In search of image quality

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
doctorxring
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In search of image quality
5 months ago

.

I've been enjoying my A65 and DT1650 lens for the past two years immensely. But as many enthusiasts do, I would like "more" in respect to image quality.

I've been considering the following options, 1 of two lens options for my A65 or the one camera option.

1. Sony Zeiss 24mm f/2

2. Sony Zeiss 2470mm f/2.8

3. Sony RX1

Which of these options will give the best image quality over what I have already ? Would this be a small increment of image quality or a significant increase over my current combo ?

Thanks for any and all input on this.

Chris

.

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dlkeller
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion.  What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

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Dave

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Michel J
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to dlkeller, 5 months ago

dlkeller wrote:

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion. What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

-- hide signature --

Dave

Agreed,

And it's depends on the future choice of the O.P. (if he want to switch FF or not)

Anyway, the CZ 24mm F/2, is not as good with the A65/A77 (DxO give a ratio of 10 p-MP only) vs CZ 24-70mm 15 p-MP. That tell to me, the zoom should be a better choice imho.

I would forget the RX1, because it's excellent, but not in the same league. And the CZ zoom maybe not so far.

If for a prime, I would prefer the Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM. Stunning. And the F/1,8 rocks to get the extra lit to have higher shutter speed. This is the best DT prime ever for the A65/A77. US$250.- only and as good as the Sony 35mm F1.4 G! (US$1369)

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J
« Having the latest gear is nice, but great photographers don't have to have it. They can shoot good stuff with anything »

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doctorxring
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to dlkeller, 5 months ago

dlkeller wrote:

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion. What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

-- hide signature --

Dave

Thanks for the comeback Dave.

When I started with SLT I used the 1855 kit lens. Which is quite good, but I could see a significant increase in sharpness, resolution, and color contrast when I got the DT1650. I would like more of that. The best sharpness and resolution that I can get, the best color depth and contrast I can get (with the A65). I look back at my photos sometimes and have regret that I did not pursue image quality sooner. Before I got my A33 (when it came out) I was shooting Canon "S" point and shoot, not really understanding how significant sensor and glass was.

I also have the RX1 in mind because it is at a focal length I like and it does have the FF sensor, which has better DR. I have seen many superb quality photos on the net taken with it. The only two things that I do not like about it are no tilt screen and no IS. But it produces, so these are more nitpicks that anything else I suppose.

My favorite subject are most often static. I like still life, scenics, and landscapes. I do photograph people at times, but I don't feel I need blinding AF speed, etc. I like to be able to handle low light subjects, but I don't seek them out. So I would like to be able to increase my quality of image and my versatility of kit with this choice.

I am open to consider all options.

Chris

.

Michael -- I just saw your post and am adding this.  I have the DT35mm f1.8 and it is great, but it is 50mm equivalent on the A65.  I'm finding it too "long" for what I like to do.  It's not short on image quality though.  Excellent !

.

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Michel J
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

doctorxring wrote:

dlkeller wrote:

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion. What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

-- hide signature --

Dave

Thanks for the comeback Dave.

When I started with SLT I used the 1855 kit lens. Which is quite good, but I could see a significant increase in sharpness,

In the center yes a tad, but I'm sure not in the edges/corners.

resolution, and color contrast when I got the DT1650. I would like more of that. The best sharpness and resolution that I can get, the best color depth and contrast I can get (with the A65). I look back at my photos sometimes and have regret that I did not pursue image quality sooner. Before I got my A33 (when it came out) I was shooting Canon "S" point and shoot, not really understanding how significant sensor and glass was.

I also have the RX1 in mind because it is at a focal length I like and it does have the FF sensor, which has better DR. I have seen many superb quality photos on the net taken with it. The only two things that I do not like about it are no tilt screen and no IS. But it produces, so these are more nitpicks that anything else I suppose.

My favorite subject are most often static. I like still life, scenics, and landscapes. I do photograph people at times, but I don't feel I need blinding AF speed, etc. I like to be able to handle low light subjects, but I don't seek them out. So I would like to be able to increase my quality of image and my versatility of kit with this choice.

I am open to consider all options.

Chris

.

