Day Two: Sony A7 and A7r with Zeiss Otus and more!


Day two with the Sony A7 and A7r..and the Zeiss Otus 55 1.4!

See Day 1 HERE.

OK! What a LONG day! 15 hours ago I left the hotel here in Nashville, TN with a slew of other journalists, photographers and bloggers on what would be a very long day of shooting with the new Sony cameras including the A7, A7r, RX10 and even the new Music Video Camera (which I ordered)!

Again, as with last night, it is late and I need sleep so I can be  up tomorrow bright and early for another day of shooting (and tomorrow is going to be amazingly special..and I am excited to shoot as it should be right up my alley). So I am tired and will keep this one short. When I do a full review of these new cameras I will go in-depth as much as I can and normally do.

Remember, this is NOT a review in any way, shape or form on the new Sony products. It is simply a first real world look and my 1st thoughts on using them as well as sharing my images with all of you just as I get off the press! After all, it is the images that most of you want to see from new cameras and I am happy to deliver real world shooting results for you, even if I get 3 hours of sleep every night this week!

I have been shooting JPEG and RAW but for now and ONLY showing JPEGS! I will not be doing processing or RAW processing until I get back home to my main computer as even just opening the JPEGS on my Macbook air are not the best way to view these 🙂 (I am not a fan of the Macbook Air screen for viewing photos).

So with that made clear (that this is NOT a review..YET) let me share with you what we did today in the form of images taken with either the A7 or A7r. I have not been able to get a hold of an RX10 just yet but should be soon and may even be able to take one home with me for review..we shall see.

But 1st, Some quick thoughts..

In regards to Leica M Mount lenses using adapters…The A7r has issues with the 12, 15 and 21mm focal length, even 28mm to some extent. The A7 had some slight vignetting with the 15 and 21 but no real color shift. Not nearly as much as the A7r. So if you are one who was planning on using WIDE ANGLE Leica M mount glass, go for  the A7.

The A7R offers pure power in resolution and that is about the only advantage it gives over the cheaper A7 (besides slight build on the dials). I love both but the A7 shutter is quieter, the AF is faster and the camera costs less and does better with wide angle Leica M glass!

The A7 and A7r do amazingly well with the Sony FE lenses as well as Leica M mount glass from 35mm and up. The Voigtlander 35 1.2 II is doing mighty fine on the A7 or A7r and I prefer using it on these cameras over using it on the Leica M. It is easy to focus using the EVF and Focus Peaking and I can MF faster than I can on my M. This will be one lens I highly recommend for the A7 or A7r for those that want really nice shallow DOF and sharp results to go with it in a 35mm format. You can buy it HERE.

Now on to the days photos with the A7 and A7r (RX10 images, thoughts and full review will be coming soon as that camera looks very promising as well)

We started the day early with an hour bus ride to a horse farm. I had the A7r with me in hand and shot  this out of the bus window at f/2.8 with the 35mm Sony/Zeiss FE. This is one sharp lens and what you see below is the JPEG that came out of the camera. I did resize the image as well as upped  the contrast a tad. 


When we arrived to the horse farm there were riders all ready to rock and roll so we could all take shots of them in action..


The A7R and Zeiss Otus 55 1.4 – A BEAST of a lens but man oh man..this is the finest 50-ish focal length I have ever shot with in regards to sharpness. Once I process RAW files I will post some crazy crops. Wide open, this is quite a bit sharper than the Leica 50 Lux ASPH on my M. But it is manual focus, large and $4000.

Catching action using the EVF and Manual focus was not an issue with this combo, even at 1.4


I had the little Zeiss 21 2.8 ZM on the A7 and there is slight vignetting but as you will see below in a color shot, no real issues. On my M this lens had some slight color shifts. On the A7r it has them as well. The A7 is very very usable. I converted this JPEG to B&W using Alien Skin. 


Back to the A7r and Otus at 1.4 – JPEG. RAW color will be better. 


