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Author Topic: Sony A7r questions  (Read 16349 times)
Paul2660
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« on: December 11, 2013, 01:28:19 PM »
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After working with the A7r yesterday afternoon I came away with some questions and wanted to pass them on to the members of the forum.   As I feel that everyone has their own opinions on image quality,  I am only looking for help on useability features/functions.

I used the A7r with my LA-EA2 with Sony Alpha lenses, 16-80 and 24-70 both of them the Zeiss lenses.  I shot both raw and fine jpg and worked up the files in LR RC 5.3.   I saw lots of fine details as I expected but also noticed some issues with a stock blue sky in that I was having a hard time nailing down the blue hue.  This is something that probably will get worked out over time and or was a sign of my inexperience with the raw files.  I am hoping to shoot my D800 next to the A7r some tomorrow mainly for some color testing.   I will say the screen on the A7r is a bit misleading as the actual useable LCD is much smaller than the holder.  There are large dark sections on each edge of the screen.  The camera feels very good in the hand and the grip to me is excellent, just enough. 

1.  The camera iso starts at iso 50.  Unlike the Nikon D800 family which allows you to get to 50 with menu settings, (Nikon never really calls it 50), Sony just allows you to dial right down to the iso 50 setting.  I am wondering if Sony has tweaked the chip so that you are at a "true" iso 50 base and not a tweaked iso 50 as Nikon did.  Nikon's base on the D800 is iso 100. 

2.  Both of the lenses I used, 24-70 and 16-80 did not focus well with the LA-EA2 with AF on.  This was more apparent in the 50mm to 80mm range.  I did not have time to make a AF adjustment.  With Focus peaking on and MF mode focus was very good and I my hit miss ration dropped way down.  All shots were hand held.  There was some vignetting with the 16-80, very slight. 

3.  LR does not see the camera as a alpha, thus it will not allow the use of the 16-80 profile (alpha).  This may change later on but for now all lens adjustments with an Alpha lens on would have to be manual.  I had this same issue with my Nex 7 when I used the LA-EA2 on it. 

4.  The use of any Nikkor lenses, G will rely on a adapters like the Metabones or Novoflex style.  These do not allow any AF.  What I am also curious about is if they allow 1/2 or 1/3 aperture settings.  From looking at the adapters on-line it seems like the aperture adjustments are done totally manually thus you only get full stops.  This would be just like using a copal shutter on a tech camera lens.   Focusing in close with MF was easy, at distance with peaking on (16mm to 35mm) was hard at first, but after figuring out the zoom function, you can pretty much nail a good focus each time.  It's just having to be manual for every shot to me eliminates this camera for most some shooting conditions. 

5.  Has anyone tested the metabones AF III with Canon lenses?  If so what are your opinions.  Is the AF fast and accurate?  Also I am curious if on shifting with a 17mm TS-E or 24mm TS-E if there is a bit of corner vignetting especially on shifts?

6.  Remote support, from what I can tell this is pretty non-existent.  Dpreview mentions a wired remote, but on the Sony site under accessories, there is no mention of a wired remote only a wireless unit which has very basic support.  The USB 2 port on the camera is a proprietary  Sony pinout, one that they started using with the Nex-6.  If a pin conversion did exist to take it to the more common mini USB2 port (like the one used on external hard drives 3.5 inch) then it might be possible to get a remote to work. However since this port is where you charge the camera from it may not have the ability to be used with a remote.  With the older Sony Nex line there was as IR remote, and some people have found ways to convert it to a intervalometer  However I don't think the A7r has the IR port, instead it appears  to use wireless.   I would like to be able to use this camera for night shooting, however without the ability to use a intervalometer then stacking frames will be out.  Sony does sell a camera app called Timelapse however from what I can tell it's much more oriented to the creation of a time laspe movie and like Nikon's tool on the D800 and D600 is driven by the camera's timer which will only go to 30 seconds.  30 seconds will not work in most night time stacking situations where you tend to be more in the line of 2 to 3 minute shots.  If you use the timelaspe camera app, you required to have a phone or iPad to run it at least from what I can tell.  Interface is between the device and camera via wireless.  Also not too sure how this will effect the battery life of the camera since a wifi connection will need to be running the whole time.  Currently Sony does not allow for the A7 family in the Timelaspe camera app.

These may be non-issues for most folks.  However the AF issue with Nikkor lenses concerns me but the lack of a remote that works as a intervalometer surprised me.  The fact that Sony uses a proprietary port is pretty standard for them and thus I don't see an easy way around this. 

This is all based on the limited time I had to work with the A7r in my hands, and research I have done.  If someone has some different information, please share it. 

Paul Caldwell

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Paul Caldwell
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2013, 01:48:40 PM »
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I have a Novoflex Nikkor-to-m43 adapter. Assuming it works the same as the NEX/A adapter, you get continuous aperture adjustment. No stop detents or markings.

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2013, 04:19:20 PM »
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Hi,

ISO ratings are wildly misleading.

Best regards
Erik





1.  The camera iso starts at iso 50.  Unlike the Nikon D800 family which allows you to get to 50 with menu settings, (Nikon never really calls it 50), Sony just allows you to dial right down to the iso 50 setting.  I am wondering if Sony has tweaked the chip so that you are at a "true" iso 50 base and not a tweaked iso 50 as Nikon did.  Nikon's base on the D800 is iso 100. 


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bcooter
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2013, 05:27:05 PM »
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The only testing I've done was using A mount lenses,  all of them with the Adapter.   I never tried an E mount lens.

The A7r was  slow focus, or better put, would slightly lock, hunt, lock where the A7 was closer to my olympus em-5 which is the fastest single focusing camera I've used.

Both the A7 and R versions seemed to work the same, except the focus and fps.

I've also made numerous inquiries about the Sony proprietary port for usb 2 (why 2?) and have never received a response that I understood, because I was looking for tethering capabilities.

IMO

BC

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BJL
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2013, 06:58:40 PM »
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1.  The camera iso starts at iso 50.  Unlike the Nikon D800 family which allows you to get to 50 with menu settings, (Nikon never really calls it 50), Sony just allows you to dial right down to the iso 50 setting.  I am wondering if Sony has tweaked the chip so that you are at a "true" iso 50 base and not a tweaked iso 50 as Nikon did.  Nikon's base on the D800 is iso 100.  
ISO settings on digital cameras do not at all correspond to the ISO sensitivity ratings of film, which are/were based on shadow handling. They are more like the exposure index setting on an external light meter, and their primary function is to adjust the exposure levels chosen in auto-expoure modes. It seems that the 50 and 100 settings on the A7R correspond to the same ISO highlight-based sensitivity of about 73, as indicated by the graphs that Erik has embedded above. So the "EI=50" setting is to bias the autoexposure modes towards overexposing somewhat, for when there is not much brightness range between midtones and highlights and you want a high placement of the midtones.

Aside: "ISO" is an organization that publishes a great many standards, including several closely related but different measurements to do with sensor sensitivity and exposure settings: the relevant one here is ISO12232:2006, described in part at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_speed#Digital_camera_ISO_speed_and_exposure_index.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 08:29:44 PM by BJL » Logged
Paul2660
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2013, 07:36:14 PM »
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Thanks for the input.

Dave:  I will take a look at the Novoflex, as at least having the 1/3 stops settings for aperture will be nice.

BC:  I didn't even consider tethering, and USB3, very good point and really any camera of this price point and time frame should consider USB3 standard.  These are large files for sure. 

Eric and BJL,  Thanks for the info on the iso.  I was thinking back to my Canon days, where the base iso of 100 again was standard.  Canon allowed you to get to 50 (this is on the 1ds MKII and 5D MKII) but everything I read was that you lost DR especially in the highlights, which was what I was trying to hold so I rarely used 50.  From my Phase One Days, I have always tried to stay at the published base iso for the back, iso 50 as the Phase backs just seem to work best there.  I was curious of Sony had created a newer version of the chip so that iso 50 was truly the base, not a push as it is on Nikon's version in the D800. 

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 09:40:23 PM »
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Eric and BJL, Thanks for the info on the iso. I was thinking back to my Canon days, where the base iso of 100 again was standard. Canon allowed you to get to 50 (this is on the 1ds MKII and 5D MKII) but everything I read was that you lost DR especially in the highlights, which was what I was trying to hold so I rarely used 50.

Right. ISO "50" with those cameras is just the base ISO (100...well, a stop or so more sensitive than "50" anyway) with the quantized photon counts/electron voltages divided by two. A bit of a cheat but it often works well enough for people who don't ETTR.

