Oct 222013
 

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A closer look at the Sony a7 and a7r official samples

Buzz…Buzzzzzz….BUZZZZZZZ! Can you hear it? That is the massive amount of BUZZ going around the internet on the new Sony a7 and a7r cameras over the past week since Sony made these official. Sony released their official samples and I am sure 90% of you have seen them already, but I wanted to take a closer look and see just how good these new cameras are. As I suspected, the two primes are going to be stellar. When I shot a few frames off with each last week they were VERY fast to AF on the A7r, so should be faster on the A7. The IQ through the EVF and LCD seemed razor-sharp, even wide open so I expect these to do very well with the cameras. As good as the Zeiss 35 f/2 of the RX1? Maybe not (and by Sony making the 1st lens an f/2.8 35mm may mean they did not want to kill their RX1 and RX1r sales, which it could have done in a heartbeat if the IQ was the same or better).

The RX1 has a perfectly matched lens and sensor, and it shows. I mentioned at the RX1 release that even if Sony released an IC full frame body that the lenses released would probably not reach the level of what we get with the RX1 due to the matched setup. Looking at the 35 2.8 official samples though it gets close, probably due to the fact that the lens is an f/2.8 design.

With the A7 series comes some versatility that we lose with an RX1. Using different lenses like  the new Sony 55 1.8 or 24-70 Zeiss Zoom will bring in possibilities not possible with the RX1. Using old E-Mount glass in crop mode is also something we can do, though this would be like using a cropped body as well as your images will be cropped in camera. (unless you choose to turn off the crop, then you will get massive tunnel like Vignette)

gripreduxc

With the 1st reports not looking so good with the Sony A7 not working so well with wide-angle Leica M glass (as I expected) we can not forget that the native lenses from Sony may be just as good AND include Auto Focus to go along with it.

I downloaded the official samples from the 35 2.8, the 55 1.8 and the 24-70. When viewing them I remembered why I avoid zooms and treasure primes. :)

The 1st two images with the 35 2.8 and 55 1.8 were shot on the A7, the $1698 model. Yep, a full frame latest sensor tech compact IC camera for under $1700 that will give you Leica M quality (I think it may surpass it in color, detail and ISO capability) with everything but wide-angle Leica lenses.

Leica M Mount – 12-24 wide angle may be a no go on the Sony A7 and A7r.

Early reports suggest any lens in M mount from 28mm and up will be just fine. 28mm and under will have color shifts and corner smearing. I have yet to see for myself but will I will be bringing a slew of M mount glass with me next week to the week-long Sony event where I will have an A7r glued to my side (if they let me) :)

I will test a 12mm, 15mm, a couple of 35mm, a 21mm and a couple of 50mm lenses as well (4 of them). All M mount. Guess my travel bag is going to be a little crowded! (Thanks to Stephen Gandy at Cameraquest as he is sending me a slew of Voigtlander lenses to test) :)

But even if the Camera has color shifts with the 12 and 15 Voigtlander lenses, so does the Leica M which comes in at $7000. I use the 15 in B&W only on the M and would do so with the Sony as well.

At the end of the day though, if you own wide-angle LEICA lenses with 6-Bit coding, these will always work best on the Leica M 240 due to the correction the Leica applies in camera to your files. The Sony will NOT apply correction like this in the camera for the lenses like a Leica 21 or 24 Lux, or Wide Angle Tri Elmar. So if you are a wide-angle Leica lens guy who likes to shoot his 21 and 24 and WATE, the Leica M is your best bet. My bet is if you shoot 28mm and up, the Sony will do fantastic and may have some vignetting. We will see VERY Soon.

The Sony Native FE Lenses

So let us get back to the lenses that were designed to be used with the new Sony full frame cameras. The FE line. At launch pickings will be slim with only a kit zoom (which I do not recommend if you want the best quality from these cameras) and a 35 2.8 Zeiss, which is the main lens I will use until the 55 arrives later.

The Zeiss 35 that I shot with briefly on the A7r was small, light and seemed like a good mate for the body. The 55 was a little larger but light and fast as well as SHARP.

Both will be part of my Sony kit as I feel these will extract the best quality from the cameras. Also, just as the Sony RX1 beat the IQ from the Leica M and 35 Summicron, I feel that the A7 or A7r may just beat out the Leica in general when using the higher quality Sony/Zeiss glass that was made for the camera. Again, time will tell. I feel the color coming out of the A7 and A7r is beautiful, rich, correct. The detail is staggering when using the primes and the DR should be HUGE.

Let’s take a look at Sony’s official samples from each lens in detail:

1st up, the official Sony sample shows a nice kitchen scene with natural light from the window. It was shot at f/5 and ISO 400. YOU MUST click the image below to see it in larger size with 100% crops that are embedded with it.

You will see VERY nice color, large dynamic range, sharp edges and nice details. This lens is a must own lens for the system as it will give you a nice mix of sharpness, detail, color and a very rich tonality. The Leica M and 35 cron could not do any better here and I should know as I have processed  thousands of files from the Leica. If you put a Zeiss ZM 35 2.8 on the M you may do a little better but maybe not. I am liking what I see here. 

At $2500 total cost for the A7 and 35 2.8 and the fact that it can meet the quality of the Leica (maybe exceed it) which would set you back over $7800 with a 35 2.8 Zeiss ZM AND Give you a choice of Auto Focus if you want it say a lot. Then again, to some, nothing will ever replicate SHOOTING with a Leica. Manual focus RF shooting is a whole different experience that EVF manual focus shooting :) The Leica feels like an instrument. The Sony like a machine. To many, that is part of the whole user experience and some would NOT swap that at any cost. With that said, the Sony combo is looking really good here, but it gets better (and worse). 

You can Pre-Order the 35 2.8 at B&H Photo or Amazon - Ships around Dec 1st.

a7withcrop1

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Now we have a beautiful sample with the A7 and 55 1.8 at f/2.2, so close to wide open. This is another HQ Zeiss lens and it shows. Click the image for larger to see the real crops and details.

What I see here again is nice color and fantastic details. The DOF is shallow and creamy and the Bokeh is in no way offensive. It is SMOOTH. But if detail is what you want, this lens will give it. The crops of the eyes, the mouth and nose show this. Full Frame gives you this so if you are a pixel peeper, a person who prints VERY LARGE or you just like that massive full rich file quality, the Sony A7 (again, this is not the higher res A7R) or A7r will fill your pixel peeping needs. This is also a lens I pre-ordered as the speed was superb when I tested it for a few shots.

You can pre-order the 55 1.8 at B&H Photo or Amazon.  Ships around Dec. 22nd, just in time for Christmas!

Again, the image below is the Official Sony Sample, and belongs to Sony :) 

a7withcrop2

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Finally a sample with the A7r and they used the Zeiss 24-70 Zoom. Click it for LARGE size and true crops.

Zooms. I have not been a fan of Zoom lenses for probably 15 years. To me they offer convenience but to get that convenience you always lose three things. Speed (as in Aperture), Sharpness and SIZE.

The Zeiss 24-70 Lens is larger than the primes of course and I was able to hold one while mounted to the camera but not shoot with it. After holding it I realized I would never order it due to the size. If I wanted large I would buy a large DSLR. (Canon 6D would be my choice). But I want small with the quality that meets or exceeds those large DSLR’s. The A7 and A7r has that capability but when using it with the 24-70 it appears to give the same old full frame DSLR Zoom quality. 

Many shooters LOVE zooms. I prefer primes for DOF control, small size, and better quality. The only zoom I have tried in the past 15 years that I would consider buying is the new Olympus 12-40 for  their Micro 4/3 cameras. When mounted on the E-M1 it was blazing fast and offered prime lens quality. But this Zeiss, not so sure after looking at the official Sony sample below.

The corners are soft (especially the upper left corner) and overall there is a softness across the whole image that we do not see in the prime examples and this is with the A7r, which is without AA filter. Now I admit, I am spoiled. I am used to Leica prime lens quality and when I see Zoom lens results I am always disappointed. Many may be thrilled with the Zeiss Zoom, but not me. In any case, the colors look wonderful, which seems to be a strong point for the new Sony cameras. Since the RX1 Sony has improved their color over past models and I like it.

You can pre-order the Zeiss 24-70 at B&H Photo or Amazon - Ships around Feb. 2nd 2014

a7rwith2470zoom

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How about a Black and White conversion? I took the Official Sony Sample and converted it to B&W using the DXO Filmpack Neopan 1600 setting (minus the grain/noise). Looks DAMN good to me.

