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Sunday, 23 August 2015


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So buy one. It may make you a better photographer.

Your are kidding me, right. The Sony A7R II is the camera of 2015. The more I read about it, the more I keep checking out Sony lenses for it, consider finally ordering one or two. But, the big thing that keeps me from pulling the trigger is in 6 months, it will probably be discounted a lot as Sony will have the A7R III coming early in 2016. Sony seems to be a camera company that is accelerating Moore's law on chips. Instead of 18 months they seem to be on a cycle of about 6-12. For Sony purchases I think you have to look at their bodies much as you would computers - buy what you need now, forget about upgrades, as the new model will be faster, cheaper, and smaller. And Sony seems to never upgrade any firmware - they just inroduce a new model.

Sour grapes! And you in the middle of one of the best New York State grape growing regions! You're going to have to learn how to sip decent wine. As for the Sony, if they'd kept the name Minolta; all would be right with the world! And there would be no sour grapes.

"...Sony seems to be a camera company that is accelerating Moore's law on chips..."

Would that Sony took the same approach with lenses too.

Both Sony E-mount cameras I have have had their firmware updated, and someone has reverse engineered the app software, which is where all the features live on those cameras anyway.
So Sony cameras get better and cheaper twice as fast as the competition and that's a problem?
My reaction to that "problem" was to buy some Sony lenses in anticipation of it getting worse. 28mm f/2 was a disappointment but the 55mm 1.8 may be the best lens I've ever bought.

I hear the new Lamborghinis really suck...

The fox is better off for not eating the sour grapes. If he had an A7R II he could take one hell of a picture of them for future reference!

(It's easily the best image machine I've ever used, btw.)

Yay, my NEX-7 is still going strong, so no A7R II for me. But I had to get the newest Hassy digi-back for the old classic in my bag. I have not found anything in new cameras that matches my love affair with classic design.

I went to the B&H site, and read reviews that praised it to the hills! But some found reason to not like it at all. Principally, a over-heating sensor, and inconsistent focusing with Canon lenses. So maybe waiting for the next iteration would be best. We're I you, I'd stick with the Fuji!

In some ways it is better that your (and my!) Fujifilm camera. But in other ways, maybe not so much. ;-)

If only Sony would come down to Earth and get rid of lossy compression, I'd be on their camp so fast I wouldn't even touch the sides!
Been a mirrorless addict since the Oly EPL1 with the add-on EVF - and still very happy with my EM5!
It was clear way back then it was the way of the future. Instead of the inherently expensive and totally error-prone slr mirror system - only 60 years old technology in this day and age!
About time CaNikon opened their minds and eyes!

There is way too much emphasis on tools in photography and far too little on the photographer IMO.

Diglloyd ran into trouble with it posterizing deep blue colors in an admittedly unusually deep blue lake. But, given where you now live, maybe you want to hold off a little longer? Here's the example: Posterization with a Near Optimal Exposure in Daylight (Portrait at Dana Lake)

He did say that he would buy one though.

You're spot on Mike, and timely too. I feel much better after reading this, holding my Fuji, and avoiding the lula review re-read....for at least a few days.

I think we have to talk about why a fox would want to get at grapes, in the first place.

This has relevance to the A7RII.

But it's true Mike...

It isn't any good, it only produces, like all expensive modern digital cameras, an almost perfect image of the object being photographed.

When Rafael did that with his paintbrush, everyone looked and thought how fantastic, how beautiful... You can see the water in people's eyes! etc. etc.

Artists moved on and started to tell more interesting stories, until the camera obscura became capable of creating (with or without lens), a permanent image and painting then became something designed to "challenge" the witness... abstractionism, impressionism, and various other "isms"....

Later still, since photography is portable, and since it was nearly all black and white, we had portable photography, showing new people or new situations like war, or the sea... or space.

Gradually colour began to take over in regard to realism, and everyone had a snapshot camera, and the photographer artist began to experiment more with grain and abstractionism, impressionism and various other isms...

Then along came the digital revolution, mostly, digital images have been inferior to images produced on film... not enough pixels, too small and slow sensors...

...But now we have Leica's and Sony's in a relatively small, relatively cheap format (compared to hiring Rafael), that produce superb likenesses...

And everyone wants to go back to film, with bent lenses or no lens... Holgas, or pinholios.

Artists just don't like reality, and amateurs don't want to spend much... I read somewhere the other day (it may have been here!?) that the world's biggest selling cameras are the Fuji Quicksnap and Instax examples... Cheap cameras... for memories stuffed in a suitcase and stored under the bed.

Art has already left Sony and Leica behind... Unless one is thinking about old Leica/Minolta rangefinder film cameras.


I suspect that in relaying the fable Mike is really saying,

"I'd love to get my hands on the Sony A7R II but I just moved house so I can't afford it. If I convince myself it's no better than what I already have then I won't feel so bad about not being able to afford it."

Neither can Leica.

The time to start thinking about the A7R II is when they've caught up to Fuji in terms of their native lens range, in terms of both quality and quantity of lenses.

(Although that said, a FF camera that can shoot in RAW mode in very low light with a silent shutter has its attractions, but still not yet thanks, not without the lenses. And besides, that's a fairly specialist requirement.)

The A7RII may not make me a better photographer, but I will feel like one.

I've been told that the game has now been changed...the problem for me now is that I didn't think that I was playing a game.

