Sony Alpha A7 (ILCE-7) and Sony Alpha A7r (ILCE-7r) vs rest of the world. Part 3.
There are many more options to customize the menu, than with any previous E-mount camera. That is good.
But there is still not very logical, how certain options are grouped into sections. In that regard, user guide that comes with the camera doesn’t help at all. Slightly better is user guide for download, but don’t expect it to make you familiar with the camera settings.
As with most previous NEX cameras, expect steep learning curve until you get familiar where is what in the menu.
On the top of the camera, there is mode dial featuring A,S,P,M (creative modes), 1,2 custom settings, movie mode, panorama mode, Scene mode and green Auto mode.
Next to it there is shutter, that is slightly closer to the palm and thus less comfortable to use, and even closer to the palm is EV dial, which someone likes, someone doesn’t really understand why it is there. It has it’s use, mainly in the M shooting mode, but also in the panorama or movie mode. In the M mode, it is very convenient way of adjusting your exposure, especially when you set Auto ISO. You can have fixed aperture and shutter speed, set the LCD/EVF exposure effect to ON and follow the scene (histogram). With the EV control dial, you will affect ISO value in a real time.
There is also Custom 1 (from 3 custom buttons all together) on the top plate. That button is quite difficult to reach by finger when you hold the camera, but that is basically the same for all custom buttons, so doing some finger gym in preparation, is not that bad idea.
Back panel is very much NEX 7 like. On top of the back panel, left to the viewfinder, there is Menu button. And on right there is Custom 2 button. Both buttons are important, but switching one or the other, will take your hand in front of the EVF sensors. So if you want to access menu while reviewing images, your LCD will probably black out when you move your hand to press menu button. Because switching between LCD and EVF is not very fast, whole experience is rather annoying.
There are actually two more control wheels, kind of tri-navi system, one on the back, and one on the front, and usually you use them to alter exposure (aperture and shutter speed) in shooting creative modes.
Very useful control, that I loved on NEX 7 is the back AE-L/AF/MF combined lever with the button. You can configure your A7/r cameras to focus only when this button is pressed, and that is very useful in many situations.
Overall Sony A7/r cameras are nice move ahead in terms of interface ergonomy, but there is still lot of work to be done. I am sure, firmware update will fix some of shortcomings, such as complicated zooming in playback mode. (You have first to press C2 button, then the image zoom to 100% and then you can zoom out using back scroll dial or AF/MF button. It will be much easier if you can program center button (from main back dial command, to instantly zoom in steps, as it was with previous NEX models) Adding possibility to set minimum shutter speed in A and P mode, will be also highly appreciated.
Sensor size and resolution
Back to image comparisons. In this part, I would like to show you what those different sized sensors mean in a real life from another perspective…
I used Nikon 14-24 G ED IF AF-S lens set at 16mm for this test. All cameras were on tripod and at the fixed position. That means that unlike in the ISO12333 chart comparison, I didn’t move to compensate for differences in FOV.
This comparison should help you to better understand differences in sensor size, sensor resolution and FOV, so that you can consider what camera suits your needs better. (In that regard).
As I said before, things are not black and white like it might seem, when it comes to resolution. 36 mpx on FF can actually mean less resolution at the same distance from the subject, than 16 mpx on m4/3.
What am I talking about? Let’s see…
First, let’s compare FOV differences:
As you can see, with a different sensor size, FOV changes and as a result – magnification changes too. (building in the background is largest in the Olympus OM-D E5 (smallest sensor) image.
In this moment however, resolution of the sensor starts to play its role. Let’s look at the 100% crops of that building in the background, without up-sampling or down-sampling images, but leaving them in their native resolution.
You can see now, that beside same sensor size of A7r and A7 or NEX 7 and NEX 5N, magnification using same crop size differ. So NEX 7 will resolve more than NEX 5N, despite same FOV, and Olympus OM-D has an edge in terms of resolution of that distant building, no matter than it has smallest sensor and lowest resolution.
This is something that quite lot of my friends still don’t understand. They think that more megapixels and larger sensor will always resolve more. As you can see, it is not that simple.
Trick is, that as you can see in the first sample, you can fit more of the image with the same lens with a Full Frame sensors than with m4/3 i.e. and that you should resolve more details from a higher resolution sensor at a comparable sensor size (A7r vs A7).
If you want, you can download original DNG files here and explore them yourself.
Please, note that if you want to share any of those images for non commercial purposes, you are allowed to do so, and I will be grateful if you credit the source with a tag “verybiglobo.blogspot.com”.
If you consider to use image/s for commercial purpose, you should contact me first.
All rights are reserved.
There is another thing that goes together with sensor size and that can affect final resolution – Depth Of Field (DOF), but more importantly for purpose of this article – it will affect subject isolation at comparable field of view.
To make you better understand what I am talking about, without explaining why it is so (you can find many great web explanations about differences in DOF related to the sensor size, subject distance, background distance and lens FL) I will show you another comparison in the next chapter… But that will take few days 🙂
Keep watching this blog, as there is many more to come, that should help you to decide were A7 and A7r are cameras for you, and if so, which one should you buy.
Other parts of this rolling review: