Model Alliance 2015 Calendar: “Glamour” Portraits shot with the A7s and the A7r: field report

Model Alliance 2015 Calendar: “Glamour” Portraits shot with the A7s and the A7r: field report

I am back :)
and I am honored to be part of this project, the Model Alliance 2015 Calendar, celebrating Diversity and Women Empowerment
more after the break

Each shot was planned and individually art directed by my wonderful team. The goal was to capture natural beauty with a touch of glamour.

You are probably wondering why you should spend $30 on a calendar! A calendar in 2015?
Well, it will take a while before I get permission to post the shots on my blog, besides, you would be contributing to a worthy cause and anyone interested in getting into the Sony mirrorless FF system, for professional use and/or for occasional print work, this will be the best 30 bucks you ever spend!

shot above: Nikkor E 75 150mm with Roxen Tilt adapter.

How many times do you get to see printed portraits from a camera you want to purchase, created in a typical real world scenario, not much time to get it right, no option to reshoot and rushed to the printer to meet the deadline?
Not only will you get 12 beautifully printed individual cards (8.5″x11″) enclosed in a specially designed Model Alliance envelope (9″x12″x0.15″) but seeing it printed, especially if you are interested in portrait/head shot work, you will have a pretty good idea what to expect from these cameras.
Click here to order your calendar.

Tech notes:
Sony A7r and A7s.
ISO range from 400 to 3200.
Lenses used: Sony FE 70-200mm f4 OSS and the Nikkor E 75 150mm. Everything was shot wide open at f4 and f3.5.
A monopod was used when shooting with the Nikkor E 75 150mm.
Handheld with the FE 70 200mm f4 OSS, without the tripod collar.
Lights: LED and fluorescent panels, mixed, sometimes with a touch of daylight.
The A7r was used when we weren’t sure about the final crop.
The output characteristics from these two cameras can be easily matched at lower ISO’s. Love the film like noise on the A7s on higher ISO’s. The biggest surprise however was the realization that the difference in mp for this particular project really didn’t matter that much.
As with most controlled shoots, I preferred seeing what I got through the EVF, manual focus wasn’t a problem, Sony’s focus peaking is the best in the business.
A few notes on the Sony FE 70-200mm:
The lens is stunningly sharp already wide open, distorts a little more then I am used to but this can be easily corrected in post.
It felt well balanced on the A7’s with battery grip attached and I got addicted to the focus hold buttons on the barrel.
A few gotchas when shooting with the FE 70 200mm.
1) without the tripod collar, af/mf, full/limit, steady shot on/off, mode 1/2 can and will get pushed on accident. Gaffa tape is the solution if you have to work fast.
2) Sony should have limited this lens to 70-180mm, the sweet spot and near flawless work range for this lens, it gets a little softer at 200mm, not a problem for portraits, however, the minimum focus distance changes and you will have to take one or two steps back (further away) to get your subject in focus. This is probably the most annoying behavior this lens exhibits and frankly, I have never encountered this problem before on any other 70-200mm lens. Other then that, I like the size, the tank like built, this lens can take a beating – unlike those delicate Zeiss FE lenses (which I love) – they just scratch too easily.
AF was fast and accurate on both bodies and more than adequate for portrait work.

I am working on a long term report using the A7r, A7 and A7s for the past 8 months, stay tuned, don’t forget to get a calendar to stay on track for 2015 ;)

If you find this article helpful, please consider helping me maintaining this blog by purchasing your gear through my product links to Adorama and B&H and Ebay. It will cost you nothing and allows me to keep adding! Or consider making a direct donation using PayPal, thank you!

2 thoughts on “Model Alliance 2015 Calendar: “Glamour” Portraits shot with the A7s and the A7r: field report

  1. mike.kobal Post author

    Dynamic range at low ISO’s isn’t anything special, the A7r comes out ahead -noticeably, however, once you reach 1600, that’s when the A7s starts to shine, dynamic range is better then on any other camera I have used from that point on, one can tweak, push and pull those files like a 200 ISO file from other cams. Ideally, we want a camera combining the qualities of the A7s+r :)

  2. Andy

    I´m really looking forward for your long term report! I bought the A7s, sold the the 5D markII. The main purpose for the A7s is a small video b-cam. It´s great for that. And I like the still quality as well, but I can´t see a much better dynamic range than the old canon when you shoot raw. So, I am curious about the dynamic range differences (at low ISO) to the A7 and A7r.
    I am thinking about a second body just for stills, but I don´t need it for professional work (like the A7s). So, if the main reason is only resolution, it would be a waste of money.

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