The dilemma of getting into FF without owning legacy glass

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starfly Regular Member • Posts: 268
The dilemma of getting into FF without owning legacy glass
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While I'm still waiting for more reviews of the Z7/Z6 to trickle in (in particular DPR's review), I've been thinking long and hard about which system would be the best one to buy into, right now, without owning any legacy Nikon or Canon glass (or any other FF brand for that matter).

Sony has a huge leg up on Nikon in that regard, as they have a fairly large native lens selection (from Sony and 3rd party manufacturers).  Nikon only has 3 at launch, and the rest is a waiting game.  (I'm not including Canon here as I've ruled them out at this point).

In the end, lenses matter a bit more than the bodies, and in terms of lens selection Sony wins.  I realize that with an adaptor, I could buy any F lens and use that on the body, but I'd prefer to use native Z lenses only to take full advantage of the new system.

I'm thinking really hard about which lenses I would want and actually use regularly.  I've noticed I rarely use telephoto lenses, so that is at the bottom of my priorities list.  I think I want to start using at least 1 prime lens, so a 50mm standard lens is a good starting point, and I always use a standard zoom (it's by far my most used lens), so I need a 24-70mm or better lens in terms of range.

The second aspect is cost, and this is where it starts to get interesting.  For some reason, Sony lenses often are more expensive than their Nikon and Canon counterparts (and other lens manufacturers).  I haven't read any in-depth comparison reviews, but I doubt the Sony lenses perform that much better to justify the extra cost.

So let's do a cost comparison of buying into a system with a set of lenses I'd realistically want from the start, as I would not have additional funds right away to buy more lenses.

Nikon Z7 + 24-70 S f/4 (as kit) + 50mm S f/1.8 = $3400 + $600 + $600 = $4600

Sony A7R3 + 24-105 f/4 G + Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 = $2400 (current street price through Greentoe) + $1300 + $1000 = $4700

If I decide I don't really need the higher resolution:

Nikon Z6 + 24-70 S f/4 (as kit) + 50mm S f/1.8 = $2000 + $600 + $600 = $3200

Sony A73 + 24-105 f/4 G + Sonnar 55mm f/1.8 = $2000 + $1300 + $1000 = $4300

In this comparison I'm choosing the 24-105 because at f/4 aperture I'd rather have a bit of extra range as well, but no option there on Nikon's side (and who knows how long it will take before they release an equivalent lens on the Z mount).

So interestingly, at both the high-resolution end and the standard resolution end, Nikon wins in terms of cost.  It's close at the high-resolution end only because the A7R3 can be found heavily discounted these days, but that still matters.  Going for Sony would give me the 24-105, which I'd prefer over the 24-70 range.

For standard resolution bodies, Nikon wins, by far.  Sony is just a lot more expensive.  It'll be interesting to see how the 50mm S f/1.8 tests, but sparse reviews of the current S lenses (24-70 and 35) look promising.

This makes the decision hard for me.  Sony has more lenses, and I don't have to get the top of the line lens all the time.  I can also get a cheap Samyang/Rokinon lens for certain focal lengths, especially with primes, and often it will be good enough.  To do that with Nikon, I'd need to use the adaptor, increasing the overall size.

BUT, after buying into the system, initially, I will not have any funds to buy more lenses for at least another year, and by that time Nikon may have released more lenses that would be of interest to me given my shooting style (such as the 14-30 S f/4).  So, does it really matter that today Sony has a larger lens selection, since I'll only be buying two lenses right away and will probably wait at least another year before I buy more lenses?

 starfly's gear list:starfly's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7
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