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Available now, special price of $19.99

Recommended lenses for the Sony A7 / A7R / A7S – A Reference Guide by Andrew Reid

Sony’s full frame mirrorless cameras bring with them a new world of possibilities for lenses.

This e-book (instant delivery after purchasing) is a concise reference for a large range of lenses. At the point of purchase you can quickly find out what EOSHD thinks of the lens. Perhaps you’re about to bid on eBay or you’ve found an old lens at a used camera store and want to know if it is any good? The book contains 108 pages of information to help you.

The lens determines the look of your images more than anything else. There are some exciting discoveries in this book. Certain lenses have unique properties and look amazing on full frame Sony sensors.

There’s also a chapter on how to find the best looking SMALL lenses for the equally compact A7 bodies.

Sony A7R and small Konica lens

A broad range of lenses from $50 to $3000 are covered including a lot of high quality Canon L and Zeiss lenses and not just vintage SLR lenses.

The book is for all Sony A7 models including the upcoming 4K video shooting A7S. They all have the same lens mount and sensor size. Also I have written this book with filmmakers and photographers equally in mind.

Summary of Contents

  • Canon EF
  • Canon and Nikon by third party manufacturers
  • Canon FD
  • Nikon
  • Pentax
  • Olympus OM
  • Leica R
  • Contax Zeiss
  • Zeiss Jena DDR
  • Small and compact (various mounts)
  • Affordable / retro (various mounts)
  • Special purpose / rare (various mounts)
  • Lens adapters
  • 6 strongly recommended lenses
  • Jargon buster
  • Sample shots

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The guide also has a chapter on lens adapters. Which ones work on the A7, A7R and A7S and which should you buy?

There’s also some useful cautions in the book – problems to watch out for with particular lenses.

Each lens is given an expert summary and details on character rather than just outright technical performance. Each lens is given an at-a-glance EOSHD rating with 5 scores -

EOSHD lensmark ratings

So dive in and discover your new favourite piece of glass!

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Just a brief note: Panasonic have given me a ship date for the GH4 in Europe. First shipments leave the factory last week of April destined for Germany. Shipments to dealers start after the May 1st holidays so from the 5th the camera will be almost ready to ship to customers.

ax100-hdmi

The AX100 is of a species we thought extinct in the filmmaking world… the consumer camcorder. I had a brief hands on with the camera to find out how much of it is high resolution point and shoot and how much cinema camera.

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GoPro Hero 4

Here’s a rumour of the latest GoPro specs. Source is not known to me so take it with a pinch of salt until it goes official!

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The D800 has re-emerged!

We have the Mosaic Engineering VAF-D800 filter, CFast $299 Atomos Ninja Star ProRes recorder coming soon and now even a hack project based around the camera.

So I’ve picked up a D800 and plan to see what I get out of it.

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All tests based on pre-production model

Here we come to some areas which aren’t perfect on the GH4, but which nevertheless are both a step forward from the GH3. I like what Panasonic have started here with 96fps slow-mo. This is the first consumer camera to deviate from the video standard of 60p to give us a genuinely useful creative tool which sets the ball rolling for improvements in future models.

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UPDATE: Filmmaker Andrew Wonder who conducted the test gives his views about it here

Here’s a test which shows what I feared and what very few seemingly dared ask Sony in interviews at NAB. The A7S looks to have similarly extreme rolling shutter to the AX100, at least in the early pre-production firmware stages.

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GH4 final firmware

First bit of news – the highly anticipated Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM ART now has a price. Lower than expected at $995. Early reviews say this lens is close to the $3.5k Zeiss Otus in performance terms.

This will be an exceptional piece of glass to use on the GH4 with Speed Booster. Pre-order the Nikon mount version at B&H for $995 if you plan to use Speed Booster. The Canon mount version is also available. If you prefer to buy from Adorama you can order the Nikon mount version here as well as the Canon EF one for the same price.

Now onto the GH4. The above shot by EOSHD forum member Julian confirms that Panasonic have now completed the final production firmware for the GH4 (version 1.0). The unit pictured above was loaned to Julian but it is a good sign the camera will be shipping on time from stores – possibly by the end of this month in less than 2 weeks.

