Sony A7s and HDR Photography – Sample Photos, How-To

Sony A7s

I love HDR Photography, and the lower resolution full frame Sony A7s really needed to be tested out! I ended finding this recently abandoned facility that happened to have a wide open gate in front to my surprise! So, I drove in and parked just out of visual from the road 😉

The creep factor was really high at this place, so I really wanted to get the best bang for my buck composition wise, and the FE 35mm f/2.8 prime lens was not cutting it on the wide angle side. Therefore, I mounted up my Metabones III electronic lens adapter and my killer Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L ultra wide-angle lens to the Sony A7s. This lens performs awesome on my 36mp A7r, so I would imagine even better performance on the newer designed A7s sensor. Lets take a look shall we?

Sony A7s and HDR Photography

From the front this place is very impressive, colorful, and overgrown! The Sony A7s offers 5 frame auto bracketing which is awesome! So now, you can get more than 3 frames at once which can be helpful if you prefer using more frames than less. I find -2,0,+2 to be enough usually, but depending on the scene more can help.
I went pretty far with the processing, so this first shot may be a bit over the top for a lot of you 😉

Be sure to Click the Photos for the higher res ~1000PX versions

Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography
Sony A7s Hdr Photography

Closing Remarks:

As you can see the Sony A7s, and pretty much all the Sony cameras I’ve tested lately for that matter, is capable of creating some pretty awesome HDR Photographs. What I like about the Sony A7s in particular is the noticeable corner clarity advantage over my A7r, although much lower resolution. The additional bracketing option of 5 frames is also really nice and a welcomed improvement over the other full frame A7 and A7r. Hopefully a firmware update will add that feature for those wanting it on the other models. Self-timer with bracketing would also be a welcomed feature by me and many others coming from Canon or Nikon. I would Sony would want to make those folks welcomed, and that feature would help I believe 😉

I took all of these photos hand-held by the way, which is far from ideal and proper form. I should have used a tri-pod and remote for the best sharpness possible, but I was not supposed to be their I’m sure, and was in a serious rush. I was basically jogging from spot to spot as I was exploring for cool compositions at the same time. I really want to go back at a better time of day with some more dramatic light and clouds ideally. Then I can do the long exposures which will create to cool streaking cloud effect that you may have seen on the web. Usually in BW though, I was thinking and HDR photograph of the scene would look pretty cool as well.
If you are wondering how I processed these photos, be sure to check out my recent HDR Photography with the Sony A7r – From Start to Finish Tutorial This Way >>

Thanks again for checking in and comments and/or questions always welcomed,

  1. Dear Jay,
    your pictures are just amazing!
    I am asking myself, what I like more – your pictures or your reviews…
    Both are just great!
    Thank you & best regards, Rob.

    1. Hi Jay,
      Really nice picture and tips, thanks for your posts.
      I also love the results with manual minolta lens (these lens are a pleasure to use).
      I was wondering :
      – which is the best between the Canon EF 17-40 and the Zeiss 16-70 (E-mount) with regards of IQ (and putting AF aside) ?
      Thanks in advance,

      1. Hi Nicolas,
        That is a very interesting question, and I would give the edge to the 17-40mm lens, but it’s designed for full frame. So, on the crop factor camera it uses more of the center area of the lens optics. That, and the lens is physically larger also which helps. It’s really not that much better in any way. The lack of OSS is the biggest loss honestly.

    2. Thank you very much Rob 🙂 I really appreciate the kind words and this place was a blast to photograph! I really want to go back, but feel I got so lucky the first time not getting in trouble….

  2. PIC’s like these (great job on development) burden my heart. First, How long did the building sit abandoned & deteriorate? Then, how could we have used the building to help house the homeless & feed them to transition them to the next (better) chapter of their lives? Prayers for all the homeless (esp. our VETs).
    God Bless you & enjoy every second.

    1. I hear ya Kimberly and thank you for the comments. You would think at the very least a school or something 😉

  3. Thanks a lot for your answer Jay!
    Then, could you comment on the stabilisation performance of say an adapted EF 24-105 versus the Zeiss FE 24-70 (or the APS-C 16-70) ?
    Thanks in advance (and sorry to be slightly of topic)

    1. Hello again Nicolas and no problem 😉
      The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS L Lens is awesome and significantly better than the Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 I reviewed. Sharper lens copies are out though as I have seen the images. I would rather have the Canon lens honestly, but again I had a bad copy apparently so…. The 16-70mm is more comparable to the 24-105mm and/0r 17-40mm f/4 L lens in quality from my testing.
      I love using the 17-40mm and 25-105mm lenses on my A7r, but the focus is much slower than a native lens. It’s not to bad on the 17-40mm, but the 24-105mm can take a while to focus sometimes. Results are awesome though consistently with my older Canon L glass in my opinion.

      1. Thanks for all this info!
        Interesting to know about the AF speed. I guess this may also depend on the adaptator. Anyway, I would love to try all this lens … 😉
        On another note, it is because of one of your posts that I went with adapted minolta glass on my NEX-6! At first it was to avoid spending too much money, but I think I became rokkoroholic!!
        The MC Rokkor-PG 50 1.4 and MD 35-70 3.5 are just awesome lens.

  4. Hi Jay, I am really interested in getting into post processing, since obviously the contrast and saturation on your final is not made only by combining the 5 images (right?).
    Can you explain step by step what you did and which software.
    I have an a6000 I don’t think I can do 5 images though only 3. Would using the auto hdr work just as well and mean just having pp 1 image, or is bracketing the way to go?
    What tools at a minimum would I need to start getting into this and how hard is the learning curve. I am a bit familiar with graphics software but I’m hoping picasa or something user friendly is out there…
    Thanks Jay.

    1. Hi Jazzi and HDR photography is awesome and lots of fun. Yes you are going to want to use the AEB (auto exposure bracketing) feature. I usually use -2,0,and +2, so the +/- 2EV setting.
      Post processing I used Lightroom 5 and added contrast plus saturation. It was pretty strait forward really and I have tons of tutorials that will show you everything step by step. See Here:
      I hope that helps,

  5. Thanks for an interesting article.
    How would you explain the A7s’ “noticeable corner clarity advantage over my A7r“, when the only obvious difference would seem to be pixel density? Does this occur on RAW images, or just HDR compositions?
    I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a firmware update to improve the auto-bracketing range of the A7r, which of course does have a 5 exposure option, but with only 0,3. 0.5 or 0.7 EV increments. I assume that the A7s can do 5 exposures ± 1 or 2 EVs, because I can’t find this info in Sony’s online specifications or manual.
    The inability to use the self-timer with auto-bracketing is annoying but can be overcome by using a cheap (less than £5GBP) IR Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release for Sony NEX Cameras NEX5 NEX6 NEX7, which works perfectly with my A7r.

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