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Why Did You Buy Expensive m4/3s Lens Over Sony A7?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by tjdean01, Sep 22, 2014.

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  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I'm not trying to tell you what to buy, but I'd like to know your reasons for choosing some of the better m4/3s lenses over Sony's FF mirrorless camera.

    Why you are NOT selling m4/3s: I'm not getting out of m4/3s either. With many of the lenses it's still much smaller and cheaper than the Sony: 12-32, 14, 17, 20, 25, 45, 60, etc. And when it comes to low-light, 5-axis IBIS will often allow you to match or beat the FF cameras in low-light, especially if you have a 42/0.95 or a 75/1.8. And speedboosting an 85/1.4 or 50/1.7 can be a lot of fun with great bokeh. But...

    My question is for those who have the more expensive lenses like the 42/1.2, 25/0.95, 75, 12-40, etc. Those lenses are an average of $1000 each. I really do want the 42/0.95 for some massive subject separation and the 75 for its awesomeness. I find myself wanting more separation; and buying say, the 19/0.95, 42/1.2, and 75/1.8 would run $3000 whereas an A7 would run $1200 and adapting decent 20, 28, 35, 40, 50, 85, 135 lenses to it would cost very little and still get good subject separation (yes, I know with it's cheap, fast lenses and IBIS m4/3s has its advantages in low light; large DOF at lower apertures, etc.).

    So, I guess my question is, since you have m4/3s already, what is the benefit of buying a few of these more expensive lenses over buying the A7?
    • Like Like x 2
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Everyone buys their gear for a very personal reason. No 2 people shoot the same way and have the same end game in mind.

    It sounds like to you that getting thin DOF and subject separation are important to you - then going with a larger sensor might be the best option for you.

    I personally like m43 because of its size and portability. I can carry an equivalent field of view set of lenses that covers 16mm - 600mm optically in less space than the same for my Nikon FX cameras. In good to fair light - m43 has not disappointed me.
    However, whenever I need AF tracking performance and high ISO with cleaner files, I'm shooting FX.

    I choose the fast primes because they are excellent lenses for not that bad a price if you think about the quality/versatility you get from them.
  3. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Subject separation is not high on my list of things I need. I like sharp lenses with AF.
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Balance between features, performance, and packaging with a higher value placed on packaging (size and weight) keeps me shooting with MFT system. The smallish sensor with it small image circle couple together with lenses that were designed specifically to that smaller image circle makes for a great combination that lends itself well to smaller/lighterweight lenses.

    Every system is a compromise; what and where to compromise (and when not to) is a very personal choice.

    I did recently picked up a used Sony A7R (body only). It is being used for a specific different purpose; enjoyment of adapted lenses that I already own. To allow me to use them as they were intended, on a 135/35mm format sensor.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    And sharp wide open, too, as opposed to having to stop down to f/4 or f/5.6.
  6. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    £1000+ for some plastic and glass to stick in front of your camera body?

    I'll make do with my G2, G5 and a host of legacy glass with adapters.

    Can you tell I don't shoot professionally? :wink:
  7. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    I got the 42.5 due to several reasons (somewhat listed in order):
    -very fast, which helps in low light situations due to the size of the m43 sensors
    -built in OIS
    -superb optical quality (bokeh, color, sharpness)
    -sharp wide open
    -thin enough DoF for the times I want that (but if you want more extreme DoF you have to get FF I suppose).
    -I doubt you can find a lens on any format that outperforms it at a significantly cheaper price)
    -I was lucky and got in on a shipment of damaged boxes (mine was not btw), and paid about 1200 I think.
    -wonderful build quality, and is well balanced on my gh3

    oh - and I have owned Sony gear, never liked their user interface.
  8. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    sticking to one system
    not having too much STUFF to get in the way of actually taking photos
    less stuff to obsessively research, compare, test shoot

    i actually have both systems
    and am currently testing them each for the shooting i actually do, not imaginarily do... and will sell off the other
    the new oly tele pro zoom and wide zoom look very nice, tho!
    if i keep m43, ill get the 42.5 panny, the oly 40-150, and the oly 7-14

    if i keep the sony a7s, ill need the new 16-35/4, and hopefully a native mount 85 will come out soon! or 135 :) 
  9. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Wow, these are good replies. Thanks, guys. I was actually thinking I'd be flamed so I was careful to word things properly :) 

    Anyway, I'll comment on the answers:

    * HAVING ONE SYSTEM - I can see this being a problem as buying a 'normal' lens for each system, etc., would be costly. For me, one "system" is not a problem if I can adapt lenses. However, I would prefer to have only one camera, one memory card showing ALL the pictures, one size battery, etc. If the Sony didn't have the viewfinder hump and made a few smaller, cheaper lenses I wouldn't need m4/3s...but they don't make it except that 35mm f2 one but the lens doesn't come off.

    * SPECIAL M4/3s LENSES - Indeed the 75/1.8, 42/1.2, etc are one of a kind lenses with a combination of smallness, speed, and price that FF can't touch. In fact, FF to me would just be a bokeh machine because I'd never try to buy a really high quality modern lens for it...it'd be big and expensive.

    * m4/3s BALANCE - Indeed. Small, cheap, sharp lenses, quality. I'm not getting rid of it as a system. The 20 and 45 cannot be touched.

    If I did two systems, I'd be happy having just the 20 and 45 for m4/3s. But knowing me I'll probably keep other..."economically efficient" lenses: fish, 15/8, 12-32, 40-150. For the Sony I'd use a 28, 40, 50, 85, 135, 200.
  10. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    You left out the really expensive candidates like the 150f2, etc.

    This lens is both cheaper and smaller than the APS-C equivalent (200 f2). This is the sort of lens that makes me really really happy with m43.
  11. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have an A7r and Will continue to use both systems. But right now, the A7r is basically just a very high quality image making machine than I use with the 55/1.8 90% of the time. Great for landscapes, amazing for people pics with the eye detect AF. But it is a long way off from being a complete system.
  12. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Back in the middle of the last century when people were using large and medium format cameras they used to stop down to F/64 or F/32 in order to get enough depth of field. The initial struggle was not for isolation, it was for depth of field, and smaller formats helped make getting that a lot easier. There are still those of us who are more interested in having things in focus (or at least looking like they are in focus) rather than having things out of focus.

    What I like about M43 is simply the size of the cameras and lenses and the results I get. I rarely want very shallow depth of field, lack of isolation isn't a problem for me since I'm not chasing it anyway. I've got cameras I feel comfortable with that give me results I like. I have no reason to go bigger, and the smaller sensor is an advantage for a lot of what I like shooting.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I seriously did consider the Sony A7R when I had my M mount lenses, but I realised that manual focus was not my thing, the lenses wouldn't be ideal with the Sony and I already had a set of outstanding 4/3 lenses that Sony can't currently match, which made me realised what a bad move it would be. For short while I fell into the FF hype, but when I got the E-M1 and started to use it in earnest, I once again realised what I actually had was outstanding and extremely versatile. I actually didn't need any MP bragging rights, never have.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Interesting. This is pretty much how I feel. If I'm using the A7 I'd be happy having just a few lenses. The 55/1.8 is out of my price range buy a 50/1.7 is more than capable. Or an 85/1.8 if I want even more separation. And the 28/2 will be a landscape beast. Can't wait to finally compare that to the 14/2.5. "Very high quality image making machine"...I like that. That's what I'll use it for too, although it won't be a carry-everywhere camera.
  15. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    Olympus and Panasonic have been making bodies that are excellent, with sensors more than adequate performance levels. The lenses are between "compact" and "moderate" in size to me and I retain my option to adapt over lenses and telecompress them into something even faster. At the same time I can make the E-M5 small, I could also get a GM5 with a full on hotshoe all while having the option to get pancakes. I love IBIS and I love Panasonic's commitment to cine.

    ...Unfortunately most of that is unfulfilled for me, at least the m43s lenses side. For now I just want to take photos in difficult conditions, so that leaves me to adapting lenses for now. But if a special deal for a 12-40, 40-150 and TC comes up in one package, I'd probably be all over that fast. Or when I have more disposable income.
  16. I get better quality of image with a more usable, more portable, and more capable camera.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    The idea behind composition was different then as well. Layered composition thoughtful of the background where the most could be made of the scene was valuable. which made sense as the full movements of camera planes were an available tool, and everything was on a tripod. Now it's shoot it quick, and if the background isn't great, blur it. Which is fine, but it's directly related to the majority of events we value photographed, weddings, birth's, engagements, seniors, sports which let's face it.. are messy and blurring drunk uncle bob makes sense and now we have that emotional connection that's reinforced by these fast paced in the moment shots where contemplation and considerate thought isn't going to capture "the decisive moment"...
  18. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, I guess all has been said, more-or-less - but I'll just add one thing... stability. The A7r is nice, but it's yet another system from Sony and their record to date on delivering on their lens roadmap hasn't been great. I like the fact that there are multiple players in the m43 space and that they don't keep chopping and changing. If you're building a system, that's important. Just look where Sony are - first Alpha, then NEX, then NEX is dead, it's all Alpha. There are now two mount types (A & E), each with 2 variants (FF and APS-C) and there's a total of 4 different adapter types LA-EA1, 2, 3 & 4 some with pelicule mirrors and some not (although I think two of them are now discontinued). Confused? - you will be!
    • Like Like x 4
  19. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    There's been a lot of changes in "fashion" when it comes to how we photograph different things and I think a lot of it simply comes down, in the end, to people learning how to make the most out of the compromises that particular equipment imposed on them. 35mm and smaller cameras were a huge step forward for documentary type photography and snapshooting because of their portability and the ease of shooting handheld, plus the gain in depth of field from smaller negatives and shorter focal length lenses probably helped a lot when it came to avoiding focussing errors but what was last was shallow depth of field so we got the push for faster lenses.

    And, to use your phrase, "let's face it" you don't have to work hard to blur out drunk uncle Bob if you're shooting in available light at the wedding reception and you can ensure that he's a bit further away than the people you want to have in focus if you're shooting with an F/1.4 50mm lens on 35mm film or full frame.

    But Cartier-Bresson's phrase phrase "the decisive moment" is often misunderstood. Cartier-Bresson was originally a painter and he was vitally concerned with composition. His idea of the decisive moment was the instant when the elements in the viewfinder formed the ideal composition, not the instant when the action was necessarily at it's critical moment, so depth of field was important to him in capturing that decisive moment, whether it involved isolating the subject from the background or firmly connecting the subject to the background and placing them within it. Emotional connections don't necessarily require isolation, some require the subject to be placed securely within the scene with a clear and distinct background for context. Cartier-Bresson's decisive moments relied on the "Layered composition thoughtful of the background where the most could be made of the scene" for their impact just as much as the landscapes of the F64 group did, and documentary and event photography today still rely on that simply because being "thoughtful of the background" means we need to consider the choice we have available to go for less depth of field and blur it out or to go for greater depth of field and ensure it looks sharp and detailed. Whichever option you choose is being thoughtful of the background if that choice contributes to the strength of the image. This is not an approach that has been abandoned. We've just acquired a wider range of choices for how many layers we include and for how we can deal with the background thoughtfully.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    This is why I have not bought a Sony camera. Maybe in 4 years if they show a commitment to one (hell even 2) system will I consider buying one.
    • Like Like x 1
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