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Sony A7R II + Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM Aperture Series: Running Creek

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist at B&H Photo.

In my review of the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM, this aperture series takes a critical look at the performance of the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM.

Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM Aperture Series: Running Creek

Includes images up to 24 megapixels and large crops, all from f/1.4 through f/13.

f1.4 @ 1/100 sec, ISO 100; 2016-04-22 14:38:49
Sony A7R II + Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

[low-res image for bot]

Bruce Z writes:

Hey Lloyd, all this VERY insightful info on the Sony cameras, these incredible lenses and the downsampling of large megapixel, full frame image sensor files, makes it clear to me as to, “which direction I should go for the purchase my next camera system,” a dilemma that has been plagued with poor ergonomics and lack of specific lenses, for my needs …

My issue for dumping my Canon 5D MKIII and it’s attending lenses was always the need for the Mirrorless cameras supporting a 24-70 F2.8 and a 70-200 F2.8. I have read a lot of less than favoured comments regarding these two lenses because of size issues, but as a LOW light theatre Photographer (Live performance … where 6400, and up to 12,800 ISO is the norm …) I need a FAST auto-focus, 2.8 zoom lens.

Now, these two lenses open up the possibility of me actually switching to mirrorless Sonys in order to shoot my Clients work. Oddly enough, the one other non-starter for me was the ridiculous ergonomic issues of function controls. I need to be able to adjust shutter speed, and ISO, in total darkness, by “feel” as in, I know I am rotating the correct wheel, or dial, on the fly. It has to be intuitive, direct, and INSTANTANEOUS! … and I have to be able to see the resulting settings in the viewfinder, as I am doing so. Sony is getting better at this, but it’s incredibly frustrating to see these, otherwise amazing cameras, with such amateur design flaws built into them … clearly Engineers, and not Photographers were considered in building the control functions.

So now, what really makes the Sony mirrorless A7 line so enticing are these new,’fixed" focal length “perfection” lenses that you have been writing about. They would give me the added bonus of having to invest in just one camera body series in order to maintain my personal shooting preferences, such as I use my Leica for, as well as my Professional shooting needs, e.g. live theatre and event work.

As always, your work in evaluating these varies pieces of equipment, cut straight through the clutter and chatter of what may, or may not be insightful, and helpful details, for making a purchase decision … I believe I am on my last Canon system …

DIGLLOYD: I think Bruce is referring in part to Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon: Imperturbable Brilliance, 3D Feel, a Lens Justifying the Camera but also to the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and 85mm 1/4.GM, which are both at the same level (and better in some ways) than Nikon and Canon offerings.

In terms of Sony ergonomics, much improvement is possible: the buttons are too small and awkwardly-placed and the 4-way controller is like a toy in size and feel. BUT if programmed properly using all the buttons, it is possible to configure the Sony A7R II and siblings for very fast and efficient operation. And the grip is superb—far superior to Fujifilm X-Pro2 with its pathetic nub which is no grip at all. And to be fair to Sony—the Nikon and Canon designs have some serious drawbacks: in the dark the buttons all feel the same; there surely can be a much better way to make some buttons bigger and more obvious—braille-like if you will.

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