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07-17-2014, 12:32 PM   #1
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Going fullframe - considerations

hi there,

I have been saving since photokina 2012 to go fullframe in 2014 and now it's time. Since I don't believe in Ricoh bringing ever a fullframe camera (please no discussions about this here) I probably have to switch or at least reduce my lens collection. This post could be obsolete if Pentax offered a FF camera...
To my background and shooting style: I do take wedding photos, event photos and do some portraiture (earning a little extra money, so far my clients were quite satisfied with my results), but also macro and landscape (as a hobby) and street/travel reports (most of the time not earning money, just for rebates or tickets, most of them without any benefits) - so quite mixed. My equipment: various film cameras, Pentax K5 + K5-II, AF-540FGZ flash, ring flash, DA* 16-50, DA* 60-250, AFA 1.7x teleconverter, smc A 50mm f/1.7 and M 50mm f/1.4 and some other old manual focus lenses, DA* 55, FA 31mm limited, FA* 24mm, FA* 85mm, A* 85mm, DFA 100mm macro, DA 15mm ltd. I am also tmpted by the 43mm and the 77mm, but only with the possibility to use them on FF. And: I like lenses with a certain character, e.g. the helios, 31mm ltd etc. ... I guess you know what I mean. So I think the DA* 55mm is great, but lacks the certain pixie dust, so I think I would also get a great 50mm in Nikon land.

The reason for fullframe for me: really shallow DOF (so this disqualifies the 645Z) and I think that the lenses should be used as they were intended to be used (no real complaints about image quality of my lenses, but my 31mm is a damn 31mm lens and not 46mm!).

My options: Sony A7 or Nikon 610. I don't need the resolution of a D810 or a A7R and don't need the low light capability of a A7S. Even considered to try the Leica route, but need a little more possibilities in low light considering the sensor. Video does not matter.

Sony A7: advantage would be that I could use most of my lenses with an adapter. Although I have a hard time in focusing manually on the K5 in the viewfinder, focus peaking might be fun and helpful so I might get used to doing manual focussing here. Advantage would be of course the low costs and that I could keep my K5(s) especially for Tele/Macro and lenses ... so I could use almost all of my lenses on all cameras.

Nikon 610: autofocus, and much more expensive cause I would have to buy lots of equivalent lenses from my collection. However: autofocus! Since I don't work too much with flash systems (and I think the Pentax flash system is OK for my kind of work) this is not a real pro for me. This would probably leave me with one K5 + 15mm ltd + 31mm ltd + 100mm dfa macro + FA* 85mm and I would like to avoid having two incompatible systems.

And: I want to buy the Zeiss Distagon 21mm. I could buy it in Nikon mount (which seems a bit odd since I would not be able to use it on the Pentaxes), or any tipps where to buy it in PK mount? Have been looking for such a lens for quite some time. This could also be a reason to buy into the Nikon system, however, I think this will at some point lead to leaving Pentax as a whole. Having 2 systems has no sense for me.

I am not a fan of mirrorless, I like OVFs, but I think I could get used to the A7.

So, you might have guessed it: I lean towards the Sony solution, also because of some nice and lightweight M39 (any info about how good they perform on the A7?) glass I could buy...

Whats your opinion? Will the image quality of my lenses suffer in any way on the A7 (except from the "normal" things compared to aps-c like vignetting and lower corner resolution etc.)? Or: other thought I forgot about Nikon? Or should I consider Canon? (I don't like the colors + sensors of Canon)

07-17-2014, 12:46 PM   #2
Ole
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I would suggest you try out the A7 and try manual focusing. I found it somewhat slow and difficult to manually focus accurately even with focus peaking and if the subject is moving it is outright impossible. Until I got the chance to test it out I had thought, like you, that it would be a fine FF camera for my Pentax lenses. It is not, it is a poor solution, a big step backwards. Which makes me so much more happy with my K-3!

