Sony NEX Lenses on the Sony A7r?

The Sony NEX 10-18mm on the Sony A7r

I did a full comparison here of the two main wide-angle lenses that are currently available from Sony for the new Sony A7r (see my ever-growing Sony A7r Review here on the site). One of them is NEX 10-18mm (see the full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review) that worked so well on the cropped-sensor of my NEX system. The other is the full-frame Sony 16-35mm lens from their DSLR system. The latter needs an adapter to work on the Sony A7r.

As you can see in the video below, the NEX lens is my surprising favorite! I didn’t really expect it to be equal in sharpness and quality to its bigger full frame counterpart. The advantages to the bigger 16-35mm are that it can shoot all the way down to f/2.8. This would be valuable in low-light wide-angle handheld shooting (which I don’t do). It would also be valuable in astro-photography (which I rarely do).

But the advantages of the NEX 10-18mm are manifold! You basically get to move it between 12mm-17mm without seeing the ring around the outside. And yes, you get the full-frame goodness of the 36 megapixels of the Sony A7r! That’s much wider than the 16-35mm. The distortion is pretty much exactly the same on both cameras, as you can see in the video review. Even better, the NEX lens is over 2x lighter, 3x cheaper, and a fraction of the size. One last thing that my friend Gordon Laing from CameraLabs.com reminds me: this 10-18mm lens has built-in image stabilization. Amazing! I’m not seeing any difference in the sharpness of the lens.

So this was a pretty big decision for me — to switch to this lens when I fully anticipated using the 16-35mm until the new FE wide-angle lens for the Sony A7 launches later this year. I expect that will be a superior lens to both of these, although probably not as inexpensive as this NEX 10-18mm.

Daily Photo – My Fortress of Solitude

This is my studio! I walk out here every day from the main house to make art for you.

I don’t know why I’ve never taken a photo of it before now, but this seemed like a good occasion. I’m so in love with my new camera, and I’m super-enamoured since I discovered that my “old” NEX wide-angle lens works so well on the camera! No need to lug around that giant thing any more…

If you watch the video above, you’ll see the view when I walk out the front of my little cottage. If I had filmed this a few weeks before, you’d see those cherry trees blooming over with pink blossoms… it’s my little slice of Japan down here in the Southern Hemisphere. As you can see, the roses are now in full bloom… it’s the middle of summer here. The mornings are very early and the nights stay well lit. It doesn’t even get fully dark until around midnight… it makes for a very long and beautiful day of shooting!

My Fortress of Solitude

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 28, 2013 at 12:13pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Leica Lenses on the Sony A7r

Leica and the Sony

What a great combo!

In this video below, you’ll see me testing a bunch of different Leica lenses on the Sony A7r (see the updated Sony A7r Review — many more Leica shots there). You’ll be able to see how they attach, how focus-peaking works, and more. You’ll also get to hear all about my friend Stu Robertson‘s Leica fascination along with his project Peace in 10,000 Hands!

Here’s a photo of Stu below with the Leica 24mm f/1.4.

Here’s a photo of Stu below with the Leica 24mm f/1.4.

Daily Photo – Walking on Water

With his Christmas-Jesus like beard, Stu attempts to walk on water in an usual scene upon the Blue Lake in Saint Bathans.

This was taken with the Leica 24mm f/1.4 lens. It’s such a tiny and fun lens to use! I’m not used to shooting wide-angle stuff with such a big aperture, but it is kinda cool how it throws the background out of focus if you’re focused on stuff close to you. I could get used to it!

Walking on Water

Walking on Water

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 15, 2013 at 11:36am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Full interview from This Week in Photography

This Week in Photography about The Arcanum

I was joined by Peter Giordano and Bel Jones as we were interviewed by Frederick Van Johnson all about The Arcanum. Applications are blowing up and we can’t wait to get started! We answer a lot of questions in this interview, and you can see even more answered over on the This Week in Photo site.

Daily Photo – Daydreaming in gradeschool

Well here is a photo of Bel Jones, one of the Masters of the aforementioned Arcanum looking at some nice bokeh lights! I had just gotten the new Sony A7r and was testing out some of the prime lenses. This one was the Sony 55mm at f/1.8. I commented on how nice the lights looked at f/1.8, and she turned her head to look, so I ducked over to the left to get this quick photo!

This is one of the photos in the new Sony A7r Review here on the site.

