Swapping EM1 for A7

Started Oct 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Dan Wells Contributing Member • Posts: 556
Re: Why?

For zoom users, the Sony offerings are disappointing (apart from the 24-70 Zeiss, which looks like it may well be a superb lens). I shoot landscape/nature sometimes on long hikes (up to 200 miles, and I'm considering 2000 at some point in the near future), which means no tripod (I absolutely do use one on shorter trips, and will soon have an RRS plate on my E-M1). Since it's not always convenient to change lenses in the wild, even on shorter trips (dust, water, etc...), I try to keep myself to a couple of high-quality zooms plus a macro lens - New England nature photographers are really fond of macro lenses because much of the beauty is up close!

At most, I'll own long, medium and ultrawide zooms for a given setup, plus the best macro lens I can find (I use a medium zoom about 50% of the time, a macro lens 25%, a long zoom 15% and an ultrawide 10%). This will change if I'm outside of New England, or in a few weird spots, generally by the ocean - Acadia National Park responds very well to extremely wide lenses, as does Cape Cod in the winter (I've never gotten anything worthwhile on the Cape in the summer with anything except a macro lens, due to the 427,683 tourists in the frame at all times).

Unlike a street photographer, I very rarely shoot farther open than f2.8-4 on Micro 4/3, f4-f5.6 on APS-C or f5.6-8 on FF - non-macro primes in the range of my bread-and-butter normal zoom aren't worth switching lenses for (on either system - the Olympus 17mm is no more of a consideration than the Zeiss 35).

For my use, the Micro 4/3 lineup is MUCH better than the A7 series right now, even with the Zeiss 24-70 out there (at medium focal lengths, the Sony/Zeiss combo has a slight (A7) or significant (A7r) advantage). I am pretty sure the A7 with the kit lens won't outresolve the comparably priced E-M1 with the 12-40 - the extra sharpness of the A7 is given back by the cheap, junky lens. The A7r with Zeiss zoom, while more than 1.5 times as expensive as an E-M1 with 12-40 , would be ideal at these focal lengths. The 24mm equivalent on the 12-40 and the Zeiss is usefully wider than the 28mm equivalent on the Sony kit lens

For my second most used lens, Olympus offers a tack-sharp (and tiny) 60mm macro I'd happily backpack hundreds of miles with, with both AF and the best image stabilization around. While neither AF nor stabilization is as useful deep into the macro range, both are VERY useful in the close-up or near macro range. Sony offers nothing apart from a non-stabilized Alpha lens on a big adapter that loses meaningful AF, or a HUGE adapter that keeps AF.

In the telephoto range, there is no contest. Sony doesn't offer anything long at all - one huge lens that only reaches 200mm. A 70-300 on an adapter is going to be huge, and a long lens is useless without both AF and stabilization. While the Panasonic 100-300 is a good but not great lens (pretty much equivalent to the Nikon VR ED and Canon IS USM options of similar cost), it reaches 600mm equivalent in a very compact design. I'd love to see Olympus (or Panasonic) release a pro-level 70-300 or 100-300 variable aperture lens (the only one I'm aware of right now on any system is the Canon 70-300 L). A faster pro lens will be very heavy, unless they can change the laws of physics... There are a lot of situations where long and compact gets the shot!

Neither system has the ultrawide I want right now - Olympus comes closer with the 9-18, which . The Panasonic 7-14 would be ideal, except the compatibility problems with Olympus bodies (purple blobs) scare me off. Since it's a specialty lens for me, I'm willing to wait and see what the Olympus pro lens brings... Nothing at all on Sony - adapters are a world of hurt below 24mm.

This may be very different depending on what you shoot - someone who prefers primes of moderate focal length will find the system much closer, possibly even with Sony having a better selection if you like manual focus and don't mind addapters - Leica lenses at their true FL is a big advantage.


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