Sorry its been so long since I posted anything. I have been hiding out for a while and doing the work. Something has me excited though and I just feel like sharing this.
To start with I want to confess, I want to be clear on my thoughts here and give a smidgen of back story…
Hello, my name is Parker. I am addicted to making imagery, chasing technology, embracing traditional photographic techniques, the smell of my darkroom, pixel peeping to the highest degree, saying sharpness is over rated while in the same breath saying “my god thats beautifully sharp”, printing photographs on real paper, dreaming about my next shoot, introducing my work to people who can help me keep this going, pushing others to “see past the obvious” and stockpiling about every camera from a 20″x20″ monster to a Minox spy 16mm. I live and breathe the photographic process. I am a junkie. One minute i say I am perfectly content with what I am using and the next I am drooling over the release of something shiny and new. Any new thing that comes out or old thing that I find, I want to push it and see if it fits in my collection. Which brings me to this post.
Now on to the being clear portion…
A new technology does NOT mean we have to embrace it. BUT a new technology may give you a means to speak your photographic voice in a new language.
A new camera does NOT make you a better photographer. BUT a new camera could elevate your excitement to make images.
This is not a review just a reflection of how I am growing to love a new way of seeing.
And now to a short backstory.
I thought about starting off in a smart ass kind of way by saying that I have been shooting with a mirrorless camera for over 20 years. Then someone would do the math and say “wait a minute they weren’t out 20 years ago!” Then I could fire back that my 8×10 view camera has no mirror. A Leica has no mirror. and so on. It may have even led to saying something about “off camera flash” has been around much longer that the phrase “off camera flash”.
But I decided not to and just say that I have been using a modern mirrorless camera for 5 years now. I had always used them as my “art camera” along side my Nikon work horses.
With a mirrorless I could adapt any lens I could find and it would give me unique results.
With a mirrorless camera I could manually focus these lenses in the dark. This is something I couldn’t do with the DSLR’s.
With a mirrorless camera I could be very unassuming to the subjects of my imagery.
With a mirrorless camera I could have a 9 lens kit in a bag that used to hold on DSLR and one lens.
With a mirrorless camera, what you see in the viewfinder is what you get.
With a mirrorless camera you can quickly magnify your vision for critical focus.
But they also had their weaknesses…
They were slow to focus. (I overcame and adapted) I actually welcomed it as it forced me to slow down and see.
The electronic viewfinder was like watching a bad video of life happening right in front of you. (I overcame and adapted) some also have an optical viewfinder too. bonus!
The battery life is not what we were used to. (I overcame and adapted)
They only have one card slot. (I overcame and adapted. By the way my 8×10 has no card slot;)
I have firmly embraced the mirrorless way.
Now I found myself faced with “another camera” on the scene. This one had big hype, big promises and a way bigger sensor!
Enter the Sony a7RII. I just had to get my hands on this 42mp, 4k video visual expression monster. I decided to rent it for 5 days from www.lensrentals.com. (they rock by the way!)
For the next 4 days I put this camera through the ringer. Low light, high light, side light, burst shooting, video making, a wedding, studio work with strobes, with hotlights, lens adapting and any thing I could throw at it. I pushed this camera and it happily took it all and wanted more. The focus in all light was not just improved and livable but fantastically fast! The eye focus was just amazing for making portraits in the studio. Shooting a wedding in all types of conditions was effortless and my shoulders and elbows loved me for it. The weight reduction is addictive! Shooting with strobes in the studio does ramp the gain up on the EVF for a 1/2 second but I can get used to it. AWB worked beautifully.
Now lets talk IQ. The best I have seen out of a digital camera. There I said it. I think it is as much to do with the Zeiss glass as it does the sensor. The two together is magic. I believ the Zeiss 55mm f1.8 will be a legend. This is just my opinion so don’t get your panties in a bunch. It works for me. It gets me excited. Just me. Im not telling you to go get one I am just saying I am stoked about this camera system and I have started the selling off of some of my gear to purchase a new set that I believe will be my new work horse in the next year. It just helps me speak my own photographic voice.
The images in the studio were so realistic and had such depth that it was an instantaneous love. I found myself shooting more color which is out of the norm for me as I am also a B+W addict. The skin tones are so different. The files push effortlessly (if you need to)with the wide dynamic range. So much so that I started playing with the onboard JPG settings and found myself in a whole different kind of love. I have been a jpg lover for years. This camera was made for them! Using a 42mp camera at a wedding was an overkill to say the least. But, what if I could just shoot jpgs? So I did. Lovely. ISO 100-12,800 were beautiful and ready to roll. I also did a bunch of 4k video to complement my stills but that is for another time.
So below are some images I made. Yes one could argue (and probably will) that I could have made these with any camera. I chose not to. I chose the Sony a7RII and I am glad I did. 90% of the images below are jpgs straight from the card. thats 90% more time behind a camera.
Keep on Clickin’ Parker J