I really do like the lens very much. I’m trying to compare it to that Leica 50mm f/1.4 but I need to do some more experimentation. That Leica lens is like a $10,000 lens, which is cray-cray! I’m doing my best to use a discerning and analytical eye to see if that out-of-focus area is $9500-more buttery!

Daydreaming in gradeschool

Daydreaming in gradeschool

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Merry Christmas from the Ratcliff Family!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a great Christmas and holiday season! Thanks so much for being with me and my family for the whole year — I appreciate you very much!

Daily Photo – Merry Christmas from the Ratcliff Family!

This was a fun photo to make, although a little challenging! The most challenging part was not chopping down the tree — it was not decorating the tree with lights — it was not convincing Tina to lay under the tree to spin it — it was not positioning the tree and getting the camera settings right (35mm at f/8 for at 1000 ISO for 3 seconds btw — I know you are wondering) — the most difficult part WAS getting the three kids to sit still for THREE SECONDS. haha man we did everything to get them to stand still. This is position 1 by the way, and position 1 was always interrupted by a lot of rolling and laughing and nonsense on the floor. I had to keep saying, “Okay everyone stop having fun so we can take this damned photo!” haha…

Merry Christmas from the Ratcliff Family

Merry Christmas from the Ratcliff Family!

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 18, 2013 at 10:23pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture8
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Say Hello to my Little Friend

Looking for Last-Minute Photo Goodies for the Holidays?

We put together a 30% off everything-at-the-store for a short time! Pop on over to The Stuck In Customs Store and you’ll see the secret code right there on the front page! :)

Daily Photo – Say Hello to my Little Friend

This is related to yesterday’s photo at Coomb’s Cottage! Right after I took the photo out the front, I walked up the hill in the back along the fenceline. The house pup bounded along and followed me all the way! He was very friendly. Maybe he was a bit worried about the upcoming storm…

Now this effect I got in this photo is a bit different! It’s pretty much straight out of the camera with the 24mm Leica f/1.4. And I shot it at f/1.4. You can see how the dog and the nearby stuff is in focus while the background and clouds are out of focus. I never really do landscape shots like this, but I kind of find it interesting…

Say Hello to my Little Friend

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 15, 2013 at 9:08pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Leica Lenses and More

Upcoming Leica Video

I’m in the middle of editing a video all about using Leica lenses on the Sony A7r. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting. I’ll share it here and on my YouTube channel soon!

Thanks for all the Leica Help

A few months ago I asked for some Leica help, and you guys and gals gave me some great advice — thanks so much! I’m still learning, but I’m enjoying the process. I’ve tested about four different Leica lenses on the Sony so far thanks to my friend Stu, and more are to come!

Daily Photo – The Lupins at F/1.4

The lupins are everywhere all over New Zealand this time of year! Some of the locals think they are weeds; this is something I’ll never understand. I even dug some of these weeds up and planted them around parts of my home, hoping they spring back up next year. It’s gonna be great, I tell ya! :) Sure, they look a little scrabbly in the off season, but not so bad.

These lupins were swaying in the wind outside of home in St. Bathans. I had on the Leica 50mm f/1/4 wide open and snuck up on some pretty ones to get this shot.

Lupins New Zealand

The Lupins at F/1.4

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole at Bag End

New eBooks, fresh for the holidays!

I think you’ll like seeing some of the latest offerings from over at FlatBooks.com !

Justin BalogSnapseed is a powerful image enhancing tool that is easy to use. Justin Balog’s comprehensive video course teaches how to use Snapeed in creative ways by following the along as we process images together. In this course, not only will you learn how to use Snapseed, you will learn the foundations of creative image processing. This course is just as much about ‘how to’ do it as ‘why’ we do it. By the end of it you’ll be making amazing images that you are excited to share with your friends, family and maybe the world!

 

 

Christa LaserChrista Laser’s Copyright for Photographers gives photographers the initial background information that they need to better understand the laws applicable to them. You’ll learn about U.S. copyright, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, contract law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and more. While the information in this book cannot substitute for the advice of your own attorney, it provides helpful insight into the legal issues that affect photographers every day.

 

 

Alister BennMaritime climates are usually dynamic, and the rhythm of the tides and the passing clouds make it relatively straightforward to create images bursting with energy and flow. Seascapes make an excellent learning ground where diverse techniques can be mastered – and for those of us fortunate enough to live within the scent of salt water, every day we go back to familiar locations they can look completely different. The Seascape Photography Bundle, Alister Benn’s three-book series, has been written to teach you everything you need to know to get out there and start taking marvelous seascapes – from the most basic and hassle-free techniques through to complex and demanding contemporary disciplines at the cutting edge of our art and craft.

