Low Light Test with Sony A7r




Why Sony and not another Nikon?

I recently purchased the Sony a7r with the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA. I had the opportunity to see a preproduction model of the camera long before the camera was available for purchase. Only having a brief time with the preproduction model it only took about 3 seconds to fall in love with the camera. This post will be on the long side, but is hard to say everything that is amazing about this camera in only a few paragraphs

The reason why this camera made me so excited is in my view this is the first time in a while where there is true innovation in the camera industry without the trade off of image quality. The camera is small, but packs a professional punch.

I currently own a Nikon D800 with all the lenses I could want, but this camera really got my attention. It was painful for me at first to think I would be buying a Sony and not a Nikon, compact full frame camera. The Nikon DF missed the mark on being a direct competitor to the Sony A7/7r market. I also believe there will be very little direct competition for at least a year for the Sony from any company. Fuji will be the most likely first competitor. My hope is Sony keeps the momentum up.

beatuful girl portrait sony a7r lowlight test

F2.8 1/20 sec ISO 3200

Going forward there are many companies besides Sony working on lenses for the full frame Sony E-mount. Without getting into all the math I believe it will be possible on these smaller cameras to make fairly compact mirrored telephoto lenses with fast apertures because of Sony’s choice to use the smaller E-mount and not the A- Mount.

With the Nikon DF using the F mount though you have the large benefit of using any F mount lens there is no room for making the lenses smaller in diameter because of the mount. I still have no plans of getting rid of my Nikon gear anytime soon, but for once in the market I feel Nikon and Canon are soon going have to play catch up with Sony. Using Pentax as an example when the film industry was disrupted with the invention of the digital camera Pentax was slow to adapt and to invest into the digital market and have been struggling for market share ever since. If Nikon and Canon do not adapt to the changing digital market and continue to rely on there full size DSLR’s they will soon be taken over by cameras like the Sony A7r once more lenses are available for all ranges.

bakery sony a7r lowlight test

F2.8  1/20 sec  ISO 3200

User Experience

Like I said earlier I still have no intention to get rid of my Nikon system, but one thing to keep in mind for people who don’t already know this is a lot of Nikon cameras use Sony sensors, including my D800.

Using my camera last night at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg was a perfect test for lowlight conditions.

I was blown away that I was getting the image quality I was out of such a small system. Though I didn’t do a direct comparison it would be hard to say the image quality would have been any better coming out of my Nikon D800.

All the pictures I took are handheld! Though some of the pictures I am sure would have turned out a bit better with a tripod I wanted to see what I could do with the camera without one.

When originally buying the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA I cringed at the price considering how affordable the Sony A7r was compared to the Nikon D800E. I originally felt this lens was over price. In practice this lens is worth its money. The sharpness that comes out of the little guy is unbelievable.

The viewfinder itself is very high quality even in lowlight conditions. It is easier to manually focus with the EF in the Sony A7/A7r because it magnifies the image for you before taking the picture to insure accurate focus.

The dials to change aperture, shutter speed and ISO are very easy to use and are in a great location.

Christmas lights house sony a7r lowlight test

F2.8  1/20sec ISO 3200

The only complaints I have about the camera is the fact it doesn’t come with an external charger! To think of how well thought out this system is and they give you a small usb cord and a charger block to charge the camera that will take roughly 6 hours for a full charge vs about 2 hours for their external wall charger.

This might be a setting issue I don’t know about but the zoom in button when reviewing pictures on the camera automatically goes to 100%. I wish (and there might be and I just haven’t figured it out yet) there was a way to change it and reverse where the zoom in and zoom out are located.

horse and carriage in front of house with christmas lights upper canada village

F2.8  1/13 sec ISO 3200

After all this being said in summary after shooting with the Sony last night it is hard to see myself using my Nikon anytime soon for personal photography. If you are reading this as a potential buyer of the Sony A7/7r the only real disadvantage is the amount of FE lenses currently available for this system. The Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA is worth the money. As much as it doesn’t seem like it is at first glance it is worth it in practice.

I know many people who have already picked up their Sony a7/7r and they are all just as excited as I am as the capabilities and potential of this system. I never thought I would own a Sony and it be the most favourite camera I own.










