Shootout GAS attack: Oly EM1mkii vs Sony A7iii

RS86

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Update. So, I've been using the A7iii quite a bit. No traveling, but family candids over the holidays and a local museum. I have to say that I have gotten quite a few shots with it that just wouldn't have been possible with the EM1.2. Example, we were in this science museum and they had a mirror maze with dim lighting. I had the sony setup for shutter priority to freeze the kids moving around. Was pretty astounded to see that the photos inside this maze were ISO 20000 to 30000, they had a little noise but the detail was still there and the noise is not unpleasant (similar to Oly actually). Sorry, can't post sample bc don't want to put pictures of my friends kids on the internet. But there is no way I could have gotten those on MFT.

I got a grip extender and finished customizing it so the usability and ergonomics are much better now, but still miles from Oly. Perhaps there are more things for me to learn, but this is the big difference. So far, I haven't missed the flippy screen.

The two Tamron 2.8 zooms (17-28, 28-75) are very good. They are pretty similar in performance (with the FF sensor) and even size/weight to the Oly pro zooms. These have stayed on the camera and are, IMHO a game changer for the system bringing it close to the portability of MFT.

What has been hard is making sure there is enough depth of field. With the Oly 2.8's it was rarely a problem to have subjects OOF. So, I have to be careful now and use full manual or aperture priority with minimum shutter selected. If I let the camera choose ISO with shutter priority and it opens up to 2.8 it's hard to capture a scene sometimes. So, it's a good example of when FF and shallow DOF isn't always nice. The sony AF is great but always prefers the nearest object in the scene which can be pretty annoying. Luckily the face/eye detect is great.

I agree that the stabilization is not nearly as good. Nowhere more evident than in video mode. Half pressing the shutter on the Oly starts magic, but on the sony it's just barely good enough to help.

Still not sure what I'll do. Probably keep both bodies and a reduced set of lenses for each.
Thanks for the update, very interesting eventhough I won't get another system. It would have clear upsides for certain photography.

I'm interested if you find the Tamron 28-70mm as good in the corners as Olympus 12-40mm because of the 4MP sensor difference? Reviews don't suggest it. Or wide open?
 

Pluttis

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Yeah if you regulary shoot with that high iso FF is the way to go... personally i never shoot in so crappy light.

Those two lenses are optical good for the price but they feel quite cheap in build, especially comapred to Oly pro lenses, doubt they are at the same level when it comes to the weather sealing.
 

ooheadsoo

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Learn to embrace A mode with auto iso. Shallow dof can be a dual edged blade, but it's nice to have the option at close working distances on a zoom.
 
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Thanks for the update, very interesting eventhough I won't get another system. It would have clear upsides for certain photography.

I'm interested if you find the Tamron 28-70mm as good in the corners as Olympus 12-40mm because of the 4MP sensor difference? Reviews don't suggest it. Or wide open?
I can play some comparison if I have the time, but at equivalent exposure/DOF which means the Tamron is stepped down it is just as good as I can see. The corners I haven’t fully tested with corner focusing, but they are slightly less sharp when center focusing iirc.

But center sharpness is similar as I see so far.

as for the MP advantage, it’s almost negligible when looking at details since it’s mostly due to the aspect ratio difference.

Weather sealing may be better on the Oly. I honestly never shoot in inclimate conditions. Tammy does have nice gaskets, but is a bit plasticky which I don’t really mind—similar to the m.zuiko lenses in build quality.
 

RS86

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I can play some comparison if I have the time, but at equivalent exposure/DOF which means the Tamron is stepped down it is just as good as I can see. The corners I haven’t fully tested with corner focusing, but they are slightly less sharp when center focusing iirc.

But center sharpness is similar as I see so far.

as for the MP advantage, it’s almost negligible when looking at details since it’s mostly due to the aspect ratio difference.

Weather sealing may be better on the Oly. I honestly never shoot in inclimate conditions. Tammy does have nice gaskets, but is a bit plasticky which I don’t really mind—similar to the m.zuiko lenses in build quality.
Center sharpness should be great with both. The reason I'm interested is if one can compare different system's "decency levels". In the edges Olympus should be better according to lenstip.com and I think this page is well respected.

With 12-40mm in the edges it is about 18 lpmm over the decency level between 12-25mm (FF 24-50mm) & f2.8-4.0. And average maybe 10 lpmm over decency between f/5.6-8.

With Tamron 28-70mm it avarages about 8 lpmm over decency at most at any focal lenght with APS-C sensor and worse with more MP. Going 5 lpmm under decency at f/16. (Cannot bother to point out the certain different numbers, they can be seen in the page.)

