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My E-M5 & My A7 (OR A Tale of Two Voigtlanders)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by MAubrey, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    My Canon 5D is officially replaced by a Sony A7 now. So I'm now 100% mirrorless. It's a good feeling. And of course I need to say that I have no intention of leaving μ43. Certainly not.

    I'm still weighing various options though. The original plan was to have the Sony function entirely for manual lenses and legacy glass. And I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to have my all MF lenses gain back their original angle of view. The Konica AR 50mm f/1.7 looks brilliant and nothing can touch the Canon FD 85mm f/1.2L. Anyway, the one thing this move did do was get me to finally pick up a fast 35mm. I've had the Voigtlander 17.5mm f/.95 for a while now. So when I saw a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 at a incredible "Buy it now" price on Ebay a few weeks ago. I went for it.

    So now I'm spending a lot of time testing the two lenses and trying to decide whether or not the 35mm f/1.2 replaces the 17.5mm. And I have to say, its a lot harder than I anticipated. The 35mm is certainly sharper at f/2 than the 17.5mm is at f/.95. In fact, I would say that its a little sharper even at f/1.4. Conversely, despite what many people who have drank the FF cool aid have claimed, if you're shooting still subjects, there's no way you can replace Olympus' 5 axis IBIS with improved high ISO. The improvement in high ISO on the 35mm sensor just doesn't make up for it. And as for depth of field, the difference isn't that big.

    E-M5 & CV17.5mm f/.95
    _C080006.jpg

    A7 &CV35mm f/1.2
    _DSC0284.jpg

    So now I have lot's of thinking to do...not sure about the answer. My wife and I do both share kits, so maybe it wouldn't be a problem having both...still thinking about it.
     
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  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    mike i just had a similar issue. i have been lusting to try the xp1 with mf glass for a long while. long story short, my recent fulfillment of this fantasy, vs IQ i'm getting from m4/3, was extremely disappointing. i sent the fuji back and my next and last stop is the rx1 kit that is now winging its way to me by ups snail mail.

    these experiences have me right on the edge of hard-concluding that we are at such a point on the IQ tech curve that the top line of any format by any manufacturer is going to yield similar results. so it then comes down to price vs user experience vs how one shoots.

    i can tell you from my perspective, i am looking for a noticeable IQ improvement with the rx1 from what i'm presently using or it goes as well, and i happly stick with what ive got.
     
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  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    My $0.02 - if you love 35mm FOV and it's not a financial hardship to keep both... then just use and enjoy them both for now. If you find yourself rarely using one, or preferring one consistently, then you can always sell it later.

    As long as you're using the equipment, I figure then you're getting value out of it. If it makes you feel any better, I have two fixed lens 35mm equivalent compacts and still manage to use them both regularly enough that I haven't sold one yet :tongue:
     
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  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    I hear you, Tony. Image quality wasn't as much of a factor for me. I was quite satisfied with my Canon 5D (classic), which is generally on par with the E-M5. I was more interested in the size reduction from the Canon and being able to enjoy the original angle of view of my MF glass--this is the firs time I've seen the Konica 50mm f/1.7 on a FF sensor. The register distance was too short for the Canon. It's very, very nice on the A7. If my experience say anything, I think you'll be happy with the IQ improvement for your RX1. It's a incredible sensor and a brilliant lens.

    I think that's a good call, Jay. I think that's what I'll do for the time being.
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks for a very interesting comparison, one that I've had on my mind since recently selling a Leica M9 with Biogon 35/2 (Voigtlander 35/1.2 prior to that), currently enjoying a Voigtlander 17.5/0.95 on my MFT cameras, and mulling the possibility of buying an A7R that is en route to me for review.

    One thing you didn't mention was the extreme close focus ability of the 17.5/0.95. No rangefinder lens is going to do that.
     
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  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I'm very seriously considering a CV 35/1.2 for when the A7r arrives next week. Ideally with the Voightlander NEX to M close focus adapter (though I'd like to see reviews first). I'm assuming both images are wide open? I personally like the smoothness of the A7 a little more.

    I have several lenses in my favorite focal lengths (35 and 50mm), and use them all for different purposes. I'll also get the Sony Zeiss 35/2.8 so I have an AF option, which - if I keep the 35L and get the voigtlaender - will make 4 35s. As long as they have different characters and you use them, why not?
     
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  7. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    I'm also considering another 35mm 1.2 for my recently aquired A7. I've owned both lenses (the 17mm and 35mm) in the past. For me, the glow wide open, wasn't what I wanted. The 35mm 1.2 is totally usable wide open. The 21mm f1.8 Ultron is also a lot of fun on the A7.

    Olympus knocked it out of the park with the IBIS. I also, definitely won't be getting rid of my m4/3 gear because of it, as I think it gives a bigger advantage, in situations I'm in, than the ISO advantage of a bigger sensor. Even more so on the EM1 which apart from the sensor itself, is a better camera than the A7.

