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Sony A7R insights

This page is for documenting my ongoing experience with the Sony A7R. I’ll give it to you like I see it, some comments will praise the camera, others may upset the die-hard Sony owners.

**Please Sony, I’m tired of menu diving for “Format” card. Can you make it a two button push or let us assign it to a function button (Fn). For what it’s worth go to 65 for “Format”  – that’s 6th tab and 5th window. Too bad the old slang term for “throwing out” isn’t 65 but it’s 86’ed.

**SETUP IDEA: I like to be able to quickly move the focus point around the viewfinder often between shots. I set up Custom Key Setting, Right Button, Focus setting. So now I just right click the wheel and the focus point can be moved.

**Don’t you hate it when you see the battery at 15% and you still have lots of shooting you want to do? Well, unless you have a back up battery, it’s time to take control of your camera and save energy. Like I tell my kids, “turn those lights off or you can pay the bill.” Do they turn the lights off? NO, Have they paid a bill, NO. Am I wasting my breath, YES. But here it’s different, you want to save energy because you love to shoot.
So to save energy in your camera, instead of taking 10 minutes of precious battery life fumbling through the menu, write these down and put them in your phone:
A7R POWER SAVE
13 af illuminator off
21 auto review off
22 pre-af off
23 finder/monitor viewfinder
61 viewfinder brightness (a bit extreme)
61 audio signals (a bit extreme)
62 power save start time 10sec.
The first number is the tab, the second number is the window within that tab. If you don’t have the list with you just try to remember the essential numbers: 21, 22 and 23. Those will give you some extra shooting time.

**I went a little crazy on the shutter vibration article. Why the A7R? Emphasis on “R” – that’s because the shutter has to close, then open to begin exposure, then close, then open again. Lot’s going on! Have you ever heard an old adding machines when it’s adding numbers, I think it was the inspiration for the A7R sound, they are very similar.

Here’s the bottom line. Lenses 100mm or less don’t worry about it. Lenses over 100mm hand-held don’t worry about it. Lenses over 100mm on a tripod – worry a little – secure in 2 points if possible and keep shutter speeds over 1/100sec. When using a lens collar shutter vibration is most vulnerable in portrait orientation. Sony needs to allow us to put in a delay after first curtain closing and prior to exposure beginning – that way the vibrations have a chance to settle. 

**The Sony 10-18mm SEL F/4.0 is lens for APS-C format but it works on the full frame A7/R. Cool stuff and it’s OSS too. If you attach the lens on the A7/R then I suggest getting the Lens Correction Profile (lcp) from Dave Kilpatrick here is the link: http://www.photoclubalpha.com/AdobeCameraProfiles/ILCE-7R FF (E 10-18mm F4 OSS) – RAW.lcp.zip
Unzip, then drag the lcp file to C: Library>Application Support>Adobe>CameraRaw>LensProfile>1.0>Sony. Once in Photoshop you can go to Lens Correction to use it.

It’s best to keep the zoom over 12mm, the correction gets harder at 12mm and under. If you decide you must shoot at 12mm or under you can always crop off the bad and still get more than the APS-C. Check out that wavy distortion in the first image, called mustache distortion.

This is the out-of-camera (OCC) image. 10-18mm f/4.0. Taken at 13mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec. ISO100.

This is the out-of-camera (OCC) image. 10-18mm f/4.0. Taken at 13mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec. ISO100.

This is after the lens correction profile by Dave Kilpatrick.

This is after the lens correction profile by Dave Kilpatrick.

This image taken at 15mm has no lens correction. 1/13sec, f/8.0, iso100. Lens: E10-15mm f/4.0 OSS.

This image taken at 15mm has no lens correction. 1/13sec, f/8.0, iso100. Lens: E10-15mm f/4.0 OSS.

 

**FIRMWARE PLEASE: When I turn on “Viewfinder” to shoot using the EVF it would be nice if I could choose if I want the image to come up on the monitor.

**FIRMWARE PLEASE: When a menu item is greyed out and I select it, don’t leave me guessing why it’s greyed out. Give me details so I can make the change and not have to go to the manual.

  • John Yotka - July 15, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    Excellent information,I hope Sony is listening to your suggestions! Good idea about the “cheat sheet”, I’ll have to expand on that for the other items I want quick access to. You are the second person to recommend the 10-18 lens, I’ll have to go to my camera store and try it out.ReplyCancel

  • richard weiblinger - October 16, 2014 - 8:32 pm

    Please let me know what the exact settings are for the A7R to be able to shoot HDR imagesReplyCancel

    • Ferrell - October 21, 2014 - 7:59 am

      Richard, There are several ways to set the camera up for HDR depending on how you want the camera to take the images – for example you can use continuous shooting (images taken with one press of the shutter) or single image shooting (press the shutter for each image).
      Here is simple set up that works: A-mode, multi-metering mode, go to Menu Drive Mode: set BRK-C 2.0ev3. That will cover the majority of your scenes for bracketing. It is also good for handheld HDR shooting.

      You can right click the wheel when in Menu>Drive Mode and scroll through the bracketing options. If you don’t see one the bracketing option you’d like then I suggest bracketing via manual mode – tripod of course.
      The options: 0.7EV3image, 0.7EV5image, 1.0EV3image, 2.0EV3image, 3.0EV3image, 0.3EV3image, 0.3EV5image, 0.5EV3image, 0.5EV5image.
      My preference is: 2.0EV3image and 0.7EV5image. However, there is one glaring option missing: 1.0EV5image, that would require manual mode.
      ReplyCancel

  • John Gaster - July 13, 2015 - 2:38 pm

    ‘**SETUP IDEA: I like to be able to quickly move the focus point around the viewfinder often between shots. I set up Custom Key Setting, Right Button, Focus setting. So now I just right click the wheel and the focus point can be moved.’

    The issue here is that you do not understand how the Sony auto focus system works. Don’t feel bad, with the exception of Gary Fong, not many people do. It is a different way of thinking. In place of moving points around, Sony uses a feature called Lock-on AF. This allows you to set the AF on any point of your choosing and then the camera will lock onto to that point and automatically follow it until the object is outside the camera’s focus parameters. When it works properly, you can go outside the camera’s ability to focus, and then come back to the object, and the camera will relock on the object. You can set the center button on the thumb wheel to quickly activate it. When it works, it is way more desirable than back button focus. Like many things on a mirrorless camera, it is not perfect.

    This feature works moderately well on the A7R. It works outstanding on the A6000, and the A7II. Set it up with a button assignment and you will never want to go back to moving focus points again.ReplyCancel

    • Ferrell - July 13, 2015 - 7:41 pm

      Exactly, Lock-on AF is not perfect and because I have a high standard for my pictures, I choose not to give the camera all the control. Lock-on AF is a safe and useful option for most photography but doesn’t instill confidence in low contrast pinpoint focus. Some excellent photographers use manual focus, not because they don’t understand Lock-on AF but because they focus on what they want to be sharp.
      -Ferrell McColloughReplyCancel

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