The Sony A7r – A Short Review by Tianyu Zhao
(Note: This is a guest user report, my full A7 and A7r review should be up within 5-7 days, Steve)
I’ve been reading your blog since I got serious into photography a couple of months back. Can’t say how much your real world reviews have helped me when choosing my lenses, so I’ve decided to share my experience with the new A7R and hopefully it can be of help to others.
I’m by no means a professional photographer, just an amateur who loves to play his camera and taking candids on the street. I pre-ordered the A7R once it was put up online as an upgrade to my NEX7. As of now I own 3 RF lenses: ZM35f2, ZM50f2 and ZM18f4. The first two have been reviewed by Steve and received quite some positive feedbacks and needless to say my results replicated the findings. The two lenses were excellent on the A7R, with the ZM50f2 being a stellar performer and while the 35f2 had some vignetting and slight magenta cast (which you won’t be able to notice for everyday shots), I found it more than comfortably tolerable. Overall the two lenses rendered superbly, and for those who want an extra stop over the FE35f2.8, you won’t go wrong with the little ZM35. On the other hand, the ZM18f4 is an interesting lens. While I’ve heard comments saying how lenses of asymmetrical design should fare better on A7/A7R, there were still noticeable vignetting and magenta cast. Although a simple Cornerfix profile creation would solve this issue rather easily, for those who would prefer not to go through this additional step I would recommend that you wait for Sony’s FE wide-angle zoom to come out (heard it’s about mid next year), or pick one of the SLR WAs – if you can’t live without a WA and can tolerate the added weight. That being said, the images produced by this lens is quite good with rich Zeiss colours and no visible distortion. Definitely among the better performing M Mount WAs.
Back to the camera itself, I found the new A7R to be an exceptional little beast. It’s extremely well-built, though I’ve had problems with the placement of the shutter and some of the control wheels were a bit too tight for my liking. With regard to the shutter sound, it would definitely be picked up if you intend to shoot street with it, but I’ve grown to like the shutter sound a lot – a firm mechanical noise that would give you a sense of security as you snap a shot. Image quality wise it’s pretty impressive, though high ISO performance is falls a little short of my expectation (the A7 will be better in this area due to the lower MP). I’ve had no problems shooting candids with this camera – it is a little bit ‘slow’ and obtrusive as compared to my NEX7 and other street cameras such as X100S and Ricoh GR, but it is definitely manageable and the image quality is stunning.
Here are three images I’ve taken in Shanghai using A7R + ZM35f2 and ZM50f2 (the last image). The images are RAW files processed and converted using Lightroom 5.3. Hope you’ll like them!