If you're set on FF I'd advice you to switch system how painful it may be cost wise. Or try the K-3 which has excellent resolution (but of course more DOF at a given aperture than FF).
07-17-2014, 12:51 PM   #3
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I'd get the A7.
07-17-2014, 12:59 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I'd stick with the Pentax kit - in body stabilization is way better than the others can offer, and my experience with Nikon D600 shows it to be very shake-alert if you know what I mean. With fast lenses you can achieve results that should be close enough to 35mm full frame...
The other side of full frame (SLR here, not mirrorrless) is the viewfinder is more spacious which helps us older folks.

Overall, I like the Pentax platform better, APS-C or not. The Nikon doesn't have all the pixie dust for me, I suppose

07-17-2014, 01:12 PM   #5
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Suggest you go to a camera shop and try both in the shop. I've been considering the A7R for landscape photography but, like you, prefer OVF. The Sony's EVF is pretty darn good, though, much better than any others I've seen, so I think I'll go that route. Autofocus doesn't matter for me for what I do, but I understand the 50mm E-mount lens is terrific, and you could pick up a couple of very good A-mount zooms with an adapter and keep full functionality for when you need it.
07-17-2014, 01:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by infoomatic Quote
Sony A7: advantage would be that I could use most of my lenses with an adapter. Although I have a hard time in focusing manually on the K5 in the viewfinder, focus peaking might be fun and helpful so I might get used to doing manual focussing here. Advantage would be of course the low costs and that I could keep my K5(s) especially for Tele/Macro and lenses ... so I could use almost all of my lenses on all cameras.
I use my Pentax lenses on a Sony NEX-6, which functionally is equivalent to the a7 for the purposes of my comment which follows: EVFs with focus peaking and magnification are far superior to any OVF I've ever used. This should be the reason to go with an a7. The only reason not to is if Sony comes out with a better model this fall.
07-17-2014, 01:37 PM   #7
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To feed the rumor mill, there's a rumor about yet another FF coming from Sony.

07-17-2014, 03:11 PM   #8
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A surprising (to me) benefit - Nikon, et al, also helps in Lightroom. Newer lenses quicker, more full catalog, etc.
07-17-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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FYI 645z has bigger sensor than FF, which means even shallower DOF than FF one, even with slower lens that are offered, so no prob there
07-17-2014, 03:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chladog Quote
FYI 645z has bigger sensor than FF, which means even shallower DOF than FF one, even with slower lens that are offered, so no prob there
No, it's less shallow. IIRC, the current fastest lens for Pentax 645 is a F/2.8 lens, which is an equal DOF to the F/1.4 on APS-C. With currently available lenses, FF is still fastest amongst cameras less than $10k and perhaps at any price.

I think there's a non-autofocus, out of production F/2.4 (?) in 645 and perhaps a third-party F/2 for 67? that would outperform APS-C but would still not be as fast as F/1.4 (or F/1.2) on FF.
07-17-2014, 03:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by infoomatic Quote
And: I want to buy the Zeiss Distagon 21mm. I could buy it in Nikon mount (which seems a bit odd since I would not be able to use it on the Pentaxes),...
Well, you could with the PK Multi-Mount...?
07-17-2014, 04:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
...FF is still fastest amongst cameras less than $10k
Pentax 6x7 with 105/2.4
4x5 with 180/5.6
8x10 with 350/8

Are all about the same as a FF 50/1.2
07-17-2014, 04:31 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Pentax 6x7 with 105/2.4
4x5 with 180/5.6
8x10 with 350/8

Are all about the same as a FF 50/1.2
OK, I guess. I wasn't considering legacy film cameras, although maybe there's some sold new.

The statement I replied was that 645Z would compare favorably with FF. That isn't true.

If you compare best legacy glass, or glass with adapter, 645Z with F/2.0 is equivalent to FF with F/1.5. Every FF has had a faster lens than that. I'm not aware of medium format glass faster than F/2.

