The Rise Of The “Cheap” Brand Lenses

There was once a time, not so long ago, when brands like Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, Quantaray, Promaster, etc, etc, were laughed at by more “serious” enthusiasts and pros.

Well today, some of them may still be laughed at, but not many are laughing at the lenses being released by Samyang, and also sold under the brand names of Rokinon, Bower, or Vivitar. I’m sure the “Big Boys” of camera lens makers are not laughing at these lenses 🙂

In the past few years, Korean lens maker Samyang has been producing some amazing lenses from ultra-wides to fast telephotos that rival or exceed equivalent lenses from Canon, Nikon, or Sony.

And these lenses are also sold under a variety of other formerly “no name” or “cheap” brands such as Rokinon, Bower, and Vivitar.

Many of these lenses use exotic glass, aspherical elements, and special coatings that were once only seen on lenses from Canon or Nikon. And the best thing? Their prices are significantly lower than the Big Boys. For example, if you look around, the original 35mm f/1.4 Samyang can be found for a little over $300, whereas the Canon equivalent is over $1000.

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“Not Funny” 2015. Sony A7R, Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC. Baby Zay, quite serious and not finding me amusing any more, just like the “Cheap Lenses” from Samyang, Bower, Vivitar, and Rokinon are offering serious performance for the money and no longer something to be laughed at 🙂

But there is a hitch. Well, maybe a few. First of all, these lenses are not built nearly as well as the Canon, Nikon, or Sony equivalents. Not to say the build quality of the Samyang/Rokinon lenses are bad. They’re quite good actually, but I’m not sure how durable they will be. Secondly, as of this time, the lenses being offered are manual focus only. That’s not a problem for me and many others, but surely some would prefer autofocus. And lastly, there have been reports of sample variation and quality control issues.

Still, on the whole, people seem to rave about these lenses. If you get a good copy, you will be pleased. My copy of the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 is excellent and really surprised the heck out of me when I got it. I was a skeptic at first, but not any more.

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“Superfly” 2013. Sony Alpha A99, Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC. Please double click to see best quality.

This is truly the “age of the people” where nearly everyone can have access to great equipment, not just pros or the “elite” 🙂

Two new Rokinon lenses have been released for those using mirrorless systems, including an incredibly fast and wide 21mm f/1.4 and a super fast 50mm f/1.2. The prices for both are $499 which is really quite a feat. I’m sure their optical performance will be amazing and I hope some of you report back if you get one of these lenses before I do.

Thanks to Samyang and all the “cheap” brands. Power to the people 🙂

Thoughts On The Sony A7SII

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The incredible new Sony A7SII.

Sony is on a roll, and I mean REALLY on a roll! In the middle of 2014, they released the A7s, a 12.2mp full-frame, interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. The camera currently sells for nearly $2500.

But wait, something sounds funny there. A 12.2mp camera in 2014 selling for $2500?

As crazy as that sounds, the A7s got rave reviews, mostly for its amazing high iso performance. But the camera could also output impressive 4K video to an external recorder.

The last 12mp full-frame camera I ever used was the Nikon D3 of 2007. And even then, I thought that camera was quite awesome at ISO 6400. The A7s is impressive up to ISO 102,400!

Now just over a year later, Sony just introduced the A7sII with the highlights being a high iso of 409,600 (!) and being able to record 4K video internally.

I’ve said many times here that I’m not a video guy (used to be in the laserdisc days!), but I have been impressed with what 4K video can do.

And I’ve always felt 12mp to be a sweet spot for full-frame ever since the original Canon EOS 5D of 2005.

I am also a big fan of low light, high iso work. I love to shoot the night. That said, we may be getting to the point where the cameras are too good! I know, I shouldn’t be complaining, and I’m not, but I’m perfectly fine with ISO 3200 and some grain 🙂

Anyway, this looks to be a really awesome camera, but I probably won’t be buying one. I’m sure it’s going to be a hot seller, the first batch will probably sell out. You can pre-order the A7SII HERE if you’d like to be one of the first to get your hands on one. Perhaps, you can give us a report back on how you like this camera?

