Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
zilver
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Re: There is no such thing as a perfect camera!
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

LA-EA4 is good for people who have existing A mount lens or need some specific lens, but you are building a new system, are you sure you want to be buying the adapter and building your system on A mount lens for your E mount A7?

I still think GX7 seems more suited for your needs, but I do understand you 'want' the A7, I've been in that situation before many times, good luck making the decision!

SMD79 wrote:

nevercat wrote:

And there is nobody on this forum that can tell you what camera is best for you. Looking at your main complaint about the A7, the solution might be the LA-EA4 adapter, you will win in fast AF and a lot of nice AF lenses in all classes.

Wait, so using that adapter (which I'd get for 40% off) increases the AF on the a7? I know there are some nice A Mount lenses for sure, but I didn't think that the adapter would actually speed up the autofocus on the a7. Any videos/reviews out there that prove this? That would be fascinating and worth considering for sure.

PersonalyI think the FF camera might be a big overkill for you, you could look at other offerings too, like the Nex6 or 7, a Nikon 1, or the Olympus OM-D 1 or 5.

Not gonna do the NEX7, wanted a EVF. NEX6 was okay but not thrilled with the lens offerings. Nikon 1 has the same issue I have with the RX10 and it doesn't have the video specs I'd like...and the Olympus cameras also fail in the video category. If the EM1 or OM-D had 1080p24 and 1080p60 then I'd really consider them, but until that happens, I have to rule them out. FF camera might be overkill for me today, but as a videographer looking to get into stills a bit more, I'm a fast learner. Even the last 24 hours I've come a LONG way in how fast I am with the Sony.

As for peaking, I love it. Use it lots in both MF and DMF modes. The two cameras seem to both work well with peaking but sometimes I hold the GX7 and think "eh, the Sony's peaking is better/more pronounced" and other times I think the opposite. Either way, its a great feature to have and it is the reason I'd consider getting a less expensive manual focus prime like the new 85mm 1.4 made for the Sony e Mount full frame cameras.

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tesilab
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Disadvantages of using the LA-EA4 adapter
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

As already noted, the LA-EA4 will focus much faster because it is a true PDAF focusing system. You should be aware of the tradeoffs and limitations:

1. It will be fast, but not A99 fast. The AF implementation I have read is closer in performance to one of the less expensive Alpha cameras, the A55/A57.

2. It will of course add some serious bulk, and it won't feel like a balanced system.

3. PDAF ,while fast, could entail focusing inaccuracy, since there are two alternate light paths, which could potentially be miscalibrated. Back focus/front focus are issues that you might encounter in a focusing system that doesn't read directly off of the sensor.

4. Any adapter in the lens path creates more room for error with regard to tolerances. It could affect corner to corner sharpness. The same lens might give a better performance on a native mount than adapted.

5. Less light. The translucent mirror in the adapter diverts light from the sensor. This results in about a 1/3 stop loss of light.

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harold1968
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

I can't decide which to return. And I have about 3 days remaining to decide.

I'll say this upfront...I'm pretty new to photography. My background is in video. Wanted a great, lightweight, camera with FAST AUTOFOCUS to shoot my kids both at play and also for headshots. Also wanted a camera that can shoot 1080p24 and 1080p60 just in case I needed an emergency backup camera for my video work. I had a budget of around $1500.

The Sony a7 w/ 28-70mm kit lens - My first choice. I could afford it only because my brother works for Sony so I got $35% off. Woohoo! I was so excited to get it.

The Panasonic GX7 - Took me by surprise. I immediately fell in love with how fast the autofocus was. I got the 14-42mm kit lens along with a 45mm 1.8 lens for headshots. I'm bummed that there is no mic input for video but its not the end of the world. I LOVE the Autofocus speed. I love how the shutter button is less "squishy". I love how I can get some great fast lenses for not "that" much and still have a great shallow DOF. I currently have the kit lens, the 45mm 1.8 and will be receiving the 25mm 1.4 in two days. I debated getting the 12-35mm 2.8 instead of the 25mm, but it was too much for me right now.

