Guest post: Dierk Topp: first experiences with the Sony A7r

Guest post: Dierk Topp: first experiences with the Sony A7r

This is the A7R with the 17mm TS-E on Metabones smart adapter Mark III:
for me the ideal combination of one of the best sensors and the widest tilt/shift lens for shooting architecture!
(this shot was taken with the Micro Nikkor 85mm/2.8 PC tilt/shift lens with Metabones adapter on the NEX-6, lens tilted for correct focus plane)

I decided to order the A7R, because I love big prints. For example this week I got 4 canvas prints of together 8 square meters, all stitched images from the NEX-6.
more after the break

After almost 50 years use of D/SLR I sold all my Nikon D3 and pro lenses a few months ago and was waiting for the new Sony FF NEX. My main subjects are landscape, architecture, nature in general, portraits, flowers and still live.
Next to my Leica M Monochrom the A7R seems to be my dream camera. I don’t have to repeat all the pro’s of this tiny picture machine. For me one main argument is, that I can use all the great lenses, that I have and others, that I may want to use and all this on this exceptional sensor. Expecting this camera I bought the Canon 17mm TS-E tilt/shift for architecture about 6 months ago. My first test shots where very disappointing. I used the Matabones smart adapter (first version!), that worked fine on the NEX, but of the FF it was vignetting terrible. A few days later I got the new smart adapter Mark III, and this one works perfect!

BUT: all these images are possible with any other camera!

It does not prove, that you “need” the A7R, if you don’t really need the high resolution. The only exceptions here are the tilt/shift images made with the 17mm TS-E. As far as I know, to use this lens you would need a full frame Canon body, to mount and operate the lens, but still don’t have the high resolution (jet?). Please correct me, if I am wrong.

this is, what you can get from this combo:
all B&W images are PP with Nik Silver Efex2 PRO

image below, lens shifted upwards (note: link to Dierk’s A7r flickr gallery at the end of this post)

this is from three shots, one center image of the unshifted lens, one from shift to the left and one from shift right
giving a perfect stitched images of about 115 degrees wide angle (when you don’t shift more that the 8-10mm) without the “normal” distortion from stitched images

another one with this shift/stitch technique

besides tilt/shift, that is great for landscape as well, I love super wide angle, and invested in the wonderful but very expensive Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21.
The wider range finder lenses from Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander show sever color shifts in the corners, this Tri-Elmar shows no problems at all!

this is one of my early test shots with the Tri-Elmar at 16mm, only LR5.3 default PP

this macro was made with the A7R and Micro Nikkor 85mm/2.8 PC on Metabones adapter
tilted for better focal plane

and another macro made with Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60/2.8

A7R with Micro Nikkor 85mm/2.8 PC, 15 sec. exposure in dark room,
“painted with light” from my tablet,

another one “painted with light”

and last but not least
portraits with the Leica APO-Summicron 75/2 at f/2
by mistake I shot this with ISO 50 :-(

A few examples out of this great little camera:
you may find more in my flickr A7R gallery
and my post with images with this lens mounted on a Leica M9 and M Monochrom here at

thanks for your interest.
So here you have it, take the A7r and Dierk’s incredibly skill level and you can produce mind blowing images!

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11 thoughts on “Guest post: Dierk Topp: first experiences with the Sony A7r

  1. Joan

    That was helpful! I will find which function it is. Don’t think they said, however, focus peaking is the clue!
    Thank you,

  2. Joan Bull

    Thank you, Dierk, for the good review & wonderful images.
    I have the A7R and use it with a Leica lens. My subject of choice is people & portraits. I am not a professional photographer.
    I have a question that the Sony manual doesn’t answer.
    How do you set the focus ring that lights up when in focus? I’ve read about it, but haven’t figured out how to set it up.

  3. mike.kobal Post author

    @ Steven, fwiw, have currently both bodies on hand and have tested af speed with the Zeiss FE 35mm and the Sony FE 28-70mm kit lens, in good light, the A7 is noticeably faster.

  4. dierk

    Hi Steven,
    sorry, up to now I only used my Leica, Canon and Nikon lenses. Only once I used the Sony E 50/1.8 in crop mode without problems. I am not so much depending on a fast AF.

  5. Steven

    hi, Dierk: thanks for the great images, made me confident to the Sony a7 or a7r.
    have you found any issue about auto focusing of a7 or a7r as some recently review?
    I’m on the way to get a7 or a7r, like to hear a little more from expert.
    thanks again

  6. Horst

    Hallo Dierk,
    my congratulation for this article !
    Wonderful and very nice. This B&W images are very god.
    Ich danke Dir für diesen LINK. Kannte ich noch nicht.

    Gruss Horst.

  7. dierk

    Hi John,
    as Mike said, the Metabones smart adapter supports full control of the aperture, but for the FF A7/R you will need the newest adapter Mark III!

    Using it on a Leica is a different story. I got a defective Canon body from the Canon service for free and use this body to set the electronic aperture on f/8. Than I take out the lens with the aperture button pressed and use it on the Leica with a fixed f/8.
    You use the Nikkor 24mm PC-E, and it works with this lans the same way, I tried it with my 24mm PC-E before I sold it. I don’t know of any E-mount smart adapter, that can control the aperture on Nikon PC-E lenses. The Micro Nikkor 85mm PC, that I used on some of these images is the old version with manual aperture stop down button, not the PC-E version!

    The focusing and framing on the Leica is just try and error, but I got some great shots :-) Look at the link above to “”. This is not for professional work, but I did not want to wait for the Sony to arrive :-)

    With the A7/R focusing is as easy and perfect as with all manual lenses on these cameras.

    As an architecture photographer you use shift lenses and you will love this combination for sure :-)


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