The Reluctant Tourist

By January 21, 2014Blog, User Report

The Reluctant Tourist” – I’ll elaborate on my chosen title for this post later but for now at least let me say it’s great to be back home and enjoying the remainder of our Kiwi summer. Before I dive head first into this post and my first mpressions of the Sony A7r I’d just like to do a little housekeeping and update you on a few recent posts.

Goodbye iMac……Hello iMac – You’ll recall that prior to my departure I had experienced some issues with my iMac, whilst the replacement was ready on my return home the migration of data hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. Whilst everything is intact it’s currently taking close to three minutes to start up, clearly all is not well……. Needless to say it’s booked in again.

Sony A7R – The camera arrived on the day I departed, with hindsight I almost wish it hadn’t. It served only to distract me, the temptation was always there to use it and in truth it cost me several images. That said if I hadn’t ordered it I would no doubt have tried my best to buy it en-route and the outcome would have been much the same. Rather than writing a separate post on the camera I’ve included my thoughts throughout.

Decision Time……. – Packing a camera bag can be more difficult than it sounds and I certainly make it more difficult than it needs to be. Reflecting on the decisions I made and with the benefit of hindsight I’d do a couple of things differently. A very quick overview below.

  • Leica M Monochrom was the correct decision, it remains my favorite digital camera.
  • Leica M6 was also the right decision, whilst I only shot 5 rolls of colour film due to the arrival of the Sony A7R its a camera I’m comfortable with. I have no film developed yet, I’ll share the images if they merit it.
  • 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph – Great lens, still the best bargain fast 50 in my opinion. I never regretted taking it.
  • 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk II – Optically it’s excellent but it’s big and heavy, I allowed my curiosity to make the decision for me, the correct decision would have been either the v.1 Summicron based on size, weight and performance.
  • 21mm Voigtlander Ultron f/1.8 – Same as the above, these are not lenses to carry around for 7 weeks, the correct choice for a wide was the tiny 15mm f/4.5.
  • 90mm Summicron f/2 – I wanted this lens with me on more occasions than I used the 21/1.8, this should have been in my bag and it could quite easily have been if I’d chosen more carefully.
  • Another success was the Wotancraft City Explorer – Scout I used. 7 weeks traveling around the world and the bag looks as good as new. I’ve got an exciting announcement regarding Wotancraft coming up, stay tuned.

As mentioned above I also had the Sony A7R with me, that said I didn’t choose to take it, I just couldn’t leave it behind……..

A little background –

When this trip was first planned over a year ago it was all about returning to the UK to visit family and friends, it grew slowly into something of an educational/life experience for the children as we began to add more stopovers, after all the flights cost the same. In the end we’d be away for something like 52 days.

Back then I was excited at the prospect of selfishly photographing the places we’d visit but when I thought about that prospect, really thought about it I soon realised it would never be about photographs, it had to be about enjoying the experience as a family. I made my mind up back then that whilst I would take my gear I would not pursue images at the expense of anything we were doing or planned to do, it’s all too easy for me to forget other things when the camera is in my hands and I simply would not let that happen. It was difficult at times, the best photographs I saw are not visible here, they are and always will be resigned to my memory, it’s incredibly difficult to see a scene unfold and choose to ignore it, but it was necessary. There was a time when I would have found that to be quite torturous but I’ve learnt to console myself with the fact that I at least saw those “ghost” photographs, surely this is better than seeing nothing?

The previous paragraph sounds a little gloomy when I read it back but it’s pertinent to the photographs I took and the ones I didn’t, to exclude it would be to only tell half the story. What I should add to this background information is that I’m fortunate enough to have a loving wife that has grown to understand the sometimes irrational thought processes of a photography nut, one prepared to give me the time to pursue those images alone and at my leisure and in doing so remove the associated frustrations that arise when hobby and family collide.

Setting all of the above aside we had a great time, we spent valuable moments with family and friends, I took more photographs of the children than I have in a very long time and we returned safely, successful in every way that matters. I’ve included a couple of images of family in this post but I’ve decided to take the unusual step of keeping my favorite ones to myself, I’m sure nobody will begrudge me that.

Now the trip!!

Taken in the departure lounge at Auckland International Airport, a few hours after the camera arrived and well I just can’t resist the urge to play with it. Out of camera JPG with some very minor tweaks in LR5. My first experience with EVF and Focus Peaking on any camera, looking at the LCD I was delighted with the results, only later when I really scrutinised the image on the LCD would I see that I’d just not quite nailed the focus on the eye. Of the half a dozen shots taken this was the closest I’d got to a useable image.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Asph Tweaks in LR5 from JPG AK1

The Streets of San Francisco, briefly…….

Putting my initial airport shots down to my poor technique I was still keen to use the A7R for obvious reasons, however I continued to find it tricky to nail focus quickly using only the EVF. I found it no easier with Focus Peaking, I’d have it on one minute and off the next, ultimately I found it to be a distraction especially shooting fast lenses wide open, although I intend to try again at some point. There is of course the option to magnify focus on the A7R and whilst this eliminates focusing issues it introduces another rather large one, namely the small but significant increase in time it takes to capture the image. The upshot is that even now I can focus my rangefinders more quickly than I can the A7R using M Mount lenses with manual focusing.

Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk II B&W conversion in SE Pro 2 from JPGSF0On a positive note, I’m pleased with the B&W conversion from Sony A7R JPG, the blacks a deep and rich, as they should be. Feeling just a little deflated and frustrated at this stage I decided to rest the Sony A7R and revert to something I’m more familiar with, my M Monochrom.

Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshSF1Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshSF2Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshSF3Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshSF4Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IISF5Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshSF6Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IISF7Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshSF8

What would be one of a handful of occasions when I’d find myself alone for a brief time. All of the above shots were taken in an hour, in the area around North Beach, this is a fascinating place and it allowed me to reintroduce people in to my photography once again. Despite the fact that I always interact with individuals when I’m out photographing over the past year I’d purposefully all but eliminated the human element from my photography.

As I recall I’d certainly lost a little of my self confidence using the Sony A7R in that first week and I absolutely needed to push myself to use it, even the kids noticed it was taking me longer to focus………… I drew on my experience with the Leica M Monochrom and recalled the frustrations and dismay I felt when I first used it, different reasons but similar feelings.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphSF9Another JPG from the Sony A7R, more in line with my taste and certainly among the more appealing files I’ve seen straight out of any camera I’ve owned, that said I still felt the need to tweak it slightly. There are doughnuts in the bag, hence the smiles…..

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphSF10Another departure lounge and yet more messing with the Sony A7R.

The Big Apple

We clocked up some serious walking and sightseeing in New York city, I think I may even have lost a little weight in NY!!! I needn’t have worried I’d more than make up for it in the UK…….. It was enjoyable revisiting this great city, it had been almost 15 years since my last visit. It was necessary to visit the tourist hotspots and landmarks but alas I am a reluctant tourist, I just want the places to myself, is that too much to ask!!

Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk II JPEG, out of camera, no adjustments.NY1I’ve resisted the urge to tweak anything on the image above, the light around Ground Zero is exactly as I recall it on that afternoon. Sony have done a great job with the JPG’s and seeing these gave me a bit of a lift when I needed it.

Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IINY2

Ghost Bikes – poignant reminders of the fragility of life and the dangers faced by cyclists on the road.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY3Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY4Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY5Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY6Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY7Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY8Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY9Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IINY10

In Hell’s Kitchen en-route to satisfy a long standing desire!! Yes, I eventually managed to visit B&H Photo and man was it worth the wait. Is there a bigger and more well equipped camera store anywhere else in the world? I don’t know, what I do know is I would happily have stayed and payed rent!

At the time of my visit the Sony A7R was not on general release in the US and I was happy to chat about my early experiences with the staff and indeed allow them to try the camera out for themselves. I took the opportunity to pick up a spare battery whilst I was there, initially I’d considered the Battery Grip but ruled this out due to it’s size. I also checked on the stock of the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA and was pleased to hear it was in stock. I decided to sleep on it for a couple of days, having an auto-focus option was in my rationale for getting the Sony A7R but I had intended to “wait and see” how Sony’s lens road-map panned out before committing myself.

Two days later and I was back in store and ready to buy the lens, for those who’ve not had the B&H Photo buying experience it’s a little unusual, it’s a three stage process.  Goods are despatched from the sales persons position to a collection point by means of a conveyor system that moves securely through the store. You proceed to a checkout and then finally on to the collection point for your goods before exiting the store. As I knew exactly what I wanted and was in a mad rush to catch a ferry there was no need to view the goods prior to purchase, I merely advised on my requirements and made my way to the checkout and paid. At this point the sales person that had served me appeared to say he’d made an error and sent down the wrong lens!! I’d just bought myself the 35/2.8 ZM……… No problem he said, go to another desk, get a refund then go back upstairs to do the transaction once more, not music to my ears as time ticked by. Ten minutes later I was back at the sales desk being advised that the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA was now out of stock, more than a little frustrating but a genuine mistake on the part of the sales guy who was pretty annoyed with himself and very apologetic.

Things didn’t get any better when my credit card statement arrived, the purchase was calculated at one rate of exchange, the refund another, net result being I’m $80.00 down through no fault of my own. Fortunately B&H Photo have a great reputation for customer service and whilst the first person I emailed didn’t seem to see an issue with what had happened his supervisor expedited the refund in good time.

As for the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA, well I still wanted it so I’d have to resort to my backup plan, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY11

Image taken in Greenwhich Village, usually when teenage daughters and there mothers decide to shop it’s bad news, on this occasion we made our way towards Soho and just happened upon the Leica Store, I had a good chat with a friendly member of staff and have to say they had the best selection of new and used Leica’s I’ve seen, worth a visit.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY12There was something “Planet of the Apes” about this view from Central Park.

Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IINY13Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY14Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshNY15This chap is certainly a dedicated follower of fashion, Grand Central Station, a great place to people watch but unfortunately photographers almost outnumber commuters!

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY16Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphNY17You get the feeling that if you walked the streets of New York for long enough you’d see most everything eventually, it’s not a place to photograph in a fleeting visit, it’s a vocation. I think around this point I was beginning to dwell less on my focusing technique (it had improved a bit) and more on the positives from the camera.

Just before I left NY I resorted to ebay to get my hands on the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA, as it transpired it was cheaper than buying it in the US and getting it delivered to the UK seemed like a good option.

The Old Country

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK1Nasir Hamid in Oxford, I managed to grab an hour with Nasir on route to Sheffield and in his lunch break. If your not already familiar with his photography you can check out his Simply Oxford website here –

This was a thoroughly enjoyable hour, Nasir is a great and genuine guy with an infectious passion for film, cameras and photography. He was kind enough to give me a real insight in to what he does and how he achieves such great results. Now Nasir being the kind of guy he is wanted to get a couple of portraits of me and despite the fact that I’m generally reluctant to appear on that side of the camera I was happy to oblige. Wielding his beautiful Rolleiflex Automat 3.5 and Mamiya Universal, the images he took can be seen on his Flickr – HERE

Of course me being the kind of guy I am I opted for the Sony A7R when returning the favour…….. we were sure to check the focus accuracy afterwards as I’d already explained my focusing issues with him, fortunately I’d not embarrassed myself.

