Sony A7r review

I recently purchased a new Sony A7r, together with a Carl Zeis 24-70 F2.8 lens from Paul North at Camera Solutions.

As usual the service was excellent and Paul moved heaven and earth to make sure I had the new kit in time for the recent Kimberley trip on True North.

My overall impressions of the Sony A7r is very good and pretty much everything I was hoping for.

I was a little surprised as the weight of the Carl Zeis lens, but then I guess for quality glass it is just that…good glass to produce great images! The fact that you need a convertor for the Carl Zies lens to adapt to the Sony is also a bit of a bother.

The functionality of the camera I found very easy to navigate with a lot of the buttons on the top and back of the camera making it easy to adjustor exposure compensation, from AV to M etc. Not dissimilar to how Nikon works actually!

The auto focus on the camera is superb and the rapid fire function is like a machine gun! I also really liked the in the viewer level for both portrait and landscape views.

The 3 main negatives I found with the camera is that the camera does not come with an external battery charger and there is only the ability to charge with a lead that plugs into the camera itself. When on shoots like what I do on True North, I like to leave with one fully charged battery and have the other charging.

Still on the battery front, it does not seem to charge both batteries via the camera with the additional battery pack screwed in, so that was also a problem.

All battery problems will be overcome by buying a separate battery charger, which I will do.

The other issue I found is that even with Camera RAW updated to the latest version, I have to use a RAW convertor program to convert to a DNG file in order to process the RAW files.

This obviously is not a camera issue…but none the less an issue all the same! When on the True North I did not have the band width to upload the latest versions of Photoshop etc, so I was unable to process any images taken with the Sony till after my return.

Anyone from Adobe who might read this…I for one would really appreciate a software update for Camera RAW to simply read a Sony RAW file! I am sure Lightroom users will say the same!

A trap for new players, so take note if you are buying a Sony before you go on safari and make sure you have your RAW processing protocol sorted before you leave!

The files that have come out of the Sony A7r are everything I thought they would be, with great dynamic range, sharp throughout the zoom range of the lens and from edge to edge of the image.

Seeing as I am also a Nikon D800E shooter, I am still in 2 minds as to if I would not be better off with simply getting another D800E body rather than the Sony as the price is similar in any case, the overall size of the kit weight wise is not far off the Nikon by the time you add the Carl Zies lens, the convertor for the lens and of course the body of the Sony A7r.

In summary if you are in the market for a new camera, I rate the images that come out of the Sony up there with the Nikon D800 and far superior to anything I have seen from a Canon.

I may well just buy another D800e as well, then I am covered in every way! šŸ™‚

Just picked up a new Sony A7r from Camera Solutions


Thanks to Paul North from Camera Solutions, we are now kitted up with our new Sony A7r in readiness for our up and coming True North trip this weekend!

Paul was very helpful in sourcing the kit for me and the service was impeccable as always!

My initial impression of the camera as far as ease of use and functionality of the menu is very good and have picked it up very easily.

Quick access to White Balance and Iso etc is available on the back wheel and the live view finder is as clear as a bell.

The info button gives quick access to a histogram and also some handy features like a level.

I use my level in the Nikon a lot so have come quite used of expecting this feature now.

I bought the new kit for Lee Lee to take with her to the Kimberley and also as a handy back up and second camera for me.

I will do some reviews on my impressions of the files that come out of this little baby over the coming weeks and very much looking forward to seeing what the Sony A7r is capable of!

Important information for Nikon Shooters

Good morning all Photogs out there!

I have just heard from Paul North from Camera Solutions that Nikon has some price increases coming up.

Pauls message reads:

‘Yesterday we received notification of the Nikon lens prices which will start from Tuesday 1st April (this is not an April Fools Joke) they have increased the prices by some big amounts and while the average seem to be around 10-12%, one lens the AF-S 14-24 is going up by 23%? The good news is that they will supply lenses at the old price if we order by close of business on Monday. Canon is also going up from Tuesday but their maximum increase is 9.8%’.

So, if you are thinking about some new gear I suggest make a trip into see Paul from Camera Solutions in the Murray Street Mall to secure your pre price increase kit before Tuesday.

You can contact Paul on: 9225 5966

Or visit their website here at:

Photo Shoot out to New Norcia!