...I presume you're referring to the lack of availability, with everyone being out of stock? And Michael Reichmann has just published his review, saying how fantastic it is. So you'll just have to keep telling yourself - "it's no better than my fuji", "it's no better than my fuji".

I'm with you on this Mike...though in my case it's not that the grapes are sour, but that they cost too much.

The A7R II will undoubtedly be brilliant. It promises to provide a level of resolution and image quality previously reserved to medium format digital capture.

But after working with Canon's Eos5Ds R for six weeks, I think we're reaching a kind of tipping point. The resolution from the 5Ds R is incredible, readily translating to 24 x 36" prints of extremely high quality. That is, provided you use impeccable technique, excellent glass and a very solid tripod. Casual hand-held shots (at least in my shaky, caffeinated, middle-aged hands) are less impressive. The traditional 1/focal length rule of thumb for minimum shutter speed is no longer adequate. The resulting quality decrement of slight blurring erases the advantage of 50+ megapixels compared to ~21.

Sony's sensor technology provides rather better dynamic range and high ISO noise than Canon's, but I suspect the same dynamic will be evident. The A7R II will provide incredible image quality, but only with the most careful technique. Otherwise we're past the point of sufficiency for most practical purposes.

diglloyd.com > Guide to Mirrorless Cameras has a very in depth review of the Sony A7R II.

In all honesty, MIke, I really don't understand your fascination with this camera. The vast majority of users in the vast majority of shooting scenarios do not need, and do not have the shot discipline for, making full use of this camera. This is nicely pointed out by Geoff Wittig's comments.

The only think I can chalk it up to is Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

Mention of poor battery life w Sony reminded me of similar problem w my Fuji XT1. By comparison Canon 5D batteries are simply amazing how long they last. Mike could this be worth a column discussing how there could be such dramatic disparity? And the battery gauge in XT-1!!! don't get me started!!! Down one quarter? Change it Immediately!!!!

The great about my Fuji gear is that I bought it knowing that it wasn't as 'good'. I have a full-frame Nikon, with a number of great lenses. If I'm lucky I get close enough with the Fuji that I don't feel like I grabbed the wrong camera on review.

But I never got the Fuji thinking it was the 'best', I got it because it was 'right'. The controls do what I want when I want. The camera is small enough to keep out of the way. And the sensor is glorious in it's own unique way, that nothing else can quite replicate.

But just because I drive a Toyota Sienna that is in every way the car I need and really like, doesn't mean I don't like reading about a Nissan GTR...

Agree with Henning. Foxes, had they grapes, would groan with gripe.

As the cunning fox can't get at these grapes, he waits for them to mature and eventually fall off. At that precise moment comes a brand new MX5 driven by a chap called MR and the grapes fall on the passenger seat.
"Oh well" says le Renard.

The Fuji Instax isn't that cheap a camera , it costs about a dollar a picture. They are kind of beautiful though.

I am sure that A7RII is TERRIBLE and that the Canon 5Dsr is ALSO TERRIBLE, and the same goes for the NIKON D810. ;)

Why are these cameras terrible? Because I can only photograph using a camera that I own, and the best camera is the one in my hand when the image I want to capture is present.

I agree that a 20 MP entry grade SLR (Canon 6D in my case) on a tripod with remote release will beat a handheld high-MP camera. Call me a tripo-holic. I don't go anywhere for serious photos without a tripod and wired release. It's a bunch cheaper than a new camera! See, the grapes ain't sour, just slightly fermented.

If you pretend that you haven't heard about it, it's almost just like it doesn't exist.

I have both an RX1 and an A7II, so you might say that I am a Sony guy. But I have thus far resisted jumping for the A7RII, because the aforementioned cameras are so damned good that they meet all of my current needs. I wonder if people have lost perspective of how much resolution today's digital cameras deliver. 24MP is really quite a lot. Hell, even 16MP is more than adequate for most purposes.

As for the selection of lenses available for the FE mount, it is growing steadily with some truly excellent glass both from Sony and Zeiss, not to mention the whole world of legacy glass. It is definitely a good time for the Sony camera division.

P.S. What I have just written does not mean that I will never again upgrade my camera gear. Just want to be clear about that.

Sour grapes? No, not at all. I'm simply satisfied with my present cameras and lenses. At the point where I'm at, the equipment is a minor part of my photographic interests and need.

Nasim Mansurov has a good article describing the problems with Sony's Lossy Compression of RAW files (which IMO defeats the purpose of shooting RAW in the first place):


Hi Mike,

I was initially excited about the A7R II. However, after my A7R (used very nicely with low actuation count and still looks mint) stopped working suddenly after owning it for over a year, I am sceptical about it. I almost ordered the F mount and M mount adapter to use on my A7R. I am very dissappointed with the reliability. Maybe it was an exception - I am not sure.

Thanks & best regards,

"Sony seems to be a camera company that is accelerating Moore's law on chips. Instead of 18 months they seem to be on a cycle of about 6-12."

Moore's Law buys you very little with image sensors.

Sony are a few "nodes" back from the bleeding edge 14nm node.

It has more to do with putting a lot of R&D effort into low noise, high saturation pixel designs and low noise ADC design over the past few years ago and continuing to push hard to maintain their lead. All their sensor are made at 85nm and 65nm fabs that are already mostly paid off.

Initially this work was pushed along by wanting to dominate in the small image sensor (cellphone size) market. But that work scales up to bigger sensors too.

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