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Birmingham, MI, 48009

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Metro Detroit and Michigan wedding photographer 

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Filtering by Tag: full frame

The Sony A7 III is the Biggest Steal in Full Frame Cameras

Robert Hall

I was thumbing through my phone during a break at the WPPI expo in Las Vegas when I came across the news that the Sony A7 III had been announced. I was very interested considering I had just switched from Nikon to Sony, starting out with the new A7R III
 

While I'm thrilled with the switch, one thing I was unsure about was using such a high megapixel body for a high volume workflow. While I was aware the next iteration of the A7 may be a better fit for me, I had to switch during the winter months before my year started picking up. I first read the price, at just under $2000.00 I knew there had to be a significant compromise. I assumed it would have a single card slot, the smaller battery, or maybe have a weaker autofocus system than it's "bigger" brothers.

Sony-A7-iii.jpg

Wrong.

Sony A7 III specs

Camera Format    Full-Frame
Pixels    Actual: 25.3 Megapixel
Effective: 24.2 Megapixel
Max Resolution    24 MP: 6000 x 4000
693-Point Hybrid AF System
15 stops of dynamic range
UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
2.36m-Dot Tru-Finder OLED EVF
3.0" 922k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
ISO 204800 (51200 native) and 10 fps Shooting
Built-In Wi-Fi and NFC, Dual SD Slots
USB Type-C Port, Weather-Sealed Design
Battery    1 x NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 7.2 VDC, 2280 mAh
Sensor Type / Size    CMOS, 35.6 x 23.8 mm
Dual SDHC / SDXC card slots
Weight    1.43 lb / 650 g

Sony-A7-iii-controls.jpg

In case you missed it in the spec sheet, here's the best part:

"An evolved 4D FOCUS system now employs a combination of 693 phase-detection points, which cover approximately 93% of the frame, along with 425 contrast-detection areas for reliable and quick autofocus and subject tracking performance."

693...recognize that number? You should, it's the same AF system as the $4,498.00 Sony A9 released last year.

So Sony took the amazing AF system of the A9, and the 15 stop dynamic range of the A7R III, brought along the dual card slots and larger battery, and packaged it for $1998.00. The ONLY downfall that I can find with this camera is that it won't share the incredible viewfinder experience of the A9. So expect a bit more blackout time. Beyond that, this camera is unbelievable.

Sony-A7-iii-controls-top.jpg

I rushed to the packed Sony booth the following day. In less than 5 minutes hands on I was placing my pre-order (only to find out it couldn't go through until midnight). 

In the past I've always used 2 of the identical camera bodies. I want to be "in sync" with a body as much as possible, never spending valuable time searching for controls as they differ between bodies. I've built that belief after years of using Nikon cameras that had minute control changes with every single release.  However, the A7 III has the identical body as the A7R III. Pair that with the customization and the only difference in handling the two will be how the AF points line up.

I feel the A7 III is 2018's D750. It offers an insane level of performance at an affordable price. I'm sure there's a lot of aggravated A9 and A7R III owners out there. One negative of buying into Sony is your camera investment can quickly be devalued by their fast-paced innovation (and refreshing bodies when they should be recalling them - I'm looking at you A6300). I think this move is Sony's bold method of grabbing as much market share as possible before Nikon and Canon move into the full frame mirrorless market. It seems like they are almost losing money on this body, but I'm sure they'll make it up on the lenses.

The Sony A7 III will be available April 10th, 2018 and can be purchased here

Nikon D810 Review and sample raw images

Robert Hall

 

Nikon d810 raw samples -small raw and full size .NEF files

Review of Nikon D810

Nikon's newest dSLR has challenged many buyers. While it boasts excellent build quality, a phenomenal sensor with the best dynamic range ever recorded, and superb low-light performance, many are left worrying that the gargantuan file sizes will hinder their workflow or find the high megapixels unnecessary to begin with.

So what's all the hype about, and is this camera right for you?

For starters, the camera's sensor and processor are about as good as it gets in the world of dSLRs. It can reach up to a class-leading 14.8 stops of dynamic range. It is powered by the EXPEED 4 processor that Nikon uses to power it's flagship D4S. And it is first dSLR to have the Optical Low-Pass filter removed completely (The Nikon D800E and D7100 both had a reduced OLPF for sharper images) resulting in the sharpest images possible from a modern dSLR. 

Click here for full specs of the Nikon D810

The D810 has many minor tweaks that make it a much better option than its predecessors, including:

- A shutter that is substantially quieter than previous models and other professional dSLRs.

- A lower base ISO of 64, 2/3rd 's of a stop lower than most cameras. It also has an expandable ISO range on the bottom end, going down to 32 at L 1.0

- Increased to 5 fps, and faster in reduced quality modes, or with the MB-D12 battery grip

- Small Raw - Nikon has taken a much desired aspect from Canon and implemented it into the Nikon D810. You can now get a 9 megapixel raw image. With the option of crop modes, you can even get various other sizes of raw images.

-Brighter OLED viewfinder

-Auto-ISO in video mode

-Group AF mode, in which you control 5 points at once to give a wider area to auto-focus on while still controlling the position.

There are many other tweaks made that make the D810 a far superior camera to the d800 and d800E family. There have been some reports that the body is even better than the d4s, when sharpness and recoverability are considered. I did my own test using both the full size RAW .NEF files, and the 9 megapixel small raw option. While the small raw is certainly a much better option than jpeg, it does not hold a candle to the full size .NEF files. Comparison table below.

D810 Full-size RAW recovery on underexposed image

Original

Original

recovered 5 stops

recovered 5 stops

D810 Full size RAW recovery on overexposed image

original

original

recovered 4 stops

recovered 4 stops

D810 Small size RAW recovery on underexposed image

original underexposed small raw file

original underexposed small raw file

recovered

recovered

D810 small size RAW recovery on overexposed image

overexposed

overexposed

attempted recovery

attempted recovery

As you can tell, the full size .NEF file is still the way to go to ensure you can recover as many details from clipped highlights and shadows as possible.

Overall, the Nikon D810 has fixed everything about the overzealous D800 and D800E. The EXPEED-3 processor was just not enough to handle the high file sizes. On the Nikon D810, you don't even realize the size of your files because the EXPEED-4 processor handles them so well (until you have to copy and edit them that is). Simple things like the viewfinder improvements, lower base ISO, better high ISO performance, group-AF, quieter shutter, all make this camera a tremendous upgrade. The complete removal of the OLPF leads to the sharpest images imaginable from a dSLR. After reviewing files from both systems, I can confidently say that the d810 has completely separated itself from the Canon 5d Mark III.

Here is a dropbox link to sample D810 Raw sample files if you would like to play with any full size images yourself.

Feel free to share with any friends or photography groups that you think may find this helpful, including the drop box link.

Thanks for reading, comment below if you have any questions!