Am I Crazy?: Looking at Sony A7 II

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by ijm5012, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I recently picked up some Canon FD glass (24/2, 50/1.4, 100/2) and an RJ Focal Reducer (effectively giving me 6 lenses) to use on my GH4 so that I had some fast manual lenses to achieve smooth, consistent focus pulls while shooting video (some m43 lenses work well, others don't). I'm quite happy with how the lenses perform, given what they are (20+ year old lenses).

    But as I started to use them, I began to wonder about adapting them on a FF camera. I don't need the video capability of the A7S/II (I own two GH4's), and don't want the resolution or cost of an A7R/II. But the standard A7 series looks interesting, the A7 II in particular. It has better ergonomics than the original A7, a few more customizable buttons, focus peaking & magnification, and IBIS. It really seems like a great camera to use with vintage lenses, and the Canon FD lenses appear to be solid performers.

    The primary reason I am looking to get an A7 is to get shoot landscapes. I've shot a number of land/cityscapes with my GH4, and while it performs well, I can definitely see its limitations (mainly with noise when pushing RAW files, although having more dynamic range never hurts). Referencing DXO (link), the A7 II has about a stop of more dynamic range (not certain why there's a difference between the A7 & A7 II since they're supposed to share the same sensor), but what's really nice about the A7 is the ~1.5 stop ISO performance, AND a native base ISO of 100 compared to the native base ISO of 200 in my GH4 (equivalent noise-wise to about ISO 600 on an A7 II based on the 1.5 stop delta in noise performance).

    Canon also has a great landscape lens for the FD mount, a 20-35mm f/3.5L. It weighs about 170g more than the Panasonic 7-14 f/4, but it can take filters (a big plus IMO since I like to do a lot of long-exposure shots). Comparing the A7 II + 20-35 L to the GH4 + 7-14/4, the FF combo comes out to about 150g more weight, but that's pretty insignificant to me when looking at the benefits of resolution, dynamic range, and noise.

    I should note that I have no intention of dumping my m43 gear, and I have no intention of buying native e-mount glass (the primes are quite expensive, plus I'll have manual focus primes anyways, and the zoom lenses are rather large). I would use the A7 system for manual focus legacy lenses exclusively. The A7 II is still priced too high for what I am looking to spend, but I don't really have a need for it right now either. I'd probably be looking to buy in the spring, so in about 5-6 months, which the prices should continue to fall like typical Sony cameras do.

    I plan on renting an A7 II over the holidays this year to see how I like it, but didn't know if any fellow m43 members have done something similar, and if so, how they like it?
  2. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Why would you be crazy? There are a number of people on this board who have multiple systems. If you go over to Amin's TalkEMount you will see familiar posters.
  3. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Funny, I've got a similar M43 + Speed Booster setup and I've considered the same A7 purchase. The addition of IBIS to the newer cameras make them especially appealing for adapting glass.

    What I think I would prefer, however, is an APS-C camera + Speed Booster. Same view from the lenses, extra stop of light, and an overall more compact package since Speed Booster is smaller than a normal adapter. Unfortunately, I know of no APS-C mirrorless camera with IBIS -- here's hoping Sony or Fuji get to it.

    (And no, you're not crazy.)
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  4. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I've considered it, but I get bummed whenever I use a digital camera without a touchscreen these days. Even for legacy glass, the focus peaking / touch magnification implementation is just so much better on my Panasonic cameras that I found my attempts with the A7 clunky and frustrating.

    I may revisit it once the A7 II gets cheap, cheap, cheap. But who knows, maybe Sony will see the light and offer an A5 or A7 III with a touchscreen?

    It doesn't bother me with my film cameras where everything is manual and nothing is expected to be fast, and part of that is because the viewfinders and haptics are so much better than any digital FF camera on the market. But having to be deliberate like a medium format camera with a digital camera just to get native focal lengths with my smattering of legacy lenses doesn't seem worth it at this point. Especially since I bought most of them because they were good FLs for M4/3, haha...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    We're all crazy here. Buy it and post pictures! :D :p ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I do a lot of landscapes and often look to the A7 with GAS in my eyes. But you know - I get pretty good results from m43 and I'm really not sure an A7 would make that much of a difference. Maybe the A7Rii would be a better move, but that's a really expensive camera. I'm hoping that the E-M1ii will offer a usable hi-res more that means I won't need to change systems or run two.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Tapper

    Tapper Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2013
    Not crazy at all.

    I've been watching the A7 series from the start, but won't jump in unless they make a body with true weather sealing, touch screen and hopefully improved battery life. Basically, I want an OMD version of the A7.
  8. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Complimentary systems is a great idea, especially when you have lenses that can be used on all.

