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Sony A7/A7II (24MP) vs higher MP for Zeiss CY

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Roscoe, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    I'm looking at the Sony A7 series to run my Zeiss glass. See there's a line of thought that at 36MP and higher, FF legacy glass starts to ... er... uh... "loose it's luster" relative to more contemporary glass. If this is true, then the 24MP cameras ought to be favored by those like me shooting Zeiss CY glass. Ditto for the IBIS given my 135mm technique isn't as stable handheld as I'd like. Appreciate hearing your thoughts and experience. Maybe it's hogwash? Curious 'bout your thoughts and experience. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  2. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Veteran

    279
    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    I own and primarily use a Sony A7ii, but not a higher MP Sony camera. So my experience does not speak to a comparison between 24 MP and higher pixel counts. I use legacy M mount (Leica rangefinder mount) lenses if they are longer than 50mm (plus the CV 35 f/1.2 which seems to work OK in the corners for me). I also use some more up-to-date Sony FE mount lenses (Sonnar 55mm f/1.2, Batis 25.. f/2.0, and Sony 70-200mm f/4). So I can talk about legacy vs recent lenses on the A7ii.

    Basically, the legacy lenses draw images on the A7ii like they did on film. What I liked about them before I still like. The IBIS allows me to handhold in lower light than I could previously - though moving subjects, of course, still blur at slow shutter speeds. The IBIS is wonderful with legacy glass (and with long focal lengths).

    24MP is plenty for me and my casual, family-journaling, and oh-that-looks-interesting kind of photography. Though I do not have any measurements or formulas to back it up, I feel that 24MP is about the sweet spot for high quality legacy glass. Your photographic style may benefit from more pixels. I am glad I did not put my money into more pixels when I bought the camera a year ago.

    I do notice that the Sonnar and Batis lenses make images that look more detail-rich (slightly) than the legacy lenses. I am not talking about pixel peeping, but viewing at normal sizes and on a computer monitor. I think it may be a color and contrast kind of thing along with great resolution. I suspect that the recent lenses are intensionally designed to be somewhat future proof so that they will continue to be marketable as the sensors resolutions grow. I think that is worth keeping in mind when purchasing lenses.

    So, basically, I think you are thinking correctly. I, too, am interested in other opinions....
     
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  3. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I have both an A7 (24 MP) and an A7R2 (42 MP) as well as 5 native FE lenses and a lot of legacy glass, mostly Minolta. Of course lenses show their defects more on the A7R2, the best lenses really shine, lesser ones fall through when pixel-peeping. On the other hand, pixel-peeping becomes less relevant with resolutions that high: pictures will be perfectly acceptable even when printed large even if the lens shows some deficiencies, and that holds true for native glass as well. The FE 4/24-70mm zoom for instance isn't perfect but I still like it a lot. I don't have any rangefinder lenses so I have no experience with lenses that give extra problems due to an exit pupil close to the sensor. To give you an idea, lenses of mine that hold up well on the A7R2 when suitably stopped down: Canon FD 2/35, 1.4/50, Macro 4/200, Carl Zeiss Tessar 2.8/45 (C/Y mount), Olympus OM Zuiko 2/40, Macro 4.5/135 (bellows lens), Minolta MD 2.8/35, 2/50, Macro 3.5/50, 2/85, 2.5/100, Macro 4/100, 2.8/135, Schneider Xenar 4.5/135 and 4.5/150 bellows lenses. I never use legacy zoom lenses. Your C/Y glass will probably do just fine on the A7R(2), it's quality stuff after all.

    My personal view is that there is no reason to avoid the A7R and A7R2 because their resolution would be too high for legacy lenses, but I also think the higher resolution isn't that important. I bought the A7R2 primarily to avoid the A7's sensor reflections and as a bonus I got a much more advanced camera: IBIS, more cropping ability, much more advanced autofocus, better finder eyepiece, auto ISO mininum shutter speed, eye AF, tougher lens mount, better dynamic range etc. Personally I wouldn't go for the A7R if you are even remotely thinking of using telephoto lenses, shutter shock can spoil the fun; it was the main reason I didn't go for the A7R at the time because I had nasty experiences with the Panasonic GH2 in that department. I know it's a controversial topic but personally I'm sure that shutter shock will be detrimental to image quality of telephoto lenses. I'd pick an A7II over an A7R any day of the week.

