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Wildlife, long lenses, and sensor format


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#121 jaapv

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:57

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After Sony  (or any other maker) updates the tech, won't other formats leapfrog?


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#122 Steve Spencer

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 13:13

After Sony  (or any other maker) updates the tech, won't other formats leapfrog?

 

Yeah, leapfrogging back and forth is likely in the future I would guess, but that is different from the situation now and in the past. M4/3rds has always been ahead. They got the new tech and FF sensors have never caught up (i.e., FF sensors only got the tech in M4/3rds after M4/3rds moved on to even newer tech). It seems that the advantage of having newer sensor tech may well be ending and instead we may have a situation in which size of the sensor is basically unrelated to how advanced the sensor tech is. Although I think it seems most likely that sensor size with be unrelated to how advanced the sensor tech will be, it is conceivable that FF sensors will get the newer tech in the future and M4/3rds will only get that tech after FF sensor have gotten even newer tech. If Sony wants to use their dominant market share in building sensors to support their camera business that could hold back M4/3rds sensor advancement. I don't think they will do that, however, as their sensor business is much much more profitable for them than their camera business and they would be creating opportunities for others to challenge their position in sensors if they did so.

The bottom line is that a big advantage of M4/3rds in having newer sensor tech seems poised to be vanishing and is unlikely to continue in the future.



#123 Steve Spencer

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 12:53

At the risk of beating a dead horse, let me try one more time to discuss the comparison of M4/3rds mirrorless cameras with FF 35mm digital cameras. Let me start with what I think is a simple comparison. Imagine that you have the Panny/Leica 25 f/1.4 on Panny GX8 and let's compare that to the Sony FE 50 f/2.8 on the new Sony A9. Both setups would have similar field of view (FOV) and similar depth of field (DOF) capabilities, and if you shot the Sony at two stops higher ISO, you could shoot them at the same shutter speed. Would the Sony A9 have more noise because it was being shot at a higher ISO? Actually, it appears that it wouldn't. Sony claims the new A9 has the same high ISO capabilities as their A7s II, and if you go to DXO mark and compare the Panny GX8 and the Sony A7s II on signal to noise ratio, you see the A7s II has a bit more than 2 stops better signal to noise ratio. For example ISO 1693 on the GX8 has about the same signal to noise ratio as ISO 8000 on the Sony A7sII. Are there drawbacks to the Sony setup? It is a bit bigger than the Panny setup in this case, but it still weighs less than a Leica M10 with a 50 cron AA, so it is hardly a big setup.

 

Now let's go back to the comparison that cause so much consternation. Let's compare the Panny/Leica 100-400 f/4-6.3 on the Panny GX8 with the Sony 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 with the 2X tele extender (an effective 200-400 f/9-f11 lens) on the Sony A9. This situation is really no different from the one above. Both setups will have as similar FOV and similar DOF capabilities (the Sony setup will have the capability of being shot with a half of stop less DOF) and if you turn the ISO up 2 stops on the Sony they can be shot with similar shutter speeds, and because the Sony A9 has two stops lower noise, the noise will be the same too. So, if take Jaap's lion shot that he posted earlier which was shot at 400mm and f/8 and I believe 400 ISO with the GX8 and Panny/Leica 100-400, you could shoot a very similar shot with the Sony A9 and the Sony 100-400 and 2X tele extender at 400mm (and effective 800mm with the 2X extender) and f/8 (and effective f/16 with the extender) and 1600 ISO. They would have similar noise because of the A9 has about 2 stop advantage in lower noise (and if you look at the measurements at DXO mark this 2 stop advantage is pretty consistent at all ISOs).

 

So, would one system be notably better than the other in image quality? I suspect the M4/3rds would be better because of the effect of the tele extender on the Sony system, but I don't know that. It comes down to how well the lenses are made. Would the AF even work on the Sony at an effective f/11 as the widest aperture? Sony claims and several tests have demonstrated that it not only works, but works very very well, and this is something that is new about FF 35mm mirrorless. Because of how DSLR had to divert the light for AF, almost no camera could AF with a lens that had a max aperture greater than f/5.6 and no camera could AF with a lens that had a max aperture greater than f/8, but because mirrorless cameras don't divert the light for AF, but instead use the light as it falls on the whole sensor they can AF at a narrower max aperture. This is important for lens design. Part of the reason long FF 35mm lenses up to this point have had to be huge is that they really couldn't have a max aperture smaller than f/5.6 and certainly not smaller than f/8 and still AF. With mirrorless FF 35mm cameras expect to see some longer lenses that are substantially smaller because they can have much smaller max apertures and still AF well.

