A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?

Started Dec 13, 2013 | Discussions
twenty200
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A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?
Dec 13, 2013

I'm in the process of debating between one of three things:

Sticking with my A77. Switching to an EM1, or switching to an A7.

I'm wondering about the quality of the A7 kit lens compared to other lenses - especially the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 on an EM1, the Olympus 14-150 on an EM1, the SAL 12250 on an A77, or the Nikon 18-200 on a D90.

I know that people tend to bash the A7 kit lens, but many of those people are comparing it to lenses that cost $1000 and up, usually with a lesser focal range. I'm curious about how good the A7 kit lens actually is, especially when compared to lenses I'm familiar with (or, in the case of the Zuiko, a lens I'm considering if I go with an EM1)

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captura
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Re: A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?
In reply to twenty200, Dec 13, 2013

twenty200 wrote:

I'm in the process of debating between one of three things:

Sticking with my A77. Switching to an EM1, or switching to an A7.

I'm wondering about the quality of the A7 kit lens compared to other lenses - especially the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 on an EM1, the Olympus 14-150 on an EM1, the SAL 12250 on an A77, or the Nikon 18-200 on a D90.

Can't beat the 12-40. The A7 kit lens will be very good, though.

I know that people tend to bash the A7 kit lens, but many of those people are comparing it to lenses that cost $1000 and up, usually with a lesser focal range. I'm curious about how good the A7 kit lens actually is, especially when compared to lenses I'm familiar with (or, in the case of the Zuiko, a lens I'm considering if I go with an EM1)

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Najinsky
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Re: A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?
In reply to twenty200, Dec 13, 2013

I've posted a number of samples taken with the A7 + Kit 28-70 in this thread:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52692757

I'm only three days into my A7 use but from what I'm seeing, the kit lens is excellent and I have no complaints, especially as it added less than £180 to a body price.

I think it's getting a hard time because it's specs are very ordinary; F/3.5-5.6, 28-70mm, so it lacks a little versatility, but I've learned to trust my eyes and my processing software and I'm very confident when this lens gets properly reviewed it will be shown to be an excellent performer within the confines of its limited specs.

I did some tests today comparing performance of the excellent 20/1.7, one of the top rated m.4/3 lenses, and at f/2 versus 40mm F/4 on the A7+kit, the A7 is easily out-performing it. I have many of the top m.4/3 lenses, and will do some more tests, but at this stage, I don't expect the A7+kit to be outdone.

Of course, this isn't the whole story, m.4/3 has some lenses that are probably much better than current m.4/3 sensors can take advantage of, and these lenses will give improved output as m.4/3 sensor technology evolves. But for now, within comparable FL and DOF, the A7 + kit will beat m.4/3s best. But the difference is not huge and it's a massive achievement by m.4/3 that it's so close give a sensor 1/4 of the size.

And further, our situations are different; I have an EM-5 with an excellent selection of glass. M.4/3 is very mature and has a large selection of lenses for nearly every situation. Most of these are tiny in comparison to the Full Frame world and deliver genuine portability and convenience benefits while offering IQ that is good enough for almost any purpose.

I got the A7 as a special purpose camera for situations where I want the extra level of IQ.

In your situation, having it as your main camera, I would have strong reservations about the A7 at the moment. It doesn't have the lens availability many want/need, and it is not in the same game when it comes to compact/portable options. You need to be honest with yourself about how important size/convenience and lens versatility is, and your acceptable IQ requirements.

The EM-1 is what DPR would term a well sorted camera. Most of its technology is 2nd generation, bugs worked out and features optimised to the max. It's a superb camera and most photographers would be delighted and proud to use one. We are truly blessed to have such great choices to make.

-Najinsky

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Alex 13
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Re: A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?
In reply to Najinsky, Dec 13, 2013

A point to remember when comparing a FF to m43, the aperture factor doubles.

