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A Long-Time Nikon User Tries the Sony a7R V

Sony A7R V Camera Front View

I lately rented the Sony a7R V for testing, having shot Nikon for round 15 years however not completely bought on their method to mirrorless. My expertise stunned me. I’ve briefly examined cameras from different manufacturers earlier than, however the a7R V was the first time I’ve shot extensively with something apart from Nikon.

I examined the a7R V at an fascinating time. By way of NPS, I only recently rented out Nikon’s newest and best: the Z9, Z 24-70mm f/2.8, and Z 100-400mm, with the intent to improve my Nikon Z6 / Z7 equipment a method or one other (extra on that in a second). My testing of the a7R V can also be taking place only a few weeks away from the supposed announcement of Nikon’s subsequent main camera mannequin, the Z8, with fundamental specs simply beginning to leak.

Total, this backdrop has actually put me in a contemplative temper – enthusiastic about what I’m in search of in a system, and even when Nikon continues to be assembly my wants. Each main camera system as we speak could be very competent, after all. However from a enterprise standpoint, the a7R V struck me as a reasonably compelling improve path once I finally change from the Z6 and Z7. Right here’s why.

Sony a7R V + FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II @ 37mm, ISO 100, 1/320, f/8.0

What I’m Trying For

I’m presently capturing with a Nikon Z6 and Z7, together with the Z 24-70mm f/4, Z 14-30mm f/4, Z 105mm f/2.8 macro, and a smattering of older F-mount lenses. My niches as knowledgeable photographer are actual property, business images, videography, and typically panorama/journey work.

On the subject of cameras and camera manufacturers, there are a selection of issues that matter to me: model innovation, camera customization, lens lineup, picture high quality, video high quality, and portability/comfort. I’m going to interrupt them down point-by-point as a result of that is the framework that I used whereas testing the a7R V.

1. Innovation

A profitable camera firm is continually innovating, breaking new floor and developing with genuinely helpful options. I felt that the Nikon Z9 did this in numerous areas, like the lack of a mechanical shutter curtain, the excessive effectivity RAW choices, and so on., that made it a really revolutionary camera for wildlife images. Nevertheless, I’ve been much less impressed by Nikon’s improvements in cameras apart from the Z9, as even the Z6 II and Z7 II felt extra like iterations over the Z6 and Z7.

When testing the a7R V, I used to be struck by the multitude of improvements it provided. Having simply come from testing the Z9, I used to be stunned to see so many options that I appreciated about the Z9 rolled up right into a smaller physique at a considerably cheaper price level ($3900 vs $5500). A multi-angle rear display, staggeringly good autofocus efficiency, a plethora of customizable buttons, and extra – it felt like a pro-level physique, with out the weight or value penalty. Another improvements like high-res sensor-shift mode have but to make it into any Nikon camera but, though perhaps that may change with the Z8.

Sony a7R V @ 22mm, ISO 1000, 4 seconds, f/4.0

2. Customization

One criticism I had seen repeatedly leveled at the Sony our bodies has to do with the menus. Whereas they’re a bit extra advanced, I discovered that the newer menu in the a7R V was higher than outdated Sony cameras I’ve examined in the previous. It’s nonetheless extra advanced than the Nikon or Canon menus I’ve used, however partly that’s as a result of there’s a higher diploma of customization out there.

As a straightforward instance, take into account bracketing. My Nikon Z7 permits for toggling bracketing on, with 3 and 5 pictures at .3, .7, 1 or 2 stops of distinction. In the meantime, the a7R V permits for single or steady bracketing, at .3 and .5 cease intervals all through the vary, with the possibility for enabling the self timer, all from 1 button press. Why can’t I set a 1.5 cease bracket on the Z7? Why do I must dedicate a separate button simply to shoot a bracketed burst? My Nikon cameras must be able to it, however the software program prevents it.

That diploma of customization continues throughout the buttons on the a7R V, that are extra quite a few than on most cameras of this measurement. For the rear thumb space, you get two dials, 3 buttons, an AF joystick, a mini-menu, the 4-way buttons on the foremost dial, and two extra buttons beneath that. Sony managed to suit each extra buttons, and buttons in additional usable positions, in a camera about the identical measurement as the Z7.

For some folks’s work, this many customizable buttons shall be a headache and an inconvenience somewhat than a assist. However I discovered that whereas switching between varied genres, it sped up my workflow in the discipline. For my business work, it was good to spend much less time coming into the camera menu, and the identical must be true for video work as properly.

Sony a7R V + FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II @ 69mm, ISO 100, 1/100, f/4.5

3. Lens Lineup and Third-Get together Lenses

Interchangeable lens cameras are nothing with out the proper lenses. To me, the present scenario with Nikon and third get together lens producers feels messy and awkward – much more so with Canon, which makes me much less prone to take into account them if I resolve to leap manufacturers from Nikon. It appears that evidently each Nikon and Canon are attempting to maintain a decent lock on their mirrorless lens mounts. Nikon is doing a bit higher than Canon right here, however I can’t assist however really feel irritated to see rebranded Tamron lenses with the Z badge, for a premium value over the unique Tamron lenses.

