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Thursday, 18 July 2019


How does it compare to the camera used by Larry Towell on 9/11?

Another perspective:

According to wikipedia, the Nikon F3's introductory list price was $1,174.90, which, according to various inflation calculators, is equivalent to $3,700-3,900 in 2019 dollars.

That price included a 50/1.4 lens, but, I assume, no film or processing. The F4 debuted at around the equivalent price point. Today, of course, they're going for two or three hundred used.

Reminds me of when I was trading in my car for a new model after recently buying a new camera body (Canon 1D MkII I think). Realized that the camera I had just bought was likely worth more than the car I was trading in.

P.S. The F6 body is still available new for around $2,500 (sans film, processing or lens).

The place where Leica destroys you is new lenses. The Sony lenses are probably comparatively cheap per unit of functional utility.

You can always wait 2 years for the inevitable A7 Mark 5 and then get this body at half price.

Can still get a new Fujifilm X-T2 for... $800 at Adorama; I would, but I'm still cool with my X-T1.

Price sensitivity is an odd thing. Though I can afford it I can't quite rationalize purchasing a Fuji GFX 100. I'm sure it's a great camera but I just can't make myself believe it's worth nearly ten times what I paid for a brand new Fuji X-H1. It's easy enough for me to make a convincing case based on the image quality but a much less straightforward case when one considers that clients really won't see an enormous difference and even the newest and coolest camera is not going to materially affect the price range which the ultimate consumers (art buyers) want to spend on photography. You'd have to work your selling magic hard to convince most people that there will be a lick of difference, in the end, between an APS-C camera, the new Sony, or one of the MF Fujis to the 68% of all consumers who partake of digital content mostly on the screens of their phones. The math just never adds up...

Good for injecting a little rationality into this discussion.

It is astonishing to see the real anger directed at the IV's release on some other websites - which shall not be named.

If people like the specs and have the money, they will buy the camera. If neither of those things is true, they won't. Why are so many people angry about this?

The money angle is especially baffling. I'll sell my III and probably have to spend another $1,000 or $1,200 to upgrade. I had my III for about two years and I'll probably have the IV for at least that long. So, in effect, I will be spending $50 a month or so for this camera. That's hardly Croesus level wealth.

I think I'm starting to get an inkling of what the photography world's most oppressed and picked on community (Leica users) must feel like. ;-)

My economics prof in college defined economics as the study of the allocation of scarce resources.

"Given all its features, and its lens range, and given all the comps, the new Sony A7R IV is reasonably priced and likely to be a good buy for those who buy it. Wouldn't you agree?"

Uh, OK, if you put it that way. OTOH, my original A7 does everything I want from a FF mirrorless, so the A7R IV is meaningless to me. Hence, of course, I won't buy it, and your circle of logic is complete.

"I also continue to think the Fuji X-H1 with the "free" vertical grip battery pack for $1,300 is the best buy among new cameras right now, at least if you have any use for the vertical grip."

Well, I hate vertical grips, but, moving on . . .
It's not about the cost of the body for me, and I imagine, for at least many of us - Cost is about the lenses.

Even more important is what the body can do. Even if I had the lenses available on a swap, the X-H1 would not suit my needs.

If one only needs a couple of not too fast primes, or a moderate zoom, it's not too bad. In my case, I have about a dozen µ4/3 lenses in active status, omitting duplicates and stuff waiting to be sold.

Replicating just my most used lenses, covering fisheye and 14-800 mm -e, would cost far more than whatever body is involved.

An a7r II is currently $1200 used on KEH, and the a7r III will no doubt slip below $2000 when the IV ships.

You've got to want the new one pretty bad, or have a whole lot of cash.

"The objective conclusion is this: Given all its features, and its lens range, and given all the comps, the new Sony A7R IV is reasonably priced and likely to be a good buy for those who buy it. Wouldn't you agree?"