    Nice to have such amazing options.

    Gordon
     
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  8. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    That's really good point, Amin. That's a pretty awesome feature. And even with the (cheap) close-focusing adapter for the A7, the 17.5mm still has a very clear advantage on front. I think the adapter takes me from .7m to around .3m, but that's still twice the distance of the CV17.5mm.

    I think the 35mm f/1.2 was shot at f/1.4. There's a lot of glow at f/1.2 that disappears almost entirely at f/1.4, so that's where I've been using it primarily. And yeah, the A7 is certainly smoother, too. The difference in depth of field helps on that. When I said I didn't think the difference was significant, I meant that I'm not sure that the difference makes one image inherently more compelling than the other.

    One thing that you'll want to be aware of, if you're considering the CV35mm f/1.2, is that it has a bit of onion bokeh that isn't there in the CV17.5mm.

    I certainly cannot argue with that. Olympus has done an absolutely excellent job.

    And I'd really love to try that 21mm f/1.8 eventually.
     
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    From the pictures that you posted I do not see that. The 35mm has better subject isolation; but, at least to my eyes, the 17.5mm is sharper and produces a better overall picture.
     
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The pictures he posted were at f/0.95 and f/1.2 respectively. In terms of sharpness, he's saying that the full frame lens at f/2 is sharper than the 4/3 format lens at f/0.95 (when they are set for a similar depth of field). Fwiw, I don't see glow at f/0.95 with the 4/3 lens. Very usable at that aperture IMO.
     
  11. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Right. Amin, thanks for the clarification.
     
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Oops, looks like my clarification was off. OP says a few posts up that he thinks the A7 lens was set to f/1.4 in that photo. At any rate, tough to judge sharpness at that size! I do prefer the same shot as you though :).
     
  13. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, I saw that too. I am still liking the EM-5 with the Voigtlander.
     
  14. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Assuming critical focus is the same in both photos, I highly prefer the first one.

    Generally, I don't buy the "FF offers the ultimate DOF control" statement, which leads to a lot of useless extra-narrow DOF photos we see around all the time. Personally, not one of my favorite photographers from the past used extra shallow DOF; but they did excel in composition, vision and taste.

    I recognize the artistic need for subject isolation, and, where used tastefully, I really like it. This is certainly one of these cases. There is a point though, where shallow DOF becomes almost annoying and probably subtracts rather than adding to the result.

    Don't get me wrong; I'd love to have a 135 format camera and a top quality f/1.0-f/1.2 lens just for the hell of it (and some crazy creative experimentation). I just believe there are very few cases where a MFT camera with a wide angle f/0.95 wouldn't be "good enough" for shallow DOF.
     
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  15. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Yeah, the fact that there's no glow at f/.95 is very attractive, too.

    As for the sharpness...well, this isn't a good comparison set for that. Aside from the fact that they're both web size images, the A7 is effectively shot at ISO1000 and the E-M5 was shot at ISO200--again, that's the Olympus IBIS for you. Because of that the A7 image is noisier than the E-M5 one. The comments about sharpness/resolution weren't intended to be about this particular set. The images I took for that particular observation weren't appealing enough to be worth posting.

    Agreed. Most of what I shoot is landscape. Narrow DOF doesn't matter much there. Like I said at the beginning, this camera isn't replacing μ43, its replacing an aging Canon 5D for legacy lenses. I posted the images simply because this is the first time (since film with an Nikon FE2) that I've had a 35mm lens on a 135mm format body. Now that I had one, it seemed like a logical to do something thinking about my gear. That's all.
     
  16. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Interesting experiment… the 35mm certainly has a richer look, but at f1.2 that DoF is super thin (too thin IMO).
     
  17. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I say keep both (assuming its not going to be too tough on the wallet); shoot native on MFT and your legacy on the A7.

    If you are interested in a balanced compromise of quality and packaging, the MFT system is extremely hard to beat. They are all smaller and lighter that almost any equivalent legacy lens... with AF no doubt.

    On the other hand, the image quality from the Sony A7 and the ability to use your legacy lenses as they are intended is a want that cannot be completely satisfied with MFT.


    PS> For me, I would evaluate using unprocessed (color) files in addition to those processed to B&W. The actual workflow to process the images may differ from one camera to another which in turn lends itself bias towards one camera over the other. Furthermore at higher ISOs, you mask out the chroma portion of the imaging noise which means it is taken out of the decision process.

    On the flip side, knowing how the produced noise translates to a B&W would also be interesting... but since processing workflow is a factor, you should consider taking the time to find the best workflow for each camera individually rather than resorting to the same process for both cameras. This way you can evaluate the ideal B&W output of both cameras rather than comparing which camera better fits the workflow chosen to process B&W.
     
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