Sony Full-frame migration - bout that time chaps

Jan 20, 2014
68
Launceston & Sydney
Nick Clark
Hi folks,

After several years of umming and aching (pretty much since the release of the D700), I've decided to begin a slow and steady migration to full-frame. This is for a number of reasons, some bigger than others.

Since I became fairly serious about photography my style and preferences have changed; I shoot less now, and tend to spend more time working on individual images (both pre and post-capture). Gear wise I have developed a preference for a simplified kit; I'm not a fan of the 'do-it-all' design approach and with the exception of ultra-wides, I avoid zooms. Over the last 12 months I've also spent a lot more time working with a tripod, both for landscape work and long-exposures.

My main areas of interest now are:
- Landscape
- Long exposures
- Travel
- Street

Much of my landscape work involves fairly serious back-country hiking (one week +) so portability matters. For long exposure work I'm interested in base-ISO IQ and how the user-interface performs on a tripod (one area that frustrates me with my current kit). Portability is also important for my travelling as I tend to live out of a backpack :) For my street photography I have a preference for a journalistic style, and I'm a big fan of the look you get from big-aperture wide-angles for environmental portraiture (another area of my current kit that I find frustrating).

Some things that I'd like to try my hand at are water-photography (I'm a keen bodyboarder) and event photography (just for fun, not for money).

The kit I'm using at the moment is as follows:
OMD-EM5
Lumix 7-14/f4
m.ZD 12/f2
m.ZD 17/f1.8
Nokton 25/f0.95
m.ZD 45/f1.8
m.ZD 75/f1.8
Ricoh GR(V)

I've found that since getting the GR I've barely used the EM5 kit, partly because I find the GR such an intuitive camera to use, and partly because the IQ is so gobsmackingly good :)

So, long story short - the plan...

Buy an A7r + Zeiss 55/f1.8.
Sell the 12/f2, 17/f1.8 and 75/f1.8 (my least used lenses). Keep the 7-14/f4 and 45/f1.8 until the Zeiss 16-35/f4 and Zeiss 85/f1.8 become available (I'm in no rush) and eventually pick up the Zeiss 35/f1.4.
Decide whether to keep the EM5 and Nokton 25mm (I'm very fond of it...)

So the final kit:
Sony A7r
Zeiss 16-35/f4
Zeiss 35/f1.4
Zeiss 55/f1.8
Zeiss 85/f1.8
Ricoh GR

Thoughts and advice?
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Sounds like a plan to me. Having done similar recently, I fully understand the appeal of full frame sensors. Particularly if you like to work on your stuff in post, the latitude that these Sony full frame sensors provides, particularly the 24 and 36mp versions, are simply amazing. I can do stuff to these files in post that I could never get away with using any other gear. Whether that matters to each person is personal preference, but it clearly sounds like it does to you, so go for it.

The only thing I'd recommend at least thinking about, is looking beyond Sony. I get the desire for portability. But full frame lenses are frull frame lenses and if you're carrying a tripod, the difference in size / weight between a Sony body and one of the smaller Nikon or Canon bodies isn't all that great. And the variety of lenses available for these systems is just mind-boggling, at ALL quality and price levels. So if yiu at all feel like you're compromising on the lense choices because of what's available (not that any of those choices look like compromises!). The D610 or new D750 (with the same small body) or the D810 (a bit larger but still not bad) have the same sensors as the A7 (D610 and 750) and A7R (D810) respectively. I'm less familiar with Canon's options, but I know the 6D is the one small body.

If you're good with the lens choices with the Sony, by all means go for it. If not, give a DSLR a look - the size and weight penalties aren't necessarily all they're cracked up to be. In any case, I think you'll love it.

-Ray
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
123
S W France
Bill
"Dark side" is not good

But, buy a low clicks D700 for £750, a new D610 for just over £900, a new D810 for £1,800 ish or a (low clicks D4 for £3k because they are good value)

but new it's got to be the D810 and used the D700 - IMHO of course …….. the D700 is a big camera, especially with the extra grip/battery


Go the Nikon way, lots of good used glass around at reasonable prices and Sony sensors

for Street you will probably need something else
 

krugorg

All-Pro
Sep 26, 2011
123
Minnesota USA
Kyle Krug
The only advice I would give would be to suggest that you also check out the A7. I think the EVF is a big advantage - cuts down on the shutter noise for your street photography and eliminates the shutter shock issue that can happen on the A7R. I think the A7's sensor is a bit easier on wide angle lenses (better corner performance, less color shift).
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
I would agree with Ray here and take a look at a Nikon, the bodies are not that big and heavy, if you do not add extra grips. The chips are amazing and the amount of glass out there is incredible.
I do not trust Sony in the long run to support their cameras as well with a lot of glass.
 
