No, this wasn’t shot with the A7R (Samsung cell phone!) and its not part of a project, but I did take it while in Faizabad a couple of days ago. I flew up from Kabul with the hope of taking some more ‘N,S,E,W’ project photos from the air (which began with West to East), but things did not work out as I had intended! This happens, but when you’re excited and expectant, its very frustrating.
On my last flight I had suffered extreme softness and distortion with all of the shots and had been wracking my brain to find the cause. Because previous flights had gone smoothly, I had put it down to something to do with the Canon FDn lenses I had been using on that occasion, suspecting they were not reaching infinity focus; however, subsequent ground tests showed this not to be the cause (when you are flying at 20,000 feet, you really are at infinity!). On this last flight – the leg from Kabul to Faizabad – I had the exact same problem, using only FE lenses (55 and 35mm) on my A7 and A7r, but I knew this system had performed faultlessly on flights to Bamyan and Herat. I was honestly stumped and getting a bit depressed about it to be honest, because I’m really enjoying the project and it was killing me that these great opportunities were being wasted. I had spent both flights shooting away furiously only to find the frames were not remotely sharp and fit only for the trash. It burned to toss some of the images, because some would have been real crackers.
The good news is that I made some significant changes to how I shot on the return leg to Kabul and enjoyed a dramatically better result. I am also pretty sure I have identified the three factors resulting in the ‘fuzziness’ problems that had marred by previous flights. I will be writing about this in due course, because its essential reading if you intend to shoot from planes through glass! I was at the point of giving up and accepting that I would never get to the bottom of it and just hoping for the best each time, but the changes I made worked – GREAT!
I have to hand it to the A7; its definitely more responsive than the A7R and the quality is still superb (the above will make an immaculate A1 (30″) print). The A7R can can certainly deliver a bit more fine detail, but the A7 still amazes me with what it pumps out and it does it all with less noise and fuss. I really do love both of these cameras and I will wax lyrical about them in my next few posts! As for the first serious frames from the A7R and 55mm FE, well, for the production of high resolution shots, with insane detail from centre to far corner, its something else. Resolution and detail certainly aren’t the be all and end all, but for some types of work its very welcome and the aerial project really does allow this body/lens combination shine.