A7s for landscapes?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by pdk42, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. pdk42

    pdk42 TalkEmount Regular

    Nov 26, 2014
    Hi all,

    I'm currently a big micro 4/3 user with a bunch of Oly kit. In general I'm very happy with u43, but there are times when I wish it did better in low-light and had better DR. I keep looking to the A7 as a potential path to try but I'm still hesitant. There's not only cost to consider, but I really don't want to run two systems and the thought of a wholesale replacement is too painful to consider!

    However, the itch is getting stronger and I think sooner or later I'm going to have to try one! I've a couple of Oly OM primes that I can use so I can probably get going without any massive lens investment.

    I'm thinking the best thing to do is probably to go for an A7s. Its low-light capability will give me a completely different angle to my Oly kit and I can run it alongside without it vying for supremacy! However, I do a lot of landscapes/cityscapes and I'm wondering if the relatively low pixel count will be a hindrance. Do any of you here use an A7s for landscapes? If so, I'd be really interested to hear your views.


  2. ijm5012

    ijm5012 TalkEmount Regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    Hi Paul,

    It sounds like we're in a similar boat (m43 users looking for something to give us better detail/noise performance in low light). I posted a similar question about a week or so ago, but I was considering the A7, A7R, and A7II (I was looking to spend around $1000 max, and just use adapted Canon FD lenses).

    The overwhelming consensus was to go with an A7II, due to its IBIS and ergonomics. Referencing DXO, The A7II does about 1.5 stops better in low light than my GH4, has a native ISO of 100 vs 200, and has about 1 stop of better DR, giving it a total advantage of 2.5 stops of ISO/noise advantage when shooting at base ISO (my primary use will be tripod land/city scapes at base ISO). Factoring that in, an A7II at ISO 1200 should give me roughly equivalent performance as my GH4 at ISO 200.

    I think he A7S may not be the best tool, IF you plan on doing relatively large prints of your shots. If you're just going to share via the web, or do small/medium size prints, then the A7S will perform quite well. Another option you have is to go with an A7R, as it has no AA filter, better noise performance than the A7II, and when down-razing from 36MP the noise will be even less noticeable. I've seen prices around $950 or so. Or, if you really want to minimize your investment, you could go with an original A7. It performs just as well as the A7II, and can be had for around $700. If you are going to be shooting from a tripod mainly, then the IBIS in the Mk.II models isn't going to be of any use, and the 7 or 7R may give you what you need (or more), at a lower price.

    Just food for thought!
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  3. pdk42

    pdk42 TalkEmount Regular

    Nov 26, 2014
    Thanks for the reply. The A7ii does look to be the obvious route to go - but... I have two concerns:

    - I have some wide-angle legacy primes and I hear that they don't necessarily work too well on the A7 and A7r sensors - but it seems the A7s handles them better.

    - I see the A7ii as being a good all round camera and as such it will overlap too much with my E-M1. It's perhaps irrational, but I don't want to head straight into tension with u43! ;)

    It would be good to get to play with both for an extended trial - pity that Sony don't do the "test drive" thing that Olympus do (at least here in the UK).
  4. ijm5012

    ijm5012 TalkEmount Regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    How wide of a lens do you have? I never heard of issues with the A7, but I do remember the "purple corners" issue with the A7R, although I thought that was only with VERY wide lenses (again, without knowing how wide you plan to go, it's hard to say).

    I do get what you're saying about overlap with your E-M1 though. Keeping that in mind, yeah I think either an A7R or A7S would be a good "different" camera for you to suit your needs.
  5. pbizarro

    pbizarro TalkEmount Veteran

    Nov 24, 2014
    If you are happy with 12 mpx, the "S" is a good camera. Personally, 24 mpx is a sweet spot between 12 and 36 (or 42 now), so I opted for the A7 for landscapes (always on tripod) and the A7II for general shooting (better ergonomics and IS).
  6. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    In my experience the only wide-angle primes that have issues are those designed for film rangefinder cameras. Everything else should have some vignetting at worst—and you'll still have that on the A7S. The A7S is a great camera and I suspect it will print as large and well as your EM-1 for landscapes but probably not much better. The larger pixels make it easier to get the most out of each pixel but you're still limited by 12 vs 16MP. I haven't shot and printed extensively with m43 and personally I use my A7 for landscapes and still life pics but the A7S is very capable.

    IMHO if shooting above ISO 6400 is critical to you then I'd go with the A7S regardless. Below that there's a strong case for the A7 (or A7II). Both are strong all around cameras.
  7. pdk42

    pdk42 TalkEmount Regular

    Nov 26, 2014
    Thanks for the replies. I've got two wide-angle lenses in mind to use with the A7 - an Olympus 21/3.5 and a Samyang 14/2.8. I used the latter on my 5dii I had some years ago and never got around to selling it. The Oly lens I've just bought - half with an eye to using on the A7.

    I'm beginning to think actually that the A7ii is the better choice. The IBIS and improved ergonomics look well worth having and to get those on the 12Mp sensor means the A7sii - which is a pretty pricey body at the moment.
  8. ijm5012

    ijm5012 TalkEmount Regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    If you're not going to be doing any street shooting, and plan to use it almost exclusively for land/cityscapes, the A7R may be better. There is noticeable sharpness improvement due to the lack of an AA filter, the 36MP would be amazing for doing large prints, OR scaling down to something more reasonable and making the file even sharper.

    Had I not planned on using an A7II camera to do some street photography, I would definitely go for the A7R. But since I plan on using the camera while I'm out with 35, 50 and 100mm lenses, I decided on the A7II strictly for the addition of IBIS (and the A7RII is WAY too much money for what I'm looking to spend).

    I don't think you can go wrong either way, but if you're going to be using the camera on a tripod nearly all the time, the A7R may fit the bill a bit better than the A7II.
  9. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    The a7r is truly excellent in a lot of ways, but a bit of a beta product in terms of handling speed, etc. compared to current Oly bodies. But I still love mine a lot.

    Also, the Oly 21/3.5 works fine on the A7r (I own one) and the Bower/Samyang 14/2.8 should also work fine based on what I've read and seen - it's wide angle rangefinder glass that usually has issues with the a7r corner smearing.
  10. pdk42

    pdk42 TalkEmount Regular

    Nov 26, 2014
    Thanks for that Mattia. I almost bought an A7r recently for a good price off a user on the UK E-Systems forum - perhaps I should have!

    Regarding the A7 + Oly 21 - do you have a sample or two I could look at?

  11. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Any of your Olympus lenses are going to look great on an A7s. I wouldn't be concerned about printing large either even with only 12MP. I have 18"x24" prints from my Panasonic G2 that look beautiful and the quality of the large pixels in the A7s would only look better.
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