Alrighty, here is there week long user's report.a7
- its just dandy. It feels like it is 1/3rd the size and weight of the a99, with as good IQ in RAW and better IQ in jpeg. The jpegs are just plain fun for me taking snapshots of my son, who is 15 months and has had diarrhea (its been a very good week
). Handling-wise, I may end up springing for the vertical grip. Here is why: I love how then the body is and weight is great. The VG would make it taller, which make make my ham-fists more comfortable gripping it. Add in I would get 2 battery slots, and its a tempting buy for a power hungry camera. Putting it in airplane mode is pretty good though. I did a test of NFC, and it worked very well indeed. Took two shots of my son sleeping, NFC'd it to my phone, and sent it as an attachment in a text message to my wife. Pretty painless and excellent quality.
The Shutter. There has been much discussion on this. I love it. It is so solid and smooth. It tells me I am making a photograph, not taking one. I use the Electronic Front Curtain Shutter most of the time and its lovely. Turned off, it can be a bit more noticeable, but I only do that in very high shutter speeds (1/4000 and above) or with legacy minolta lenses (currently, only the 35-105). The shutter has such a nice and silky feel to it. So, I am in the "love it" camp.
Battery life is adequate, and that's about it. I don't do anything professional, and lately is been all about snapshots of my boy. But, when I get a chance to go out, we shall see. I never really used it before the firmware update, but I can say that if the power on time went from 4 seconds to 1, it was a firmware update well worth it. It simply makes the camera more useful. I can turn it off between shots, and its not a big deal.
AF is great for FE lenses. I have only used the 55/1.8 so far (24-70 is on its way), but it is very quick. I have not yet had a moment where I felt as if the AF didn't keep up. My only problem has stemmed from being in single shot AF vs continuous for shots of my son walking. Even so, I get a better than 50% in focus rate (not that they are great shots, but they are good snapshots) for a child walking unsteadily towards me. C-AF is far better. I wish it had an Automatic AF that would choose between them like the a99 had, but it is a small matter. The Auto AF was about as successful as the S-AF. The hybrid PDAF and CDAF works very well indeed. It is like being able to use AF-D mode from the a99, but in single shot and continuous. Love it. It is probably the biggest reason why the a7r has slower AF.The LEA-4
is excellent. It goes quite well with my 35-105 as well as the 100-300 APO. I may end up getting rid of my 35-105, depending on the quality of the 24-70/4. But for the 100-300, its quite good. AF speed may not be quite as good as the a99, but it is close enough to not really be impactful. Now, LEA4 vs the native 55/1.8 - I would say the 55/1.8 gets the win. If something ever has to hunt, the LEA4 will rack the lens through the focus range twice to get focus back. The Sony 55mm with the excellent SSM will rack it to the end and come back to where it needs to be. For all of the doom and gloom that has been heaped on the AF system of the a7's, I believe it is largely unfounded in the a7. The a7r is designed to be a much slower camera to use (high mp, no IS, CDAF only) and it really should be treated as such. However, the hybrid/dual AF system is simply magnificent. Is it as fast as my 80-200 HS (High Speed) G? No. But is fast enough for me, which is all I really care about. I cannot see anyone really taking this body into a sports system, so for all other uses, its going to be good.The 55/1.8
as a lens, is simply stunning. I have only used it for snap shots and for the one day walking around my back yard, but if you checked out the photo stream through flikr, there are perhaps only 2 shots where I missed focus. I tried hard to miss focus, trying to focus on skinny branches in front of large limbs, then shift focus to the larger limb behind the tree.... It just was so stinking accurate. I love it. I am very glad I chose this lens over the 35/2.8. I am sure I will pick up a 35/2.8 at some time to give me a much smaller walkaround, but I cannot wait to try the 55mm as a short portrait lens. The lens will miss focus in very low light (as in, I am shooting at 1/30, f/1.8, and ISO 3200 or 6400), but anything around 1/60 will usually nail focus. I suspect this is why Sony likes the 1/60 shutter speed in P mode so much. It really is the bottom end of excellent AF. I am willing to accept that. The sharpness really shoots up at f/4 up until f/8. I may have to try it for landscapes/cityscapes. It has the sharpest output I've ever achieved.
1. The AF zones are just... weird. I can shift from overlapping thirds of the screen. When I needs something that far over, I really need to just switch to CDAF mode.
2. I want to be able to turn off PDAF with a button program. But I can't. So sad.
3. I want to be able to manually switch the EVF and back monitor by a button push. But I can't. Also sad.
4. A couple of the menu groupings are odd. I would do it differently.
5. Why in the world do the first 3 pages of menu items duplicate the Fn screens? For all that is holy, it would simplify everything if you just left them out!
When I get the 24-70, I will let you know how things are. But the size and bulk of this thing is perfect. I can use an honest to goodness neckstrap again. I still have my shoulder strap, but I can have this thing hanging from my neck without a risk of major Manning-style surgery. Oh, and the VG would help balance this from my neck with a heavier lens. Hmmm... still a very good option.
Anyway, I get out and about shooting with this, I will update. I bought a Contax C/Y adapter to try out some friend's Zeiss lenses. There is a 135/2.8 I am dying to play with.