Quick samples from Sony A7 and A7r with 12mm Voigtlander!

Photo Plus: Quick samples from Sony A7 and A7r with 12mm Voigtlander!

Pre-order the Sony A7 and A7r at the links HERE.

Not good photos by any stretch but I managed to snap off a few quick shots at the Sony booth with the A7 and A7r with the Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 I had with me because I wanted to check for color shifts and issues and it was VERY hard to do this test because this is an f/5.6 lens and indoors and handheld, forget about it. High ISO city. In any case you can see how it did below in these awful conditions (for a lens like  this).

I set the A7 and A7r  to AUTO ISO and neutral color with AWB. JPEG only here guys. Again, these were super quick test snaps just to test for the color shifting and edge issues when using ultra wides on this camera. This lens gives issues with the Leica M so many are curious how it would do with the A7. I can say that it was well-balanced on the camera and the A7 series feels like it was made for RF lenses. I know for a fact that the 50 Sonnar I tried yesterday was gorgeous in quality all the way around.

But look for some REAL photos with the new cameras next week 🙂


1st up, the 12mm on the A7r, full size file..JPEG straight from camera so whatever NR the camera does at default, this is it. ISO 5000. Keep in mind it is not even focused..just testing for color shifts..

Click the image to see the full size 36MP OOC ISO 5000 JPEG file. This is a true 12mm image. This is a torture test for the Sony A7r. An M mount ultra wide lens. 


and a few more below resized to 1800, OOC JPEGS – one from the A7 and one from the A7r – again, not even focused correctly



Pre-order the Sony A7 and A7r at the links HERE.


  1. ViewPoint 2 does work! I just tried it on your jpegs, above. A couple of clicks (auto, then adjust to max for 12 mm, then stretch vertically by 4 points). ‘People’ photos at 12 mm. looking natural! Some lateral compression: no longer 2*3 in proportion.

  2. I bought DxO ViewPoint 2 recently, which does a remarkable job in straightening out peoples’ heads when distorted in the corners of a shot even from a Nikon 17(-35) mm. (Unfortunately it’s a bit clunky, as usual, in its interface, and some of the controls fail to do anything.) Really cheap, and indispensable for such photos in cramped circumstances. It would be great to hear how it responds for you on pics as posted above. Can you get ‘natural’ people shots at 12 mm?

  3. Can you set the noise reduction off? I want to to see what the photo looks like, because on the first photo the noise reduction looks aweful.

  4. I had a photography lecturer that was anal about the technicalities of processing to the point of being completely opposed to experimentation. Sure lets look at each case on its won merit. And sure, for certain things, categories, the technical aspects need to be as good as they could be, or as good as is possible.

    Its often the case where people who have little talent, or no real creative ability over compensate with technical ‘ know how’

    Today’s digital cameras produce better image quality than almost any mortal could use in almost most cases.
    You can print big from a 12 megapixel camera. Having the latest and greatest kit still don’t make you a good photographer.
    A bit of aberration, or vignetting certainly do not make a picture bad, or good.
    To my eye the result s here look good.

    This is the camera Leica should have given us, instead of the stupid vario

  5. I just opened the full size of the first image (ISO 5000) and even dead center the photo looks heavily “processed” as if Sony was noise-reducing too aggressively. Details are smeared and it looks painterly. I hope this is just a result of high ISO and JPEG processing and goes away with RAW and lower ISO photos.

  6. i think we should all calm down and wait to see what Steve can do when he’s not tied to a table and given 15 seconds to create a masterpiece. especially those of us that are considering a 21mm at the widest. There are probably too many focus and angles of cruddy light in there to conclude too much, except that the lens has possibilities if you dont mind a bit of colour correction. Many thanks for your efforts Steve.

  7. You really don’t need a white background to see the effects of lens cast. Not surprisingly, the cast is quite extreme. Now weather you could create a profile to eliminate or control it would be the next question. The 12mm suffers from vignetting as well which makes it a tough lens–I assume Steve was using this at f/5.6.