I was set to return the Sony a7, or better yet, sell it with all the accessories (flash, extra battery, etc.) and make a few hundred buck in the process. I put the ad on Craigslist and had 2 offers right away.

But then I played with it some more and now I'm starting to really like it.

The Sony a7 - I love the EVF. Both cameras have great EVF's and LCD's. The GX7 is touchscreen, but that's not too big of a deal to me. Saves time when deleting clips mostly and then there's the touch focus which is nice. But the GX7 has an odd shaped 16:9 viewfinder which is hard to look through in my opinion. Maybe it's cuz I have long eyelashes and they hit the viewfinder but it's harder to look through. Got an eyecup on the way that may solve this issue. We'll see. I also really like the grip on the a7. It's a bit heavier, but in a good way. Remember, I don't have experience with any other photo cameras minus a Canon S95 point-and-shoot. Also, knowing that should I ever need the camera for backup for my "real video work" it does have a mic input as well as headphone jack and HDMI out which is great. I also like where the AF/AEL lock button is compared to the GX7. Naturally closer to my thumb which makes it easy. Both cameras are highly customizable which is nice.

CHRISTMAS -  I spent Christmas day with the Sony a7, but I'm so new to all this that I really didn't have time to explore it. Most of my shots were indoors of my kid (2 year old) and it was a bit frustrating and slow to focus. Definitely slower AF than the GX7. So I put it down for a week. Today I picked it up and played with it again for about 4 hours outside and quickly realized in daylight it's AF was pretty close to the GX7, if not the same. It's only in low light where the GX7 AF soars way beyond the Sony. Is it the kit lens that causes the slower AF in low light? Is it the camera? Not sure. But this is HUGE and really the only reason I'm considering selling it. Well, that, and it's gonna cost quite a bit to get some good fast lenses. I see that Samyang/Rokinon/Bower have released full frame e-mount fast primes (the 85mm 1.4 seems like it'd be a great headshot lens, no?) but I can't figure out which ones are for the a7 and I'm not sure how I'd be without autofocus.

Today I got MUCH quicker with the Sony a7 and my wife is probably gonna punch me when she hears that now I'm debating keeping it since I told her that I'd stop "debating" this and keep the GX7 just two days ago. Then again, it's night time now and the GX7 will probably start to shine over the a7.

So I have to return one soon. I'm literally 50-50 today. Yesterday I was 70% certain that I was keeping the GX7. Damn.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Panasonic GX7 w/ 14-42mm kit lens and extra battery, UV filters + 45mm 1.8, 25mm 1.4 = $1900 minus $400 (I'd make by selling the brand new Sony a7 with kit lens, extra battery and HVL-f20m flash)  TOTAL = $1500.

Sony a7 w/ kit lens, extra battery, HVL-f20m flash (minus Sony discount) TOTAL = $1550 (still need a good relatively fast portrait lens for shallow DOF headshots)

Not sure if writing this will help any, but I've read a ton and this site seems to be helpful sometimes for people making photography decisions. I also realize this is the Sony thread so I'm guessing I'll get more stick with Sony responses, but still it'll all help. Thanks!

No one can really advise you as you already have had a chance to play around.

It's simply absolute IQ vs speed of operation.
As you said, the Sony is only behind in certain circumstances, it's up to you.

I was choosing between a E-M1 and A7, I eventually chose the A7 but that didn't mean I didn't love the E-M1

Rgds

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Toccata47
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If you can't see an advantage, pick the one that costs less
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

It doesn't really matter what one system has over the other if you don't need (or value, or notice) the difference. Good photos still come down to subject matter and no amount of mega-pixels, stops of dynamic range or depth of field has been able to alter this.

In other words, buy and use whichever camera makes you more excited to go shooting and then concentrate on making the best photos you can. If that happens to be the panasonic, congrats, I'm sure you'll find plenty of uses for the money you save.

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Ulfric M Douglas
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

SMD79 wrote:

...

I was set to return the Sony a7, or better yet, sell it with all the accessories (flash, extra battery, etc.) and make a few hundred buck in the process. I put the ad on Craigslist and had 2 offers right away....

