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....,
THANK YOU for doing this, so I don’t have too! I have had the same temptations.
 

Ed Diaz

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... 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...

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.
Out of curiosity, were you shooting in AF-C with tracking with the Sony? I would think that the Sony system would excel at family candids with Sony's Eye-AF/Face tracking technology, even if handling may be clumsy.
 
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A friend let me hold his A7iii once. I found the ergonomics horrible. I also noticed that focusing seemed quite slow; maybe because the lenses are bigger?

I have also looked at several RAW images taken with the A7iii. I must say that I found the difference very noticeable. On micro four thirds, blue skies always contain noise (when not applying noise reduction); with the A7iii the sky was very clean. On micro four thirds, I take care to expose correctly, because there is not much room to correct things in post (maybe 1 or 2 stops); with the A7iii images I could raise the exposure by 3 stops and still have a clean image.
 

Biro

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I have both the A7 III and the E-M1 II. Different tools for different jobs in my case. The full-frame Sony for a lot of indoor and/or low-light work -- or when I'm trying to get artsy. The u43 Oly for shooting wildlife or sports with a long lens.
 
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RS86

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A friend let me hold his A7iii once. I found the ergonomics horrible. I also noticed that focusing seemed quite slow; maybe because the lenses are bigger?

I have also looked at several RAW images taken with the A7iii. I must say that I found the difference very noticeable. On micro four thirds, blue skies always contain noise (when not applying noise reduction); with the A7iii the sky was very clean. On micro four thirds, I take care to expose correctly, because there is not much room to correct things in post (maybe 1 or 2 stops); with the A7iii images I could raise the exposure by 3 stops and still have a clean image.
I'm interested is there a particular reason why the blue skies are noisy with m43 and other parts not as much?
 
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I'm interested is there a particular reason why the blue skies are noisy with m43 and other parts not as much?
I found this article: http://therefractedlight.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-are-blue-skies-noisy-in-digital.html

It says that:
  • we tend to notice noise more in uniform regions, such as blue skies
  • human vision is sensitive to changes in the blue colour range
... and gives a few other reasons.

I have no way of verifying this information, so you may want to take it with a grain of salt.
 

PakkyT

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Am I the only one that often sees these side by side shots and without squinting at them or spending 10 minutes looking at every detail think "Meh, they look about the same to me, what's the big deal"?
 
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I have both the A7 III and the E-M1 III. Different tools for different jobs in my case. The full-frame Sony for a lot of indoor and/or low-light work -- or when I'm trying to get artsy. The u43 Oly for shooting wildlife or sports with a long lens.
Right I suppose. I’m doing some more testing and will post some more comparisons in the next few days just for info.

My problem is that while I can afford to keep two bodies around, I cannot afford to have great glass on both. So to keep the Sony, I’ll have to sell some of my great mft lenses. The handling of the Sony is just so disappointing that I fear I’ll just leave it on the shelf and grab the em1, but I’ll be hamstrung by the lack of glass.

Also, good glass on the Sony or any FF system unbearably expensive and often unbearable large and heavy.
 

Biro

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My problem is that while I can afford to keep two bodies around, I cannot afford to have great glass on both.... Also, good glass on the Sony or any FF system unbearably expensive and often unbearable large and heavy.
This is true, although Tamron's full-frame FE mount zooms get good reviews, are moderately sized and are much lighter than you'd think. But I understand your point.

In my case, my A7 III kit targets under 100mm. My u43 kit was built gradually over a decade, so it's much more complete.

But given your financial situation and how much the Sony UI bothers you, I think you already know in your heart what your decision will be. And that's fine.
 

Steven

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I found the Sony 85mm/1.8 to be extremely sharp and detailed when I tried it out. Much sharper than the Olympus 45mm /1.8 and as good if not better than the premium m43 glass like Olympus 75mm1.8. Which is very impressive because it’s not a very expensive lens in the Sony lineup.
I also didn’t care for the cats eye bokeh.

the color depth of the Sony files is much better IMO , colors are rich and more pleasant than the m43 . The color science itself is not a favorite but it’s good and easy to tweak.
 