B&WwithDXO

At the end of the day I can tell just from these samples that the Sony A7 and A7r will be image quality monsters. That is without question. I also think they will do well with Leica M glass past 28mm, best with 35mm and up. But do not discount the Sony FE offerings that we have so far. The 35 and 55 look AMAZING. The Zeiss 24-70 looks good, but to my eye, could be better in the corners. My pre-order is in for the A7r ,35 2.8 and 55 1.8. The A7 looks REALLY good as well and it has the faster AF (though the A7r is 40% faster than the NEX-7 AF).

So get ready for the blitz of samples that will be headed our way over the next 10 days. Believe me, there will be LOADS of image samples coming from me as well as MANY other websites.  I will be headed to NYC tomorrow for Photo Plus so if you are there, look for the guy walking around with the shiny bald head :) I am easy to spot.

Steve

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  189 Responses to “A closer look at the Sony A7 and A7r official samples”

  1. Cool, thanks.

    One thing I am wondering about is how the A7 does handle, I mean ergonomically and the menu. Despite delivering decent iq, I never really took to the NEX cameras (5, 5N, 7).

    Meanwhile, I am looking forward to your results with the VM lenses!! Would love to see the 12, 15, 21 1.8 on it and how you’d correct any misbehaviour of the wideangles ,-)

    • A7 handles VERY well and the menu is like the RX1 NOT the NEX bodies (that menu is gone forever, no more Sony cameras will use that menu system). The menu on the A7 could not be any simpler. Besides, who needs a menu when all controls and settings are done via dials on the camera? Set it and forget it :)

      • Hey Steve, the NEX menu is still there according to the Dpreview, but you need to enable it. I wonder who in their right mind will do that though.

        • Dp Review is mistaken yet again. The NEX Menu is NOT there. There is a one screen block menu (different from the NEX) that is an “easy mode” which blocks to take you to certain menu sections. It is NOT a NEX menu.

          • Not quite sure where this confusion is coming from as the DP Review first impression clearly states that “as of the Alpha 7 and 7R, the NEX menu system is dead”.

            Perhaps it’s where they say “If you’re missing the NEX interface, you can turn on the ’tile menu’, which serves as a gateway to the regular menu system”, with a shot of it on page 4.

            As you say, it looks like this is simply an alternative NEX style access to menu sections, which perhaps some are assuming will also be shown NEX style, but are actually displayed in the same ‘regular’ menu style.

      • Of course, knobs, dials and a couple of fn buttons will make most of the menu obsolete.. ,-)

        Unfortunately, it is not that easy for me to find and try out an RX1 to see how it feels. But at least, it does sound promising that Sony did let go of that awkward menu (I am, though, not sure what people who still own the NEX feel like about the news of dropping then NEX-line, even just by name – but that’s another story).

        The more I read about the A7 I am curious on having a closer look at it. So don’t make those VM lenses shine too much on the Sony *g*

        • The RX1 menus are very much like the Alpha menus, so you could try an A-99 or A-77 to get a feel for the menu system. Very straightforward. RX1 menu has no scrolling, instead each item is on it’s own menu page.

          However, the RX1 will be superior with respect to dials in one way that is very important to me: the aperture ring gives instant access to any F-stop you want with a quick twist. Sony has hampered their dials with only one level of precision–1/3 stop increments (unless they changed something for the A7/A7r). That means to adjust shutter speed or aperture with a dial will force you to spin the dial multiple times if you need to make a broad rather than a fine adjustment. That really hampers ease of use.

      • Really wish Sony would issue a firmware update for the NEX-6 and 7 that installs the new menu of the A7.

  2. look at the portrait! 2nd eye out of focus. this is what all people crave? shallow DOF?

    • Yes, some of us do. Thanks for asking.

    • Also look at the cover of some magazine of Brad Pitt from a couple of months ago. It was all shot with thin DOF. Some people loved it and some people hate it.

      I use a M43 now because my wife love the large DOF. She want a more P&S look where the background is in focus. Buying a RX100 mk2 today for her.

      To me I don’t care either way as long as both eyes are in focus. I rather have an out of focus background where you can still there what it is. I don’t like the creamy background that I can’t remember where the picture was taken. Will get a Sony A7r and just just shot that thing in Auto since it always pick a higher f-stop to get more in focus.

    • OK… Just stop the lens down and 2nd eye is in focus!
      Always better to have choices…the more the merrier (i.e. more creative options).

  3. Pics look pretty good, especially the portrait.

    But I wonder if that buzzzzzzing going around this week is from the upcoming Nikon F3 retro styled FF and not the Sony A7.
    F mount, OVF, D4 sensor… Buzzzzz possible ovf/evf hybrid vf… Buzzzzz

    Exciting times for sure!

    • Every time there has been a Nikon “rumor” about this type of camera it has failed miserably. I will believe when I see it :) If it is true, and this camera delivers on build, simplicity, AND lenses (and not the huge DSLR lenses) then we will have something. If it is the standard Nikon mount and will need to use the current crop of Nikon FX DSLR lenses, I will pass. Remember when Nikon was in the RF game? NOW THOSE are some amazing lenses – the 50 1.4, the 85 f/2…TINY and of high build and optical quality. If we get an F3 style body and throw on a Nikon 24-70 or Nikon 85 1.4 it is no different than a DSLR. Large, bulky and odd. So if this is true..I sure hope they have some new smaller lenses to go with it. That is always the issue.

      • If that Nikon rumor comes to be true, and it sports the performance of the current D4 sensor, and give it the full range of capabilities (1/8000sec, 1/250sec flash sync, the full D4 autofocus system, dual SD card slots, etc), I’ll be selling my D3 and D3s bodies and buying two of these new Nikon bodies.

        Also on my “want list”, the Sony a7r with the Voightlander 35/1.2 (hope it works), and the 75/1.8 or Leica 90 Summicron. :)

      • We all have to wait what Nikon comes up with. It appears there wil be a dedicated therefore small? AFS 50/f1.8.

      • Good points.
        But personally, i’d choose Nikons huge catalog with some bigger, fast primes(and small primes) over a Sony’s small catalog of small, slower primes anyday. No question. I mean, Sony hasn’t even given it’s NEX users an f1.4 lens yet. Announcing it with a 35/2.8(lol) and 55/1.8 leads me to thing it’ll be more of the same. ‘Compromise’ lenses.
        And I don’t recall any of the Sony A-mount users, who were furious about the A7 being e-mount, calmed down by the fact that their A-mount lenses were, in reality, too big.
        And really, are the Sony FE lenses THAT small?

        Just arguing semantics really, as it’s somewhat irrelevant given that the listed specs for the new Nikon show that it’s not a small camera by any means. An f3 styled dslr is cool(cooler than a modern dslr), but Nikon really should’ve taken design ques from the Nikon SP. Now that would’ve been something!
        Eh, atleast they got the lens mount & OVF right. They can always add smaller lenses to the (already massive) F-mount catalog down the road. The new 58/1.4 Noct is a nice addition to start with. (suprised there was no mention of that lens here?)

        Whichever camera I like doesn’t really matter tho, I’m just happy to see this change towards boxy designs, retro style, and external control dials.

        • And hasn’t Sony come out with like four different mounts in the past five years? NEX line has been out for a good while now with no stellar lenses in sight. NEX owners will be left in the wayside but they’ll have A7 and A7r owners to keep them company soon when Sony abandons this system again for the ‘latest and greatest’.

      • I can confirm that the retro Nikon is coming for sure.

        It will have a very high specific quality of build.

        It retains the F mount.

        As to lenses, it will take almost every Nikon lens ever made (auto and manual focus): G series, D series, AIS, AI and pre-AI (with full aperture metering, to boot!)

        In addition to those, Nikon is rumored to be planning a more compact line of lenses to match this new camera (which itself may be the first in a new series of cameras that replaces several of their DSLRs with mirrorless bodies — not a wholesale shift, mind you, but a carefully orchestrated integration).

        In my opinion, I think another advantage you may see in these new models is full compatibility with the rest of the Nikon system, e.g. iTTL CLS flash, etc. Nikon system compatibility is a huge plus, and a strong suite that the company can play to. It also makes good sense for many reasons.

      • I would love an F3 style body…..that was ergonomically the best camera I ever owned (oops I still own it an F3HP to be precise)…..aperture priority, aperture ring on the lens, no distracting crap like autofocus, one tiny cell lasts for ages, rock solid build and feel. About 900 grams and 1200 with a decent 35 prime. Now if Nikon had any balls they would also drop AF (a real photographer doesn’t need AF) and the LCD (a real photographer doesn’t need that either) and P automatics (also something a real photographer does not need). Just a 24 Mpixel sensor in a box with a few knobs and levers (36 is nonsence for 99% of the photographic market). Add battery (small since it does not have to power a backlight) and SD card and fire away. Add normal PC contact for flash……and give me an exchangeble viewfinder please and an exchangeble viewscreen as well. Add a remote control socket with a simple standard USB mini plug thats also linkes the camera to the computer, so I don’t have to travel 200 miles to replace one when I loose one on a shoot.