    Have fun.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    IDK, I see the A7/II as offering a pretty sizable bump over my GH4 for landscapes.
    • First, I do see the increase in resolution as somewhat of a benefit. Obviously it isn't as big of a difference compared to the "R" variants, but 24 MP in a native 3:2 aspect ratio is quite nice. It'll give me an extra 1400 pixles on the x-axis. I also tend to print my landscapes in 3:2, so having a native 24MP sensor will offer about 10MP of more resolution compared to a 3:2 crop of the sensor in my GH4, which is 14MP.
    • Second, the increase in dynamic range is never a bad thing. There haven't been a whole lot of times where I've run in to the limits of the GH4 when pushing RAW files, but it has happened. Having an extra stop or so is a nice cushion that's there when I need it.
    • I see the noise performance as really the biggest benefit of getting an A7. With the 1.5 stop better performance from the A7 II, along with the 1 stop lower native ISO, it results in roughly 2.5 stops of lower ISO. So if taking a landscape photo @ ISO 100 on an A7 II, it would be roughly equivalent noise-wise to taking the same shot at ISO 600 on my GH4 (I've done some long exposures with my GH4 at ISO's higher than base, and it does tend to get a bit noisy).
    The IBIS is nice when using unstabilized lenses (which all FD glass is), the larger grip and better build quality are also a usability improvement over the A7. I'm not too concerned about weather sealing, because none of my m43 primes are weather sealed either, so if I want to shoot in poor weather I use my GH4 with the 12-35, 35-100, or 50-200 4/3 lens. I agree with you that the A7R II looks like a fantastic camera, but being that this is my hobby, there's no way I can justify spending $3k on a camera body. I can however justify around $1k on a used A7 II. I'll rent one over the holidays here and see how I like it, and then keep my eye on used prices (gotta love the rate at which Sony electronic products depreciate if you're someone who doesn't mind buying used).
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Maybe if you had some fantastic old Zeiss or Leica lenses you wanted to make use off. Something unique that you can't get anywhere else. Then it would make sense. But for absolutely average mid-grade Canon primes from the 70s? Why? I think you are going about this backwards.
  11. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    My question to you is in 2 folds.

    1, Are you seeing the noise while pixel peeping or when you have a large print made at 16x20, 24x36 or 40x60?

    2, Are you seeing the limit on dynamic range even if you have worked out the limits of the GH4? Mind you; National Geographic used Kodachrome 64 for a while and the landscapes then were made with film that has a much narrower latitude than the GH4 today.

    I don't think it's crazy to want a full frame system if you truly need it. But I had seen spectacular prints made at those sizes even with a lowly Nikon D70s (Harold Ma of Vancouver, BC, Canada -- which could even compare against the best full frame systems today. I always say to myself that, if there are people like Harold Ma who could do much MORE with much less gear and technology and do it well, then perhaps I should look into improving my skills more before taking the easy way out and get myself more into debt. :) 
    • Agree Agree x 3
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  12. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Those are superb photographs. Thanks for posting that link, I'd never heard of him before.
  13. Tapper

    Tapper Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2013
    Very good thought to have in mind!
  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Whilst all the things you've listed are technically true, I question how much difference it makes in the real world.

    a) Resolution - the difference in resolution between a 16Mp and a 24Mp sensor amounts to about 22% extra in linear dimensions. That's probably noticable, but it's not a massive difference. Unless you're printing very large and need to preserve very fine detail I doubt you'd notice it. A 16Mp u43 shot can be printed very large with appropriate care in preparation (up-resing, sharpening etc).

    b) DR - the extra 1.5 stops in DR is certainly worth having - but landscapes don't move much and using a multi-shot merge will get you much more than 1.5 stops. Also, the hi-res merge that Oly have introduced into the E-M5ii can be adapted quite easily to give high DR as well as hi-res. If the E-M1 mk ii manages to get this hi-res exposure down to something hand-holdable then i think excellent DR is quite possible for landscape shooting without a tripod.

    c) Noise - I hardly ever use anything above ISO 200 for landscapes and although noise can be an issue if lots of PP is needed, it's generally not a big consideration. It would be a difference issue if I was shooting low-light stuff but I don't.

    So - I'm still thinking that although the A7ii is certainly a stunning camera, I'm just not completely convinced it'll deliver significantly better IQ than I'm getting now. And having just spent two weeks with my E-M1 doing lots of landscapes, I'm feeling pretty happy about the output.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Tapper

    Tapper Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2013
    And THAT is all that really matters!

    Every time I start feeling like I'm missing something without "full frame" (35mm) I look at my favorite shots from my EM5II and I don't feel like I'm missing much at all. In fact, for some of my photography I think M43 is better for me.
  16. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Of course you're crazy. We'll all crazy. But if you want it, get it. And then if you don't want it anymore, sell it.
  17. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Effective 14mm and 20mm focal lengths are quite different. If you want filters, there are multiple ways to use them on Pany 7-14 or you can just grab Oly 9-18.
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