This shows the power of the A7R and Otus, even in a resized JPEG! This was at 1.4 wide open with the Otus and it is sharp as any lens can be with gorgeous Bokeh and color. This is an amazing lens my friends and it ships in about 2 weeks. 


Once again the Otus 55 1.4 at 1.4 on the A7r


and again…


and again…


and again…


and again…


So with all of the Otus mania I decided to hand it to the next in line and plop on the other Zeiss that I love. The little tiny Zeiss 50mm Planar F/2 ZM. It is also a little crazy sharp lens with some cool 3D pop. 

The next FIVE shots were taken with the A7 and 50 Zm f/2 Planar. This lens sells for around $800 and is one of the best bang for the bucks out there in M mount glass. You can see a recent refresh I did on this lens with the Leica HERE.

This 1st shot is from the Jack Daniels Distillery in TN. We took a great tour there and even got to feel some EXTREME heat. The Sony stood up to the heat test. My face was melting but the camera still kept shooting! Make sure you click these for larger and remember, these are all JPEG! The Zeiss Planar 50 f/2 AM is another fave of mine on the A7 or A7r and I feel this lens on these bodies will beat the Leica M with this lens for IQ. Can not wait to process the RAW files. This OOC color is amazing though.





One more from the Zeiss 21 2.8. You can see vignetting here but no real magenta color shift on the edges. This is on the A7


The Voigtlander 35 1.2 II – Amazing lens any way you slice it. Around $1100 and performs great and feels great on the A7 or A7r. 

This is a nice couple I met today as we walked a trail at Rock City. I asked if I could take their photo and they were nice enough to let me. I shot this with the A7 and 35 1.2 II at 1.2


This one is with the 35 1.2 II at ISO 6400 on the A7..WILD! NOTE: This was in near blackness..we walked  through a blacklight exhibit and when I saw the results I was blown away. This was shot in near darkness, under blacklight at ISO 6400. Yet the camera created better colors than what I saw! This would have been a nightmare for many other cameras but this combo pulled it off. 


and three more from the 35 1.2…




So there you go! My fave snaps from today after the Horse Farm, the Jack Daniels Distillery, the walk through Rock City and even dinner just a couple hours ago. Tomorrow I will try to put up a 1st look video of the A7 and A7r as well as some wide angle Leica M lens comparisons between the A7 and A7R and how they perform on each body.

My 2nd day thoughts? The IQ coming from these JPEGS is astonishing. They look better to me than what comes out of my Leica M with color and sharpness. High ISO as well. While the cameras are not perfect (loud shutter, not Leica build or feel, not the fastest AF using native FE glass (not as fast as E-M1) and an overall slower feel when using it (then again, so is medium format) the Sony A7 and A7r are quite special for what they offer at their price point. I would take one of these over ANY full frame DSLR any day of the week, and at a small fraction of the cost of a Leica M body, there is nothing bad to say about the A7 and A7r. In fact, I think it has some of the M9 look mixed with the M look! Using it is not the same as an M but the results ROCK.

I will have more thoughts as I use it more and when I do my full review.

Once  I get back home this weekend the site will resume its normal updates of guest posts, daily inspirations and more 🙂




  1. Hey, Steve. I’m experiencing an issue with my A7s/otus/novoflex setup. When i’m taking photos with fast shutter time1/4000 or 1/8000s and small aperture f/8 for example, the result is that about 1/3 of my photo is black. There is a black stripe running vertically across the top of the image. Any idea what that might be?

  2. Steve I’m wondering if you felt the Otus on the A7r using an adaptor put a strain on the mounts…as in possible bending or breakage? Did you ever hold the setup just by the camera body or let everything just hang from the camera strap? I just got my Otus and testing on my A7r and wondering just how careful I need to be? Thanks

    • I always held it by the lens so can not say for sure. I did not test it for that but also did not see a problem. There were over 20 of us using it randomly and no one had an issue with the lens or mount. It is very large though when mounted to the A7.

