Mike Kobal

March 23, 2014

Soma magazine, spring denim shoot with the Sony A7/A7r and the Zeiss FE 55mm, field report: part one, video.

on the fence, starring zo & li from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

shot with the Sony A7r and A7, the Sony FE 28-70mm and the Zeiss FE 55mm 1.8.
if you like what you hear: feverkin/of-the-wrist
working impressions after the break

Until the morning of the shoot, I didn’t know whether we would shoot in the studio or outside. Our wonderful models assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to shoot outside, at about 45 degrees, it was the first sunny and “warm” day in weeks. As usual, my D800E with a rented Nikkor 58mm 1.4 G was set up for stills and a rented Sony A7r body with the Sony FE 28-70mm and the Sony A7 with the Zeiss 55mm, for video. Before we started on hair and make up, I snapped a few quick location shots with my models and decided to keep the Nikon as back up and shoot everything with the A7 and A7R, dedicating the A7/ Zeiss 55mm for stills and the A7r/ FE 28-70mm for video.

Set up and working impressions:
Both cameras were set up with battery grips, the lack of bulk, light weight and small footprint reminded me of the days when I worked with 35mm bodies.

Synchronized custom settings on FE 28-70mm as my main video lens.
A quick video specific test between the Zeiss FE 24-70mm and the Sony FE 28-70mm revealed that the cheap kit lens was a better choice for video. The Zeiss 24-70mm, a fine standard lens for stills ( if you can live with the distortions as a raw shooter) for video however, the obvious advantage would be the constant aperture and the one stop aperture gain at the long end, however, I found this wasn’t enough to off set the choppy feel of the zoom ring-it might have been my particular copy-whereas the manual zooming action on the Sony FE 28-70 was buttery smooth. Another pleasant surprise, stopped down to 5.6 on the kit lens, there was no noticeable iris adjustment as I zoomed from one end to the other, it acted like a lens with a constant aperture. OSS worked very well on both lenses and I wasn’t able to detect a difference between the kit lens and the Zeiss.

The Zeiss 55mm wasn’t as easy to use for video. AF tracking isn’t smooth, hick ups and jumps and I ended up shooting in manual focus mode.
I wish the Zeiss had OSS.

ND filters where used on both lenses.

Shooting in a crowded public place with gear that fits into a small DSLR video Pack with lots of room to spare will change your photographic life forever. I will post the magazine layout in a couple of days and share my thoughts about these cams when shooting stills with the Zeiss 55mm wide open. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed watching the video.
UPDATE: Field report shooting stills, click here.

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  1. Mike – great write up – thanks for taking the time and sharing your experience.


    Comment by JSturr — March 23, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

  2. Thank you, John! Glad to hear you found it useful.

    Comment by mike.kobal — March 23, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

  3. Nice!!!
    I saw philip bloom using the canon 35 f2 is on the a7r, since you like primes have you considered it??

    Comment by Bill — April 3, 2014 @ 3:25 am

  4. Thanks Bill, not yet, the 35mm f2 is a fantastic lens, I try to stick with Nikkor primes for mf when filming, so used to the reverse focusing direction by now, it would be very confusing to have a Canon lens in the mix :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 3, 2014 @ 7:36 am

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