    If you are just doing B&W conversions, then the color is a moot point and the vignetting can be fun.

    As far as the “distortion,” well it is a ultra wide and you cannot eliminate the projection problem–the image is not actually distorted, you are just viewing it from the wrong distance.

  8. Shot today with elmarit 28mm asph on both alpha 7 and alpha 7r. I’m searching for a FF body for this lens :-). I know that even the Leica M needs quite strong colour correction for this lens.

    The 7 seems to have less colour shift compared to the 7r. [I expected the opposite]

    Still uncertain which one I want. And then there is still the M option 🙂

  9. I wonder how would this lens perform on m43 system (with focus peaking). It would be serious competitor to my loved panasonic 20mm F1.7 (38mm Fov vs 42mm Fov)

    other than that, I’m quite dizzy from shots – 12mm is certainly ‘too much’ and fish lens would be much more welcome – but than again, even 24mm is too wide for me (i.e. not natural)

  10. Dear Steve. If you was going to do random snaps anyways, why didn’t you just put the camera on a table and shoot some images at base ISO?

    • I literally had 15 seconds – thats it is. Also, there was no real “table” – just a counter full of people. Would you have preferred a totally blurred on the counter image of a bunch of hands? Be patient..will have much much more with “real” images within 2-3 days.

  11. I just had a step back moment. This is a 12mm lens. Leica does not make a lens that wide. So this lens, on a Leica, will also do the same. It will colour fringe. The widest prime lens Leica makes is the 18mm. And the widest ‘zoom’ is the 16mm WATE.
    The ‘real’ test if comparing to Leica, is to see if lenses in that focal length range colour fringe (and pixel smear) on the Sonys. The Leica lenses do not on Leicas.

    • Yes, on the Leica M9 or M it has serious color fringe issues. Correct. The Leica lenses do not on Leica from 16-28 due to the lens coding, which tells the camera what lens is attached and therefore fixes this issue in camera with software.

  12. It’s funny, everybody wants to know just about the A7/A7R performances wit those 12/15mm UWA lenses.. But with the FF dslr how many use in fact wider lenses than 20/24mm ? Not that much.. The most interesting part of those UWA is with crop Aps-c sensors..
    I’ve got the 15mm voigt and I used it maybe two or three time in years, it’s too much specialized…

    Looking forward for your A7r review Steve… 😉

    • You might be even right. I am using the 12mm and the 15mm quite frequently one either APS-C and MFT, who give me either +/- 18-23mm or 24-30mm. So in the end I really might be more likely using the 21mm Ultron or the 35mm 1.2/50mm 1.5 Asph on a ff. Still….. one is wondering. Some extra wide landscape would be a nice thing to try out, and also some city lines. Besides, the 16-35mm on a 5D really is beautiful at 16mm. But of course not under any circumstances.

      I am happy for any inputs, just like yours and all the others. I am sometimes too fixed on some points or wouldn’t even think of other aspects. Love to read through here and -sometimes- even revising my opinion and thoughts ,-)

    • 12mm was ideal to set the maximum boundary how much a7r sensor can handle and is it affected to light from crazy angles.

    • I would say that at least 70% of my photos have been shot at either 16 or 17mm on full frame Canons….so yeah, count me in as one who wants to know how the UWA’s work on the Sony. Obviously by the number of others asking the same thing I am not alone:)

  13. If you were going to do randomish snaps anyways, couldn’t you put the camera on something stable, stop the lens down and expose at base ISO? Could you do that at the next occasion? In my experience corner shift problems get a lot more evident in images that are well exposed. Anyways, thanks for the report!

    • Maybe you should have flown to NYC and attempted this yourself? I had 15 seconds with a tethered camera that was attached to a desk full of hundreds of people. I did not have a camera to roam around with… As I said 30 times, I will be posting many samples with all lenses starting Monday, in two more days.

      • I understand the frustration….but that was a little harsh:) I think comments like these are par for the course when you post samples of a highly anticipated subject. Besides…it’s the price you pay for web traffic instead of waiting till your ‘official samples’:)

  14. The A7r sensor has microlenses that are supposed to help with acute angles of incidence at the edge of the sensor, whereas the A7 does not, so these results seem to be the opposite of what you might expect…

  15. These really look promising. For the 5000 iso they were shot at and the OOC JPEG conversions, the quality is really impressive. Can’t wait to see your more controlled real life review with more moderate wide angle lenses. Seems Sony has hit a home-run with this camera.

  16. Actually very good iQ. There is some motion blur in first shot and the jpg compression destroys all the details. Looks sharp also. Wow what a nice change, affordable compact digital camera that gives you wide angle to the fullest. I was afraid of much worse iQ. To me the quality is good enough.

  17. At this stage, given the environment, the lens and camera perform superbly. Its very encouraging. Personally, I couldn’t see purple tinge at all of the photo. I think the different at the far right images are due to the lack of light at that area hence appears a bit dark. The white shirt of the far right guy on the last picture doesn’t seem to be purple but rather a bit darker.

  18. I have to say that I was happy I went to see the Sony cameras on display today because after using them I am convinced that they are not ready for the market yet. Too clunky and too lazy was my first impression, not to mention the small choice in lenses and if I have to put a canon lens on it then whats the point. It was great meeting you today, I am that Jamaican in the hat above

  19. I see a magenta band with the A7r. The second shot with the A7 looks reasonably free of magenta shift.

    True for you?

    • Kind of hard when the camera is attached to a 3 foot cable that is attached behind the counter and there is not a full white background to be found that will fill a 12mm frame. 🙂

      • I am sitting here at my Computer and reading the comments makes me laugh. It’ s by far better than a cabaret programm. ( and here in Austria we have excellent ones!!! ) Keep up your excellent work, no matter what the “pinkies” out there are discussing :-))

        • Haha, it took me a moment to visualise the scene..

          PS: yet, Austrians do have a funny sense of humour.. Grüessli ,-)

          • Well, yes, I agree, but sometimes our neighbours from Switzerland understand us… ,-)
            This purple, magenta, pink discussion of a product that is not even in the shops made my day!!!
            schöne Grüsse aus Tirol

          • Haha, yes, sometimes. But Science Busters is beyond weird – like, not from this world..

            About the Sony: we’re just all craving for information………

          • Well said…
            I am also thinking of buying the Sony A7 but I think I deside wether or not when I have the chance to do my own tests….

          • Which is probably the smartest move. I can buy it relatively cheap so I might still shoot some frames and sell it again without too much of a loss (CHF 1529, EUR 1240.50). Maybe even before the payment is due *g*

          • It certainly is, but there’s offer galore on electronic consumer goods, Germany is also very close to the area where I live, so quite often you can buy electronics in regular Swiss (online/store) shops for prices similar to what you get when buying in Germany ./. 19 % VAT + 8 % MWSt ,-)

            There are also quite some big retailers mixing up the market (Migros/melectronics/digitec, Coop/microspot, Brack, etc).. Brack for instance is regularely issuing 10 % rabatt codes for their shop, for all kinds of electronic goods. So on the a7 I am using one of these.

            If a country is as expensive as Switzerland you learn how to save money in other areas than taxes, fuel, energy, housing, food, vacation, cinema, etc..

            (although Austrians pay a lot more for heating oil, so luckily our MWST is only 8 %)

          • I was just kidding. I know from visiting friends in Ticino regularly that the costs for living in Switzerland are really high. But it is good for you that so many retailers try to sell the goodies!! Keeps the Prices down. Btw just bought heating oil for the winterseason :-((( so Sony A7 has to wait a bit….

  20. There is obvious purple colour shift in the guy on the rights white shirt in the final picture – fingers crossed for next weeks images.

  21. I’m sure the photo output will be great but the actual camera seems to lack the personality of some of the other mirror less cameras. Basically it’s just a slightly smaller body than many of the smaller DSLR’s.

    • Maybe u should try a Leica super wide lens on your m240. I use the Leica 18mm asph 3.4 on my M-E and there is no colour shift or smearing.

