Sony A7 and Zeiss 35/2.8 vs Fuji X-E2 and Fuji 23/1.4

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
I just don't think that this is consistently the case, and not at web resolutions such as 1024 or 1600 pixels. The Sigma Merrills in particular are cameras that I have researched with the thought of owning one myself.

One of the big realisations relating to cameras that has formed in my mind is that once a certain level of technical competency is reached the differences in output from one camera to another are subtle at best and are more subject to personal taste than an extra half stop of DR or some extra lines/mm of resolution. The problem with technical image quality is that it isn't linearly proportional to aesthetic image quality.
I agree with this. I had five cameras in Italy this summer and used four quite extensively, including a DP1M and RX1 and the somewhat less detailed Nikon A and still less detailed Fuji XE1. When processing them and zooming in on parts of the image, the DP1M was absolutely amazing - a revelation. The RX1 was pretty close in that regard. The Nikon was still good but not as good and the Fuji lagged a bit behind the others. It was obvious when pixel peeping while working on the the shots. But once I either posted them on the web or printed them for the book I put together (11x13 pages), the level of detail in the shot was really irrelevant. The character of the photos, the way the lens rendered, the colors or tonality of the B&W, etc, was still prevalent and there were notable differences. The Fuji shots had that smooth creamy look, the Sigma was a bit crunchier for lack of a better word, the RX1 just had some certain magic I can't describe, and the Nikon was just dead competent on every shot. But the resolution and detail simply didn't matter much when viewed in those ways. And as amazing as the Sigma files were to work with and as great as the detail was when looking at 100%, it just didn't matter under normal viewing and I didn't like the fundamental look of those shots as much as those from the other cameras. BUT, when it came to things like DR and low light, those differences were more apparent even in the printed shots, and the difference between the RX1 and everything else, particularly in really low light, is NOT subtle. It's my first experience with full frame in a digital context and I'm way past impressed and its generally what I reach for in low light except those times I just happen to have the Nikon with me. And it's what has me interested in these full frame bodies, particularly if I enjoy shooting them with manual focus glass...

-Ray
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
88
NY Mtns
i agree with nic and ray, absolutely. but ray, let me ask, if you just werent comfortable with the rx1 from a physical picture taking experience POV, would the visible superiority of its IQ compel you to use it anyway? and if it did, do you feel your work with it would equal the quality of photo you produce with a camera you truly enjoy using? i'm interested because i just recently had this debate with myself over a period of a couple weeks regarding where i will go with my equipment. most digital cams leave me cold, though i get what i consider very good technical results. while it was quite an involved and multifacetd self-discussion. in part, my conclusion was i need analogue controls to truly warm up to my equipment (ive always required a vf) and that i will thus make better photos with equipment i enjoy using.
 

flash

Veteran
May 6, 2011
103
Gordon
If the A7 has decent low light AF, this will be near impossible to resist. Plus an A7r for landscapes.....

Gordon
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
123
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
There was recently a 100% crop comparison done at mu-43.com of three different cameras from three different brands and formats. Intrigued by how my own cameras compared to each purely on resolving power I did my own test and wrote this in conclusion.

Last night I did an informal resolution test between my GH1 and E-M5 fitted with the PL25 lens, Samsung NX200 with the 30/2 pancake, and Canon G1X with zoom lens set at 50mm equiv FL. To compare I shot the same target at base ISO and equivalent apertures for DOF (although the target was a flat plane anyway). The resulting raw images were then brought into Lightroom where I adjusted the sliders in the "Detail" tab up to the point where additional sharpening began to create artefacts.

End results were:

The 12MP GH1 and 14MP G1X appear to give the sharpest image at a pixel level, with the G1X coming out on top by dint of having more pixels. The GH1 is prone to moire in certain real world circumstances so I wasn't surprised to see it produce such a sharp image despite being a 2009 model camera. The 16MP E-M5 wasn't quite as crispy as these two but has 4 and 2 more megapixels of resolution respectively. The Samsung was probably in the middle for pixel level detail but has the highest number of pixels (20MP) to play with.

In terms of ability to print at the largest size and highest resolution based on this test and my own general impressions from shooting all four cameras in the field, I would rate the Samsung first, the G1X second in front of the E-M5, and with the GH1 last simply due to it's low(er) megapixel count.

The question then is: does this all mean anything? The answer is, for me, not really. My favourite print medium is canvas, whose natural texture gives a wonderful character to images, as well as being cheaper to print, doesn't require a frame, and is lighter when hung on the wall. The kicker is that printing up to 40", some of my favourite wall hangings have come from my old Canon 350D, 8MP, sometimes slightly cropped, and processed from jpegs rather than raws. Academically it was an interesting exercise, even though the different resolving power of each camera doesn't matter very much to me in practise.
Of course all this has nothing to do with high ISO noise, colour palettes, colour depths, dynamic range, etc, of which I could find positives and negatives for any camera. What I have discovered is that it is difficult to use more than 12 or so stops of dynamic range without crossing over the line from reality to...something else.

Anyhow, Sony A7 or Fuji X-Esomething? Whichever one you like best.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
i agree with nic and ray, absolutely. but ray, let me ask, if you just werent comfortable with the rx1 from a physical picture taking experience POV, would the visible superiority of its IQ compel you to use it anyway? and if it did, do you feel your work with it would equal the quality of photo you produce with a camera you truly enjoy using? i'm interested because i just recently had this debate with myself over a period of a couple weeks regarding where i will go with my equipment. most digital cams leave me cold, though i get what i consider very good technical results. while it was quite an involved and multifacetd self-discussion. in part, my conclusion was i need analogue controls to truly warm up to my equipment (ive always required a vf) and that i will thus make better photos with equipment i enjoy using.
If IQ was more important to me than shooting experience, I'd probably be shooting everything with a D800, and I'd have an RX100 as a pocket camera. As is, I haven't owned an SLR since the '80s and couldn't stand the RX100 shooting experience. The good news is that, much to my surprise, I absolutely love the RX1 shooting experience. I shot it side by side with the X100s for the better part of a month and preferred every thing about the RX1 except the viewfinder, and I like the RX1's EVF a LOT, just not as much as the hybrid on the X100s. If I didn't enjoy using it, the image quality would be moot, but if enjoy it immensely. And since these new full frames are built around the RX1 interface (except for aperture rings), I suspect I'd like it too if I can find lenses for it I like (I'm thinking mostly manual focus).

-Ray
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
Jack
If they'd gone a stop faster than the RX1, there'd be no reason for anyone to buy the RX1 anymore. It's more or less why Fuji took decades to release its 23mm lens. So says the cynic in me anyway! :)

I wish they'd gone the other route with the A7, and came out with a 35mm f/1.4 that's a stop *faster* than the RX1 instead of a stop slower 35mm f/2.8. I'm assuming they did that in a desire to make a small lens. Unfortunately, for a general use camera, f/2.8 is not fast enough for me.

If there was a good fast 28mm or 35mm lens available I think I'd be interested in an A7 to replace my RX1 if for no other reason than the viewfinder is built in *and* doesn't eat up the hot shoe. :2thumbs:
 

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