Daily Photo – Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole at Bag End

One brisk evening on the North Island of New Zealand, I was on the Hobbiton Movie Set and I was able to take a photo of Bilbo’s home as the day fell away and the warm lights came on. I was completely transfixed by this day. I had spent the entire day there, from 5 AM until late into the night (and well beyond this). A few little rainstorms came and went throughout the day, dropping fresh, glowing rain all over the 40+ hobbit hole-homes there. I spent some time here inside Bilbo’s hole during those times… just sitting there, watching the rain fall across Hobbiton.

Bilbo's Hobbit Hole at Bag End Hobbiton

Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole at Bag End

Photo Information

  • Date TakenOctober 18, 2013 at 6:58am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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New Video: Learning the new Sony while learning to Paraglide

This was kinda scary, I’ll be honest!

I happened to get my new Sony as the same time I was learning to paraglide solo over the Southern Alps! So I decided to combine the two into a video. This is a sneak peak inside www.TheArcanum.com too for you. :)

You might also be interested in the full new Sony A7r Review in case you missed it!

Chris before the jump

Here’s my neighbor and friend Chris Madison (who just started Aro-Ha here between Queenstown and Glenorchy) just before the jump. We were checking out the wind and getting our equipment ready. This was taken with the 35mm at f/3.5.

Chris Madison Before Jump

Daily Photo – Ready to Jump

What an amazing time I had! I was overwhelmed with both the new camera and the new experience of learning to fly solo. I can’t believe that I ended up jumping off one of the highest peaks in the Southern Alps. It seems totally insane and scary, but it turned out to be amazing.

This is a shot with the Sony Alpha DSLR lens – the 16-35mm. I used the adaptor with the new Sony A7r so that I could attach it. It’s one of my go-to lenses now for wide-angle work like this.

Infinity Paragliding

Ready to Jump

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 10, 2013 at 12:07pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Trey’s Variety Hour #88: A fun show with Jeremy Cowart, Lisa Bettany, Thomas Hawk – talking photography, new apps, and more !! :)

Trey’s Variety Hour #88

A fun G+ Hangout show #88 with Jeremy Cowart, Lisa Bettany, and Thomas Hawk — talking photography, new apps, and more !!

During the show, we’ll talk about Jeremy’s new app, OKDOTHIS, and other photo apps and that whole space in general. Since Lisa did Camera+, well she’s kind of an expert! We’ll also all catch up, share some new photos, and, well, just kinda hangout. And, as usual, we’ll be taking live questions through the G+ Hangout! These are three great photographers, and it’s always fun just to sit around and talk about photography with people like this, so I’m mega excited.

The four of us are also starting The Arcanum together, so we may touch on that too… There are applications flying in from all over the world not only to be Apprentices, but also Masters. One guy that just applied to be a Master is Benjamin Von Wong ! He’s amazing and just one example. Perhaps during the show, his name will come up and we can show his amazing portfolio at http://www.vonwong.com/

And thanks again to Peter Giordano for being our awesome host and to Dave Veffer for being our awesome beardededed producer!

Subscribe to the Podcast and View Past Episodes

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The future is here… and Sony delivers!

Guest post by Karen Hutton

It’s very rare that I have a guest post on my blog but I really wanted you to hear more about the sweet new Sony Full Frame Mirrorless cameras. Sony invited my good friend and uber-talented photographer, Karen Hutton, along with several other folks like Frederick Van Johnson and Gordon Laing to Nashville for a hands-on test of the new gear. After a couple of days of playing with them, Karen sent me her thoughts that form the blog post below. I can’t wait to try them out myself!

MIRRORLESS, SONY & TREY

Before we get rolling here, I would naturally assume you’re up on Trey’s take on mirrorless cameras and Sony in particular. But hey, you might be new here (Hello there!)… so for a crash course, go here, here, and here.

I’M JUST WAITING…

Personally, I’m a Canon 5DIII user (and love Nikons too, so let’s not go down THAT road!) that wants to, dreams of, awaits the day I can leave the bricks behind and fully embrace mirrorless… which I know is the answer for me. It’s the future, no two ways about it. My elbow and wrist want it NOW!