For landscapes and m43 depth of field advantage these numbers are interesting in comparison. If decency levels can be compared, the Olympus Pro should have clear advantage in edge sharpness for required depth of field? Can these be compared, what to take into account?
 
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Center sharpness should be great with both. The reason I'm interested is if one can compare different system's "decency levels". In the edges Olympus should be better according to lenstip.com and I think this page is well respected.

With 12-40mm in the edges it is about 18 lpmm over the decency level between 12-25mm (FF 24-50mm) & f2.8-4.0. And average maybe 10 lpmm over decency between f/5.6-8.

With Tamron 28-70mm it avarages about 8 lpmm over decency at most at any focal lenght with APS-C sensor and worse with more MP. Going 5 lpmm under decency at f/16. (Cannot bother to point out the certain different numbers, they can be seen in the page.)

For landscapes and m43 depth of field advantage these numbers are interesting in comparison. If decency levels can be compared, the Olympus Pro should have clear advantage in edge sharpness for required depth of field? Can these be compared, what to take into account?
Here's my test shooting (not scientific, but for my own records I shoot all my gear on this chart just so I'm satisfied with my purchases and to find sweet spots of my lenses).

Center sharpness wide open at max tele goes to the Oly no question.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Ditto for the edges.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


At "equivalent" DOF, tammy has caught up in the center and maybe just edges it (oops, mislabeled the right image, it's at 75mm not 40)
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Same for the edges.

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So, at wide aperture the Oly is sharper. Depending on what you are shooting this may be better. At the wide end, the Tammy is a bit sharper wide open at the center, but the oly is better at the edges (a lot to do with distortion/correction on the FF). Stopped down, the Tammy improves at the edges but the Oly is still better.

To conclude, there just isn't much difference. You get a little more punch with the Sony/Tammy, the shallower DOF capability, a little more DR at lower ISO and the ability to crank the ISO quite high allow for higher SS.

The Sony body and lens is an extra 250g or so (about half pound), stabilization is not as good, ergonomics not as good, cost (second hand) is quite a bit higher as well. Considering you could get the Oly body and lens (second hand) for the price of the Sony body alone, for many this should be a no-brainer--lighter, cheaper, easier to use. But if you want that little bit extra in some photos and/or better video, the A7iii/Tammy combo is an option that fits mirrorless ideals in my mind.
 

ooheadsoo

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Here's my test shooting (not scientific, but for my own records I shoot all my gear on this chart just so I'm satisfied with my purchases and to find sweet spots of my lenses).

Center sharpness wide open at max tele goes to the Oly no question.
View attachment 793503

Ditto for the edges.
View attachment 793504

At "equivalent" DOF, tammy has caught up in the center and maybe just edges it (oops, mislabeled the right image, it's at 75mm not 40)
View attachment 793505

Same for the edges.

View attachment 793506

So, at wide aperture the Oly is sharper. Depending on what you are shooting this may be better. At the wide end, the Tammy is a bit sharper wide open at the center, but the oly is better at the edges (a lot to do with distortion/correction on the FF). Stopped down, the Tammy improves at the edges but the Oly is still better.

To conclude, there just isn't much difference. You get a little more punch with the Sony/Tammy, the shallower DOF capability, a little more DR at lower ISO and the ability to crank the ISO quite high allow for higher SS.

The Sony body and lens is an extra 250g or so (about half pound), stabilization is not as good, ergonomics not as good, cost (second hand) is quite a bit higher as well. Considering you could get the Oly body and lens (second hand) for the price of the Sony body alone, for many this should be a no-brainer--lighter, cheaper, easier to use. But if you want that little bit extra in some photos and/or better video, the A7iii/Tammy combo is an option that fits mirrorless ideals in my mind.
The Tamron appears significantly brighter. If the shots were taken at the same settings, perhaps it also enjoys a slight t-stop advantage.
 

RS86

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Here's my test shooting (not scientific, but for my own records I shoot all my gear on this chart just so I'm satisfied with my purchases and to find sweet spots of my lenses).

Center sharpness wide open at max tele goes to the Oly no question.
View attachment 793503

Ditto for the edges.
View attachment 793504

At "equivalent" DOF, tammy has caught up in the center and maybe just edges it (oops, mislabeled the right image, it's at 75mm not 40)
View attachment 793505

Same for the edges.

View attachment 793506

So, at wide aperture the Oly is sharper. Depending on what you are shooting this may be better. At the wide end, the Tammy is a bit sharper wide open at the center, but the oly is better at the edges (a lot to do with distortion/correction on the FF). Stopped down, the Tammy improves at the edges but the Oly is still better.

To conclude, there just isn't much difference. You get a little more punch with the Sony/Tammy, the shallower DOF capability, a little more DR at lower ISO and the ability to crank the ISO quite high allow for higher SS.

The Sony body and lens is an extra 250g or so (about half pound), stabilization is not as good, ergonomics not as good, cost (second hand) is quite a bit higher as well. Considering you could get the Oly body and lens (second hand) for the price of the Sony body alone, for many this should be a no-brainer--lighter, cheaper, easier to use. But if you want that little bit extra in some photos and/or better video, the A7iii/Tammy combo is an option that fits mirrorless ideals in my mind.
Thanks! Are all these photos from tele-end?

If I understand correctly lenstip decency levels give quite good overall picture of the performances even between systems.
 
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The Tamron appears significantly brighter. If the shots were taken at the same settings, perhaps it also enjoys a slight t-stop advantage.
I shoot all at base ISO, so no, not same settings. Lighting is the same and I let the cameras metering set exposure with compensation to get the same exposure for one aperture and just let the camera adjust for the rest, so some will be +\- 1/3 stop I find.

Like I said, it isn’t meant to be scientific (I don’t have time to be that precise, I used to use a light meter to set exposure but that got old fast) Just so I know my copies are performing as expected and to confirm/overrule what I may suspect from real world shooting.

im not sure what is down to the lens and what to the camera, but the Sony images seem to have a little more contrast sooc. These are raw with no sharpening applied. Just the most basic of editing can likely make these identical except the wide end edges.
 
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Thanks! Are all these photos from tele-end?

If I understand correctly lenstip decency levels give quite good overall picture of the performances even between systems.
Yes, those are at the tele end. I didn’t post the others but I did 24, 28, 35, 50 equivalent as well.
 

RS86

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Yes, those are at the tele end. I didn’t post the others but I did 24, 28, 35, 50 equivalent as well.
Okay. Both are worst at max tele wide open. I cannot see much difference in those first pictures, and lenstip says both are about 10 lpmm above decency level. How do you spot clear advantage for Olympus here? In the edges I see a difference in favor of Olympus and lenstip agrees, because Tamron is below decency level.

With f/2.8 vs f/5.6 in the center the difference should be clear and pictures confirm it. Tamron with f/5.6 is about 24 lpmm above decency level vs. Olympus about 10 lpmm. In the edges Olympus is at the decency level and Tamron is 10 lpmm above decency level. This can be seen in your pictures clearly too and lenstip seems correct.

Olympus has been optimized for 12-25mm and wide open + edge performance is unique even compared to Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 according to lenstip.

From lenstip and after comparing these, it should be that wide open at wide end Olympus should have about 34 lpmm vs Tamron 26 lpmm over the decency level. You didn't find this correct from your pictures? At the edges here it would be Oly 24 lpmm vs Tamron 0 lpmm over the decency. Otherwise at wide end it would seem Olympus is better at the edges like you said, 25mm (FF 50mm) maybe quite equal.

This kind of comparison with your pictures as evidence is interesting, especially to know if we can trust lenstip claims and decency levels and how they compare in reality. Of course lenses have sample variation, but seems to work here.

I still wonder about the diffraction "issue" with m43. Now if we think that you need f/5.6 for some photo. This is pretty usual for landscapes, no? Some might even use f/8.0 for some situations, especially when at longer end or focusing closer if they want more in focus and not bokeh?

With Olympus 12mm f/4.0 you would be, center: 27 lpmm, edges: 19 lpmm over decency. For equivalent shot with Tamron 28mm f/8 you would be, center: 21 lpmm, edges: 8 lpmm over decency.

With Olympus 12mm f/5.6 you would be, center: 19 lpmm, edges: 14 lpmm over decency. For equivalent shot with Tamron 28mm f/11 you would be, center: 10 lpmm, edges: 4 lpmm over decency.

With Olympus 25mm f/8.0 you would be, center: 12 lpmm, edges: 4 lpmm over decency. For equivalent shot with Tamron 50mm f/16 you would be, center: -3 lpmm, edges: -5 lpmm under decency.

Why do they talk diffraction being more of an issue with m43? Seems misleading for sure.
 
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Okay. Both are worst at max tele wide open. I cannot see much difference in those first pictures, and lenstip says both are about 10 lpmm above decency level. How do you spot clear advantage for Olympus here? In the edges I see a difference in favor of Olympus and lenstip agrees, because Tamron is below decency level.