    Concerning IBIS, a 135mm lens without OSS is about the longest focal length I can handle comfortably even with IBIS; at 200mm and up the viewfinder image jumps around even with IBIS on which makes focussing in magnified view hard. The picture however still benefits from IBIS even up to 600mm which is the longest focal length I've tried so far.
     
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  4. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul TalkEmount Veteran

    334
    Feb 14, 2016
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Paul
    The only legacy lenses I've used on the A7R2 (and A6000) are the CV12 and CV15 (both Mk2 versions).
    They work really well, the only thing noticeable is vignetting which LR can correct anyway (and also corrects any distortion). The IQ is excellent, I'mean really good, sharp, detailed, nice contrast.
     
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  5. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    i come at this a bit differently. my personal opinion is i felt 'luster-losing' already occured--at 24mp. sure, for pixel peeping--which i unapologetically do--the extra resolution got me excited, and i'm sure would get me even more excited at 36 or 52 or wherever this continues to go.

    but when i stand back from the pixel peeper in me and look at an image more as a whole, i feel sensors maxed out somewhere between 16 and 20. for me--and its only an opinion--my eye is overall more pleased below 24mp. i find these high rez sensors leave me a bit cold and just come across as, i dont know the right word, processed, digital, distinctly unfilmlike. anyway, i dont think anyone should feel insecure if they decide at whatever mp count they personally find most appealing. my contribution is that decision should be based on ones personal 'eye' and not a kind of mindless 'ive gotta have the latest/greatest' or the 'most-est'
     
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  6. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    rbelyell: I've collected a few legacy Zeiss lenses over the last few months. Enjoying the manual shooting, and like to stick with it, but interested in a FF Sony with IBIS as a "better" platform as the glass gets longer when I'm in handheld mode. Lots of dealers seem "out of stock" as regards the A7II, and their used inventory is close to zilch, too. So I'm somewhat concerned for scarcity developing in the meantime while I sell of some Fuji lenses to fund this step. What I'm afraid of is that if the 24MP's go away, then I'm "stuck" with only higher MP options, and the higher MP options will push me to get new glass. And then, instead of getting off the perpetual upgrade bus with "one last ticket", I'm actually hooking myself on a series of upgrades (camera + lenses rather than just camera) to make that work. While I'm sure the manufacturer's would love it... that's really the complete opposite of my intention. And in full disclosure, collecting CY mount Zeiss... I've found the 21mm lens runs $1,400 and more.... while the Zeiss Loxia equivalent is about the same, weather sealed, and enables EXIF without a pen and paper. All of which leaves me with one of those things that make you say, "Hmmmmm."
     
  7. cvt01

    cvt01 TalkEmount Regular

    164
    Jan 3, 2015
    You can have your cake and eat it it is called A7SII :D low megapixel and almost all the current bells and whistles :D Have you had the chance to compare that 12mp sensor to the 24mp?

    I own a 11mp 1Ds, a 16mp 1Ds II and a 24MP Sony. Among the three the most lifelike pictures are the ones taken by the 1Ds hands down.
     
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  8. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    yeah, i agree. i think if one is decided on ff mirrorless the a7s or ii is the way to go, imo.
     
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  9. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    Don't know the Sony line-up. I thought the "S" version of the A7 models were for "cine".
     
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    The A7II is a current model and no successor is in sight at the moment. The scarcity you mention pertains to all A7 models, Sony's sensor production suffers from the earthquake's aftermath. When they recover the drought in camera supplies should end. And indeed, there aren't many used A7II's around, that says something I think. More megapixels doesn't have to be a problem, I haven't discarded lenses because of the upgrade to the A7R2.
    They are indeed thought of as primarily video cameras.
     
  11. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    S is for "Sensitivity" - The higher ISO capabilities of the camera due to the larger pixels, which is great for video, hence the "cine" niche in which everyone throws the camera.

    If you are only going to shoot legacy glass with manual focus, the A7Sii may indeed be a good choice. IBIS for the legacy lenses is a must, and you won't care that the A7Sii does not have PDAF.