I own a Sony NEX-7 which I love for certain things… but as cool and groundbreaking at that camera was in its day-before-yesterday, it just didn’t quite cut it for my particular needs. I shoot a lot of landscapes – and use HDR a great deal. I also love wildlife & birds and will do portraits now and again. I shoot in low light a fair amount. Sometimes at night. The noise, menu system and auto-bracketing system on the NEX-7 were all dealbreakers for me… I’m not nearly as patient as Trey is! And as much as I hoped it would enable me to switch from DSLR to mirrorless, it just wasn’t going to happen on that round. At least not till full frame came of age in the mirrorless camera market, along with a few other advances.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The new Sony DX10, A7 and A7r are unequivocal game changers!

I got to try them all for a couple of days at a Sony event in Nashville, TN, where a bunch of photographers, journalists, press and bloggers were trying out pre-production versions of the new gear (first roll out is on Dec. 1). Let’s face it, the only way I could ever offer a full-on, in depth review is to work with these cameras for a good while; so consider this a “first impression”. Plus, there is SO much more yet to come!

My first impression… WOW!

The A7 and A7r are the smallest interchangeable lens full frame cameras out there. They pretty much match, size wise… and aren’t too much different in that respect than the NEX-7.

I loved their weight, the way they fit in my hand and all the features that Sony has added – and fixed! What’s more, it’s all in a brand new menu system that actually makes sense! I had no problem getting up and running with it. The old NEX-7, chinese water torture, “what the hell were they THINKING??” menu system is gone. I couldn’t be more thrilled!!

You can also assign functions to several buttons and dials on the camera, to put the functions you use the most often right at your hot little fingertips instead of diving deep into the depths of Menu. And while you still have to memorize where everything is, it’s finally laid out more intuitively.

P.S. That photo of me is by Frederick Van Johnson.

LOW NOISE

I was really amazed at the low noise under all the situations I that shot with them in. That was one issue that bothered me alot in the NEX-7 with its APS-C sensor. Noise! Ack! It particularly bugged with wildlife shooting and was pretty much a deal breaker on that alone. But all three of the new Sonys are pretty darn clean in the noise department.

THEY SPECIALIZE

Each camera has it’s specialities, so deciding which one to buy will completely depend upon what kind of shooting you want to do most. Once you figure that out – then you’ll know which camera to consider. For instance:

The 24 megapixel A7 excels at portraits, sports, is faster focusing, better in low light, has phase detection – and I hear is a bit better at video than the A7r, but I didn’t get a chance to test that for myself before writing this.

The 36 megapixel A7r was built to make photos with incredible resolution and detail and is ideal for landscapes. It’s not as snappy as the A7 to auto focus… and isn’t quite as good in low light, although that’s not to say it’s a total slouch. It actually does pretty darn well. It’s just that I noticed the difference between the two, and found myself grabbing the A7 when I wanted super quick focusing and extra confidence dealing with less light. I’m not sure if the difference is something I’d just get used to… or if it would become a problem. That would take a longer time with the camera than we had!

The A7r has no low pass filter, which means more likely to show moire on video – which again, I didn’t have the chance to check out for myself. It also has no phase detection. Video is like uncompressed RAW… can put on DVD and it’ll play on blue ray. If you’re more of a filmmaker, this is good… more of a YouTube video content creator, the A7 is probably better.

Here’s a landscape photo from the A7r… a hand-held HDR of this cool bridge in Rock City, which is up on Lookout Mountain in Georgia.

Photo by Karen Hutton

HDR & AUTO BRACKETING

It took me a bit to crack the code on auto bracketing and HDR. Setup wise, it’s super simple to find and use the function. But I have to say, I’m still not a fan of how any of the Sony cameras handle auto-bracketing for HDR.

They can all auto bracket 3-5 frames, depending upon your set up. You can bracket 5 images at .3, .5 and .7 EV increments. But the minute you hit 1 and beyond,
it goes back to 3 images only. I thought that was odd; I was told it goes back to film camera days when those ⅓ made sense. Apparently there’s an app that lets you upgrade these capabilities… though I haven’t tried it yet myself.

HOWEVER… being able to auto-bracket 5 images IS an improvement, so I’m grateful for that! I’m sure there will be new features updated between now and their Dec. 1 launch – and well beyond.

One weird thing; the bracketing has capability to go -6 to +6 at 3 exposures, which is silly. Makes no sense to me at all. I told Sony that and they said they’re working on it. I’m curious to see what happens in that department moving forward.