Blue Sky Windmill

Canola Tree

NN Old house

If anyone is interested, Peta North from Camera Solutions and myself have tentatively organised a day trip to New Norcia on a bus on the 27th of October.

New Norcia has some very cool old buildings to shoot and there are numerous photo opportunities available on the way up there and surrounding New Norcia.

Peta has put a hold on a 30 seater bus for the day and the costs to participate will be $50 a head. This will give participants, morning tea, a lunch platter and drinks as well as the bus trip up there.

The idea is to get together with other like minded photographers to enjoy a fun day out. Peta and I will both be available for composition tips and camera tips throughout the day.

For Nikon shooters, Peta will also be bring along a range of lenses that Nikon shooters can try throughout the day.

As mentioned above, there are only 25 positions available and what we would like in the first instance, is for interested photogs to come back to me and register here on a first in best dressed basis.

Once we have the 25 positions filled we will call for payment via Peta’s Camera Solutions so that we can lock in arrangements.

It should be a nice Spring opportunity to get out and mix with others in the photog community, so come along and register and I look fwd to catching up with everyone on the day.

I will post details of the departure location, time and return location and time etc, once we have locked arrangements in.

Raincoats for cameras that really work!


Lee and the Graffiti

Us in the mall

A little bit rainy today, which was perfect for getting some cool shots of Autumn trees and also Street Art in a Skate board park.

And yes I even had Lee out in the rain…who would have thought!

The main subject of the post today is the little raincoat that Peta North sourced for me before my Iceland trip for my camera.

This is one of those items I have bought, where afterwards I have thought….’how did I ever do without it’!

In Iceland we were caught in some pretty heavy showers and this little camera raincoat saved the day every time.

It is design to have up to a 200mm lens and the design of the raincoat is such that it has a cool bit of vecro that wraps around the lens. The clear plastic is very pliable and does not crease or get hard to see through.

And the access points either side also work really well…all the while the camera is safely tucked away.

I would thoroughly recommend this to all photographers, but unfortunately I can’t recall the brand.

Peta or Paul North will be able to source one for you if you are interested:

You can find them at their website here.

West Papuan Fan

Square Fan

This image is very typical of the beautiful fans we saw in West Papua late last year on True North. The diving was pristine, clear and superb!

A 3 image stitch taken with the Olympus OM-D! Such a cool little camera and off the back of how impressed I have been with the OM-D I have just ordered 2 more for True North with a housing off Peta and Paul North at Camera Solutions.

I have only recently had a need to use the motor drive function on that camera and man oh man does that rock!

Whale Shark display now up at Camera Solutions

I am very pleased and proud to announce that Peta and Paul North have taken the initiative of putting up a range of my Olympus Shots taken on the Whale Shark cruise on True North recently. They are up in full display at their shop at Camera Solutions on the corner of Barrack and Murray street in Perth.

It was great to see how well the Olympus OM-D prints came out, the largest being 1.5m.

So, if you are in Perth at all, drop by and check out the display.

This shot of the window was a challenge to say the least with all the glare and reflections adding unwanted distraction, so my apologies for that!

The only way to see the display properly then I guess, is to go in and check it out!

Gear now ready to go thanks to Camera Solutions

I now have my kit all together and packed in readiness for the up and coming Cendrawasih Bay trip on True North!

Thanks heaps to Peta and Paul from Camera Solutions for arranging the first Olympus housing to come in for me to use in time for this trip and for also arranging all the other gear in time.

In the kit I have the Olympus OM-D camera with the 12-50mm lense with Macro capability. The new Olympus underwater housing, with the port made to suit the 12-50mm lens. I have a Go Pro with a live view back and also a 1200 lumins Light in Motion video light that I also intend to use as a still light. Peta North did the research on the best light to get for my needs and she was right on the money. At 1200 lumins the light is blindingly bright and it also has a really cool function of being able to switch to red so that you don’t scare the fish…very cool!

I have chosen to go for a wrist strap that comes as an option for this light and I might get an extender arm just in case that works out to be better.

Peta also arranged other kit for me so that I can cover all bases on this trip.

I have the Go Pro Hero which I bought to video the skydive I did recently with the Old Dogs. Peta arranged a live view screen for me now so that I can set up some time lapses. I also have a Gorilla tripod that I intend to use as a handle underwater and also for time lapses.

She also arranged for another slick little tripod for the Olympus which flicks out in seconds.

