Punta Cana 2014 -- A Sony A7 review

January 8 - 14, 2014

So I was going down to the Dominican Republic to shoot a wedding and originally I was just going to bring 2 5Diii's.  But a couple weeks before, I made an impulse purchase and bought the Sony A7 from Broadway Camera. And just my luck, a couple days later the Sony Store in Richmond Centre had one Zeiss 35mm and 55mm in stock.  I was so impressed with it at the time that I challenged myself to shoot the wedding entirely with the A7.  And I did... most of the time!

When the A7/A7r first came out, I was a bit disappointed because it lacked 2 key features;
1) Lenses.  No fast primes.  No wide angle.  
2) In body stabilization.  Come on!  Olympus and Panasonic figured it out!  The A99 has it... why can't the A7?!

Other stupid things were;
- Have to use adapters like the LE-A4 (that just adds bulk and weight) to utilize other lenses
- Moire and Aliasing is nowhere near as good as the Canon 5Diii/1DX

So why did I buy it then?  Well the main reason is because it has a full frame sensor in such a small body!  I can take it almost anywhere!  Before the A7, I took my Olympus OMD EM-5 everywhere and only took my Canon's out when I had a paid job.  I love the Olympus and I still have it!  But you just can't beat full frame!

Anyways, here are some photos from my trip!  We had a little rough start... an hour delay in Vancouver... then a 2.5hr layover in Toronto -- BUT wait, an additional 4hr delay on top of that!! 

Please click HERE to view the entire set (including 5D stuff and video) on our wedding page!

After a couple hiccups with ground transportation, we finally arrived at our resort, the NOW Larimar Punta Cana.  Kyle (he was shooting video for the wedding) and I just spent the night eating and drinking...

The next day we just wanted to relax!  Time to see what the A7 and 35mm can do on the beach!

After reviewing the resort shots, I am fairly impressed.  In post, I hardly adjusted my exposure because I had nailed it in camera.  The EVF helps a lot with that!  One issue though that I found was with the palm trees in the sky.  Note the third picture (vertical one), you'll notice that the edges of the palm trees are WHITE!  It wasn't anything I did in post as the original raw file had it too.  It was only present in some of the images.... You'll notice a little more on the 4th image down.  

And now for the wedding... scroll to the bottom to read about my entire experience shooting with this camera!

This set was shot entirely on the Sony A7 with Zeiss 35mm and 55mm.

During the reception, I chose to shoot with my Canon 5Diii as it is better in low light, had fast wide primes, and focused the best!  To view the entire wedding set (including a mix with the 5D stuff), please check out our wedding website at RF Weddings!

A big shout out goes to Katya Nova for referring us!  Her work is amazing!  

Okay, so what are my thoughts about the camera after this wedding?

THE GOOD
- Small, lightweight, portable
- EVF is great
- Love the live exposure.  After shooting quite a bit with it, I've realized I nail the exposure in camera and don't spend any time at all in post adjusting it.
- Image quality is superb.  The straight out of camera JPGs/RAWs look nicer than what comes out of my 5D or 1DX.  
- Autofocus from the Zeiss lenses are pretty fast and accurate
- Headphone and audio jack for video

THE BAD
- The white fringe phenomenon that I experienced with the palm trees
- Noticeable aliasing/moire compared to the 5D/1DX
- Slow bootup time
- If you have your camera setup with 2sec image review, then you'll experience a little lag when taking multiple photos when looking through the EVF.  Not a lag in taking the photos, but a lag in what you will see through the liveview EVF.  I would suggest turning it off if your shooting an event where you won't want to miss a moment!
- Low light not bad, but not as good compared to the 5D.
- Wish it had something like the Olympus, 5 Axis Stabilization
- When shooting the wedding, I think I had a few people worried that I was shooting with a small mirrorless camera... but I had my 5D strapped around me the full day so I was all good!

This review is completely unscientific and is just based on my experience as a user.  I don't care too much about the pixel peeping or the amount of noise, blah blah blah.  It's all about image quality, ease of use(ergonomics), and portability.

**NOTE** I did bring the Metabones Canon EF - Emount V3 adapter but I never used it.  I'll definitely use for another shoot though!

I will continue to shoot as many things as I can with this camera so stay tuned in on my blog!

Here is what I packed on my journey! These are my 2 carry-on bags.  In the event that the airline loses my luggage or something, I should be able to survive on just these items!  (shot on the RX100)

Thinktank Wired Up 10 (This has to be one of my favourite bags of all time!  Too bad its discontinued...) - Sony A7 - M-Sling Strap by CarrySpeed - Zeiss 35mm f2.8 - Zeiss 55mm f1.8 - Extra battery - Lens Cloth - Empty water bottle (so I can fill up after airport security) - Google Nexus 7 - Sony A7 charger - 3 pairs of contacts - Lip Balm - Passport - Skullcandy in-ear headphones - Pepcid AC - Sunglasses - iPhone cable - USB external battery pack charger - Bag of mixed nuts - Travel documents - Money

Thinktank Wired Up 10 (This has to be one of my favourite bags of all time!  Too bad its discontinued...)
- Sony A7
- M-Sling Strap by CarrySpeed
- Zeiss 35mm f2.8
- Zeiss 55mm f1.8
- Extra battery
- Lens Cloth
- Empty water bottle (so I can fill up after airport security)
- Google Nexus 7
- Sony A7 charger
- 3 pairs of contacts
- Lip Balm
- Passport
- Skullcandy in-ear headphones
- Pepcid AC
- Sunglasses
- iPhone cable
- USB external battery pack charger
- Bag of mixed nuts
- Travel documents
- Money

Lowepro DSLR Fastpack 250 AW - Macbook Pro - MBP Charger - Lacie Rugged External Drive - Hyperdrive - Canon 5D Mark III - 3 Batteries - Charger - 24-105L - 50mm f1.2L - 20mm f2.8 - 135mm f2.0L - 600 EX Speedlight - Puffer - Thinktank Card pouch with extra CF and SD cards - Card reader - 2 Sony A7 batteries - Glasses - Pepcid AC - Contacts - 2 Shirts - 2 Shorts - Sandals

Lowepro DSLR Fastpack 250 AW
- Macbook Pro
- MBP Charger
- Lacie Rugged External Drive
- Hyperdrive
- Canon 5D Mark III
- 3 Batteries
- Charger
- 24-105L
- 50mm f1.2L
- 20mm f2.8
- 135mm f2.0L
- 600 EX Speedlight
- Puffer
- Thinktank Card pouch with extra CF and SD cards
- Card reader
- 2 Sony A7 batteries
- Glasses
- Pepcid AC
- Contacts
- 2 Shirts
- 2 Shorts
- Sandals

Oh and here is the video that Kyle made!  (Shot on 5Diii and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera)

On our last day we got to meet up with some good ol Vancouver photographer friends!  Melinda and Rob Werner from Shoebox Photography! Good times!

On our last day we got to meet up with some good ol Vancouver photographer friends!  Melinda and Rob Werner from Shoebox Photography! Good times!