• Welcome to TalkEmount.com, the best Sony E-mount camera and photography community on the web.
    Click here to join for free and enjoy unlimited photo uploads in our forums.

asking for opinions and inputs on my A7 ownership experiment

pellicle

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
271
Location
Killarney, Queensland, OzTrailEYa
Just to couch this in some terms, I have long been an interested observer in the A7 (like from the rumor stage) and had considered (perhaps still consider) the RX1, but man they're really holding their price.

I don't want to be getting out of m43 (as will become clear in the post) but as to if keeping the A7 and developing a 2nd system (third if you count my LF film system) is "my bag baby". The following is long (quick glance shows that) because I wanted to clarify (even if only to me) what I'm thinking so that others can respond with a greater knowledge of what I'm thinking and why.

There are a number of components in this "experiment" which makes it harder to clarify in my mind, let me break this into:
  • lenses
  • sensor
  • image details (as opposed to sensor stuff)
  • handling
  • convenience
  • cost (price)
Looking at sensors (cos they are important in capturing an image) I've long been of the view that specs don't tell the whole story, but of course are a starting framework for analysis. So (since I started with the GH1 before the Sony A7 existed) when the A7 was eventually tested. Conventional (simplistic) Wisdom suggests that there is a 2 stop advantage, but my observation (and personal testing against other m43 sensors) shows that the GH1 sensor was pretty much head and shoulders above the m43 crowd (and remains quite good to this day). This is due to (unlike almost any other) the GH1 sensor gave effective speeds which were higher than setting. This gives it a leg up:

GH-Sony-ISO.jpg
   ---            

which becomes apparent when comparing the other aspects:

GH-Sony-SNR.jpg
   ---            


At lower ISO its obvious that differences aren't as important as both Sony and GH1 sensors give a stout performance, but at the (important to me) higher ISO settings the differences are closing to about a stop. As shown above the GH1 set to 800ISO returns about 1200ISO and the A7 set to 3200 returns about 2400 ISO (or about a stop difference). If you look through all the test charts you'll observe that this pattern is consistent across SNR and DNR, Colour Sensitivity and Tonal Range. Link here.

This is in some ways borne out in real world examples, until you start to push the files away from "standard curves". If one is doing some tonemapping (mask based such as people call HDR processing) noise in the GH files seem more pronounced, which I feel is related to the lack of equality between channels in recording the low end figures in the RAW data.

So depending on what I do sometimes the A7 pulls ahead, other times "not so much".

Lenses
I began using m43 with a lot of legacy lenses, because in 2009 there simply weren't any native alternatives. Being interested in nesting birds I quickly got a 200f4 and 300f4 in FD and was really happy with them. In all I retained them and a 50f1.4 which I kept using in m43 (although the O45f1.8 brought a halt to me using the 50f1.4) and added a 100f2.8 (having parted with my OM100f2.8 just a few years ago now).
Since getting the A7 I quickly found (as expected) that the contrasts SOOC of the 100, 200 and 300 were much better, and the DoF control afforded was superior than when used on the m43 system (although I'm not sure I feel that way about the OM lens). In some ways being able to choose body for the lens makes the lens two lenses. The FD50f1.4 performs wonderfully in a contemplative role
dsc04802-02-jpeg.jpg
ILCE-7    ---    NANmm    f/NAN    1/2000s    ISO 160


Even the FD300f4 does some great landscape stuff
dsc04781-01-jpeg.jpg
ILCE-7    ---    NANmm    f/NAN    1/1500s    ISO 1000


with much better contrast than anything I currently have in m43 (which would be something like a 150) ... as long as one has some time up ones sleeve ...

However there are a number of very nice (probably better) cost effective native lenses in all these (even effective) focal lengths (lets exclude the 300f4 from that due to costs) in m43 now. For instance I have the P20f1.7 which I feel to be at least the equal of the Samyang 35f2.8 and perhaps not too far behind (what I've seen of) the Batis 40f2 or the Voightlander 40 (which has an unacceptable to me curvature of field). But I wonder would I be able to get an image like the this one from any m43 100 mm lens (taken with FD200f4)

dsc04644-01_20181028_061643-jpg-jpg.jpg
ILCE-7    ---    NANmm    f/NAN    1/750s    ISO 800


So if money was no question (well I wouldn't be asking anything here) I'd just get the lenses I want on the A7 and ... Bob would be my Uncle ... but a conservative estimate would be about US$5000 to get that (and I only have Australian Pesos).