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J
« Having the latest gear is nice, but great photographers don't have to have it. They can shoot good stuff with anything »

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EvilOne
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

I'm very lucky because I would not know image quality if it smacked me in the face. So I'm happy as a clam with anything I take.

Bill

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doctorxring
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to EvilOne, 5 months ago

EvilOne wrote:

I'm very lucky because I would not know image quality if it smacked me in the face. So I'm happy as a clam with anything I take.

Bill

.

So you are going to trade in your A77 for a Sony W710 and go party with the proceeds ?

Chris

.

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EvilOne
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

doctorxring wrote:

EvilOne wrote:

I'm very lucky because I would not know image quality if it smacked me in the face. So I'm happy as a clam with anything I take.

Bill

.

So you are going to trade in your A77 for a Sony W710 and go party with the proceeds ?

Chris

.

UMMMMmmm Probably not.... its too difficult trying to decide whether to choose silver or black.

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doctorxring
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to Michel J, 5 months ago

Michel J wrote:

dlkeller wrote:

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion. What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

-- hide signature --

Dave

Agreed,

And it's depends on the future choice of the O.P. (if he want to switch FF or not)

Anyway, the CZ 24mm F/2, is not as good with the A65/A77 (DxO give a ratio of 10 p-MP only) vs CZ 24-70mm 15 p-MP. That tell to me, the zoom should be a better choice imho.

I would forget the RX1, because it's excellent, but not in the same league. And the CZ zoom maybe not so far.

If for a prime, I would prefer the Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM. Stunning. And the F/1,8 rocks to get the extra lit to have higher shutter speed. This is the best DT prime ever for the A65/A77. US$250.- only and as good as the Sony 35mm F1.4 G! (US$1369)

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J
« Having the latest gear is nice, but great photographers don't have to have it. They can shoot good stuff with anything »

.

Thanks for your comeback Michael

It is indeed surprising that "DxO" would rate the 24mm f/2 in a meager fashion and Photozone would have this to say about it --

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/567-zeiss24f2?start=1

"The Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM is one of the true marvels out there - at least within the analyzed APS-C scope. The lens is exceedingly sharp across the image frame starting straight at f/2 till f/8. The low level of CAs helps to boost the subjective sharpness perception even further. The Zeiss lens produces only a slight to moderate amount of barrel distortion. You may be able to spot some light falloff in the image corners at f/2 but the issue isn't field-relevant anymore from f/2.8 onwards. The quality of the bokeh is very good for such a kind of lens (albeit average in absolute terms) and bokeh fringing (LoCAs) is also very well controlled. The build quality of the Zeiss lens is exceptionally high and the AF delivers a flawless performance. In this lens class Zeiss has reached the highest level of perfection and despite its high price tag it earned our highest praise - highly recommended !

.

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Michel J
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

doctorxring wrote:

Michel J wrote:

dlkeller wrote:

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion. What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

-- hide signature --

Dave

Agreed,

And it's depends on the future choice of the O.P. (if he want to switch FF or not)

Anyway, the CZ 24mm F/2, is not as good with the A65/A77 (DxO give a ratio of 10 p-MP only) vs CZ 24-70mm 15 p-MP. That tell to me, the zoom should be a better choice imho.

I would forget the RX1, because it's excellent, but not in the same league. And the CZ zoom maybe not so far.

If for a prime, I would prefer the Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM. Stunning. And the F/1,8 rocks to get the extra lit to have higher shutter speed. This is the best DT prime ever for the A65/A77. US$250.- only and as good as the Sony 35mm F1.4 G! (US$1369)

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J

.

Thanks for your comeback Michael

It is indeed surprising that "DxO" would rate the 24mm f/2 in a meager fashion and Photozone would have this to say about it --

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/567-zeiss24f2?start=1

"The Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM is one of the true marvels out there - at least within the analyzed APS-C scope. The lens is exceedingly sharp across the image frame starting straight at f/2 till f/8. The low level of CAs helps to boost the subjective sharpness perception even further. The Zeiss lens produces only a slight to moderate amount of barrel distortion. You may be able to spot some light falloff in the image corners at f/2 but the issue isn't field-relevant anymore from f/2.8 onwards. The quality of the bokeh is very good for such a kind of lens (albeit average in absolute terms) and bokeh fringing (LoCAs) is also very well controlled. The build quality of the Zeiss lens is exceptionally high and the AF delivers a flawless performance. In this lens class Zeiss has reached the highest level of perfection and despite its high price tag it earned our highest praise - highly recommended !