Sony A7R – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIUK2Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK3Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshUK4Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK5Another JPG straight from the camera, ISO 640.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK6

A Taste of Sheffield

Sheffield, the city of my birth and my home for most of my life has changed much in the 5 years since we departed, positive change is everywhere, funny then that when I photographed it I was subconsciously drawn to scenes that show it as a rather depressing place, something it most certainly isn’t.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK7The former Grosvenor House Hotel, at one time this was one of the premier hotels in Sheffield, I’m uncertain when it closed, it sits just on the edge of a divided city centre.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK8Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshUK9Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIUK10Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIUK11Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIUK12Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphThe Old CountrySony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK14Window display Sheffield style…… I doubt the individual responsible will be receiving a call from Selfridges any time soon. On the positive side, it’s always good to see people using their initiative.

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphUK15It’s more than a little disconcerting to wander streets you were once familiar with and have the overriding sensation of being a stranger. One stranger photographed by another.

The more observant amongst you would have noticed that there is still no sign of the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA in my images, in much the same way that the Sony A7R arrived a couple of hours before I left NZ I collected the lens from the couriers depot as I left Sheffield, lucky I guess.

The Eternal City and more….

Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshItaly-1Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZAItaly-2Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZAItaly-3Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZAItaly-4Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIItaly-5Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZAItaly-6Leica M Monochrom – 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIItaly-7Sony A7R35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIItaly-8Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 ApshItaly-9Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphItaly-10More evidence of the JPG quality, the image did however have some serious Chromatic Aberration going on in the leaves

Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphItaly-11Crop of the image above prior to correcting the purple fringing. This is the first time I’ve seen this from the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.5 Asph.

The Island of the Gods………

As tourist destinations go I can’t profess to understand Bali, photographically it has much to offer but it’s difficult to imagine us ever returning for a holiday, I won’t elaborate further.

Sony A7R– 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIBali-1Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZABali-2Jimbaran Beach – I don’t know how to explain this place other than to say it’s like a parallel universe!! Tourist flock here by the coach load to dine in grotty restaurants on a litter strewn beach and at the same time get massively overcharged for the pleasure. The sunset and view are nondescript and to be frank it smells. I was amazed at the number of people staring out to sea whilst failing to notice the garbage at their feet. The Emperors New Clothes sprung to mind…..

Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZABali-3Sony A7R– 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIBali-4ISO 2500 Unedited JPG.

Sony A7R– 35mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.2 Asph Mk IIBali-5Sony A7R – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 AsphBali-6Sony A7R – Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZABali-7Leica M Monochrom – 50mm Voigtlander Nokton f/1.5 Apsh Bali-8

More thoughts on the Sony A7R so far

Firstly I should reiterate that these are my opinions of the camera based on my own experiences and level of expertise, yours may differ accordingly.

The biggest issue I personally have with the Sony A7R is focusing, if like some I could nail the focus at f/1.2 – f/1.5 without the need to magnify I’d be delighted, the truth is I can’t and I very much doubt I ever will, before you ask my vision is perfect. This leaves me having to hone my technique around magnification and utilising Auto-Focus where applicable.

My next concern is the shutter slam and possibility of resulting vibration, like others I find myself wanting to shoot at the fastest possible shutter speed to help reduce any possible shake. The actual noise of the shutter hasn’t bothered me in the slightest though.

I wasn’t expecting any success with wides given what had already been reported, indeed the 21/1.8 produced the inevitable colour cast and vignetting, more of an annoyance than a disaster and manageable.

On a positive note…..

There is a lot to like about the files, they are easy to work with and as I’ve mentioned several times already the JPG’s are pretty sweet. Achieving good looking B&W files is also easy.

It’s great to carry a camera that doesn’t weigh anything near the Leica especially when you have the 35/2.8 mounted.

Having an LCD screen with a resolution more befitting the cameras year of manufacture is also a novelty as is the tilt option, useful for awkward compositions.

Where to next with the Sony A7R

I’ve stated since my return that I continue to pimp the Sony A7R despite the fact the we are not friends, the pimping was reference to my purchase of the excellent Gariz Half Case and Wrist Strap. In terms of me not being friends with the camera well that sums up how I feel, I need to continue to work on increasing the speed and accuracy of my focusing technique, I’m talking about fast manual focusing when I say that. It’s not in my nature to give in on the camera, indeed to the contrary I’ve actually ordered the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens and even if I can make this and the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA work for me as a kit I’ll still be happy-ish.

I’ve already touched on the fact that at one stage I had to remind myself how negative I felt about the Leica M Monochrom in that first week or two, whilst I’ve had the A7R longer than that I’ve probably not used it as much so there is still room for improvement and a change in opinion. That said the Leica M Monochrom had one advantage over the Sony A7R that I’ve not mentioned so far. Simply put, when I use a rangefinder camera I feel more creative?




  • Andy Gemmell says:

    Ahhh….he lives!! 7 weeks…what a trip!

    Very nice images here Jason and makes me want to go on my trip again, I did last year. You are 100% correct in taking that philosophy with you…its about family first.

    Any particular highlights or favourite places?

    So what was your favourite place to photograph? I’d have to say on my trip it was New York, however by the time arrived I was photographically fatigued :-)… was the one place I would go back to, to document more. One day I will. I also left two images behind, that reside in my memory from NY and to this day kick myself for not recording them. That’s part of the deal though!

    Interesting reading your thoughts on the A7r. Your frustration is palatable, though I think it comes from it not been a poor camera with it’s manual focusing challenges. You are just comparing it to using one of the best ergonomically designed, simplified and reliable focusing tools you can get in the Leica rangefinders – except when the rf needs calibration :-)!! (For readers please let me stress….this is my opinion only obviously :-)). It renders some wonderful colours actually aside from it’s B&W output by the looks of things. almost more M9 like than the current M.

