A gorgeous glowing cove off the edge of the South Head entrance to Sydney Harbour. The night temperature’s are so nice in the summer here that even a little night swimming is possible. A few couples were in the water splashing about as I shot this image and I was tempted to jump in myself. I’d actually popped out to this area of Sydney to hopefully catch a sunset, but storm clouds came across and drowned the whole thing out. The great thing about clouds though, is that they relfect light. So I was able to get all these funky colours going with light from the city and the fading light from the sunset all bouncing around on the water and the clouds. Definitely worth hanging around for I think!

Finally shooting with my Nikkor 14-24mm on my mirrorless A7r

I got to finally shoot with my Nikkor 14-24mm on the Sony A7r. My 14-24mm lens was damaged back in August when my D800 was blown off my tripod from heavy coastal winds. The D800 took the brunt of the fall and I didn’t even realise the 14-24mm lens was damaged as it didn’t have a single mark on it. But inside, the guide rings used to zoom the lens in and out from 14 to 24mm had been damaged needed replacing. When my Sony A7r arrived it was only when I put the 14-24mm on it, which I had been in storage for 3 months, did I realise it had been damaged in the fall. Nikon Australia gave a quote and repaired the lens within a fortnight, which I thought was great for it being over xmas and new years time. It took a few months for the insurance costs to come through on my D800 as it was a cheque over $2000 and I ended up waiting for the arrival of the exciting new Mirrorless A7r instead of replacing my D800. It seemed like the smart move going forward and I’ve been using the Sony RX 100 mk2 mirrorless camera in the mean time as well.

I also have the brand new Sony FE 28-70mm which was designed for the Sony full frame mirrorless cameras and it weighs in at 295 grams. It’s incredible how light that lens is and it comes with all the perks of focus chimping, auto-focus as well as live peaking. I’m finding it be a perfect all round lens and the great thing about the Sony A7r is that is so unassuming. It makes shooting street shots easy because you aren’t holding that giant Full Frame DSLR in someone’s face. I like the annonymity the camera setup gives you due to is much much smaller size.

I used the Metabones Nikon (G) to E-mount adapter so that I could use Nikon lenses on my Sony camera.

The positives of the 14-24mm on the Sony A7r:

Damn it was good to be back at 14mm full frame. There is just something special about the nikkor 14-24mm lens as you pan and move your camera around. The way it distorts the scene is awesome and obviously it’s Nikons crowing glory when it comes to wide angle lenses. They used all their best glass in the lens and it’s super sharp which is perfect for the A7r which actually has the full frame resolution of the D800E according to Gordon Laing from cameralabs.com. I do think the results speak for themselves though in this image.

The negatives of the 14-24mm on the Sony A7r: 

You can’t manually control the aperture and shutter with your front and rear camera dials. Instead you have to use the aperture ring on your metabones adapter, which basically goes from F 2 to 8. They aren’t these apertures exactly but more a guide of the aperture scale on your camera. So in this instance the F 8 setting would be about F 22 and F2 would be about F 2.8. It can be confusing to the new user and isn’t an exact science either. The best way to use the combination that I could figure out was to use the A7r in aperture mode and then by adjusting the aperture ring on the metabones the camera would assign a shutter speed based on matrix metering. Since you have an Electronic View Finder (EVF) you can set all this data to show up on an overlay and there is no need to take your eye from the viewfinder. So essentially I’d set my ISO and then adjust the aperture to get the desired shutter. This isn’t ideal and if sony or zeiss can come up with a lightweight native lens to match the Nikkor 14-24mm I dare say I’ll be switching over immediately.

The other negative issue is with the focusing. Since the lens isn’t recognised by the A7r camera you can’t zoom in on the rear lcd or in your EVF to check if it’s in focus. Instead you are left to manually adjust your focus ring using the larger zoomed out view. I’ve been using the 14-24mm for almost 2 years now so I’m quite used to how she works so manual control isn’t a big thing to me but it might bother others. I’d love to know if it’s possible to chimp with this lens combination so if anyone is aware of a method please share below.

I’ll put this in as a negative, but it’s something I can live with because I mainly use my 14-24mm on a tripod. The issue is that the camera is small and light and then the 14-24mm is BIG and heavy. So it makes holding the camera awkward and it is front heavy. You can also feel the lens putting a lot of stress on the connection point between the lens and camera (lukcy the A7r body is metal!). The reasons its awkward are such- You have to set your aperture using the ring on the metabones and manual focus on the lens all whilst making sure you have a good grip and steady platform for the lens and camera. Normally this is ok but its the weight of the 14-24mm that makes this task difficult and its almost like I wish I had 3 hands! It really isn’t ideal and the D800 was much better in this regard especially in portrait mode. That said the A7r weighs a fraction of the D800 and my back doesn’t miss carrying it over my shoulder. I will be keeping an eye out for the release of the Sony FE ultra wide angle lens though.

Software and Processing:

I was getting great looking shots on the back of my camera and couldn’t wait to process them. I took a series of shots and processed them using the brand new Contrast Optimiser HDR algorithm in

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

I then did all of my stylisation of the image using On1 Software. I did the bulk of it in On1 Perfect Effects and then using the On1 Photo suite (the complete collection of photo editing software from OnOne) I got it ready for My Print Portfolio. 

Any Questions? please leave them below

Thanks, Luke

Camera

Sony A7r

Lens

Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8

Focal Length

14mm

Shutter Speed

3.0, 6.0 and 13.0 second

ISO

250

HDR info

3 bracket manual HDR with Photomatix

Date

12/01/2014

Time

8:45 PM

Location

Camp Cove , Sydney Harbour, Australia

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks, Luke