Posted by
Jeffrey (Scottsdale, United States) on 27 July 2014 in Documentary & Street and Portfolio.

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

I was out until 3:15 am or so Saturday morning, although this photo was taken around 1:30 am. I hadn't planned on staying out that late (or long, as I left my house around 11:30 pm) but as sometimes happens, everything fell into place and was working for me, so why not? Of course, I felt like crap all day, having managed just a few hours of sleep, but as the saying goes, one must suffer for one's art, eh?

I was also testing a lens support system I had fabricated (it's a bit clunky in use, but it works, and best of all, it cost nothing because I used scrap materials I had on hand) and experimenting with a couple of ideas in an effort to address the blotchy shadows problem I've experienced. One of those ideas was turning off the long-exposure noise-reduction Sony implemented, based upon a comment I read about another camera's noise-reduction scheme by somebody who is knowledgeable enough to understand how they work, having retired from a career as a designer of, among other things, digital imaging processing systems (see http://blog.kasson.com/.) And to my surprise, this does seem to have improved the results noticeably ... who'd a thunk it?

I will need to experiment further and also do some more research, but my initial review of the results suggests Sony compromised the camera's performance in the deepest, darkest shadows in order to achieve better results elsewhere across the spectrum. If so, it's a decision that makes some sense given the needs of the average photographer, but one that caught me out, as I am very much an outlier, what with long-exposure, high-contrast, nighttime photography being my principal focus. But I do seem to be making progress addressing it -- see the photo above! -- and am now cautiously optimistic that an a7R may indeed work well for me...