In this case, the F3.5-5.6 28-70 on the a7 is equivalent in terms of light available and depth of field to a F1.75-2.8 14-35mm lens on m43. When you consider that, its not so bad. Perhaps not great, but not terrible.

I asked the same question a while back and got a ton of responses. The summary was that the a7 kit lens is about as good as any other kit lens on an equivalent camera, i.e.D600. Though perhaps worse in sharpness than the kit L glass that comes on a 6D.

As others above have said, when people don't like it, often they are comparing to high end L glass, Zeiss or Leica optics.
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Clayton1985
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Re: A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?
In reply to twenty200, Dec 13, 2013

twenty200 wrote:

I'm in the process of debating between one of three things:

Sticking with my A77. Switching to an EM1, or switching to an A7.

I'm wondering about the quality of the A7 kit lens compared to other lenses - especially the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 on an EM1, the Olympus 14-150 on an EM1, the SAL 12250 on an A77, or the Nikon 18-200 on a D90.

I know that people tend to bash the A7 kit lens, but many of those people are comparing it to lenses that cost $1000 and up, usually with a lesser focal range. I'm curious about how good the A7 kit lens actually is, especially when compared to lenses I'm familiar with (or, in the case of the Zuiko, a lens I'm considering if I go with an EM1)

The 12-40 is obviously the better lens for several reasons - f2.8, more range, better build, better overall IQ, etc.   But once you compare the A7+28-70 with the E-M1+12-40 you end up with a more difficult evaluation.  The A7+28-70 will give you more detail and more resolution while the 12-40 may be slightly sharper - but it's closer than you would think after reading some of the comments about the 28-70 lens.  The 28-70 is a capable lens and you can always replace it with the 24-70 f4 in a couple of months.

I think you'll have a standard zoom that will get the job done either way - I would base your decision on the camera that better fits your needs.   They are both great cameras but with different strengths and weaknesses.

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viking79
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My review of 28-70mm
In reply to twenty200, Dec 13, 2013

Here is my review of the 28-70mm, http://erphotoreview.com/wordpress/?p=3992

I can't comment on the Oly 12-40mm f/2.8 since I haven't used it, but remember it is a $300 lens (kit price) vs a $1000 lens, so I would expect the Oly to be a bit better. It is equivalent to a full frame with 24-80mm f/5.6 (more or less depending on which sensor you crop to match), so functionally the Oly will be a little wider and have a little deeper depth of field at the same field of view up to about 70mm.

Where the "equivalent" aperture falls apart is focus.  The Oly is going to have 2 additional stops at the tele end to focus indoors in low light.  The Sony really struggles inside at 70mm if you don't have contrasty light.  The focus assist light can help in those situations, but is really irritating and it turns on before it needs to on the Sony.

So if you only plan on using the one lens, or were going to be shooting faster moving subjects, you might want to try the Oly.  I would get the Sony if you want to use legacy SLR lenses or just need the extra two stops of flexibility from the sensor.

Eric

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Brian Caslis
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Re: My review of 28-70mm
In reply to viking79, Dec 13, 2013

Yes, the Olympus is a clearly better lens. But the 28-70 is actually very good and similar to the Nikon 24-85 VR kit lens for the D600. Probably a little bit better except it's slower on the long end.

For an outdoors all around lens, the 28-70 is great. For an indoors lens with flash, it's fine as long as you aren't trying to focus in dim light with low contrast objects. For indoors with no flash, it's just too slow but any similar aperture lens would be the same.

Personally, I kind the A7 with 28-70 a better combination for what I want to shoot than the E-M1 with 12-40. But that's just personal preference. I find the A7 images really good and process better for me in Lightroom.

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barjohn
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Re: My review of 28-70mm
In reply to Brian Caslis, Dec 13, 2013

While I haven't compared it to the M43 lenses, I have compared it to the 35mm f2.8 FE lens.  What I found is that in the center 1/3 it is almost but not quite as sharp as the prime but thereafter it becomes softer and softer as one moves out toward the edges.  For portrait work this fall of in sharpness shouldn't be a big issue but for landscape or similar type work the softness in the outer 2/3 would render it unacceptable to me and many others.  For under $300, perhaps under $250 it is OK but over that price and one is not getting much for their money.  The image stabilization is not very good in my testing and I could do nearly as well just hand holding in many cases.