Anyone with even a sliver of decency would continue with the sale.

Don't mess people about, be honest.

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Cheksa wrote:
You're evil Ulfric.

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dlee723
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Rank your priorities
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

I would make a list of what matters to you from a camera (Resolution, High ISO performance, AF in different lighting, lens selection, lens cost, etc) and rank them in importance.  Then just put which camera is better in each category.  The camera with more important features should win.

On a related note, I was at medieval times (don't judge, date night) with the A7r with a 35/1.4 and GM1 with  45-150mm attached.  The GM1 with lens weighs about 400 grams so it was lighter than carrying a full frame zoom.  Not exactly the same as what you're deciding but the GM1 has the same sensor/processor and the A7r performs similar to the A7.

It's basically all low light shooting at that venue.  For me the strengths of the A7r were high iso performance and general image quality.  The depth of field differences of a full frame is also pretty big if you're trying to isolate a subject.  Even though the lens was manual, I haven't had good results with low light AF using the A7r.  The GM1 on the other hand performed quite well auto-focusing in low light situations.  The lens size is also magnitudes smaller and lighter.  (especially when you have to compare it to a 300mm ff lens)  I was able to capture action shots like I was standing right next to them.

For me, image quality on still pictures is the number 1 criteria, so I use the A7r more often.  But If I was interested in taking pictures of kids or use zoom lenses more often, I would probably use the GM1.  I rarely carry both cameras and the way I decide is what's more important for me at the location I'm going.  You've already made a similar type of analysis but maybe rank them in importance.

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SMD79
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to Ulfric M Douglas, 11 months ago

Ulfric M Douglas wrote:

SMD79 wrote:

...

I was set to return the Sony a7, or better yet, sell it with all the accessories (flash, extra battery, etc.) and make a few hundred buck in the process. I put the ad on Craigslist and had 2 offers right away....

Anyone with even a sliver of decency would continue with the sale.

Don't mess people about, be honest.

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Cheksa wrote:
You're evil Ulfric.

For sure. I'm honest and upfront about everything and really the only reason I didn't go for the 2 offers were they were slightly under what I was asking at the time (which I've now come down to). Everything is MINT as I've treated it like a baby since I pulled it out and really only used it for 2 days of shooting. If I sell it, I sell it. I can always get another if I change my mind later.

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SMD79
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Re: Rank your priorities
In reply to dlee723, 11 months ago

dlee723 wrote:

I would make a list of what matters to you from a camera (Resolution, High ISO performance, AF in different lighting, lens selection, lens cost, etc) and rank them in importance. Then just put which camera is better in each category. The camera with more important features should win.

On a related note, I was at medieval times (don't judge, date night) with the A7r with a 35/1.4 and GM1 with 45-150mm attached. The GM1 with lens weighs about 400 grams so it was lighter than carrying a full frame zoom. Not exactly the same as what you're deciding but the GM1 has the same sensor/processor and the A7r performs similar to the A7.

It's basically all low light shooting at that venue. For me the strengths of the A7r were high iso performance and general image quality. The depth of field differences of a full frame is also pretty big if you're trying to isolate a subject. Even though the lens was manual, I haven't had good results with low light AF using the A7r. The GM1 on the other hand performed quite well auto-focusing in low light situations. The lens size is also magnitudes smaller and lighter. (especially when you have to compare it to a 300mm ff lens) I was able to capture action shots like I was standing right next to them.

For me, image quality on still pictures is the number 1 criteria, so I use the A7r more often. But If I was interested in taking pictures of kids or use zoom lenses more often, I would probably use the GM1. I rarely carry both cameras and the way I decide is what's more important for me at the location I'm going. You've already made a similar type of analysis but maybe rank them in importance.