Jan 20, 2014
68
Launceston & Sydney
Nick Clark
First up, after posting this Sony officially announced the FE Zeiss 16-35/f4, with an expected November release. Relevant bits of info:
- Weathersealed
- 72mm filter
- Optical IS
- 518g
- $1350 on release

Given the track record for Zony/Zeiss lenses its probably a fair bet to assume its going to be pretty good.

The only thing I'd recommend at least thinking about, is looking beyond Sony. I get the desire for portability. But full frame lenses are frull frame lenses and if you're carrying a tripod, the difference in size / weight between a Sony body and one of the smaller Nikon or Canon bodies isn't all that great.
I've considered going back to dSLR (I used 'prosumer' APS dSLR's before Micro Four Thirds), and I'd prefer not to for a few reasons. First, I just don't particularly like using them - after spending a few years with good mirrorless bodies I prefer that style and find dSLR's a bit clunky to use. I don't really have any use for the benefits of a dSLR (mainly in tracking AF, which I never use), and an OVF would be nice but at the end of the day I like the functionality of a good EVF. Finally, size difference is still significant: an A7r + Zeiss 16-35/f4 will come to 983g, whereas the new D750 and Nikkor 16-35/f4 comes to 1520g, more than a half kilo increase (or three dehydrated meals on a solo backcountry trip...).

The best piece of hiking advice I've been given is 'take care of the grams (ounces) and the kilos (pounds) take care of themselves...' :)

And the variety of lenses available for these systems is just mind-boggling, at ALL quality and price levels. So if yiu at all feel like you're compromising on the lense choices because of what's available (not that any of those choices look like compromises!).
Nikon (and Canon for that matter) definitely have an amazing back-catalogue of lenses, but as I mentioned in the OP, I have fairly conventional tastes in lenses, and as long as the basics are covered with quality options I'll be happy. The A7 would also give me the chance to play with a few old M-mount lenses, which I've always been interested in.

The release of the Zeiss 16-35/f4 for a not-too-ridiculous price gives me a bit more confidence that Sony is on track with their lens roll-out.

BillN said:
"Dark side" is not good

But, buy a low clicks D700 for £750, a new D610 for just over £900, a new D810 for £1,800 ish or a (low clicks D4 for £3k because they are good value)

but new it's got to be the D810 and used the D700 - IMHO of course …….. the D700 is a big camera, especially with the extra grip/battery

Go the Nikon way, lots of good used glass around at reasonable prices and Sony sensors

for Street you will probably need something else
Thanks for your thoughts. I've zero interest in a 12mp body for my landscape work, and even less in a pro-body (integrated grip) for hiking, so the D700 and D4 are out. As I mentioned to Ray, I've considered a new full-frame dSLR, but for what I need, they don't offer anything over the A7x range.

For street I'll be keeping the GR :)

krugorg said:
The only advice I would give would be to suggest that you also check out the A7. I think the EVF is a big advantage - cuts down on the shutter noise for your street photography and eliminates the shutter shock issue that can happen on the A7R. I think the A7's sensor is a bit easier on wide angle lenses (better corner performance, less color shift).
This is probably my biggest question at the moment - weighing up the A7's better focussing and quieter shutter against the A7r's better sensor and build. Is the colour shift issue with the A7r only a problem with adapted lenses?

Landshark said:
I would agree with Ray here and take a look at a Nikon, the bodies are not that big and heavy, if you do add extra grips. The chips are amazing and the amount of glass out there is incredible. I do not trust Sony in the long run to support their cameras as well with a lot of glass.
Thanks for the thoughts. I think I covered this replying to Ray - the size difference is significant for my use (keep in mind I'm coming from Micro Four Thirds and a GR, so anything full-frame is frighteningly big, including the Sony's), and I don't need long-term lens support, as long as they release the 35/f1.4 and 85/f1.8.
 

serhan

All-Pro
May 7, 2011
124
NYC
Color shift happens with wide rf lenses that are 35mm and below... Usually biogons have problems, but it looks like Zeiss maybe solved that problem. We'll see w/ their first release of FE lenses...

Leica has been using the corrections on the digital M's. As long as there is no corner blurriness the color shift can be corrected. Some Leica wides like wate is working perfectly with A7R. CV21mm 1.8 is not bad either. I like CV 12mm also. It has some color shift and vignetting but corners are not blurry and near zero distortion... It is impossible to find a comparable glass in dslr world with that size.. I had a Canon 16-35mm L also, not a perfect lens either even with 12MP 5D classic....

