For many years i have been shooting with my Canon gear in the studio attached to the computer, so called Tethered shooting.

I have been increasingly shooting with the Sony A7r, because i love the image quality it delivers, but can it replace the canon gear on a day by day production shoot?

Required to shoot tethered:

Camera Sony A7r
Computer, Mac or PC
Remote Control software for Mac or PC by Sony
Remote Camera Control for Windows at: www.sony.co.jp/imsoft/Win/
Remote Camera Control for Mac at: www.sony.co.jp/imsoft/Mac/

A program to view the photos, Lightroom or CaptureOne Pro 7

A long USB cable to Connect the camera to computer,
Tether Tools USB 3 ACTV EXTENSION HI-VIS 16’CBL/ORN
plus Micro USB cable that came with the camera.

Lots of Batteries

Set up Computer:

In your camera menu of the Sony A7r activate “PC Remote” in the “USB Connection” entry. Now connect the supplied Micro USB cable to camera, attach your USB 16’ extension cord to Micro USB and the other end to you capture computer.
When the camera has connected you can open the Remote Camera Control software and go true your setting and set up a folder where the photos will be transferred too. I am using a Drobo 5D attached to my iMac, so i created a destination folder in there.

You can test now the camera, take a picture and see if it will transfer to the newly created capture folder.

To view the pictures you can use the free Sony image Data Converter software, what i wont do. I prefer using a third-party solution from Phase One caller Capture One Pro 7. C1P is a professional tool for all studio photographers in New York City, the reason on my choose is that the speed of generating a preview on the screen is unbeatable, quite important if you shoot 1000-3000 shoots a day. Other application can view the photos like Lightroom in combination of a “watch folder import function”.

In C1P you make a new session and just brows to you previously set up Capture folder and activate the “Hot Folder Enabled” function in the camera menu.
We are using the hot folder option because the C1P software does not support the sony camera direct capture. In canon case you just plug-in the 5Dmk III and C1P will connect directly to capture, no need to use any other software.

Shooting:

All up and running we start to shoot, for this demonstration i show a shoot i did few weeks ago for a Speak Soccer Project.
The Sony A7r files performed well, with more resolution and details, C1P processed nice skin tones from the RAW files.

So is the a difference between the Canon and the Sony you may ask?
My main concern became powering the camera, the Sony A7r has a greater power consumption connected to the computer.
On a normal shoot with the canon 5Dmk III typically use 2 batteries on a full day of shooting 1500 photos.
My first test with the A7r was with 2 battery with the extra grip and it worked fine for the first 20 min, i was quite surprised that the 2 battery lasted only about the time to take 100 photos.
The solution is to use an AC ADAPTER , sony makes one (Sony ACPW20 AC Adaptor) and power2000 make one that is less expensive, it will run power all day, no more disconnecting.

I have found an Anker battery pack adapted to the the battery coupler to supply power outdoors on locations, very useful for time laps photography as well.

Conclusion:

It is possible to shoot tethered wight the Sony A7r, the solution with capture one works well for me provided you connected to power. The files a much bigger then the Canon 5D what has the plus to have more details and resolution making it easier to edit and retouch and the only down side is the capture speed do to the file size (Canon raw CR2 28MB vs Sony ARW 37MB)

Happy Shooting ..