102 Snowshoeing with the rented Sony A7C

I recently rented the Sony A7C and went snowshoeing in the Sun Valley area. It was a short but fantastic time and I got a few good images to share with y’all too. This is Latitude Photography Podcast, Episode 102 for January 18, 2021

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  1. Shooting or group submission challenges. Winter Wonderland or Within Arm’s Reach
  2. A post about your Lightroom challenges. What’s your #1 issue in Lightroom Classic? I made the post an announcement so it would be easier to find, please find it and see what others have commented, if your #1 issue is already taken, please hit the like button and then add your next item on the list that you want to learn or have addressed here on the show.
  3. Latitude Photography School Update.

Today, it’s just me talking about a recent shooting experience I had. Two of them actually. I went to the Sun Valley area for some snowshoeing and to Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho.

The Plan

  1. To rent the Sony A7C and the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8
    To have a grand time shooting it somewhere snowshoeing
    Craters of the moon or
    Northern Idaho, Kellogg area or
    Sun Valley area
  2. To do it right after Christmas. Also, I was technically still in recovery from my health troubles I’d experienced the last four months of 2020, so this was a test of sorts for me as well.

The Experience

  • Camera and lens were delivered just before Christmas, but as family was over I didn’t really get a chance to play with it until just before the shoot.
  • Drove to my folk’s place, they live in the Boise, ID, area.
    Continued the next day to the Sun Valley area, actually never got to Sun Valley the town, I just use that since y’all likely know where that is. In reality, we stayed in Bellevue and shot north of Ketchum.
  • Randy Gemar joined me once again, you may recall he joined me to Unalaska Island last December.
  • Met briefly at the hotel and then got right out to a trail. Realized my snowshoes, the ones I’ve had at least 10 years, had broken. They were useless.
  • Walked around a bit in the deep snow but then found a trail that was mostly packed snow. Shot some, but was feeling a bit rusty. Also scouted a bit for what we’d do for sunrise the next day.
  • Got into town just in time to rent a pair for the next two days.
    On Monday, we were out for sunrise. Had a grand time. Hiked about 3 miles.
  • Went back to the hotel for lunch, and then back out again for evening. Hiked for another 2.5 or so miles. I was beat. Didn’t sleep well that night at all.
  • Tuesday was mostly a wash. Tried to sleep in but didn’t really work well. As I was leaving that evening back to the Boise area I had to check out of the hotel.
  • Made the decision to drive back since I was in no position to stay out late and then drive back feeling this tired. We had planned on heading to Sun Valley for some night street photography. I really wanted to test out this camera in those conditions.
  • On the way back, I got the idea that I’d stop in and shoot at the historic Idaho State Prison.
    Got back and rested up at my parent’s place once again and got home the next day to turn right around on Thursday to take the family back for New Year’s Eve.
  • Drove out to Bruneau Dunes for January 1 shooting. Made it there at about 8:15, right about when the sun came up, but as I had already returned the A7C I only had my Canon and the a6400 to shoot there.

A7C vs A7iii

  • I read this article on dpreview.com
    Certainly they talk about the price differences, how the C is more expensive at the moment, but as a potential new convert to Sony I don’t really see this as a huge deal.
  • Otherwise, they are both very, very similar cameras.
    24MP BSI sensors
    5-axis IBIS
    10 fps
    8-bit 4K video
  • They do have bluetooth, used for transferring GPS data from your phone to the camera while shooting. I didn’t test that out as I now have a Garmin Instinct Solar, I’ll talk more about that in a future episode and how I like it for my shooting and what I’m looking to get out of a smart watch.
  • The A7C has an updated AI-trained AF system. So +1, just slightly, for this one over the A7 mk3
  • A7C uses a smaller viewfinder and only gets .59X magnification. As a glasses wearer I really noticed this. It was rather a pain really. Especially with my sunglasses. Not everything was easy to see in the viewfinder with my sunglasses on. When I took them off it was fine but then I had to adjust the diopter adjuster to see it in focus. When I used my regular glasses all was fine, but again, the screen and magnification is too small. The A7iii has a .78X magnification. +1 for the A7iii
  • The A7C is slightly smaller and I would get this camera to take advantage of that size benefit. The A7iii is a bit larger due to the viewfinder placement, mostly, but I don’t see this as much of a difference between them. If I were to have a larger lens I’d want a larger body to go along with it, especially if that lens doens’nt have a tripod collar.
  • There are differences in the shutters too, I’m not sure I care on this part either. They both offer electronic shutters, they both have physical shutters. But the differences in how they work, to me, are pointless. On the A7C the max shutter speed is 1/4000 sec, 1/8000 sec if you go with the electronic shutter.
  • When it comes to video, the AF is easier on the A7C (tracking) and I like that idea +.5 for the A7C but only .5 since I don’t do much video. In short, the a6400 is great for video and it already does such an excellent job, this one would essentially replace that it seems in the video world.

My experience using it

  • Feels good in the hand. The grip is deep enough to hold well. Even when I paired the 70–350 to it, it fit better than I expected for hand held.
  • On the tripod, however, I did wish the lens had a tripod collar.
    Memory card is not where the battery is. I love that. On the a6400, it’s in the same area as the battery and that’s just annoying to get at.
  • It charges with a USB-C port. That’s very convenient, but it’s still not powerful enough to both charge the battery and run the camera at the same time. That’s a design flaw in my opinion. Surely with a powerful enough power brick it should keep it running indefinitely.
  • Buttons and other controls are kinda small for even the thinnest of gloves. Full on insulated gloves would be impossible to use this camera with. I use neoprene skiing gloves, or a glove liner when shooting in the cold. I was able to make due, but a larger camera certainly does better with these gloves.
  • Flippy screen is great, used it many times as I got odd angle shots.
    Was able to set the shutter control to the dial I preferred which was nice. The lens has a manual aperture ring which was also excellent! I loved the traditional shooting experience!
  • The screen was bright enough for my sunglasses but as mentioned before, the viewfinder was not.
  • I was able to set it so the center button on the back control wheel item switched the wheel from AF selector to traditional controls as marked on the camera body. I loved this feature and wish I could duplicate the same on the a6400. I’ve not found out how to make this happen. I can also just touch the screen and the AF goes there which also happens on the a6400.
  • I dislike the position of the lens release button. I’m used to it being on the other side on my Canons and this is just an annoyance that I’d have to get used to if I switched.
    Noticed an odd “pixel blooming” phenomenon when I had some very bright specular highlights in the frame.

The Zeiss Lens Experience

  • Fixed at 21mm and manual focus, I wasn’t really able to test the AF performance of the camera all that much. But when I did attached the 70–350 it performed very well.
    52mm filter opening, nice and small.
  • Manual aperture ring with a declicking option for video shooters.
  • DOF marks on the lens which makes using hyperfocal distance and other shooting methods very easy. Don’t have to look at the viewfinder at all to determine exact focus range. Just set it to f/16, for example, and ensure that the subject falls within that range as indicated on the lens barrel so it’s in the range of acceptably sharp focus.
    Camera also has a MF focus assist, when I twist the focus knob it zooms in and makes it very easy to establish focus.

The Pictures

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