Yes, I agree whole-heartedly and pre-ordered it this morning. For me photography is a passion (more than a hobby, I'd say). Funny, I compared it in my mind to the price of a car also, but I used that to support my decision to indulge. I bought a new car about 1 1/2 years ago, one that I could very easily afford. In fact, my wife asked me several times didn't I want to buy a fancier car? For me, a car is functional, nothing more. I don't indulge in cars because it doesn't bring me joy. I already get a lot of joy driving my car, and knowing that it was very reasonably priced, makes me more satisfied/happier.

I could go on and on about why this is a great camera/upgrade, but I'm speaking from the heart. If I couldn't afford to indulge in it, I wouldn't. My current A7RIII is fantastic for my needs now and in the foreseeable future.

I'm excited about the A7RIV. I can't believe how lucky photographers are given the current gear, unless you're trying to make a living at photography, in which event it's a very challenging market, by all appearances.

I live in a city, work in an office and do not have a car. I'd argue that for people like me (who are pretty numerous in industrialized countries) owning a car is purely for comfort in daily routines and some leisure. Many people I know who own cars don't even drive daily, they just have the car for when they need to haul something or go out of town. Against that background, $35k plus running expenses (which are significant) sounds somewhat expensive, yet it's the norm to spend that.

For non-professionals a camera is purely leisure and perhaps for recording some of the key moments of our lives, so it's hard to argue rationally for it and it's indeed not the norm to buy a camera that expensive. But we will use our disposable income on something and a camera is not really any worse than restaurants, travel or partial payment of a new boat.

Personally I like to think about the depreciation per year. E.g. my Nikon D800 cost around €2500 as new in 2012, I sold it for about €1000 in 2017, so that's "only" €300 per year (plus lenses and computer). That's not too bad considering how much time I spent on photography, though the downside is that everybody tends to spend a bit more on lenses and accessories than really necessary, raising the total cost.

Getting back to the new Sony, I decided I will buy one, though when is still open. I do not buy every generation because the costs are not worth it to me. For some they are and I appreciate them for financing camera companies so that I can get the next model. Now there's a big list of improvements that I would get and I'm particularly interested in smoother operation and even better AF, as that enables me to get much more consistent results in fast changing scenes (i.e. quickly moving people, especially when there's not too much light).

George Carlin, not Jerry Seinfeld.

[Thanks. Fixed. I think Seinfeld stole it from Carlin, however...I could swear I've heard him do the joke. --Mike]

That $35,000 average-price new vehicle, kept for ten years (I kept my last one for 12) costs $3,500 a year. Keep it for just one more year et voila a new camera.

For me the limit is not the cost of a new camera body but all the lenses I'd have to rebuy.

I'm all-in on this, Mike. Yes, I clicked the "Pre-Buy" button this morning. Sony has been my primary system camera since my first A7R (in 2014?). It immediately established its chops with me on a tough-ish time-critical project for which my Canon system was slightly awkward. Each model since has introduced logical, incremental improvements that justified an update for me.

In February I finally wrapped a twelve-year project, culling over 6,000 images down to 100 for the book. I used nearly 20 camera models over the course of that effort. The images that stood-out best in most dimensions were those I captured with a Sony A7Rx camera body, hands-down, followed closely by those from the Fujifilm GFX 50S.

The features of the new A7R IV represent the same type of incremental improvements that we've seen on previous models. Do I need that 61MP? No, not usually. But I really don't need the 100MP of the new GFX. I've lived with having a 60MP camera available for many years (Phase One) and know it can be very handy. Having that capacity in an infinitely more versatile camera will be wonderful. Plus, as I don't expect to be shooting great volumes of images in the coming years the file size and storage demands don't bother me.

p.s. Cost? Well, it's not cheap but it's certainly much cheaper than the new GFX or other medium format alternatives. Plus it's basically free for me. My sales of two Leica bodies (MMono and a film M-P) will more than fund this purchase. So clicking BUY on the A7R IV wasn't painful at all.

My A7R2 is a bit long in the tooth but I skipped the Mk. 3, embracing Mike's axiom about only upgrading every other generation. Now comes this, and it's impressive. But at a premium.