      • Thanks Steve. I am blown away by the quality of the Otus micro detail and contrast both on my D800e and A7r. Your reviews are so helpful to me. Thanks again.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Fantastic write-up, great info and examples! The real question is for someone buying the A7r…what is their best option for a wide angle lens for landscape work???

    (By the way, that Zeiss Otus lens is nuts!) I’d gladly pay that much for a wide angle lens of that quality!

  4. Hi Steve,

    thanks for the great review. What would you think works better with the A7r and the Zeiss Otus. The Canon adapter version or the Nikon with manual aperture control?



  5. Steve those are wonderful images truly showing off what a capable user can do. DP Review posted images as well and they are awful. Made the camera look like a P & S. I am quite interested to see what kind of images the new dedicated FE lenses are capable of.

  6. Steve really good job, how can you resist “Ms Otus regrets she is unable to snap today “. Any way 2 questions for the future. Otus V uber Sumicron and to get worthwhile benefit from the Otus do you need a gazillion mega pixies, i.e Otus on M240 V on Sony Ar7? In other words will the Otus still enhance the pixel challenged look forward to the answers. Thanks Adam

  7. 2013/14 may be Sony’s comeback — cameras, and PS4. Now, if they could only make a decent phone to challenge Apple. The guys at Nikon, Canon, and Leica must be sh!tt!n their pants — well, at least CaNikon still has the sports photographers, and Leica has the poor saps like me that voluntarily choose RF for a premium of US $5K more. I really feel bad for Oly and Panasonic — this is most probably the beginning of the end for MFT with size and prices on APS-C and FX sensors dropping, all with added features. I just can’t see anyone opting for MFT system that isn’t already super heavily invested in the system, and potentially videographers that find it easier to shoot video on a 2x crop sensor. The OM-D E-M1 went from stud to dud in a little over 2-weeks. Well, since Sony already owns about 40% of Olympus, I am sure a takeover bid is all but certain. Some very interesting developments here.

  8. just for me is a little big this objective (Zeiss 55mm) to be mounted on a mirrorless?

    its quality justifies the weight and size?

  9. Hi Steve and thanks for the work you do. For me the A7 and A7r will make or brake with the wideangle lenses on the cameras, and I am pretty sure for lots of others as well. Could you get coloser to the issues of smearing and vignetting on the Voigt 12, 15 and Zeiss 18,21 and other lenses you have? Would be great. I am really looking forward to sell my A99 and the big lenses…


  10. Steve, thanks for the post, the images are looking great. I know you are a Lieca user but could you offer any comments on using either of the a7 cameras with other wide angle lenses such as nikon or pentax. Thanks

  11. So what would you recommend between the Otus 55 1.4 and the Summicron 50 APO ASPH? I know the summicron is like a god lens but between the two for an a7r to get the absolute best image quality, what would you recommend?

  12. I love to see you bringing your eye and your lens to my old stomping grounds! Shame you went to Rock City and not the North Shore in Chattanooga, though. I get the feeling you’d have enjoyed that neighborhood.

  13. Great job Steve !! How do you feel that the RX1R compares with these A7/R up to now in the 35mm focal length ?? I am still biassed to go for the RX1R for daily shooting and hold my A77 until the futures APS-C or FF Hybrid see the light for my A-mount lens collection. I am an enthusiastic argentine photographer with poor english…. Excuse me for that.

  14. That Otus (Redding?) is eerie sharp on the A7. Does one need eerie sharp? Anyway, even on a D800 that thing is big. I’d prefer the upcoming 58mm 1.4 Nikkor, another all-out design, and almost a third in size and weight.

      • Huss, I thought I’d leave cost out of the equation as most folks here don’t seem to have a probblem with forking out large amounts of cash for Leica glass. But yes, maybe like you, I’m always a sucker for intended all stops out product (not intended for the LV set)…

        • Mike I only mention cost because these two new lenses from Nikon and Zeiss are both the best that these mfgs offer. Yet the Nikon is almost 1/4 of the price of the Zeiss. As well as smaller.
          So I am curious to see how these two latest and greatest match up.

