OMD E-M1 vs Sony A-7, What's the Difference?

Started Oct 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
PeterLeyssens Senior Member • Posts: 1,567
Re: OMD E-M1 vs Sony A-7, What's the Difference?


Good post. I always find it funny when people here start shouting numbers to measure the quality of a camera or a lens. Lines per millimeter don't tell me anything about the signature of a lens and weight/size don't tell me anything about how a camera handles.

I was playing with an A7 or A7R (forgot to ask) a bit when a friend brought one in. He's the chief editor of a local photo magazine, so he gets to test out new toys all the time. He also had the RX1 about a year ago and I asked him to call me when he gets the Panasonic GM-1.

Both the RX1 and the A7 with the Zeiss 35/f2.8 had something very appealing. When I switched them to monochrome and just made a couple of photos, the image had all the qualities of a very, very good film camera: at once very high local contrast, yet still giving an overall soft (un-harsh) appearance over the image. That is something I never noticed with my E-P1.

The fact that 25600 ISO on the A7 gives less noise than 1600 ISO on my E-P1, helps. The fact that the body is about the same size (the A7 only adds the prism hump), is also very helpful. The fact that I will be able to reuse my Leica Summitar, Olympus OM 28/f2.8, 50/f1.4 and 90/f2 really help. Those lenses render any discussion about lens size completely moot.

The GM1, though, is a different story. If that camera with the 15/f1.7 turns out to be a good combo, I could find myself buying a new µ43 body. The main disadvantage is that I finally noticed I'm missing a viewfinder. In my most recent project (autumn trees and woods), it would have been more than helpful.


Rob Sims wrote:

I've owned and recommended m43 over Sony NEX to a number of friends, and consider myself brand indifferent even though this year I picked up a couple of NEX bodies to use my Nokton and Nikkon glass. However, some of the comments in this thread seem rather bias (in both directions).

captura wrote:

M43 vs FF full-frame. Same size and weight.,487

1. The sensor is 4x bigger.

We'll have to wait and see when production cameras hit reviewers to see how the sensor stacks up to the OMD-EM1. Those who say it won't be better seem to be making predictions with no basis, especially as the two companies share so much technology.

My prediction, based on two other recent Sony FF sensors (24mpx RX1 / 36mpx D800) is that other than the obvious increased resolution, the A7(r) will also have better dynamic range and lower high ISO noise. But that's just my opinion based purely on Sony's previous two FF sensors.

2. Depth of field is radically different.

Sorry to bring up the equivalence thing (many users in m43 forum hate this), but to get the same equivalent DoF as F4.0 on 35mm FF, you would need F2.0 on m43, which for zoom lenses may not even exist on that system - (I'm thinking 24-70/4 --> 12-35/2 where can we get this on m43?). Of course I understand this counts for little if Sony don't release fast FF e-mount, but these lenses do already exist on a-mount and also in legacy formats.

I'm not trolling here, but why is 'increased' DoF used so often as a positive? Surely you can just reduce you aperture size (don't most lenses go up to F22?)? Is it purely because you can get away with using a lower ISO at the same shutter speeds? Or am I missing something? Perhaps someone can kindly explain this one to me.


3. Legacy lenses have original field of view on A7(r), instead of 2x crop on OMD EM-1.

That is worth a lot, to many people*. Those without much loved legacy glass won't care.

*ps. I love my Nokton 35/1.2 and Nikkor 85 1.4 AIS

4. 24mpx (A7) / 36mpx (A7r) vs. 16 mpx (OMD EM-1).

Advantage if you need to crop, or running APS-C lenses (10mpx A7 / 15mpx A7r). Disadvantage for processing / space requirement for computer.

5. M43 has larger selection of native glass

Sony native e-mount lens lacks decent telephoto lenses of 200mm+. Also lacking a few classic well priced primes (thinking the pana 20/1.7). Sony has access to use a-mount lenses but size then becomes an issue.

6. OMD EM-1 has excellent IBIS, Sony has... NONE!

Sony relying on stabilizer built into the lenses makes them larger, and not necessarily as good as the IBIS on the Olympus. Also, if you are okay with a 2x crop, then legacy lenses also get stabilized, bonus!

7. Sony appears to have a noisy shutter, OMD is quiet.

Which makes street photography, or events where you need to be quiet/ discrete operations, a real problem with the Sony.

8. Price: OMD is cheaper... and so are many M43 lenses.

...and potentially they'll be more deals on offer, as the interest in the A7(r) looks likely to outstrip supply, so it's unlikely we're going to see deals on the Sony cameras for a while.

 PeterLeyssens's gear list:PeterLeyssens's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro2 Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Samyang 12mm F2 NCS CS Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 R WR
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