        Add speed to the pudding by a fast repeat (9 frames a second mirror down, 20 frames a second mirror up), make bracketing step 1,2,3 and 3, 5 or 7 photo’s in a bracket, since some need that dearly. Add a mixed style viewfinder like the fuji X1 Pro…..DSLR by day, LCD by night (or vice versa). Set this all by levers, knobs and buttons on the body…..check the F3 for clues of how to do it (push pull buttons are cool). Add no LCD of any other kind to the camera (these distract the photographer and are hard to read anyway). Ah, add exposure compensation to.

        Decluter the menu from unneeded options…..the list is long (everything created after 1988 is useless in most day to day shooting (maybe except sports)). Add that crap in special menu option called “Add unneeded crap yes/no”, Things like “Flash on the second curtain”, “JPEG compression factors”,”Annoying sounds on/off”, “RAW/JPEG options”, “Face recogniction”,”Pet pictures mode”, “Movie mode”, “256.000 ISO”, “White balance” etc, etc, etc, the list is long and horendous (and yes if you like me shoots RAW like sushi you don’t need white balance either (I set that in DxO anyway) and if you are stupid (or lazy enough) to shoot JPG you are served right using auto white balance).

        Call it the F3D……and prepare to sell millions at a price tag of about a 1000 euro.

        Greets, Ed.

  4. So when you get to Photo Plus, if by chance you talk to the Sony people, can you ask them if they have considered an a7BW? Heck, if they’re going to take on Leica, go for it full bore and bring out an a7 monochrome! No Bayer filter, no AA, 36MP sensor, and under $3K. Just wishing, but sometimes wishes can come true.

  5. Hi Steve
    Thank you for your precious work!

    Do you know if there is any color shift with a Canon 17-40mm lense on the A7?

  6. I’d like to see the Sigma 35mm f1.4 on these cameras. I was thinking of buying a Canon 6D but the A7 is tempting me. Can’t wait to see some pics from you, Steve :-)

    • That lens is larger than the camera, lol. :) You will also lose focus speed. Unless Sigma releases one for this mount in full frame I would wait on that one. This lens along with the big Canon adapter would mean a pretty cumbersome camera setup.

      • Cumbersome. Hmmm, good call, Steve. Factoring in the adapter too, it’s be a bit OTT. I hope they do release one in this mount in full frame. I’ve always been impressed with pics I’ve seen shot with that lens eg your pics with the 6d :-)

      • Actually you can buy the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 in Sony Alpha mount and use the LA-EA4 adapter with the translucent mirror. You will have full phase detect AF faster than the hybrid focus (though not necessarily and accurate, that remains to be seen).

        It will be large, though.

        My take on this size issue is this: You don’t always need the small camera to be small. It’s enough that it CAN be small when you want it to be. It’s even better that you can still jam it behind big beautiful glass like that Sigma 35/1.4 and have the same comfortable, familiar camera using it before swapping back to your tiny FE mount 55/1.8 or whatever.

        I don’t think any other camera has the same range of options since none offer the SLT adapter.

  7. I still have my pre-order in for A7R and 35/2.8, but holding out hope for Nikon to deliver a nice digital FM2. I was hoping for better wide angle performance on the Sony (still a little unknown on the A7R), but I don’t want to have to wait a year or more for a native Sony/Zeiss wide angle. Exciting times and look forward to your review of the new Sony A7s.

  8. So Steve…

    If there is any way possible to ascertain whether or not Canon’s 24 and/or 17 TS-E lenses will work on the A7r – with the Metabones or other adapter – well, I know that many out here would be much obliged to you for that info.

    Of course I realize that it wouldn’t be reasonable for you to bring all of this stuff along (even if you had access to the gear) but perhaps the right questions to the right people…

    Just hoping.

    Cheers

    • The Canon 17mm TS-E works perfectly fine on the metabones speed booster on NEX cameras. So it stands to reason it will work fine with their smart adapter on the A7 series. The only concern might be a TINY amount of vignette at the extreme corners which will probably go away stopped down (and what are you doing shooting a 17/4 wide open anyway?) or just fix easily in post. That said, it’s just as likely there will be zero issues.

      Anyway I think it’s a safe bet but you could always rent the whole setup from Lensrentals.com when it’s all available.

  9. When you get the chance, I would love to see how well this works with Contax G glass (21mm, 28mm, 45mm)

  10. By the time Zeiss releases their Otus line of manual lenses along with the FE Auto focus line they will be on their marry way of putting Leica out of business.

    • How do you figure? The Otus 50 1.4 is the same price but double the size of the Leica Lux 1.4.
      Someone with a compact FF system may not want to attach that boulder to their camera.

      • Jep, that Otus 55mm looks like a MONSTER. Didn’t I just see a pic with it on the a7? Didn’t look very ..ergonomic.. ,-)

  11. Steve,

    “Does the Voitlander 15mm Heliar blur in the corners on this camera?”

    I know you will test this and that is the only question I need answered please!

  12. And still…2500 dollars is a lot of money. This will probably also be the price in Euro’s. Specially since I have the opportunity to buy a black limited fuji X100 for about 800 euro’s. Such a gorgeous camera you want to have for it looks. Just a little smaller files, some less DR, the same 35mm view, but on the right side of the 1000 mark. Or getting an Olympus em-5 with the 17 mm panasonic, with more DOF, but more versatility. I guess sometimes choice is not always great when there just does not seem to be the ‘best’ option, when all options are simply great.

    • I did just place a pre-order for the a7 body: CHF 1529. That would be USD 1714. Not too bad. Although I still don’t know about the Voigtländer wideangle lenses. Or if they would need the a7r?!? Just a couple of hours and we might see some pics with a7+12mm VM ,-)

  13. Hi Steve
    According to Sonyalpharumors, the A7r, unlike the A7, will have an offset microlens design which, theoretically, should make the sensor better suited for the angled light coming from wide-angle legacy lenses!
    I haven’t given up hope yet;-)

  14. Steve, can you (or a reader) explain the IQ difference between the A7 and A7r / 24 vs 36mp….I understand the benefit of more MP in that it provides larger pixel dimensions and so i could print much larger without having to up-scale (up-res) the file. But doesn’t less MP on the same size sensor mean the individual pixels are larger, and thus the “light wells” are larger / deeper, and can therefore hold more info? Please clarify.

    • in theory the a7 should have a tiny bit more dynamic range because of that but as sensors are getting better they somehow manage this problem successfully. as a result a camera like the d800 doesnt fall behind older models with much less megapixels when it comes to dynamic range. but its an interesting topic – where are the limits? how much megapixels do we really need and at what point is it better to make sensors bigger than just increasing megapixel numbers?

  15. The 35 mm lens is interesting to me. I think the 2.8 maximum aperature is not as slow as some have argued because this camera is going to have stellar ISO performance. I like that the lens is small.

    The 55 mm on the other hand looks so long. Plus 55 just seems like no mans land, and I’m a 50 guy. I think I could get used to it, but the length of that lens seems a little extreme. I bet its very well corrected.

    • the problem with the max aperture of 2.8 with the 35mm lens is not of shutter speed/iso but the fact that it limits DOF control and so does not take advantage of the full frame sensor.
      With Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander making 35mm lenses in the 1.2 to 1.4 range, this Sony offering really is a disappointment from a creative perspective.

  16. I ordered a7r without any lens. I felt 35mm is a bit boring, although it is probably very usable lens.

  17. I’m just curious to know why a 55 prime? Why not a conventional 50? Looks a sweet lens though :-)

    • Agreed- 55mm is odd.
      Maybe it’s 55mm to push it towards a longer portrait length? Or maybe they have plans to release a 90mm or 100mm portrait lens instead of 85mm…
      Or could be that they already had part(s) of it made at 55mm for aps-c E-mount and decided to designate it to the FF?
      Who knows. I kind of like the idea. I use 50 for portraits so I like the idea of a little extra reach.

  18. “Early reports suggest any lens in M mount from 28mm and up will be just fine. 28mm and under will have color shifts and corner smearing.”

    I’m particularity interested in the 28mm M-mount. So, which is it? Will it be just fine, or will it have colour shifts and smearing? I’m a little bit confused here…and hope you have room in your bag for a 28mm to test with.