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From my Phase One Days, I have always tried to stay at the published base iso for the back, iso 50 as the Phase backs just seem to work best there. I was curious of Sony had created a newer version of the chip so that iso 50 was truly the base, not a push as it is on Nikon's version in the D800.

The sensor itself may well have the same intrinsic sensitivity as the D800's. Who knows what else is going on? Maybe Nikon chose to use a mathematical ISO "50" rather than the true base sensitivity for reasons known only to it. Non-linearities in sensor response perhaps (pure speculation here). Maybe the RGBG Bayer filters are more opaque on the A7r version of the sensor. Maybe something else entirely...

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 09:58:39 PM »
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Hi,

The DxO plot for ISO sensivity was identical for the D800E and the A7r, it just shows a single curve.

Best regards
Erik

Right. ISO "50" with those cameras is just the base ISO (100...well, a stop or so more sensitive than "50" anyway) with the quantized photon counts/electron voltages divided by two. A bit of a cheat but it often works well enough for people who don't ETTR.

The sensor itself may well have the same intrinsic sensitivity as the D800's. Who knows what else is going on? Maybe Nikon chose to use a mathematical ISO "50" rather than the true base sensitivity for reasons known only to it. Non-linearities in sensor response perhaps (pure speculation here). Maybe the RGBG Bayer filters are more opaque on the A7r version of the sensor. Maybe something else entirely...

-Dave-
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Manoli
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2013, 06:19:05 AM »
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I've also made numerous inquiries about the Sony proprietary port for usb 2 (why 2?) and have never received a response that I understood, because I was looking for tethering capabilities.

I haven't seen the connector but if it is indeed custom as opposed to a micro USB2, as on the RX100 MkII - you're not likely to get one either. It would be typical Sony. The only 'defence' as to not using USB3 is that the connectors are much larger than the the USB2 micro/mini equivalents and that would entail a substantial reworking of the internals - nevertheless they could bypass this with the use of a connector cable.

At first glance, it would seem that the only current tethering solution is a kludge - You'll have to use Wi-Fi / NFC capabilities with a Sony app and set Lightroom, or equivalent, to use a 'watch' folder. Hardly tethering, yet. And if tethering support is eventually added to LR and C1 - with a custom connector, how long a cable will you be able to use ?

-

I've only seen the A7 briefly, from what I've heard and read it seems the A7, non-r version, has good AF, better continuous shooting speed and a quieter shutter but may not be as adaptable for use with Leica M / Canon / Nikon lenses etc. due to the differences in sensor/ micro lenses ( apart from the OLP filter) - does anyone have any first hand experience or info as to why ?

ps
Just checked the Sony website specification,  and they describe the socket as a " multi/micro USB terminal " which "supports Micro USB compatible device". It looks identical to a usb2 micro connector - are we sure it requires a custom cable ? If so, the cable is also absent from the accessories page ..
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 07:42:12 AM by Manoli » Logged
CptZar
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2013, 12:35:32 PM »
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The A7r supports the Remote Infrared Control.

Its a mini USB connector.

There is a wired remote control. It uses the USB connector, which makes me wonder how to use the remote control and charge at the same time. I assume Sony wants to do that with Apps. Playmemories (How can you use such a name???)  Smart remote control lets you control bracketing, but there is no timecounter, or time interval function. If the iPhone goes Standby, the apps will not work any more anyway. Beside that, why should I use my iPhone to control my cam? So I have to devices running out of batteries?

The remote control cable is a joke. I am sure it will never stay in place outdoors. You can use the remote wireless control though.



« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 12:37:21 PM by CptZar » Logged

BJL
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2013, 12:58:39 PM »
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Right. ISO "50" with those cameras is just the base ISO (100...well, a stop or so more sensitive than "50" anyway) with the quantized photon counts/electron voltages divided by two. A bit of a cheat ...
It does more than that, but to understand, we need to step back from the bare-chested manly world of "I alway use manual exposure settings and shoot only raw", and look at the way that the ISO dial of cameras is used by the vast majority of photographers --- which includes both using auto-exposure and producing JPEG's in-camera.


