by Dirk Moeller
I was booked to shoot the Ingress Event "Recursion Zagreb" for Niantic Labs on Saturday, so I decided to travel on Friday so that I can have the afternoon to shoot some photos for me.
This was pretty much the first time I took the Sony A7r out in a real life situation. The afternoon on Kaltehofe was more of a test drive, this was the real world: a city unknown to me and mainly my new walking lens, the Leica Vario-Elmar-R 1:3.5/35-70.
And so I went off. For about fifty meters before I passed this sight.
The 70mm already came in handy, I was off to a good start.
Around the corner and close to my hotel was a small park, which also featured the Art Pavillon. It was a beautiful day and a lot of young people sat on the grass, chilling. Wide angle here, nice for touristy stuff.
Here, in bright light, everything was fine and I really liked the idea of not carrying too much gear with me - which I obviously didn't do, because I had my backpack with my M9 and a couple of more lenses on my back. Just in case something does not work.
I started to see more structures and interesting geometrical shapes. It was easy to expose correct for shadows. Does it work with highlights as well?
This was a bit more difficult. While I liked the result in general, my viewfinder was a bit overwhelmed with red outlines from sharpness peaking as well as the zebra for exposure. It was quite some mess and made it hard to concentrate on the framing. It took some getting used to, but I got the hang of it after a while.
I noticed that it wasn't as easy for me to take sharp photos as it was with my rangefinders. For one, it was the focal length, but the resolution plays also a part. The higher it is, the less margin for error and though some of my shots look good on screen, they could have been sharper.
The electronic viewfinder works great for most of the time, but I found it difficult in mixed lighting conditions like these, with bright skies and darker areas, but then the sensor has a lot of range so it is generally a good idea to underexpose slightly and pull it up in post.
The A7r is everything but stealthy. People notice it. They notice the loud shutter (which I still find to be a very satisfying noise) and they notice the R-glass in front of it (not very subtle lenses). I have yet to test it with more inconspicuous M-glass on the street, but the R-glass yells "LOOK AT ME! HERE!! OVER HEEEERE!" - and then the shutter goes "CAAALACK.".
Anyway. I once said that I like Street Photography because it is the most spouse-friendly type of photography which you can easily do on vacations. So I needed to get my feet wet with this setup.
The Market was a great place to get some shots, because nobody cared. Everyone was busy and the same was true for the Cathedral's Plaza.
Overall, I am very pleased. There are teething problems which I mostly attribute to my own inaptitude. It's a new camera (system), I need to learn and concentrate more. If I want to shoot like a precise sleepwalker, I should currently take my rangefinders, because I know that system inside and out. But this new system holds a lot of promise for me.
Finally, I look forward to my first portrait shoot with it, I trained with these Gentlemen here.
One final note: battery life was ok for me. I used one battery for the whole afternoon, which was roughly a bit over four hours and 150 or so shots. I recommend spares, but it is not as worst as I read it would be. But then again, I am not running and gunning, I take my time and shoot one or two frames.