          Leica does not come into play here as so far what I have seen, they do not perform as expected with the Sony cameras.

          • So far I’d say the CV 35/1.2 is performing admirably. Makes me believe the Leica 50’s will work wonderfully. …Would love to see some CV 50/1.1 and CV 50/1.5, as well as the 50/2 cron and lux.

  15. wow, thanks for this info. It is good to know for legacy glass, going the A7 route is going to be better than the A7r route. When they were first released, it would have been assumed that the A7r would be king for legacy glass, but obviously not so.

  16. I still can’t figure out why no one has mentioned how the a7r will perform with wide angle canon fd & nikon f glass? I understand yall like m mount but damn… Will there be magenta cast present on any general wide angle lens?

  17. Hello Steve,

    thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. Have you or are you going to test the A7 with the Zeiss ZM 50 1.5? I have this lense on my nex-6 and would be very interested to use it as a “real” standard 50mm lens.


  18. Steve – even with your measly MacBook Air screen you are mowing the other blogger’s lawns with these photos. I saw the same scenes on some other sites (won’t name names) and they were uninspiring at best.

    Photographers should be honest with themselves about their skill level and what a camera will do for them.

    Do your shoot like Steve or do your shoot like the photographers on some of the other blogs? Expect results accordingly.

  19. Steve are you able to take some shots iwith the kit lens? I’m wondering what the IQ and your experience is like with that lens. Is it worth extra $800 to go with a different zoom lens?

  20. The image quality of the jpegs shot with the Zeiss Otus is sublime so I guess the rich folks will be spending their readies on that outfit, however, the other Zeiss lens had almost the same IQ at a fraction of the price though losing one stop. $4000 for one lens though, plus the size of it, it’s enormous for a 50mm! Goes against the mantra on this site of moving away from the cumbersome DSLR toward smaller cameras and lenses doesn’t it? A Canon 5D or a Nikon D610 with a standard lens would be smaller I think, and a lot cheaper to boot! Here’s a query though for Steve..,…The Zeiss Otus has an unusual design at the business end, will you be able to fit normal filters?

  21. Hi Admin. I have done my first comment here more than 3 hours ago and it is still under moderation. Is my english all this bad ?? Thanks

  22. Hi Steve, when you discuss rangefinder lenses and corner/edge performance on the A7/A7r. I think a lot of us geeks would appreciate it if you could make the distinction between magenta color shifts and corner smearing more clear. The former is fixable with software while the later is not.

    • I note your report that the A7 performed better with ultrawide short flange lenses than the A7r.

      This suggests that the lower pixel density and larger pixels used in the A7’s sensor performed better with the lower angles of the light.

      Most readers assumed that the microlenses would correct for that with the A7r’s sensor. Clearly that is not the case and the microlenses are being used for some other reason by Sony. Maybe they are focused for the light angles used by telecentric/retrofocus designs?

      There has not been any testing of ultrawide angle lenses designed for SLR’s. Maybe these lenses will perform better with the A7r?

      Ironically, this is a similar result as was discovered after the NEX-7 was released. With ultra wide angle rangefinder lenses, the lower pixel density sensor of the NEX-5n (and later the NEX-6) was a better match than the higher pixel density of the NEX-7’s sensor.

  23. Look up the charts. A 25mm lens already has some 75% (similar to a pair of sunglasses) natural light fall-off in the corner, or 2 f-stops. And no optical tricks to reduce that. Remember the original Zeiss 15/8 Hologon came with a 4x center graduated circular grey filter, i.e. a dark spot in the center, to compensate the light loss.

    That means even a retrofocus 25mm lens would show that fall-off on perfectly flat film.

  24. I sure hope Sony will be that kind to add color shift removing presets at least for Zeiss and CV manual M lenses, as there ain’t so many official FE lenses out yet. But the color shift is no deal breaker for me.