One of the best things about dealing with Camera Solutions is the technical support. Both Peta and Paul North are professional photographers and after using the Camera for a while I found I had a couple of queries which Peta was able to easily sort out over a phone call. This level of support is gold.

We will be on board True North in West Papua from Thursday onwards and I will be posting most days from there on.

I will also be writing some reports on my thoughts on the Olympus OM-D and the new housing.

One thing I have found whilst putting the kit together is that the menu allows for the push of one function button to go from wide angle to macro with a push of one button! Waycool option and something that is a real issue when shooting underwater.

At a recent tutorial by Glen Cowans, one of the bits of advice he said that it was just about a given that with a traditional SLR housing where you have to select between a wide angle port or a macro port is is a given that if you jump in with a wide angle set up, a macro opportunity wil present itself an vise versa!

The OM-D overcomes that problem very easily!

New Olympus OM-D

I am so excited to hear that Peta North has arranged for me to test the new Olympus OM-D underwater housing for my up and coming trip on True North at Cendrawasih Bay on the 18th of next month!

I recently purchased the Olympus OM-D from Peta and Paul North at Camera Solutions in Perth, in anticipation of this up and coming trip and to also have a smaller camera for doing progress reports and commercial shots around Evolution Commercial.

First impressions of this camera are very good. It is quite user friendly through the menus, super sharp and the ability to focus and trigger in live view exactly where you want the focus is gold. I will do a more detailed review after my trip on True North and after I have given the OM-D a solid work out both above and below the water.

We are just researching which strobe I will get to take with me and then I will be totally kitted out with the ability to capture super sharp stills and HD video whilst swimming with the Whale Sharks of Cendrawasih Bay!

Peta tells me that Olympus are going to update the firmware to allow for Macro selection easily from a menu as well which will make this a very versatile camera indeed. It comes standard with a 12mm – 50mm lens that also does Macro. So pretty much perfect for anything you would need for underwater shooting!

Thanks heaps Peta, Camera Solutions and Olympus for arranging this!

I will be posting live off the True North with new images each day taken from the new OM-D and I will offer comments about my impressions I find on using the camera, the quality of the images and the usability of the housing itself.

Review of the new Olympus OM-D Digital Camera

I was very fortunate to be invited to the launch of the new Olympus OM-D 16 megapixel camera this evening by Peta and Paul North from Camera Solutions.

As an opening comment I would say that the Fuji X100 Pro has some serious competition here with this camera and after shooting with it for about an hour I found it to do everything they said it would in the presentation and some!

The menu is much easier to follow than the Fuji and the other really cool features of this little camera are:

The fastest autofocus of any camera on the market.

A very cool stabilisation system that allows hand held shooting at crazy slow shutter speeds like 1/3rd of a second. The top image was shot at F4, 1/3 of a second shutter and ISO 400, the next 3 were at F2 and 1/6th of a second and 800 ISO and the last image was at 1600 ISO.

HD video and a stabilisation system that runs on a different algorithm than for stills, which makes sense.

A live view screen that uses ‘what you se is what you get’ technology, which is similar to the Canon 5D MK2 in that the settings need to be right in order for the image in the screen to look like it is correctly exposed.

And the coolest thing with this camera is a touch screen feature where you can touch the screen and select where to focus and then keep pushing and the shot is taken…a great feature for someone like me who suffers with low light and needing glasses to see the detail normally…not with this baby…very very cool!I think for sure this is the feature of the Olympus that will simply blow the Fuji X100 pro out of the water as I have heard many people say they are frustrated with the inability to get the focus point where they want it with the X100.

Other features include a good dynamic range getting closer to the higher end full frame sensors, but still not quite at that level, aperture an shutter controls are ergonomically located and easy to use and the quality of the prints we saw from this camera were very comparable to anything shot with a full frame SLR and the fact that it is weather proof. The presenter actually poorer water over the camera whilst it was still on!

All in all I very much rate this camera and will be getting one for sure in the not too distant future and the final attraction for me is that they are bringing out a water proof housing for the camera as well! With the fast autofocus and stabilisation system it will be awesome underwater!

For more information on the new Olympus OM-D camera you can contact Paul North at Camera Solutions here

I would also like to confirm that I have not been sponsored by Olympus to write this review and I have based all of my comments on what I have observed with a hands on trial of the new camera.