Sigma’s current announcement of three Nikon Z APS-C lenses encapsulates what I’m speaking about. Are these three lenses actually Sigma’s precedence to get in entrance of Z customers? To me, it reads like Nikon is just leasing the mount to lenses that received’t compete with its 1st-party choices. Both means, it leaves the lens lineup for Nikon Z mount feeling missing, significantly in case your wants don’t align with Nikon’s particular path. Nikon has been filling out their lineup fairly properly, however there are nonetheless many niches the place third-party lenses would make it a extra aggressive system (tilt-shift lenses, longer macro lenses, a 200-600mm sort lens, a light-weight telephoto zoom, and so on. – the listing goes on.)

In the meantime, Sony’s E-Mount affords way more choices. It’s been round for longer and is extensively supported by nearly each third-party lens firm. I’m not saying that each Sony E lens is a winner, and my years of expertise with Nikon have given me nice confidence in the high quality of their lenses. However there are lenses for the E mount that I believe we is not going to see for the Z mount for years, if ever.

For instance, a 12mm lens fits my actual property images wants completely, which is feasible with Sony’s 12-24mm and never with any Nikon Z lens. Past that, the Sony 20-70mm f/4 is a extra helpful business lens than the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4, since I don’t want to modify lenses when capturing wide-angles. And Nikon nonetheless doesn’t have a 70-200mm f/4, so I’ve had to make use of my 105mm f/2.8 macro as double-duty for longer focal lengths.

Lenses are a really private resolution, however utilizing the a7R V, it was good to make use of some cheap Sigma lenses that might have price $2500+ for the Nikon Z equal. And I like how Sony’s native lenses match my skilled wants higher, particularly the 12-24mm for actual property images and the 20-70mm for business work.

Sony a7R V + Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Up to date @ 400mm, ISO 320, 1/1000, f/6.3

4. Picture High quality

After some intensive capturing periods with the Sony a7R V, together with panorama, wildlife, and business topics, I used to be very impressed with the picture high quality. Photos had been sharp, with nice dynamic vary, and processed equally to my Nikon recordsdata. Given Nikon and Sony’s lengthy working sensor relationship, this isn’t a lot of a shock – I wouldn’t give both firm a transparent benefit right here. Nonetheless, it was good to see I may simply choose up and shoot, with out having to regulate any parts of my method.

Talking of method, significantly for animals, I used to be amazed once I examined out the Nikon Z9. It grabbed the eye of each animal in the viewfinder, locked on, and wouldn’t let go. It was by far the standout side of my time with the Z9, and I used to be lacking it the most when switching again to my Z6 and Z7.

I discovered that the a7R V provided roughly the identical uncanny degree of monitoring as this. At one level, I used to be photographing a black-colored bear in the contrasty mid-day solar, and whereas I couldn’t even see his eye, the camera may. In one other state of affairs, it grabbed concentrate on a flamingo who was head down in the water, gracefully transitioning to go after which eye AF because it returned upright.

Once more, I do know that Nikon additionally has this potential, as a result of we’ve seen it in the Z9. We’ll most likely see it in the Z8 as properly. However when it comes to cameras that exist already, it was fairly thrilling to see the degree of efficiency of the Z9 in a smaller, inexpensive camera. It undoubtedly gave me some pause.

Sony a7R V + Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Up to date @ 288mm, ISO 500, 1/320, f/6.3

5. Video High quality

One factor I haven’t a lot time to do with the a7R V but is to shoot video, so I’ll restrict my feedback to acknowledging the specs. The Sony a7R V is one in every of the extra spectacular video-oriented cameras as we speak – not fairly at the degree of the Nikon Z9’s RAW video capabilities, however nonetheless a lot spectacular. The 8K, in-camera 10-bit, HLG, SLG, and so on., options are a lot for my business wants.

My Nikon Z6 and Z7 aren’t horrible when it comes to video, however some shoppers are already inquiring about higher-than-4K footage, which is one motive why I started my new camera search in the first place. The upcoming Nikon Z8 is likely to be the reply relying on the value and measurement of the camera, however the a7R V additionally clears the bar.

6. Portability and Comfort

As beforehand talked about, I used to be impressed by the efficiency of the Z9 total, and even the value can be workable as a enterprise expense. Nevertheless, the physique simply didn’t work for me. Whereas I had beforehand shot on a D3s, I’m not normally a wildlife photographer, and I don’t want the measurement and weight penalty that comes together with an built-in grip. Half the motive I switched to mirrorless in the first place was the measurement financial savings, and I don’t wish to backtrack in that division.

