Full Frame Hype vs Reality (A850 24-70mm vs EP-1 12-60mm)

Started Nov 3, 2010 | Discussions thread
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HarryShin
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Full Frame Hype vs Reality (A850 24-70mm vs EP-1 12-60mm)
Nov 3, 2010

1. This is not intended to offend anyone, but rather is just my personal and completely unscientific observations after having just purchased the Sony A850 with the 24-70mm CZ.

2. A couple of brief notes and disclaimers::

  • I'm not a "fanboy" of anyone particular brand, but I admit I have some biases against Canon, less so Nikon; but I've used both brands in the past (film based).

  • I'm not a pro, but I'm fairly familiar with photography (ie long time contax user, various film based panoramic cameras including noblex, the xpan, fairly long time sony user F828, V3, R1, recent olympus user 420, 620, EP-1, and I've dabbled here / there with my friend's 5DII (24-70 2.8 and 24-105 f4... I think that's the focal length).

  • Like many on the forums, I love / enjoy photography and thus want to utilize the best equipment I can afford (always a tough situation), and perhaps like many, I thought that at some point, the full frame was the way to go. Well, I finally was able to purchase the A850 along with the CZ 24-70mm.

3. Data:

  • I did some basic unscientific tests yesterday, specifically focused on one question: how does the lens perform at 24mm. I was focused on this issue because I tend to shoot at that focal length and due to my interest in panoramics I would like to have a lens that has minimal vignetting etc... The kind folks on the sony forum (as well as other reviews on the web) did clearly state that there is going to be some amount of visible vignetting at all apetures when shooting at 24mm.

  • Images were shot in RAW, minimal modifications in ACR (changed the tone curve to linear etc...), no filter was used on the lens etc... etc... The EP-1 shots were also done in RAW, I used the 12-60mm and obviously shot at 12mm (ie 24mm equivalent).

Sony A850 24-70mm CZ @ 24mm F13
http://www.pbase.com/harryshin/image/130022853

EP-1 12-60mm @ 12mm, F13
http://www.pbase.com/harryshin/image/130022856

Sony A850 24-70mm CZ @ 24mm F4
http://www.pbase.com/harryshin/image/130022854

EP-1 12-60mm @ 12mm, F4
http://www.pbase.com/harryshin/image/130022857

4. Personal Conclusions:

  • As I'm posting this images to dpreview, it appears that the differences aren't that stark, but all I have to say is that on my cpu and after reviewing the entire series (ie starting at 2.8--> F16 etc...), it's just overly apparent that the 24-70mm just struggles at 24mm, specifically in terms of vignetting, where as the trustly old 12-60mm really provides a fairly nice even illumination across the whole frame (by the way, I didn't have the EP-1 set up to correct the image; actually I'm not sure that it can do it, but either way, I don't have the camera set up to do it). Now folks may say, that since the circle area for a full frame is bigger, there are more challenges involved in providing... proper coverage etc... Which I'm sure is very true. With that being said, my message to Carl Zeiss would be--> if you're going to charge $1600.00 for such a lens, that weighs 2.2 lbs, then create one that performs as one would expect. If it can't be done at 24mm, then create a 28-70mm or 35-70mm and have the 16-35mm 2.8 cover the wide of the spectrum etc... Anyway, I was hugely dismayed at the 24-70mm results, in that I had high hopes for the lens and also because I really liked my Zeiss primes from the Contax days. I mean, is it too much to ask that an ultra modern zoom at least keep up with my old Zeiss primes from over 15 years ago?

  • In terms of the other parameters, I'm going to assume that the CZ is much sharper, has increased resolving power etc... etc... And we all know the benefits of full frame vs smaller sensor cameras (ie higher ISO capabilities, increased resolution, smaller DOF etc...)

  • As many on this forum already know, one has to test and use the gear that actually works for them (and we all have different areas of focus within our photography), rather than just following the crowd and buying the most expensive gear... because the "pros" do.

5. Tangential question: with the above being said, where is my dream camera (ie E620 sized camera, with the specs of an E5?)

Sorry for the long rant. Harry

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