My wife and I took in north central Arkansas in May and I wrote a feature story about our trip for Thunder Roads Magazine. My photograph of my daughter Emily Mathews made the cover. For this story I used my Sony A7R full-frame mirrorless camera. When riding on my dirt bike, I need a camera that is small, light weight, durable, easy to carry and that still offers high quality wide angle lenses. I like to shoot wide angle and a full frame 35mm camera like the Sony A7R allows me to shoot at wider angles of view than a cropped frame sensor camera. In the past I would sometimes carry my Nikon Df camera, but even though it is one of the smaller DSLR’s on the market, it is noticeably bigger than the diminutive A7R and difficult to tuck away when riding dirt bikes.
I chose to carry a 28 F2 and 50 1.8 lens on my Sony – high quality primes that take up very little space. I usually kept the 28 F2 on the camera and carried it in a small camera pouch that I zip-tied to my dirt bike chest protector. This way I could easily pull to a stop on my bike, grab my camera, and snap a shot, without needing to pull the camera out of a backpack or tail bag. Not to mention that carrying a camera in a tail bag is a recipe for disaster, since the butt-end of a dirt bikes on rough roads is a very shaky ride.
The quality of the A7R was outstanding and the full manual controls were easy for me to manipulate, even with gloves on. I HATE touch screen controls since I often work in dirty, dusty, wet conditions and touch screens are just not all that reliable or easy to operate in adverse weather. I don’t feel the A7R or the lenses are as durable as my Nikon gear, but they are durable enough if I carry them strapped to my chest where they don’t get bumped around, and the flexibility of having a full frame camera with full manual controls and high quality lenses far outweighs carrying around a digital point and shoot camera.
This was my first story shot fully with my A7R but I doubt it will be my last. While I still plan to continue using my Nikon gear for most of my work, I expect the A7R to see more use when I need to go small, light and fast.