  25. Thank you Steve!. Your writeup is greatly appreciated and samples very informative in helping us better understand its potential. I am sad though it won’t work well with my CV 12mm but I do have a CV 35mm 1.7 ultron, a vintage (1971) Pentax 50mm 1.4 Super Takumar and a CV 75mm 2.5 heliar that probably should work. I look forward to more :-).

    BTW I was wondering if you had a chance to look at the battery compartment. It seems on my NEX 5 and 6 plus my point and shoot cyber shots, Sony uses plastic making it feel a bit flimsy. Can you please comment as to whether or not the a7r is better built in that area as well?

  26. I have the same experience. I have a lot of minolta MD and MC lenses. They are great performers. For the price you pay for them, the results you get are really great. Love the Rokkors.

  27. Have we reached the point where no new cameras or lenses are really much better than anything that we have used in the past? Must we continue this buying frenzy in an effort to have the “latest and greatest” camera and lenses? Most Leica cameras and lenses (digital or film) and some film camera and lenses, like the Mamiya 7 11, can compete in the new arena. Let’s go back to black and white film! If I spend one more dime chasing this rainbow, my wife will have me locked up in an insane asylum.

  28. Holy crap that is some delicious bokeh !!! I love the close up of the horse and the lady !! Its almost insane there selling it at that price for this kind of quality.

  29. It’s fun to follow along with these. First Olympus with their galloping horses in Scotland, now this… must be the Year of the Horse in camera PR!

    Question: Apparently there are several versions of the Voigtlander 35/1.2 (I have the oldest one) and some of them are restricted in terms of fitting on various M Leica models etc.

    Have you noticed any physical restrictions about what lenses can be adapted to the a7 models? Thanks…

    PS — Any idea why the a7 shutter would be quieter than that of the a7r? Do they use different mechanisms, or what? Or could this just be sample-to-sample variation among prototypes? Shutter noise is pretty important to me (I sent back my Lumix GX7 because of it.)

  30. The Otis 55mm with a7R looks amazing. I can see the quality even in these downsized JPEGs. Why do all the Otis/a7R shots look slightly vignetted, except for close-up on the horse’s eye?

  31. Great job Steve !! How do you feel that the RX1R compares with these A7/R up to now in the 35mm focal length ?? I am still biassed to go for the RX1R for daily shooting and hold my A77 until the futures APS-C or FF Hybrid see the light for my A-mount lens collection. I am an enthusiastic argentine photographer with poor english…. Excuse me for that.

  32. Hi Steve, really love that shot of the bridge!
    Thanks for keeping us informed about the A7/7r!
    On my wishlist:
    –Side by side video of a Nex5n/6 or 7 compared to the A7 regarding shutter sound with EFC on.
    –Side by side photo of A7/a7R with same lens, same scene

    Thanks again!

  33. Please Steve: Must see clear, bright, daylight 15mm Heliar pics please!
    Have to know if the A7’s will work with it and if there will be corner smearing.

    Also would love to see some Zeiss 35mm Biogon shots too.

  34. Hmm

    The Otus 50mm lens seems to vignette really heavily on the A7R, unless you added that in PP.
    In the earlier Honky Tonk post, the Voigt 35mm 1.2 showed significant purple fringing on this camera as well.
    It seems the A7R works best with the two Sony lenses.

    Looks like the A7 is the one to pick. Shame they would spec plastic dials on an $1800 camera.

    p.s as always, these are some really nice pics Steve.

  35. Hey Steve,
    You commented about the cameras not having the solid build of the Leica M, but how does the build quality compare to the RX1/r. I thought the RX1 was very well built.

  36. Currently have pre-ordered A7r…. looks like the A7 is better and cheaper… should I change the order? Is there any reason to go with the A7r anymore?

    • I originally had the A7 with kits lens on order, then changed it to the A7r body only, then changed it to the A7 body only. I’m sure the camera shop is loving me! 🙂

      While I think the A7 is better for my needs, I’m sure the 7r will be the choice still for the studio guys who need lots of detail/MPs.

