Blake's Camera Gear

When I finally decided to give photography a true try...well, I found that I really loved it. Years ago I bought a Panasonic G6 micro 4/3 camera.  I took it out, shot some photos, came home, looked at my photos and felt completely defeated!  The pictures were terrible!  I relegated myself to just using it for family events...the catch, however, was that I never really learned how to use a camera!  It may sound trite, but it's how you use your camera that makes you a photographer.  When I discovered that I truly loved photography I went ahead and made the the camera I wanted.       

Camera - Sony A7r II

Well, I just love this camera!  42 Megapixels of full frame goodness in a relatively smaller form factor.  The camera performs fast, has great performance on higher ISO levels, and for the most part it's pretty intuitive and easy to use camera.  Image quality is unbelievable and the high resolution make this a great choice for landscape photographers.

What are the downsides?

I can think of a few, now that I've been using the camera for a while. Batter life sucks, everyone knows that.  Sensor dust is annoying, but that's a downside to any mirrorless. 42MP results in 84 MB RAW files. That chews up space quick, and you'll (want) more horsepower on your computer to deal with them. 

Would I recommend the A7r II? 

Absolutely, it's a fantastic camera. 

Would I get the A7r III? 

I would but I don't have the desire or need (maybe want) to spend the money.  I heard Chris Marquardt talk about how he spends years with his cameras, gets to really know how to use them, and upgrade when the time is right. So, someday, by then we'll be beyond the A7r III...

Do you need this camera?

Maybe you do, maybe you don't, I can't really tell you! All I can say is it will not make you a better photographer, only you can do that.


Lens - Sony Zeiss 16-35mm

16mm is pretty darn wide, and having that room in between 16-35 is very beneficial. This lens is sharp, and produces great image quality.  It's my go to lens for most landscape situations. I probably use this lens 90% of the time.  The lowest f-stop is 4.0, which is just fine for what I use it for.

Tip: I picked mine up used on eBay, it was beat to heck but the glass was fine, and I saved nearly half the cost.  Is the Sony G master equivalent better? Probably but I'm willing pocket the savings.

Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND Filters

I currently use neutral density filters made by Formatt Hitech. I have a 10 stop filter that I typically use often during sunrise or sunset for different situations, one being to smooth out water with a 15-30 second exposure, and the other to provide just a second or two of exposure to capture movement in water.  If I want to do very long exposures (3-5 minutes), I also have a 16 stop filter that I use.

I've been happy with Firecrest filters, since the time I bought mine they came out with a new line named Firecrest Ultra.

"Burning Fog Sunrise" photo of the Pell Bridge to Newport, RI.

Bracketed photo, 4 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, using a 10-stop

Firecrest ND filter on the 16-35mm Sony Zeiss lens.

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