m43 or Sony E or Sony FE - cost vs quality vs weight vs use = convenience? (my particular use case)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by josema, May 1, 2016.

  1. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    Hi all,

    Here's a tricky one. I badly need your help to figure this one out.

    I've been shooting a Nex6 for more than 3 years. I have two main uses for it: landscapes (my real hobby) and family outings/events (of all shorts, including quite some family dinners, celebrations and the like, indoors).

    I got the SEL1018 for the former and the Zeiss Touit 32 1.8 for the latter (and have tried quite some other combinations, too; and I need more reach than a 32mm quite often). I also occasionally use the SELP1650 that came as kit lens when I just want to go out with a near compact camera.

    I've been pondering about a combination that would allow me to stay with: one body, one standard zoom and one ultra wide angle.

    The standard and UWA zooms for APS-C E-mount are f4 hence not the best for indoors low light situations (not to mention the SEL1018 at f4 delivers awful super soft corners). I have also read the numerous stories about the sample variation of the SEL1670z hence not too convinced about getting one (and it would have to be used hence not possible to try and return if a bad copy)

    I've had a look at m43. I've just tried an Olympus OM-D EM-10 Mark II with Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 and the Olympus 7-14 f2.8 Pro, both excellent lenses, and the camera has numerous bells and whistles, including the nice 5-axis stabilization (and stuff such as live composite) Sony is not offering in APS-C. Neat.
    Experience has been pretty good but comes at a cost with 7-14 alone at some €1,000.
    The camera grip is not any good and one needs an added grip to handle camera + those lenses properly. Camera + UWA + grip (+battery +card) total weight = 1Kg.
    Quite a bit compared to my Nex6 + SEL1018 at right below 500gr!
    (yes, I know I'm comparing a f4 lens with a f2.8 one but that is also APS-C vs m43)

    I would likely stick to Sony APS-C E-mount if they had a nice standard zoom ala m43 above (who also offers the sweet Olympus 12-40 f2.8 Pro), move to the A6300 when the body comes down in price in a year or two; but the lens offering seems better in m43 for my needs...

    Given the drop in prices of first generation of the full frame alpha cameras, especially the A7, and the weight consideration above, I've been also considering this route. The A7 can be found used in great condition around here (Spain) for €700-€800. And the A7 + SEL1635z would come at about 1Kg, too. I would also need the SEL2470z though... but going full frame is being quite tempting for a while.

    I totally understand it's very difficult to find something that will cover both uses as per the above. I also know this is a very subjective topic. Despite all that, I would love to hear your opinion.

    Many thanks in advance.

    ps: this may all be a damn GAS attack given bank account status but let's see where it takes me.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    How about keep the 10-18 for your uwa needs and get the SELP 18-105G is you want to stay APSC with an all-around zoom which is not very heavy and not very expensive? I know its still f/4 and not as compact but still...
    Personally, if I had to do it again, I wouldn't jump to FF mainly due to the lack of affordable/cheap lenses. I'd love it if Sony offered an A7 body style apsc camera ...
  3. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    Hey Nick,
    Interesting thought. I had this on the table before. The reason why I disregarded it was bulk. I hardly need the 105 reach. In this case, the Oly + e.g. 12-40 f2.8 Pro there would be a sweeter combination, IMHO.
    Btw, I hear you on the FF concern.
  4. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    What about Fuji X? There's all the glass you need and a nice variety of bodies to choose from. I bought an X-Pro1 and a number of lenses some years ago, mainly because I wasn't too happy with the Sony zooms and the low-light performance of my NEX-7. The only serious gripe I have with Fuji X is their X-Trans sensor, the way it renders certain situations and structures no matter what RAW converter I'm using but there are many happy users out there who swear by it, the so-called 'film look', SOOC jpgs and whatnot.
  5. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2011
    m43 -- great lenses, but OK sensor. Most bodies don't have PDAF either

    Sony (either system) -- good to great sensor, frustratingly incomplete lens selection

    Someone mentioned Fuji. Solid lenses, but to get best results you have to go with I think it's Capture 1 for x-trans processing. It's also a very different shooting experience, IMO.

    I'm sticking with Sony for now, but I don't think anything's clear cut, and UWA is one of the real frustrations.

