First Impression Hands On – SONY A7 / A7r vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Canon 5DmkIII
I am a proud owner of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and really like that camera, the look an feel is fantastic, images stabilisation is the best on the planet and it is almost small enough to follow me around almost everywhere. Now comes the SONY A7 and A7r with full frame sensor and it really looks nice. Yesterday I had a chance to test them both for a short time. I will not try to judge image quality etc, since that is done on many places on the web, and I assume it is better than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and perhaps even better than my Canon 5DmkIII.
So, first impression of the SONY A7 and A7r:
* The house is almost as small as the Olympus. Feels nice, but somehow it did not trigger my ”must have it” reaction.
* The lenses are waaaay bigger, except for the 35/2.8. With the 35/2.8 on the kit is just a bit bigger than the Olympus with the 20/1.7. Also the shallow depth of field is about the same on those two kits. So for me, that it the only AF lens that I would consider. The 55/1.8 is huge. The Zeiss 24-70/4 is big, but a lot smaller than my Canon 24-70/2.8. The Zeiss 16-70/4 is about the same size aas the 24-70/4 so not sure why both exists…
* To get a compact system, the best solution would probably be to go for the SONY 35/2.8 and a Leica-M adapter. The get some manual Voigtländer lenses, they are super small, good quality and not to expensive. The focus peeking and focusing digital zoom seems to be working very good on the SONY so probabaly manual lenses will work nicely. Perhaps even for professional work if you dont have to be too quick. I am not sure myself, I like shallow depth of field like 1.4-2.8 and shooting mainly people, so perhaps my Canon 5DmkIII has to be the choice for serious work anyway. But as a family and fun camera the SONY with manual small Leica-M lenses will be fantastic. In tha case I would go for the A7r, since I will be focusing manually most of the time anyway.
* The AF is very fast. I tried both the A7 and the A7r in a normally lit room at night and they both seemed faster than my OM-D with 20/1.7. Contrary to other reviews! The A7 is faster and focuses very ”secure” while the A7r always do a bit of mini-hunting to find the right focus. The difference is quite small to be honest. I am not sure if any of them are fast enough for pro work for me….if so that would change the whole system for me. If its too slow, then its a family and fun camera that needs to be very small, so I would then use manual focus Voightländer lenses and teh SONY 35/2.8, if the AF is fast enough I could consider using the SONY for work too, and then get the big SONY lenses that have AF and OSS, like the 24-70/4 (why not 2.8, 4 generates so very unsexy images, almost disqualifying it for pro work!) and the 70-200 coming later….perhaps even use my Canon lenses with an AF adapter in that case…..but then the system is so big I might as well use the 5DmkIII body…..As a comparison I always felt the Canon 5DmkII was quite slow and unsecure to autofocus, the Canon 5DmkIII is way better, resulting in 50% increase in keepers from all my jobs, and the A7 is probably a lot worse than even the 5DmkII…..
* The EVF seems OK. The OVF of the 5DmkIII is better, faster, but an EVF has advantages too, like helping with manual focusing (perhpas even making manual focusing possible for pro work) and allowing me to get more correct exposures instead of having to test shoot a lot, so probabaly less shots needed in a job situation.
* The battery grip I would not consider for a fun compact system, but for a work system, its needed.
* No OSS image stabilisation in the body. The primes have no OSS, and this also make the OSS zoom lenses bigger than they would have needed to be. Bad decision SONY! Here my OM-D has a huge advantage, since the OSS is so magic on that camera, and allow me to handhold down to 1 sec and get super sharp results! And that is with any old manual lens too…
* The A7r shutter is VERY noisy, sounds sexy, but loud!