try out MF mode on the A7r and see if it can retain the focus distance on a DMF lens after entering and exiting power saving mode? Thanks in advance! 🙂

  28. Steve one important question for me …..how does the 55mm feel when compared to a normal 50mm I’m a fan of this focal length and am a little concerned that it might not be a usable being a little longer for everyday use? As I wont be able to afford any more exotic choices this would be the lens that I would be banking on and would appreciate your thoughts in this area.

    • I’m a 50mm shooter too …but was thinking the Canon 40mm pancake, with a converter could be a great compact combo on the Sony A7.

      Would prefer the Zeiss, but I do believe the 40mm Canon is pretty sweet.

  29. The photo of the musician’s hand adjusting his guitar is all sorts of sweet.

    I can’t have a camera this good. I’d have no excuses…

  30. Don’t know what Sony have have done with the JPEG engine or if this is just as a result of their new sensor and processing engine, but these are really impressive straight out the camera…

  31. Huh, very mixed feelings. Nice small solid camera with an interesting sensor, but literally no original glas ??? Lens roadmap vague. Vigenetting with M-Voigtländer … glas is not so great. And “the shutter is clunky sounding”, thats disappointing. I’m a street, night and concert (acoustic) photographer. Hmmm.


  32. How easy or difficult is manual focus with the Voigtlander 35/1.2 … especially indoors at night when shooting at or near 1.2? Does the EVF and focus peaking make it easier than focusing a Leica rangefinder in similar circumstances?

    • That is called purple fringing, it’s a lens flaw similar to chromatic aberration but associated with strong light sources at high contrast transitions (because the effect is pretty weak). It’s amplified on digital sensors. Basically certain wavelengths of light aren’t bent as effectively as the others and when the light is bright enough it can show up in the exposure.

      The Voigtlander 35/1.2 shows unusually strong purple fringing especially at max aperture. In reality all the voitlander lenses are fairly low grade but they fill niches and feel like quality lenses due to their manufacturing so it’s really not a surprise to see such a strong aberration here. The iffy bokeh in the scene with the three band members, particularly on the neon signs, is also a weak point of the lens. It’s pretty great in many other situations, though.

    • Chromatic Aberration. It’s quite common on fast lenses when they are wide open. Takes two minutes to get rid of it in Lightroom.

  33. Hi, Steve

    Thank you so much for your sharing! Is the Voigtlander 28 2 works fine on A7r? NO color shift at all?

    • good friggin question! you have people all over the world with the camera pre-ordered and about to pre-order who are desperate to know how the A7 and A7r compare with a variety of M glass—and you have the glass with you!

      Instead we get very nice shots which tell us nothing new at all 🙁 We knew the Otus would be great, and we knew the native glass is great.

      We still have no clue, beyond a vague hint here and there, how these cameras compare on WA m glass–specifically in regards to corner smearing.

      Really frustrating, sorry,

      • 1st – I have clearly stated..the A7 will work better than the A7r with wide angle M glass. That is a fact. Period.

        Also, why do do many think I have access to every m mount lens created? I have only what I have brought with me.

        ALSO… I have been doing 14 hour days – 3-4 hours of sleep – just to be able to do what I have been doing. Why do you guys think I have extra time to take to do a 5 hour side by side? I don’t. I am on this event and every minute is taken up from morning until night. It is a structured event.

        I will do those comparisons when I able to.

        But the 12, 15, Zeiss 21 and Voigtlander 21 1.8 are much better on the 7 than the 7t. I have stated that already.

        I do not own or have all day to do with what I want with the camera. I also do not have more than an hour in my hotel per night before I have to sleep. Just enough time to do what I have been doing.

        When I get a camera to review – I will do just that.

  34. Nice pics Steve. Thanks!

    You should know that Sony Image Converter will convert the Sony A7 ARWs to TIFFs which you can then load into Lightroom or whatever. Just remember to turn off NR and Sharpening in the Sony software.

      • Steve,

        Thanks for posting these. So far it seems the Voigt might be one to get, assuming the edges can hold up under moderate scrutiny. As for your Macbook Air — nice portable laptop, but yeah the screen isn’t up for rendering. My wife got the 13″ Air and loves it, but I sprung for the 15″ Pro Retina (refurbs from Apple can be a deal) – Much better screen, great for editing and still lightweight 🙂

          • Nope, same as it would be on the NEX-7, NEX-6, OM-D, etc. But it is easy as pie to focus. I did not have one OOF shot, shooting a band in a small bar.

          • Whoops…just came from the Zombie post…where you used the 25mm. Mixed up my thoughts…(still amazed at those images)
            These are impressive as well with the f/1.2 wide open as well! Can’t wait to see more!!!

          • So you’ve tried the Voight 35/1.2 on the a7 and the a7r? And they’re equally good? Egads, that’s what I wanted to read. 🙂 Could you post a few taken with the 35/1.2/a7 combo? …especially at higher ISOs.

            I know you’re busy this week, BUT… LOL …If you get a chance, could you also pop and post a couple of pics with the voight 21/1.8 taken with both the a7 and a7r. Would love to see if the a7 can hold up with a wider angle like the 21. 🙂

            thanks, Steve.


        • The Voigtlander 35/1.2 II is my absolute favorite lens, followed by the fantastic new 50/1.5. Those two lenses account for probably 90% of my photos. The rest are from the Sony 10-18, which I am very happy to hear works from 13-16mm on the A7r!

        • These are OOC JPEG. Just as I said. Why must there always be trolls and troublemakers? Just because I post JPEGS here does not mean I have never edited photos on this machine.

    • Really appreciate all the work you have been doing. How have u been working such long hours?! I have tried both the A7 and A7r last week- only with the Sony lenses. I am getting a few Zeiss lenses to try as well this weekend. Hope everyone realise that this is a pre-release test firmware 0.95. It is not 100% yet. All I can say is that this is game changer camera. Finally a ‘small’ full frame camera… And so light.

  35. It’s looking very promising indeed! Might just have to get this one after all. Just wish it would come with a slight bigger selection of lenses right from the start!

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