Shootout GAS attack: Oly EM1mkii vs Sony A7iii

ooheadsoo

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I shot my chart today and confirmed what Lenstip.com's test showed. The sony performs pretty poorly away from the center. Doesn't get super sharp in the center until F5.6. It is pretty comparable to the 45 1.8 Oly lens--maybe a hair sharper in the center wide open, but the fall off is toward the edge is quick and about 1/3 of the frame from center it's not great at all. Also, there is a little color fringing, but not very noticeable. In practice, shooting my kid and dog running around the lens looks sharp enough, the FF image is a bit cleaner and the lens is "punchier" so it looks great at normal viewing resolution. I also compared it to the Oly 12-40 @40mm&2.8 and the OLY is superior. Against the 12-100 Oly @44mm&F4 they were similar across the frame. The 75mm1.8 is sharper but has some fringing.

If anyone is interested in any particular comparison let me know.
What's your take on the performance? The way I would use an 85 on ff, I'd be shooting it close to wide open for natural light solo portraits, and in most other circumstances, I'd be stopping down into sharp territory. So, again, my takeaway is that dof control is the primary gain. Otherwise, m43 is just fine. But do you crave the "punchiness"?
 

RS86

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I'm not really suggesting anything, merely trying to understand you observations. Tamron seems to fall out of their somewhat arbitrary "decency" threshold around f/11-16, and the 12-40 does as well? I guess you're saying the 12-40 is so sharp that it can shoot with double the dof and still be "decent"? That's quite interesting, though I don't know how directly comparable the "decency" threshold is from review to review, and I also don't know that diffraction itself tells us anything interesting. It's often said that the smaller image circle is easier/less expensive for building/manufacturing lenses, and perhaps we're seeing some payoff here. The major trade off, in creative terms, is in the dof control.
Okay. I'm pretty sure it's not "arbitrary" at a review site like lenstip.com :D And I can confirm it works with Olympus 60mm and I think Crazy150 just confirmed it works with his copy of Sony 85mm f/1.8.

Basically I'm not stating things but observe what lenstip.com states in their reviews, and ask from more knowledgeable people what explains this and is there anything to correct in my observations. It was just weird compared to the statements I have read m43 having inferior position in diffraction against FF and that affects sharpness.

Yes the Tamron is a bit above "decent" in the edges (39-41 lpm in this case) at 28mm and f/11 so maybe still decent 28mm at f/13, but not f/16, it is clearly seen in the chart. About 35 lpm there for all focal lenghts. Of course everyone has their own quality requirements for sharpness and other things and Tamron is excellent in the center.
 
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JDS

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My understanding of the 45 f1.8 is that it isn't soft in the corner, it has a curved focal plane. If you set focus on the corner the shot will be very sharp there, it's just not designed for shooting flat surfaces. That makes sense for a portrait lens, where you want the edges to fall off. I don't know if the f1.2 is designed the same way.
 

RS86

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My understanding of the 45 f1.8 is that it isn't soft in the corner, it has a curved focal plane. If you set focus on the corner the shot will be very sharp there, it's just not designed for shooting flat surfaces. That makes sense for a portrait lens, where you want the edges to fall off. I don't know if the f1.2 is designed the same way.
You mean Olympus? Lenstip says its at or little above decency level at the edges fully open, so shouldn't be "soft". And yeah, for portraiture the edges are not that important.

What you explain is new to me, can someone confirm this?
 
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My understanding of the 45 f1.8 is that it isn't soft in the corner, it has a curved focal plane. If you set focus on the corner the shot will be very sharp there, it's just not designed for shooting flat surfaces. That makes sense for a portrait lens, where you want the edges to fall off. I don't know if the f1.2 is designed the same way.
Interesting take, are the focal planes that curved? AFAIK all lenses have a somewhat curved focal "plane". Is it so great that the corners will exit DOF? The 45 1.8 @ say 7 ft focus will have DOF of 6 inches or so. Is the curvature that great?

What's your take on the performance? The way I would use an 85 on ff, I'd be shooting it close to wide open for natural light solo portraits, and in most other circumstances, I'd be stopping down into sharp territory. So, again, my takeaway is that dof control is the primary gain. Otherwise, m43 is just fine. But do you crave the "punchiness"?
At first I thought the AF was a little sluggish, but part of that was user error in me getting used to the Sony and operating near the min focusing distance which is a bit too far for my liking. The AF is accurate in several modes, with the eye-AF being worthy of the hype I think. While still not as snappy as the tiny Oly lens, the accuracy for moving targets is far superior in my experience. For portrait work it seems to be great so far. As you mentioned the ability to control DOF is great.

