On recent cameras: EM-1, XT-1, A6000 ...

Started Feb 12, 2014 | Discussions thread
Ttriple Forum Member • Posts: 55
Re: You are comparing bodies only.....

blue_skies wrote:

ttan98 wrote:

what about availability of high quality lenses at reasonable prices. That's the main reason why I stop buying Sony bodies. BTW I know the prices of most important lenses from E-mount and m4/3 format.

Having said this I anticipate a rebuttal of my above statement but I am sticking to it. BTW I still own both NEX and m4/3 bodies and lenses, they are used appropriately under different lighting and environment situations.

Sure, a very expected response. But a very undeserving response as well. Sony has put out quite a few of very decent E-mount lenses, and we also have Sigma and Zeiss offering very nice lenses.

The gripes have been with fast zooms and long zoom lenses, but, understanding Sony, both such lenses are heavy and bulky, why mate them with a small camera back? You may as well grab your DSLR in such a case.

Fuji, as a niche player, focused on the lenses and carved out a path that enables them to be viewed as a 'Leica' alternative to DSLR users. They have been very successful since the X100 - it put them back on the map.

Oly, as a m43 'creator' cleverly changed to format to become more squarish, removing the pressure on lenses to handle corner sharpness well when used wide open. Also, because of the smaller format, larger DOF helps in achieving more sharpness. Of course, it is ISO limited, by being smaller.

Now, what is overlooked is that Fuji and Oly have concentrated on 16Mp sensors. Sony started with 16Mp, but was audacious enough to put out the 24Mp Nex-7 and that immediately caused a dillemma: the 16Mp resolving lenses weren't good enough for the Nex-7.

Since the Nex-7, lenses have improved by leaps and bounds. Who does not remember the back and forth on the E16 and its quality problems? Sure, there have been quality issues, but there have been user issues as well, and the lens does go soft at f/2.8. Had it been a f/4 lens, it would have fared better, I am sure, stopped down at f/5.6 to f/8 it is a rather decent lens, especially with the UWA adapter.

So, consider the 24Mp sensor in the A6000, and then consider these lenses, just to name a few:

  1. 12mm: Zeiss Touit 12/2.8
  2. 15mm: E20/2.8 + UWA
  3. 19mm: Sigma 19/2.8
  4. 20mm: E20/2.8
  5. 24mm: E24/1.8
  6. 30mm: Sigma 30/2.8
  7. 30mm: E30M/3.5 Macro
  8. 32mm: Zeiss Touit 32/1.8
  9. 35mm: E35/1.8 OSS
  10. 50mm: E50/1.8 OSS
  11. 50mm: Zeiss Touit 50mm/2.8 Macro
  12. 55mm: Zeiss Touit 
  13. 60mm: Sigma 60/2.8

And in zoom lenses:

  1. wide: E1018/4 OSS - can show magenta cast, but great images
  2. kit: E1855 OSS
  3. performance: E1670/4 OSS
  4. mid: E18108/4 OSS
  5. long: E18200 OSS or E55210 OSS

The zoom lenses got a bad wrap early on because of in camera algorithms (too wide aperture) leading to improper choices in usage. Also, the original E18200 is very underrated - it is a superzoom lens, and an impressive one at that. But the E1670 lens is an impressive zoom.

We are still waiting on the E85, which may become an FE85. We expect a OSS stabilized version of the A85 and we hope that it will be faster.

I skipped the E16, per the comment above, as well as the E1650P. I actually like the latter lens, I use it as a JPG shooter, and am very pleased with its result. I haven't used it on the 24Mp Nex-7 sensor, so I don't know how it compares.

Now, unlike many, I have a number of other lenses to compare again in the aforementioned focal lengths. I mention lenses such as the CV21/4, the CG28/2.8, the ZM35/2, the CG45/2, CV75/2.5, CG90/2.8 and a fairly complete range of OM lenses. I can attest that the E-primes in the list above perform quite well on the 24Mp sensor - they are up to the task.

I pick about 17 E-lenses (there are more out there) that work on the 24Mp sensor. There is a plethora of hundreds of legacy lenses that can be adapted, as well as all the A-mount lenses. This means that you can find a lens for practically any purpose, but you may not have OSS on such a lens.

I also highlighted 3 f/1.8 E mount prime lenses, that are highly rated, and just mention that for m43 you would need f/1.3 lenses for m43 to match their speed, except that digital sensors fall off rapidly below f/2. No going there.

Fuji has a more impressive list of lenses - that each compete against the Sony lenses on spec. Easily, because they were created after Sony released theirs, but they are not cheaper. So Fuji is also an expensive option.

Also, the three f/1.8 primes are really f/2.0 primes in practical terms. They are sharp then. But at f/1.8 they soften, which could throw off reviewers, or comparisons. The nice thing about this is that you are in control: if you want sharpness, stay above f/2.0. But if you want a low light portrait or another moody effect, these are wonderful lenses. In a strange way we are thankful for marketing pushing these lenses past their 'perfect' range. It saves getting two different lenses (e.g. a CV35/1.4 next to a ZM35/2.0).

If you got the four lenses listed in bold, you'd be looking at $3k in lenses. Not cheap, but you would end up with one of THE best combinations in APS-C - see the DxO scores, coupled with a 24Mp sensor, these are impressive lenses. The only m43 lens that scores anywhere near this high is the 75/1.8 lens. So yes, the E-mount could do with an equivalent, e.g. 100/f2.8 OSS lens to match that.

If going Fuji, you'd end up spending the same $3k just as quickly, and even though m43 has some less costly lenses, I see everyone picking up the very expensive ones, such as the 75/1.8 or the 12-40/2.8, which also cost near $1k each. Three high IQ primes + one high IQ zoom equals about $3k in each of the three systems, I gather, despite cheaper lens options (in all three systems).

People have asked for a 85/1.8 OSS, 100/2.8 Macro and a 135/2.8 OSS as additional prime lenses. I expect the first one to be announced this year.

And again, if you go long, you may as well use an adapter, or use a DSLR altogether, as the compactness of the format disappears. Sure m43 has a slight advantage here, but only 1/3rd (2.0/1.5 = 1 1/3rd), not a huge advantage.

And, see the image below, I have a lot of these lenses and mated them all with the 24Mp sensor in the Nex-7, so I know what to expect and what the difference are. There are absolute standards, and there are 'good enough', or 'competitive' standards, and I would argue that the Nex-7's 24Mp sensor is extremely competitive, as long as you use it correctly. The A6000 ups the usability factor of the Nex-7 by adding PDAF and faster AF. So I expect more reports from users about stunning images with the A6000 and one of those lenses.

I really feel that comments such as yours need to be qualified by what you mean: as a general comment it sounds great (sounded great) but it doesn't hold water. And us being on the defense over and over again is just negative. I think that Sony has done an excellent job of mating price/performance, leaving room for Fuji to go higher end, and competing reasonably with other format. If your experience is sour, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate today.

One last comment - the new lens profiles and in camera lens corrections do make all lenses sharper. This is often overlooked. After updating the firmware in the Nex cameras, the image IQ actually improved!

Thank you for taking the time and effort to compose such an informative and helpful post. May I ask which of the legacy Minolta MD lenses are best to pair up with the Sony 24mp sensor in the NEX7 and potentially the A6000 as well? Thanks!

 Ttriple's gear list:Ttriple's gear list
Sigma DP1s Sony RX100 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS
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