The A7 Mk.3 has enough resolution for most of what I do, and many of the same improvements (and I still have the A7R2 if 24mp isn't enough.) I crave the new viewfinder, dual slots and bigger batteries, but are they worth $1500.00?

Makes me wonder if the rapid pace of new camera releases is too much of a good thing, or just plain too much? I guess choice is always good.

Cameras are a bourgeois concept. Unlike lights, which are useful tools. I'll be getting a Broncolor LED F160 as soon as they are available. $1,699.00 may seem extravagant, but it will hold its value for many years—something you can't say about bargain basement brands. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1437125-REG/broncolor_b_61_010_00_f160_led_monolight.html/BI/2144/KBID/2882 Add another $500.00 for a Mola Rayo reflector, and Bob's my brother-in-law.

Because LED lamps produce continuous light, it can be used with my iPhone Xs, for both stills and UHD 4K video.

I'm in the market for a used PU or SUV. Ten years of hauling, for less than the price of a new Sony.

[Wait, I thought LEDs *don't* produce continuous light. They flicker. Or are you talking about a continuous *spectrum*? --Mike]

"My economics prof in college defined economics as the study of the allocation of scarce resources."

Mine lectured on diminishing returns. I think that is the key factor.

At 61MP, you might want to consider the need to uprgrade your computer as well, in order to shorten the upload times to something quicker than glacial. Still, I’m in! Just as soon as I can scrape up the cash.....

(Yawn.) I don't really need it. Neither do most people. But we might *like it* which is a whole 'nother thing.

As regards the c.d. embrey comment, he is correct -- LEDs don't flicker. They are continuous. (Note: My spell checker changed his name to embryo.) However, dimmer switches dim lights by turning them off and on and a very high rate. Because old-fashioned bulbs with a glowing filament continue to glow very briefly after the power is turned off, by rapidly turning the power on and off with a dimmer switch, you effectively dim the light. But LEDs are continuous, and when you apply (most) dimmer switches to them, you've essentially created an instant-on, instant-off strobe light. With a clean power supply, you get no flicker. How do I know this? I remodeled my house, with the electrical work done by a subcontractor my wife nicknamed "The Brothers Electric" for their ignorance of basic new electrical work (Internet wiring was a complete mystery to them.) We put in all LED lighting and the flickering almost drove us crazy. We spent several thousand dollars putting in new dimmer switches everywhere, and discarding the older (but brand new ones) put in by the Brothers Electric. The whole problem was explained to me by the new very expensive electrician.

[Ah. That explains why my LED safelight in my darkroom in Woodstock flickered. The electricity supply there was very poor. You couldn't see it flicker, but if I waved my fingers back and forth between the safelight and my eyes I saw a strobing effect. --Mike]

Mike said: Wait, I thought LEDs *don't* produce continuous light. They flicker. Or are you talking about a continuous *spectrum*?

Someone once said seeing, is believing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgYvUD_Mxc0 Is the light you are seeing continuous? Or does the video show the F160 flickering? The claimed CRI is 97 (out of 100).

How Regulation Killed the Station Wagon and Created the Minivan and SUV


I can certainly understand this camera NOT being for many people. I can understand that $3500 for any camera might simply be out of range or unrealistic. But I can't imagine anyone who has been in the digital camera realm for the past 15 years and worked their way through the advancements arguing that the relative price of this camera is expensive for what you are getting?? It may be more than most people need, but 61mp, 15 stops DR with 10 fps and arguably (I say that only to not sound rude!) the best AF anywhere - for $3500!

A lot of great comments. One last perspective - if you are a professional or semi-pro photographer, you can depreciate the camera gear and offset your taxable photography income, so the impact of purchasing new gear is reduced. The higher your income, the higher your tax rate and the greater the impact of the depreciation.

The A7 series still feels to me like the Datsun Z of cameras, in that they started out as basic, small and light. Then the company started adding features, and size, and weight to please consumers because they wanted this and that and the other thing. I'm sure it's great for many kinds of shooting, but for my purposes, all the megapixels and DR in the world won't do a damn thing if the camera takes two seconds to wake up and activate everything.