    Here's one, lol -- Canon 6D with the 17-40 ;)

    I am currently an a6000 with a Rokinon 12mm 2.8 and an RX100 for fast 28mm. I can't say I have a solution either.
  6. Alex66

    Alex66 TalkEmount Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2014
    Important question is how big do you want to print as you could get away with the A7s if you only do A3 occasionally, I have had 10mp printed at A1 and they looked good. The S series would give you greater low light abilities if that is what you are after and may enable you to use slower lenses.
  7. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    Alex, I hardly print, to be frank!
  8. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    You mentioned it, the sensor. And I'm a lazy LR kind of guy ;)
  9. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Capture One might be your best bet for Fuji files but still X-Trans has its own inherent issues and some of them have repeatedly driven me nuts. I'm just back from a little walk with my NEX and I couldn't have gotten those results from the Fuji - mission impossible with that sensor. Where the Fuji shines is with people shots and low light stuff - even more so with all the fast, great glass. That's why it's still here and no A7II.

    Me too, there simply isn't a better platform for my trusty legacy glass.

    I've become a lazy rawtherapee guy lately since I get much better details than from LR but both suck big time when it comes to demosaicing X-Trans RAFs, especially for large prints. As I've said many folks seem to be happy with the X-Trans jpgs but I don't care about them too much - to keep it mildly ;).
    • Funny Funny x 1
  10. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    All compelling systems, really.
    For your stated purposes, IMHO APS-C does check a bunch of boxes. IQ would be snugly between M43 and FF but the price and size points can be pretty compelling.
    I'm a big A7 fan but that's for adapted legacy lenses and the FE primes - the FE24-70 does not strike me as being one of those lenses worth buying in to a whole new system for. (But as always YMMV.) Unless you have fairly specific resolution and/or shallow DoF requirements, FF could be a rather expensive and bulky exercise in overkill.
    I'd honestly probably stick with the Sony APS-C e-mount. (So the 10-18 corners stink, wide open - how are they at f/8?) IME any system's results are only as good as the focus and AF is said to be a real forte for the A6000/A6300. (After being there & doing that with Canon's 15-85 I'm personally not terribly attracted to any of the modern slow-ish 24-## equivalent zooms. I wouldn't mind trying the new FE GM 24-70 2.8 but that is of course a whole different kettle of fish...)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. pbizarro

    pbizarro Guest

    Unless you have very specific needs (e.g. shooting really long exposures, think several minutes), m43 will suit you fine, and offers a lot more choice in terms of different budgets.
  12. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    I shoot both systems:
    - A7r for landscape/primes usage (mostly the 16-35, 55/1.8 and CV 35/1.2)
    - mu43 for general purpose and telephoto

    The A7r with the 16-35 weighs more or less the same as my E-M1/12-40, and is about the same size; The E-M1 is by far the more refined product (better/faster AF, snappier interface, better handling, better IS, same quality EVF), and has a better lens lineup than NEX does, but the files and resolution on the A7r make it a compelling choice for landscape and situations with high dynamic range, thanks to files that are very forgiving of pushing and pulling, compared with mu43. Long exposures are also better on the A7r by a fair margin. Despite the slight 'clunkiness' (which the A7rII appears to have fixed in almost every area that matters, but at a very steep price), it's the camera I find myself reaching for more frequently for normal and landscape shooting.

    However, the E-M1's files are still prefectly lovely for landscape given the right conditions, and it's got a heck of a lens lineup to choose from. I think I'll stick with two systems for the foreseeable future, primarily because of the quality of the telephoto options (and affordability/relative compactness thereof - the 50-200 SWD and 150/2.0 which I got at good prices have no real equal in E-mount, but are only really usable on the E-M1; light gathering capability of FF equivalent 300/2.0, 420/2.8 or 600/4.0 lenses (in terms of shutter speed) combined with great IBIS can be quite compelling if you're willing to work with the quirks). Best of both worlds, and the 12-40 is just so good that I can't see myself bothering with the 24-70/4.0, and the 2.8 G lens is a) way too expensive and b) way too big and heavy for me to consider.

    If you just shoot landscape and informal gatherings, the FF A7 series can be a great system, albeit one where I would use a prime lens for low light situations. But MFT is often my go-to for low light informal shooting precisely because it has great IBIS (most low light scenes I shoot don't require super high shutter speeds), it has more depth of field at any given aperture (which isn't a disadvantage), has better AF in poor light than the A7r (by a fair margin), and some excellent normal zooms (I've owned the 12-35 panny and the 12-40 Oly since the former was stolen, would probably buy the panasonic again if the 12-40 was stolen because it's slightly smaller and balances better, although the close focus ability on the 12-40 is fantastic). I don't think you'll give up a lot in terms of IQ going from APS-C NEX to MFT, and you may gain quite a bit in terms of available high quality glass.