Afaik, it was tested with the A700. Not the same things.

doctorxring wrote:

.

Michael -- I just saw your post and am adding this. I have the DT35mm f1.8 and it is great, but it is 50mm equivalent on the A65. I'm finding it too "long" for what I like to do. It's not short on image quality though. Excellent !

Ok,

For the A65:

Take a look to the Sigma 18-35mm F/1,8 A.

Better than any prime if you search HQ images. Stunning.

Thereafter, try to get the Sigma 50-150mm F/2,8

Same level.

Both, better than the CZ zoom, really: imho.

Regards,

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J
« Having the latest gear is nice, but great photographers don't have to have it. They can shoot good stuff with anything »

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doctorxring
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to EvilOne, 5 months ago

EvilOne wrote:

doctorxring wrote:

EvilOne wrote:

I'm very lucky because I would not know image quality if it smacked me in the face. So I'm happy as a clam with anything I take.

Bill

.

So you are going to trade in your A77 for a Sony W710 and go party with the proceeds ?

Chris

.

UMMMMmmm Probably not.... its too difficult trying to decide whether to choose silver or black.

.

You really should go with black.

.

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doctorxring
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to Michel J, 5 months ago

Michel J wrote:

doctorxring wrote:

Michel J wrote:

dlkeller wrote:

You have a good camera and one of the best zooms available so I'm not sure a lens change is going to really improve images except on an extreme pixel peeking examination.

If you are this discriminating I would make my decision based on specific need rather than a general suggestion. What aspect of performance do you really hope to improve upon?

-- hide signature --

Dave

Agreed,

And it's depends on the future choice of the O.P. (if he want to switch FF or not)

Anyway, the CZ 24mm F/2, is not as good with the A65/A77 (DxO give a ratio of 10 p-MP only) vs CZ 24-70mm 15 p-MP. That tell to me, the zoom should be a better choice imho.

I would forget the RX1, because it's excellent, but not in the same league. And the CZ zoom maybe not so far.

If for a prime, I would prefer the Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM. Stunning. And the F/1,8 rocks to get the extra lit to have higher shutter speed. This is the best DT prime ever for the A65/A77. US$250.- only and as good as the Sony 35mm F1.4 G! (US$1369)

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J

.

Thanks for your comeback Michael

It is indeed surprising that "DxO" would rate the 24mm f/2 in a meager fashion and Photozone would have this to say about it --

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/567-zeiss24f2?start=1

"The Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM is one of the true marvels out there - at least within the analyzed APS-C scope. The lens is exceedingly sharp across the image frame starting straight at f/2 till f/8. The low level of CAs helps to boost the subjective sharpness perception even further. The Zeiss lens produces only a slight to moderate amount of barrel distortion. You may be able to spot some light falloff in the image corners at f/2 but the issue isn't field-relevant anymore from f/2.8 onwards. The quality of the bokeh is very good for such a kind of lens (albeit average in absolute terms) and bokeh fringing (LoCAs) is also very well controlled. The build quality of the Zeiss lens is exceptionally high and the AF delivers a flawless performance. In this lens class Zeiss has reached the highest level of perfection and despite its high price tag it earned our highest praise - highly recommended !

Because it's depends on which camera the lens was attached....

As you can see, it was mounted on an A700. Not the same story.

doctorxring wrote:

.

Michael -- I just saw your post and am adding this. I have the DT35mm f1.8 and it is great, but it is 50mm equivalent on the A65. I'm finding it too "long" for what I like to do. It's not short on image quality though. Excellent !

Ok,

For the A65:

Take a look to the Sigma 18-35mm F/1,8 A.

Better than any prime if you search HQ images. Stunning.

Thereafter, try to get the Sigma 50-150mm F/2,8

Same level.

Both, better than the CZ zoom, really: imho.

Regards,

-- hide signature --

Cordialement,
Michel J
« Having the latest gear is nice, but great photographers don't have to have it. They can shoot good stuff with anything »

.

Thanks Michael.  I'll check out the. Sigma 1835.  I had not found that lens yet.

best, Chris

.

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JimmyMelbourne
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

If you are planning on keeping the same camera and not go full frame then it makes sense to get primes to step up on image quality. The sigma 18 35 1.8 looks great but is not yet available, maybe in a few weeks time we will see it in Sony mount. I am waiting to see what the reports are like for it on the A Mount.

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WaltKnapp
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

doctorxring wrote:

Which of these options will give the best image quality over what I have already ? Would this be a small increment of image quality or a significant increase over my current combo ?

Take a really hard look at you as a photographer.  You may very well find that learning more about photography will give you far more gain in image quality. The photographer has the greatest influence of image quality.  You cannot buy being a expert photographer, you have to learn.

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I'm Only Responsible For What I Say, Not For What You Understand.
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Jeadm
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

I would personally stick with the DSLR.  The way I see it, you can either focus on some nice prime lenses (and do your cropping in PP; the A65 has pixels to spare for that)... or consider the full frame A99 for improved low light performance (this would probably be the only truly meaningful body upgrade to what you have at this point, not taking endless rumors of what may be ahead into account).  Excellent zoom lens suggestions so far, the upcoming imminent Sigma 18-35 f1.8 a lot of good things are being said about that one (already out in other mounts), as well as the older Sigma 50-150 f2.8.

Still doing JPEG only?  Shoot RAW and do some PP conversion work to get the absolute most out of your images.  Also, you say AF speed isn't important and that you like static or stills where you can take your time.  When focus is absolutely critical don't be shy about manual focus with focus peaking and focus check magnify; a lot of people get comfortable with automation and overlook this simple alternative, not realizing that they can so easily coax more sharpness out of their lenses by fine tuning their focus this way.

As the new cameras get more and more pixels I think it's more important that you don't spend a lot of time pixel peeping; rather look at the overall image.  Many lenses out there that are still very good simply won't outresolve today's sensors, but will still provide excellent image quality.  It used to be easier to peep when lenses had resolution to spare with lower MP bodies; now it's not quite that simple.  The evolution of lens technology hasn't kept up the pace with sensor advances.

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dannybgoode
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to Jeadm, 5 months ago

I am with Walt on this - the 1650 is a fine fine piece of glass. Before release it was originally designated a G spec lens but this was later dropped.

The quality of light, exposure settings, subject, composition and your skills at post processing all play a very significant role in image quality.

Have look at my photos in this thread:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3619704

These were shot very recently on an A77 and the very same 1650 lens and I would not say they are lacking anything that you describe you want from a new lens.

For now I would save your money and if you are not already doing so start shooting in RAW and invest in either Lightroom or DxO Optics Pro (for the record I use the latter - much prefer it to LR).

Read up about how light affects image etc and practice practice practice.  It has taken me 5 years to get a set of shots that I am thoroughly pleased with.

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Chris Malcolm
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to WaltKnapp, 5 months ago

WaltKnapp wrote:

doctorxring wrote:

Which of these options will give the best image quality over what I have already ? Would this be a small increment of image quality or a significant increase over my current combo ?

Take a really hard look at you as a photographer. You may very well find that learning more about photography will give you far more gain in image quality. The photographer has the greatest influence of image quality. You cannot buy being a expert photographer, you have to learn.

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I'm Only Responsible For What I Say, Not For What You Understand.
-Walt-

I've ended up with an A77 & the 16-50mm. I started several years ago with an A350 and the 18-250mm lens. I also now have the 35mm f/1.8 prime and a number of other excellent primes. There are several favourite standard photographs I always get round to redoing with every improved camera and lens. So I can review the improvements in image quality over the years.

My conclusion is that by far the largest improvement has been due to improving my own skills in taking the shot. The second largest source of improvement has been the improvement in my post processing skills. And if I hadn't started out already pretty good at post processing that would have been by far the biggest contributor to image quality.

In fact I started out with decades of film SLR and darkroom experience behind me when I converted to digital DSLR. Without those background skills the contribution of my own developing photographic and image editing skills to image quality would have been even larger.