      • I have a Leica 21mm 3.4 super elmar, also zero color shifting. But I wanted a 15mm lens and tried the old Leica R 15mm (both versions), 15-18-21 WATE, etc… but none of the resolution beats the ultra-sharp Zeiss Distagon 15mm. I feel that it is even sharper than my 21mm super elmar, so I live with the color shift and use CornerFix 100% of the time whenever I use this lens… I have ordered the new Sony a7r and very much look forward to using this lens on the camera… maybe it will be like a Nikon D800E in small package!

  22. Surely shots 1 and 3 show definite magenta/purple shifts where there are white backgrounds near the left and right edges respectively?

    • Thank you Steve…does look more promising. I have the 12mm Voigtlander and can’t wait to see more:-). I also have been using a helicoid adapter for about a 1 1/2 year and love having the ability to get a closer focus plus many times two options to focus (lens or from the adapter). Re. the 12mm ultra wide you might end up only setting it to infinity though.

  23. Steve, you are a very patient person… I don’t think I could do your hobby… you clearly state above it’s set to auto ISO, quick jpegs (ISO 5000) and one of the first comments is what about 6400???? I could never be a camera blogger.
    Thanks for all your hard work!

  24. But color shift and, more importantly, smearing happens mostly at infinity. Not sure about relevance of closer focus. Still, this looks good, especially on the A7.

    • If you as you say, colour shift happens mostly at infinity, then these examples are disastrous as the purple colour is from an object just feet away.
      But I am not sure if distance matters.

      • Take an RF lens in your hand. Take the rear cap off. Focus at infinity and then at MFD. Rear element closest to film at infinity. Angle of incidence of light is smallest. Hence color shift, smearing.

        • Then the A7r will be terrible, WITH THIS LENS, at infinity.
          p.s thanks for the explanation! I just did that with one of my lenses. You Sir, are correct.

    • It seems that way. In the second from last photo on the far right the man is wearing a white shirt but i do not see much of a colour tinge at all.
      So it looks like from this brief test, with these pre-production (?) cameras that the A7 is a better performer with this lens.

    • It is not true optically. For example, with a raw processor like Capture one Pro 7, made for large format data backs, designing a lens profile for cast, CA and vignetting and correcting even for excess curvature of field and astigmatism for AA/IR filter is as easy as a a mouse click. For these operations, a finer pitch eases software correction due to lack of aliasing and precise blur identification. On these ultra-wides, the theoretical resolution of an indistorted lens (like Heliars) along the sagittal direction is one half the center resolution. I believe that is time to avoid in-camera processing and go directly to a powerful PC/Mac with appropriate software and skill. So, in my modest opinion, these in camera samples look very promising.

  25. p.s the A7 seems to perform much better than the A7r in these shots. it is the R model that shows the really bad purple. May want to hold off buying the expensive model if u want to use wides…

  26. I have to think if the 12mm performs this admirably in such craptacious conditions, the Voightlander 21/1.8 could actually perform better than expected. (fingers crossed)

  27. I’ m not sure how people are saying these results are encouraging. The first picture shows a purple tinge from the left edge all the way into about 1/4 of the frame.
    You can also see it on the last picture but on the right. Both times because there is a white-ish background there.

      • In the second from last photo there is a man in the far right wearing a white shirt. It has not turned purple. That photo was taken with the A7

        • It’s not purple but it might be overexposed and/or white balance corrected automatically.

          There are tests of this lens on this camera elsewhere that demonstrate there is definitely color shift. It’s just that color shift doesn’t ALWAYS render visibly depending on a few factors (such as exposure).

          • the white pane in the Leica panel in front of it, look at the top, there is some purple fringing, but all in all, one can not say that it disturbs. In Raw it poses no problem, we just remove it at rework. Steve has not focused this correctly and I can understand that, in such a place, there is no time for that anyway. Those pictures with a 12 mm wide surprise me in a pleasant way.