So I feel that in this way, the A7 is a significantly constrained by my ability to provide it lenses.

Image Details in every side by side I've done with my A7 vs my GH1 (and in comparison between my GH1 and GX80 and G80) suggest that without question the A7 produces what (to my eyes) appears to be about double the actual resolution (even though 6000 is not double 4000), which is also not inconsistent with what one sees in specs of tests over at DxO (which is hard because the A7 has no tested lenses, but looking at differences between say the A7Riii & 85f1.8 and any m43 & O45f1.8).

But a question I've always asked is "how much detail do you need", and to be honest for everything except monster prints (and perhaps 4K viewing in the future) the images of my GH1 are quite sufficient (and even my GF1), for instance this is an album of images I took in Prague with my GF1 here. There is some noise in the shadows but they were (in the main) processed on my android phone (often from a Bar in Prague) and uploaded to Flickr and or shared directly to my friends on Facebook.

So far nobody has ever said of any of my prints: "Oh mate, that really should have been shot on Full Frame".

Handling
I like many things about both systems, if I had to pick however I'd say I do prefer the handling and controls of the A7, I love being able to use the rear wheel (and I did use EOS for many a year) to move ISO quickly. Additional features in the information available in the EVF dislpay (and even making that different to what is shown on the rear display) is fantastic, a great advancement and better / more intuitively done than any m43 camera I've yet picked up and used (G1, GF1, GH1, G2, GH3, GH4, GH5, OM-D EP1, EP2, EM-5 (mk1 and 2)).

EVF Display quality is great, although I do prefer the way the inscreen histogram is implimented in the Panasonic cameras)

Controls are laid out as if they consulted with me. In some ways I prefer it to the GH1 and its interesting that despite the muscle memory of using the GH1 (since 2011 and the G1 before that) I find myself operating my GH1 as if its my A7 and then going "oh, yeah". So points to the A7 right there for that.

I do miss the swivel screen (which I do use)

Convenience
Both the A7 and the GH1 are about the same size, but when travelling the clean slab nature of the GF-1 is hard to beat. That and the more compact nature of my lens choices (P14f2.5 + GWC-1, P20f1.7, P12-32 and O45f1.8 are my usual travel kit (some of which may remain in accomodation or in the car) and its really hard to imagine that the A7 could match that versatility, low weight and small size.

Which is why I won't be ditching the m43 any time soon ... its my compact travel outfit.

Cost
I guess this is where I just fail to wish to dedicate the money of US$1200 on a lens, which is what I'd have to do to get an even partially automated lens (such as the V40f1.2) or more for an automated one (Batis). I can use manual focus lenses (which I am) and that of course lowers the cost, but (for instance) when doing portraits having AF is a big help when dealing with normal people (meaning not models). Kids in particular (tried doing some of that with my FD100f2.8) were tough and eye controlled AF would be nice (when dealing with the sorts of shallow DoF one can get and use effectively with the A7

However I went into this with the view that the A7 cost me less (a lot less) than a better m43 camera (I was looking at the G9 or the G80) and still give me better IQ when working in a landscape manner that involves 100ISO and manual focus lenses (perhaps at f8 or so).

So for now I will be continuing the "experiment" but somehow it feels "wrong" having two systems hanging around when just the m43 system would do 99% of what I want (well ok, 70% of what I want and please my friends who like my pictures 99% of the time).

Thanks for any thoughts :)

hatTip_frame_0053.jpg
   ---            
 
Last edited:

Tipton

TalkEmount All-Pro
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
1,010
Real Name
Rae Leggett
You really seem to be looking for reasons to stick with m4/3. Here's my opinion...use the camera you love. Don't care what anybody else thinks. We won't think less of you.
 

TonyTurley

TalkEmount Hall of Famer
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
2,166
Location
West Virginia, USA
I'm also an MFT user, and recently acquired a used A7II. I was hesitant to add a second system, but wanted to give FF a second try after briefly owning the original A7 several years ago. I'm also a long time legacy lens user, but have found my keeper rate of late is better with native lenses. A few days ago, I took some late evening sunset images with both the G80 + PL 12-60 and A7II + Sony FE 35/2.8. While the images from both were pleasing, I found the MFT images needed more work to clean up background noise, which was to be expected. I plan to keep both systems, and use them to augment each other as the situation dictates.
 

