A7- what I wanted, but not what I needed.

Started Oct 26, 2015 | User reviews thread
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sportyaccordy Forum Pro • Posts: 19,552
A7- what I wanted, but not what I needed.
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After over a year of agonizing I finally got my hands on a used A7.... only to find out I need relatively quick autofocus much more than I need razor thin DoF. I took it on a weekend trip to NYC with the following lenses:

  • FD 24/2.8 SSC
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.2
  • FD 50/1.4

Let's start with the good:

  • Pulls shadows and highlights with ease- pretty much any photo that's relatively well exposed can be fixed in post.
  • Controls are not bad- much better than my NEX C3 which required at least 2 button pushes for most basic things.
  • EVF is very useful- Within a week or so I was moving through the controls without having to look at them. I could work entirely through the EVF, which was nice and bright.
  • Gets more out of FF glass than FL reducers- when I could nail focus the photos looked phenomenal. Flare was also significantly reduced.

And the not so good:

  • Battery life, battery life, battery life- it's WORSE than people claimed. Not difficult to work around, but still a bit of a nuisance. I would say it burned through FW50s 2-3x as fast as my C3 did, and I didn't even have a flash for it. I turned off the EVF and that seemed to help, but that rendered the EVF useless.
  • Legacy glass is not a fix for the weak lens selection- It's my fault, but I missed so so so many shots. And the F/1.2 was not very useful when nailing focus was so difficult. Even infinity was problematic- my FDs seemed to struggle to get to infinity. And the native glass is either MF, available in equivalent APS-C (24-70/4 = 16-50/2.8, 35/2.8 = 24/1.8- my go tos), or large and heavy to the point of unbalancing the body
  • High ISO performance is good, but not as good as I was expecting- admittedly my fault. To its credit, RAWs are much better than the smeary heavily NR'd JPEGs and my old C3, but I am not sure it would be that much better than a top rated APS-C (normalized for ISO of course)

All in all, I liked the IQ bump over my C3, but I think I am going to sell it and all my legacy glass and go for something like a D5500. With a 3rd party 17-50, the 24 1.8 and the 55-300 VR it will be a pretty mean kit and I won't have to worry about nailing focus. No free lunch with FF it seems, and while it does yield "that look" the price is just too high for me.

Also realized for outdoor street shooting 35 is a little too wide. I think all of these shots were with the 35 and I would have liked them more with the 50.

Here are some photos out of Capture One:

 sportyaccordy's gear list:sportyaccordy's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 24-70mm F4 OSS Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE
Sony a7
24 megapixels • 3 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Oct 16, 2013
sportyaccordy's score
3.5
Average community score
4.5
bad for good for
Kids / pets
bad
Action / sports
bad
Landscapes / scenery
great
Portraits
okay
Low light (without flash)
good
Flash photography (social)
good
Studio / still life
great
= community average
Nikon D5500 Sony a7
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