Hands on with Sony A7R Mark IV and the Sony 600mm f/4 G Master

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While I was in the camera store today, the Sony reps were there and brought with them some of the new A7R Mark IV.

My impressions (camera body):
  • The camera body is still not for me. The grip of the camera just doesn't feel good in my hands..
  • The physical controls are decent. Some tweaks were made and I could get to the front and rear dials no problem.
  • Still the same Sony menus that I don't gert along with.
  • The AF was great, performed well for my limited time I had to play with it.
  • The body is blocky and actually I find it quite ugly. It looks like they took a solid block of plastic and just kinds half heartedly chopped off a bit of the edges, slapped a grip on it and threw in some buttons. Again, just not for me.
  • The AF seemed a bit sluggish to me - I was using the Sony 200-600 and the 600/4 indoors, though. It was a bit on the slow side, but it was very confident when it locked on.
  • IQ on the camera was good. I didn't get a lot of trigger time, but what I saw looked promising. I still like the processing and color signature from Nikon and Fuji better. Personal preference choice on my part.
My impressions (Sony 600mm f/4 OIS)
  • How the hell can this thing be so big, yet weigh so little? The Sony guys and I laughed when I about threw the A7 IV and the 600/4 up into the ceiling. I thought for sure that the thing would be 15-20 pounds. I could hand hold that 600/4 all day without issue. Kudos to Sony for figuring that out. Now I want to lust after that 600mm lens and the E mount to Nikon Z mount AF adapter. I'll be lusting for a long time as I cannot justify the cost of the Sony 600mm. But damn is it nice.
  • The AF and sharpness for its size are also amazing.
  • The lens hood on it is like the size of a 5 quart ice cream pail. The smart thing Sony did though was they made the end of the lens hood rubberized to absorb impact.
 
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I'm keeping my feet in both the Sony and Nikon camps until the dust settles. I prefer the wide angle and prime options from Sony right now, but from a pure cost perspective, shooting telephoto glass is way cheaper by adapting F-mount glass via the FTZ or just use a Nikon DSLR when shooting long. I'm hoping Techart updates the TZE-01 adapter to mount Samyang glass (currently it's hit or miss depending on lens). Samyang currently has very attractive small 2.8, 1.8 and 1.4 AF primes for Sony and they recently announced an 18mm 2.8 that's very compact and would be great for travel!
 
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Joined
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Location
Central Ohio
Real Name
Andrew
I'm keeping my feet in both the Sony and Nikon camps until the dust settles. I prefer the wide angle and prime options from Sony right now, but from a pure cost perspective, shooting telephoto glass is way cheaper by adapting F-mount glass via the FTZ or just use a Nikon DSLR when shooting long. I'm hoping Techart updates the TZE-01 adapter to mount Samyang glass (currently it's hit or miss depending on lens). Samyang currently has very attractive small 2.8, 1.8 and 1.4 AF primes for Sony and they recently announced an 18mm 2.8 that's very compact and would be great for travel!
I see there is a "Fringer" branded AF adapter for Canon EF/EF-S lenses to Fuji and Nikon Z. Canon has some 100/135 and 200mm primes used that are not that expensive and could be adapted. I might look into that more closely. Have to do some more research on the adapter itself and see if it is worth the cost. Especially for the Fuji, where they do not have a small and affordable fast prime over 90mm right now.

I toy in my head about getting the 50-230 just/82 because used it is inexpensive....but if I want f/2.8 in 135mm or 200mm...Canon has ones that can be adapted.
 
As many here know, back in November I took a deep breath and traded in my Nikon gear for the Sony A7R IV and three lenses. Since then I have added three more lenses and, most importantly am really, really happy with my decision and my new gear. Je ne regrette rien. No, this hasn't made me a better or more creative photographer, but it has definitely brought back to full life the tiny little spark that was still within me that hadn't really flourished in a long time. While some of this of course is due to the simple fact that hey, it's new gear, I've just been having the best time doing new things and also reviving some old and interesting ways from years ago of shooting unique images. Thankfully, current editing software has become much more intuitive for me and I am actually finding myself -- gasp! -- enjoying the post-processing piece of this, which is something I never thought I'd say! (Well, yeah, OK, I've still got a way to go when it comes to ginning up enthusiasm for culling images that I know darned well I'm not going to ever process!) Aside from that, though, I'm enjoying the process of trying new techniques in the editing process, finding out how they work, what they do, and if they will or will not be useful in enhancing an image.

For a long time I waffled about what to do and for a while I had two systems -- Nikon and Sony (the NEX 7 and three lenses). It just didn't seem as easy and convenient as having only one system. I also was definitely leaning in the direction of mirrorless rather than going for another DSLR or accompanying lenses, and I sat out the initial period of seeing what Nikon was going to do with its new Z series before making any decision. Through all of that time I came to some realizations of the kinds of things I really like to shoot, an awareness of the lenses I most like to shoot with, and also what would be my priorities in moving forward with any system. I also knew what I did not like and did not want to become involved in, and that, too, helped in making my final decision. Bottom line is, one system, a few lenses that are just what I want, no adapters and I'm a happy girl! :)

The Sony 200-600mm is an amazing lens and I'm loving it; that's as far as I'm going to get with regard to long lenses and a reach of 600mm.
 
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It's odd, isn't it, that Sony hasn't offered that particular in-camera feature of "focus stacking" or "focus bracketing," whatever one wants to call it? Maybe in the next round of camera bodies..... In the meantime, yes, seems as though other manufacturers have been making it a desirable and easy feature with their inclusion of it. Of course maybe some of them have yet to catch up with Sony in other areas....? I don't think everyone has gotten fully on board with people and animal eye-focus as effortlessly as Sony seems to have done.

Anyway, yes, I definitely am finding that it is much easier to deal with just one system and fewer lenses than I had in the past....
 
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"focus stacking" or "focus bracketing," whatever one wants to call it?
Mostly for the benefit of others: When those two terms are used accurately, they are two very different proceses. Many companies use the terms incorrectly, so before purchasing a product make sure it attends to the process you want it to attend to. Even CamRanger, one of the leading companies that does focus bracketing (it doesn't do focus stacking), uses the term focus stacking incorrectly. Worse yet, a week ago one of the top people at CamRanger admitted it to me in an email.
 
To clarify and simplify so that I can be sure that I've finally got this straight:

Focus Stacking is when the camera automatically does the entire process, including "stacking," compositing and merging the images. Only available in a very few manufacturers' camera bodies.

Focus Bracketing is when the user sets up a series of shots, carefully bracketing them within specific parameters and then takes them into a software program to actually do the "stacking," which results in the final image being the result of merging several images or "stacking" them. Photoshop and some specialized software does this.

Definitely two different processes!

So, in my case, since I have a Sony, I would be able to bracket my images and then use one of the specialized software programs to assemble and composite / i.e., "stack" the works into one image where everything is in focus. Cannot simply do the entire process in my camera body, as it does not include the features and functions to permit this. Got it! (Finally.....)
 
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