    It will interesting to see how long before you pick up a camera gain. I needed time off after my trip and stepped back into film for a while. Nice way to get back into the swing of things if you do have a rest.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, thoughts and most importantly your images.


    • janrzm says:

      Hey Andrew,

      Indeed he does.

      In terms of places it’s difficult to say, the US as a country and people I find particularly interesting, whilst I’ve been several times before this was the first time I’d visited with a photographers hat on so to speak.

      All the countries we visited still interest me photographically, albeit the actual locations I would visit on a purely photographic level may differ. New York is an amazing place, it’s also been photographed extensively, I think this makes it a little harder on a short visit. If you could spend a bit more time there and settle in to it I think you’d get some great results.

      Thanks for sharing your similar experiences it’s always a comfort to know others understand.

      Regarding the A7R I think your points a valid, focusing aside at the moment I just don’t feel any of the magic I feel with a rangefinder in hand. I want to persevere with it though for now. Agree about the files, they are very nice and this is certainly a big plus, in all honesty it would be gone by now if I didn’t like them so much.

      I’m in no rush to do anything at the minute, even walking the dogs is a chore…… In terms of picking up a camera we’ll see.

      As ever, thanks for taking the time to read and comment so openly, appreciated.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Ross Funnell says:

    Great article as usual Jason.
    Your images are inspiring and I enjoyed your article as well.

    I recently sold my Leica M9 of three years and moved to the M after last year postponing the M purchase and instead buying a Leica Monochrom which like yourself I love.

    I also purchased the Sony A7r in November and decided to see if I liked it and like yourself had difficulty with the focus.
    In the end I have just sold the A7r after a two month trial but felt it didn’t inspire me like the rangefinder does.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi there Ross,

      Thanks I appreciate that.

      I read your comments with great interest. How do you find the M?

      With regards to the A7R I’d say this, in terms of loving it or hating it a lot will depend on what camera system your using prior to adopting it, from what I’m hearing so far if your moving to it from a rangefinder its a rather big adjustment.

      Cheers, Jason.

      • Ross says:

        You asked how do I find the M.
        I wasn’t sure at first but absolutely love it now.
        I hesitated as I loved the CCD rendering o the M9 so much but in hindsight the M is a big leap forward not only in image quality but ease of use and handling.
        Yes the image quality is different but the WB problems it initially had seem to have been resolved now and I actually love the accuracy of the colours.
        So in summing up I love it.
        The monochrom is very special and I think still is unique in its department will be keeping that and I will always keep my MP as I love film rendering.
        My lens range changes from time to time but currently have 28 Cron 35 Lux FLE 50 Lux and 75 Cron and a 50 Cron Rigid.
        Keep up the good work. Ross

        • janrzm says:

          Thanks Ross,

          I’m always interested to hear thoughts on the M especially from those with a soft spot for the CCD sensor. Likewise I’m pleased to hear you’re loving the camera, having any camera in your hand that you feel so enthusiastic about will always help.

          The MM is a little special and keeping a great film camera close to hand is also wise.

          I can’t help but be interested by the lenses people use, that’s a superb line up.

          Thanks, all the best.


  • John Lockwood says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. The images look amazing on my Samsung S4 😀
    Are your focusing issue due to using manual focusing? How’s the AF with the lenses it was designed for?

    • janrzm says:

      Hi there John,

      Thank you, and thanks for reading.

      In answer to your question, yes they are, one of the aspects of the camera that drew me in was the ability to use my M mount lenses, that’s proved a little tricky and frustrating. I’m getting faster though.

      The other aspect that appealed to me was the auto focus which is actually pretty good and fast although in my experience there is still the occasion miss. The 55/1.8 arrived this morning and I’ll probably spend some time now using that and the 35/2.8 the reassess.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Darrin says:

    Phew. Nice one Jason 😉
    Lots of eye candy in this post. Really love the Leica MM photo’s. Left mine at home and ended up buying a Leica D-Lux 6 to carry around while away at work along with my M9. Great to see the process and your thoughts on the Sony A7R.
    I hope you will be able to sort out your computer issues in good time. I’m going to do a lightroom workshop at the Leica akademie in a couple of weeks. It’s an never ending learn process this phptpgraphy gig.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Darrin, phew indeed.

      I’m pleased I took the MM with me, had I not had it there after the first couple of days frustration with the A7R I may not have taken another photograph on the whole trip…..

      I still have my D-Lux 4, they are great travel companions and excellent little cameras. I try to write honestly about my experiences, I’m not on a complete downer with the A7R but it’s going to take a lot of effort and a small amount of good fortune for me to be as proficient as I would like with it.

      I’ve just dropped the iMac off so fingers crossed, thanks.

      Let me know how you get on with that LR workshop, be interested to hear. You’re so right, it’s non stop learning for sure.

      All the best, Jason.

  • John Ferebee says:


    I read this post with interest especially your kit selections. Did you carry all of these when out and about each day or pick a camera and couple of lens for the day depending on area, weather, etc? I’m interested because I’m traveling to France for 3 weeks and wanted to travel light; both cloths and camera. For two reasons. No checked baggage and less worry about loss or theft whipping me out. Did you have any concerns about your gear? I’d love to take the M6 and a 50 and 35 cron but worry about having enough film, security, and all that. Probably will end up with M9P, two lenses, and extra SD cards and batteries.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi John,

      On two or three occasions I carried the full bag, I would have carried it more had my lens choices been lighter……

      Mostly I would select a camera and lens that I felt would suit what I’d come across on a given day, I didn’t over think anything because my mindset was such that I had no photographic expectations.

      Traveling light is the best advice I could give you, on my next journey it will take two body’s and two lenses regardless of where that trip is.