Wait to see what Nikon comes up with in new mirrorless bodies in the next few months. In the meantime, carry a handkerchief for the drool.

I'll pass on the A7R IV as I'm trying to simplify my digital gear. Great camera no doubt. I'd be far more interested in Kenneth's film MP, which most would consider an absurd price to pay for shooting film.

One of the nice things about the A7R IV, or any new camera in a particular series, is that the prices of the older models are reduced. The A7R III is about where the A7R II was less than two years ago. The A7R II is at very competitive price point for a camera equipped with a 42 megapixel full-frame sensor body. This might be the only example of "trickle down" economics actually working!

It is 9 times the price of a Playstation 4. Another Sony product.

The first website that I opened to hear/see more about the new Sony caused my computer to open a window on my screen that flashed the following message at me:

"Whoa, hold on my boy, you buy this camera and I am not going to even download those files for you without you giving me some darn serious upgrades!"

Point taken I said.

The price isn't a concern for me since I don't need it and I don't want it. In an age of phone viewing, my old 16 Mp Olympus is all the resolution I need (although I do hate their menus).

if well heeled hobbyists ever get tired of plunking down chunks of money for what is now becoming an endless stream of expensive new mirrorless camera then the camera companies are in big trouble.

Do we have any lenses that are going to resolve at this level? I calculate the pixel pitch equivalent to 133 line pairs / mm. Using tools from Cambridge in Colour, I calculate images shot at apertures narrower than f/5.6 will be in diffraction. Probably OK if your photography is shooting portraits close to wide open; not so much if you shoot landscapes. Come on, if you really need 61 MPx, look for it on a larger sensor.

Just had a look at B&H and you can buy 1 Megapixel for 55$ if you go with the Nikon D810.

And I've been playing with the G9's High Res Modes lately. In certain conditions (like when photographing glaciers from certain angles) it will net you 1 Megapixel for 12.5$.
Now that's value for money.

In my opinion though, Sony did themselves more harm than good with the A7RIV in the long run. It doesn't push the bar that far to prompt massive switching.
It is quite an investment from a financial point of view and on paper it's such a capable and versatile camera that one could buy an A7RIV and not worry about upgrading for the next 5 years.

I don't know how many A7(r)s generations are still available for sale but that is an impressive legacy, and with a large price range, that Sony has put out over the years.

"The objective conclusion", or perhaps The Objective Conclusion, TOC? This is a good one. Just imagine… I like it a lot.

Btw: What/when is photography rational? I take photographs as pastime for myself, digitally, analogically ;-) and both in various formats. I do not earn money with it, just spend it. My dears and not so dears say: "He just is so". Ehm, I like doing so. :-)

“Whoa, what project, and what book? Tell me more, tell me more.”

The book is titled “To Build”, Mike.

It’s currently on private distribution but will go on sale next month. Unfortunately being a self-published work it’s going to be too costly to be a photobook bestseller. Still, you can see a large sampling of the book’s images for free in this section of my site.

“And, you did use my link when you clicked that pre-buy button, right? Don't break my heart....”

Ugh. I was afraid you’d ask. Sorry, no, not this time. I had a large-ish credit burning a hole in my virtual pocket at another vendor. (But if it’s any consolation I think I did buy my A7R3 from B&H through your link. Okay, so it was probably a couple of years ago.)

Hmmm … curious post, whinging about the price. I think your last paragraph with your "objective conclusion" should have been the opening paragraph! But maybe you weren't having a whinge … it was a literary device to give people another perspective ;-)

I've got the A7R3 and it's a great camera, no doubt about it. The mark 4 has a "better" sensor (if you need more pixels), better AF, better grip, better buttons, better EVF, better weather-sealing etc. The mark 3 is good enough for me, but kudos to Sony for continuing to improve an already great camera.

I presume the 24Mp A7m4 (when it comes out) will inherit most of the goodies and perhaps even address the byzantine menu system.

More pixels is the way to go for the "R" series. The non-R cameras are 24Mp and that's a good general-purpose number. The "S" series is 12Mp. Having a high pixel count on the R series will give pause to photographers thinking about the FF+ cameras from the other manufacturers.

