Sony The 35mm FF experiment for Vintage lenses

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Regular
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
Heuou, again, I have been itching to retry my experiment with 35mm FF. Last year I bought (well more of traded in for) a Sony a7C as a one stop shop for family and portraits and a way to dip my toes in adapting vintage lenses (I love shooting with manual focus and I love interesting and intriguing lens characters).
Some really bad things happend in the last 6 months and I had to give up on the Sony camera but I am ready to try again but it will have to be on a significantly lower budget, for now.
I have made a list of all the 35mm FF mirrorless cameras (it has to be mirrorless else I can't adapt as many lenses\mounts) and my main focus was 1st and 2ns gen cameras to fit under 700 £ budget.
As much as I wanted a higher then 2.4 Milioane dots EVF the Nikon Z6 and Z5, the Panasonic S1 and S5, the Canon EOS R and RP did not made the cut because they are barely under 1K £ or just over.
That left me with Sony a7, a7 Mark II, a7R and a7S. All of them have their strengths, the a7 is the most compact and lightest, the Mark II has IBIS, the a7R has better IQ, the a7S may be better suited for lesser grade vintage lenses (like 3rd party lenses and zoom lenses).
The only missing feature that these Sony's camera is the Electronic Shutter (even just First Curtain) which would help with shutter shock, low shutter speed (in low light) and quietness for candids and street photography.

I have only one vintage lens left, at the moment, which is a Yashica Yashidon-DX 50mm f 1.4 that has an amazing character and output. But I do want to try strange lenses (like the Schneider Kreuznach lenses for their reputation of incredibly saturated colours).

So my question is which Sony camera should I go for such an experiment. (Mind you I will hold on to my Panasonic G9 for autofocus, I know that sounds strange for some people, and wildlife. If I could afford a Sony a7 III or a9 I would but until I overcome some huge weights over my shoulders, which might take 2-3 years for that to happen, I will have to be conservative). But i still want to have fun meanwhile, least my sanity meets it final end.
 

Brownie

Top Veteran
The A7 'S' variants are really for video. It has a crop, I believe. uses larger pixels for full frame, see posts below. The 'R' stands for resolution and is a higher MP sensor, thus will cost more. The newer you can get the better off you'll be. I agree with Brian, in this case with the A7 II.

Sony is an excellent choice. If you do collect some E mount lenses as you go, you can use them if you upgrade later. And BTW, you'll most likely find the A7 II focus capability exceeds that of the G9 in action circumstances.
 
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L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Regular
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
The A7 'S' variants are really for video. It has a crop, I believe. The 'R' stands for resolution and is a higher MP sensor, thus will cost more. The newer you can get the better off you'll be. I agree with Brian, in this case with the A7 II.

Sony is an excellent choice. If you do collect some E mount lenses as you go, you can use them if you upgrade later. And BTW, you'll most likely find the A7 II focus capability exceeds that of the G9 in action circumstances.
If that were to be true I would replace my G9 and the 100-300mm Mark II though I would lose the Pre-Buffer feature which I do use it a lot. The firsts on my list would be either the Sigma 28-70mm f 2.8 DN and Sigma 150-600mm f 5-6.3 OR the Tamron 28-75mm f 2.8 and Tamron 150-500mm f 5-6.7, used only to save up money.
 

Brownie

Top Veteran
A couple of folks from M-4/3 recently started shooting an A7R II and an A7R III. They bought them during the big sales events leading up to the A7 IV release. Both seem very satisfied and the results I've seen have been excellent.

As near as I can tell Sony tends to release the expensive one first, the 'R' variant, then the standard model, the the S. So, A7R II > A7 II > A7S II. Even though they share the same model name, it appears that Sony still upgrades features within the same family. An A7 II may have a few new features and be a bit more advanced than the A7R II, and so on.
 

Petrochemist

Veteran
Location
N Essex, UK
Name
Mike
The A7 'S' variants are really for video. It has a crop, I believe. The 'R' stands for resolution and is a higher MP sensor, thus will cost more. The newer you can get the better off you'll be. I agree with Brian, in this case with the A7 II.

Sony is an excellent choice. If you do collect some E mount lenses as you go, you can use them if you upgrade later. And BTW, you'll most likely find the A7 II focus capability exceeds that of the G9 in action circumstances.
I thought the S (standing for sensitivity?) uses larger sensor pixels to give a lower noise image at reduced resolution. AFAIK it still uses the same sensor size for stills (no crop). they come into their own for low light shooting.