      Loss and theft are always at the back of your mind, in truth I was more concerned about what I’d left behind!!

      Either one of those cameras and the two lenses you mention are a perfect travel kit. I hope you enjoy the trip, France is a beautiful country, let me know how you get on.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • David Powell says:

    Welcome home! What a great post. I bet that took forever to write.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Dave,

      Thank you, appreciated.

      and yes, it took pretty much all day and most of the evening to prepare, you’ve been there no doubt 🙂

      Take it easy.

  • Geoff Hunter says:

    Hi Jason,

    I have only been a subscriber to your blog for a few months and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about and viewing your work. I have especially enjoyed your writing style. This latest post is yet another great little piece of writing of which you certainly have a fine knack of doing.

    What prompted me to comment on this occasion was in light of your stated values in not wanting to compromise family time over the desire to shoot a lot of the time on your family holiday. This is so, so true and great to see. I recently had the same situation spending a week on Lord Howe Island with my family. As an enthusiast photographer, it was difficult going to such a beautiful place and holding yourself back from shooting 24/7 to ensure quality family time. I’m so glad I did just this and was delighted to read you had taken the time to write about doing the same on your trip.

    I also read with interest on your hands on views with the Sony A7R and appreciated your candid and constructive comments to such. As a person in the market in the coming months for a FF rangefinder (type) camera – you have also given me some useful insight to help me in my decision.

    All the best…

    Geoff H

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Geoff,

      What a pleasant surprise it was this morning to read your extremely kind comments, I appreciate them most sincerely.

      I’ve received several messages in support of my values on this trip so again it’s good to hear others share my view.

      As a child I would look at maps and imagine what Lord Howe Island would like and its a place I should really like to visit, more prospect of that happening given my geographical location these days.

      I’ll hopefully post something more specific to the A7R soon.

      Thanks again,


  • Guy says:


    A wonderful selection of images and a long, enjoyable post.

    I was struck by how the Monochrom images really jump out, as do the Sony / 35 Voigtländer combo. The colours from the Sony and Zeiss lens are also really something.


    • janrzm says:

      Hey Guy,

      Thanks, appreciated.

      They do jump, it’s a great camera once you’ve wrestled with its personality traits…. 😉

      The 55/1.8 arrived yesterday morning, it’s reignited my enthusiasm for the A7R to some degree, I’ll use that along with the 35/2.8 as a kit in the short term and see where it takes me.

      All the best,


  • Umberto says:

    Dear Jason,
    I am happy to hear you had a wonderful vacation with your family and that photograpy came second this time.
    Nothwithstanding that your photos looks “relaxed”.. and as always beatiful.
    Thank you and welcome back.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi there Umberto,

      Thank you very much, it was most enjoyable.

      I guess they were “relaxed” which is good.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Take care, Jason.

  • Jim says:

    Hi Jason,
    Great article with some stunning pics and very kind of you to share with the world. I’m, a M240 user mostly and fortunate enough to own a good selection of Leica glass. When I read about the A7(r) I thought brilliant, I now have the chance of a body to work as a companion to my M so that I don’t have to change lenses all the time, I could keep my Nocti on the M 90% of the time and use my Tri-elmar ‘WATE’ or 90mm Cron on the A7. So I went to my local Sony Centre shop as soon as they came out, stuck my Nocti on a cheap adapter and rattled off a few shots on a demo A7 and then bought the sealed up A7r they had in stock. Since that point I’ve had an ongoing battle in my head about the pro’s and con’s of this camera and the sibling A7 version. There was so much I liked about it, but every time I looked at test shots I did in comparison with my M I became disappointed – you can see them here[email protected]/collections/72157638260919743/
    Anyway the end result was I returned the A7r. Many people were starting to say that the A7 was giving better results with Leica or other non-native glass so I bought one from Amazon knowing they have a very tolerant returns policy. At this moment I still have this camera and have shot it quite a lot and come to the following conclusions.

    1. Focussing this camera, especially wide open with a lens like the Nocti is a challenge but I’ve found that the key to getting better results is NOT to set Focus Peaking to ‘Max’ but to use Low. This give a MUCH finer band where the dots (red in my case) show up. I had the A7r on max all the time because it was the only setting I could get eyes to show any peaking, and made the naive assumption that when you saw red it meant that area would indeed be in focus, this is NOT the case, there’s a wide band where the peaking shows and if you use the zoom function you’ll see just how big this band is. Using the low or med setting I’ve found gives a much finer range so I use this and then, if I’m on a wide aperture, I’ll have a quick ‘zoom’ in on the critical part to double check. I’ve concluded that many of my lost shots with the A7r were probably due to this. I’ve also bought a Voightlander adapter which is a million times better fit that the cheapo one, I think it contributed to poor results too. The ‘shutter slam’ problem wasn’t really being mentioned at that time (late Nov, early Dec) but that could also have been contributing.

    2. Which Leica glass works? Well from my tests I’ve concluded the following :-
    Tri-Elmar 16-18-21mm (WATE) – Brilliant, no vignetting, no smearing, no colour shift and sharp as a pin right across the image.
    35mm Summicron – Pants at the edges but sharp in the centre 40% of the frame.
    50mm Summilux – Great results and the lens looks and feels fantastic on the camera.
    50mm Noctilux – Fantastic, looses it a bit towards the edges but that’s mostly irrelevant when your using this lens at f0.95 anyway.
    90mm Summicron APO – Along with the WATE this is probably my fav lens on this camera.

    So, my current dilemma is this, knowing what I now know about this camera, do I return the A7 and buy the ‘R’ again (I do mainly large prints so the extra pixels are generally good for me) or stick with the A7? I can definitely say that I’ll be having one of them as it does complement my M very well and gives me these ‘new fangled’ functions like Wifi file transfer, simple USB charging, panoramas etc. Probably the one big thing putting me off the A7r version is all this chatter about shutter slam causing vibration, how significant is this?

