Shootout GAS attack: Oly EM1mkii vs Sony A7iii

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Okay guys, been a while since I've posted here but I lurk frequently. In black friday week we saw a lot of sales on mirrorless cameras and I fell victim to a bout of GAS. For a while I've been craving some FF goodness of bokeh and low light performance so when the A7iii went on sale I jumped in and grabbed one with the 85mm (my most loved focal length) FE 1.8. If you are wondering, to summarize--I don't like it. Holy hell this is the worst designed camera ever--and this is MK3? WTF, how bad was the mk1?. I've had nikons, canon, panasonic and Oly this is by far the worst ergonomically designed camera ever had in my hand--how do people put up with it? Anyway, I just wanted to share a few test shots I did against my Oly camera and the little prime lens that could in case you also find yourself with FF envy every now and then and need to come back to earth with realistic expectations.

First, a simple bokeh test and obviously the 85 has larger bokeh at the same aperture, but the shape isn't great in my opinion with the cat-eye bokeh balls and there is a little swirliness to it..
1576261965603.jpeg
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Even stopped down a bit to F4, the bokeh is better but isn't as pleasing for me and then you lose any FF ISO/DR advantage with the smaller aperture.

1576262053724.jpeg
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I'm sure if you dropped additional $1200 on the G master it would be nice bokeh wide open, but who's got that $ and who wants to carry that 2 pound behemoth around. Also the autofocus on the Sony 85 wasn't nearly as good as the Oly even with the "animal eye" detection on.

Oly was superior optically as far as I could tell too and costs less than 1/2 as much as the budget Sony 85. So, what's the takeaway? Is a little more extreme bokeh/OOF worth the extra weight and cost? Only if you are a pro/artist that NEEDS the shallower DOF really bad.

The next test was just a little low-light testing. If you believe the vloggers and marketing, these FF Sony cameras can see in the dark and can capture a supernova in a coal mine with their dynamic range. While I did find the higher ISO shots to be better and even the extremely high ISO (100k+) was usable as a black and white, grainy shot at more typical high ISO (6400, 12,800), the difference was only barely noticeable.

1576262154041.jpeg
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1576262175689.jpeg
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This is not a lab test and I'm not trying to contradict what we all know--that there is some advantage to FF in terms of IQ, DR, ISO and DOF (if that's desirable). However, as a system, I think MFT is pretty hard to beat for the typical photog, if people would stop falling for the marketing and GAS.

I'll do some more testing, but unless the video side of the camera can persuade me, this thing is going back.
 

Pluttis

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You are better off with the Sony if you shoot a lot of low light pictures.

Otherwise, the EM1MK2 is an extremely versatile camera (I'm biased, I own one).
It depends on what and how you shoot in low light...dont think the Sony have that much of an advantage if you shoot static objects and dont need/or want to stop motions
 
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You are better off with the Sony if you shoot a lot of low light pictures.

Otherwise, the EM1MK2 is an extremely versatile camera (I'm biased, I own one).
Yes, in principle--black cats in coal mines, yadayada. But many other factors in nailing a low light shot than just high ISO performance. The handling of the camera comes to play here as well in which the Oly is far superior to a degree which shocks me. Also things like metering, adjusting exposure and customization the oly seems better. For one example on the sony, you can't even see the meter/histogram when adjusting ISO by default--ridiculous. You have to asign iso to a wheel/dial and lose a customization option. Speaking of dials, the front dial is almost unusable due to small grip and placement.

I like to shoot candids of my family inside with ambient light. I had high hopes for the Sony here, but the system is far more intrusive and clunky for only a moderate increase in performance. Nothing you would notice on a small print or instagram post. Also, we MFT shooters forget that the shallow DOF can be a hinderance too since in order to get more of the subject(s) in focus, you must stop down a stop or so--eroding your FF advantage. Ditto for the focal length issue--the Sony 135mm 1.8 is massive compared to the Oly 75 1.8. Not exactly great for candids.
 

retiredfromlife

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Okay guys, been a while since I've posted here but I lurk frequently. In black friday week we saw a lot of sales on mirrorless cameras and I fell victim to a bout of GAS. For a while I've been craving some FF goodness of bokeh and low light performance so when the A7iii went on sale I jumped in and grabbed one with the 85mm (my most loved focal length) FE 1.8. If you are wondering, to summarize--I don't like it. Holy hell this is the worst designed camera ever--and this is MK3? WTF, how bad was the mk1?. I've had nikons, canon, panasonic and Oly this is by far the worst ergonomically designed camera ever had in my hand--how do people put up with it? Anyway, I just wanted to share a few test shots I did against my Oly camera and the little prime lens that could in case you also find yourself with FF envy every now and then and need to come back to earth with realistic expectations.

