Sunning it up with the Sony A7s and A7II by Craig Litten

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sunning it up with the Sony A7s and A7II

by Craig Litten

Hey Steve & Brandon,

And hello to all of the followers of Steve Huff Photo! I’ve totally switched over to the Sony system late last year, and have been loving the system since then. I have your review of the A7s to thank for getting me really interested. I have now shot about four big jobs with the Sony’s, and they have performed nearly flawlessly so far. I own the A7s and the a6000, but have rented the A7II and the A7r trying to decide which body if a good fit, and I may just go with the newly announced a7rII. Attached are a few shots from my latest shoot with my Sony a7s and a rented Sony a7r along with the Sony/Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8 and Sony/Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8. lenses. I really love the size and rendering of the FE 35mm f/2.8!

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

I also like to keep it simple: two bodies, two lenses, a bunch of batteries and memory cards and normally zero lighting. But this shoot was different. It was a catalog shoot for Sun Bum (www.trustthebum.com); makers of sun products and a hot new company who is sweeping the industry. The company started in surf shops, but are now nationwide in Target as well as other stores. I shot their last catalog two years ago…

… and the photos from that shoot can be seen here on my website: www.craiglitten.com/galleries/#sun-bum

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Since Sun Bum is a sun-based company, the plan was to shoot all day in the bright sunlight, but the weather wasn’t cooperating and we had two days of rainy weather as a big storm passed by in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. We had models coming in from everywhere, and Sun Bum staff members coming from California (the company is located in Cocoa Beach where we did the shoot), so scratching the entire shoot would have been very expensive. Besides, we also rented a house on the beach, so we had to improvise. My background is as a newspaper photojournalist (since 1991), so part of that job description was to make something out of nothing daily.

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

I also hate using strobes, and no longer own any lighting gear, but prefer to shoot in natural light. So one of the assistants went to Home Depot to purchase a couple sets of 500 watt halogen lights costing $35 each. These are the kind of lights that you utilize while working on a car in your garage or use at a construction site, but they were a perfect solution and created what I call “liquid sunshine” giving the gloomy day the warmth it needed. We still have to reshoot to supplement these photos with “fun in the sun” photos, but they were pretty happy with the results.

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

Sun Bum catalog shoot 2015 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo ©2015 Craig Litten/All Rights Reserved

27 Comments

  1. Craig, great pictures! Your website is awesome as well. I am new to photography and have been shooting for a little over one year now. I have an a6000 and will eventually be adding a camera from the A7 FF line. Until that happens I will continue shooting with my a6000. My current dilemma is investing in E mount glass instead of FE glass. My original plan was to only buy FE glass but in some cases there is not a substantial improvement in IQ to justify the price when it is only being used on the a6000. I did buy a Sony Zeiss 16-70 F4 E mount lens for it. My regret is that it I can not be used with a FE body unless in crop mode. I am curious to know what lenses you are shooting with when you use the s6000? Also, what are you favorites? Appreciate the advice…

    Thanks!

    • I currently have the Zeiss Touit 32mm permanently affixed to my a6000. I’ve loved it since it’s release, and when the price dropped last year to around $499, I grabbed one and am so glad I did. It’s the perfect size and focal length, to me, for an all-round, everyday camera/lens combo. And the way it draws a scene is amazing. I just love this lens. The only downside is the focus is not quite up to par of the Sony/Zeiss E-Mount lenses, but it’s only noticeable now and then. When you see the images it produces though, you won’t care. If you think you’ll be getting an a7-series camera soon, perhaps the Sony FE 28mm lens would be a great all-rounder for both systems. It’s inexpensive and a great little lens. Nice regular wide for the full frame, and a good everyday lens for the a6000, plus it’s small and light. Please let me know what you end up with. Also, with the a61000 coming out very soon, you may just stick with the APS-C and upgrade to that. I find that the a6000 hangs with the full frame sensors really well at lower ISO’s.

  2. @Craig, Lovely work.
    Have you had any experience with Sony service? I ask because I love what I see from Sony but don’t want to be left high and dry just before a big job.

    • Hi Mark, no, not yet as my stuff is too new. I used to be a member of NPS (Nikon) and CPS (Canon), and the experience with both was totally professional. I’ve seen that Sony has a new pro service but the requirements were strange having to own a certain amount of A-Mount bodies, etc. Nikon and Canon had you prove you were a pro by your published work, etc. It may have changed, and if anyone knows, could you please advise Mark. I’d like to know too. I do remember contacting Sony, but never got a reply. If they want the pros, they will need to have a pro repair center I think. Thanks Mark!

      • I just looked at Sony’s Pro Support page and your description of the service is still accurate. Two Alpha FF bodies and 3 Sony Zeiss or G lenses. Would not bother me for 70-200 and couple of primes, but I would love a lens comparable to Canon’s 24-70 mkII.

  3. Interesting read and amazing work. Recently bought the Sony a6000 and after 30 years of shooting with canon I have decided to sell everything and move to Sony later this year. Can’t wait!

  4. Great shot thx for sharing it with us, great to see how other photographer improvise on a shoot. I’m thinking of changing to the new sony A7r2, what were, if any, problems with the A7’s? Thx Mate.

  5. Looks like a tough assignment… I’ll volunteer to assist! LoL great captures here and clever use of the halogens. Good work!

  6. Beautiful images. Love the style and feel of the photos. I picked up the Sony A7MK2 because Sony had a great deal on it. It is a great system and fun to use and compliments my Fuji XT1 and primes.

    Cheers
    Andrew

  7. I love the gold light you got from those halogens. Thanks for the tip and really nice natural feeling shots.

    • Hey Rick, if you’re referring to the watermark, it’s a protective measure and has no more meaning than that. If you’re making fun of it, know that I’ve had thousands of dollars worth of photographs stolen or published without permission. This is my livelihood.

      • Correction Craig, you had many photographs infringed upon, not stolen. There’s a major distinction legally, and it still blows me away that photographers use the terms intermittently given they are vastly different entities.

        • LOL, I’m not a lawyer Chris. I hope that your house never gets “infringed upon”, or your car or your wallet…you’ll be singing a different tune then.

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