To me, the technology has come so far, gotten so good that I am shooting more and more film 🙂

A Look Back At The Sony DSC-F707 and F717

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The venerable Sony DSC-F707. A killer digital camera that was only limited by the technology of its time.

The DSC-F707 is a 5.24 megapixel camera released by Sony in 2001. The DSC-F717 is the upgraded version of the same camera released in 2002.

The bulk of this article is based on my experience with the F707, but indeed I have used the F717 and their similarities are close enough, not only in looks, but in form, function and image quality.

The camera had a 38-190mm f/2-f/2.4 (35mm equivalent) lens and a 2/3″ sensor. It was an immediate sensation due to its futuristic looks and radical design.

Whether you love them or hate them, you have to admit Sony is an innovative powerhouse in the camera world. The electronics giant is well known for their attempts to dominate every area they compete in, whether it’s television sets, the video gaming world or cameras. They are competitive, and that can only mean good things for us consumers.

This is a very old camera, digitally speaking, so I’m not going into a full review with this one. I will just touch upon some key areas of interest.

CAMERA AND LENS

The camera is well built with a magnesium alloy body and light thanks to good integration of plastic parts.

The camera is certainly “different” thanks to its radical and futuristic design. No doubt this eye-catching quality helped to make it a hit with camera buyers in 2001.

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The Sony DSC-F707 and its upgraded, but nearly identical twin the Sony DSC-F717 were unique cameras with a radical and brilliant design, not to mention a Carl Zeiss lens.

The ergonomics are for the most part good, although as with most Sony cameras of that era, controls can be a little confusing at times. You may want to access the manual for certain features.

The camera has a 1.8″ LCD which will seem small if you’re used to today’s 3″ and larger screens, but it presents with good visibility and colors. The F707 also has an electronic viewfinder which you can access with the flick of a switch.

The body swivels 36 degrees down and 77 degrees up. A really cool feature for street work or tight situations.

The lens is a 38-190mm f/2-2.4 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar. It’s interesting to note that early on in their camera history, Sony sought acceptance and credibility in the camera world by making key moves such as licensing the Carl Zeiss name on many of the lenses on their cameras.

There are many Zeiss fanatics out there, and sometimes that name alone is enough to sell cameras.




The lens on the F707 is excellent and provides wonderful colors and sharpness, but keep in mind that this is a small sensor point and shoot camera with 5 megapixels. Almost any 5 megapixel point and shoot with a decent lens will provide sharp results. In 2001, we’d be nitpicking over these things. In 2015, we won’t 🙂

That’s not to cut down the Carl Zeiss lens. On the contrary, I am just saying that I feel the lens is limited to the technology it was mated to at the time. It’s a fantastic lens, but compared to similar cameras of its time, you may have a hard time making out the differences. That said, there are certain situations where you might coax that “Zeiss look” out of the camera, thanks to the great lens, but you won’t see it all the time.

The AF is good, but not instantaneous. There is a noticeable lag when taking pictures. The Hologram AF assist works well for low light, but the camera only has an ISO range of 100-400 so it’s not like you’re going to be shooting in ISO 128,000 situations with this camera.

There is a TIFF mode, but it is slow and uses more memory. Unless you’re a real stickler for RAW, I wouldn’t bother with TIFF’s for a fourteen year old, 5mp camera. The jpegs may have some compression artifacts, but it’s not something you’d really notice or care about. You’re not using this camera for exhibitions 🙂

The camera’s biggest failing for anyone planning to use this camera today, in my opinion, is the use of Sony’s Memory Stick. The largest the camera can take is 128mb (that’s megabytes) which can be somewhat pricey for the amount of memory you get. It’s a rip-off, but basically you pay for it because it’s the price vs availability thing. I tried one of those 256mb “128mb X 2” cards, but it didn’t work on my camera.