    • I agree. I use a 28mm Elmarit 90% of the time. Will there be issues?? Hope Steve will test with a 28mm M mount….

    • I’m assuming it’s just a grammatical error and that he meant to say “under 28mm will have colour shifts and smearing.” btw, more images here with the current native lenses: http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/my-first-result-with-a7r_topic102199_post1221899.html#1221899

      In the end, using native lenses is always the better option instead of adapters. And Zeiss has just announced a new line of manual focus lenses with the E mount and designed specifically for the A7/A7R (the announcement is on their Facebook page.) If the A7/A7R are big sellers then lens production by both Sony and Zeiss might be sped up to accommodate demand.

  19. Thanks a lot for the pics, Steve. Stunning IQ indeed with the primes. I can’t wait for your pics, taken with legacy glass. Can’t wait for the delivery of my a7r neither. :-) I hope to be able to use it with my M-mounts up till 28mm. In those cases that I wanna go wider, I use Canon FDs, which I believe will work fine (and are quite a bit smaller than F-mounts). Strange though that the 18mm Zeiss ZM picture, that you mentioned earlier, gave a perfect result, which made me very glad.
    QUESTION: Sony mentions a special treatment of placing the pixels in the corners of their sensor – I believe this was only with the 36MP sensor. Is that correct? If so, and if problems with wider glass were only mentioned with the 24MP (I don’t recall them with the 36MP), than maybe the a7r wouldn’t give a problem. What do you think? It would make sence that especially the a7r is (also) ment to be used with M-mount lenses. So many people would want that. I’m sure Sony has been thinking about this issue, which is a real need of the market. I guess it makes sence that Sony has been trying to come with a solution.

  20. Hey Steve! I did not see you mention it… which 28mm m-mount will you bring along with you to test?

  21. Sharpest and best files I have ever seen comes from the Sigma DP2 Merrill. Speaking ONLY (yes, ONLY!) about image quality; will the 7R have better IQ? From the samples here I can not really tell.

  22. I feel Sony made a mistake with these two lens. One is boring and one is unconventional. I am considering cancelling my preorder until faster/practical lenses are release, which can take years. Sure you can attach Leica lens on it, but the purpose of the A7 is full frame at an affordable price. I think for now, I’ll pick up a Pentax K-3.

    • Probably a smart move…

    • I second that! I’ll be getting the K3 for sure and will likely wait for Pentax’s (Ricoh’s) full-frame to be released next year rather than getting either of these Sonys. There’s almost always a price to pay for early adopters.

      • Yep, an updated state of the art FF GXR-M would be quite something and make Leica sweat. For M-Lens fans, this would be it. So Pentax, please bring it on.

    • The images look great but this does all feel a bit rushed. But with the inhabitants of internet-land baying for new ‘upgraded’ bodies I guess Sony can’t be blamed for rushing this out – probably afraid of somebody else getting there first. But they’re asking us to buy into an expensive (in absolute terms) new system with a small lens line-up and no assurance that new lenses will be what the customer wants, that they will be released in a timely fashion or that they will be reasonably priced (what if Sony decides that $1,000 is the minimum price point for the new lenses?) If a company had tried this 20 years ago, photographers would’ve told them to take a hike!

  23. I have decided to drop the FF DSLR.

    M4/3 with fast primes will be more than adequate for my walking around with kids, macro(ish in my case) and with 4/3 lenses on the EM1 also for telephoto in a reasonable sized package. The quality of the EM5 is exceptional, see Neil BG or Robin Wong for details, EM1 due any day.

    The A7R will be, mostly, for when I have more time to myself. For what it’s worth I’ll take the 35mmSony lens for now, to have an autofocus option and cover most needs, it is the focal length I go to by default, and usually one where I’d want a little more DoF anyway. Plus it’s designed for this system. For the 50 though I think I’d like to go for a manual focus, so I’ve got myself a Voigtlander f1.5 VM mount. I’ll wait and see some reviews, including Mr Huff’s before I get anything wider.

    The result of all that is still money left over from trading the Canon and lenses, though I’ll need to buy some weights to keep my strength up now………

  24. What is the A7 or A7r bringing us?

    A new first generation FF mirror-less camera, full of technology and firmware that will only get lost of its problems, quirks and bugs in the second generation.

    A lens roadmap – knowing Sony – that will be deployed far beyond the second generation which is likely already warming up in their R&D dept, to be released over half a year. Also knowing Sony, with a complexity that is stellar, space-shuttle alike, contrary to any photographer’s feelings and with a manual that will get a few times thrown through the window before finally giving up. No thank you.

    Be also prepared to invest in other Sony-only accessories, including cables and batteries that will cost an arm and a leg. Some of this stuff will not fit into the second generation.

    It’s a choice like any other, of course, but I don’t get a wow feeling of it. It’s not by pumping up specs that pictures finally get better.

  25. The image IQ is simply outstanding. Dare I say, too much for portraits! I already smooth out the portraits I take with my 18mb Leica M-E as showing every pore and tiny hair is not flattering!
    This Sony, with the dedicated for Sony by Zeiss lenses, rocks. And it seems that that is the way to do it. From what I have seen, even 50mm non Sony glass (Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss) performs poorly. Not just the wides. So while adaptors ‘work’, the results under-represent.
    If I was going to get the Sony, it would only be with the Sony glass. As I have a bunch of Leica and old Nikon AIS glass, it does not make any sense for me.

    • “From what I have seen, even 50mm non Sony glass (Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss) performs poorly.” Do you have a link for images?

      • +1, I am not aware of negative comments on say 35-50 lenses from M mount manufacturers

        • the link is to ronscheffler dot com
          it was mentioned a few times in the A7 questions thread , under the comments.
          for some reason i cannot post the actual link here.

          • it is under his tech talk section. and emphasizes it is with a pre production A7

            • I think with Leica lenses it’s all about the A7r

            • mmmm lots of lenses to test and not much time. I’d wait for a more specific study before worrying too much about legacy glass performance, at least above 35mm. Below that I think most people expect colour problems, but we need to see if the A7r is better, and if there a issues beyond the colour at wide angles.
              personally I’d use the Sony 35mm and have a crack wih faster lenses at 50mm for when I want a shallower DoF

    • “If I was going to get the Sony, it would only be with the Sony glass. As I have a bunch of Leica and old Nikon AIS glass, it does not make any sense for me.”

      Then you may want to hold off till early November when Nikon will announce its new, FM-inspired retro camera with the D4 sensor.

      • We’ll see if anything shows up. Nikon has made a habit of perpetuating rumors to steal the thunder from actual camera releases. Not sure how it can be based on the FM2 seeing the supposed specs make it about 50% heavier than the original (that I have) FM2.
        If it does show up, I’d be very interested. But for me it would have to be a real digital FM2 i.e. manual everything (like Leica M cameras) but with a digital sensor. Using my old AIS glass.
        No interest if it has AF, modes galore etc as that would not be an FM2 inspired camera, but another digital Nikon. And if that is the case, what would be the point? They already make lots of those.
        In the mean time, I have no problems whatsoever shooting my FM2, F2as, M3s with film. Loving the results and mechanical process. And using my ME for digital.

        p.s using the sensor from the D4 seems to be a very strange, and backward, move. Given that has less than half the resolution of the Sony.

        • Oh, it’s real. No question about it. I know that because a trusted source positioned to know (nothing to do with nikonrumors.com) alluded to it on the phone with me last week (but couldn’t outright tell me due having to sign an NDA agreement).

          As to no autofocus; that’s a very tough thing to market for such a camera, and something very few shooters would actually want. So don’t expect it.

          Re your comment about the sensor — Yes, less megapixels than the Sonys. But 16 megapixels is more than enough for 90% of shooting situations for the vast majority of buyers…and it’s 16 full-frame megapixels with the best low noise sensor on the planet, along with excellent color depth and tonal gradation. So it will outperform the Sony cameras in many respects.

          • re: the nikon – you said “16 full-frame megapixels with the best low noise sensor on the planet, along with excellent color depth and tonal gradation. So it will outperform the Sony cameras in many respects.”
            Please clarify how this will outperform the 24 & 36 mp FF Sony sensors? I’m not being facetious but am genuinely interested in learning the facts of more but smaller pixels on a sensor vs less but larger/deeper pixels

            • Basically, while more megapixels equates to more ultimate resolution for bigger enlargements (and admittedly more freedom to crop), 16 megapixels enables the sensor to have significantly improved low light performance (larger photosites), particularly at higher ISOs.

              Other non-IQ benefits include file sizes that are more manageable for workflow, and a camera that can shoot at a faster frame rate since the buffer isn’t taxed writing larger files.