If you compare best native format glass, which is the comparison I feel is appropriate, 645Z with F/2.8 is equivalent to FF with F/2.2. Every current FF has a faster lens.

There's no way his statement holds in the context of the discussion. If you want to include film cameras into the discussion, I guess you have a point that they're about as shallow as the best FF right now in DOF. FF is still fastest, it's just tied for fastest with a bunch of cameras that 99% of the market doesn't use.
07-17-2014, 05:12 PM   #14
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It seems like you have your requirements for taking on FF well thought out which is impressive.

I think a key decision for you is determining how important auto focus capability is to you. Having shot events for years, I think excellent AF is a high priority. I would also advise you to add flash capabilities and accuracy into the evaluation because a really good flash system is a joy to use (and Pentax is not).

If I shot only in studio with a 2-3 required lenses, then perhaps Sony would meet that need with adapters and what not. At a certain point (and this is probably experience and age related) I don’t want to futz around with adapters, and focusing manually when using a DSLR (4x5, sure).

Perhaps you should challenge your assumptions if you purchase a “FF” camera system. Supporting two or three platforms can be a mixed, slightly crazy situation. Because I find FF more satisfying, I’m finally ditching most of my cropped sensor specific lenses and only hanging onto a 7D body for wildlife and sports where I don’t have good access. I may just grab an SL1 to mate with a 40mm pancake for lite times.

To echo what Tuco said, Nikon (and Canon) just offer more comprehensive solutions than Sony and others. All FF cameras produce excellent images these days. At this level, I evaluate cameras based on whole systems which encompass commitments to service, professional services, and a certain seriousness. Sony, to me, hasn’t demonstrated those values yet. I feel like their spray-and-pray approach to cameras still pursues a consumer electronics business model.

M
07-17-2014, 05:21 PM   #15
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we are talking about digital only here.

I will definitely have my hands on the cameras before I decide to buy, I will probably by after photokina (OR: Maybe I should grab one now, because then Pentax will for sure announce a full frame at photokina :-D - just to do all those Pentax/Fullframe dreamers/fanatics a favor. Sonys new FF would be nice, either because of a new and better sensor or because the price of the A7 goes down ;-)
Ole: the K3 is for sure a superb camera, and I would have bought it already if I had not decided to put the money aside for full frame. I might even buy it (or its successor) if I take the Sony route and my lenses turn out to be as good as expected on Sony (cause it's a much cheaper way for me).

On FF I need a 18-21mm ish wideangle, the 31mm (or a 30/35mm), a 50mm, a 85mm and a 100mm. (I am also tempted by various Voigtländer M39 lenses, but these would just be a nice bonus if I can afford).

The MultiMount is a nice idea, but I wouldn't limit the usage of one Pentax APS-C camera to use my lenses only in manual mode just to be able to use the Zeiss on APS-C (I want to use that lens on FF primarily - as a substitution to my 15mm ltd; I hope and guess the Zeiss is much sharper). The MultiMount would definitely be nice on a Pentax FF, WOW!
I think I will search some forums with full-res samples of various lenses and try to get my hands on the cams in some stores, hope I can try an A7 with adaptor + legacy glass somewhere.

---------- Post added 07-18-2014 at 02:28 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
To echo what Tuco said, Nikon (and Canon) just offer more comprehensive solutions than Sony and others. All FF cameras produce excellent images these days. At this level, I evaluate cameras based on whole systems which encompass commitments to service, professional services, and a certain seriousness. Sony, to me, hasn’t demonstrated those values yet. I feel like their spray-and-pray approach to cameras still pursues a consumer electronics business model.
yes thats absolutely true. Sony is a electronics/toy company and cannot really be compared to those specialized manufacturers who gained lots of experience over decades.

One of my worries are also the lag of the EVF. Especially in difficult situations e.g. concerts on dark stages with changing light effects I might not be able to trigger the right moment due to the lag, and since I have absolutely no experience with latest EVFs I could imagine that manual focusing in those environments could be really hard.
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