From my testing, @ F2.2 it loses most fringing but not any sharper than 1.8, so stick to 1.8 unless high contrast in frame. F2.8 is a little sharper especially at the edges and is probably the best compromise between sharpness and speed. F5.6 is very sharp and as good as the Oly 45mm 1.2@ F2.8. Anything less than 5.6 is quite a bit behind the Oly though. The bokeh on the Oly is probably more desirable as well when sufficiently OOF.
 
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Holy hell this is the worst designed camera ever--and this is MK3? WTF, how bad was the mk1?

to answer your question, quite bad.. however the image quality was extraordinary (I had A7r) and I loved the shutter sound which sounded like a chef's knife being slid quickly up and down a sharpening steel :)
Imagine this, the ergo of the em1.2 is actually better than the a7's and that is saying a lot. (for ref that is my main camera (the oly).
I also had unbearable gas with all the sales and all I can say is wow! I swear I never even suspected how good the Lumix ergo's are. IMO, best in the business...too bad about that auto-focus though...
 
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Imagine this, the ergo of the em1.2 is actually better than the a7's and that is saying a lot. (for ref that is my main camera (the oly).
EM 1.2 is so very comfortable. I had A7R II which was abysmal and now have the A7R III which is supposedly improved but I hardly see any difference! The biggest improvement in 3rd gen A7 (for me) is the simple AF-ON button which was missing in previous gens - silly to think how such important button could not make to production version.
Also, a very point-and-shoot camera like rotating dial is improved but still a pain. And then the Aperture/SS dials. So small and plasticky and just hard to operate. Or may be I have been spoiled by Nikon and Oly?
Regardless though IMHO buttons, tactile feel, dials everything is just better on EM1.2 hands down.
 

pake

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This is why some Mu-43 macro shooters use F8 or F11
I usually use f/13 but sometimes go f/16 or even smaller. This one is f/18. Is it unusable? I think not. (Click on the link and go and see it in 1:1).
48820964768_94001acf07_b.jpg
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EM5B4803 (2019/06) by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr
 
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So I got the Tamron 28-75 yesterday and only had a chance to shoot a little, but so far I really like it. It's the first full-frame zoom that has mirroless ideals of compact size:
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I tested it briefly against the comparable Oly pro 12-40 2.8. I have to say, the combo is only slightly bigger but the results at first glance are distinctly better in poor lighting situations. I let the camera pick the shutter speed and ISO with center weighted metering. The Oly maxed out at the 6400 and dropped the shutter. Here is the respective wide ends at 50% crop. Lot more detail/contrast in the Sony. I did the same for the long end, but the Oly dropped the shutter too much and the dog moved slightly and I didn't notice on the LCD. Should have set the min shutter.
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200%
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Pluttis

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So I got the Tamron 28-75 yesterday and only had a chance to shoot a little, but so far I really like it. It's the first full-frame zoom that has mirroless ideals of compact size:
View attachment 791626
I tested it briefly against the comparable Oly pro 12-40 2.8. I have to say, the combo is only slightly bigger but the results at first glance are distinctly better in poor lighting situations. I let the camera pick the shutter speed and ISO with center weighted metering. The Oly maxed out at the 6400 and dropped the shutter. Here is the respective wide ends at 50% crop. Lot more detail/contrast in the Sony. I did the same for the long end, but the Oly dropped the shutter too much and the dog moved slightly and I didn't notice on the LCD. Should have set the min shutter.
View attachment 791628
200%
View attachment 791629
Thanks for the comparision, thats what to be expected when shooting at same aperture.
The Tamron is really nice size and performance wise, its not really comparable on the wide end. Its quite big differens between 24mm and 28 and there are no 24-70mm f2.8 that is close to the size of the Olympus 12-40.
Personally i dont like 28mm in the wide end on a general purpose lens, its a bit to tight and often result in that you have to change lenses more often.
 

macro

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I'm just very glad I don't suffer from GAS attacks. ;) Phew, it helps me further down the track when I need something rather than just want something.

All the best and enjoy.

Danny.
 