First, a simple bokeh test and obviously the 85 has larger bokeh at the same aperture, but the shape isn't great in my opinion with the cat-eye bokeh balls and there is a little swirliness to it..
View attachment 790734

Even stopped down a bit to F4, the bokeh is better but isn't as pleasing for me and then you lose any FF ISO/DR advantage with the smaller aperture.

View attachment 790735

I'm sure if you dropped additional $1200 on the G master it would be nice bokeh wide open, but who's got that $ and who wants to carry that 2 pound behemoth around. Also the autofocus on the Sony 85 wasn't nearly as good as the Oly even with the "animal eye" detection on.

Oly was superior optically as far as I could tell too and costs less than 1/2 as much as the budget Sony 85. So, what's the takeaway? Is a little more extreme bokeh/OOF worth the extra weight and cost? Only if you are a pro/artist that NEEDS the shallower DOF really bad.

The next test was just a little low-light testing. If you believe the vloggers and marketing, these FF Sony cameras can see in the dark and can capture a supernova in a coal mine with their dynamic range. While I did find the higher ISO shots to be better and even the extremely high ISO (100k+) was usable as a black and white, grainy shot at more typical high ISO (6400, 12,800), the difference was only barely noticeable.

View attachment 790736
View attachment 790737

This is not a lab test and I'm not trying to contradict what we all know--that there is some advantage to FF in terms of IQ, DR, ISO and DOF (if that's desirable). However, as a system, I think MFT is pretty hard to beat for the typical photog, if people would stop falling for the marketing and GAS.

I'll do some more testing, but unless the video side of the camera can persuade me, this thing is going back.
Thanks for the comparison.
If you do some more testing please post some differences in night and very low light as this is where I find the most noise.
Also if you shoot macro or close up a few shots of close up detail with ISO 1600 & 3200 would be a nice comparison as I find over ISO 800 on my EM10 the close up detail drops off very quickly.
 
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Even unprocessed raw, I find your Oly images to be better in every way, including color (which I feel is just as important as reducing noise). I have resisted low light GAS for years, and was just talking about this with a friend of mine today. I find myself shooting in low light more often than not, and since I'm fully invested in Oly (and a bit of a fan girl, if I'm being honest), I'm determined to make the most of my Oly, even in low light. The tech has gotten so good these days—I find high ISO/low light shots SOC at 6400 to be very usable in most cases—and computer software has gotten even better in processing raw.

Take that Sony back and do what @JDS said and invest in the 45 f1.2. :)
 
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It depends on what and how you shoot in low light...dont think the Sony have that much of an advantage if you shoot static objects and dont need/or want to stop motions
Rule of thumb / physics suggests that if you shoot a tonne of low light pictures, you will benefit from a full frame camera with a good sensor.

I don't shoot much low light stuff and would not entertain the idea of replacing my Olympus with full frame. I have recently bought the 17 and 45mm f1.2 lenses. I would expect that I would need the very best lenses for the Sony in order to benefit from the system. I priced this once and ran out of fingers and toes.
 
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Could you please do a high iso test but this time under poor lighting?
I would like to see how they stack up.
I've tested the g9 vs Fuji x trans 24 mp sensor and under poor light, there's a clear advantage at high ISO's for the larger sensor.
 