    For me, I am waiting to see what the next set of cameras have to offer. Had the A7Sii included PDAF, I most likely would have picked one up by now. I like the A6000, wish I could have the A6300 instead, and want many of those features in a FF, IBIS camera. The A7ii doesn't have the # of focus points of the A7Rii, but the A7Rii is overkill pixelwise and pricewise. All of the A7's only shoot 5fps compared to the 11fps of my A6000.

    So I've been unable to pull the trigger. Pick out your requirements, and don't make compromises. If you don't find what you need, wait.
     
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  12. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    Thanks folks! This is really helpful. I have that same inclination of "wait and see". But for now... with the good insight and advice here, I've arranged a weekend rental with Lensrentals.com for a Sony A7II together with a Zeiss Loxia 21mm at the end of the month. This will answer a couple of questions that only a trial can solve.

    For one, as a Fuji shooter, I have no experience with Sony's line, and I want cure that with more than an in-store trial. I've read through the Matsumoto/Boullard Rockynook book on the Sony A7II and that's helpful... but I'm also intrigued that now I've come to like Zeiss glass, I'd like to see whether or not the Loxia line-up is my cup of tea, and a worthy substitute for the crazy legacy Zeiss glass where the Zeiss CY-mount 21mm runs $1,600 and similarly sky high prices for the 35mm and 100mm. Contemporary Zeiss lenses don't look so pricey when you see these!! and the specs for the newer stuff seem pretty good. FWIW, Lensrentals also sells equipment used... so that becomes another option once it's on-site. The prices quoted seem reasonable, and it seems a fairly attractive way to go. But patience is a virtue and we'll just have to see. If the IBIS helps shoot a 135mm handheld with awesomely sharp focus (from lack of motion), that'd be a big convincer. If not... then I might end up sitting on the fence a little longer, allow Sony to crank up its "pro" services, or even wait for Nikon and Canon to give them a run for their money? LOL. No, I'm not THAT patient.
     
  13. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    That's quite a combo you're going to rent, looking forward to your experience with it. I rented an A7R2 and ended up buying one for myself the very day I returned the rental. Since then I know: only rent something you can afford to buy :D.
     
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  14. cvt01

    cvt01 TalkEmount Regular

    164
    Jan 3, 2015
    Loxia 21 and Batis 18... the two WA I really want to have but can't afford. That and the two Voiglanders (10, 12)
     
  15. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    Think I'd like to have a Loxia, but not sure when... so that may stick at the ambition level for now. Thinking of a Contax (Zeiss) CY 18mm F4 in the meantime to complement my 28mm. But if the camera can deliver the goods with legacy glass and the Loxia attests to the quality of the Sony "lens echo system"... then the camera will definitely be a keeper. The Loxia line-up is supposed to get extended... and I like the manual focus, manual aperture... the whole nine yards most of the time. Having EXIF and a few other benefits in a new line of Zeiss might become worthwhile... down the road.
     
  16. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Downsample.

    Using the same lens, 42MP downsampled to 24MP will always have superior IQ and look better than 24MP straight out of camera.

    Always.
     
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  17. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    So you're recommending the A7rII instead of the A7II for this reason? I didn't know the term: "downsample". Looking it up, I find it's a way of dealing with moire/aliasing, and it's one of the modes the A7RII can operate with/in? Do you find this "better" than running the A7RII in 42MP?
     
  18. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I'm saying that even a lens doesn't look as good at the pixel level of 100% viewing, that you're still getting more image data, more resolution on a 42MP sensor than a 24MP sensor or 12MP sensor.

    So if your display output is a 4K screen, given the same lens, the 42MP is going to give the best image. If your output is a 16x20 print, the 42MP is going to give the best image.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  19. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    72
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    MAubrey: Just to close the loop, I bought the A7II. "Best image" of the sort the A7RII could produce will have to happen in the next round. Appreciate the good advice, and you're right. But 2016 for me has been all about the lenses. And I sure hope that Sony will stay committed to the A7 series long enough that my one-step-at-a-time strategy in upgrades will work. Thanks!
     
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  20. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sounds like a good strategy to me! Enjoy!
     
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