My name is Kenton Thatcher and I was born in London, England. Since the tender age of 14 I became immersed in the world of photography thanks to my father’s obsession for cameras and darkrooms. I started documenting my own school life through my camera and at 17, started travelling the world to assist some of the worlds most talented and celebrated photographers.
Although still travelling, I live in Lisbon where I’ve been based for the past 25 years and have built a reputation as one of the main advertising, portrait and lifestyle photographers in the country. I am blessed to have my own studio which has become one of the most creative and innovative hubs in Portugal, hosting workspaces for designers and artists.
You were one of the first professional photographer to test the Alpha 7R V. What were your first impressions and stand out features for you?
I was super excited to be one the very first to get my hands on and test drive the new Alpha 7R V, and in summary it really is a significant jump from its predecessor.
Firstly, I just love the experience shooting with it – the grip and balance of the new camera is really comfortable with a lot of depth for my hands. The camera really feels part of me now.
The new 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor is another major step upwards and great for those low angle shots, without having to personally lie on the floor each time I shoot from ground level. Of course, the new AI powered autofocus is surely a game changer in photography – the previous Eye autofocus was great for my kind of shooting, but now with this latest technology, you just don’t miss a shot. It instantly recognises the position of the eyes by human pose estimation even if the face and eyes are hidden.
And another great improvement which is critical for my kind of work, is that the camera can now focus on the eye’s surface.
How will those features impact/help the type of photography/content creation you and others in the same field do?
The Alpha 7R V fits so well in the hand, is so comfortable, it will be a huge benefit to photographers specialising in lifestyle, wedding, sports and nature photography. It simply feels a part of you. The new AI autofocus technology is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. You can run with your subject and capture sharp images every time – even shooting at the widest apertures. I particularly liked the improvement on the eye autofocus, where it will pick up the eyeball itself, rather than the eyelash. When shooting with ultra-fast aperture lenses, this can make a huge difference.
The Alpha 7R V strives to provide professionals the image quality, operability and autofocus performances they need to carry out their projects no matter how demanding they are. Do you think it achieves this goal?
When it comes to the consistency of the autofocus, I believe there is nothing to equal the Alpha 7R V. In demanding situations or poses, my Alpha 7R IV would occasionally miss focus if the subject suddenly turned away or the face became obscured. When testing the Alpha 7R V, there was not one image that was soft, despite the models striking different poses and moving during the session. In my opinion, this new AI powered autofocus offers a level of reassurance that sets it apart from other professional cameras.
Lenses and accessories are another core component of creating images. Which Sony lenses and accessories did you use for your initial test and why?
For this shoot, I decided to use three completely different kinds of lenses: the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II, the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II and the 50mm f/1.2 GM. I’ve always been impressed with the G Master lenses and they all coped beautifully with the autofocus speed and the 61 megapixel sensor.
When the sun was at its strongest, I switched between the two zooms and found the focus to be faultless, especially with the 70-200 which locked on to the eye every single time. As the light faded, I switched to the 50mm, which again performed flawlessly.
What advice would you give professionals who look up to you and your work?
Photography has changed a lot over the years, and I think it’s important to realise we all have good days and bad days as photographers. It can take much longer to achieve what we want, and it can be very soul destroying seeing so many amazing images being flashed between our eyes on a daily basis thanks to social media. If you really have that love and passion for photography, you must persevere and things will progress naturally.
Looking back over the years, I have reinvented myself many times, I’ve had several moments when I thought my time was up, however I’m currently working more now than that I have for the past 10 years. What is important is to take enjoyment in photography and share the craft.
"Photography is my tool of communication. I have learnt so much from life having a camera in my hands and listening to my subject’s stories, than in any book I’ve read - but then again I’m dyslexic"