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Taming of the Sony a7r for Focus Stacking

 
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merlewine



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 37
Location: Big Rapids, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:27 pm    Post subject: Taming of the Sony a7r for Focus Stacking Reply with quote

The Sony a7r menu system is, well, confusing. It is almost like they took a perfectly good menu system, broke it into pieces, put the pieces in a paper bag, shook the bag, and then randomly picked out the pieces (like at a lottery drawing) and placed them back in the interface. Anyway, enough rant. I finally just held my nose and jumped in, determined to make the a7r work, warts and all.

And the long and the short of it is the Sony a7r can make a good (or reasonable) camera system for close-up and macro stacking. And IMO it is sharper (or so it seems) than my beloved Nikon D800E, so that's them apples.

I know it is hard to look at these tiny pictures posted here and see all that much, but it might give you at least some idea. This is only one session and you can't judge a camera (at least I can't, but I try) without working with it for a while, but I would say that the Sony A7r can go head-to-head with the D800E and come out smiling. It pains me to learn this, because the D800E is a whole lot easier to use, in general. And it is also strong enough to support large lenses like the Zeiss Otus 55mm APO lens used here. I had to put the Sony A7r on a nodal slide and support the lens hood on the slide with some folded foam, and so on. This was pointed out by Lloyd Chambers in his "Guide to Mirrorless Cameras" column, which has been a valuable resource.

What is shown here is a shot each from the D800E and the a7r, both with the Otus 55mm APO lens, and both stacked. Actually something went not-so-good with the D800E stack, so it is not as sharp as the a7r, but I will run that again. Still you can see that both cameras can produce a pretty good result.

Next are a couple of close-ups of the center of the Gerbera flower, in this case the stacked image done on the A7r and a single shot at f/8 on the D800. In the single D800E shot, you can see detail that I can't see in the stacked D800 shot, so I must have messed up that stack. It is easy to do.

So, what am I learning? Well, I am learning that I might just have to keep this little a7r, even though it is a pain to use. I would love to send it back and wait for Nikon to provide me with a great EVF, but I am not one to let a good camera get out of my grasp.

I should also point out that the shots taken on the D800E were all done without an adapter, since the Zeiss Otus has a Nikon mount. However, the Zeiss Otus on the a7r has the Novoflex adaptor between it and the sensor, and I have no idea how that coupling will affect the images coming from the Otus 55mm compared. Perhaps one of you reading this can enlighten me?

Sony got the sensor right, but they did not do so well with other parts of the a7r. I wish it were a pro-body, so that it could easily handle large lenses like the Zeiss Otus 55mm. I must say that the Novoflex adapter is worth every penny. It seems stronger than either the camera or the lens, so that was money well spent.

I don't like the absence of Mirror-Up (I know it is a mirrorless camera), because the shake from the shutter is obvious and has to be dealt with. I hope there is a firmware work-around coming so we can have more peace of mind, especially those of us who may have to stack 100 layers on the A7r. Ouch!

Anyway, the pesky little a7r didn't get sent backā€¦. today. I have to play with it some more.

The four photos are here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98006906@N05/
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jimsfault



Joined: 29 Jul 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for that. esp, the comparison images.
i just finished an a7r rental and wasn't so pleased. but i'm shooting, mounted to a scope. it's a good camera, for sure. just not for me.
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austrokiwi1



Joined: 14 Sep 2014
Posts: 338

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love using My sony A 7r..... the impression I have from different forums is traditional DSLR users just can't get their heads around the mirrorless revolution ( or is that evolution) they keep comparing the A7 series to their much loved and understood DSLRS. I have the impression "Mirrorless" is just like the early days of the first digital cameras. SLR film pross just didn't like Digital.....but It was digital that won out as in the end it had far more potential than film.
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Cameras' Sony A7rII, OLympus OMD-EM10II
Macro lenses: Printing nikkor 105mm, Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G, Schneider Kreuznach Makro Iris 50mm , 2.8, Schnieder Kreuznach APO Componon HM 40mm F2.8 , Mamiya 645 120mm F4 Macro ( used with mirex tilt shift adapter), Olympus 135mm 4.5 bellows lens, Oly 80mm bellows lens, Olympus 60mm F2.8
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jimsfault



Joined: 29 Jul 2012
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking only from my experience, the camera's ui and image quality were really great.
But.
For my purposes, it was WAY too loud to mount to a scope and shoot at magnification. It caused so much vibration that all the camera's good qualities went out the window.
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ray_parkhurst



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mirrorless cameras have been around a long time. The revolution/evolution happened many years ago with Point and Shoots! It's not so much that folks love DSLRs. I personally don't, at least not for photomacrography, where the mirror is a pretty useless vestige. It all comes down to functionality. MILCs still have shutters and all the vibration problems they create, and Sony in particular still hasn't done well with tethering. Don't attribute a disappointment with the existing crop of MILCs with a disdain for the genre.
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jimsfault



Joined: 29 Jul 2012
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^like^
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jjphoto



Joined: 01 Jul 2011
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

austrokiwi1 wrote:
I love using My sony A 7r..... the impression I have from different forums is traditional DSLR users just can't get their heads around the mirrorless revolution ( or is that evolution) they keep comparing the A7 series to their much loved and understood DSLRS. I have the impression "Mirrorless" is just like the early days of the first digital cameras. SLR film pross just didn't like Digital.....but It was digital that won out as in the end it had far more potential than film.