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Above: Prospect, a short film shot on the 2.5k Blackmagic Cinema Camera

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera was the first foray for the company into the camera market and was announced 2 years ago this month. I know many users were expecting more from firmware updates in the meantime to add basic features and also features promised by Blackmagic themselves. Many were expecting these to be announced this week at NAB. Instead Blackmagic revealed new cameras, one in particular the URSA being packed with new features.

So I asked Blackmagic some tough questions and here are the answers…

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Because full frame is just too small, Sony are supplying a 4K video capable sensor to Leica and Pentax in the region of 40 to 50MP. According to a Leica rep at NAB the company is planning 4K video for their implementation of the sensor in the Leica S. Indeed Pentax have already announced that their 645Z will record 4K video.

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A few days ago Thomas Worth of Rarevision (5DToRGB and RAWMagic) asked me for some original files from the GH4 so he could develop an experimental app he had in mind. The result is an embryonic new command-line app for the Mac, which takes 8bit 4:2:0 4K H.264 files from the GH4 and resamples them to 10bit 4:4:4 in 2K DPX format.

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These images (download the original 4K file at Vimeo to get even a clue of the full performance of the camera) are rather lovely. I’m also very impressed with the 2K slow-mo at 96fps. It is an improvement on the KineRaw MINI from last year which only shot 96fps at 720p, though there is still some moire and aliasing at the higher frame rate.

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Sony A7S APS-C mode

One of the enigmas emerging from the A7S is whether you can shoot 4K in APS-C crop mode as well. APS-C is Super 35mm in cinema language. I really would like to use my Cooke S4i Minis via a PL adapter on this camera! Taking advantage of the low light sensitivity. APS-C crop mode would also allow the use of standard Sony E-mount / NEX lenses, Canon EF-S and Nikon DX lenses.

Sony’s information (above) implies that is the case with “both resolutions available at both full frame and APS-C size”.

I dug a little deeper to find out more…

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recording

Blackmagic are launching not none, not one but TWO new cameras at NAB 2014. One as you can see packs quite a punch with a quite revolutionary design. The aim of the URSA is to take all the accessories you’d normally rig onto a Blackmagic Cinema Camera and integrate them. That is a sensible idea. However the execution looks to have produced a 7.5KG monster. There’s even an HDMI version of the URSA which has no sensor block or lens mount but a cradle on the front for any camera with HDMI output, such as the tiny Sony A7R. That would give you a full frame 4K URSA recording to CFast cards.

The URSA is aimed at a large crew, large scale productions with multiple operators on one camera – and in doing so somewhat does a u-turn on Blackmagic’s existing user base. It is disappointing to see so much effort having gone into the URSA but not even histograms or format options in firmware updates for the BMCC, Pocket and Production Camera.

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studio camera

Source: Twitter

I can guarantee this announcement will not please any of Blackmagic’s existing user base, unless backed up by some really good news in the form of significant firmware updates for the Cinema, Production and Pocket cameras plus Resolve 11.

The latter is definitely coming and takes Resolve’s editing capabilities up a notch.

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Atomos Shogun NAB 2014 (Sony Mount)

Atomos have just sent me some info on their upcoming 4K recorder, primarily for use with the A7S and GH4.

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UPDATE: I am hearing the price has been confirmed at just $1699. If true that is quite a bargain. But don’t forget the cost of external recorder for 4K. These are expected to be announced at NAB on Monday.

Here’s some sample footage from the A7S, you can stream it at 4K on YouTube.

Impressive at high ISOs.

Remember the HDMI output in 4K is uncompressed… YouTube does not give you the full image quality, but still it looks good.

Unfortunately the shots are stopped down very dramatically for a deep depth of field on full frame….hmm… I’d like to see some F1.2 50mm action on this beast.

Sony A7S

Breaking news… The Sony A7S has been announced at NAB 2014.

It records 1080p internally in XAVC-S format at 50Mbit but the big news is the support for full 4K output via HDMI to an external recorder.

Unfortunately it does NOT have an internal 4K recording codec like the Panasonic GH4.

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Sony is making some 4K related camera announcements at NAB

Watch the live announcement here or scroll down on the home page

Here are my running thoughts as we watch the Sony presentations…

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As we get closer to the press conference, more unconfirmed rumours on the A7S have come in from NAB.

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The EOSHD Sony A7 Series Guide to Full Frame Lenses
The EOSHD Panasonic GH3 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter's Guide - Second Edition
More EOSHD Guides