PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT

EQUIPMENT THAT I USE OR WOULD WISH TO BUY

PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT


SORRY FOR THE DELAY
THE SONY ILCE-7RM2 FULL FRAME MIRRORLESS CAMERA IS DESTINED TO BE A GAME CHANGER
 
I have been a Canon user for many years but as my main interest is street photograph I needed a camera that worked well but did not attract too much attention so in 2010 I purchased a Sony NEX-5.
 
What attracted me to the NEX-5 was that it was effectively a point and shoot camera with interchangeable lenses and as such it did not attract undue attention from security guards or people who had too much to drink. It may be hard to believe but a security guard once told me that I was not permitted to photograph Google’s European headquarters building in Dublin. I was using a Canon 1Ds Mark 3 at the time.
 
Immediately I realised that the idea behind the NEX-5 had a lot of potential so as soon as I learned about Sony’s plans for the NEX-7 I pre-ordered. I cannot remember when I actually got my hands on the NEX-7 but I was one of the first to actually use one and I must admit that I was delighted with it. It was then that I decided to migrate away from my very expensive DSLR equipment. I had an original 5D and a 1Ds Mark3 plus a large selection of lenses. Please note that I am not recommending that you get rid of your Canon or Nikon DSLRs because it is unlikely that your requirements are similar to mine.
 
To begin the migration process, I purchased a Metabones adapter which in theory would allow me to mount my Canon and Sigma glass on the NEX-7 body however I was not really surprised when this idea did not really work but I was not too  upset as I was already planning to purchase either a Sony A7 or the A7R. I really liked the idea of the A7S because of it low light performance but it was too expensive and I was unwilling to consider the possibility of using an external video recorder.
 
Due to lack of funds I was not in a position to buy either the A7 or the A7R when they were introduced so I decided to put the migration programme on hold especially as neither camera fully matched my requirements. I needed a camera that was silent, could work in low light and could be used without a tripod. As I photograph many indoor events low light performance is critical as is silence. The A7 did not have the resolution that I required and the A7R had a number of annoying problems including a noisy shutter and neither was especially good in low light.
 
When I first saw the specifications for the A7R2 which appeared to combine the attributes of the A7II, A7R and A7S I suspected that this was the ideal camera for me. In fact, I was so convinced that I immediately pre-ordered but I did have a long wait as there is a huge waiting list.
 
My camera was delivered at the end August and I am still testing it. Using my Metabones adapter I discovered that all of my old Sigma and Canon lens work well in manual rather than automatic mode but because manual focus is so easy to use this is not a problem even though I was inclined to avoid manual operation until now. One Canon lens did work very well in auto mode and this is discussed later in the review.
 
I am so impressed by the A7R2 I have decided that I will, in the new year, get high quality native lenses, mainly because of weight but also because using the adapter is a bit of a pain.  I have, more or less, decided to get the following Sony lenses: SEL28-135mm FG4 Power Zoom OSS and the  SEL 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSS. I suspect that I will also get one of the Zeiss Batis lens and possibly the Sony SEL 20-200mm F4 FE but I am open to suggestions.
 
What about the camera? You know that a camera must be really amazing when the only thing that the detractors on various forums can complain about is battery life. The moaners are correct, battery life in not good but as I usually carry at least 5 spare batteries with me at all times this is not a problem, I would suggest that it would be really sad if someone decided not to consider the A7R2 because of battery life. It should be noted that two batteries are supplied with the camera and certain settings can by changed in order to increase battery life but the obvious solution is to purchase at least one additional battery because based on experience with the NEX-7 and more recently the A7R2 I use about three charged batteries per day when travelling. I photograph at the rate of 1,000 photographs per day. I have yet to test the video capabilities of the A7R2 so I cannot comment on battery life when used for video recording.
 
Currently I have a full frame SEL2870 which is a typical kit lens and it is possible that this may impact negatively on absolute performance but already I am amazed by the quality of the output from this camera. My old Sigma 180mm lens in manual mode produces amazing results. There is something about the images that I cannot fully explain -  the colour is beautiful and much better than that produced by any of the cameras that I have used to date [including Sigma DP3M].
 
I am what is known as an early adopter and often I end up buying into a technology that fails to gain traction but I do sometimes make really excellent decisions and switching to Sony mirrorless was one of those decisions. I honestly believe that this camera is a game changer and it will be the camera of the year.
 
My Sony NEX-7 has been my camera of choice for that last four years and I really loved it. I had intended to use it as my backup camera but since getting the A7R2 I have no interest in using any other camera. Unfortunately buying a second A7R2 as a backup is a bit extreme so I will hang on to the NEX-7.
 
As the result of testing my cropped e-mount lenses I have decided to retire them.
 
Today [10 September] I decided to carry out one more test. I mounted a Canon EF 100-400mm 4.5 - 5.6 L IS Lens and walked around my local area taking photographs at random. The purpose of the exercise was to see if the combination attracted unwelcome attention and sure enough it did. I was approached by a number of people who had too much to drink, three people asked me why I was taking photographs and I noticed that a number of people were hiding their faces. I also had really interesting conversations with two people in Grangegorman.
 
The good news is that the Canon zoom lens worked perfectly in auto mode which makes my life a bit more complicated. The combination is not suitable for street photography but it could be ideal for formal events such as the Web Summit. I plan to turn up with the huge zoom mounted on the little A7R2 so that I can confuse the professional photographers and I will be confident that my equipment will match or even better what they are using. The following year they will all be using mirrorless cameras.
 
I am not an expert or a professional. I photograph as a hobby so I make no claims regarding my skills as a photographer or the quality of my photographs which are available online [under the name ‘Infomatique’ at www.flickr.com/infomatique/ Anyone who is interested is welcome to use any or all of my photographs. I would appreciate it if you credit me.
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