TransientEye

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Bouncing back to diffraction and lens effects... diffraction scales with equivalence for sensors with the same number of pixels. So the diffraction blur you see at f4 on micro 4/3 is what you would expect from f8 on full-frame.

Diffraction is a big problem for smaller sensor cameras, and the resolution sweet spot for the current 20MP u4/3 generation is about f4 to f5.6 - stopped down enough to reduce lens aberrations, but not so much that diffraction is an issue. There is scope for higher resolution sensors, but you are unlikely to see a 100MP sensor (as in the Fuji GFX) as the lenses would need to be impossibly good at very wide apertures.

The good news is that convolutional sharpening works very well to help counteract diffraction blur, which is why some software now includes a separate input sharpening step that automatically tries to compensate (eg Capture One, under the Lens correction tool). That said, lost information can not be recovered and it is not possible to undo the effects completely. Personally, I never shoot at less than f8 on u4/3 and try to keep around f4 for an optimum sharpness and DOF tradeoff. At f22 or smaller diffraction softening is visible in full sized images, so for macro images focus stacking is a better option if possible.

It is hard to say what the pros and cons are of lens designs between u4/3 and FF. While the lens elements for the smaller format are smaller, they need proportionally better performance. In both cases, relaxing size constraints makes the design easier (see Zeiss!). I would love to have a macro lens for u4/3 that traded size for improved edge resolution and field flatness to help with film scanning, but for most practical applications it is pretty hard to improve on the existing 60mm. Macro is one of the use cases where there is no FF advantage, as you are always stopped down.

FWIW, I am lucky enough to shoot a mix of FF Leica M and Olympus/Panasonic u4/3 kit. The main reason to choose one system over another is for the lens signatures and for portability (believe it or not, a FF M with a fast 50mm is smaller, lighter and less 'professional' looking than the E-M1.2 with a 25mm f1.2). To me the most annoying issue with the E-M1.2 is the noise at ISO 200, which could be addressed in future by either a physical or a computational lower ISO range (eg via hand-held multi-exposure, as used by most phones today).
 
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Thanks for the comparision, thats what to be expected when shooting at same aperture.
The Tamron is really nice size and performance wise, its not really comparable on the wide end. Its quite big differens between 24mm and 28 and there are no 24-70mm f2.8 that is close to the size of the Olympus 12-40.
Personally i dont like 28mm in the wide end on a general purpose lens, its a bit to tight and often result in that you have to change lenses more often.
Right. Don’t worry, I’ll post some “equivalent exposure shots soon.
 

RS86

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Bouncing back to diffraction and lens effects... diffraction scales with equivalence for sensors with the same number of pixels. So the diffraction blur you see at f4 on micro 4/3 is what you would expect from f8 on full-frame.

Diffraction is a big problem for smaller sensor cameras, and the resolution sweet spot for the current 20MP u4/3 generation is about f4 to f5.6 - stopped down enough to reduce lens aberrations, but not so much that diffraction is an issue. There is scope for higher resolution sensors, but you are unlikely to see a 100MP sensor (as in the Fuji GFX) as the lenses would need to be impossibly good at very wide apertures.

The good news is that convolutional sharpening works very well to help counteract diffraction blur, which is why some software now includes a separate input sharpening step that automatically tries to compensate (eg Capture One, under the Lens correction tool). That said, lost information can not be recovered and it is not possible to undo the effects completely. Personally, I never shoot at less than f8 on u4/3 and try to keep around f4 for an optimum sharpness and DOF tradeoff. At f22 or smaller diffraction softening is visible in full sized images, so for macro images focus stacking is a better option if possible.

It is hard to say what the pros and cons are of lens designs between u4/3 and FF. While the lens elements for the smaller format are smaller, they need proportionally better performance. In both cases, relaxing size constraints makes the design easier (see Zeiss!). I would love to have a macro lens for u4/3 that traded size for improved edge resolution and field flatness to help with film scanning, but for most practical applications it is pretty hard to improve on the existing 60mm. Macro is one of the use cases where there is no FF advantage, as you are always stopped down.

FWIW, I am lucky enough to shoot a mix of FF Leica M and Olympus/Panasonic u4/3 kit. The main reason to choose one system over another is for the lens signatures and for portability (believe it or not, a FF M with a fast 50mm is smaller, lighter and less 'professional' looking than the E-M1.2 with a 25mm f1.2). To me the most annoying issue with the E-M1.2 is the noise at ISO 200, which could be addressed in future by either a physical or a computational lower ISO range (eg via hand-held multi-exposure, as used by most phones today).
Thanks for the explanations. Still I haven't got an answer why the Tamron seems to have much worse edges at all apertures than the Olympus, if diffraction is a big problem for smaller sensor cameras. It hits the decency level later, giving double the depth of field when it hits it.
 
