Do I want to 'Leica Up' my Sony A7r? No Thanks.

Sony A7r Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8 lens

Despite all the evidence that shows that the majority of wide-angle m-mount lenses have vignetting and colour cast issues on the Sony A7r to a certain degree, it seems many people on the forums are still trying to talk up the camera as some kind of Leica alternative. Why? It doesn't look like a Leica, work like a Leica and it actually produces pretty bad pictures with large numbers of overpriced (and overated?) Leica lenses. So is this some attempt to somehow legitimise the A7r? Is it that some people can't be comfortable using it unless in some way they can 'Leica Up' the camera? I can understand it if people already own a collection of m-mount lenses and want to use them on the Sony. But, at least at the wide-angle end, with a few exceptions, aren't they going to be disappointed?

Now I don't want the A7r to be a Leica alternative, I want it be what it is. I also want a collection of decent AF lenses for it, but it seems I'm going to have to wait for that. However I'm perfectly happy to use it on it's own terms. I'm not particularly bothered that it's mirrorless, though I am happy with the advantages that brings, size, weight, live view etc. and I'm certainly not bothered that it can (or can't) be used with m-mount lenses. The pictures and 100% blowups that I'm posting are all out of camera jpgs. and I defy anyone to show me any jpg. image from the camera taken with an m-mount lens that's significantly better. Some were taken with an old Series E 100m f/2.8 lens, some with a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens and some with a Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 Nikon fit lens, a lens which has no colour cast and only limited (and easily correctable) vignetting wide open and also doesn't cost ridiculous amounts of money. These three primes cost me less than £700 in total, a deposit on some Leica lenses is more than that!

I will argue anyway that it's the sensor rather than the lens that is the primary determinant of quality images. Just like it was with film. No matter what Leica rangefinder camera and Leica lenses were used with Ektachrome 400, using Velvia 50 and the bottom of a beer bottle produced better images! OK, a huge exaggeration but not that far from the truth. On the A7r that 36MP image capturing device is the star of the show. Which is actually a good job considering the quality of Sony's lens range and there are many alternatives to m-mount lenses that will produce terrific results. And of course if you are talking about W/A lenses, less unpleasant results than most m-mounts will produce. 

Now some are criticising Sony for not producing a camera that works better with these m-mount W/A's. But then why would Sony have done that? They aren't in the business of supporting another manufacturer, especially when that manufacturer charges what they do for their lenses. The A7r is capable of being paired with so many lenses anyway that this problem is insignificant. And there is only a fuss about it because people seem to have had unfounded expectations in the first place. The A7r is what it is, a superb camera that produces breathtaking image files. I'm prepared to applaud it for what it is and use it accordingly rather than criticise it for not being what some would wish it to be. 

So no thanks to some kind of Leica alternative and yes please to one of the best picture creating sensors I've ever used and one which I can use my sensibly priced, yet high performance lenses on. I can pixel-peep with the best and I'm very happy with what I'm getting. And I don't need the camera to be Leica lens 'compatible' to appreciate what it's capable of. 







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