Sony A7R Wedding Photography – 2014 Mid-Year Update!
It’s been a while since I posted any new photos from the Sony A7r from this year’s weddings, so I figured now was as good as time as any! Well, it has been pretty slow on blog updates in general around here as the busy season for weddings never seems to end =). You can check out my initial thoughts on using the Sony A7r for wedding photography (and thoughts on the camera in general as I have had it since release) on this post, and then my follow-up post is here with more thoughts on using the camera. So here we go with a bunch of sample photographs from my 2014 wedding season so far with the Sony A7r! I’m going to lead with some photos and then have some text in between so scroll down a bit past the first block of photos if you want to read the thoughts lately on the Sony A7r and wedding photography!
Ok not wedding related, but here is our son Miles during Chinese New Year =)
These next two photos were taken with the Sony A7r and using the Metabones EF adapter to mount the Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens on it:
Back to the regular format, which is the Sony 35mm f/2.8 ZA again:
These are from a fashion shoot with Hijab-ista.com so slightly different in that I could actually pose a model for a second rather than wedding photojournalism
You can see the reflection here, most of these photos were taken using an Elinchrom Ranger and firing it remotely from the A7R using the SkyPort trigger in the hotshoe. The early outside ones were taken with an octa softbox probably, and as you can see here these reflections are from a 7′ Westcott Parabolic umbrella.
I’ll take a brief break from the photos to give my continuing thoughts on using the Sony A7r for wedding photography! As you see here and there photos of Miles, of course I use the camera for family photos and every day stuff so I don’t have to lug around the 5D Mark III still. I’m also usually slinging the A7R around my neck as my second camera these days at weddings, with the Canon 5D Mark III still my primary. Ever since I was diagnosed with my herniated discs in my neck I’ve been trying to take things much easier on my body, realizing that I’m not really 20 any more =). I would seriously consider getting a second Sony camera to really save my shoulders and necks, so hey Sony any chance of becoming a Sony Artisan and sponsored and grabbing that sweet new Sony A7S as a second body at weddings??? I’m really excited upon reading all of the glowing reviews of the A7S because my main qualm with the A7R is still the autofocus and shutter. Autofocus on the A7r remains… methodical. I’m definitely getting better using it and being more thoughtful with my shots, and using different focus modes, but the A7R is a sloooooow machine when compared to the 5D Mark III. I also still only have the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens and have yet to grab the Sony 24-70 f/4 Vario-Tessar which looks amazing just to have that flexibility of the most used zoom lengths. I think the 24-70 with the A7S could be a winning combination with the increased ISO performance of the A7S it makes the difference of a f/2.8 lens and a f/4 lens irrelevant. I am also still using the tiny HVL-F20M as my flash when needed during weddings. Without the pivoting flash head it’s pretty harsh and I tend to avoid it for a lot of things, but it’s nice for a tiny bit of pop of light, nothing compared to the Canon’s 600EX-RT flashes I’m using with the 5D but also about 1/4 of the size and price =).
In the past few months I also shots a few weddings where we were outside for a bit, shocking I know, as we primarily seem to do weddings in hotel ballrooms and event halls. Outdoors the A7r performs MUCH better when their is abundant light, though the clunky shutter still means the slow frames-per-second compared to the 5D Mark III or similar DSLR. One of the trade-offs and forces me to anticipate the shot more instead of rapid fire, though I wish it was slightly faster. Outdoors I tend to flip over to Aperture priority mode when their is abundant daylight and the Sony does a pretty good job of giving me clean exposures. Indoors I’m shooting manual mode, because their is no way to set a low-end shutter speed so the A7r defaults to 1/60 which is plenty good for most things, but people move at about 1/100 to 1/100 and I get a lot of blurry shots if I don’t lock my shutter in manual mode in low light scenarios.
As an action camera for wedding photography I think I would have to give the camera a 3.5 out of 5, the slow autofocus is a real bummer to me more than anything else. Love the form factor and size, and as I get more used to editing the A7r’s files in Lightroom I’m really loving the tones and depth that is in these images, but if I don’t get a photo in focus you can’t really edit it. Maybe the A7S would push this review up higher, so come on Sony, don’t stop innovating! Will the A7R Mark II bring the autofocus and shutter improvements from the A7S with the super sensor of the A7R? I still really love my Sony and it’s a great second body if you have something with slightly better autofocus as your main wedding camera body.
These are the outdoor/indoor shots I was talking about above, a Vietnamese wedding from last month and a Hindu wedding from a few weeks ago with an outdoor Baraat!
Ok and I brought the Sony A7R along with me on a recent engagement session
…and brought the camera when hanging out with Miles of course!
A few photos from a portrait session with the A7R. Used the metabones adapter a few times but Autofocus was giving me issues trying to get everything in focus at f/1.2 while jumping in the air =)
…and with me to take Miles to the LegoFest…
So yeah photos like this were pretty common on the dance floor. The poor A7R in relative low light hotel ballroom has a bit of a time keeping up with these energetic bridesmaids at an Indian wedding.
But when focus does hit, I had a ton of information to draw out of the shadows when editing this photo. Also I’ve been using the flip up screen to help with the framing with these overhead shots. When shooting the Canon I know my focal lengths but the 35 is pretty tight still for overhead group dancing photos.
So there you go, some MORE real world photos taken with the Sony A7R at live wedding events in 2014. Almost a year of owning the camera now, no buyer’s remorse even in the slightest. My wishlist is that Sony had a way to upgrade the autofocus and shutter speed without having to buy the A7S =). I used the Metabones EF to E Adapter Mark III on a few occassions with portfolio shoots and yes autofocus is still suuuuuper slow, but it works! I have used the Metabones adapter wen doing time-lapse and it’s amazing, which is why I bought it anyways, not really to shoot my Canon lenses at weddings. I’ll need to pick up the Sony 55mm and Sony 24-70 one day for that flexibility. Speaking of time lapse I’ll have to write up a blog post on using the A7R for time-lapse in the near future! The camera is still performing well, the electronic viewfinder is pretty amazing and I’m using the viewfinder only 90% of the time at weddings because I like to do the one eye in the camera and one eye in the viewfinder thing so I can keep an eye on the action. The 35mm is still a great walk around lens, as you can see in the photos above it renders the colors nicely and you can even get some nice bokeh (background blur) if the subject is close enough even at f/2.8. Editing is getting slowly better as well, I’m just used to working with the Canon CR2 files so the Sony’s files have a slightly different feel to them than how I normally process my Canon stuff. That editing workflow has slowly evolved I think you’ll see comparing these photos to the ones in the previous A7R blog posts. That’s it for now, back to editing wedding photos and wedding videos!