              Remember, the Nikon D4 is the top if Nikon’s professional lineup and used by commercial and editorial shooters the world over with no qualms about resolution. It’s also praised for excellent color depth and tonal gradation (though I expect the Sonys will offer this as well, as that’s a full frame characteristic).

              For the vast majority of people, 16 megapixels will be more than enough. If you’re Jim Brandenburg or Peter Lik, or shooting fine art images for museum display, then the extra resolution may benefit you. But most of us aren’t making 4ft by 6ft prints.

              • I understand that larger pixel dimensions means being able to print larger without the need to up-res (up-scale) the files. I have a 5DII and often need to make 20×24 prints (even 30 inch) which require the file to be up-scaled, so for me the idea of 24 or 36mp is attractive. I wont have to up-res as much. When you do there is certain amount of fudging going on as pixel;s are added where there was previously no information.

            • Forgot to mention: The A7r will require extremely high quality glass to realize the benefits of that many megapixels.

              That’s the other problem with cameras at that resolution level, they require the very best glass. The Nikon D800 proved this point all too amply.

              A camera at around 16 megapixels will be more forgiving of lesser lenses, or older lenses, while still producing excellent, sharp results at the typical resolutions that most people will use.

              • Just saw the latest info on the Nikon is that it will be called the D4H and mildly styled after the old F3. Not Fm2, which makes sense seeing the claimed 765g weight.
                It is meant to have a new hybrid optical/evf finder.
                So pretty much it is going to be an auto exposure, auto focus, very large camera that may or may not look similar to an F3.
                As the retro look ended IMO with the F3, and it looks like it is going to be fully automated I have lost interest. Nikon already makes Slrs like that. And all those already can use old manual AIS lenses.
                So unless the very latest rumours are wrong, this is not going to be a retro camera at all, but a D4 with a new finder.
                I would prefer the 36mb Sony with Sony lenses, or my current real retro Nikons with film. My Leicas have all the other bases covered.

          • These rumors are going through 4th and 5th generation “storytelling” on the Internet now, so a lot of BS is getting weaved into the rumors.

            Whoever leaked that it’s going to be called a D4H almost certainly doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I can find no good reason why Nikon would make this part of the D4 lineup, and seriously doubt it will use that label.

            Never saw the F3 styling rumor anywhere, either. Only FM has been talked about from any usual sources.

            Here’s the latest list of rumored specs (and my thoughts on how likely they are)

            - Will be called Nikon D4H (highly unlikely)

            - Will use EN-EL15 battery (possibly)

            - 3″ LCD Screen (likely)

            - EVF/OVF hybrid viewfinder (very likely, I would say)

            - Can be used with true mirror lock up for non-AI lenses while still allowing viewing through view finder (definitely possible)

            - New hybrid mechanical shutter (likely)

            - No AA filter (very likely)

            - No video in low power mode but otherwise it will have video (no idea)

            - Expeed 3A processor (possibly)

            - Price: $3,000 for body only, $3,300 for a kit with the new 50mm f/1.8G lens (possibly, but if true this may become controversial)

            - Black, Black/Sliver and Chrome version will be available (I see two of these options, not three)

            I can almost guarantee there will be some new wrinkles we’ve not yet heard about with this new camera.

  26. I must learn to stay away from this website: I have succummed & pre-ordered the A7R & 55mm 1.8 from Amazon via this website and HOPE this satisfies my GAS for at least the rest of the year! The above images are intoxicating!!!

  27. 35mm doesn’t look great when pixel peeping. The 55mm on the other hand looks fantastic

    • check the pics from sonyalpharumors.com with the moth and the grasshopper. The 35 is incredibly sharp with awesome color and depth.

      • Those don’t look sharp to me

        • Are you kidding? The 100% crops are as sharp as optically possible. I mean, you can see the hairs on the back of the grasshopper’s head! The new pic on SAR with the woman in the hood demonstrates further how sharp this lens is.

          If this lens isn’t sharp enough for you, I’m not sure if there is any lens on the planet that is.

  28. The eye is in sharp focus on the portrait, but the eye lashes are blurred. Not that it ruins the photograph. But in resolution “tests” that you and others have often done, you can see separate, individual eye lashes on the 100% zoom. This is a Sony image, but I’m wondering why this happened in this photo. Any ideas? I’m sure you will be getting better images to examine its relative advantage in resolution, so we can just wait and see what you find. I agree with the comment above, the Sigma DPM2 or 3 will give you each eyelash, probably the Olympus M5 and M1 with the new 75mm (150mm) lens as well. D800 for sure, and I just produced them with my new Leica MM as well. And yes, I actually hate pixel peeking.

  29. I’m considering Sony A7 w/35mm f/2.8 vs Olympus E-M1 w/17mm f/1.8 this is my thought process:

    The Sony should blow the Oly out of the water in good light, but in low light conditions, the Oly will probably best it. Why?

    a) Sony’s larger sensor gives it about 2 extra stops
    b) Oly’s lens is about 1.3 stops faster
    c) Oly’s IBIS gives it 2 more stops of leeway

    So the Oly will have about a 1.3 stop advantage in low light

    With the zooms: Oly 12-40 f/2.8 vs Sony 24-70 f/4
    The Oly still has a 1 stop advantage, and this time the Oly lens may be sharper (we’ll see).
    The Oly also has a significant size and weight advantage here.

    Am I missing something?

    • Yes, you are missing a major thing. A 17 1.8 m4/3 lens, is not the equivalent of 35 1.8 on full frame. I don’t know the exact calculations but i would imagine the effective aperture would be around 3.5 i.e. effective 35mm 3.5 which is slower than the 35 2.8. Please note the use of ‘effective’

      I also don’t believe that the IBIS provides 2 stops. Maybe over a m4/3 but not a full frame sensor like the sony.

      • It is a 17 1.8 giving you the DOF of a 17 1.8. It is not a 35mm lens so you get the DOF of a 17 1.8 and the light gathering of a 1.8, period. End of story. :)

      • Well, no. That is incorrect. f/1.8 on m43 is just as bright as f/1.8 on FF. You only multiply by 2 to get an idea of the angle of view, but your exposure is not affected at all by the crop factor. (The depth of field is that of a 17mm, so don’t multiply that either).

        Also, the Oly’s IBIS definitely gives me at least 2 stops (probably more). I can take 1/6 second exposures handheld with the 17mm lens without any issues.

        • Surely it is the larger actual aperture of the 35mm (needed to get the same 1.8 f number as a smaller aperture does on a shorter lens) that gives the reduced DOF – not the longer focal length as such.

          • No, hang on, must be be both. Find it it very easy to confuse myself on issues affecting DOF especially when moving between sensor sizes. I’ll get it sorted one day, maybe…

          • No, that has nothing to do with it. You can put FF lenses on m4/3 cameras and they have the same DOF as native m4/3 lenses at the same aperture. (I’ve actually done this)

            The reason DOF is affected is that, with an m4/3 camera, you have to be twice as far from the subject to get the same field of view as a with a full frame camera. The longer the distance to the subject, the deeper the DOF.

            Think about it this way: If you take a picture with a full frame camera and crop it to just the central 25% of the image, the depth of field doesn’t change at all. Only the field of view changes.

            Conversely: Take a picture with the FF camera, then move back so that the original image fits exactly within the central 25% of the frame and take second shot and crop it. Both pictures will now have roughly the same image, but the second image will have more depth of field (and a different perspective)

            Using a cropped sensor is exactly like cropping a full frame image.

            • Thanks Don. I think what confuses about all this is that we know aperture setting affects depth of field and we know DOF decreases the closer we get to the subject. The focal lenght impact on DOF however seems debated in some quarters. But taking a simple scenario of a FF with 70mm in one hand and a m/3 with 35 mm in the other, I am going to get the same field of view at the same subject distance. Assume also I keep the same exposure, so same f stop. What we find of course is shallower DOF from the FF camera. But what causes this – because two parameters are different between the two cameras. The FF cam has a lens with a longer focal length and also the size of the actual aperture (lens pupil) has had to increase oto maintain the same f number (which is of course the ratio of focal length to actual aperture size).

              I suppose another way of expressing my confusion is this: when we talk about aperture setting affecting DOF (as we know it does) is it the actual diameter of the aperture that matters or the f number.

              As Ronin suggests there is so much seemingly contradictory information on the internet that it can be hard making sense of it.

              I suppose I could test some of these things by plugging numbers into a DOF calculator but would need to be confident th calculatore is accurate. I have DOF Master on my iPhone but if you could recommend one that would be good.