Pluttis

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I found the Sony 85mm/1.8 to be extremely sharp and detailed when I tried it out. Much sharper than the Olympus 45mm /1.8 and as good if not better than the premium m43 glass like Olympus 75mm1.8. Which is very impressive because it’s not a very expensive lens in the Sony lineup.
I also didn’t care for the cats eye bokeh.

the color depth of the Sony files is much better IMO , colors are rich and more pleasant than the m43 . The color science itself is not a favorite but it’s good and easy to tweak.
Yeah its i good lens for the price.
Would be intressting to see a head to head comparison, its sharp but personally dont recall it being that much sharper than the Oly 45 f1.8 or sharper/better than the Oly 75 f1.8
Sure the cats eye bokeh gives the lens some character but as with for example PL42.5 f1.2 it can make the bokeh look really bad and distracting in some situations.
 
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Julia

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these FF Sony cameras can see in the dark and can capture a supernova in a coal mine with their dynamic range.
Thanks for that laugh, I needed that :rofl:

And also thanks for posting the shots and your thoughts. Just like you, I was very tempted during the BF sales (and still ongoing Amazon sales) to try out a Sony FF because of the much lauded abilities of those cameras, but I resisted. Since I mainly shoot landscape (stationary, unless ... earthquakes or sth) and don't need to worry much about high ISO because I can just expose for five minutes at ISO 200 if needed, I can't really justify the expense. And looking at the pictures you shared I don't think my type of photography would benefit from FF – I am very happy with the images I get from my EM1.1.

Thanks again for taking the time to share this, much appreciated!
 
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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.
Compromise at ISO 2000. I used the same adapted Canon FD lens on both @F8. Was a little tricky to get the same repoduction size since the crop sensor and all, but here is my best attempt. Pretty comparable, but Sony shows more detail and contrast for sure. However, if you shoot at the minimum focus distance on the MFT sensor, you get more detail due to the crop--sooo. Basically, I doubt I would switch if I shot a lot of macro because the crop factor and DOF is a real advantage not to mention the superior IBIS that outweighs the DR/Low light advantage of FF.

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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.
Here is the head-to-head low light high ISO comparison which only illustrates what we all know. At the Same ISO, the Sony beats the MFT sensor without any question:
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However, in a "simulated" equivalent shooting situation it's more complicated. Say you want 2-3 ft in focus on your 85mm FF with subjects at 15ft away. You'll need F4 and to freeze some reasonable motion, you'll need SS of 100. It's poorly lit, so we will expose to the right as well. You may still get a little more detail on the FF, but it's nearly negligible.

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Of course, this is a little bit extreme example as it will vary greatly in shooting situations depending on the desired DOF and SS, but just a reminder that you sometimes need that high ISO to achieve the same exposure as on MFT.
 

ooheadsoo

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Here is the head-to-head low light high ISO comparison which only illustrates what we all know. At the Same ISO, the Sony beats the MFT sensor without any question:
View attachment 791273

However, in a "simulated" equivalent shooting situation it's more complicated. Say you want 2-3 ft in focus on your 85mm FF with subjects at 15ft away. You'll need F4 and to freeze some reasonable motion, you'll need SS of 100. It's poorly lit, so we will expose to the right as well. You may still get a little more detail on the FF, but it's nearly negligible.

View attachment 791274

Of course, this is a little bit extreme example as it will vary greatly in shooting situations depending on the desired DOF and SS, but just a reminder that you sometimes need that high ISO to achieve the same exposure as on MFT.
Love the comparisons you're generating. Take this comment with a big grain of salt, but one other thing to consider is that if this is intended for social media, you don't need f/4 on the FF because at such small viewing sizes, you can't judge sharpness or what's in focus very accurately. IMO, "apparent" dof is significantly increased at small viewing sizes. This gives some advantage back to the larger sensor because it has more fudge room.
 

mfturner

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While it's true that lower resolution viewing will lessen the need for DOF, won't it also lessen the need for the increased DR at the same time?
 

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