Moving Over to Sony

Sony A7r with Canon 16-35 lens at f/14.0
Sony A7r with Canon 16-35 lens at f/14.0

As many of the regular readers of this blog know, I am a diehard Micro 43 user and think these cameras (especially the Olympus EM5) are superb. Last year I conducted an experiment (a very expensive one) in which I purchased a Nikon D800 to compare performance. The D800 was a fantastically capable camera from which the results were excellent. The only problem was that it limited my shooting freedom hugely and the results were barely distinguishable from the EM5 for most purposes. I found that I could shoot all day with the D800 to achieve perhaps 1 or 2 OK images and as a result was always returning to the EM5. The ill-fated experiment end up with me selling the Nikon a couple of months later in frustration.

But now the EM5 is growing old and I haven’t seen anything much to replace it in the Micro 43 world (yet). It’s still an incredibly capable camera but I find myself wanting to refresh my equipment and inject something new into my work. I will stress though that I’m not abandoning Micro 43 – it’s simply too good a system.

Recently I have been shooting quite a bit with the Sony RX10. I really like this camera in terms of its handling and the image quality is generally very good (but not on a par with the EM5). What makes this camera stand out for me though is not the pixel count or the flexibility and usability (although impressive), it’s the colour handling. This is something that I have found with every Sony camera I have owned. The colour capture is so natural when used in Landscape photography, especially in the greens and blues. I simply love this. In fact I am so impressed that I have decided to make a Sony my next camera purchase.

I am now using a Sony A7r which has an uncannily familiar feel to it. It handles very much like the Olympus EM5 (with grip) in terms of its size and feel except that it’s just a little larger and chunkier. In fact I would go as far as to say that it feels just as flexible and enjoyable to use.

Where it does differ significantly from the EM5 is in the lenses. With the exception of the Sony R1 and more recent RX10, I have experienced issues with the Sony lenses. The lens line-up has been too limiting for landscape work and the image quality has been lacking, especially into the corners. For this camera I have therefore opted to buy Canon L Series lenses as I have always been very happy with their performance. These I am using via a cheap adapter that I purchased on Amazon for £50. Remarkably the adapter not only maintains the aperture control from the camera but also maintains the image stabilisation features built into the Canon lenses – wow!

At the moment I have only had a brief outing with the camera and the weather wasn’t very good so I can’t share very much work. Once I have had chance to use the camera properly I will share some more images and thoughts.

14 thoughts on “Moving Over to Sony

  1. I recently added a Sony a6000 to my kit choosing to keep my Canon 5d MkII since I have so much Canon glass. I purchased a Zeiss Touit 32mm 1.8 for the Sony and an adapter like you did. I am now able to use my Canon mount lenses on the a6000 also. Win, win. I know you will enjoy that A7.

  2. “What makes this camera stand out for me … it’s the color handling.”
    If you shoot RAW, color handling is influenced at least as much by one’s choice of RAW conversion software as by one’s choice of camera. And, a camera profile made with a ColorChecker Passport can help equalize color across different camera brands and models.

    1. Yes I shoot RAW and yes the ColorChecker (which I also use) can help to balance out colour differences. BUT there is definately a different colour response in the Sony images and it’s the interelationship between the colours that I think Sony has nailed. Trying to emulate this with other RAW files is something that I haven’t been able to achieve.

  3. “I have therefore opted to buy Canon L Series lenses”
    I’ll just note that my Canon 17-40 f4L was greatly outperformed in the corners by my Panasonic 7-14 f4.

    1. I can believe it but both lenses are excellent. I have owned the 17-40L (now have the 16-35L) and have the 7-14. I would put the 7-14 and 16-35 on a par for corner sharpness. The 7-14 benefits from a larger image circle in relation to the sensor size than the Full Frame lenses so Panasonic don’t have to try quite as hard.

  4. As you know I’ve had my a6000 for a month and coupled with the Zeiss 16-70 f4 lens I’ve been amazed at the quality of the images..Plus I’m a newbe to manual cameras, only having owned a RX100mk3 for six months and then the a6000 for around one. I’ve been looking at the Metabone adaptor and that’s quite expensive!!!

    1. There are lots of adapters about for the Sony ranges. I am using an Ommlite with the Canon EF lenses and the results from these lenses are superb. But I have also tried an old Canon FD fit lens from before Canon launched the EF mount for the EOS cameras. I think the lens was from the 70’s, cost very little and the lens adapter was also very cheap (less than £50 for both). The results are on a par or possibly sharper than the 24-70L lens I paid much, much more for. I’m going to try to post something about this shortly.

  5. I have the Sony a-mount adapter with the a7s. It cuts out some light since it has the “translucent mirror” like the a77. Which adapters did you each get and do those also cut out some light?

    1. It’s the Ommlite and it doesn’t cut out any light. It’s just a metal tube with electronic contacts. It’s well made but the autofocus isn’t good. I suspect it really needs an f/2.8 lens to work reasonably. In any case, I am doing most of my work with manual focus.

  6. I was watching a video on YouTube about using a Tamaron Adaptall 80-250 from 1978 on the a6000 body and the quality was amazing, much sharper than the standard Sony glass plus you can pick up the lens on eBay for around £20-60 depending quality.

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