Remembrance Day

Remembrance day in downtown Ottawa is always a great display of the appreciate for veterans and people currently serving in the military. This is my second year going down to take photographs of the ceremony and parade.

Even though it was cold, wet and snowing it is always a time that is great to reflect on how lucky we are to live in Canada and honour the men and women who serve our country.

Day Out With Friends at Mud Lake

Mud Lake is a great spot to take photographs of natural wildlife or to take a nice afternoon walk. Depending on the time of year various types of wildlife can be seen. Mud Lake is really close to Britannia Beach in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.

It doesn’t matter your level of experience as a photographer to take photographs here. It is a place where you can take your time taking photographs and really get to know your camera. I often go with many of my friends who are also photographers.

If you go a few times you will realize there is a sense of community there are people who go there almost everyday. Mud Lake is one of the few places in Ottawa that we can get very different shots depending on the day you are there. One of the biggest reasons for this is the types of animals you will see depending on the time of the year.

If you decide to go yourself for photographs I highly recommend to get there early. The earlier I go, I always seem to get better shots because of the lighting and also the wildlife is closer to the shore. I have gone to Mud Lake many times myself coming home with only a couple good shots, but because of how relaxing and peaceful it is out there it is never a waste of a trip.



Gatineau Park Champlain Lookout Photo Shoot

Sometimes the hardest thing as a photographer is to go out and take photos of what you want to take in between paid client work and other responsibilities. One of my good friends Sarah and I decided to take photos in Gatineau Park. We took our time to find the best place to take yoga inspired photos. We ended up deciding on Champlain Lookout.

Champlain Lookout gives a stunning view of the Ottawa Valley. It definitely has to be one of the most popular places in Gatineau Park. Wether you are a photographer or not it is a great place to visit. Naturally we both had a sense of calmness just being there. I almost forgot we where there to take photos.

It didn’t take long for us to have a crowd of people watching our photo shoot. At one point there had to be a little over 100 people there. Gatineau Park is filled with tourists and locals especially in fall when the colours of the trees start to change.

Though champlain lookout is one of the most popular lookouts there are many more breath taking trails to enjoy a nice walk or bike ride in Gatineau Park.

I hope everyone enjoys the photos! I am working on starting in January to do a least a post a week of new and creative photographs. If anyone always wondered how to take a certain type of photo please send me an email at charleserudite@gmail.com.




Photo Shoot Using the Westcott Apollo Orb

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This photo shoot had to be one of the most inexpensive shoots I have had yet. The only thing I didn’t have that I had to buy was baby powder for $5. Just like most photographers often I want to complicate pictures with excessive lighting set ups. For my last few shoots I have fallen in love with using a Nikon SB-900 with a Westcott Apollo Orb. My good friend Mark is an experienced martial artist and shooting him with his gloves on made perfect sense.  Using baby powder to create a smoke effect in the picture gave an extra element to the photo that adds depth.

Ottawa_sport_action_photography_fighter (2 of 3)

By simply filling an old film container with baby powder worked perfectly. I highly recommend if you do decide to do a simular shoot make sure to take pictures outside because the baby powder gets into everything.  Wind from outside will make the baby powder airborne as well.

Ottawa_sport_action_photography_fighter (1 of 3)

With limited time and a lot of wind this has to be one of the most rough looking photo session set ups I have ever done.  I used 2 small slave flashes on the ground to help illuminate the baby powder in the photographs. I used the Westcott Apollo Orb with a Nikon Sb-900 to light mark in the photograph. The Westcott Apollo Orb is my favorite on location light modifier.

White Balancing

erudite_ottawa_photography_blog_photos (1 of 1)White Balancing

Have you ever been frustrated because you take a photos and the colours don’t seem to be even close to what you see when you take a picture?

White balancing allows you to get the colours you see to be translated in your photos.

There are many ways to white balance, many different product on the market, but for myself I only use one product.

I use the Expodisc 77mm neutral filter.

They are very simple to use and will work for any camera with a custom white balance setting.