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Brian Caslis
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Re: My review of 28-70mm
In reply to barjohn, Dec 13, 2013

I've found the image stabilization good and gotten sharp images at 1/10 of a second at 70mm. As you would expect it's not a sharp wide open, but if you stop down it's pretty sharp except at the extreme edges. It's never going to be a as sharp as a prime but for the money it's a very good lens.

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Najinsky
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Apologies
In reply to M Powered, Dec 13, 2013

M Powered wrote:

all from kit lens, needless to say I like it

+18

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69711585647/my-playground

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69642193914/pirates-cove

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69564976657/long-beach-pirates

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69498671171/playing-with-the-boys

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69344291977/spanish-sunset

I thought this was a serious discussion about the qualities of the kit lens.

Whilst your model is super sexy, and I enjoyed playing the role of voyeur very much, there is not a single image that says anything about the abilities of the lens in question.

In fact, despite the fantastic subject, I'd class this shoot as a fail, and your post as little more than spam. But that's probably just me.

-Najinsky

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M Powered
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Re: Apologies
In reply to Najinsky, Dec 13, 2013

Najinsky wrote:

M Powered wrote:

all from kit lens, needless to say I like it

+18

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69711585647/my-playground

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69642193914/pirates-cove

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69564976657/long-beach-pirates

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69498671171/playing-with-the-boys

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69344291977/spanish-sunset

I thought this was a serious discussion about the qualities of the kit lens.

Whilst your model is super sexy, and I enjoyed playing the role of voyeur very much, there is not a single image that says anything about the abilities of the lens in question.

In fact, despite the fantastic subject, I'd class this shoot as a fail, and your post as little more than spam. But that's probably just me.

-Najinsky

Spam? kidding right?

OP asked for samples, I gave tons.

Rather than post 100% crops, or test targets; I post real world samples from real shoots.

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kaku
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Re: A7 Kit lens. Comparisons?
In reply to Alex 13, Dec 13, 2013
A point to remember when comparing a FF to m43, the aperture factor doubles.

In this case, the F3.5-5.6 28-70 on the a7 is equivalent in terms of light available and depth of field to a F1.75-2.8 14-35mm lens on m43.

I think this is a such a specious statement. The "equivalency" is only applicable in terms of DOF. Exposure wise, it is the same. Of course there's also the focal length equivalency to take into account as well. But light wise, an F5.6 is an F5.6 whether it's on a m43 or FF.

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Najinsky
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Re: Apologies
In reply to M Powered, Dec 13, 2013

M Powered wrote:

Najinsky wrote:

M Powered wrote:

all from kit lens, needless to say I like it

+18

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69711585647/my-playground

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69642193914/pirates-cove

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69564976657/long-beach-pirates

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69498671171/playing-with-the-boys

http://keslertran.tumblr.com/post/69344291977/spanish-sunset

I thought this was a serious discussion about the qualities of the kit lens.

Whilst your model is super sexy, and I enjoyed playing the role of voyeur very much, there is not a single image that says anything about the abilities of the lens in question.

In fact, despite the fantastic subject, I'd class this shoot as a fail, and your post as little more than spam. But that's probably just me.

-Najinsky

Spam? kidding right?

OP asked for samples, I gave tons.

Rather than post 100% crops, or test targets; I post real world samples from real shoots.

Real world that could have been made by a fisher price toy camera, or do you really think something like this...:

...says anything about the quality of a lens?

-Najinsky

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twenty200
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Re: Apologies
In reply to Najinsky, Dec 13, 2013

I think Najinsky is right.  It's always hard to judge a lens based on pics that show more of Photoshop's abilities than the abilities of the lens.

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