The short answer is that changing from ISO 50 to ISO 100 will double the exposure level in any auto-exposure mode (half the shutter speed in aperture priority, etc.), and will double the exposure level that is reported as "on meter" in manual mode, along with adjusting the levels in default JPEG output.


In more detail, the ISO setting on a camera does several things:

1) It sets the exposure index on the internal light meter, affecting both the exposure parameters chosen in auto-exposure modes, and the "under/over" indications given in manual exposure mode.

2) It determines what I will call the "JPEG sensitivity": the amplification ratio between a given amount of light reaching the sensor and the resulting output levels in default JPEG conversions. The more technical names for this measure of sensitivity are Standard Output Sensitivity [SOS] and "Recommended Exposure Index": all Japanese cameras are required by their industry association, CPIA, to calibrate their ISO settings by one of these two methods, both of which relate to the entire processing path through to default in-camera JPEGs, not to raw levels.

3) It might also change the degree of analog gain applied between the photosite and raw conversion, and if so, it effects what I will call the "raw sensitivity", meaning the ratio between light level at the sensor and numerical levels in the raw output. However, that is not always done (since appropriate final output level can be achieved with various mixes of analog gain and the "tone curve" used in conversion from raw), and the ISO standard makes no requirements about analog gain or raw level placement; the ISO standard writers have left the intermediate stage of raw format to be used as each camera maker wishes.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 02:09:40 PM by BJL » Logged
bdp
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 01:37:30 PM »
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Tethered support is possible using Sony's 'Remote camera Control' App. I got mine here: http://www.sony.com.au/support/download/525288

Then set up auto import into LR 5.3. Works. The app also has a basic intervalometer setting as far as I can see, but I haven't tried it.

I have the metabones EF III adapter. Although it works, the AF is slow. Not good for pro use. But the awesome focus peaking in the EVF almost makes AF redundant for me. I can trust my eyes again with manual focussing...  Smiley

The only complaint I have about my A7r is the slow clunky shutter. It's "chu-chuckuh-chu-chunk" instead of my Canon 5D's "click". The viewfinder is black for too long. I wish the A7r had an electronic first curtain like the A7 because it might remedy this a bit.

Ben
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 01:57:02 PM by bdp » Logged
CptZar
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 02:03:48 PM »
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Thank you. Very cool.
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bcooter
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2013, 05:16:31 PM »
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Tethered support is possible using Sony's 'Remote camera Control' App. I got mine here: http://www.sony.com.au/support/download/525288

Then set up auto import into LR 5.3. Works. The app also has a basic intervalometer setting as far as I can see, but I haven't tried it.


Ben

So this software is a tethering/processing  suite like Canons DPP (which by the way is bulletproof).

The link you provided doesn't show it works with the A7, does it?

Thanks

BC
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bdp
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2013, 05:17:37 PM »
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Tethering via USB but not processing. Just places the files into a folder you choose.

Works for me for the A7r.

Ben
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2013, 05:19:04 PM »
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Even with raw?

Erik

Tethering but not processing. Just places the files into a folder you choose.

Works for me for the A7r.

Ben
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bdp
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2013, 05:24:08 PM »
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Yes, the raws get saved in the folder and LR5.3 can process them.

Ben
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2013, 08:04:17 PM »
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Also, DNA software have a plugin for Lightroom 5 that allows tethered capture for the A7r. Windows version out at the moment, but I have tested a Mac beta that also works.

http://dslrsoftware.com/index.php


Ben
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 08:19:31 PM by bdp » Logged
EricHausman
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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2013, 05:33:07 AM »
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Ben ,
    Interested in your experience with metabones adapter on a7r, particularly with canon TS lenses
I am considering this combo but concerned about image quality.
Thanks in advance
Eric
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Manoli
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2013, 07:13:06 AM »
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Also, DNA software have a plugin for Lightroom 5 that allows tethered capture for the A7r. Windows version out at the moment, but I have tested a Mac beta that also works.

http://dslrsoftware.com/index.php

Ben - thanks both the links, much appreciated.
As of today, 13th,  the mac is a full release.

M

ps
BTW can you confirm what plug / cable connected the a7 to your computer and the length of cable used.
I've been told the 'multi' socket is also micro usb compatible - it certainly looks it from the photograph. Is it ?
I can't test it yet, awaiting delivery of an a7 late next week, but grateful for any reliable info in the meantime.
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