With f/2.8 vs f/5.6 in the center the difference should be clear and pictures confirm it. Tamron with f/5.6 is about 24 lpmm above decency level vs. Olympus about 10 lpmm. In the edges Olympus is at the decency level and Tamron is 10 lpmm above decency level. This can be seen in your pictures clearly too and lenstip seems correct.

Olympus has been optimized for 12-25mm and wide open + edge performance is unique even compared to Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 according to lenstip.

From lenstip and after comparing these, it should be that wide open at wide end Olympus should have about 34 lpmm vs Tamron 26 lpmm over the decency level. You didn't find this correct from your pictures? At the edges here it would be Oly 24 lpmm vs Tamron 0 lpmm over the decency. Otherwise at wide end it would seem Olympus is better at the edges like you said, 25mm (FF 50mm) maybe quite equal.

This kind of comparison with your pictures as evidence is interesting, especially to know if we can trust lenstip claims and decency levels and how they compare in reality. Of course lenses have sample variation, but seems to work here.

I still wonder about the diffraction "issue" with m43. Now if we think that you need f/5.6 for some photo. This is pretty usual for landscapes, no? Some might even use f/8.0 for some situations, especially when at longer end or focusing closer if they want more in focus and not bokeh?

With Olympus 12mm f/4.0 you would be, center: 27 lpmm, edges: 19 lpmm over decency. For equivalent shot with Tamron 28mm f/8 you would be, center: 21 lpmm, edges: 8 lpmm over decency.

With Olympus 12mm f/5.6 you would be, center: 19 lpmm, edges: 14 lpmm over decency. For equivalent shot with Tamron 28mm f/11 you would be, center: 10 lpmm, edges: 4 lpmm over decency.

With Olympus 25mm f/8.0 you would be, center: 12 lpmm, edges: 4 lpmm over decency. For equivalent shot with Tamron 50mm f/16 you would be, center: -3 lpmm, edges: -5 lpmm under decency.

Why do they talk diffraction being more of an issue with m43? Seems misleading for sure.
This is at ~35mm equivalent at 200%. You should be able to see the center sharpness and contrast is better on the Tammy, but the edges are really worse. Of course if you are shooting wide open typically you aren't too interested in the edges but not always.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


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Tamron doesn't catch up at the edge until F8 where it's just slightly worse than the Oly at F4. F11 is the same at the edges as the Oly at F5.6 and center is slightly sharper. At f16, Tammy is better across the frame compared to Oly @F8. At F16, the Oly is soft but why would you need F16 unless going for slow shutter effects. F4 gets just about everything in focus @17mm.
 

RS86

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This is at ~35mm equivalent at 200%. You should be able to see the center sharpness and contrast is better on the Tammy, but the edges are really worse. Of course if you are shooting wide open typically you aren't too interested in the edges but not always.
View attachment 793657

View attachment 793658
Tamron doesn't catch up at the edge until F8 where it's just slightly worse than the Oly at F4. F11 is the same at the edges as the Oly at F5.6 and center is slightly sharper. At f16, Tammy is better across the frame compared to Oly @F8. At F16, the Oly is soft but why would you need F16 unless going for slow shutter effects. F4 gets just about everything in focus @17mm.
That's interesting, center sharpness at lenstip for these seems wrong, first clear "mistake". Edge sharpness seems quite right (point about 24 lpmm vs 0 lpmm over decency, but that was for 12mm) as I see in comparison the edges worse for Tamron than the center for Olympus. Probably sample variation.

Also that Olympus f/8.0 vs Tamron f/16.0 is interesting because it clearly goes against what lenstip says with their decency levels. Tamron in center is at decency and below at edges and Olympus is clearly above in center and still above in edges both at all focal lengths. With Tamron f/16.0 it should be a bit worse than edges on that 35mm f/2.8 picture.

I think edge sharpness is not so important for tele-end like portraiture? But isn't it very often important in landscapes and similar even at longer focal lengths? Or if you shoot street for example and with m43 you want to use fastest aperture?

I'm a beginner so what you said about the aperture interests me too. I was of the impression that one would usually use f/5.6 for landscapes with m43, maybe when shooting at 12-25mm. But this might have to do with the optimal sharpness for most lenses.