Good advice. And thanks for the related story. That actually helps. To me, right now, I'm more excited about shooting on the a7 only because yesterday I realized it's easier/faster than what I first experienced when I first used it. The challenge of full frame gets me more excited. I'm wondering if the 55 1.8 lens is faster to AF than the zoom simply because it's a brighter lens. (forgive me if brighter isn't the right word) Neither camera is daunting to me as I have extensive experience with video cameras which have the same basic principles when it comes to IRIS, Focal Length, DOF, gain, etc.

What's hard is that many posts here have said "if image quality is important go with the Sony"...well, yeah, of course it's important. But like you said, my main purpose is kids and second purpose is headshots (or my kid really as he's done a few commercials). The AF is important because he's a kid, and the DOF is important for the headshots. Beyond that, it's just getting used to one or the other. We're going to Universal Studios this week with another couple visiting from out of town so I figured I'd bring both, try not to annoy my wife too much with two cameras, and then come out with a really good idea of which one to keep.

Until then, all this feedback helps.

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santiclaws
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Re: There is no such thing as a perfect camera!
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

SMD79 wrote:

nevercat wrote:

And there is nobody on this forum that can tell you what camera is best for you. Looking at your main complaint about the A7, the solution might be the LA-EA4 adapter, you will win in fast AF and a lot of nice AF lenses in all classes.

Wait, so using that adapter (which I'd get for 40% off) increases the AF on the a7? I know there are some nice A Mount lenses for sure, but I didn't think that the adapter would actually speed up the autofocus on the a7. Any videos/reviews out there that prove this? That would be fascinating and worth considering for sure.

The adapter has its own internal focusing mechanism which does not rely on A7's AF mechanism. It uses a different AF technology than any mirrorless camera. It is the same technology used in every DSLR - Phase Detection Auto Focus. Every mirrorless camera uses Contrast Detection Auto Focus, which is slower. The adapter, of course, adds expense and size but the AF speed will be much faster than A7 natively and should be faster than the GX7.

And I also would not worry about image quality, the GX7 should be more than enough in that department. Unless you are making huge prints or just staring at 100% blowups on your screen for the sake of staring at blowups, telling the difference in image quality is very difficult. Also, to take advantage of top notch sensor quality you need top notch lens quality, which does not come cheap.

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KwhyChang
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

That's too bad that one has to go back. I have E-M1 along with A7 and feel they compliment each other.

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SMD79
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to santiclaws, 11 months ago

santiclaws wrote:

The adapter has its own internal focusing mechanism which does not rely on A7's AF mechanism. It uses a different AF technology than any mirrorless camera. It is the same technology used in every DSLR - Phase Detection Auto Focus. Every mirrorless camera uses Contrast Detection Auto Focus, which is slower. The adapter, of course, adds expense and size but the AF speed will be much faster than A7 natively and should be faster than the GX7.

And I also would not worry about image quality, the GX7 should be more than enough in that department. Unless you are making huge prints or just staring at 100% blowups on your screen for the sake of staring at blowups, telling the difference in image quality is very difficult. Also, to take advantage of top notch sensor quality you need top notch lens quality, which does not come cheap.

I thought the a7 had a form of phase detection. Your saying the A Mount lenses with the LEA4 would be faster? That's what someone said before...any tests/sites available that prove that? Just curious.

I went to a Samy's Camera today 40 miles away because they said they had the 55 1.8, only to get there and find out they didn't. I played with the a7, kit lens, 35mm 2.8 FE, GX7 w/ 25mm 1.4 lens, as well as the Olympus EM1 & Sony RX10. In that lighting, the a7 AF was super fast. I couldn't make it hunt because there were no dim areas so both the 35mm and 28-70 were fast. I still like the GX7 over the Olympus (and for video I like it a lot more) but because my main task here is photos, I stuck mostly with the a7 and GX7. Hard not to like both cameras in that lighting. Anyone here have the 55mm 1.8 and can share their experience/likes/dislikes? That really might be my next lens if I keep the a7 but I might wait til my brother gets a discount on it (assuming that happens...right now only the FE kit lens gets the 25% off)

On my way back I called B&H and found out I don't have to return my GX7 until the 17th (Holiday extension) so I have another 10 days beyond what I originally thought to decide.