Whoa there cowboy! No need to be so defensive. It has nothing to do with it being a 'mirrorless' camera.

It has to do with it being an amateur camera that's being used in ways it was simply not designed for.

The reality is that the A7r is not a 'professional camera system' so is lacking many of the features that are found on even a simple Nikon or Canon DSLR (even the amateur ones).

I doubt if Sony even has any concept of what is wrong with the camera as it seems to have been designed by marking people rather than engineers. In simple terms, if it is selling well then there is nothing wrong with it and the people love it, so why change it.

TBH, I doubt we will ever see any of the improvements I/we yearn for from Sony (in an A8/r) but I suspect that if Canon or Nikon enters the FF mirrorless field that their bodies are more likely to provide similar feel and features to their bigger DSLR siblings (based on the features found in their low, middle and high end DSLR's). At least I hope so.
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Choronzon



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
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Location: Chicago USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before passing judgment on Sony's full frame mirrorless cameras, perhaps you should look closely at the A7S.
"Another important feature for the A7S is the ability to use a Silent Shooting mode. Details from Sony are so far limited, but the rumor mill has it that this will allow fully-silent shooting with both electronic first and second-curtain functions, not simply a reduced noise level with electronic first-curtain and mechanical second-curtain, as in some competing cameras. If true, this is huge news for nature shooting, or any other environment in which silence is key."

Also mirrorless cameras can be adapted to virtually any lens through use of adapters, something no DSLR can do. I personally care a lot about this, as I can use them on my Multiphot, my Aristophot, and any microscope I have through cheap and available obsolete photomicrography units.
Try that with any DSLR and tell me how that works out for you.
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ray_parkhurst



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Choronzon wrote:
Before passing judgment on Sony's full frame mirrorless cameras, perhaps you should look closely at the A7S.
"Another important feature for the A7S is the ability to use a Silent Shooting mode. Details from Sony are so far limited, but the rumor mill has it that this will allow fully-silent shooting with both electronic first and second-curtain functions, not simply a reduced noise level with electronic first-curtain and mechanical second-curtain, as in some competing cameras. If true, this is huge news for nature shooting, or any other environment in which silence is key."

Also mirrorless cameras can be adapted to virtually any lens through use of adapters, something no DSLR can do. I personally care a lot about this, as I can use them on my Multiphot, my Aristophot, and any microscope I have through cheap and available obsolete photomicrography units.
Try that with any DSLR and tell me how that works out for you.


Yes, I am confident everyone would agree that MILC is an excellent concept for photomacrography. I'd love to do away with mirrors! I'm not so sure I want to pay so much money for a 12MP camera that appears geared toward low light or high speed shooting, though.
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austrokiwi1



Joined: 14 Sep 2014
Posts: 338

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread I was just scanning the threads in the equipment discussions and saw this one. My first real camera....was a sony A380. I had gone into the shop to by a Canon or Nikon and the sales man talked me into the A 380. I was looking a macro photography but the sony 30mm macro lens was a pain. a couple of years later I upgraded to the Sony A 65, My pictures took a down turn but then started to improve. I was then looking to get an A99, to jump to FF, just as the A7r came out. I was familiar with the NEX line and the mirrorless concept appealed particularly with the multitude of glassless adapters available.

With the A7r cheaper than the A99 I went for the A7r. Why the long story....well I wan't familiar with canikon cameras, so I found the jump to the A7r brilliant. The programmable buttons just made life easy. I had been using focus peaking on the A65. On the A7r it was a dream add in Zebra and my shots got better. the worst thing of course is that shutter......but its only a problem in some situations. When I have a big heavy lens on the camera, on the copy stand, that shutter shake isn't a problem. What do I mean by heavy well one of my best half sized and life sized lens is the Mamiya Sekor C 80mm macro ( I use it with a tilt shift adapter).
I think canikon users find the A7r a challenge because the menu system is not "Right" as far as their expectations go.
All that said I am waiting for the announcement of the rumoured A9/A7rII. I half hope it is just the current 36mp sensor with EFCS and 5 axis IBIS, however some believe Sony may be announcing a 50mp ( perhaps more) upgrade. I know very well a Canon or Nikon will just feel big and clunky to me reinforcing my point here.....that it all depends on what you used to
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Cameras' Sony A7rII, OLympus OMD-EM10II
Macro lenses: Printing nikkor 105mm, Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G, Schneider Kreuznach Makro Iris 50mm , 2.8, Schnieder Kreuznach APO Componon HM 40mm F2.8 , Mamiya 645 120mm F4 Macro ( used with mirex tilt shift adapter), Olympus 135mm 4.5 bellows lens, Oly 80mm bellows lens, Olympus 60mm F2.8
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