Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
OvinceZ
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Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
8 months ago

I posted this on the Sigma forum but want to get a reaction from Sony owners.

One of the things about photography and the internet is that we get caught up in all the new offerings and feel compelled to buy the latest and greatest. I recently got the A7R and was keen to try it out in Sydney where it is summer. Last Friday I walked across the Anzac Bridge and brought my tripod with me to make sure the photos were as sharp as possible. I used the DP3M a lot, too, because I knew I would get plenty of detail in photos.

I took many shots from the same location using both cameras. I could have used my 70-200F4is lens to have a similar focal length to the 75mm equivalent Sigma lens. However, I wasn't doing a comparison and besides, I dislike changing lenses too often. I used the 35mm FE lens and also my 50mm Canon macro lens with the Metabones adapter. When I viewed the photos on my 30 inch monitor I was surprised at how awful the cables looked in all photos but the Sigma produced them clearer. The distant buildings were clearer on the Sigma. Makes me wonder why I got the A7R. However, I am pleased with it for most occasions. The cables on this bridge are a challenge for any lens and camera. It was also quite warm in the afternoon so there could be some atmospheric distortion caused by the warm, black cable coverings. The fence beside the footpath is also lacking much detail but looks better in the Sigma photo. The fence is a wire mesh having rectangular holes about 1 inch X 2 1/2 inches. No way you can get a lens through those gaps. Curses on the engineers who replaced the original fence. I guess security is everything nowadays. They could have put small holes along the fence so you could put your lens though it. The views from up there are beautiful. I had to use my tripod and 10 second timer and hoisted the camera above the 9 foot high fence. Took a few goes to get the right framing. The shutter is so loud and pronounced on the A7R that I always knew when the shutter was activated! I could feel the vibrations.

Have a look and see for yourself. No editing whatever in any of the photos. Straight out of the camera jpgs from the Sony. The Sigma files were put through the process to get a tiff file then saved in Photoshop as a jpg. Reduced the size to make them manageable here.

Vince

Sony A7R with 35mm FE lens

Sony A7R with Canon 50mm macro lens

Sigma DP3M with 50mm lens = 75mm, Foveon sensor

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RDMSguy
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

Of the three photos, only the Sigma photo appears to be properly exposed. At least on my monitor. The two shots for the A7R, especially the first one with the 35mm seem moderately under exposed.

To be honest, after seeing your comparison.. I'm also wondering why you got an A7R. A point and shoot seems more your flavor, especially since they often have better out of camera jpg results.

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OvinceZ
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to RDMSguy, 8 months ago

RDMSguy wrote:

To be honest, after seeing your comparison.. I'm also wondering why you got an A7R. A point and shoot seems more your flavor, especially since they often have better out of camera jpg results.

Gotta love the internet and all the swell people here!

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Michael Everett
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to RDMSguy, 8 months ago

No question the Sigma looks best in these photographs.  Yet each one has a different focal length if we are comparing sharpness and clarity.  I wonder how the A7r would do with a good 75mm lens on it.  Then the difference might not be so pronounced.

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viking79
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

Looks like you have vignetting correction off on the FE 35mm f/2.8, maybe try turning that on and getting exposures remotely similar to compare.  Also, if you do RAW processing with the Sigma, you probably should with the Sony too.  Make it a fairer comparison.

I have always liked the Sigma Foveon sensors at base ISO.  If you did an A7R vs Sigma at ISO 6400 you might see different results

Eric

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OvinceZ
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to Michael Everett, 8 months ago

I didn't set out to do a comparison but when I looked at the photos from the Sony I was bitterly disappointed. What can I say? I could care less about the lens used as both were sharp enough. All those megapixels and the cables in the distance were horrible. That isn't what I saw with my eyes.

In other photos the Sony delivers and I am glad I have it. Sure, I need more lenses but I have two adapters for my Canon lenses. In the meantime they will suffice. The 70-200 F4is is excellent on every camera I have used so far. On hot days there is a lot of distortion in telephoto lenses so I don't use them for landscapes on those days.

Vince

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mdavidp
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

Thanks Vince. I also have used the DP Merrill. Up to ISO they outresolve Any camera, except a Med Format. After ISO 200 they become very noisy.

Mike P

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OvinceZ
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to viking79, 8 months ago

Hi Eric,

I never use anything but ISO 100 with the Sigma. I hate the noise at higher ISOs. So no comparison there. Thanks for the tip about vignetting.

Vince

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OvinceZ
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Another Sony sample. This one looks better.
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

This photo was taken a bit closer to the cables so it compares better to the Sigma photo. In future I will make sure the focal lengths are eqivalent otherwise the comparisons are not valid.

Taken from a jpg after uploading the RAW file in Photoshop. No editing at all except reducing the size in Mb.

Sony A7R with 50mm Canon macro.

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blue_skies
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

OvinceZ wrote:

I posted this on the Sigma forum but want to get a reaction from Sony owners.