What has been the single most important contributor to my developing image quality over the years? Moving away from handheld shots. That has involved two things. The first has been acquiring more and better camera support devices, such as tripods and monopods. The second has been using them more often. I should also mention the second most important factor in my improving image quality: getting sharper focus by learning when AF didn't get the sharpest focus, and shifting to manual focus. For example very few DSLRs get AF right at focal lengths less than around 20mm, even at f/8 , if you're being really fussy about image sharpness.

What has been my most surprising discovery about the contribution of lens quality to image quality? That at f/8 it's very hard to see the difference between a merely good zoom and a really top quality prime.

Do you ever go out on photo expeditions with a gang of other photographers? A really educational experience is meeting the photographer who very often takes much better shots than you managed, despite the fact that you were using a better camera and lens.

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Chris Malcolm

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Jeadm
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to Chris Malcolm, 5 months ago

Yup, there's the manual focus thing I mentioned earlier.  And I agree with every one of your points.

It's easy to get hung up on acquiring gear (and who doesn't want more of that good stuff?).  Sometimes you need to satisfy your need for GAS.  But it's also knowing when to use manual focus; what the optimum aperture is for any given lens to maximize IQ; understanding the importance of shutter speed at any given focal length; dialing in a low ISO.  Lots of variables there but if the person is comfortable and confident in his knowledge and experience with all those things. then it's a good time to look at new gear.

I've seen more than a few people buy lots of expensive stuff, with no idea how to get the most from it.  A relative of a friend some years back once brought an extremely nice FF Nikon DSLR with a very expensive fixed aperture lens to a party I attended, taking essentially snapshots with it.  He asked me to take some shots with it for him during a key part of the celebration that he was a part of.  It was uncomfortable, and I felt more than a little awkward using it because I wasn't very familiar with this gear and took me some time to at least know how to change and use the basic settings (I don't remember exactly, except that he had some odd settings dialed locked in).  Sure enough though, I end up hearing later how after reviewing he was more than a little upset that many of his shots he found disappointing, yet the few dozen that I took he was very happy with.

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Beaverhelmet
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Re: In search of image quality
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

doctorxring wrote:

I also have the RX1 in mind because it is at a focal length I like and it does have the FF sensor, which has better DR. I have seen many superb quality photos on the net taken with it. The only two things that I do not like about it are no tilt screen and no IS. But it produces, so these are more nitpicks that anything else I suppose.

Lack of IS should not matter if a tripod is used.

My favorite subject are most often static. I like still life, scenics, and landscapes. I do photograph people at times, but I don't feel I need blinding AF speed, etc. I like to be able to handle low light subjects, but I don't seek them out. So I would like to be able to increase my quality of image and my versatility of kit with this choice.

Sounds to me like you already are a tripod guy.

I am open to consider all options.

A7R is an option. Hard to beat in terms of IQ with the right lenses. A99 too if you already have a bunch of A-mount lenses.

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Mike Fewster
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Re: RX1
In reply to doctorxring, 5 months ago

doctorxring wrote:

.

I've been enjoying my A65 and DT1650 lens for the past two years immensely. But as many enthusiasts do, I would like "more" in respect to image quality.

I've been considering the following options, 1 of two lens options for my A65 or the one camera option.

1. Sony Zeiss 24mm f/2

2. Sony Zeiss 2470mm f/2.8

3. Sony RX1

Which of these options will give the best image quality over what I have already ? Would this be a small increment of image quality or a significant increase over my current combo ?

Thanks for any and all input on this.

Chris

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If the topic is just IQ and what will give the biggest incremental jump over your present gear, the RX1 is a runaway winner. It isn't just pixel peeking, the RX1 IQ is immediately apparent. I have had many many cameras over 50+ years of photography and the RX1 continues to stun me with it's IQ.

But there are other considerations. Only you can decide whether the flexibility of an interchangeable lens camera is ultimately worth more to you than the absolute IQ superiority of the RX1. I couldn't answer this myself so I have an RX1 and an interchangeable lens camera. I find that 75% of what I do can be handled by the RX1 but whether this is true for you will depend entirely on your interests and shooting style.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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