I know this sounds crazy, but I'm now leaning toward keeping the Sony. Probably 55% sure so really I'm still totally split. The consensus here says "stick with the GX7" which may end up winning out. Who knows at this point. One thing is that when I do pixel peep on the LCD's and EVFs (which I know isn't the best way to pixel peep) the GX7 seems to be a bit sharper, though noisier at higher ISOs in low light. I didn't expect that. Maybe its the kit lens. I don't know. Either way, I'm getting better at manual focusing already.

If I sell the Sony a7, I can then afford to keep the 25mm 1.4 lens I just bought and then I'd have 2 nice primes and 1 kit zoom.

If I return the GX7, I'd have a nice full frame camera and truthfully it'll probably be a year before I'd lose any money on it by selling it.

My wife comes back tomorrow from being gone all weekend, so I'll have to take it easy on my testing or it'll drive her nuts. When she left a couple days ago, I told her "don't worry I've made up my mind, I'm keeping the GX7" ... now look at me.

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SMD79
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to KwhyChang, 11 months ago

KwhyChang wrote:

That's too bad that one has to go back. I have E-M1 along with A7 and feel they compliment each other.

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Dave

I handled the EM1 today and it was nice. It reminds me that I do like the "feel" of the a7 better as the grip "just fits" my hands better despite the fact that it's a bit heavier to hold. I wish I could keep both too...but my CFO (aka wife) would shoot me.

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tesilab
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

SMD79 wrote:

I thought the a7 had a form of phase detection. Your saying the A Mount lenses with the LEA4 would be faster? That's what someone said before...any tests/sites available that prove that? Just curious.

I don't know that anyone proves it, but you can ask anyone who has tried both. It doesn't require much proof--it's also common sense.

The entire autofocus system from an A55/A57 SLT camera is included inside the LA-EA4 adapter. This is  much different from on-sensor phase detection which has a couple of disadvantages:

1. Phase detection "pixels" on the sensor. Almost all current implementations of PDAF on mirrorless (aside from the Canon 70D) steal a few pixels from the sensor that would ordinarily be dedicated to image data, and are instead performing a phase detection function. I don't think with present technology they can do the job near as well as dedicated PDAF sensors which aren't limited in the same way, since they are not on the image sensor at all. In fact, I believe that in the end, CDAF focusing is still required to fine tune the cruder focus achieved with on sensor PDAF. (In one sense, this is a good thing, since CDAF can provide more accurate results.)

2. The lenses designed for mirrorless cameras are better adapted to CDAF focusing, and generally less well adapted to PDAF focus. (The reverse is also true, which is why an adapter that supports autofocus with SLR lenses cannot acquire focus very quickly.)

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Jun2
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

Sell Sony.   Sounds like you like GX7 more.  You can still buy them back at a discount through your brother if you change mind.

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SMD79
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to tesilab, 11 months ago

tesilab wrote:

SMD79 wrote:

I thought the a7 had a form of phase detection. Your saying the A Mount lenses with the LEA4 would be faster? That's what someone said before...any tests/sites available that prove that? Just curious.

I don't know that anyone proves it, but you can ask anyone who has tried both. It doesn't require much proof--it's also common sense.

The entire autofocus system from an A55/A57 SLT camera is included inside the LA-EA4 adapter. This is much different from on-sensor phase detection which has a couple of disadvantages:

1. Phase detection "pixels" on the sensor. Almost all current implementations of PDAF on mirrorless (aside from the Canon 70D) steal a few pixels from the sensor that would ordinarily be dedicated to image data, and are instead performing a phase detection function. I don't think with present technology they can do the job near as well as dedicated PDAF sensors which aren't limited in the same way, since they are not on the image sensor at all. In fact, I believe that in the end, CDAF focusing is still required to fine tune the cruder focus achieved with on sensor PDAF. (In one sense, this is a good thing, since CDAF can provide more accurate results.)

2. The lenses designed for mirrorless cameras are better adapted to CDAF focusing, and generally less well adapted to PDAF focus. (The reverse is also true, which is why an adapter that supports autofocus with SLR lenses cannot acquire focus very quickly.)