One of the things about photography and the internet is that we get caught up in all the new offerings and feel compelled to buy the latest and greatest. I recently got the A7R and was keen to try it out in Sydney where it is summer. Last Friday I walked across the Anzac Bridge and brought my tripod with me to make sure the photos were as sharp as possible. I used the DP3M a lot, too, because I knew I would get plenty of detail in photos.

I took many shots from the same location using both cameras. I could have used my 70-200F4is lens to have a similar focal length to the 75mm equivalent Sigma lens. However, I wasn't doing a comparison and besides, I dislike changing lenses too often. I used the 35mm FE lens and also my 50mm Canon macro lens with the Metabones adapter. When I viewed the photos on my 30 inch monitor I was surprised at how awful the cables looked in all photos but the Sigma produced them clearer. The distant buildings were clearer on the Sigma. Makes me wonder why I got the A7R.

Looking at them in detail, it appears to be a struggle between heat simmering and the JPG engine. The JPG engine may be struggling with angled lines and it makes me wonder if you were using X.Fine and NR off/low. But the buildings in the back look virtually similar on both images, when sized to similar sizes. Whether that is my monitor doing this is not clear, but it feels as if I am hitting the resolution of the image. That is, the window lines are jagged - on both images - and you would expect them to be straight. Perphaps an artifact of the hot weather.

Other than that, tripod & base ISO, the only difference is using f/8 for 50mm on APS-C (f/12 and 75mm on FF) versus f/8 and 35mm and 50mm on FF.

You inadvertently have 'zoomed-in' the Sigma image by the crop ratio, while giving it extra DOF.

That is, from the same standpoint, the 15Mp Sigma image is from a 75mm FF equiv image. If you crop the A7r image to a 75mm view, you have to crop 1.5x or 2x depending on whether you use the 50mm or 35mm image. At 1.5x, you loose half the pixels, becoming more or less equivalent with the Sigma, and at 2x you have fewer pixels for the cables in the A7r image than in the Sigma image. Either way, the A7r has no advantage in resolution over the Sigma for the cables in the image.

To do a fair comparison, use a 75mm lens on the A7r, if shooting from the same standpoint.

I think that essentially you have only noticed the differences between a 35mm, 50mm and 75mm, and noted that the 75mm resolves the most detail.

Why the details is not as sharp as it should be, again, could be because you are close to the resolution limit, because the angled lines don't map well through the JPG engine, or because of the radiant heat that makes the air simmer.

I wouldn't think too much of it, imho.

However, I am pleased with it for most occasions. The cables on this bridge are a challenge for any lens and camera. It was also quite warm in the afternoon so there could be some atmospheric distortion caused by the warm, black cable coverings. The fence beside the footpath is also lacking much detail but looks better in the Sigma photo. The fence is a wire mesh having rectangular holes about 1 inch X 2 1/2 inches. No way you can get a lens through those gaps. Curses on the engineers who replaced the original fence. I guess security is everything nowadays. They could have put small holes along the fence so you could put your lens though it. The views from up there are beautiful. I had to use my tripod and 10 second timer and hoisted the camera above the 9 foot high fence. Took a few goes to get the right framing. The shutter is so loud and pronounced on the A7R that I always knew when the shutter was activated! I could feel the vibrations.

Have a look and see for yourself. No editing whatever in any of the photos. Straight out of the camera jpgs from the Sony. The Sigma files were put through the process to get a tiff file then saved in Photoshop as a jpg. Reduced the size to make them manageable here.

Vince

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Henry

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mdavidp
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

What I meant to say was the DPM's out resolve any camera Up to ISO 200.

Very noisy after.

Mike P

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M Dennis Fern
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Re: Another Sony sample. This one looks better.
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

OVinceZ:  This question is off your topic, however, can you tell me how you got your A7R to read Exif data for your legacy 50mm Canon lens?  Many thanks.

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OvinceZ
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to blue_skies, 8 months ago

Thanks for the nice reply. I wasn't testing the cameras but I guess I was expecting more from the Sony. All those Mp. However, I am experienced enough to know that all things have to be equal for a proper comparison to be valid. I will go back there and take more photos but this time try to get things similar with both cameras. Not so easy but if I use the 70-200 f/4is it should deliver at 75mm. I will pick a cooler day as well. The surprising thing is the buildings in the distance with the Sigma are sharper. If the heat was causing distortion then the distant buildings would look worse. Whatever the Sigma did is different to what the Sony sensor did.

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OvinceZ
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Re: Another Sony sample. This one looks better.
In reply to M Dennis Fern, 8 months ago

I used a Metabones III smart adapter so I guess it allows the exif to be captured.

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forpetessake
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irrelevant
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

OvinceZ wrote:

When I viewed the photos on my 30 inch monitor I was surprised at how awful the cables looked in all photos but the Sigma produced them clearer.

Of course they look terrible with that much oversharpening of all the images combined with the hot air distortions.

