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Photographers Ask Sony to Address the A7R Shutter Vibration Issue

Background: see Update on Sony A7R Shutter Vibration which follows Sony A7R Shutter Vibration: Can it Be Mitigated by Sony via Firmware Behavioral Change?.

Update 02 FEB 2014:

Sony A7R Shutter Vibration: a Call for Action

The following is expressed with a constructive intent: for Sony to take the issue seriously. The “public” request is merely that: acknowledging the issue is necessarily the first step to addressing it. In no way are the signatories implying any legal implications, rather, we simply all hope to see the issue addressed in a satisfactory manner, a sentiment that the first paragraph captures. There is a big win/win possible here; that’s up to Sony to make it happen.

The following photographers have given their permission to use their names in support of and in agreement with the following.

The Sony A7R represents a seminal technical achievement in image quality in a compact and portable package, a development which we applaud. And yet, we are also frustrated by the shutter vibration issue:

1. The Sony A7R shutter vibration issue causes loss of image quality (blur) in shooting. This loss varies, but can be quantified as reducing image resolution to as low as the 12-18-24 megapixel range (or even lower), varying depending on the lens, lens focal length, lens support, tripod stability under varying field conditions, and the shutter speeds involved*. Most affected are telephoto lenses and close range (macro) shooting, but the issue is not confined to those areas.

2. We ask that Sony publicly acknowledge the issue as real, and to publicly acknowledge the issue as a current limitation of the camera.

3. We ask Sony to issue a public statement on what *if any* action Sony intends to take to mitigate or eliminate the issue, and on what timeline.

4. We ask Sony to investigate ways to mitigate or eliminate the vibration, including firmware updates implementing a “shutter delay mode”, or ideally, solutions such as an electronic first curtain shutter (EFC) which would eliminate the issue entirely.

5. As professional or serious amateur photographers, we expect a major vendor to stand behind the products it sells, and to detail and to respond to the issues in a forthright and honest manner.

* Megapixel estimates are very rough estimates based on downsampling to see whether the effects can be observed at lower resolutions, e.g. whether a blurred version of the image still shows visible blur versus a non-blurred variant when both are downsampled (e.g. from 36 to 18 megapixels).

In support and agreement:

// Lloyd Chambers,
// James Knight, NYC Pro Photographer
// Joseph Holmes, Pro photographer,
// Ming Thein |
// Wesley Wong, print maker
// Michael Schultz, Pro Photographer;
// Walter Bala, Photographer
// Samuel Chia, Pro Photographer
// John Woolf, Digital Systems Manager, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
// Nick Wheeler, Architectural Photographer

Editor’s addendum

I’m hearing tremendous support for this, but also hearing that other signatories are reluctant to add their names because of practical-outcome concerns, e.g., that Sony might react in a way that does not lead to a solution. Well, that horse is out of the barn, but I’m not adding additional signatories to the list at this time, as the point has been made.

Sony has huge potential here to lead the market in an upstanding way, to establish trust, no matter what the outcome (it does not matter if the issue has no fix or mitigation what matters is the manner and content of the response). It’s all about building trust, and here there is a great positive opportunity for Sony.

The word “seminal” in the first paragraph was not used casually. The A7R concept has huge potential. With an EFC (electronic first curtain shutter) as on the 24-megapixel A7 or mitigating solution, “I’m there” with the A7R.

Sony A7R with FE 55/1.8 Sonnar

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