This was supposedly remedied with Sony’s upgrade to this camera, the F717. I’ve heard that this camera can take up to 2gb Memory Sticks. However, in my limited experience with the F717, I tried a 1gb Sony branded Memory Stick, it didn’t work.

If you get an “error” message don’t give up on the camera right away, it’s probably the card. Try a lower capacity Memory Stick first.

IMAGE QUALITY

The Sony DSC-F707 is capable of excellent results, especially for daytime shots. Details are crisp, colors can be beautiful, although as with most digital cameras of its time, it has a tendency to bleed the reds. The resolution is about as good as you can expect for 5 megapixels. For best results, stick with low ISO settings.

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“Stars” 2011. Sony DSC-F07. I stood above these flowers and shot in macro mode. Note the wonderful whites and yellows.

Bokeh is not easy to come by with a small sensor camera, but can be had with the F707, especially if used towards the telephoto end of the lens and the right situation.

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“Summer Breeze” 2011. Sony DSC-F707, ISO 100. Autumn is right around the corner! A shot showing the sharpness, details, color, and bokeh possible with the Sony DSC-F707/F717.

The bokeh has a bit of that “nervous” look, which to me is actually quite typical of Zeiss, so feel good that you’re getting a real Zeiss lens!

Dynamic range is quite good for a small sensor point and shoot, but cannot match today’s cameras and highlights can be clipped easily if you’re not careful. Remember this is a nearly fifteen year old camera.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE DSC-F707 AND DSC-F717

If shopping for one of these, prices are trending at $30-70. I would probably go for the DSC-F717, which is the upgraded version of this camera. Prices for the F717 are trending at $50-130. Go for the F717 if prices are similar, if only for the peace of mind knowing you got the one with all the upgrades. If the price is really low, go for the F707, be done with it, and never wonder about how much better your shots would look with the F717. They look the same.

IQ wise I don’t see much difference, but the F717 offers improved Auto ISO, supposedly improved autofocus, improved shutter lag time, a hotshoe for dedicated flash vs the cold shoe on the F707, and the ability to take larger Memory Sticks. The F717 also offers a higher 1/2000 shutter speed vs the 1/1000 max on the F707, but the F717 only provides this in program mode.

There are probably more improvements that I can’t think of at the top of my head. But again, IQ wise I don’t think you will see a big difference.

These cameras DO NOT have Sony’s much vaunted “Steadyshot” image stabilization.

BOTTOM LINE

When I got this camera a few years back, I initially thought it would be fun to shoot with. However, that has not been the case. Perhaps it’s the slow lag times or the small screen, I don’t know, but it’s one of those cameras that looked cool, but I hated picking it up to shoot. I can’t complain though. For the low price I paid, I think I got more than my money’s worth for a “play around” camera.

The Sony DSC-F707 and its siblings are uniquely designed and very interesting cameras that represented the best digital camera technology had to offer in the early 2000s. Even today, they offer excellent image quality in context to what they are, that is, nearly fifteen year old digital cameras.

However, these models stand out in a world of ever increasing “prehistoric” digital cameras. They will no doubt add to the Camera Legend that Sony has become.



The Sony A7R: Is It The Ultimate?

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“The Dream” 2015. The Sony A7R, when introduced in 2013, represented the pinnacle in digital camera technology. Seen here with the Canon 50mm f/0.95, it is a “Dream” combo for me. I played around with some “Pop Art” type settings for this shot 🙂

The Sony A7R is a 36.4 megapixel mirrorless digital camera introduced (along with the 24mp A7) by Sony in 2013.

Now think about it…a mirrorless camera with a whopping 36.4 megapixels on a full-frame sensor. You might call the A7R an instant Camera Legend!

Note: With the exception of the first two photos, I have included some larger than usual photos especially for this camera. You may have to double click on the photos to see them at their intended sizes.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

While the camera looks like a miniature DSLR, it is indeed NOT a single lens reflex. Instead, it is a mirrorless camera that does not rely on a reflex mirror as in traditional SLR cameras.

You have the option of using the back LCD, as in all digital cameras, or the built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). The EVF has a resolution of 2.4 megapixels and is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

The camera is small, but feels good in the hand. Solid, light but with a nice heft to it. The right hand grip feels comfy and secure to me, but might not for someone with larger hands.

When I first handled the camera at the PhotoPlus show in NYC in 2013, my impression was that the camera looked and felt a lot like my Olympus OM-D EM-5, only stronger and not as light as the OM-D. I would say it is like the EM-5 ‘grown up’ 🙂

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“Pucker Up” 2014. Sony A7R, Voightlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Aspherical, first version. Lipstick, ear-rings, kids jewelry…growing up way too fast! 🙂

It is not the prettiest camera in the world, but not the ugliest either. It feels like a ‘machine’ or a computer with a camera that Sony put together, in essence that’s what it is, but I kinda like that. And this machine is made for image making. It is not here to win any beauty contests, it is here to work. And it is an excellent worker.

CONTROLS AND FEATURES

The controls are well laid out with the mode dial, on/off dial, and exposure compensation wheel at the top. The inclusion of the “Fn” or function button on the back makes it easier to access key features such as ISO, drive mode, flash, focus, etc, etc. This is certainly a lot better than some of the lower end NEX cameras I have used where you have to use the scrolling virtual menu to access these features.

The menus are typical Sony and any NEX user will be familiar with most of it. You can customize this camera to do a lot of things, but I suggest you read the manual to have it do what you want.

As mentioned earlier, the EVF is wonderful, amazing really. I was always an old-school optical viewfinder guy, but the EVF on the A7R has won me over. Combined with the focus peaking, I have been able to get sharp shots in situations where it would almost be impossible. It’s that good.

There’s a lot more features to this camera than I care to write about. All I can say is that you can do almost anything you want with it 🙂

AUTOFOCUS

I can’t say much about the AF because I have mainly used manual legacy glass, i.e., Leica M, Olympus OM, Nikkors, etc, with this camera.

I did use a kit lens from the cheap Sony A3000 on the A7R and it focused fast and sure. Note that if using AF lenses from the APS-C NEX series, the A7R automatically switches to its 1.5x crop mode at a still respectable 15.4 megapixel resolution.

The two AF primes most users rave about when using the A7R/A7 series are the Sony made Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 FE and the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 FE Sonnar lenses. I have yet to really desire these, due to the lack of funds, and my simply having no problems getting sharp shots with my legacy glass. One day I hope to get around to one of these fine AF Zeiss lenses, and the 55mm f/1.8 is the one I’d get first.

MANUAL FOCUS

As mentioned, I have been using the A7R almost exclusively with legacy glass. This is the best camera I have used for this purpose.

I set the focus peaking to red, mid level, and just focus away. Focus peaking allows for the camera to highlight (in red, yellow, or white) the edges of your subject when the camera determines that you’re in the focus zone. Sometimes, you may have situations where you can’t really get a good ‘peaking’ but the EVF is clear enough where I can make the focus most of the time.

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“Twilight” 2014. Sony A7R, Canon 50mm f/0.95 “Dream Lens” at wide open, ISO 800. Please click on the photo for a much larger and better view.

Focus peaking is easy to use and a very effective tool for using manual focus lenses on your camera. As mentioned earlier, the implementation on the A7R is one of the best I have used. It makes you wonder how we took all those nice photos on film SLR’s all those years without it 🙂

Don’t get me wrong. You’d probably still get a better hit rate with the autofocus 55mm f/1.5 FE, for example, but I’ll be darned if don’t tell you how pleasantly surprised I was to see how well I could focus my old lenses.

DO I NEED 36 MEGAPIXELS?

This is probably one of the main questions people have when deciding whether or not to buy the A7R. For some, it is the reason to stay away. For others, it’s reason enough to sway them to give in to their G.A.S. “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” 🙂

I’ve been using this camera for almost a year, got it last May, 2014. Here’s my take on this…

Probably 99% of the time, 99% of us won’t need 36 megapixels. We get the A7R because we WANT it. There I said it 🙂

Back in 2004 and 2005, when we had 5 megapixel and 8 megapixel cameras ruling the digital camera world, I obsessively printed up 13×19 and 20×30 prints from cameras like the Nikon D1X and Canon EOS 20D and the results looked great. Even a 13×19 from a 4mp D2H looked pretty awesome.

It may seem silly now, but you have to remember in 2004 and 2005, this digital stuff was still a relatively new game. With each increase in megapixels, we were ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ and going bonkers with the latest and greatest. Today, 20+ megapixels don’t even make eyes blink anymore. Maybe some realized that after 10 megapixels, it was “good enough.”

So since printing billboards with an A7R is no problem, anything printed smaller will be a piece of cake for this camera.

Initially I did not intend to get the A7R, partially due to its price and partially because I didn’t need 36 megapixels for what I do. I do mostly street and portraits. I’ve done weddings and had a few shots published in a magazine, but professional photography is not my thing. Like many of you, photography is my passion and I prefer to keep it that way.

Anyway, I ended up with the A7R about half a year into its introduction because I was able to get one brand new through a friend for $500 less than the store prices. I can’t resist a bargain, so the savings were enough to push me over. Of course, I had to get rid of some cherished items to come up with the cash 🙂

Besides saving $500, I thought the A7R would be the ultimate solution for my legacy lenses. And indeed, the A7R has really turned out to be that camera.

Here’s the best excuse you need for wanting those 36.4 megapixels: If you come across that once in a lifetime shot, and assuming you actually get the shot, you will have the peace of mind in knowing you took it with your best camera. Simple as that. If in that dream world, MOMA wanted an exhibition print of your shot, they can have it with the A7R, again assuming you got the shot. Worst case (and more likely for me) scenario, you have some beautiful large prints in your home 🙂

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“Quadpods” 2014. Sony A7R, Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 Aspherical, ISO 100. Check the image below for a 100% crop of this image.

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A 100% crop of the image above. The A7R provided excellent resolution with the classic Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 Aspherical lens, but also reveals some chromatic aberration from this classic aspherical lens as well. You’d probably never spot it on prints up to 13×19 and even if you did, would it be a problem? 🙂

PERFORMANCE

The A7R has really impressed me with its results. When the Nikon D800/D800E came out in 2012, I read so many things about how 36 megapixels would require “super” photo techniques, tripods, the best lenses or otherwise you’d end up with blurry useless shots. Ten years ago, they said the same thing about ten megapixels so I took that with a grain of salt.

While it is true that if you used those “super” photo techniques, you could get the best out of the A7R, it is NOT necessary to get consistent sharp results out of the A7R. They may not always be “tack” sharp, but unless you’re shooting landscape exhibits or advertising campaigns, it should be sharp enough.

I do a lot of night and low light shots. I’ve always kept the camera in Auto ISO and it’s one of the few cameras that really does the job at this setting. I only adjust manual ISO if I specifically want ISO 100-400 or anything above ISO 800. With fast lenses and in low light, the A7R tended to choose the lowest ISO values it could get away with, thus providing better quality images with these lenses.

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“STOMP” 2015. Sony A7R, Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Aspherical, first version at ISO 320. I actually shot this out of a moving car, pre-focused and a little off on the focus plus car movement, but I still like it. Driving by shooting can yield interesting results, but I do not endorse it 🙂

I generally turn off the noise reduction on my cameras, but with the A7R I keep the noise reduction at its “Normal” default and it does a nice job with ISO’s as high as 6400 providing a good balance between detail and noise. I only use RAW on this camera if there is difficult lighting or if I have the camera on a tripod. Otherwise, the “Fine” or “Extra Fine” jpegs are good enough for me.

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“Lobster Box” 2015. Sony A7R, Canon 50mm f/0.95, ISO 100. As mentioned in the article, the Sony A7R in Auto ISO mode chooses the lowest ISO values possible with fast lenses in low light to provide better image quality.

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“Flying High” 2015. Sony A7R, Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Aspherical, first version at ISO 100. First day out in the park and swinging higher than I’d ever seen 🙂

Many of my legacy lenses cannot out resolve the A7R sensor. Even many modern lenses cannot out resolve the 36mp sensor. However, don’t let that dissuade you. Even my vintage Canon “Dream Lens” 50mm f/0.95, a lens known for its soft ‘dreamy’ quality wide open, is surprisingly nearly as sharp as a modern 50mm when stopped down to f/5.6 or so.

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“Bundle Up” 2014. Sony A7R, Canon 50mm f/0.95 “Dream Lens” at ISO 1000. Shot at around f/1.4 and processed to minimize the well known aberrations that have endeared this lens to its owners. Please click on the photo for a much larger and better view.

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“Autumn Leaves” 2014. Sony A7R, Canon 50mm f/0.95. Please click on the photo to see the details of the 100% crop inset. The crop is from the zipper of the jacket on Baby Z’s left side. At first it might seem ‘standard’ fare for a 50mm lens until you realize this is the Canon “Dream Lens” often thought of as soft. As you can see, it kept up amazing well with the A7R’s 36.4 megapixel sensor, better than I thought!

Just because you’re not using all those 36.4 megapixels doesn’t mean its wasted. You still get the benefit of being able to crop small sections of the files and still get usable pictures. And of course, you can print larger.

Wide lenses, such as my Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar, do not work well on the A7R resulting in vignetting and color cast around the edges and blotchy spots. You could probably use correction software to fix these issues, although I haven’t tried.

The A7R sensor (same Sony sensor as in the Nikon D800/D800e) is also well known for its superb dynamic range. I can pull out great shadow detail in underexposed images and rarely ever get blown highlights with this camera.

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“Lifehouse” 2014. Sony A7R, Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar M mount, ISO 100. Note the vignetting and color cast around the edges. Please click on the photo for a much larger and better view. Not pretty (except the couple, of course!), but it can be corrected to some degree with software. Or you can be happy and look at those issues as a “Natural Instagram” 🙂

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“Baby Beach” 2014. Sony A7R, Canon 50mm f/0.95 at wide open, ISO 100.

For the A7R, I generally stay in the 28mm range for wide angle where it works just fine.

The camera also does 1080P Full HD video though as mentioned in other articles, I’m not a video guy. My home videos from the A7R look nice though 🙂

BOTTOM LINE

I love this camera! It’s as simple as that. It has become my go to camera if I think I’m going to be shooting something worthwhile. It’s fantastic at low ISO’s and excellent at high ISO settings.

If I were doing it all over again today, for the same money, I’d probably get the A7II with its 5 axis stabilizer, but I haven’t really needed image stabilization because I equalize the A7R’s lack of IS by using fast lenses.

If shopping for the A7R, the price for new as of today (B&H) is $1898, and I’ve seen them sell used for as low as $1200 which is a screamin’ deal.

The A7R is a wonderful and very versatile camera, capable of opening up a whole new world of photographic fun and exploration for you. As mentioned earlier, the Sony A7R became an instant Camera Legend the moment it was introduced.

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“A New Zay” 2015. Sony A7R, Canon 50mm f/0.95 “Dream Lens.” It is indeed a new day with Baby Zay and the Sony A7R in the house! 🙂

Is it the “Ultimate?” Well, let’s say it didn’t stop me from wanting other cameras. It did however fill me with the thought that I didn’t need other cameras, I just want them because I love cameras! Anyway, this is not a camera I would use for events where fast AF and rapid fire is needed. It is kind of overkill for street work, which is what I love. However, at its best you can’t deny the image quality of the Sony A7R. It is among the best, and it is a Camera Legend standing high above its mirrorless peers.

Sony A7R

PROS: 36.4 Megapixels (you want it!); Possible Medium Format look in 35mm digital package; Superb EVF; Superb dynamic range; Excellent focus peaking for manual lenses; No AA filter for potentially sharper images; Lightweight, but sturdy; Great colors; Usable high ISO performance; Makes fantastic large prints

CONS: 36.4 Megapixels (you don’t really need it); The need for bigger memory cards, more processing power from your computer; Color cast and other issues with wide angle manual focus lenses; No AA filter, potential moire; Limited AF lens lineup; Battery life; Feels like it might be a bit fragile for long term durability, only time will tell I guess.

My first choice if buying an A7R today would be to check the competitive prices at Amazon through their affiliates. You can find some very competitive prices from the link below. I’d also recommend Adorama and B&H, never had a problem with either of these camera super stores. Buying from these dealers through these links helps to support this blog and helps me add to its content. It will cost you nothing and you’d be buying from the very best dealers. Thanks for your time reading this article and thanks for your support.

Amazon’s list of competitive stores selling the Sony A7R.




The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World





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The Sony RX100 (as well as the RX100II and RX100III) has the great distinction of being called “The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World.” And it has been since the introduction of the first model in 2012.

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“Save Me” 2014. Sony RX100, ISO 1000 in available light.

This is not a title to be taken lightly. The last camera that was universally known as “The Best Point & Shoot Camera In The World” was the legendary Contax T3 of 2001. The last great point and shoot from the film era.

The Sony RX100 feature a larger than average 1″ 20.1 mp sensor, a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Zeiss lens, and excellent image quality in stills and HD video.

The latest “III” version features a wider and faster 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens, electronic viewfinder and tilting screen.

Personally, for a point and shoot of this size I could live without the wider, but shorter ranged lens and the EVF. I chose the Mark I version because I got it cheap 🙂

Anyway, they are great little cameras that can take near DSLR shots in a wide range of lighting conditions.

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“New New Yorker” 2014. Beautiful Pau loves her first New York experience. Sony RX100, ISO 2000 in available light.

I found the AF to be very good and accurate even in less than ideal lighting conditions. The color palate is very “Sony” and consistent with other Sony cameras, which means skin tones should be nice. And of course, the camera is very pocketable.

I personally just leave the camera on aperture priority and auto iso. It’s a point and shoot after all and it does a fine job most of the time.

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“The Peace Keepers” 2014. Sony RX100, ISO 125.

If you want the best of the best, get the RX100III. But if it’s going to be your secondary or “fun” camera, I’d save the money and seek out the original which should run you about $300 either used or if you’re lucky, “new old stock.”




It’s hard to imagine that a camera could dethrone the mighty Contax T3, but the RX100 series, while an entirely different animal (Film vs digital, fixed lens vs zoom) was able to become the CM Punk of the camera industry. That is…”Best In The World.”

Note: Yes, I know this digital era, the era of millions of “disposable” cameras. And for these digital cameras, they’re only as good as their last megapixel and they know it 🙂

Some of my Instagram followers stated to me that the 16mp APS-C sensor Ricoh GR is actually “best in the world” and they may well be right! Then others will say it’s the Nikon Coolpix A. Of course, there’s the Sony RX1/RX1R, but that’s in another league! Oh yes, we can’t forget the Fuji X100/X100S/X100T, you catch my drift. In reality, the digital cameras we have today are so damned good, there is really no “best.” You just have to find the one that’s right for you.

Right now Amazon has the best selection of the Sony RX100. Everyone and their mothers buy from Amazon and you can never go wrong with them.

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