Foveon has better per-pixel resolution due to its stacked design, it's not a secret. Sigma claims 2x resolution advantage, but it pays for it by using 3x photo-diodes, more noise, worse colors, bad dynamic range, prone to harsh clipping with color artifacts, much higher power consumption. Also as soon as you resize the output the resolution advantage is gone, it looks no different than any Bayer sensor. So far Sigma wasn't able to capitalize on the advantages of Foveon design, and its disadvantages are killing the prospects of it ever becoming a viable option for the majority of the photographers.

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DtEW
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

What comparison is there to be made between a typical overcooked OOC JPEG from Camera A vs. one converted from RAW -> TIFF -> JPEG from Camera B?

And different FoVs.  And couldn't even bother with the same exposure?

The fail is so deep it makes my head hurt.

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Jabba23
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

Shouldn't matter what time of day you take the photo from as the results should be kind of similar

Could you try the A7r in crop mode with the Canon 50 at f8/f11 which gives the equivalent FOV and resolution as the Sigma to see if that makes any difference and then obviously you would need to get a 75mm equivalent lens to see if the additional 21mpx makes a huge difference. Your last picture looked a lot better though but for comparisons sake factors need to be as close to the same as possible to minimise the stupid remarks

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OvinceZ
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No sharpening done.
In reply to forpetessake, 8 months ago

Photos have NOT been edited except in the camera. The last photo was from a RAW file and looks better.

Please understand that this was not a test. I am still very disappointed with the results. I have an NEX 7 so appreciate the Sony sensors.

I can post a panorama here and not one comment. I post about another camera giving clearer photos and people are all over me. This is a peculiar hobby to be sure.

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stevo23
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to OvinceZ, 8 months ago

OvinceZ wrote:

I posted this on the Sigma forum but want to get a reaction from Sony owners.

One of the things about photography and the internet is that we get caught up in all the new offerings and feel compelled to buy the latest and greatest. I recently got the A7R and was keen to try it out in Sydney where it is summer. Last Friday I walked across the Anzac Bridge and brought my tripod with me to make sure the photos were as sharp as possible. I used the DP3M a lot, too, because I knew I would get plenty of detail in photos.

I took many shots from the same location using both cameras. I could have used my 70-200F4is lens to have a similar focal length to the 75mm equivalent Sigma lens. However, I wasn't doing a comparison and besides, I dislike changing lenses too often. I used the 35mm FE lens and also my 50mm Canon macro lens with the Metabones adapter. When I viewed the photos on my 30 inch monitor I was surprised at how awful the cables looked in all photos but the Sigma produced them clearer. The distant buildings were clearer on the Sigma. Makes me wonder why I got the A7R. However, I am pleased with it for most occasions. The cables on this bridge are a challenge for any lens and camera. It was also quite warm in the afternoon so there could be some atmospheric distortion caused by the warm, black cable coverings. The fence beside the footpath is also lacking much detail but looks better in the Sigma photo. The fence is a wire mesh having rectangular holes about 1 inch X 2 1/2 inches. No way you can get a lens through those gaps. Curses on the engineers who replaced the original fence. I guess security is everything nowadays. They could have put small holes along the fence so you could put your lens though it. The views from up there are beautiful. I had to use my tripod and 10 second timer and hoisted the camera above the 9 foot high fence. Took a few goes to get the right framing. The shutter is so loud and pronounced on the A7R that I always knew when the shutter was activated! I could feel the vibrations.

Have a look and see for yourself. No editing whatever in any of the photos. Straight out of the camera jpgs from the Sony. The Sigma files were put through the process to get a tiff file then saved in Photoshop as a jpg. Reduced the size to make them manageable here.

I agree, these are not up to the A7r's capabilities.

- Did you use Raw? The Sony images look super, over processed. What are your Lightroom default settings? You mentioned OOC jpg and generally, that's considered an issue. You have to change the in camera  settings to reduce the noise reduction and even some sharpness. Default OOC jpgs are awful on the A7 and A7r to me. But you can easily change that.

- The Canon Macro is probably not the best thing to put on that A7r, nor necessarily the best thing to use for that scene. I'd rather see it with the 55 1.8 FE. The Canon being a macro lens doesn't strike me as a particularly good landscape lens.

- Don't forget that the Sigma gets a big advantage by using a 75mm equivalent lens. Everything is closer, filling the frame better and providing more immediate detail.

- But what concerns me most is the degree of underexposure and shadow blocking you're showing with the Sony. What happened to your dynamic range? That A7R should be able to eat that scene up. Instead, it's way underexposed and everything is either shadow or over exposed. Check your default Lightroom import settings. Something's very off in your dynamic range and therefore the rest of your image.

So I'm not sure you're shooting the A7r as well as you could be. I can't begin to guess how it should compare to the Sigma, but I'm fairly certain those images are not up to the A7r's capabilities.

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OvinceZ
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Re: Sony A7R vs Sigma DP3Merrill
In reply to Jabba23, 8 months ago

I will return to the site to get a clear photo of that suspension bridge. It will probably be a panorama. Otherwise I can't see any of my cameras resolving those distant cables with any wide or standard lens. I will try 200mm or even 500 mm! I doubt I will post my result here.

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