Landscapes and cityscapes with the Sony A7r
Landscape photography requires a different toolset than portrait, macro or street photography. Although the mirror-less camera world is moving fast, landscapes are more of a waiting game. You need to take your time to frame and focus your shots, preferably in manual mode with a tripod and a set of filters ready and waiting.
We already have the perfect landscape camera available in the form of the Sony A7r. This high 36 megapixel full-frame camera is ideally suited for this type of images, offering an excellent amount of detail and very flexible RAW files. Although auto-focus is not as good as your run-of-the-mill DSLR, you do have the choice of many excellent wide-angle lenses from Nikon, Canon or Samyang that can be adapted to this camera.
I’m using the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for Canon here on the Sony A7r. A quirky wide angle lens, which does have some serious issues when it comes to sharpness and distortion, but I quite like it. You do need to stop down to at least f/8 for it to be more-or-less sharp in the corners, and always sharpen your RAW files. But you get more than what you payed for in my opinion.
You can find a few distortion correction files for the Samyang on the Sony A7r online, most have been adapted from either Canon or Nikon files, but they work fine with the Sony RAW files too. My workflow consists of transferring the image to Topaz PhotoFXlab after this. This is actually a fantastic suite of plug-ins I’m reviewing right now. I don’t like their effect presets that much, but the underlying plugins are very powerful. And you can actually work with layers inside the PhotoFXlab window, very useful for blending differently processed copies.
Using 2 layers, I first use Topaz Detail and process it to my liking. Secondly, I use Topaz Clarity to create the overall look and feel of the image. Most of the time, I’ll blend this with the original and process back to lightroom. One last step is to add some kind of clean film emulation in DXO Film Pack 5, I find that it improves contrast even more, and finishes or finalises the image.