I’m busy packing for a holiday trip but wanted to post some samples shot with the Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 Zeiss on the A7R. I just received the lens this past Thursday so my time spent with it is very limited. I’m going to have a lot more images from this as well as the other shipping FE lens (the 35mm f2.8) when I return.

 

My initial impression of the lens is very positive. It’s one of the sharpest lenses I have used wide open, and is worth every penny. Build quality is great and despite it’s apparent size balances very well with the camera. It’s very cold here in Canada and the following few images were shot this Sunday between some last minute pre departure shopping.

 

Also, check out some of my observations on the Sony A7R itself: http://blog.dominik.ca/2013/12/09/sony_a7r/

 

 

winter1

 

winter2

 

winter3

 

winter4

 

winter5
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

A little more than a year ago I have found this barn on a lonely country side road and fell in love with it’s picturesque combination of rusty sheet metal and old wood. I would go back every once in a while to photograph it under different lighting in hopes of making a larger series.

 

This past weekend I went back and found the barn to be burned down, no longer part of the landscape. Moments like this remind me of the power photography has to freeze time, and how this fascinating, almost magical fact is so often forgotten.

 

It is unfortunate that I was not able to complete the series, but as the good and wise Dr.Seus said, Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

 

 

barn-1

 

barn-2

 

barn-3b

 

barn-3

 

barn-4

 

barn-5
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr

I’m not a camera reviewer so the following observations on the Sony A7R are from the perspective of an active shooter and not a lab reviewer. Having used the camera for just little over a week I have not made any hard judgements on it. In a few weeks I intend to test it extensively in the field and try to post more results.

 

What I like so far:

 

This camera is intended to be a backup body for my 645D on an upcoming trip early next year, and as a general light weight body for longer multi day hikes where taking heavy medium format gear becomes prohibitive.

 

Obviously the size of the camera and the image quality to size ratio is what has attracted me to the A7R. On this front the camera definitely lives up to the hype, and the Sony / Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Sonnar has a “3D” depth that I don’t see in a lot of other lenses in it’s price range. Given my criteria for a high quality small sized body with interchangeable lenses the A7R delivers.

 

Besides image quality, which for me is the most important aspect along with size of the camera, the sony A7R fails on nearly every other front.

 

Annoyances:

 

• Crappy charger, uses short flimsy usb cable to connect to the camera directly. I had to purchase a separate Sony charger to charge the $89 (CAD) dollar per piece batteries. A camera is not an iPhone and should not be charged like one. Also having to charge the camera through the body takes it out of commission if you want to use multiple batteries. If Sony is targeting this camera at professionals or serious amateurs, not including a proper charger is a lame choice to make.

 

• Horrible defaults, especially for shooting with gloves on. The scroll wheel controls ISO and is very easily moved during shooting, disabling the scroll wheel is a must for many shooting situations. I’m not quite sure who thought that a hardware interface element like this is a good idea, but the camera overall seems to have been designed by computer geeks and not photographers.

 

• Lens focusing ring design has very little tactile feedback even when wearing thin gloves. This is something one can get used to but it’s not ideal.Thicker and slightly higher grooves would be much nicer.

 

• Camera manual seems like a google translation from Japanese, why even waste paper ? Common questions are not described in the manual or are difficult to find. Reading a few pages feels like a strange drug induced journey towards great confusion.

 

• A lot of the features of the camera are useless in raw mode and convolute the menu system needlessly. There is even an etched WB (white balance) symbol on the body by the scroll wheel; a useless feature when shooting raw. Something that is generally not used by anyone serious (such as a jpg shooter) should not be prominently featured on the camera body.

 

• The downside of the A7R form factor is the inability to use it reliably with thick gloves in low temperatures. The controls are to close and don’t have enough tactile clues that can be felt though medium and thick gloves.

 

• Power switch design and position is easily mistaken for the front aperture scroll wheel and the camera can be easily turned off by mistake. This is something that has happened to me a bunch of times over the course of the week and can become a big deal considering the camera takes a few seconds to turn back on.

 

• The shutter is indeed loud for a camera of this form factor. I’m used to a relatively loud shutter/mirror sound on the Pentax 645D but the sony A7R does not really have much of an excuse to be this loud considering it lacks the huge mirror box.

The following images are a few samples from this weekend. I will post more pictures and observations in the coming days, including examples of a disconcerting banding effect with the A7R raw files processed in Lightroom 5.3 RC.

 

 

a7r-1

 

a7r-2

 

a7r-3

 

a7r-4

 

a7r-5

 

a7r-6
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

I enjoy the colours that happen around this time of year, who doesn’t ? I have not had a lot of time to shoot this season but here are a few random images from the surrounding area.

 

fall_1

 

fall_2

 

Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

Yellowstone is an amazing place with very stark contrasts. The thing that struck me at first is the disneyland style tourist infrastructure around the famous sights. There are thousands of people moving through the main arteries of the park creating an iPad traffic jam whenever a deer or bison is near the road. I find it more than a little sad that many don’t even have the desire to leave the confines of their cars in order to get a better shot of whatever it is they are seeing. Yellowstone seems to be the ultimate nature drive through destination, very much like this video clip.

 

The other parts of the park, the less frequented trails, are some of the most serene places I have been to. They are a welcome contrast to the tourist crowds that congregate near the roads and create a theme park atmosphere which often kills the mood of this truly magnificent place.

 

yellowstone1

 

yellowstone2

 

yellowstone4

 

yellowstone3
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

The hotel I was due to stay at in Estes park Colorado got flooded and the area has been evacuated. I’m currently on the way to Montana, west of Yellowstone. The 1200km or so journey through Wyoming I’m currently in the middle of has so far taken me though some of the most barren and uninhabited landscapes yet; thousands of square miles of dried grassland as far as the eye can see. The occasional cow, horse or herd of deer is a welcome sight.

 

wyoming_1

 

wyoming_2

 

wyoming_3
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 
colorado_1

 

colorado_2

 

I have not updated this blog in a few months and apologize to those who have e-mailed me questions for the slow replies. Summer in the the city is one of the most depressing states of existance a person who loves the great outdoors can find themselves in. The urge to take pictures greatly diminishes as a result as well.

 

I’m writing this from Colorado where despite the big flooding problem in many areas, the mountains and humbling wilderness can heal all the wounds inflicted by city life.

 

The intense cold and brief storm I have experienced yesterday at 14,000+ feet felt more real, and certainly more honest than anything I have experienced in civilization in a long time. It has also reminded me of this passage from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:

 

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

 

-George Gordon Byron

Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

Some weekend images of the local spring.

 

spring_01

 

spring_02

 

spring_03
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

I have been waiting for spring to make an appearance but it seems like it’s taking it’s time. Judging by the barren and in some places snow covered landscape, it might take another week or two. The narrow colour palette during this transitionary period is something I very much enjoy.

 

spring_wait-1

 

spring_wait-2_0

 

spring_wait-3
Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr
 
 

El Mundo de la Fantasía looks like a place out of children’s nightmares. Full of broken trees, destruction, and inhabited by sculptures that resemble something out of a retarded parallel universe.

 

el_mundo_1

 

Share on Facebook+1Submit to redditShare on Tumblr