FWIW the A7ii is also the model I chose for my legacy shooting. IBIS & focus peaking help make shooting manual lenses simple & the price of the A7ii is more affordable than later options also offering these features. There are times when either the R or S model might be a benefit for me, but the standard model covers most bases.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Regular
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
I would love to have the Sony a7R II but i don't think I can have enough money for that. The thing is if I give up on the G9 I would have to be able to trade it in for a super telephoto lens else I won't be able to do wildlife photography. While yes you can crop from 42 MP with a Sony 70-300mm lens for reach the price of that lens is 650 £ on its own. I don't mind experimenting with telephoto vintage primes but I want to have an AF lens that I can rely on. And even 3rd party lenses in the telephoto range are still more expensive then Micro Four Thirds (reach for reach).
 

Brownie

Top Veteran
I thought the S (standing for sensitivity?) uses larger sensor pixels to give a lower noise image at reduced resolution. AFAIK it still uses the same sensor size for stills (no crop). they come into their own for low light shooting.

FWIW the A7ii is also the model I chose for my legacy shooting. IBIS & focus peaking help make shooting manual lenses simple & the price of the A7ii is more affordable than later options also offering these features. There are times when either the R or S model might be a benefit for me, but the standard model covers most bases.
You are correct, I went and reminded myself. I knew there was a difference in MP. It uses a FF sensor with 12MP instead of 24. For some reason I had it in my head that it cropped to video aspect ratio for the reduced MP.

Editing the other post so as not to lead someone astray!
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Regular
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
You are correct, I went and reminded myself. I knew there was a difference in MP. It uses a FF sensor with 12MP instead of 24. For some reason I had it in my head that it cropped to video aspect ratio for the reduced MP.

Editing the other post so as not to lead someone astray!
I did know that the Sony a7S has a special 12 MP large photodiodes sensor designed for low light performance and designed for video mainly.

The reason I was considering it is because of the "larger pixels" (I know it's a misnomer, it's the quickest way to visualize\exemplify) would be more gentle on the older optical designs and coatings then the R version (I can't remember if sensors performance is on par with the 24 MP and larger, like DR, readout speed, etc).

I do remember peeps gobsmacked at seeing amazing ISO performance at 12.800 and 25.600 even for the most picky pixel peepers. I do wonder how well the other sensors have caught up (like BSI 24 MP and 42 MP).
 

Brownie

Top Veteran
I did know that the Sony a7S has a special 12 MP large photodiodes sensor designed for low light performance and designed for video mainly.

The reason I was considering it is because of the "larger pixels" (I know it's a misnomer, it's the quickest way to visualize\exemplify) would be more gentle on the older optical designs and coatings then the R version (I can't remember if sensors performance is on par with the 24 MP and larger, like DR, readout speed, etc).

I do remember peeps gobsmacked at seeing amazing ISO performance at 12.800 and 25.600 even for the most picky pixel peepers. I do wonder how well the other sensors have caught up (like BSI 24 MP and 42 MP).
Now you're splitting hairs. Unless you have some specific need to shoot in low light, forget it. I've seen what you shoot, the vast majority of it is outdoors. Just get the one you can afford and stop wringing your hands over it.
 
I would love to have the Sony a7R II but i don't think I can have enough money for that. The thing is if I give up on the G9 I would have to be able to trade it in for a super telephoto lens else I won't be able to do wildlife photography. While yes you can crop from 42 MP with a Sony 70-300mm lens for reach the price of that lens is 650 £ on its own. I don't mind experimenting with telephoto vintage primes but I want to have an AF lens that I can rely on. And even 3rd party lenses in the telephoto range are still more expensive then Micro Four Thirds (reach for reach).
Just a warning: you'd probably find the Sony A7R2 unsuitable for wildlife work with autofocus. I upgraded from the A7R2 to the A7R4 and that made a big difference for my street photography with autofocus. I like to be able to quickly point the camera at a subject (mostly a person) and have the camera grab focus. The A7R2 almost always failed while the A7R4 gives me a good chance of nailing the shot. However, the A9 I tested a few years ago, is still in another league, it grabs autofocus instantly it seems, while the A7R4 still produces a noticeable delay to acquire focus.
 
Location
Finland
I'd just like to chime in that pixel density doesn't make it any easier or harder on lenses. You're able to blow it bigger on your screen, revealing some flaws you couldn't blow up visible otherwise. But other than that, this psychological factor, more pixels on the sensor generally just tends to bring out more character out of even the softest of vintage lenses.

Friends don't let friends pixel peep :cool:
 
I just picked up an A7ii in the price range you're looking at. The earlier bodies were horrible in the hand and I never considered them. Everything else was out of my limited budget. Some adapters and a couple of relatively inexpensive Samyang lenses and I'm about to find out if it gets me half the way to the medium format camera I just can't afford.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Regular
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
I just picked up an A7ii in the price range you're looking at. The earlier bodies were horrible in the hand and I never considered them. Everything else was out of my limited budget. Some adapters and a couple of relatively inexpensive Samyang lenses and I'm about to find out if it gets me half the way to the medium format camera I just can't afford.
There was a time where I was interested in medium format but over the years I learned that I prefer to be mobile, I dislike tripods and I enjoy shooting handheld. It's what attracted me to Micro Four Thirds in the first place and why I stayed with them for so long ... Now IBIS is almost a requirement on all cameras (though not to the performance level of Olympus or Panasonic).
 

Brownie

Top Veteran
You forgot this:th_salute: !!!

Seriously though, you won't go wrong with the A7 II given the circumstances. The S II is a specialty camera.

I just picked up an A7ii in the price range you're looking at. The earlier bodies were horrible in the hand and I never considered them. Everything else was out of my limited budget. Some adapters and a couple of relatively inexpensive Samyang lenses and I'm about to find out if it gets me half the way to the medium format camera I just can't afford.
I just picked up a Samyang 35/1.4 at KEH and couldn't be more pleased. They've come so far in the last few years.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

Regular
Location
Somerset, UK
Name
Ovi
You forgot this:th_salute: !!!

Seriously though, you won't go wrong with the A7 II given the circumstances. The S II is a specialty camera.


I just picked up a Samyang 35/1.4 at KEH and couldn't be more pleased. They've come so far in the last few years.
I agree. What I found really tempting is the Samyang tiny primes, be it f 2.8 or f 1.8, most of them between 200 and 400 £ each on the used market, exceptionally small (they can compete with Micro Four Thirds in size and weigh). Though I would add them very slowly and with long term plan. (Samyang 24mm f 1.8, 45mm f 1.8 and 75mm f 1.8)
 
I got an open box Tamron 35/2.8 for $210. It was very good but because it focuses down to 1:2 it was very slow, so it went back. Instead I got the Samyang 35/1.8. When I saw how good it is I broke down and ordered the 75/1.8 as well. It was more than I initially planned to spend, but for about $1500 I ended up with my favorite little bit wide/little bit long autofocus kit, a couple of extra aftermarket batteries and adapters for all my old lenses collected in the 80's.
 
I got an open box Tamron 35/2.8 for $210. It was very good but because it focuses down to 1:2 it was very slow, so it went back. Instead I got the Samyang 35/1.8. When I saw how good it is I broke down and ordered the 75/1.8 as well. It was more than I initially planned to spend, but for about $1500 I ended up with my favorite little bit wide/little bit long autofocus kit, a couple of extra aftermarket batteries and adapters for all my old lenses collected in the 80's.
That Samyang 75mm lens is a gem for it's price! I really love mine! The slightly-shorter-than-85mm focal length makes it usable indoors, and the rendering is very, very nice. Not quite as magical as their 85/1.4, but I'd say images I've taken with the Sammy are not put to shame by the ones I've taken with the 55/1.8 Zeiss. And that says a lot, methinks.

It is a bit plasticky, though. But on the other hand it's tiny, lightweight and affordable, so that can be easily forgiven.
 
Just for fun, a couple of snapshots taken with the a7C paired with Samyang's 45mm and 75mm:

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Both make a very nice pairing with the little a7C. I don't have the Samyang 85/1.4 for Sony, but I had it for the EOS R. And that lens wouldn't pair nearly as well with the little C, being a huge hunk of glass. The 75 on the other hand handles like a dream with the C.

I think both lenses render very nicely. I had the Sony FE 50/1.8 briefly, and I like the Samyang AF 45 a lot better. It's sharper and has less problems with CA. I kinda forgot the little fortyfive for a while since I accidentally bought a mint used Zeiss 55, but on the C the Samyang is a real winner. The pair handles nicely, the autofocus works really well and the IQ leaves little to desire.
 
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