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Not worried, i expect the FF to be better :)
It is, but not drastically IMO. I tried to get the similar shot with the same DOF on the two cameras (I inadvertently got a little closer with the Tammy I guess bc of the different aspect ratios i thought the framing was the same in the LCD) at equivalent 50mm FOV. Here is the shot:
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The Sony has better DR and more detail (left eye focus point), but it's not miles apart. Here is the 100%:

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This was pretty poorly lit and could have possible managed a lower SS in real life if the subject cooperated a little or just spray and pray with bursts. In practice, after some editing instagram style there isn't a whole lot between them honestly but I slightly prefer the look of the Sony image in this case:

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So what's my conclusion? After re-inventing the wheel here to conclude what so many before me have said, I think that if you are seeking that extra 10-20% in terms of IQ/DR/LL performance or shallow DOF on the medium to short telephoto range, then it is a good time to go FF mirrorless. There are some good deals (Canon R is now $1500 with the EF adapter) and the Sony's are discounted as well. Tamron has this lens which is comparable in price and size to the high-end MFT lenses and performs well, and there are some affordable, portable, and excellent primes available to keep the systems size down.

If you focus on Macro, long telephoto or even travel shooting, MFT seems the perfect system so I would stay with it. As for me, my shooting has changed a lot since the arrival of my first-born. I don't travel much these days and golden hour excursions are far between right now. I'm leaning toward keeping the longer focal length MFT gear and the Macro lens since that is where the system excels, but I'll be picking up a couple more FE mount lenses and a grip for the Sony.
 

ooheadsoo

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I'm somewhat in your shoes minus the mirrorless FF part (I have a FF dslr). I just got back in november for our first extended (2.5 week) trip with the baby who just turned 1 during the trip and I shot with my FF dslr and 24-120/4, a few small primes, and then I brought the e-m5 along with plastic fantastic 40-150R just in case I had some telephoto opportunities. Now granted the d750 and the 24-120 are marginally heavier than your sony/tamron setup, but I found I did not even once feel tempted to bring or use the m43 system. The 120mm is generally long enough for the casual landscapes and portraits I take. Unfortunately, I do find it a chore to travel with my FF setup. The sony/tamron combo makes for an interesting combo. Excellent for general snaps, low light and portrait - but at the expense of any pretense of real telephoto.

I'm interested in your story and hope you keep us updated.
 
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It is, but not drastically IMO. I tried to get the similar shot with the same DOF on the two cameras (I inadvertently got a little closer with the Tammy I guess bc of the different aspect ratios i thought the framing was the same in the LCD) at equivalent 50mm FOV. Here is the shot:
View attachment 791695

The Sony has better DR and more detail (left eye focus point), but it's not miles apart. Here is the 100%:

View attachment 791697

This was pretty poorly lit and could have possible managed a lower SS in real life if the subject cooperated a little or just spray and pray with bursts. In practice, after some editing instagram style there isn't a whole lot between them honestly but I slightly prefer the look of the Sony image in this case:

View attachment 791698

So what's my conclusion? After re-inventing the wheel here to conclude what so many before me have said, I think that if you are seeking that extra 10-20% in terms of IQ/DR/LL performance or shallow DOF on the medium to short telephoto range, then it is a good time to go FF mirrorless. There are some good deals (Canon R is now $1500 with the EF adapter) and the Sony's are discounted as well. Tamron has this lens which is comparable in price and size to the high-end MFT lenses and performs well, and there are some affordable, portable, and excellent primes available to keep the systems size down.

If you focus on Macro, long telephoto or even travel shooting, MFT seems the perfect system so I would stay with it. As for me, my shooting has changed a lot since the arrival of my first-born. I don't travel much these days and golden hour excursions are far between right now. I'm leaning toward keeping the longer focal length MFT gear and the Macro lens since that is where the system excels, but I'll be picking up a couple more FE mount lenses and a grip for the Sony.
Thanks for the new side by side pics. Shows us a two stop difference in high ISO noise quality - 8000isoOLY vs 32000isoSony which is about right for FF
 
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