    • No AA filter, thus sharper (no unnecessary blurring of the image), and higher resolution. They should have excluded the AA filter for both models.

      • I couldn’t agree more. I much would rather have an A7 at 24MP without AA then a A7r.
        36MP… Forget about it. That is if you want shoot the new Zeiss Otus,.

    • I am actually very confused now. I thought the A7r is supposed to be better for wide angel lenses, but looks like the A7 is better for that. Is the A7r’s benefits just the higher MP and lack of AA?

      • Here’s the thing. A7 will be just another FF camera. Yes the body is pretty compact. But it’s another FF camera like MK3, D600, A99, 6D, Leica M, and prolly the mighty D800

        Now A7R, 36MP NO AA? There is only one out there and many believe this will have better IQ than that one, The $3000 D800E, arguably considered as the King of FF Camera today.

  37. Hi Steve,

    Any chance you can do a comparison with the FE 35mm and the Voigtlander 35 1.2 II on the A7? Also, a size comparison of the two lenses on and off the camera would also be nice if you don’t mind.


  38. Steve – if possible can you elaborate on the manual focus process on the A7. So when you bring the camera to your eye, what do you need to do to engage focus peaking, does it automatically go into zoomed in mode somehow, do you half press the shutter to engage focus peaking etc?

    I know how it works on the RX1 but obviously that’s with the inbuilt lens, so very interested to know how it works with non AF lenses. Thanks!

    • Not sure about a7 but on nex 7 simply press the button next to the shutter to enlarge, though i’ve never used it in real life situations as there’s simply no time to do that when i’m shooting on the street. Focusing peaking is sufficient for me – I can nail my shots 90% of the time, though some might be less sharp than others. And there’s no need to half press to engage focus peaking – once you enable focus peaking in the setting, it will be there in the evf when you look through it.

    • just to add, 90% might seem low but i’m really referring to the situation whereby the shots are not at their sharpest. if you shoot landscape or stationary objects, enlarging it will be a better idea for pinpoint precision.

    • I don’t like focus peaking when I used my RX1 because it waiting until I started to manually tweak the focus (and that’s when it zoomed in as well). On my NEX 5N, the focus peaking can always be on. If I have prefocused then I can see right away if the eyelashes are in focus, for example, or perhaps the focus peaking reveals my focus is an inch behind the eye . . . sometimes it’s easier to just move my camera back an inch rather than engage in zoomed in manual focus. I prefer the NEX 5N implementation with the focus peaking always on rather than waiting for me to mess with manual focus (or DMF) to engage the focus peaking like on the RX1.

  39. Thanks! very helpful for all of us who are waiting for the new Sony cameras! I would be very interested in a comparison between the A7 and A7r sensors, I don’t care about pixels really I think 24 Mp on the A7 is enough so far, but would like to see how performs the sensor with and without the AA filter.

    Also very interested on the a7r vs M240: image, processing, iso,… but mainly about focusing. You said the voigtlander is more pleasant to use and faster to focus on the Sony, but at the end you said the Sony is slower and not leica feel? do you mean only construction? after shooting exclusively with the M9 for the last 3 years I am not sure if I can enjoy photography the same way with an EVF, so this is basically my only concern to pick up the Sony over the M240.

    • For me, the point would be to have the option to go extremely small when I need to (e.g., the FE Zeiss 35/2.8; Canon FDn 50/1.4) or to use a giant lens when I have other needs and objectives. It’s about having options. With my Canon 6D, the body alone is bulky and heavy and then I can add the tiny 40 pancake and the combo is still too large to just use a wrist strap like I could with the A7 and 35/2.8.

  40. Nice work, Steve. I’d love to see side by side shots of the A7 vs A7r. I’m mainly going for the A7r because of the lack the AA filter, but I wonder if it’s worth the extra dough…

  41. Is there anyone amongst the invited photogs checking the video quality of the cam? I know this is just an add-on for many, but for me it´s another importing selling point….

