Sony A7 Camera

I got this urge over the weekend to finally go and upgrade my camera.  I decided to purchase Sony’s full frame mirrorless camera, the Sony Alpha 7 or Sony A7.  This is the model with the smaller megapixels, the bigger megapixels one being the Sony A7R.  I decided to get the A7 model because of three things:

  1. Budget – The Sony A7 and A7R are pretty much the same and the main difference is the megapixels.  Because I had to limit my expenses I decided to go for the cheaper model.

    The Sony A7 was selling at Cathay Photo for S$2,159 (with kit lens) and the Sony A7R was at S$2,499 (body only).

    The same models were selling at Sony stores around the island at S$2,199 for the A7 and S$2,549 for the A7R.  The Sony stores have a “Cash Rebate” promo until the end of June 2014 wherein they reduce S$200 and S$250 from the A7 and A7R, respectively.  The prices I have mentioned already have the “Cash Rebate” reduction.

    Online, I checked Digital Rev’s website and the price was similar to the pre-“Cash Rebate” amount from Sony.

    I did not look at other stores – I’m not really the type who canvasses a lot.

    I bought mine from Cathay Photo.

  2. Lens Availability – Although the Sony E-mount can be fitted with Nikon or Canon lenses, you have to purchase an adapter to do so.  At the time I bought the camera, Cathay Photo was selling a Metabones adapter for S$590.  I do no have budget yet for this so I settled for the kit lens.  It does have a good enough focal range for my personal taste and it would suffice for the things that I plan to use the camera for.  I am however in the process of acquiring an adapter for only S$75 that is assuming I don’t get bombarded by shipping cost.

    The Sony A7R is not sold with any lens.

  3. Speed – Of the two models, the A7 was said to be the faster of the two.  Websites mention it going 5fps compared to the 3fps of the A7R.  Most websites say that A7R is for those who take photos inside studios or do portraits.  That’s not me.

I am satisfied so far with the purchase.  I like how light it is compared to my old D90 camera.  Also, the size of the cam is a relief.  Tourist do not approach me and ask that I take a picture of them which often happens when I have my D90 with me.  I guess the bigger the camera the more “pro” you look to most people, right?

I did feel some uneasiness with the way the semi-auto functions like aperture priority and shutter priority operated.  It’s as if there is something wrong with them, which led me to use the camera mostly in manual.  I am not used to going all manual but it somehow felt easy with this camera.  I’m thinking it is probably because of the electronic viewfinder.  Whatever changes you make to your settings you see it right away in the viewfinder.  Unlike my D90, which has an optical viewfinder, you won’t see the changes.

The battery sucks though.  With my Nikon D90 I don’t have to worry about battery drain.  For the Sony A7, I started at 100% and ended my day at 20%.  I only took around 100 shots!  It was published that one full charge would last 304 shots.  I guess the suggestion from most websites are true then – get an extra battery.  It might be related to the software of the camera much like your usual smartphone.  Normally you see Apple release updates that say fix their battery issues and I feel it will be the same for any mirrorless system.

I loved having the ability to share my photos from my camera to social media in an instant.  This camera has wifi capabilities and getting your photo from the camera to your phone is easier compared to having to download your photos to your computer then upload your photos to either an online site like Flickr or directly to your phone.  However, the Sony proprietary software to download the camera, PlayMemories Mobile, is not too user friendly in the iPhone.  I noticed that for me to be able to copy pictures from my camera to my iPhone I had to constantly turn my phone’s airplane mode on and off again – basically resetting my network.  If I do not do the camera and the iPhone, even if you put them right next to each other, will not be able to find one another.

It has an NFC chip so I assume getting the pictures to your phone will be easier for most Android phones.  Apple still has not introduced NFC to the iPhone at the time of the writing of this post.

Overall, I am happy with the camera especially the connectivity it offers.  I am hoping that Sony will find a way to reduce the battery drain and also to improve their PlayMemories app.  As for the lenses, Sony is reported to be releasing 14 or 15 lenses within 2014 – currently they already have 5 including the kit lens.  The lenses are not cheap though but they are Carl Zeiss lenses.

Below are some samples of the photos I took with the Sony A7.

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iOS 7 Issue with iPhone 4s? – Phone Shuts Off Even with 10% Battery Remaining

It’s been almost a month now since I migrated to iOS 7.  So far the experience has been ok for me.  I haven’t encountered those horror stories related to iMessage and the other bugs that were documented by various websites and news organizations.

I did try that bug with the Passcode screen which allows anyone to bypass the security and it does happen.

I didn’t have that issue with the motion sickness as well but that is not entirely iOS 7’s fault.  It’s more of each individual person’s composition – if you get dizzy easily or not.

Anyway, I haven’t updated my iOS 7 to the latest version as of the writing of this post.  I’m a bit hesitant to do so right now because I am in a time of my life right now when I need my phone to be behaving properly.  Like I said so far my experience has been ok so far so I’ll keep things the same for a while.

On that note there is one major experience which is not ok.  It’s somewhat related to the battery drain issue raised by a lot of people.  Battery drain in iOS and iPhone’s is nothing new.  It’s always been there since day 1.  What do you expect?  With more features you’ll need more power, right?

The issue I encountered is that when my iPhone 4S reaches 10% of battery remaining my phone would suddenly turn off.  That behavior only occurred to me during iOS 6 days when I’ve totally zeroed out my battery.

In iOS 7, even if I still had 10% remaining it just shuts off and when you try to turn it back on it won’t.  It will show an icon that tells you that you need to plug in.  It will only come back to life once you start charging your phone.

I don’t know if this is a bug or if my battery is just no longer performing at optimum levels.  I hope it’s a bug of course because I don’t want to upgrade to iPhone 5S as of now. 🙂

iOS 7 Released – Product Review with iPhone 4S

Instead of me getting some shuteye earlier today I did what a normal IT geek will do – upgrade his/her phone’s OS to the latest version. 🙂

And yes that’s what I did.  It didn’t take long for me.  I spent around 30-45 minutes with the whole process of backing up my phone, upgrading iTunes to the latest version (because that’s the only way I would be able to upgrade my phone according to iTunes itself), upgrade my phone’s OS, redo some initial setups after the iOS 7 was installed, and checking out some of the new features.

Once I was satisfied with the results that’s when I decided to catch some sleep.  Told you!  Typical IT geek.

Just to give everyone a background, I’m using iPhone 4S which isn’t the latest model for iPhones at this time.  This combination of an old phone plus a new OS normally leads to lots of issues for the phone owner (i.e., ME) based on past experiences.

So here are what I have so far observed after upgrading to iOS 7’s production release version.

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MyFitnessPal | Product Review

In my goal to become fit I have often looked into technology to help me gain an advantage over my on-going battle with obesity.

One way technology has contributed is by providing people like me access to free calorie counter applications both in our mobile devices and in our desktop.

These year I have tried several calorie counting applications to find the best fit for me and as of now the app of choice for me is MyFitnessPal.

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How Strong is Your Willpower? Review of Armour39 by a Fat Boy

Under Armour has recently released a new gadget that they say will revolutionise how athletes perform during practice or exercise.  They call it Armour39.  It measures a few metrics but the one that Under Armour is marketing most is their own version of Nike‘s Fuel.  They call it Willpower – it’s how much effort you gave during your exercise.

I do not know the formula or calculation behind them coming up with your Willpower but this gadget makes more sense than Nike Fuelbands which doesn’t really measure things correctly (e.g., the number of calories burned by a bicep curl and lifting a mug of beer are equal).

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