              • DOF is a complex topic, and I don’t fully understand all the nuances, but I know that focal length, aperture and distance have the greatest practical effect on it. There are formulas that use the diameter and position of the opening instead of the focal length and f-number, but that’s just another way of expressing the same thing.

              • Complex indeed Don. Back when I used to have a film SLR I new form a practical point of view what influenced DOF. When I switched to digital SLR (APS-C) I didn’t need to do much rethinking other than to adjust to the crop factor effect on the field of view. Back then a FF SLR was out of the question (for me at least). I only started thinking hard about the physics of DOF, and the practical impact of sensor size, about 12m ago when it came to new camera time and I ended up weighing up a move from my Canon 50D to either a 6D or going m 4/3 with the OMD. Inevitably the issue of DOF control came up time and time again when researching the pros and cons of each. In the end I ended up going OMD as the best all round solution for me at the time, and for me this turned out to be a great decision – I am taking more photos and having more fun than I have for years. This site had a big influence on my decision and I came to enjoy it so much that I now visit it daily. In a practical sense I am back to where I was in that I have one camera and a bunch of lenses and I know from a practical point of view what to do with that camera and those lenses to influence DOF. Still, I also know that I didn’t really get to the bottom of the nuances of DOF and so, academically, this subject continues to interest me.

      • A 1.8 lens is just as fast as any other 1.8 lens, no matter the format. A medium format 1.8 (assuming there is such a thing) is just as fast as a Nikon V1 1.8 lens. One is not faster nor slower than the other. There is no “equivalence” factor. This is because f stop is a mathematical ratio. The one difference may be in actual final light transmission, given numbers of lens elements and so on, but that is relatively minor.

        The photographic cliche of out of focus areas is a factor of the focal length, which of course can be mitigated by aperture.

        There is a bundle of misinformation on the interweb that gets repeated.

    • “Am I missing something?”
      Do you plan on shooting people or only still objects in low light with IBIS?

      • Even though my hobby is travel photography, when I’m not traveling I always end up mostly shooting individuals and groups in low light (parties, events, gatherings, etc.). I find that the E-M5′s IBIS is fantastic for that. The A7 is probably better for travel (except for lens size) while the Oly is probably better for the activities.

        • Sounds like you’re really happy with the EM-5 and can save yourself some money to invest in lenses. I tend to think that FF presents a lot of advantages but if you have the IBIS working for you, stick with it. I’m a believer in learning a camera or system and “mastering” it.

          • You, know. There is a lot of truth to what you say. I was (and still am) perfectly happy with the E-M5, and have the new 12-40 f/2.8 lens on pre-order. I might be getting a case of GAS.

  30. Will be In NYC Saturday, hope to see you there! I hope Sony is there with these cameras!

  31. take alook at camera store tv for the image quality taken with a7r + 50mm summilux

  32. Hey Steve,

    Love the site and your contributions to photography. Great stuff.

    However, I just read

    “…28mm and under will have color shifts and corner smearing. I have yet to see for myself….”

    Dude. Where are the samples taken with the a7r and wa Leica lenses, properly focused showing crops of the referenced problems?

    Of course there isn’t anywhere near a good representative sample.

    We’re all eager for info about this camera, but please stick to the known facts when making statements such as this. Maybe all wa’s will color smear. Maybe just the Voightlander ones will. Maybe they just will when using a brand x adapter, maybe…….

    I’m looking forward to the “I’ve seen it for myself and here is the real deal…” article.

  33. I hope the nikon rumor is true!!!
    If it is using an old nikon fm2 styling..and 50mm lens kit
    To me and some few others: Game over sony..

  34. Planning on getting rid of the RX-1 Steve? You once wrote you couldn’t sell the camera after bonding with it, but it’s hard to imagine you would keep both?

  35. Well. That about does it for me. Will definitely be placing the order through links on your site. Thanks for a stupendous preview. It’s gonna be A7r and both of those primes.

    I am hoping that you have a VM28-2 and a VM35-1.2II with you. If this camera turns out to excel with M lenses I will buy those as well.

    I know it’s a bit extreme but I do wonder how the ZA50-1.4 with LA-EA4 adapter and phase detection AF will compare to the FE55-1.8? I was interrested in the 85mm and the135mm as well, but will not tele without image stabilization- well at least not without trying the balance and weight with the 50-1.4 first. Might not be too unmanageable with the addition of the battery grip…

    Have fun in NY. Check out The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central just through Cipriani. Great place to chill. Cheers!

  36. The A7R is tempting to me for landscape photography. I’m curious to see how it will handle my Contax G lenses. Infinity focus will be a little tricky because they move past infinity when they’re done auto focusing. Also the price isn’t out of my range like a Leica body. Ry

  37. Fast AF is useless if the camera doesn’t turn on/wake up from sleep quickly. That was one of the major criticisms of the RX1, and a friend who was doing promotion of the RX1 for street photography in London told me that the RX1 was not useful for such photography due to these issues, and that he’d be sticking with his Leica. Has Sony improved this with the A7/A7r?

    • Wouldn’t you say this is an important aspect of photography? That is, the camera being ready to shoot when you need it to? To bring it to the eye ready, showing the image in the viewfinder? I understand that to many people who use cameras differently, where the subject and light are stationary, it is not important, but to me it is critical. People go on and on about “blazing fast” AF, but a fraction of a second faster AF is meaningless if the camera won’t wake up/turn on quickly.

  38. I’m leaning towards the a7 for a few reasons that may turn out to be false in the end…namely AF speed (but it has to be a noticeable difference from a7r), a quieter shutter (due to the electronic first curtain), less blur in images due to the efc, and the fact that 36mp may cause again more blur when handheld vs 24….any thoughts anyone on the above…if none of these hold in Steve’s tests I will go with R model…

  39. I wonder if the program Cornerfix could correct some of the wide angle lens problem. I ordered the A7r and am hoping to use my cron’s on it. I had an m9 and with the lens correction off the wide angle lenses were poor in the corners and sides.

  40. Thank you Steve. You are the best.

  41. Getting dizzy with the IQ and the sharpness …
    Can only be cured with A7R in my hand :)

  42. Hi, Steve,

    I’m a big fan of stevehuffphoto.com Sent you message last time, however you may not notice.
    The question is:
    1. Is there any corner smearing for summilux 50 A on A7r as it does on A7( as Ron Scheffler shows on his website) ? After all, we know the A7r has has offest microlens design.

    2. If I have summicron 35A, summilux 50 A, which I should buy, A7 or A7r?

    3. And I heard from people it’s easy to get a motion blur results by using A7r since it has 36M pixels, ist that true?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    Best regard
    Panda Chen from Hong Kong

    • 1. Not sure yet, wont be using it until starting the 28th
      2. Not sure yet, as I cant use them until the 28th
      3. People always say that but in my experience, not 100% true. But again, will let everyone know starting on the 28th.

  43. Very interesting. As I said in another post, these would be nice cameras to use together with an m4/3 camera, when you want to do more “aimed” work in witch you really need 135-format output.

  44. I am wondering about the quality of using the “old” E-Mount lenses, I haven’t seen any test/ summaries on the A7/A7r. For me the A7r would offer enough pixels in crop mode, and I am seriously thinking about of for example using the really small 16-50 from the NEX bundles and put it on a A7r, this would be a very small convenient “family situations” combo, and if I need/ want to go for serious shot I would switch to the new FE primes…
    Any thoughts about that?

  45. I am also wondering abour the performance of the M lenses on the A7. A very short flange to film plane distance has very narrow tolerances which become even worse by the use of adapters.
    In Leica M though a common practice I use for the super-wide Voightlaender is to set the Lens Selection in Manual and choose the 16mm setting of the Leica Tri-Elmar. Shooting in DNG and sightly overexposing, if conditions allow. With carefull post processing in LR5 or in Capture One Pro most of the chromatic aberrations including the colour shifts can be sufficiently corrected. That works very nice with the 12mm UW Heliar but it does not always work with the 15mm especially when you shoot against a bright background with the light at 0015 or 0045 clockwise.
    Regarding the use of these lenses on Monochrom the colour shifts is a lesser problem but it still shows as changes in the tones of grey and its intensity is ISO dependable.
    I hope above to be of little help.
    Best regards,
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece

  46. Hi Steve,

    I am planning to build up a travel kit and I am thinking of the combination of a Nex 6 and an A7. The kit should contain of 2-3 prime lenses, so it would be great to swap the lenses between Aps-C and FF. If you could just try the new FE-lenses on a Nex-body to see if the handling of the FE-lenses on the Nex 6 is fine?
    90% of my shooting is in low light situations, that’s the reason why I opt for the A7. (At the moment I shoot with a D7000 and a D700 and a handfull of primes with fantastic results, I can only complain about the weight)

    Thanks in advance,

    Erik Neu
    Germany

  47. 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 are boring, if not weird specs, as are Summicon 50/2 Apo Asph, Nikon 58/1,4 Noct or Zeiss Otus 55/1.4. Is it really the case that new generation of full frame sensors makes the older lenses look like crap? They served Velvia and T-Max well.