  42. Steve, I am very pleased that you tested the Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.2 II as I had targeted it as my potential main lens on the A7 I’ve pre ordered. But you’re also highly recommending it. I’ve been wishy washy about getting an A7 (and selling my Canon 6D), but you are winning me over. Thanks (I think). ;~)

  43. I am very curious to know how the otus performs in comparison to the new Sony FE 55mm. I’m sure they’re both equally sharp at f/4, and that the sony zeiss may exhibit more colour fringing wide open, but is the difference between those two lenses enough to warrant a $3k price difference (and prob another pound and a half of weight)?

  44. In my opinion we have some rather strange developments going on in the market at the moment. On the one hand we have a trend towards more compact cameras, on the other hand Zeiss is coming out with some of the biggest lenses ever build for the 36mm format. Then there is a trend towards ever more megapixels while there is an expanding dominance of the internet as medium for presenting photos where 2 megapixels are plenty enough. Don’t get me wrong. I adore what Sony and Zeiss are doing here from a technological viewpoint. But where are we heading at? Will the enthusiasts carry 100 megapixel cameras in 10 years?

  45. Can you comment on how ‘loud’ the shutter is? Especially in comparison w/ a DSLR, say a Nikon D3/D3s? Another reviewer has complained mightily about the shutter noise.

    • Of course. If you are a 50mm guy, try the C/Y Zeiss 50mm 1.4 for around $400. That lens will be amazing on the A7. I would also imagine the Voigtlander 35/1.4 and 40/1.4, Minolta 40/2 M-Rokkor and many others will all be excellent and in that price range.

    • You can go much lower than $500. Most of the older Minolta MD (manual focus) lenses sell for peanuts today and with the appropriate adapter produce terrific IQ. I use to have the humble MD Rokkor 35mm f/2.8 and after comparing it to my Leica Elmarit-R 35mm f/2.8 I sold the Leica lens. Got the Minolta for all of $26 at KEH. Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 (or even f/1.4) are cheap and the 100mm f/2.5 is a great low-cost portrait lens.

    • Jimmy, you might want to try out the Samyang (Rokinon, Bower, Bell & Howell etc) 85mm 1.4 and the 35mm 1.4. Both of these manual focus lenses are excellent. I use them with my Alpha 850 and the results are impressive for the price. They are both very sharp lenses at full aperture and the bokeh is very nice.

    • Not sure what’s the currency but you can get a good secondhand planar for about 600USD. I got mine for about 666USD, though aged but looks and feels like brand new. And the images are stunning as shown in Steve’s blog above.

  46. While I find the information on your blog consistently interesting and provocative — if not always in line with my own experience — I just wanted to point out one thing that truly gets in the way of my enjoyment: Your prolific and sophomoric use of the exclamation mark. Please, please, please, stop writing like a fourteen-year old girl. Rather than conveying a sense of importance or excitement, the exclamation mark used with this kind of blithe excess simply renders the information down to the realm of teenage texting. (Over fifty EMs in the post alone….)

    • Hi John. The first thing that popped up in my head after reading your comment is, “Wow!” – with explanation point, just like a fourteen year old girl. It seems that an awful lot of us write and think this way so, please, just let people be people. No hate. Cheers.

    • I find it more ‘personable’ and less dry/boring (I read enough dry business cases and technical documents as it is). Bring on the exclamation marks!!!!! Oh, and don’t forget the smileys!!!!!! 🙂

    • So John, you actually took the time to count the exclamation points? Isn’t that rather “sophomoric” in itself? Personally, I like Steve’s style. He’s not dry and boring, he’s real and apparently REALLY excited about these cameras. Judging from the results, I can’t say that I blame him for his enthusiasm.

  47. The clicking sounds you hear are the WA RF A7r buyers changing their preorders 😉

    Nice writeup, that Otus looks good but way too big to be practical. I’m leaning towards the A7 myself now, but I’d so love to have the 36MP and AA-less sensor…I really wish they had not given the A7 an AA filter.