  28. Excellent, it does look promising indeed.

    The 12mm isn’t a low light indoors close-up lens. And it might be uncommonly WIDE for people who are used to APS-C or even smaller sensors.. When held level with the ground, out in the sun, I think it might perform well enough for landscape and city/urban architecture (or with tripod for city night lights) on the ff sensor of the a7. One should of course avoid close objects in the corners *g*

    Now I just have to find out more about the newly announced Voigtländer VM-E-mount Nah+ adapter with this extra added close-up distance (that is, reduced distance). How will it perform when you don’t need the close-up distance, like.. with this -what’s it called?- infinity sharpness or something like that. Or would either a cheap M-E-mount or the almost as expensive Novoflex do the job..?

    Oh, and I am still sort of wondering how this ff/crop settings will work. Read a bit about it but without having experienced it, I’m a bit lost without holding the camera and appropriate glass in my hands (ha, still not THAT tech savvy…).

    Anyway, I’m having a positive feeling and will keep up my pre-order for the a7. Meanwhile I am looking forward for some more pictures with different lenses.

    One more thing:
    May I ask which adapter you did use for the 12mm/Voigtländer lenses? (sorry if I did miss the info in the text above)..

    Oh, and a “last but most important” ending:
    THANK YOU for providing all this wonderful information ,-)

    • Charles: do you think the a7 might perform nearly as well as the Leica M9? Never tried one but the Sony seems an affordable option for me to advance/move into / try out a slightly different kind of photography (I am currently using some really beautiful Voigtländer glass on Fujifilm X-E1/X-M1 and on the Olympus E-P5)..

      • Performance-wise the A7 will be better, especially ISO and auto-white balance which are both awful on the M9. The difference will be the look of the photos. I suspect that will be down to personal preference.

        • Hm, I reckon I get it. I’ve always loved my Saabs and I still so want one again. But my Toyota Avensis Estate beats them all. It does use half of the fuel, it’s got 320k km on the clock, last service cost me les than 600 bucks.. It’s a Toytoa, I will never get the Saab feeling in this car. But it’s so much better in so many ways *g*

          OK, back to photography: I have read that the a7 will be better performing with ww lenses than the a7r. Looks like that’s going to really be the case. I have also read that somebody played around with the new Sony and said it wasn’t ready really yet. But so far I think this was the only really negative comment. Even if it might be true, I’m still sticking to my pre-order for the time being and will wait for some more pics (with adapted lenses). Meanwhile, I’m selling my DSLR in an online auction. A thing I should have done long ago, since it’s been tucked away in a box most of the time (basically since I started shooting mirrorless cameras a couple of years ago)..

  29. Steve,

    Thank you for all your hard work. With the 12mm this good, my 21mm f2.8 biogon zm should be great. Is there an adapter from M to NEX FF that will let the body recognize a leica lens if it is coded??

    • I have this for my NEX 5N and looks like it will work on the A7/A7r too! It recognizes 6-bit and puts that into EXIF. But that’s not why I like it – the main draw is that it will activate magnification when you focus/change focus on the lens! I’m not a big fan of how Sony’s buttons are laid out and how hard it is to get into magnification mode, so this is a dream: https://www.phigmenttech.ca/lmnex/

  30. Hi Steve, Thank you so much, I was thinking of selling my 15mm Voigtländer lens, but your testpictures showed me that it’ s worth keeping it and trying it on the new A7 camera.

  31. Looks fairly usable. The litmus test will be 21mm f1.4 i.e. super wide angle at open aperture. Stopping down reduces the Problems significantly and f5.6 is already a fairly small aperture.

  32. Some strange comments. Vignetting, at 12mm? Of course, but very moderate. 35mm’s have a bit of vignetting, so what’s the complaint? I usually don’t correct it in pp because I like the effect in moderation.

    Distortion? Never used a super wide angle apparently.

    Lovely colours, lovely sharpness, very good high iso performance. Impressive.

  33. Nice to see that Sony and Leica are so close to each other at this show. You could almost do a side by side test by walking from counter to counter.

  34. That is pretty good, but how is it in very low light at ISO 6,400 and above? I am looking forward to more images.

    (Love that lens.)

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