I found these three articles about it:

In this article Don Smith says for the last picture that he could not get the whole scene in focus even with f/22 (m43 f/11) with Sony 16-35mm (m43 8-17.5mm) so he focus stacked two pictures.

https://www.donsmithblog.com/2016/10/15/is-there-a-perfect-aperture-for-landscape-photography/

Spencer Cox: "Set your aperture to balance depth of field and diffraction – typically, at a full-frame equivalent of f/8 to f/16 (but a larger aperture for nighttime photography, when you have no other choice)"

https://photographylife.com/landscapes/best-camera-settings-landscape-photography

Jim Harmer: "If you're using a wide lens (10-25mm) on a crop frame camera, and you have a foreground element close to the camera, you might consider an aperture of f/18. This will allow for solid depth-of-field and acceptable sharpness on many wide-angle lenses.

If you're using a wide lens (10-25mm) on a crop frame camera, and you do NOT have a foreground element, consider an aperture of around f/11 or f/16."

https://improvephotography.com/580/the-ideal-aperture-for-landscape-photography/

Are these guys wrong? Two of them mention wide focal lengths with smaller aperture so at least they are not talking about long focal length landscapes. Harmer's advice seems a bit odd though with such apertures for crop frame cameras. But Smith (with great pictures in his article) says with foreground elements and big landscape even f/11 with m43 isn't enough.
 
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ooheadsoo

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There isn't one answer to rule them all. It depends on how much dof you need for your scene. Landscapes can be 10mm, they can be 200mm, and can have close elements inches from the lens, or miles away. The more extreme your composition, the more extreme your technique if you want to achieve optimum quality.

But to be frank, most photos don't need to be technically optimal to be good or even fantastic.

I think you've read a lot and done a ton of pixel peeping. Next will be going out and experimenting with your own photos. I think you will learn faster and also learn for yourself where the rubber meets the road, and which questions are important for you to ask. Trying to use lenstip as a shortcut for real experience will only get you so far. At the end of the day, it's a bit like trying to decide which car is better by reading a car magazine.
 

RS86

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There isn't one answer to rule them all. It depends on how much dof you need for your scene. Landscapes can be 10mm, they can be 200mm, and can have close elements inches from the lens, or miles away. The more extreme your composition, the more extreme your technique if you want to achieve optimum quality.

But to be frank, most photos don't need to be technically optimal to be good or even fantastic.

I think you've read a lot and done a ton of pixel peeping. Next will be going out and experimenting with your own photos. I think you will learn faster and also learn for yourself where the rubber meets the road, and which questions are important for you to ask. Trying to use lenstip as a shortcut for real experience will only get you so far. At the end of the day, it's a bit like trying to decide which car is better by reading a car magazine.
Yeah, agree on parts and have even stated similar, but I ask and investigate certain findings and arguments. There is nothing wrong with that or that it implies I don't do other stuff. You can think what you want about my or others inquiry. I think it's interesting and I learn at the same time.

Btw, the weather in Southern Finland is quite horrid for any kind of landscape photography at the moment at least for my taste.
 

Moula

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I love my E-M10-II with 17/1.8. I love those out of camera mono JPEGs. I like having enough DOF already at f/1.8 keeping shuter speed high and ISO low (even though I have quite unusually high limit for auto ISO). But if I had "a few dispensable bucks", I'd probably go for A7 (original) with Samyangs 18 and 45 mm. Seems being the kit closest to my "dream" kit (on current market).
 
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I love my E-M10-II with 17/1.8. I love those out of camera mono JPEGs. I like having enough DOF already at f/1.8 keeping shuter speed high and ISO low (even though I have quite unusually high limit for auto ISO). But if I had "a few dispensable bucks", I'd probably go for A7 (original) with Samyangs 18 and 45 mm. Seems being the kit closest to my "dream" kit (on current market).
The A7 has no IBIS and a mediocre sensor. I see no gain in that from a E-M10 Mark II.
 

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The A7 has no IBIS and a mediocre sensor. I see no gain in that from a E-M10 Mark II.
I know. IBIS is great plus, but not necessary for me. And both sensors are "good enough". It's for lenses. There is currently no interresting 18-20 mm 35EQ MFT prime as alternative for Samyang 18/2.8, Voigtländer Color Skopar 21/3.5, Zeiss Loxia 21/2.8 etc. And FF is better suited for playing with old glass.
 

Jon Li

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Sony A7iii is the best deal in A7 series at the initial US$. 2000 body only price n it is still in my list when I find a good deal in the market to replace my 7ii which used mostly with manual focusing old lenses in low light . In the mean time , mft is my main camera as hobbyist in birding and for travel . I m still struggling in convincing myself A7iii will be much useful over A7ii when used with old lenses but not doubting it's auto focusing is definitely superior when used with native lenses . The GAS continues but at a more tactful steps.
 

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