I think you could have a good time with this camera and a 24/1.4 lens, and just crop in as needed. Maybe add a 85mm on the tele side and do the same thing.

Also, if you shot 100 rolls of film a year, at about $20 each for film plus lab processing, that's a pretty big chunk you're not paying now. (Any big prints you make still cost; there's really very little use for proof prints any more though.) Of course B&W developed in your own darkroom was much cheaper than that, but also much rarer.

My D700 was about $3300 as I recall when I unexpectedly jumped briefly into full-frame. Never did buy another full-frame body, couldn't really afford it.

On the other hand it compares nicely to the Canon 1DS that I use as a paperweight that I believe the original price was $7000 in 2002 dollars.
That had an amazing 11 megapixels.

I looked at Ken Tanaka's sample photos, and it's probably too late to mention this, but many of the pieces of construction equipment, especially the cranes, were probably sourced from the same company, no matter who the general contractor was. My first thought, being a greedy author myself, was that the crane company might have been willing to "sponsor" this book; there might be a few conditions that Ken might possibly consider onerous, but when onerousness collides with enough money, some of the onerousness seems to fade a bit...I thought the photos were great.

I pre-ordered one for the more advanced Eye AF than my A7RIII.

It's Friday afternoon and I'm burned-out with work, so I did a few minutes of research. Instead of this camera, approximately the same money would buy you:

One month's rent in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo - LA and London are about 1/3 less.

Or you could buy ~$600,000 house if you have $120,000 for the down payment

When you order your new Porsche 911, you can add the PDK double clutch transmission, 20" wheels, special paint OR sport seats (just one - they are all about that much expensive EACH!)

Or, perhaps more practical, a loaded Apple 15" MacBook Pro.

I already have a full-frame camera with eye-controlled AF: a Canon Elan 7e. But kidding aside, the A7 series are crackers.

I once lived in a rural town. I mentioned to a colleague that I was interested in buying a compact 4-door sedan from a friend who was selling it. He encouraged me to buy a pickup truck instead. As he looked at it, compact cars are useless for hauling around bulk supplies, plywood, etc that the town folk typically bought. Pickup trucks and SUVs do make sense in some regions.

Similarly, a 61MP camera makes sense if you want a camera that fills multiple roles. With wide to short tele lenses you have a great landscape and general-purpose camera. If you want to take super-tele photos without lugging around massive, expensive lenses, you can use the APS-C mode and take 26MP APS-C photos with a shorter, smaller telephoto lens. A $2000 300mm f/4 lens takes a 450mm field of view in APS-C mode. There's less need for a $10000 500mm f/4 lens. If the camera companies can bring the price down on such cameras to a6400 levels they might become quite popular. Just my $0.02 CDN.

The new Sony A7R-IV is a great, well made and highly capable camera. It's sophisticated, powerful, has all the bells and whistles...but like any and all cameras is still missing something: "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it and a good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams. Let me know when the newest, latest and greatest camera comes out that includes an Ansel Adams Mode Dial and shows me where to stand.

Okay, but apropos the other recent film-vs.-digital posts, let’s not forget that “serious” photographers used to spend a lot of money on film and processing. In the late 90’s, as a dedicated amateur, I was spending $1000 to $2000 a year on Velvia, Privia, and processing. By that measure, this Sony pays for itself in only about two years...

Not to quibble but once you add a basic zoom lens, a couple of batteries, and some new cards you're looked at more like $7500.As the comments prove, there are a number of photographers out there who think it is worth the price. My question is not so much the price, even on a pension and social security I could probably borrow the money. Rather I question where this obsession with ultra high resolution is taking us. I have seen so many fine pictures made with low resolution cameras both fim and digital, that have stayed in my memory. Nowadays most great 35mm film images of the past look pretty low res, particularly the monochrome ones. I am trying to keep an open mind so hurry up, guys make some interesting pictures with this machine. Personally, I am going with the CEO of Leica who thinks computational photography and cellphone cameras is the future.

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