A7S might have less color shift, but still affected by the field curvature that is coming from thicker IR glass like A7/A7R. Leica kept it very thin which was the reason for IR color shifts, esp with M8... You can read the tested lenses on A7s:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1312259/1#12577457

The A7 would also give me the chance to play with a few old M-mount lenses, which I've always been interested in.

Thanks for your thoughts. I've zero interest in a 12mp body for my landscape work, and even less in a pro-body (integrated grip) for hiking, so the D700 and D4 are out. As I mentioned to Ray, I've considered a new full-frame dSLR, but for what I need, they don't offer anything over the A7x range.

For street I'll be keeping the GR :)

This is probably my biggest question at the moment - weighing up the A7's better focussing and quieter shutter against the A7r's better sensor and build. Is the colour shift issue with the A7r only a problem with adapted lenses?
 
Jan 20, 2014
68
Launceston & Sydney
Nick Clark
Color shift happens with wide rf lenses that are 35mm and below... Usually biogons have problems, but it looks like Zeiss maybe solved that problem. We'll see w/ their first release of FE lenses...

Leica has been using the corrections on the digital M's. As long as there is no corner blurriness the color shift can be corrected. Some Leica wides like wate is working perfectly with A7R. CV21mm 1.8 is not bad either. I like CV 12mm also. It has some color shift and vignetting but corners are not blurry and near zero distortion... It is impossible to find a comparable glass in dslr world with that size.. I had a Canon 16-35mm L also, not a perfect lens either even with 12MP 5D classic....

A7S might have less color shift, but still affected by the field curvature that is coming from thicker IR glass like A7/A7R. Leica kept it very thin which was the reason for IR color shifts, esp with M8... You can read the tested lenses on A7s:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1312259/1#12577457
Thanks for the info and the link. My interest in M-mount glass would mainly be in the 35mm-75mm range, although the CV definitely looks tempting...
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
I've considered going back to dSLR (I used 'prosumer' APS dSLR's before Micro Four Thirds), and I'd prefer not to for a few reasons. First, I just don't particularly like using them - after spending a few years with good mirrorless bodies I prefer that style and find dSLR's a bit clunky to use. I don't really have any use for the benefits of a dSLR (mainly in tracking AF, which I never use), and an OVF would be nice but at the end of the day I like the functionality of a good EVF. Finally, size difference is still significant: an A7r + Zeiss 16-35/f4 will come to 983g, whereas the new D750 and Nikkor 16-35/f4 comes to 1520g, more than a half kilo increase (or three dehydrated meals on a solo backcountry trip...).
Sounds good. I just wanted to make sure you thought about the option - clearly you HAVE!

Enjoy...

-Ray
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
Thanks for the thoughts. I think I covered this replying to Ray - the size difference is significant for my use (keep in mind I'm coming from Micro Four Thirds and a GR, so anything full-frame is frighteningly big, including the Sony's), and I don't need long-term lens support, as long as they release the 35/f1.4 and 85/f1.8.
Understand weight can be a large issue with backpacking, choose what you are comfortable with using and carrying. What are you taking for a tripod, one can save a lot of weight there.
I know now for me at my age and conditioning I will be doing most of my remote landscape photography from my 4X4, so camera weight is less of an issue:rolleyes
 

pinholecam

Regular
Aug 3, 2012
103
I would sell off the m4/3 stuff.

As for the new combo, I suggest :

A7r
FE 16-35
FE 55/1.8
Some adapted short tele of choice
GR

The GR does the grunt work as the street, fast reaction, low light AF, 28mm wide camera.
The A7r's strength is in sharpness and details (ie. absolute quality) and the ability to give more of that isolation thru shallow DOF look.
Its resolution, slower shutter, loud shutter, slower AF, all warrants a more considered approach or at the least good light.

Otherwise, I suggest the A7 as the compromise (and there won't be a need to keep the GR).
From my own usage of it, its shutter reaction is fast with the EFC for the usual moving stuff like kids, streets.
The only thing is that its 24mp (AA filtered) and not a big leap over the GR o/p.
 
Jan 20, 2014
68
Launceston & Sydney
Nick Clark
I would sell off the m4/3 stuff.

As for the new combo, I suggest :

A7r
FE 16-35
FE 55/1.8
Some adapted short tele of choice
GR

The GR does the grunt work as the street, fast reaction, low light AF, 28mm wide camera.
The A7r's strength is in sharpness and details (ie. absolute quality) and the ability to give more of that isolation thru shallow DOF look.
This is exactly what I'm looking at :)
 

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