    Thanks again for a great article and I hope my comments above help others.


    • janrzm says:

      Hi Jim,

      Firstly, thanks for taking the time to stop by here, I’m pleased you enjoyed the post.

      Secondly, I really appreciate you sharing this information along with your insight and experiences.

      1. Now I’m home, feeling less frustrated with the A7R I will give the focus peaking another go and take your advice. I too have a cheapo adaptor, I tried one that was priced around $120.00 in B&H and it was worse than my $40 one so I left it. I was looking at the Voigtlander one on Cameraquest a few days ago but it was out of stock, I’ll be getting one.

      2. Good info, like you I have quite a few lenses and I’ll try to sit down with a few favorites and see how they perform, not seen anyone shooting the 60 Hex with the A7R yet so I may start there.

      The shutter slam remains a concern but it’s really only that at the moment.

      Thanks again for the info.

      Cheers, Jason.

      • Jim says:

        Hi Jason,
        You and other readers might be interested in some tests I did to compare the performance of an A7 with an A7r using the same lenses under the same ‘real world’ conditions. I carried these out after I got my hands on an A7r on Friday. Thinking that I could now put all my experience with the cameras to good use and that I could get superior images from the ‘r’ version, how wrong I was! I can’t see how I can attach images to this post so let me know if you would like them sent by email for you to post.


        • janrzm says:

          Thanks Jim.

          It’s very kind of you to share that here, apologies for the delayed response I’ve actually been away, again…..

          I’ll sit down and take a look over the weekend.

          All the best.


  • Doug Frost says:

    The Voigtlander renders very beautifully on the A7r. It’s astonishing, really. Of course, it is helped along enormously by being in the hands of someone as talented as yourself. This is gorgeous work. Congratulations!

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Doug,

      Absolutely, I know the 50/1.5 quite well now and I really rate it. The 35/1.2 I’m still getting to know but it has many fans.

      I’m grateful for your comment and I’m really pleased you enjoyed the images.

      Thanks, Jason.

  • Don says:

    A lovely post, which made me realise how much I’ve missed your writing and photography this last seven weeks! One thing it really did bring home for me though, is that I’d really like to take a trip like this with my family. Perhaps once our children are a bit older and more independent; something to plan for..

    Thanks for the link to Simply Oxford. That’s just up the road from me and Nasir’s work looks amazing!

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Don,

      Thanks, it’s good to be missed!! 🙂

      I’d really recommend doing a trip like this but waiting till the children are a bit older is wise, mine are between 11-14 so old enough to be self sufficient (to a point..) and able to appreciate the places etc. Plan away!!

      Nasir is a great guy producing stunning film work so I’m pleased you enjoyed the link.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Hilmar says:

    Hi Jason,

    Good to have you back. Believe it or not, I’ve been accessing your website several times in the last few weeks just to check whether there were news (just found the “Follow” button a few seconds ago).

    As I admire your work I was really interested to hear about your experience with the Sony A7r. I’ve got an M9 myself and love it but need a backup so I consider the A7. When I realized that there was this new blog entry on your website, I took some time off (which is rare these days) and went to a cafe where I absorbed your thoughts. The more I read the more I was torn as to what to think about this camera. On the one hand it was easy to feel that you struggle with nailing focus consistently, on the other hand there were these wonderful images with very appealing tones and colors – very M9 like or even better?! I think as far as the sensor of the A7r is concerned, the camera resolves all doubts. Handling seems to be more difficult if you are used to rangefinder cameras.

    I love reading your blog and your holiday report is very entertaining and thoughtful. It strikes me when you state that it’s difficult to find a balance between photography and family need. I totally agree. Aren’t we photographer all addicted to a certain kind?

    The combination of text and photos in this blog post is perfect. I enjoyed every part of it.

    Actually, my girlfriend and I are considering to travel to Bali this year. Having read about what you experienced, I don’t know anymore if this is a good idea. Might change plans.

    Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts with us.


    • janrzm says:

      Hi Hilmar,

      It’s great to be back thanks, yes that follow button will save you looking, you’ll only receive an email notification when there is a new post.

      I appreciate that, coffee and browsing photographic website…. happy days.

      I’m torn as well and for that very reason I will persevere with the A7R, “Persevere” probably sounds more frustrating than it actually is. Initially I struggled to focus using the EVF and no magnification, some seem to be able to do it but at wide apertures it’s been tough. You can nail focus every time using the magnification but depending what your subject matter is speed of focusing could be an issue, I bare testament to that.

      On the positive side the tones/colours and feel of the files is something else, you’ve said what I was reluctant to say in case I changed my view but the files are possibly more pleasing than the M9. If you come to the Sony A7R from a Nex you’d be fine, from a rangefinder its more of an adjustment, in my opinion. Question is, can you get to try one out in store before you buy? You know the output will be pleasing, it’s just a case of how the camera handles.

      It’s always nice to read complementary comments about this website, it is after all just a labour of love, so thanks.

      I held back on most of my thoughts around Bali, if you wish to email me I’ll elaborate a little more.

      Cheers, Jason.

      • Hilmar says:

        Jason, I went to a store in my town today and tried out the A7. It works very nicely with my lenses (Summiluxes 24, 35, 50 and 75) so I’m really considering to buy this camera now or in a few months when I really need it.

        I fully agree that I’m not able to nail focus every time without focus magnification although my eyes are perfect.

        The image quality really impresses me and the camera compliments my M9 very well in certain situations, in particular when it’s dark. After all I prefer the shooting experience the M9 offers but Sony’s sensor impresses me.