Plus: you still can’t use the countdown timer on the camera to trigger your exposures. Argh! You still have to either hold button by with your finger or use a remote, either wired or wireless. Not a fan of that.

Since the A7r and the A7 sport different sensors, the sound they make when they take a picture is different. The A7 makes the standard single ‘click’ sound, alot like the NEX-7 and NEX-6. Butt he A7r makes a much more robust sounding double click. It’s louder too, and we all found ourselves wondering if that might seem VERY loud in certain circumstances.

LENSES

Lenses are a hot topic when it comes to these cameras. They’re differentiating the NEX-7 era E-mount lenses by calling the new ones FE-mount. Yeah, new lenses! But Sony is also opening things up with converters for all kinds of lenses. I tried the native 35 f/2.8 mm, 55 mm f/1.4 mm and 28-70 f/4… plus a Sony 16-35 f/2.8 with adapter ring, the new kit, the new 70-400 monster lens with adapter and a Leica 135 prime lens with an adapter.

Personally, I think it’s going to be a bit of a messy go for a bit, while lenses and adapters and what not all get sorted out. But this is such a huge launch that I’d expect that, no matter what. It’s going to be worth it in the end, even through growing pains.

SAMPLES

To give you at least some idea about images, here are a few for you:

Photo by Karen Hutton

A pensive portrait of Gordon Laing (www.cameralabs.com), taken with the A7 and 35mm f/2.8

Photo by Karen Hutton

A close up of from a whiskey barrel at the home of Jack Daniels, also taken with A7 and 35mm combo

 

I mentioned Gordon Laing earlier. He brought his highly coveted Nikon 14-24 and adapter for his own testing; but let me use it on this shot of the Ryman Auditorium. I was so lucky!! (Thank you, Gordon!)

The Ryman is the original home of the Grand Old Opry; a place where Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and countless other country music greats either played or got their start. They all call it home.

Photo by Karen Hutton

As many of you know, Gordon has a website where you can get ALL the technical details on all the new gear. I hung out with him while he did some of the testing on this new gear: it’s going to be a fantastic breakdown on all the comparisons! Find him at www.cameralabs.com.

Anyhow, this particular combo of Nikon 14-24, adapter and A7r does make everything become manual. Same thing with the A-mount 135mm f/1.8.

Thing is, if you use the Peaking Level feature, it’s pretty easy to handle manual focus in a situation like this. Not sure what it would be like if the subject were moving alot.

I have to thank Brian Smith, since this is his personal lens that he lent Matt Kozlowski and me. I was blown away by the quality – and hoped that maybe a piece of his incredible talent fell in my pocket somewhere. A girl can dream!

THE RX10

Finally – though far from the least exciting Sony camera I tried was the RX10. It’s awesome! It’s a fixed lens, 24-200 f/2.8 camera with a 1” sensor. I haven’t seen the video – but I hear it shoots the best video of the three cameras. I love how simple it is to use, the quality and the range. It’s like a point and shoot on crack!

Here is an image where I was testing the bokeh. This one was taken at the Jack Daniels Distillery… that fire is how they make the charcoal to later filter the whiskey in the distilling process. It was so hot I was sweating from clear across the yard! The whole set up struck me as really macabre.

Photo by Karen Hutton

One noteworthy thing about prints from these cameras. I wondered how images would print. Brian Smith uses this new gear and said that he recently made some prints up to 84” wide and was amazed at the clarity. Good to know! I can’t speak from personal experience, but figured I share that since it came up during this event.

I think this new gear is truly turning photography on its ear. And it should! This isn’t an incremental step forward – Sony has taken the mighty leap. Is it all perfectly in place yet? No. But wow, what a launch they’re making. Impressive.

I suppose you’re wondering, after all that – will I be switching immediately? My answer: I’m not sure. I do know that I WILL be switching. I’ve known that all along. It seems like this is the beginning of the iteration where it could happen. But unlike Trey, I still need enough of the capabilities in my Canon 5DIII still that I can’t quite let it go. But it’s coming…

A million thanks to all the folks at Sony for bringing me into this eye-popping, show-stopping week. They are true pros and steady guides into new territory. They listened to all the feedback, took notes.. and had a couple of their guys from Tokyo there taking notes right alongside. Can’t wait to see what to see what happens next!

- Karen Hutton

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