  48. Very nice write up and thank you sharing all of this. If I may ask what do you think of the A7 and Metabones III adapter combination? (I would use this mainly with Zeiss ZE and Canon TSE lenses) I am a little concerned that if the adapter isnt built to tight tolerances it could lead to uneven focus across the frame. It is the only thing holding me back from ordering one at the moment. The Zeiss Otus sample certainly gives me reason to hope the adapter works well. Thanks!

  49. Great images. Have you tried the new Sony lenses (35mm & 55mm) yet? I think lenses are going to be the Achilles Heel of this system as, while it’s great to see what legacy Leica, Zeiss glass can do, the reality is that commercial success of the system will rest on availability/pricing of the dedicated new lenses. Unfortunately here in the UK, an A7 plus the 2 new lenses will cost the equivalent of $4,800 and the A7r $5,400. The (relatively) low body price doesn’t look so attractive when the price of the new lenses is factored in.

    • Shown some with them yesterday and one today with the 35. I also posted a few on Facebook. I will be shooting more with them on Thursday. The 35 and 55 are both very sharp lenses and of course have AF. BUt yes, samples have been posted.

      • Oops…I need to read more carefully! So much to digest in this lens-apolooza….Fascinating stuff though.

        By the way, I notice that with the EM-1 and now the A7, camera makers seem to have decided that no new product release is complete without horses! I’m not complaining though, as I photograph them all the time and horses are often more co-operative models than humans…

        • Col, you’re right when you look at the whole system (even the A7R and 35mm lens comes out at close to £2500), but if you already have M lenses then the £1700 for the body alone stacks up well against a used M8 (not full frame) and certainly better than the used M9 prices.

          This is how I’m starting to think now: get used to an EVF and at least be able to shoot the M lenses digitally and full frame.

  50. Thank you for your further impressions. I like the results from the OTUS (but not the idea of carrying it around on travels…).

    But I can NOT follow a statement like

    “So if you are one who was planning on using WIDE ANGLE Leica M mount glass, go for the A7”

    Instead I expect some M-mount wide angle lenses to perform well on the A7R, for example the WATE or the Ultron 21/1.8. It’s not a general matter with wide angle lenses but only a matter with symmetrical designs.

    • Could you please elaborate on the concept of «symmetrical design»? What about the Leica 21 Super Elmar 3.4 and 24 Elmar 3.8? I own those two lenses and would like to use them on the A7R. Should it be possible?

    • Agree. Biogon design is known to suffer from severe magenta cast on nex bodies, and I’m not surprised to see similar results on a7 and a7r. On the other hand, distagon design should work just fine. There will be vignetting and slight color shift of course, but certainly not to an extent that will render it completely unusable. I pre-ordered a7r and will be picking up a ZM18mm soon. I’ll be expecting stellar performances

    • I agree, the vague comment, while it may prove accurate, its not helpful to the many RF users who have the A7r on pre-order.

      Steve: are you talking colorshift, or smear?

  51. Looking lovely. Happy to hear the a7 is the one to pick so far, love the fact that the budget version is most likely the one to choose for myself. The Otus looks stupendous as well.

  52. When the images are this good I am not sure if its the camera and lens or the eyes behind it. That said those images of the A7R with Otus 55 1.4 are amazing. But for a $4000 lens it would want to be. Love your work Steve and great write up.

  53. Thanks for the excellent daily summaries Steve. I’ve ordered an A7 with the kit lens to start with. The shot with the 35 1.2 II at ISO 6400 on the A7 is amazing.

    • small body, huge lens, what is the point? Yes, quality is there but at a high price of carrying a jumbo lens. One of the crucial advantages of any mirror less camera systems is low weight and/or size…it could be achieved at some cost of image quality at higher ISO (see E-M1 or some operational speed , see X-E1). Lack of the mirror is clearly a plus but the lenses will be still large so will be the whole system (except some primes). Again, the meal is not free here.

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