 

Now in our comparison above it is important to note that the Sony A9 and Sony 100-400 with the 2X tele extender is still notably bigger than the Panny GX8 with the Panny/Leica 100-400. The Sony set up would weigh in at 2277g. For some that may still be too big for what they would like to use, but in my view that is imminently hand holdable, and you can pair this setup with a Sony FE 35 f/2.8, FE 50 f/2.8, and  FE 85 f/1.8 and still have a bag that only weighs 4 grams over 3 kilos. To me it is still a quite portable and travel ready kit.


Edited by Steve Spencer, 06 May 2017 - 13:19.


#124 biglouis

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 23:18

Steve, all I can say in response is that whole idea behind m43rds is to achieve the best image quality in the smallest package.

 

You are right, the Sony 100-400+2x teleconverter is the complete opposite of the virtues of the m43rds system. It is as you state heavier, bulkier and actually a complete unkown at this point in time as AFIK neither the A9 or the 100-400 are available. It is also about 2-3 times the price of, say, a GH5+100-400.

 

I had my fill of the variable performance of Sony glass. The FE 35/2.8 was overpriced and a very uninspiring lens - I sold it in about 2 months and bought the phenomenally expensive but better performance manual Zeiss 35mm lens. The 70-200/4 I owned for a week before returning it because I never had a sharp image - it was low contrast, as well - and completely overpriced for what it was. I would say half the glass I bought for my Sony cameras was poor and although I am sure things have improved I'd already wasted so much money and endured so much disappointment with the lenses for the system I decided enough was enough.

 

Another nail in the coffin for me was the purchase of the FE 90/2.8 for macro. A fantastic lens in a fantastic (and in this sense I mean ironic) form factor.

 

Compare the GX8+45/2.8 Elmarit on the left with the A7S+FE90/2.8 on the right.

 

Beauty (on the left) and the enormous beast (on the right).
Which one do you think I can hold with one hand bent double photographing bugs?

Attached File  _R000485.jpg   379.25KB   8 downloads

 

Systems are highly personal things. I need (i) a camera I can rely on and (ii) a camera I can carry anywhere. Personally, I could not do that with my Sony system but I found it very easy to do with my m43rds. So I sold the Sony gear and kept the m43rds.

 

Not saying Sony isn't the winner on IQ but it just didn't work well for me and the appeal of the m43rds system for most people is size and IQ, not just any size and IQ.

 

Just my two cents

 

LouisB


Edited by biglouis, 06 May 2017 - 23:19.

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#125 Steve Spencer

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 12:15

Louis, I agree that choice of system is a very personal decision and I also agree that M4/3rds emphasizes across the board small package size, but I don't really agree with your assessment of the Sony system nor your comparison of the Panny/Leica 45 f/2.8 to the Sony G 90 f/2.8. Let me try to explain why. Whereas M4/3rds has consistently emphasized small size of their lenses, Sony has adopted a different strategy in which at most focal lengths they have two lenses, one of which emphasizes size and one of which they clearly don't care about size. Examples of their small lenses include the 28 f/2; 35 f/2.8; 50 f/1.8; 50 f/2.8; 55 f/1.8; and 85 f/1.8. Examples of lenses in which they clearly do not care about size include the 35 f/1.4; 50 f/1.4; 85 f/1.4; 90 f/2.8 Macro; and100 f/2.8 STF. So, Sony seems to be developing a set of small lenses for those who prefer that and a set of large lenses for people who do not care about size. So, when you compare the Panny/Leica 45 f/2.8 to the Sony G 90 f/2.8 it doesn't make much sense to me because if you care about size and use the Sony system then you wouldn't pick that macro. If you care about size and want AF and focal length doesn't matter to you, you could pick the Sony FE 50 f/2.8 macro which is actually a bit smaller than the Panny/Leica 45 f/2.8. If you care about size and focal length and can forego AF (which for macro I much prefer MF anyway), then you could adapt the Leica M 90 f/4 Elmar-M Macro and it too is considerably smaller than the Panny/Leica 45 f/2.8. So there are small solutions for the Sony system. Personally, I use the Leica M 90 Elmar-M and it is a fantastic capable and incredibly small macro. So, if you want to compare M/4/3rds to the large Sony lenses you can make it look a lot smaller, but this can be a bit misleading as in most instances smaller options are available as there are in this specific case as well.

