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Thread: Sony Alpha a7, good buy?

  1. #1

    Sony Alpha a7, good buy?

    Hey guys,
    I've finally gotten a little tired of my Sony RX100 mkii and am ready to jump into the interchangeable-lens part of the pool.
    I'm looking at the Sony Alpha line, and the second generations of Alpha a7 (regular, R and S) are quite a bit over-budget for me.
    How big of an improvement will the 1st gen. Alpha a7 be over my RX100? I've played a bit with one in a store but hard to get a proper feel without taking it outside, and I know noone with one I could borrow.
    I own zero lenses so I have no attachment to any brand but I do like how the RX100 worked and expect to to find a similar setup on the a7.
    I also don't know a lot about the lens situation for Sony cameras. Will I still have a decent choice and variety of "affordable" lenses I can buy?
    The kit I'm looking at right now is a little under $1000 for the a7 with a 28-70mm. It's used but from a reputable seller and is listed as "Like New".
    Looking forward to your recommendations and advice.
    Don't hesitate to also suggest other cameras in the same price range if you think they'd be a better option.

  2. #2
    Are you look at the A7, S or R? How important is video to you? What about resolution? What do you like the shoot and plan to shoot? One question to ask, do I really need full frame, or can I do fine with aps-c camera. If so, I’d also look at the Sony A6300, which is really fast camera, with very good high iso(for it’s class) and it’s smaller and lighter than the A7. Plus, I think lenses maybe a bit more affordable, though you may have less wide angle options than FF E mount cameras.
    Another option is Fuji X-T20 with the 18-55mm f2.8-4 lens. It’s a great lens, great camera, and colors(subjective) are just really nice.

  3. #3
    I like to shoot people, buildings, street photography basically. Occasionally I try my hand at long exposure, light painting, timelapses. I also want to try a few things that my RX100 can’t do like lens-tilt, macro and eventually I’m looking at more specific lenses like super wide or telephoto (I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, but I still want to be on the right path).
    I shoot quite a bit in the evening, low-light so I think I’d prefer full frame. And size isn’t so much of a concern, I can still use my RX100 if I’m limited in that regard.
    Video I’m not really very interested in, I might use it occasionally but I wouldn’t base my decision around it.
    If I go for a Fuji, are their lenses compatible with other brands?

  4. #4
    Maybe "need" isn’t the best word for it indeed. But seeing how FF cameras are not so much more expensive than APS-C ones (let’s not get carried away with the heavyweight, $3k champions), I think it’s reasonable to put in a little extra money and get all the goodness that comes with FF. Let’s not forget these are significant amounts of money still. It would be a shame to stop so short when one goes so far.
    I have had so many friends owning smaller cameras who were blown away by how my 6D handled some challenging situations. They didn’t know just what a FF sensor was capable of until they’ve used one. And a couple of them actually contemplated buying it.
    I’m not saying crop sensors are shit. And I mostly agree with all your points! What I’m saying is FF sensors are more accessible than ever and people should start considering them.

    Posted onJun 22, 2017 | 1:22 AM

  5. #5
    It’s really easy to talk abstractly about how great a given format is, but in the end you need to look specifically at the cameras involved. Different sensors perform very differently, even within a given sensor size.
    Take a look at these RAWs from the DPReview Comparison Tool, under low-light conditions:
    This is at ISO 6400.
    To my eye, the M4/3 E-M1 II with a sensor 4x smaller than the Sony A7 is about 1/2 to 2/3 EV behind the Sony (you can bump the Sony to 12800, or drop the E-M1 II to 3200, and you’ll see in both circumstances it looks a little better, so the FF camera is not even 1 full stop ahead).
    By contrast, the APS-C sized D7200 looks nearly identical to the A7.
    The D750 looks by far the cleanest of the bunch, with a full 1 EV improvement compared to either the D7200 or the Sony A7, despite having the same sensor size!
    You should expect – just going off of pure sensor area – that the M4/3 sensor should be 2 stops behind, that the APS-C sensor should be 1 1/3 stops behind, and that the 2 FF sensors should be about equal. But that’s quite evidently not the case.
    The situation gets even murkier when you consider factors like in-body image stabilization. Depending on your scene, if you aren’t shooting a dynamic subject, the E-M1 II would let you handhold a shutter speed 5 (!!!) stops slower than any of the other cameras in this comparison. It’s functionally like having a tripod with you at all times. People have even shot handheld astrophotography of the Milky Way. It’s mindboggling.
    But again, whether or not that’s useful to you is entirely a question of how you shoot, and what your creative intent is.
    With this shot, because of IBIS and a fast prime (that at f2.8 has a good amount of depth of field on an M4/3 sensor), I was able to shoot at 1/6s and base ISO of 200.

    With a full frame sensor, to get enough depth of field I would already want to be at f5.6 (so ISO is up to 800), and need to shoot at 1/50s to prevent camera shake, so that would bump the ISO up 3 more stops to ISO 6400. So you’d now be comparing the image quality of an M4/3 sensor at ISO 200 vs. an FF sensor at ISO 6400 – the smaller sensor camera will have dramatically better image quality, no denying it.
    I also wanted the subject blur here, which you couldn’t do at all with the FF camera unless you had a tripod or the more expensive A7 II line of cameras, so there’s that…

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