    So...long story short: no clear-cut answer, and a lot depends on budget. You've already got a good, lightweight ultrawide setup for landscape (where fast aperture is a non-issue), which you say is your primary interest. Why not just add a fast prime (Sony Zeiss 24 or Sigma 30/1.4) to the A6000 and be done with it? Or is the 'need' for a standard zoom really so great?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    I've read lots about the 24-70 and asked around. Agreement seems it doesn't worth the cost. But maybe this is a similar case to 16-70 where if you get a good copy you get a pretty nice lens but getting one is not that easy, and the cost of those lenses new is quite steep if quality is so so.

    Pretty good. Most of my landscapes are done with the 10-18 and it's pretty sharp across the frame there. At f4 the image is pretty soft in general and corners are really bad.
    I believe APS-C is my thing but I had quite some fun testing the Oly and it's amazing they put 5-axis stabilization in such small body.

    But I've just gone crazy. I got a 16-35FE and an A7 is on its way.

    I'm now treating on the Nex6 while waiting. The FE is leaps and bounds better than the 10-18 at f4, also better at f5.6 but at f8 they are both pretty similar with FE probably better but just by a hair... but the lens is twice the size (e.g. more than double the weight) so unless I can bear with the size and weight of it on the A7 for a considerable increase in quality, I'm going to disregard full frame and either get a 6300 and keep my lenses or go Oly.

    Time will tell...
  14. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    You didn't mention if you print big. If you print big, then you might want to move to full-frame. If you don't, then micro four-thirds is almost irresistible. M43 has the best lens selection, the stabilization is the best in the interchangeable lens business, they're easily carried.

    In a different direction, you might think of one of the one-inch sensor cameras. The RX10 might work for you.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  15. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    Mattia, great reflections. Thanks for taking the time. I already have a nice prime, the Zeiss Touit 32/1.8. It's the only Zeiss I've owned so far. It has that something I can see but not explain when looking at the RAWs no amount of post processing seems able to replicate. If autofocus wasn't that slow. I'm finally sending it to Zeiss for the firmware upgrade and hope that will make it improve although probably not much. I used to have the SEL35/1.8. Faster autofocus but no Zeiss look, of course!, decided to keep the Zeiss.

    I'm pretty happy with 10-18 and thought of finding something similar in standard zoom. Panny on the Oly is nice and agree with you on the 5 axis completely... if only Sony would have added so to the 6300... sigh...

    What I'm learning by testing all these is that we're pretty lucky as it's hard to find a bad system nowadays as all of them have quite a number of strengths.

    Many thanks again for your insights.
  16. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    As I mentioned above, I hardly print; and when I do is not big, typically A4 size or A3 at most.
    Thanks for the comment on M43, certainly still on the table.

    Took a RX100III on a family trip to Rome a couple weeks ago. Small, light, amazing cost/features/quality/size but... no fun to shoot with... at all. I felt I was taking snapshots all the time instead of photographs and was not enjoying, returned it as soon as I got home. Not for me.

    Many thanks, Bill!
  17. JonathanF2

    JonathanF2 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2014
    Los Angeles, USA
    No system is clear cut. I shoot Nikon, M43 and Sony. I like them all for different reasons!
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. josema

    josema TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Jose M. Alonso
    I've tried A7 with 16-35 on a recent trip to London. Amazed at the quality leap from my Nex system but too heavy and bulky for my taste as I travel quite a bit and live to travel light.
    Now it's A6300 while using Oly OM-D EM-10 Mark II with a 12-40 2.8 Pro.

    I've recently reflected on using the camera you enjoy the most, you have more fun shooting with.
    So far the Oly ticks that box. I like the ergonomics and the feature set and having such nice 2.8 zoom and lens selection.
    A6300 seems to be a great update from Nex6 but... somehow boring... ;)

    The quest continues...
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  19. soeren

    soeren TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Dec 12, 2014
    Næstved, Denmark
    To me the Sony aps-c system lacks longer fastish primes.
    For now Im stuck with a three lens setup, in the UWA end the samyang 12/2 which I find very good for most applikations needing wide angle.

    I also have the 24/1,8 zony and the 60/2,8 sigma, the latter being my "portrait" lens
    I wish I could have a 70 macro and some more 60-90 portrait lens options. Other than that it ticks most of my boxes. Compact and light, good image quality, sufficient shallow dof when needed in most case and to me very easy to operate/handle. Really good 3 party flash systems are now becoming more easily available for the system so most of the cons have been deals with. Im excited to see what sigma and samyang comes up with next.
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  20. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 14, 2016
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    One advantage going for a Sony E or FE system is they are compatible and which ever you get you can by another body to compliment it when funds allow and use the same lenses. I have an A7R2 and have just bought an A6000 + 16-50 kit lens as a second body and also a smaller lighter option, I really like that kind of flexibility with the E / FE range.