I recommend to buy the 77mm filter no matter the filter size of the lens(es) you have because you can use the same filter to white balance all of your lenses. There are very few people who own lenses that have a bigger filter size then 77mm. So if you own an 77mm Expodisc you can use it on any lens with a 77mm filter size or less.

Expodisc’s are not the only good quality white balance system on the market, but I find they do the best job and keep things as simple as possible to white balance. They are definitely worth the price and will save you a lot of frustration in Photoshop trying to fix your white balance in post editing.

Painting Fruit

As a professional photographer you can forget to experiment and try something different from a wedding or portrait shoot. After a friend said they haven’t taken any photos lately because they haven’t got a chance to get out I decided to see what I could do with common items that I found in my house. Taking fishing line, a hook, fruit and water based acrylic paint I was able to create these images.

 If you want to try making your own pictures like these it is very simple. This is going be the first of many mini side projects. Stay tuned for more simple set up photo shoots. If there is a type of photo you always wanted to try to do but just couldn’t figure out how to do it feel free to suggest a topic through our contact page.

In Case of Rain at Your Wedding

As a wedding photographer I constantly am worrying about the weather. I am still amazed that I still have not had a single wedding formal shoot where it rained out the for

mal pictures. I have been very close many times, but thankfully everything has always worked out. I am never asked at the time of booking a wedding where is a good place to take pictures incase it rains. It makes sense when you think about it. When you day dream about your wedding day it isn’t the first thing you think about.

The reality is there is some nice indoor locations that are open to the public, but in many cases a couple’s venue is nowhere close to them. Most of the nicer indoor locations tend to be museums. Over this past year it has become apparent to me the 3 best ways to deal with pictures if it rains on your wedding day.

The first one is the most obvious. Going to a public place indoors like the Nature Museum or National Art Gallery in Ottawa. They are 2 of the nicer indoor locations.

The second option which is nontraditional, but gives you great results is to do your formal pictures before or after your wedding day. This idea made a lot of sense to me after a couple requested to book myself again because they always wanted pictures at a location that was over an hour away from their venue. It didn’t rain at all on their wedding day, but there was a place that meant a lot to the both of them where they wanted pictures together at. The huge benefit too is if I wasn’t the photographer at their wedding it would have been next to impossible for me to tell that their wedding photos were taking on 2 separate days. In other words all your friends looking at your photos won’t even know it was a different day unless you tell them.

The third option is book a venue that has nice places to take pictures indoors as well as outdoors. That way you insure no matter what you do you will at least get some nice pictures at your wedding. Cost of course is always a factor while planning a wedding, but if photos are important to you it is also important to book a venue that is capable of taking creative indoor pictures as well as outdoors. If you book a great venue you can relax knowing your photographer has a great backdrop to take pictures with. Who ever you decide to book as your photographer they are there to help guide you to alternative locations if requested. It is your job as the couple to check the spots out to make sure you like them and make proper arrangements to insure you are able to take photos inside a backup location. Save yourself some stress on your wedding day and think about a backup plan incase of bad weather well before your wedding day and in many cases before you even book your venue.

Some of the indoor locations in Ottawa to take wedding pictures I have used in the past are:

National Art Gallery (call in advance normally a fee)

Museum Of Nature (call in advance typically no fee)

Chateau Laurier (must have your wedding booked there to take photos inside)

Civilization Museum (call in advance sometimes a fee)

Bank of Canada (call in advance normally no fee)

Ottawa Convention Center (call in advance sometimes a fee)

Notre Dame Basilica

The Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal is breath taking. Visiting this church has been on my places to see for a while. About 3 years ago i saw a picture from this church, but never found out where the photo was taken. While attending Expoplast in Montreal I came across a picture while walking to the trade show that look a lot like the one I saw three years ago. This is exactly why it is always a good idea to bring your camera with you. I unfortunately didn’t bring a tripod, but I was still able to get great pictures without it. Though I don’t agree with having to pay to get inside a church the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal was definitely worth the 5 dollars to go inside. It is a must see if you are ever in Montreal.

I can only image how beautiful a wedding would be in the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. It is hard to get parking in Montreal so prepare to have to walk a little bit to get to the church.