The Running Trains - SONY E Mount FF cameras - Part 2
Updated: Jun 17
If I were asked what the camera of 2020 is, my answer will be the SONY A7R IV!
Continue on project : Cycles of life
"Death is the start of a beginning, life is the start of the end, and the cycle continues forever."
~ Tim I. Gurung, Afterlife
January 9 - The Birthday girl - Evgenia Parker "Surfaced"
Continue on the project "Cycle of Life"
January 26 - The Sony Alpha 1 launched!
Is it a surprise? Not really! Something unexpected? Sort of!
We know what SONY is capable of and how consumer electronic works. SONY has the A7R IV, which I own and love to use, and, IMHO, the most versatile and dependable current time camera. SONY also has the A9 series camera that I also use but much less often because of its sensor resolution. It is still an excellent camera for anything that requires precision and speed, thanks to its stacked CMOS sensor for the zero-black-out viewfinder.
Then SONY has the A7S series camera geared towards videography, which I rarely do, I have the A7SII for a while to use for low-light still photography, but its AF system made me abandoned it. A7SIII, by specification a great camera, but it is not suitable for my objective of shooting still pictures. You know, one-day, SONY will put all these technologies in one camera, and that day is January 26, 2021. A little unexpected is the camera named Alpha 1. But it makes sense.
I am tempted, of course! I am quite happy with my A7R IV on speed and accuracy and hardly ever touch the high-speed mode. Not on the sensor resolution because I have A7RIV that out-resolve the Alpha 1, and I have Fujifilm GFX100 for higher resolution or Phase One XF100 for studio use. But there are the curiosities that the Alpha 1 packed so much advanced technology that constitute a good reason to have it. No urgency.
The new Alpha 1 enables the flash triggering when using an electronic shutter, something Phase One has for years, albeit slow, good to see it on Alpha 1. Its mechanical shutter allows 1/400s sync that is fantastic news. SONY's smartphone division also becomes an integral part of the system, finally, but late better than never.
The best thing is that SONY has decided to release Alpha 1, which signals some strategic camera line-up changes. The course correction will put pressure on the companies with less integrated capabilities, too many to name! But the pressure will also drive innovation that larger corporations slower to react to.
It's not bad news for consumers.
Continue to work on my "Cycle of Life" project
Continue to work on my project "Surfaced"
February 15, 2021 - return to the Bangkok Railway Station
March 8, my SONY FE 35mm F/1.4 GM arrived!
The new G Master is very well built, compact - 67mm filter size and weighs 524g (1.2 lb) compares to my older SONY Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA 72mm filter size and weighs 630g (1.39 lb) which I sold to make room for the new GM.
I was happy with the Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 ZA and made quite a few images from the years I have the lens. The new GM on specification is a very high-performing lens and will help to save some traveling size (96mm vs. 112mm extended from the lens mount). I will miss my Zeiss Distagon; however, I could still use the Distagon 35/1.4 ZM with an adapter if I want.
Ready to hit the street!
March 13 Makkasan Bangkok
I went out shooting to try the new FE 35/1.4 GM, and by curiosity, I also bring along a Leica M10 Monochrom with my new Voigtländer APO-LANTHAR 50/2 ASPH. I don't typically like to test the lens or camera, certainly not more than I like to use them to shoot. The monochrome conversion from Capture One Pro resulted in very competitive details and tones that I would not fare any less than the file from my M10 Monochrom or my MM246 or original Monochrom.
I don't suggest how one should buy their photography equipment. For monochrome images, as long as anyone has good taste and understands how the file conversion works in common software, they should consider the Bayer-sensor camera first.
Monochrom cameras are wonderful cameras, but for me, they are not the first camera to own. There are amazing black and white images from many talented photographers that are mostly converted from color captures, and they proved what they could do without monochrom cameras!
The new FE 35/1.4 GM maintains a very natural perspective even in close-up portraitures. The eye-focusing works swiftly to allow the pictures taken before the subject in front of the camera gets bored and turns away.
SONY A7R IV Vs. Fujifilm GFX100S ?