Thanks! Makes sense. Curious to try it now. If I were to get a manual lens with an A Mount, and use it on the a7 with this adapter, would that manual lens now have AF?

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miro3
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

SMD79 wrote:

tesilab wrote:

SMD79 wrote:

I thought the a7 had a form of phase detection. Your saying the A Mount lenses with the LEA4 would be faster? That's what someone said before...any tests/sites available that prove that? Just curious.

I don't know that anyone proves it, but you can ask anyone who has tried both. It doesn't require much proof--it's also common sense.

The entire autofocus system from an A55/A57 SLT camera is included inside the LA-EA4 adapter. This is much different from on-sensor phase detection which has a couple of disadvantages:

1. Phase detection "pixels" on the sensor. Almost all current implementations of PDAF on mirrorless (aside from the Canon 70D) steal a few pixels from the sensor that would ordinarily be dedicated to image data, and are instead performing a phase detection function. I don't think with present technology they can do the job near as well as dedicated PDAF sensors which aren't limited in the same way, since they are not on the image sensor at all. In fact, I believe that in the end, CDAF focusing is still required to fine tune the cruder focus achieved with on sensor PDAF. (In one sense, this is a good thing, since CDAF can provide more accurate results.)

2. The lenses designed for mirrorless cameras are better adapted to CDAF focusing, and generally less well adapted to PDAF focus. (The reverse is also true, which is why an adapter that supports autofocus with SLR lenses cannot acquire focus very quickly.)

Thanks! Makes sense. Curious to try it now. If I were to get a manual lens with an A Mount, and use it on the a7 with this adapter, would that manual lens now have AF?

No,

A manual lens would remain manual unfortunately.

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toxotis700
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to miro3, 11 months ago

the a7 with laea4 adapter will be very fast, depending on the lens.

If you go SSM Sony or HSM sigma lenses , it will be faster and more accurate than gx7.

I had sony nex 5n with laea2 and sigma 17-70 OS HSM and it was FAST!

Take a look at my video here... its not with SSM  lens , just sony SAM 35mm 1.8 .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCOwD4R-SVQ

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toxotis700
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to toxotis700, 11 months ago

and here i found another test of mine, with Sigma HSM lens and adapter,.

I am trying the OS on and off, but you can see how fast i can focus in video mode from one subject to another.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFNZPbPkIFo

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Marla2008
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Re: Every reply helps... :)
In reply to toxotis700, 11 months ago

I use the LA-EA4 with a NEX7 all the time, and high end Sigma glass, works very well. I had the A7 but ddn't like and return, that's another story.

For headshots you don't need *that* shallow DOF either. If you're promoting your kid acting/modeling career, you want his whole face in focus in headshots. Nothing a GX-7 and PL25/1.4 can't take care of.

Good luck deciding, I understand it can be maddening, especially deciding between two formats that are solidly apart. I do like APS-C as striking a pretty good compromise between the two, but that's only a personal thing.

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Camley
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Re: Sony a7 and Panasonic GX7: Two Cameras sitting on my desk. Must return one.
In reply to SMD79, 11 months ago

SMD79: If image quality is the most important factor for you (as it is for me), keep the Sony a7. I have one and love it's image quality with the Zeiss 35 f/3.5. I plan to get the Zeiss 24-70 f/4 for a general purpose lens. I prefer the 3:2 format, particularly for landscapes. Also, I edit my images and cropping is nearly always necessary - so much easier with a full frame sensor.

Note: If you want a camera for long telephoto birding or other action photography then a good DSLR is the way to go. You can sit looking through your viewfinder with the camera on standby for as long as you like while waiting for that special shot rather than swapping out batteries! Subject tracking is so good with today's DSLRs.

For my photography I use an a7 and a DSLR. All my DSLR lenses work well on the a7 with a smart adapter. So the a7 is my general use camera with the DSLR relegated to action/long telephoto photography where it excels.

 Camley's gear list:Camley's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Sony Alpha 7 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM +7 more
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