Sony A7R2 vs Oly EM5 Mk2

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Kiwi Paul, May 15, 2016.

  1. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Feb 14, 2016
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    I have 2 systems, EM5 Mk2 and Sony A7R2 + a variety of lenses for each camera.

    I've used 4/3 and m4/3 for many years, only getting the Sony FF a few months ago.

    I've been reluctant to comment on the relative differences between the 2 until I felt I could really see it.

    For most part the differences are subtle, I'm speaking of image quality only not performance or ergonomics etc.

    But now with a few months of using the A7 under my belt I feel I can now comment knowing that what I'm saying is from shooting lots of photos in varying conditions and from viewing on screen and prints.

    The most obvious difference is the dynamic range, or rather the ability to recover highlight and shadow detail from RAW images. The A7R2 is stunning in that respect, blacks are black and whites are white even in a very high contrast scene, the absence of any noise in recovered blacks is amazing and even detail that one would have thought was lost is extractable and the white clipping level is extreme, often when I wind down the exposure in post to see if there is any recoverable detail in apparently blown highlights it's all there.

    As such prints look amazing, I took many night time shots a couple of weeks ago in Budapest and have printed some out, the black skies are just that jet black, no noise no nothing, there is subtle shadow detail in the darkest areas and highlights are are clean and not overblown.

    The other big thing for me at least is the 42MP resolution of the Sony, I can can post crop to ridiculous levels and still get a great photo that I can print at A3 or even A2, I always endeavour to get it right in camera but there are times when you see a scene inside a larger picture that just begs to be cropped.

    I bought the Sony FF camera with no expectations, I've only ever used 4/3 and m4/3 previously and was curious to compare.

    So am I a full frame convert and going to ditch m43?

    Well yes and no, I now see the advantages of a full frame system.... and the disadvantages.
    Clearly the m43 is a hell of a lot more compact, lighter and easier to carry, particularly on a city break or weekend away, the IQ is excellent for most part and the quality of the equipment is also superb.
    However I've actually managed to pack my Sony gear into a very compact camera bag and it's nowhere near as bulky as I imagined it might have to be.

    So for the moment I have an EM5 Mk2, Lumix 7-14, 14-140 and Oly 60mm Macro as My m43 kit and light weight compact travel kit which I used in Copenhagen last month when I was travelling light and got excellent photos with and my Sony A7R2 + 12mm prime, 24-70 and 70-200mm lenses which I used in Budapest when I was travelling not quite so light.

    I have a place for both systems for the moment and can't see that changing, but im terms of IQ the FF system is better but not by the margin one might expect.

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  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    IME it's good exercise to work with a smaller format sometimes - it forces me to compose and expose more carefully.
    Then I go hiking with the full-frame gear and a tripod and get more physical exercise! :D
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  3. JonathanF2

    JonathanF2 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2014
    Los Angeles, USA
    I know where you're coming from. I've been shooting my E-M5 II bodies and my Sony A7 side-by-side for the last couple months. I find my E-M5 II bodies to be near perfect for what I shoot, but when I compare photos to the Sony A7 I can really see a difference in quality. On the flip side, I really do not find shooting with the A7 body to be enjoyable at all. The menus, handling and shutter sound are really abysmal. The only saving grace is the images it creates!

    I've decided to keep both for now, since they fill different niches in my shooting.
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  4. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Ha ha, my reference point for interface is the older Sony NEX-7, which by comparison makes the A7 seem like a lean, mean, all-round shooting machine.
    I might be more disgruntled if I had an EM-5 for reference. (So it's probably good for my sake that I don't. ;))
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  5. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I would probably lean more toward Olympus if I had an E-M5 or E-M1 rather than the now 'ancient' original E-M5. So many features in the new models that never made it into the original. Since I'm basically all in on MF lenses, the A7 series is infinitely easier to shoot with than the E-M5.

    Sony frustrates me on any number of levels, but between highlight/shadow recovery and focus peaking, I wouldn't trade my A7rII for anything.
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
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  6. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    Just keep shooting both. Works for me ;)
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  7. Andromeda143

    Andromeda143 TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 19, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia
    Clive Dickinson
    I double an NEX 6 with an A7RII and value both. The NEX 6 has travelled with me a lot and I love the small footprint and good image quality. I totally agree about the A7RII and image cropping. The ability to take a larger scene and sometimes get several different crops from it for varying aspects of the scene is invaluable. I love both cameras and both formats. Now my son has an Olympus OM 5 II and has just returned from the US national parks area with his shots. I will see the other side, as he has left his pics for me to look at and edit for him. From what I can see the Oly is a great camera.