    35/2.8, 50/1.8, 135/2.8, later 28/2.8 and 70-210/4 were the most popular and cheapest lenses to buy for 35mm film SLR, and those for abandoned SLR mounts (Minolta MD, Canon FD, Olympus OM etc.) lately sold used for sometimes under 20€.

    However, AF and OSS made me buy the respective Sony lenses for the NEX. Early A7 adopters with a slash of Leica glass will do the same, after some time. A 80-200/4 tele zoom benefits even more from AF and OSS, but a 85/2 or 135/2.8 would feel better on the compact A7.

    As the experience with the NEX shows, adaptable third party or used lenses make more people to buy into the system, rather than cannibalise lens sales, Enthusiasts accept gaps in the lens line-up which for Sony as investor would be unattractive to manufacture for the small enthusiasts’ market, anyway. Perhaps Minolta and Canon made a big mistake 25 years ago, when making A and EF mounts deliberately incompatible with MD and FD.

    • Peter, AiS lenses on the D800 show faults you’d never have seen on film and prints. Coating particularly falls through. Only the 28mm 2.8 delivers in my experience. The A7r’s sensor will be as demanding; using “old” glass could turn out to be disappointing, particularly in demanding light.

      • Mike, high gloss magazines, coffee table books, the framed print on the wall are still the same as 20 years ago. And many nowadays view images only on their tablet computers or on their flat screen TV, 2 or 4 megapixels to the max, likely less than from a projected Velvia slide. Do the faults show on them or only on your computer screen when reviewing, editing and processing the files, at large magnification? Some want full frame for high ISO rather than for image quality or size of display/print.

        • I see the faults posting to the web at reasonable resolution, faults that require a lot of correcting in pp. I’ve tried.

  48. If you want to see the full resolving power of the new A7R’s 36MP Full Frame sensor put a Sigma 35 1.4 Art (Alpha-mount) with a LAEA4. Yes, you will be back to a larger rig but trust me; the results will be worth the effort. The Siggy/D800E was the ONLY combination that finally smoked my RX1R…and I mean SMOKED!

    Sincerely,
    Tried Every Lens Available on my D800E

    • As I said; that’s one demanding sensor, and the A7r will be very similar. Very unforgiving, for correct focus as well btw.

  49. Keep up the good work Steve. Your enthusiasm has made me decide to trade my X-Pro 1 and pre order the A7 with the 35. Out of curiosity, do you prefer 35 Or 50 for general use on a FF?

    • I go back and forth between the two. I will go months using 35mm and then switch it up to 50. Those are my main two focal length I use with an occasional super wide.

      • Same here. Can’t decide between 35 and 50 (58 coming up though… ;-). ), occasional lapse to 24. 85 mostly unused, though great for portrait and general travel. Longer, wouldn’t know what to do with it.

  50. I would add something about manual lenses. If you already own leica M lenses, I can understand that issues with wide angle could be a no go. We have to wait for some serious review with an A7 to see if microlenses are efficient. But… there is plenty other lenses with telecentric formulas. Why not checking at the Leica R lenses too? I do not own any one but they seems well made and relatively compact. The wide angles are very expensives (just like the M ones) but the normal focal lenghts (28, 35, 50, even 90) are under 500 dollars / euros.

  51. The portrait looks stunning, thin dof and creamy bokeh. I have a feeling the 55mm is the one to beat. The 35mm with 2.8 is going to limit dof control. May be better to get the 55m and look for a manual 35/f2.

    The only thing and this is strictly a matter of preference is like all Zeiss lens the colours from the 55mm are towards red. Some prefer this. Leica rendering is more green bluish, to me it seems close to how I see the scene and I sort of prefer the less warm rendering. I have seen lots of tests and Zeiss is always warmer, some prefer that. Zuiko lens also seem to render somewhat like Leica for colors. Wonder what the more experienced feel about this.

    • Certainly agree with you on the Zeiss rendering Raul; I used a number of different ZF.2′s. I love the colour, but find pro Nikon glass to give a better, more neutral, starting point.

  52. So will these new cameras make a better photographer ?

    • No, will any camera make you a good photographer? This is subjective and I don’t think anyone is under the illusion the tool will make you a good photographer. The talented can take good pictures with an iPhone.

      These discussion are about gear, not photography as an art form. Talking about the art in a discussion about cameras just derails the discussion to the art which is completely subjective and out of context, as a discussion on photography per se is quite different from a discussion of the tools.

      Just because you have a F1 car doesn’t mean you are going to beat Schumacher on the tracks, everyone knows this, but Schumacher with a go cart is not going to win an F1 race either. You need knowledge, time, skill, experience, the right tools and the x factor that is talent for anything creative. But that doesn’t mean those interested cannot discuss the tools and the evolution of technology, and participate in discussions about let’s say landscape or portrait photography in specific dedicated online forums to gain knowledge and improve their skills, not on Steve’s site as he doesn’t specifically cover photography as an art but gear and technique.

      • Cheers. So the camera’s don’t make a better photographer – but they sure look nice!

        By the way, you wrote “..not on Steve’s site as he doesn’t specifically cover photography as an art but gear and technique…”

        I disagree, I think Steve’s site is excellent and COMPLETE and covers ALL angles in regards photography – gear AND art AND technique, to think otherwise is delusional.

        • Thank you, and I agree. I try to balance it all and thanks to readers like you, it does make it about ART, Technique and loads of other things as well. I appreciate the kind words.

    • Yes. Just as a new hammer will make you a better carpenter. ;)

  53. so what settings do you use to get one eye in focus and the other out of focus? i think it looks cool…will try this on my RX100. thanks.

  54. Hi Steve

    When you make the legacy-lenses-on-the-A7r-body review, then please take the new playmemories app – “Lens Compensation” – into account. This app seems specially designed for RF/legacy lenses it seems. It will probably be out in november:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWe_ePAHSfk

    I must say, if the app can “cook” the changes (exif info, distortion corr, abbr. corr. etc) into the RAW then we could have a winner(!)

    • I will be shooting the camera for a week – Oct 28th – Nov 1st and updating the site with samples and thoughts. I will do my full review 3 weeks after and if the app is available at that time I will use it for sure.

  55. How about using Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM.. its around $800.. Isn’t it better than zeiss 35mm 2.8?

    • Better? Well, faster Aperture speed. But the lens is 3-4X the size of the Zeiss 35 2.8. Add the adapter needed and it is even larger, and will have slower AF on the A7. The Zeiss is also sharper if that is your thing. I would never buy the Sigma for the A7 as that defeats the purpose of the small full frame system IMO. It is a great lens but no better than the Sony Zeiss 35 2.8 in regards to IQ. Just faster aperture.

      • Agreed :) Thanks for all the details..
        My concern was sharpness and best looking bokeh that Sigma 35mm 1.4 produces.
        I agree with that Zeiss has pretty small asa compared to Sigma.

  56. What about the Sony NEX-3N w/Sony 20mm F2.8 lens since my kit lens 16-50mm 3.5/5.5 is too slow which i have also? Is this fast enough for me to pull it off? Thanks again.

  57. What do you think is the A7r compared to the Leica Monochrom. I love my MM but also felt in love with the A7r.

  58. I like prime lenses too, and I love the 35/2 on my RX1, but there are times when a weather sealed zoom lens is a very useful thing to have. To judge the upcoming Zeiss 24-70 by the standards of elite prime lenses is simply inappropriate. We know that it will not be as good in terms of IQ, but it will probably be quite decent and will offer utilitarian benefits that primes cannot match. For instance, I recently returned from a trip to Argentina. At times, I was shooting in very wet conditions and could not have used my RX1. Fortunately, I also had a weather sealed Pentax-5II and a weather sealed Pentax DA*16-50, which allowed me to get some fantastic photos that would have otherwise been impossible. Good photographers are flexible.

    Also, the Zeiss 24-70 is actually rather compact and lightweight for a FF lens in that particular zoom range. Whether it feels balanced on the small A7, I cannot say.

  59. Hello Steve, my first post here.
    I have an old M8.2, not having the budget to upgrade to a M9 and by no means M…I’m considering the A7, my only concern is about the viewfinder. I love to take pictures and see reality through a glass window, not sure if going to a EVF camera will remove this joy, what do you think?, is this transition going to be painful?
    thanks!