There are often discussions and debates of camera systems of different sensor formats while I don't view the camera system competing against but complementing each other.
The average users are not more intelligent than the engineers, designers, and management team behind each camera, but that does not keep them from criticizing the camera, the camera system, and the camera company. There is nothing wrong with the users criticizing even though most of those are the noises! The camera company needs to separate the signals from the noises.
The sensor development is the heart of the digital camera system as the engine or electric motors to a car. However, the sensor alone does not run the camera akin to the engine or motor alone don't move the vehicle. The scientists behind sensor developments are constantly working on what is possible than what they already learned. It is of different aspects as many users "Don't Fix it if it Ain't Broken' mindset. That applies to all the components that work with the sensor to becomes a camera. The development of many electrical components is high-tech, while putting them together (assemble the camera) probably not.
The camera industries mostly rely on the off-the-shelf sensor, not those most advanced sensors custom-made for the scientific or military sector, who also get the best optical lens which cost is no object. However, the general consumer should feel blessed for whatever is available today that is above and beyond the wildest dream of those iconic figures who paved the foundation of photography we know today. And it will only get better!
A good example today is my new Fujifilm GFX100S. The SONY sensor selected by Fujifilm GFX100 and later GFX100S is a 102MP 3.8 µm pixel pitch 43.8 X 32.9mm die-sized module cleaved from the whole wafer. The 3.8 µm pixel pitch sensor also inside the Phase One IQ4 150 & IQ4 150 Achromatic (53.4 X 40.0mm 151.0MP) that release before the Fujifilm GFX100. The tuning of sensor and electronics applied around the sensor makes the difference, not the die-sized module itself. Nothing from the Fujifilm GFX100/GFX100S is considered new and groundbreaking, mostly marketing words! However, as a owner of GFX100 since July 2019 - my GFX100 blog - I can confirm the image quality is among the very best, and I expect my new GFX100S would equal that.
Most of the technologies for consumer electronic cameras are not explicitly developed for larger than FF 24X36mm sensor cameras. The smart autofocus system, image-stabilized technology on lens or in-body, application of EVF, and articulated rear screen are all developed for the smaller format cameras. Medium format camera just adapted, with some tweak of its own.
Every camera is designed for specific reasons and targets different users; therefore, it becomes somewhat subjective when comparing them. The SONY A7R IV, although with a sensor size 40% smaller than the Fujifilm GFX100S, makes up with superior autofocus performance and speed of operation, and responsiveness. The faster and brighter FE 35/1.4 GM is more compact than the lens of a similar angle of view GF 45/2.8 R WR that will allow the photographers who rely on working in very early to late hours with more flexibility, such as wildlife, sports, or journalism. Conversely, the camera with a larger sensor size also has the advantage of the system is designed. It is just a different tool for different use.
The camera system is developed as a tool for the photographer, not as a subject of debate. Many photographers, fortunately, can afford multiple systems will have to devote their time to master various tools. Some photographers are limited or preferred to work with a single system; they can concentrate. It is not about which is better; it is about budget and management.
The photographers should not feel upset about their tool is not the latest; they should feel proud if they can take better pictures using yesterday's tool! One never achieved such pride with a superior tool.
March 16 SONY announced the FE 50 F1.2 G Master
I have many SONY G Master lenses and have never been disappointed with anyone. If my recently bought 35/1.4 GM an indicator of what the coming 50/1.2 GM would be, it is a must-have. Yes, pre-order placed.
Sony's proprietary extreme aspherical (XA) lenses were adopted with computation simulation technologies for resolution, bokeh, and chromatic aberration to result in a lens that is compact and high performance. I am sure I will shoot with this lens more often than I did with my Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA!
March 17 with Katarina Gartell
At the end of the shoot, as a tradition, have the model to pose with my camera!
April 12-15 Songkran Festival holidays
April 17 Dubua, Nakhon Chai Si
April 22 Always Summer at Crest 34 Bangkok
April 23 Return to the Bangkok Railway Station
April 30 Warehouse 30 Bangkok
May 1 Olga Novoselova