        Cheers, Hilmar

        • janrzm says:

          Hi Himmar,

          That’s very interesting, did you also try out the A7R?

          I continue to experiment with focusing techniques and also to read the thoughts and experiences of others, it’s certainly tricky without magnification. I’m just about to take the 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 away for a few days to see how I feel about the those.

          Image quality is superb I totally agree, please keep me updated with your ultimate decision.

          Cheers, Jason.

  • Kevin says:

    What a great post after this long wait. B&H is such an amazing shop isn’t it?

  • Kevin says:

    Well, Japan is blissful heaven for Leica and Analogue!

  • Elderin says:

    Hi Jason,

    Welcome back. Good to hear you had a good time and returned safely.
    It tought about buying a A7 (no R) myself. I think i wont cause it makes no sense to me using my Leica glass
    on that camera while i own a M9. The Sony is a great camera that can give wonderul results but it is less fun
    when it comes to manual focussing. Also the evf (as good as it is) is nowhere near an optical viewfinder.

    I can imagine that it gives more consistent results with Sony/Zeiss lenses and auto focus. I saw some awesome
    pictures with the kit zoom lens (can you believe that).

    I Ilked your shots with the 50 nokton the most, regardless which camera you used it with. Such a great lens.
    The 35 zeiss did not impress me much. I think you would be better off with the 35 summarit. I dont own this lens
    but plan to buy it soon. Saw many great results from this little lens.

    I think you have a lot of post processing work left to do and that you have many more great images on your harddrive.
    Have fun with it and hopefully share some more.

    Cu later,

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Elderin,

      Thank you, it was great but its good to be home.

      I find myself agreeing with you, despite the fact that I have the M9 still. Rangefinder focusing is still my preference, although it’s good to be using something else and it doesn’t hurt to get proficient with another system either I guess. The EVF is good but once more I agree, it’s no optical viewfinder.

      I just took to 55/1.8 and 35/2.8 away for a few days with the sole purpose of using them, unfortunately I grabbed my M6 with 35/2 v.1 literally as I was leaving as I wanted to finish the roll of film that was in it and it’s all I used!!!!

      The Nokton 50/1.5 is exceptional, I keep saying it and I’ll continue to do so. I’d urge anyone looking for a fast 50 to try it first. I will take a closer look at some images from the 35 Summarit but I doubt I’d ever go for one, the cron’s remain my favourites, on the Leica at least.

      Thanks for taking the time to look and comment, it’s appreciated.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • […] Sony A7R thoughts and images plus Leica M Monochrom from the reluctant tourist –  […]

  • Dragan says:

    On my side, I bet on the A7 and its lower pixel count. It work pretty good with Voigtländers 21 Ultron, 35 f1.2 and 50 f1.5 Nokton. It’s very good with Summicron 35, 50 and 90. Images are really like the M9 quality, with no high ISO noise. The responsiveness of the camera is also pretty good, far better than Fuji X camera (and you can’t image how much I like the Fuji camera).

    Thanks’ for charing your thoughts on the A7r.



    • janrzm says:

      Hi Dragan

      Thanks for sharing that info on the A7. I’ve still only scratched the surface in terms of the lenses I have tried on my A7R.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Omar Tan says:

    Nice review! I stumbled into your blog while looking for distortion reviews regarding the Voigt 15 f/4.5, as I’m looking for a A7r UWA-SWA solution. The one that appeals me most about the Voigt is the complete lack of distortion and the only thing that needs to be fixed is the edge color cast, thank goodness there’s no smearing on the edges with the A7r (from what I’ve read).

    Regarding shutter slam, I don’t find it to be much of a problem except you’ll probably has to be more cautious about your technique, I come from a Nikon D300s and NEX 7 so I’m not sure how slow (shutter speed) can a rangefinder user go with for example a 50mm lens?

    Now back to your review, splendid pictures and I do agree with the focusing issue predicament, though I’m curious to know how fast can an experience rangefinder user such as yourself is able to nail focus with 1.2/1.4 lenses cause my previous experience with a rangefinder wasn’t a pleasant one at fast apertures. Now, regarding the A7r focus issue, I find that I don’t really have problem when using longer lens to focus such as my F mount Voigt 58 f1.4 and Nikkor 135 f2.8, but I do have focus difficulties when using lens like the 35mm, 24mm and wider lenses, I wonder if it’s because the subject (people usually) becomes smaller with wider lenses as compared to a 50mm and above lens where you’ll usually frame 1-3 people at most in a shot.

    Another issue I find is related to focus peaking and there’s a few points about it:
    1. Peaking level : low is to the point where it’s almost useless, medium works well most of the time, high is only used when the scene is mainly dominated by organic shapes and not much geometric.
    2. Peaking accuracy : peaking is supposed to guide us into nailing the shot but somehow it doesn’t and this really frustrates me cause it’s harder to know if you’ve focused correctly with 35mm and wider lenses. I’ve been using the A7r for awhile now and I notice that the focus peaking even highlights OOF focus area in favour of contrast, I don’t feel that I faced similar problems with my NEX 7 regarding peaking accuracy, but I could be wrong. What Sony could do in my opinion is to let us input the focal length (if native E mount lens, it’ll be auto) were using and from there it’ll know how thin is the DoF and restrict the focus peaking area to the DoF rather then based on contrast.

    Alright, I think I’m done and thanks for your review!

    • Omar Tan says:

      Okay, I just realized that my suggestion might be harder to implement as DoF changes with Aperture and with manual lens, they is no way of knowing this, but probably they could introduce lens profiles where you’re required to state the focal length, min and max aperture, and based on that, the camera will be able to guess the aperture used by taking account of how much of the scene is considered blurred. Also, correct me on this, but I’m certain that the DoF range of a f/1.4 (T1.4 to be more precise), is the same for any lens of the same focal length regardless of the maker of the lens.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Omar,

      Apologies I was having some work done on the website and missed replying to your post.