    • All I can say is that it wasn’t for me, and I PREFER using a HQ EVF these days. Much more accurate and WYSIWYG.

    • Remeber, the ovf can be pleasing to use, but the picture you took will NEVER be what you are seeing – execpt in the case you are exceptionally talented on the TECHNICAL side of photography too, to anticipate what the final result will be. It is for this reason that, in the film era, truly excellent works of photography as a form of art were far and few in between. At least, now the technological advances have made “taking a shoot” more simple, and now it is the famous “factor X” (artistic talent, vision, call it what you want) that makes the difference in the end.

      • You’re not saying, hopefully, that whatever you’re seeing in an EVF, is what you’ll eventually see on whatever screen or print you’re viewing? Poor you.

        • Lol..no, I am saying that what I see on the LCD screen looks good with no issues and fantastic color and WB. Zoomed in, pin sharpness. So looks good. But not poor me, I am a very lucky guy :) I get to use these cameras with all kinds of lenses next week, and see them on my screen, and in print. So no “poor me”..”lucky me”

          • What I meant was, obviously, that what you’re seeing in even the best EVF will always be, slightly or a lot, different from how you will the see the same image on the screen of your favourite pc or on a print. The same goes for an OVF, it’s different, but at least it will be closer to how you see the original scene with the naked eye.

            • “it will be closer to how you see the original scene with a naked eye” – and that, again, is NOT what you will have in the end. IMHO it is better an image closer to the end result that closer to the preliminary view. The end image is what I will have i my hands for (I hope) many years, not the memory of what I saw in the ovf. But, again, my 2 cents.

            • For exposure an EVF image looks much closer to a captured image than with an OVF, period. What is most important, it also shows focus much more accurately and you can zoom in to check it out. EVF is also usable in very dark conditions when an OVF turns black.

              I have D800 and it struggles sometimes with PDAF accuracy because it is not perfectly consistent. This shows when using large apertures. And for manual focusing, the viewfinder screen is AFAIK only f2.8 due to technical limitations which makes it hard to focus correctly at wider apertures than that. OVF is good for saving batteries though which may be issue sometimes.

        • You have to admit the EVF gets a lot closer to the end result than the OVF.

  60. Where can i download the official samples of sony?

  61. Steve had mentioned Leica M240 has the same problem with wide angle lenses. The sensor of M240 has micro lenses. So why A7R shouldn’t have the problem with wide angle lenses?

    The photocell of 24MP FF sensor is 5.9umx5.9um. While the photocell on 36MP FF sensor is 4.8umx4.8um(66.8% of 24 MP FF). The microlens can help collect more light beam in low light. May reduce some high ISO noise.

    • The Leica does not have problems with Leica lenses, just aftermarket Zeiss etc. The Sony has problems with non Sony lenses as well as Leica lenses. This is a big deal because while the Leica can handle wide Leica lenses, the Sony cannot.
      Supposedly……

  62. Steve, someone has GAS… which one…with a 35 mm…RX1, .E-M1 OR A7/R? For best IQ?

  63. Lots of manufacturers made normal lenses in focal lengths of 55 or even 58mm in the 70s. That’s because this has traditionally been the easiest of focal lengths to use to make excellent lenses. Since excellence in the 50ish area was achieved 50 years ago, and it relatively straightforward and cheap to do, I expect this 55 to be excellent. It’s just inexplicable why it should cost so very very very much.

  64. The B+W…..quite nice I admit.
    Really curious to try and compare with my MM as well as to try the APO50 on it.
    The 55 Zeiss looks amazing. Very nice initiative from Sony.
    Thanks for the information

  65. The samples look ok but I am not really blown away. I will go for the A7 with 2 Novoflex M and F adapters and use my old glass first. The price for a Sony 55mm is downright ridiculous!

  66. Can i pull this off with a Sony NEX-3N with kit lens 16-50mm f3.5/5.5? Thanks again.

  67. Thanks, Pat and Groot. I’ve looked over Ron Scheffler’s samples with the 28mm Summicron. There is some vignetting, but really I don’t think it’s any worse than the vignetting displayed in his samples from slightly longer focal length lenses. The question becomes how acceptable that issue is, and will it be improved on the A7r? There are plenty of reasons between choosing one model from the other…

  68. Good morning, first I want to apologize for my English error….I am French Canadian, I place an order for a sony a7r and I am a Leica lover but I am so disappointed of my m9p….hard to focus properly and the screen with low definition! Anyway…. My question is what will be the result with my 21mm f3,4?

    Thank you

    Vincent

  69. Hi Steve,

    anyone near the Sony store in Berlin, Germany (I guess thats true for other Sony stores, too) can shoot and test the A7 / A7R and RX10. They have prototypes of all three cameras there. I used my own SD card to download a few samples that I made in the shop. I agree to most reviewers that the image quality of those cameras are gorgeous. Only setback is the shutter noise. Its is terribly loud.
    Since you can detach the lens its probably also possible to test other lenses (with adapters).

  70. The camera and specifications look fantastic. Finally it is all about weight and size. But the weight is just my concern… With a 36 megapixelcamera you need the best shooting technique to get the quality the lens and camera can offer. According to me the weight (and small size) is the problem! To keep the camera stable you just need weight! A stabilizer will help but not all lenses are stabilised…

    • “To keep the camera stable you just need weight” – or a good shooting techniques :)
      C’mon, everyone that has shoot with old little SLR as an Olympus OM, Praktica, Nikon F etc. without image stabilization can tell you that a steady hand can do a nice job…

  71. So the big question is, do I seriously consider canceling my E-M1 order, selling off my E-M5 and all my micro 4/3 gear (I have almost all of the primes and a few zooms) maybe even sell off my 7D (which I almost never use anymore anyway) and buy into the A7 system? I mean, I seriously doubt that’s going to happen, but I’m thinking about it!

  72. So what are you gonna buy if you sell everything?

  73. All this Sony body/Leica lens talk is interesting, but out of my league financially. Here’s my dilemma: I’m using an E-M 5 and have been thinking of moving to an E-M 1. I also have a nice set of Voigtlander lenses that I used to use on an Epson R-D 1.

    I was planning to sell the Voigtlanders (in fact, they’re sitting boxed up on my dining table right now) until I started reading Steve’s writeup. Now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t keep the Voigtlanders, keep shooting with the E-M 5, pass on the E-M 1, and eventually put that money toward an A7 to put behind the Voigtlanders. In all honesty I’m satisfied with the E-M 5 except for super low light/high ISO shooting. Any thoughts on ow the A7 might do with NON-Leica M-mount lenses such as the ones I have? Thanks…

  74. I have an odd question: Given the release of the A7 and A7r, do you think Sony would make a successor to the RX1?

  75. Don’t like too much the choice to introduce 2 model so similar but with this combination of differences. for ex. for me the better and purist way is to have a camera without AA filter but with a lower and more usable resolutions. 24 is already a plenty of resolution, 36 mp for me is too much in real world. Who really needs 36 mp at the moment, for some kind of professional use, i think will stay with its D800. Find it a commercial mistake that forces people to think just as much to stop the effect of GAS :-). One single model that really knows what kind of target want to get for me could be better.IMHO

  76. Hi Steve,

    To date I haven’t read anything about the shutter noise on these cameras. However, at least one youtube video highlights that the shutter is quite loud and so not so suitable for street photography. Not a deal breaker by any stretch but still, a more silent shutter would have been nice for this type of photography. Any thoughts on this?

    • I originally preordered a7r, but may go for a7 instead just because it has electronic first curtain shutter and faster 1/250s X-sync speed. Sensor with 36Mpix resolution but without EFCS may not be so good idea for hand held shooting because there’ll be more vibrations caused by shutter shock. Double click sound of the a7r might potentially drive me crazy and price is also 800 eur higher…

      I think not having an EFCS is allright for a camera like D800 with good OVF, but for mirrorless camera I don’t think it’s optimal solution at all.

  77. The sensor on the NEX cameras are bigger than the sensors on the EM ones…so wouldn’t the IQ be better?

    • The APS-C sensor in a Canon EOS 1100D is bigger than an Olympus E-M5, but the tech is older and the IQ is worse – dimensions don’t equate quality. You have to count in many factors.

  78. What about the APS-C sensor in the NEX series vs the one in the E-M5? Isn’t it bigger and better?

    • Marginally bigger, sure. Better… it just depends. There are tons of photos circulating – someone likes one better, someone likes the other. It seems that both the choices are valid, I for me likes the Olympus rendering better, or I would have chosen a NEX :) And even in the NEX serie, the results are wildly different…

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