 

Now let's return to the comparison of the GX8 and the Panny/Leica 100-400 to the Sony A9 with the Sony GM 100-400 and the 2X tele extender. The Panny system is smaller coming in just under 1.5 kg, whereas the Sony system comes in at just over 2.2 kg, but what I think is noteworthy is that both of these system get you to an 800mm FF 35mm equivalent with dramatically less size and weight than what you can get with a DSLR. Canon has the smallest DSLR package to get you that much reach and it would require their 1DX II, their 400 f/4 DO II, and their 2X tele extender, which would weigh just under 4.0 kg. It is clear to me, anyway, that both M4/3rds and Sony has dramatically smaller setups than the DSLR type systems and that they are much more similar in size to each other than to the DSLR system. That is why I am talking about the advantages of mirrorless over DSLR and not the advantages of sensor size. The advantages of going mirrorless for long lenses seems to be a much bigger deal than the advantage of a smaller sensor. By the way, Sony says the A9 and the 100-400 will be available next month and where I am right now which is in Toronto, they both available for a demo at Henry's last Thursday, so it seems they are on track for the release next month.

 

Also, please don't see me as a Sony apologist. Although I have a Sony camera it isn't my preferred system--Leica M is. I do, however, appreciate many of the things that mirrorless cameras have brought to the table and chief among those things is the small size that you see consistently with M4/3rds and in some of what Sony has to offer. I in no way mean to knock M4/3rds which is a system I very much appreciate. I just don't buy the arguments that its advantages are unique.



#126 jmahto

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 03:44

Steve, all I can say in response is that whole idea behind m43rds is to achieve the best image quality in the smallest package.

You are right, the Sony 100-400+2x teleconverter is the complete opposite of the virtues of the m43rds system. It is as you state heavier, bulkier and actually a complete unkown at this point in time as AFIK neither the A9 or the 100-400 are available. It is also about 2-3 times the price of, say, a GH5+100-400.

I had my fill of the variable performance of Sony glass. The FE 35/2.8 was overpriced and a very uninspiring lens - I sold it in about 2 months and bought the phenomenally expensive but better performance manual Zeiss 35mm lens. The 70-200/4 I owned for a week before returning it because I never had a sharp image - it was low contrast, as well - and completely overpriced for what it was. I would say half the glass I bought for my Sony cameras was poor and although I am sure things have improved I'd already wasted so much money and endured so much disappointment with the lenses for the system I decided enough was enough.

Another nail in the coffin for me was the purchase of the FE 90/2.8 for macro. A fantastic lens in a fantastic (and in this sense I mean ironic) form factor.

Compare the GX8+45/2.8 Elmarit on the left with the A7S+FE90/2.8 on the right.

Beauty (on the left) and the enormous beast (on the right).
Which one do you think I can hold with one hand bent double photographing bugs?

_R000485.jpg

Systems are highly personal things. I need (i) a camera I can rely on and (ii) a camera I can carry anywhere. Personally, I could not do that with my Sony system but I found it very easy to do with my m43rds. So I sold the Sony gear and kept the m43rds.

Not saying Sony isn't the winner on IQ but it just didn't work well for me and the appeal of the m43rds system for most people is size and IQ, not just any size and IQ.

Just my two cents

LouisB

Pictures like this makes me appreciate MF lenses. This is why I have 40summicron-c, 90 macro-elmar and 180 lanthar f/4. :) The lanthar is smaller and lighter than Sony 90 in the picture with super performance including close focus.

Edited by jmahto, 08 May 2017 - 03:50.

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#127 biglouis

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 08:46

Steve, I can't agree with you more about the Elmar 90/4 macro - if I ever own another Leica rangefinder that would one of the lenses I would immediately acquire. I could carry my M8, 28/2.8, 50 Elmar and 90 Elmar with me in a tiny crumpler bag I still own (but not the camera or lenses). A very powerful kit in a tiny space. The 90/4 was a jewel amongst lenses, imho.

 

Jayant, I can't agree with your more about the 40 Summicron - if I ever own another Leica rangefinder that would be one of the lenses I would immediately acquire! Actually, I used one adapted on my Sony cameras all the time I owned them. Superlative.

 

You can see an example of the 40 Summicron adapted on a Sony A7 body here.

 

LouisB


Edited by biglouis, 08 May 2017 - 08:50.

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