      Shutter slam was a fear and so far hasn’t been an issue for me either. I always work on the focal length rule for minimum shutter speed, 50mm lens 1/60 sec, less if I can support myself.

      You’d be surprised how quickly you can focus a rangefinder with continued use and how quickly that speed can dissipate when you don’t pick up the camera for a prolonged period. Aperture has had no bearing on focus speed and accuracy, most important is rangefinder calibration and issues such as focus shift.

      I can relate to your experience with focus peaking, I need to go back to it and look at it more thoroughly though, whilst on the trip I ditched it because I was afraid it would cost me shots.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Ted Romano says:

    Hi, I received an A7r for my birthday….. and it has been a long time since I used a camera of this sophistication. I used to take and print 16X20 color prints with my buddy 40 years ago. The closest I came was a Canon G1, then went to small point and shoots, to iPhone.
    Now The A7r does take some learning, and I believe you have to set it up to take advantage of this powerful camera.

    Shutter speed is critical. You can set up each mode wheel selection to get a minimum shutter speed utilizing the ISO wheel.

    As far as quick focusing and shooting is concerned, I set up the camera according to Ross Hamamura. Below is a link to his setup directions. Now all I have to do is press the Rear AF button and finalize in MF zoom with Focus Peaking. It has made a huge difference in focusing rapidity and shooting.

    Hope this helps.

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Ted,

      I hope you’re enjoying the A7R, a lovely birthday gift!! The kind I sometimes get for myself 🙂

      I haven’t seen the tourist of light blog before so it was interesting, even more interesting checking through the setting list is that my camera is already configured in that exact way, I don’t think I changed too many settings from the default in all honesty. I agree with Ross it’s about as fast as you can get, with manual lenses I am still faster focusing a rangefinder.

      Using MF with the FE lenses I like the feature and time saving that takes you straight to the magnified view on touching the focusing ring, it can sometimes be a little disorientating though, wonder if anyone else has found this to be the case.

      Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts etc, appreciated.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • […] I’ve not long been back from a trip which took myself and my family back to the UK via a few other places, this wasn’t a photography trip but I’ve included a few of my favourite images picked up along the way. The are more images along with a more extensive write-up on my blog here — The Reluctant Tourist. […]

  • […] favourite images picked up along the way. The are more images along with a more extensive write-up on my blog here – The Reluctant Tourist. I have no idea how much time I wasted thinking about what gear I should take on this trip, […]

  • John Lambert says:

    Am coming a bit late to the party here, but what a great post. Thanks for sharing your insights in such a thorough and enjoyable way! Although not in the market for a Leica Monochrom – I wish – it was fascinating to see this lined up against the A7R, both using some spectacular glass. Wishing you a speedy recovery, and would love to see some more shots of Brighton if you have any to post? (I lived there for 25 years before moving to the USA.)

    Best, J

    • janrzm says:

      Hey John,

      Thanks! I’m on the mend, pleased you enjoyed the post.

      I was only in Brighton for a day catching up with family, there was only a short time to snatch a couple of shots, it’s changed a lot in in the last decade!

      Just added you on Flickr btw, great stream!

      Cheers, Jason.

      • John Lambert says:

        Yeah, that it has – and thanks! It’s a place I’d love now to go back to and try to capture the essence of. Living there for so long you end up taking it for granted. Same goes for London. I’ve really enjoyed just going out with the camera when I’ve been back for a couple of days and capturing new views, despite knowing it pretty well already.

        Glad to hear you are recovering, and glad, too, to have found this blog. Man, I’m really liking those Leica Monochrom shots you’ve posted …. they have a dimensionality and realism I didn’t really think digital could produce.

        • janrzm says:

          I know what you mean, familiarity can really be the enemy of photography…. Nothing beats seeing something with fresh eyes.

          It’s good to hear you’ve enjoyed the blog.

          The Monochrom is a pretty divisive camera, not everyone see’s those qualities, for me, it’s a little bit special.

  • […] I had the good fortune and pleasure of meeting Nasir, albeit briefly on my visit to the UK – HERE […]

  • Imagebloke says:

    Amazing images. Absolutely brilliant.

  • Hi Jason, lovely seeing your travel photos and experiences with Manual focus on the A7r.

    I recently bought a Sony NEX-6 to use with my manual lenses, I had the same problem you had in USA with focus. I have glasses too and I find it really difficult to focus, one trick is to reprogramme the AEL button to MF Assist. This button is much closer to the thumb and it takes no efforts at all to engage it. Go to menu / gear wheel /6 /Custom Key Settings /AF/MF Button and select Focus Magnifier. Even with that I really struggle with manual focus.

    Here’s what I recommend: if you shoot in RAW, set your creative style to Black and White (the preview will be B&W, but once it’s uploaded to the computer it’ll pop back in color again in LR4). Then, set peaking to low (if using EVF) or mid (if using LCD). Finally, set peaking color to yellow (not red as most recommend). This will have you best set up for accurate manual focus at the large apertures.

    Alternate Method

    If you want to focus fast and precise you can take advantage of a technical shortcoming of the electronic viewfinder (EVF). When there are very fine structures in the image you see shimmering pixels in the EVF. Just focus your camera on some structured fabric and you will see it. This method is more sensitive than the focus peaking and much less distracting. With this technique I usually get critically sharp images without using the focus magnifier button. You can increase the effect by increasing the sharpening to +3 (Creative Style/ your picture mode/ Sharpness). This will result in oversharpened jpgs but if you are shooting raw this won’t bother you.

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