The a7R V particularly is barely larger than my Z6 and Z7, however to not the diploma that I discovered myself treating it any in a different way. My preliminary testing was carried out with Sony’s 24-70 f/2.8, which was surprisingly compact for a f/2.8 zoom with such good efficiency. My Sony 20-70mm f/4 rental additionally arrived proper as I used to be placing this text collectively, and I’m much more impressed by this compact combo.

Sony A7R V for Video

By way of comfort, the a7R V additionally impressed me. As I discussed earlier, Sony makes nice use of the house on the again of the camera, squeezing in numerous helpful buttons. There’s additionally the comfort of the reminiscence playing cards, which I didn’t notice that I’d discover so helpful when testing the a7R V. I don’t significantly like the CFExpress setup utilized by the Nikon Z our bodies, and one in every of the main causes I’m planning to modify from my Z6 and Z7 is that I’m bored with the single card slot. By comparability, the a7R V’s card slots supported each the high-performance CFExpress Kind A playing cards, and customary SD playing cards that you’ll find in a gasoline station.

Add it collectively, and I discovered the a7R V’s stability of portability and options to be very nice – like mixing the finest components of the Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z9. I’m keen to attend a bit to see what Nikon releases on this area of interest, if something, however perhaps you possibly can see why the a7R V struck me as a viable improve path from my present setup. Which brings me to…

The Future

Nikon has been in an odd place for the prosumer / transportable professional marketplace for some time. The Z7 actually wasn’t the full embodiment of the D850, and whereas the Nikon Z7 II improved in some significant areas (like twin card slots – fairly important for skilled photographers) it didn’t basically change a lot.

A few years in the past, I expressed disappointment that Nikon was prioritizing particular editions, completely different colorways, and successfully duplicating lens choices over filling the important lacking holes of their lineup. For instance, there’s nonetheless a complete of simply three telephoto zooms out there: an inexpensive 24-200mm f/4-6.3 superzoom, and two pro-level, cumbersome choices in the 70-200mm f/2.8 and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6. Should you want something apart from that,  hopefully you’ve obtained these FTZ adapters helpful!

Sony a7R V + Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Up to date @ 400mm, ISO 200, 1/500, f/6.3

In the meantime, the expansive measurement of the Z mount and shallow flange depth was imagined to allow thrilling new lens prospects, but at the extensive angle, issues are fairly milquetoast. Nikon’s optical high quality is gorgeous, however with only a few exceptions, their optical creativity wants work. Want one thing wider than 14mm? Need a 14mm f/1.8? How about one thing sooner than f/1.8 in any respect?

As an alternative of any of these, Nikon is providing a 28mm f/2.8 (in two kinds!), a 26mm, a 24mm, and shortly one other 24mm (DX). Contemplating that in addition they have a ton of zooms that cowl the 24mm vary, shouldn’t Nikon have targeted their consideration elsewhere? The 26mm f/2.8 and 28mm f/2.8 duality is particularly unusual to see. In the meantime, the 200-600mm lens (or something prefer it) is nowhere to be seen. After I take into consideration the future, I don’t have the confidence that Nikon’s lens selections shall be significantly rational, and I can’t rely on third events to fill the gaps.

In the finish, any interchangeable lens camera is just pretty much as good as the ecosystem round it. Even when the Nikon Z8 solves loads of the issues and acts as a real Sony a7R / Canon EOS R5 competitor, it’s nonetheless a query about the lens lineup technique. And don’t get me began on Nikon Z DX (though Sony has loads of work to do with their APS-C cameras, too – that is one space the place Canon is clearly forward with the EOS R7).

I say this as somebody who loves Nikon and needs them to succeed, however it was shocking to me that utilizing the a7R V actually crystalized the failings that I’ve been coping with, but struggled to place to phrases, with my Nikon Z equipment. Nikon undoubtedly has some high-end niches that they’re chasing with cameras like the Z9, their unbelievable f/2.8 zoom trio, and drool-worthy lenses like the Z 400mm f/2.8 TC. They’re additionally chasing a marriage images area of interest with lenses like the 85mm f/1.2, and (upcoming) 35mm f/1.2. However the additional you stray from these archetypes, the much less clear Nikon’s ecosystem turns into.

I’ve had a fantastic run with Nikon, spanning over a decade, however utilizing the a7R V made me take into consideration extra than simply the a7R V. Now that I’m on the cusp of upgrading my cameras a method or one other, I’m questioning if it’s time to make a full leap – most likely to Sony, perhaps to Canon. Even now, I’m unsure if I’m prepared to interrupt issues off and absolutely change; I nonetheless must do extra severe pondering. However I can say that for the first time, I presently have a full set of non-Nikon gear sitting in my cart at B&H, and that Purchase Now button is wanting higher and higher.

#LongTime #Nikon #User #Sony #a7R

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