JonathanF2

TalkEmount All-Pro
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
1,289
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I was a big M43 hold out, but with so many players in the FF market, prices will only start to go down. Honestly I feel M43 will be in a tough spot, especially with Olympus not offering any large sensor alternative. I recently shot a large event and Sony cameras were everywhere, from working pros to amateurs. This is the first year I've seen such a shift.
 

bdbits

Super Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
2,672
Real Name
Bob
As you said yourself, nobody looks at a picture and says "oh that should have been shot on full frame." So as Tipton said, use the camera you love.

Have you taken a look beyond Sony, Zeiss, and Voigtlander? We are finally getting a lot of the 3rd-party lens makers jumping on board, many of them very good or arguably better than some of Sony's offerings while being more affordable. Take a look at Tamron for instance. They are churning out some great glass recently. Laowa/Venus is another interesting option, or Rokinon/Samyang/Bower, though many of these two are manual focus. Another option is Canon on the MC-11 adapter, which is a very popular alternative with good autofocus.

I started with Sony on APS-C (NEX-5N) and mostly went full-frame because... well, there were other reasons but I learned photography on 35mm film and it works better in my head to have the equivalent. Maybe Sony's APS-C offerings would work better for you (and they are considerably more compact). I love Sony mirrorless and do not see myself switching any time soon, but that's me.
 

WNG

TalkEmount Hall of Famer
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Messages
4,530
Location
Arrid Zone-A, USA
Real Name
Will
I guess I don't understand the problem. If there really is one. Imaging 'quality' will no doubt be improved with physically larger sensors, and latest revisions of that technology.
You will always have pluses and minuses, and it's a matter of compromise. If you must only have a single system...a self-imposed constraint in my opinion, then only you can determine what compromises you can accept while going forward. Some of us have had to make a decision to switch....to abandon what we're familiar with. I did so years ago leaving Canon and adopting Sony. As time has marched on, I'm glad to say, I chose wisely and it was a very good decision.
I still have a desire to have the convenience and flexibility of a smaller lighter set up and a full frame body. I frankly don't see why I must relegate myself to one. If there are no financial restrictions, why not keep your m4/3 gear and continue to explore full frame mirrorless?
I began with APS-C, and wanted to see what my collection of 35mm film lenses would render on a proper full frame sensor. And by choosing the Sony E-mount system, it has allowed me to enjoy my desired flexibility with seamless interchangeability.
You are getting a taste of the opportunities provided by full frame mirrorless with your Canon lenses on the A7. Imagine them on the next generation body with IBIS, a sensor that has a thinner sensor stack, improved ergos, improved EVF. The latest (A7III) revision packs an outstanding sensor with greater dynamic range. class-leading AF from increased processor power. As you stand at your crossroad, just starting to embark on this Sony journey, you got to ask yourself, what is ahead to look forward to. Does m4/3 offer a convincing story to turn back?
Personally, the horizon for Sony is a distant promising one, while m4/3, albeit an excellent system, I don't see their path as reaching, more like glimpsing the end of the road.

Panasonic has made a definitive move to invest in full frame. Concerned eyes are on Olympus.
 

pellicle

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
271
Location
Killarney, Queensland, OzTrailEYa
Hi
thanks for your reply ... its helpful to think outside of my own existing frame of reference.

I guess I don't understand the problem. If there really is one.

If I had to summarise my "issue" into a sentence its this:

are the known and clear advantages of having an A7 worth it to me?

You will always have pluses and minuses, and it's a matter of compromise. If you must only have a single system...a self-imposed constraint in my opinion, then only you can determine what compromises you can accept while going forward.

true (all points), however sometimes in discussion with others one can see that what one thought (me in this instance) is not the complete picture.

In terms of constraint, budget is a constraint, which I choose to apply. Others may choose differently

Some of us have had to make a decision to switch....to abandon what we're familiar with. I did so years ago leaving Canon and adopting Sony.