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Thanks for the comparison.
If you do some more testing please post some differences in night and very low light as this is where I find the most noise.
Also if you shoot macro or close up a few shots of close up detail with ISO 1600 & 3200 would be a nice comparison as I find over ISO 800 on my EM10 the close up detail drops off very quickly.
You mean underexposed? Or with lots of shadows? Or actually like in a dark room? As for macro, I didn't think to compare but I can probably do that. I have a Canon FD macro lens which I can adapt on both cameras.
Could you please do a high iso test but this time under poor lighting?
I would like to see how they stack up.
I've tested the g9 vs Fuji x trans 24 mp sensor and under poor light, there's a clear advantage at high ISO's for the larger sensor.
I'll do some more testing and post the results. But the setup with the ornaments is pretty low light--25600 ISO @5.6 and 100SS. It's just exposed for the shadows.
 

retiredfromlife

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You mean underexposed? Or with lots of shadows? Or actually like in a dark room? As for macro, I didn't think to compare but I can probably do that. I have a Canon FD macro lens which I can adapt on both cameras.

I'll do some more testing and post the results. But the setup with the ornaments is pretty low light--25600 ISO @5.6 and 100SS. It's just exposed for the shadows.
I was thinking of just very low light situations as this seems to be a weakness of Mu-43 compared to FF systems. The dark backgrounds and shadows seem to go grainier quicker than the FF especially at greater than 3200 ISO. I guess very dull rooms or city scapes?

When you do the macro test could you do them at say ISO 800, 1600 & 3200 for the same shots. But only if you have the time as that is a big ask.

Anyway great to see some real life tests between the two systems as a lot of people seem to be either thinking about or trying the FF options at the moment.
So many good options at that time.
 
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Even unprocessed raw, I find your Oly images to be better in every way, including color (which I feel is just as important as reducing noise). I have resisted low light GAS for years, and was just talking about this with a friend of mine today. I find myself shooting in low light more often than not, and since I'm fully invested in Oly (and a bit of a fan girl, if I'm being honest), I'm determined to make the most of my Oly, even in low light. The tech has gotten so good these days—I find high ISO/low light shots SOC at 6400 to be very usable in most cases—and computer software has gotten even better in processing raw.

Take that Sony back and do what @JDS said and invest in the 45 f1.2. :)
6400 is perfectly fine if properly exposed. You can easily go to 12800 if you are careful and don't need to crop. I guess I was hoping for more than the 2/3 to 1 stop increase.

BTW, I had the 45 1.2 and returned it. It did make great images--maybe my sharpest lens and with nice bokeh, but it's not night and day over the 45 1.8 in every day use so hard to justify the price difference IMHO. The 1.8 also has faster focus in my experience and fits in a pocket. I also have the 42.5 Nokton F0.95 used. It's manual focus, but the images are very "distinct" and with the sort of glow-bokeh at f0.95.
 
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6400 is perfectly fine if properly exposed. You can easily go to 12800 if you are careful and don't need to crop. I guess I was hoping for more than the 2/3 to 1 stop increase.

BTW, I had the 45 1.2 and returned it. It did make great images--maybe my sharpest lens and with nice bokeh, but it's not night and day over the 45 1.8 in every day use so hard to justify the price difference IMHO. The 1.8 also has faster focus in my experience and fits in a pocket. I also have the 42.5 Nokton F0.95 used. It's manual focus, but the images are very "distinct" and with the sort of glow-bokeh at f0.95.
The 45 1.8 was the first lens I purchased, as an upgrade to the old E-M5 kit lens, and is still probably my favorite lens! The images I see with the 1.2 are wonderful, but I agree, there's just not enough difference in quality for me to invest in it. For the OP, with the funds available, I think it's a better investment than the Sony. 😉
 
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The 45 1.8 was the first lens I purchased, as an upgrade to the old E-M5 kit lens, and is still probably my favorite lens! The images I see with the 1.2 are wonderful, but I agree, there's just not enough difference in quality for me to invest in it. For the OP, with the funds available, I think it's a better investment than the Sony. 😉
If the Sony worked, my plan was to sell off a bit of my mft gear to offset the cost. A7iii plus a couple of primes and maybe a zoom for low-light and portraiture. So, the funds only come with some sacrifice.
 

Pluttis

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Rule of thumb / physics suggests that if you shoot a tonne of low light pictures, you will benefit from a full frame camera with a good sensor.
And that depends on what and how you shoot...

There is not much benefit with FF if i always have to shoot with 2-3 stops higher iso with the FF camera to get the same result i want and get with the m43 camera
 
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