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12-29-2017, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #1
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A try with the Sony A7...

Hello everybody,

Just to share, I got myself a Sony A7 + the 28-70 kit lens + SD card and bag offer from Sony for 999.99 euros with 100 euros of cashback. This value the camera, an FF body to rougly 700 euros.


Ergonomics

I find the ergonomics different but not any worse than the Pentax. There the standard back and front wheel, and the shooting mode one. But there also a wheel for exposure control on the top a bit like Fuji does and an iso wheel that replace the directional left/right/top/bottom buttons on our Pentax bodies. The famous Pentax TAV mode is just the M mode with auto isos set to true. There many dedicated button that one can configure at will and it is easy for example to disable AF on the shutter button and use another one for that.

Many find the Sony menu complex in reviews, but honestly I don't get it. Most of the common things are accessible via a quick and intuitive quick menu or can be assigned to a dedicated button of your choice and the rest anyway you'll change it likely once for all. A big plus compared to say the K3, is that both the full or quick menu are available in the EVF meaning they are less distracting than having to remove your eye from the view finder to change the setting.

The overall image is also brighter and bigger, the EVF offering the better viewing experience at least compared to K3. The EVF allows to display more information on screen like the histogram but also it is much more clear what subject the camera picked and what part of the image is in focus. By default, the image you just taken is display for something like 2 seconds and that can be distracting, but you can simply remove the picture preview to get a much more responsive experience.

Size/Weight/Feeling

I think the K3 to provide a bit better feeling overall. More grip, more comfortable holding... This is mainly due to the bigger/heavier body. But I brought the A7 knowingly. On the opposite, the A7 is smaller/lighter (470g vs 800g) and that count for a lot too. And the K1, the Pentax FF is 1kg, more than twice heavier and even bigger. It up to each one to see what is better for them.

AF performance

This still need more testing but first impression is that the AF of the Sony is really nice and up to the task, maybe better than the Pentax in good light. It is quite slow on the opposite in low light, in particular with slow lenses. In low light the kit lens AF okish but not great at 28mm f/3.5 and really slow at 70mm f/5.6... I still need to try other lenses to double check and use it more. To my understanding this is fixed at least partially on A6300/A6500 and A7RII, but also fast primes (f2, f/1.4) work much better than slow zooms. I would not advise the first A7 or even the A7II for somebody quite interrested by low light photography.

If you want to focus manually, there no contest, the Sony is much faster and easier to use.

Camera performance

The camera is responsive and I don't find the common reviewer complain that it take 2 second to start to be any relevant at all. It take the picture when you click the shutter button and that what I would expect and what I ask. The high iso performance and jpeg is quite better than the K3 and look at least as good as the KP. It isn't up to A7RII / A7RIII or K1, but still quite decent.

What is really nice with an FF body is that the kit lens with the low pass filter look as sharp as the K3 with great lenses mounted on it, despite it lack of low pass filter. And it give already some low light and bokeh possibilities.

Echosystem

The Sony kit lens isn't really nice with it's quite narrow range, the 28-105 of Pentax is a much superior offering. the lenses overall are expensive and the low/medium end offering is lacking. But the gap is starting to be filled. The new 24-105 f/4 look like a truly great lens and there are a few interesting reasonably affordable primes (FE28 f/2, Samyang 35mm f/2.8, FE85 f/1.8).

When you factor the cost difference of the body, the K1 costing 1000 euros more on the best offer you could find on the grey market, 1200-1300 euro more otherwise, you get a significant head start to build your lens line-up. Sure 36MP is better than 24MP but that isn't going to make for a visible differences in practice anyway.


Last edited by Nicolas06; 12-29-2017 at 06:40 AM.
12-29-2017, 06:58 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Congratulations on your A7, Nicolas.

I'm sure you'll attract some disagreement and critique on your comments and conclusions (especially regarding the K-1) But the fact is, any and all of the A7 series are great cameras, if they fit with your requirements and you're open to the very different, non-DSLR-like operating experience.

My A7II is essentially a digital back for my all-manual Soviet rangefinder and SLR lenses in M39, M42, Pentax K and Nikon F mounts, and it works extremely well in that role. No other single full-frame camera could allow me to use every single one of those lenses.

Enjoy your new A7
12-29-2017, 09:37 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I guess everybody has different objectives. To make it my main body, I'd want to rest assured the AF is good enough in low light say with the FE28 or FE85... I'll see how it fare in the coming days/months. That will be the key thing. I couldn't care less of pixel shift, astro tracer and other features. The more MP would mater to me only to crop the longest lens to APSC to get more reach on the occasion. Other than that it is wasted space on the drive.

I may upgrade to A7RII if I feel a better body can fix the issue and the fast lenses are not enough but that would be mostly for AF and better high iso then, not more MP. I may sell if I feel disappointed, I feel like I wouldn't loose that much by reselling the A7 with the price I got.

As for Pentax, they don't provide what I am currently interested in, so it appear normal that I vote with my wallet. And it appear normal that other also vote with their wallet too This is more a return of experience I hope to complete over time !
12-29-2017, 12:36 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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Yes, congratulations, Nicholas. Like you I have an a7, that I obtained in like new condition, for less than 1/2 the price of a used K-1. My arthritic wrists and thumbs took the fun out of using my K-1, so it is now being enjoyed by another Pentaxian. I agree fully with Mike. I obtain my enjoyment of the a7 by adapting Pentax, Konica, Minolta, Olympus, and Canon lenses. I have found that it is easier for me, personally, to obtain the quality of file, that I desire, from the a7.

12-29-2017, 06:00 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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I've used an A7 for some time now, but have no autofocus lenses for it. I use it only for my collection of old manual focus SLR lenses, primarily SMC Pentax-M from my MX and LX days. The smaller -M lenses are well matched to the A7 size, and the results on the A7 are very good. Manual focus with these lenses on the A7 is much easier than on my K-5, without using focus aids.
01-06-2018, 09:43 AM - 1 Like   #6
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To give an idea of its low light capabilities. Taken with the 28-70 kit lens, all at iso 8000, f4/5 to f/5.6. Indoors at nigh at my aunt house. I could maybe got the iso a bit lower if I had lowered my shutter speed from 1/80 to say 1/40 but I wanted to ensure I didn't got too much bluryness due to movement of the subjects.

Developped in Capture One using embedded noise removal tool.
Attached Images
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ILCE-7  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
ILCE-7  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
ILCE-7  Photo 

Last edited by Nicolas06; 01-06-2018 at 01:11 PM.
01-06-2018, 01:12 PM   #7
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It was iso 8000, not 800, I fixed the typo.
01-06-2018, 02:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
It was iso 8000, not 800, I fixed the typo.
That makes sense, Nicolas!

Lovely results... Obviously there are cameras with even better high ISO capability, but I really like what the A7 and A7II are capable of. Certainly, you can shoot at ISO 6400 all day without problems, and if you're prepared to accept some grain, ISO 12,800 is perfectly usable. I tend to leave colour noise reduction at the default of +25 in Lightroom. For smaller-sized reproduction, I don't bother much with luminance noise reduction, but as the size increases I'll typically add +15 for that too. Enough to reduce the noise a bit, but not remove it at the expense of detail

06-03-2018, 08:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
It is quite slow on the opposite in low light, in particular with slow lenses. In low light the kit lens AF okish but not great at 28mm f/3.5 and really slow at 70mm f/5.6...
That was also my experience with the A7 III, both Pentax K1 and Fuji XT2 with kit lenses were faster to lock focus.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 06-03-2018 at 08:35 AM.
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