I understand that, indeed I've "chosen to switch" in a different way (not as sudden) when changing from
  1. 4x5 and 35mm film & compact pocket digital
  2. added APS-C and holding out for Full Frame to become affordable and good (extended for many years there) with "pro-sumer" and the other two films
  3. Examining m43 and getting rid of all APS EOS gear (including lenses) over a 2 year period
  4. now dipping my toe into Full Frame with the A7 and seeing its benefits but also seeing its costs

Leading me to consider carefully.

If there are no financial restrictions, why not keep your m4/3 gear and continue to explore full frame mirrorless?

Because there are financial restrictions. Because I see that the lenses I've tried on my A7 so far are showing how good a system it is, and that I feel are now the limiting factor, and new FF lenses are probably out of my justifiable budget for some time.

... Imagine them on the next generation body with IBIS, a sensor that has a thinner sensor stack, improved ergos, improved EVF. The latest (A7III) revision packs an outstanding sensor with greater dynamic range. class-leading AF from increased processor power. As you stand at your crossroad, just starting to embark on this Sony journey, you got to ask yourself, what is ahead to look forward to. Does m4/3 offer a convincing story to turn back?

well put, and the answer is "do I defer or just keep this" ... knowing that an original A7 will be worthless soon, so unless I just want to loose money perhaps I should truncate the experiment now?

Thanks for your thoughts ... I'll continue to ponder this.
 

saledolce

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
60
I'm in a similar position, have a fairly complete m43 kit and recently added an A7ii.

I wouldn't make is so complex, shoot the stuff you like better, sell what you don't use.

My Sony A7ii is the camera I used more in the last two months, so sold the kit lens (plus Rx100v, plus two m43 lenses) and purchased a nice 24-105 f4 for it.

If it keeps gaining shooting time, I'll probably plan an A7iii, if it doesn't... it will go and I'll invest in more Oly pro glass.
 

Christop82

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
141
Similar experience here. I also added a fuji into the mix. I sold off basically all my m43 gear after purchasing an a7ii ( for the second time.)
I also bought an old xe1 to use with manual lenses and have been very impressed by the noise handling and detail. It rivals the a7ii. The 7artisans 35mm f1.2 stays attached permanently and it's pretty amazing for a cheap, compact f1.2.
I just purchased the tamron 28-75 2.8 for the a7ii and so far I'm impressed . Larger than I would prefer, but AF is fast and silent. At f2.8 on FF I'm still able to shoot in low light situations.
I do find that I'm missing my m43 cameras, and will most likely pick up a gx85 to use with a sigma 60. The only m43 lens I did not part with.
So to sum it up, keep both systems and add a fuji. ;)
 

Biro

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Oct 21, 2012
Messages
264
I run both full frame (Sony A7 and A7III) and micro four thirds (Panasonic and Olympus) kits. I think they complement each other very nicely.

Generally, for landscapes and portraits, it's full frame. For wildlife and street work it's mu43. For me, it's a matter of having the right tool for the job - although either kit could be used for everything.

I say keep both kits and stop worrying. :)
 
Last edited:

pellicle

TalkEmount Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
271
Location
Killarney, Queensland, OzTrailEYa
Thanks guys.
I think last night was an experience suggesting just that.
I went up to a local lookout and wanted to take a shot of the moon rising over (and truncated slightly by) a local mountain. I took my GH-1, my A7, FD 300f4 and the little Samyang 35.

The results were that the GH-1 would have got me the moon shot, but I had the A7 on the 300mm lens (which could also not get a satisfying shot) and as this all happens too fast to swap out bodies I just left the GH-1 in the camera bag.

I then got a very satisfying shot with the A7 & Samyang after the moon rose a little (placed in showcase BTW) that I wouldn't have been able to get as cleanly with the GH-1.

dsc05073-01_20190220_201916-jpg.jpg
ILCE-7    ---    35mm    f/2.8    10s    ISO 800


So indeed both are complimentary cameras.

My logic was on buying th A7 was that it would be cheaper than adding a G80 to replace my GH-1, provided something the G80 couldn't, be able to use some of my lenses and be cheaper (I got the A7 for $600)

(PS edited because I discovered that Autoincorrect on my phone keeps switching words from what I type to what it predicts ... and I typed shot not shit)
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top Bottom