I recently took the Sony a7r for a test run to Breckenridge Colorado. I’ve owned the a7 and a7 II but I wanted more megapixels for all the landscape photography I’d be doing, so I decided to buy an a7r. The lenses I took with me were the Sony Zeiss 55 1.8, Sony 70-200 F4, Sony 28mm F2 (w/ 21mm f2.8 ultra-wide conversion lens and the Sony Zeiss 24-70 F4.
The Sony a7r performed amazingly well. I was really impressed by it’s RAW files and dynamic range it was able to achieve. People that complain about the lossy RAWs simply don’t know what they are talking about. These are some of the best RAWs I’ve ever seen from any camera. The 36mp lets you crop in and still keep amazing detail. Once you have that kind of flexibility, it’s really to go back to 24mp. Sure, you should get it “right in camera” but when you’re on vacation with kids and always on the go, that’s not always possible. I tend to just run and gun.
As for the downsides of the a7r, there are of course, quite a few. One of the biggest flaws is the autofocus in low light. In good light, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s actually pretty good and I was even able to get very sharp photos out of a moving car while driving though the mountains (as a passenger). The next downside is a problem on all the Sony alpha cameras, and that is the battery life. Sony really needs to release a new battery, I’m sure with all their smartphone and tablet and laptop experience they are capable of releasing a better battery that’s just as small but much much more powerful. And, of course, the shutter sound. The shutter is extremely loud, making discrete street photography almost impossible. You can hear the shutter from a mile away.
All and all, however, the proof is in the pudding and the Sony a7r performed beyond my expectations and the real world results speak for themselves.
As for the lenses, I found the 55mm 1.8, 70-200mm f4 both excellent. The 28mm f2 was great for the price and the 21mm ultra-wide conversion lens was ok but showed an incredible amount of distortion making me use it less and less. My most used lens was the 24-70mm F4. This lens has gotten a bad rep since it was introduced but I honestly don’t know why. It quickly became my favorite lens to take with me if I was only taking one lens. Its versatility, sharpness and build quality made it my most reliable lens. Granted, most photos were shot anywhere from f5.6 to f8 and not wide open. Maybe I got lucky and bought a sharp copy but I highly recommend the 24-70 f4 Zeiss to everyone with an a7 series camera.
I can’t wait to try out the Sony a7r II. I think most of the drawbacks of the original were corrected plus many many extras. I’m still hoping for a better battery.
More examples with the Sony a7r: