Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sony a7R EVF Issues

Mirrorless cameras like the Sony a7R are possible by the development of the electronic viewfinder, or EVF for short.  The EVF allows the camera to be much smaller and lighter, and is a great benefit to camera manufacturers because it eliminates the need of the complex optical system found in traditional SLR cameras.  

An added benefit of a good EVF is that it allows the photographer to view the scene exactly as it is going to be captured... or does it?  

Here is an example from a recent outing with my Sony a7R and Zuiko 18mm f3.5 lens:


Transmission Tower

Transmission Tower, as seen through the Sony a7R EVF
The second image was adjusted in Lightroom to approximate what I was able to see through the camera's viewfinder when I captured this image.  This was a cloudy-bright partly overcast winter day, so the range of exposure values in this scene was probably no more than 5 or 6 EV steps, but the white snow in the foreground has caused the EVF to darken so much that the upper portion of the image is no longer discernible.  I tried switching from auto brightness to manual and turned up the brightness as high as it would go, but it made little difference.  The only way it was possible to compose this scene was to set the focus peaking to medium or high, and watch for the outline of the tower as it came into focus.

The Sony EVF works acceptably well in most situations, as long as there are no bright areas in the scene, but for shooting in winter it is easily bested by even the cheapest DSLR camera's optical viewfinder.  I think manufacturers like Sony still have a ways to go before their mirrorless cameras will be ready to challenge traditional SLR cameras for serious outdoor photography.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Testing the Olympus OM Zuiko 28mm f2 Lens on the Sony a7R

I acquired a 36-megapixel Sony a7R earlier this month, and whenever the weather has permitted, I have been out testing some of my old Zuiko lenses from the Olympus OM system.

The first round of testing covers the 28mm Zuiko lenses - the 28mm f2, 28mm f2.8, and 28mm f3.5.  The first two are multicoated lenses; the 28mm f3.5 was never updated to multicoating.


The front of the Rotary Performing Arts Centre in downtown Okotoks was my subject for these tests... we were experiencing a chinook event, and the wind was blowing at 40 km/h, gusting to 60 km/h on this day, so this was one of the few sheltered locations I could find that included a scene with a suitable amount of detail (and the requisite birck wall)...

All images were taken at ISO 100 on the Sony a7R, with the camera mounted to a very solid Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod and Arca-Swiss ball head using a Really Right Stuff L-bracket.  Focusing was done at the centre of the image at 7x magnification, and the camera was levelled and carefully aligned parallel to the front of the building.  RAW images were converted to JPEG using Lightroom 5.3, with the white balance sampled from the "No Smoking" sign next to the doors.  Crops were created in PhotoShop CS6 and saved as "high" quality JPEGs.

Click on any of the images to see a larger version.


Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2

Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2 

Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2
Centre crop


Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2
lower left corner


Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2
lower right corner


Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2
upper left corner


Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2
upper right corner


Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f2.8


centre crop

lower left corner

lower right corner

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Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f4

centre crop
lower right corner

lower left corner
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Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f5.6



centre crop

lower left corner

loer right corner

upper left corner

upper right corner

Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f8

centre crop

lower left corner

lower right corner

upper left corner

upper right corner

Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f11

centre crop

lower left corner

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Zuiko 28mm f2 @ f16

centre crop

lower left corner

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

End of the Road...

The furthest point I reached in my Yukon trip was the viewpoint at the top of the Midnight Dome, overlooking Whitehorse...


Atop the Midnight Dome, Whitehorse
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't being very cooperative, so I left with nothing but a few snapshots.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Nahanni Range Road, Yukon

I've added some recent photos from my short trip up the Nahanni Range Road to my Yukon photo gallery.

Nahanni Range Road Sign

Hyland River

Hyland River Bridge

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Nikon D7100 Has Arrived...

My new Nikon D7100 has arrived, to replace the D800 as a backup to my mainstay D800E.  



You can read more about this exiting new camera on Nikon's web site: Nikon D7100

Hopefully the weather will cooperate over the next few days, and I will be able to post example photos of more exotic wildlife than our cats - but until then...

Nikon D7100, AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G VR, 400mm, ISO 720