The benefits (or otherwise) of legacy and adapted lenses. Part 3 - Sony A7 / A7r

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Without the use of legacy and adapted lenses my Sony A7 / A7r outfit would be somewhat limited. Unlike the m4/3 and Fuji X systems I discussed, the new Sony FE 'Full-frame' mirrorless system is very lens light. To get anything like a decent lens choice, adapters are vital, whether its the Sony a-mount to e-mount AF version or 3rd. party adapters for third party lenses. It's difficult to think of any other new, high-end and somewhat radical system being launched with so few lenses available when it reaches the shops. In this case just one zoom lens. 

Now Sony were obviously aware of this and must have taken it into consideration. So they could be thought of as being very 'old-school' about this, with a marketing strategy that harks back the old days of plate film cameras, when some companies made camera bodies and others made the lenses for it. Long-term of course Sony will be keen to fill out their lens offer and could argue that the a-mounts take care of a lot of photographers needs. But many photographers, including myself, will take advantage of the already existing e-mount adapter possibilities and use their lenses of choice from other manufacturers. 

These cameras are probably going to end up as the most adapted in recent history, because of this lack of 'native' lenses and already there are posts everywhere with all sorts of tests going on. Some seem to have a better outcome than others. M-mount wide angles being a particular problem area.

However, it seems that lenses designed for 35mm film cameras and DSLR's produce excellent results when fitted to the A7 and A7r and certainly my experiences bear that out. The Nikon primes I'm using are giving me sharper results than the 28-70mm FE zoom I've bought. The zoom gives me AF and a flexible focal length range and that is very useful, but certainly if I don't need that and have the time to work with them, my manually focused Nikon and Voigtlander primes will be my first choice. And with the proposed limited FE lens roll out and my less than enthusaistic feelings about the a-mount 'full-frame' lens options I can see this continuing for some time. 

So, with this format, I'm anticipating definite benefits from using legacy and adapted lenses, in terms of lens choice and image quality. 

And things move on. The m4/3 system wasn't actually the first time I worked with adapted lenses, as I used to use Nikon primes on my Canon DSLR's, particularly for video, but it was certainly where I used them extensively. That's now a system where I would only use such lenses occasionally these days and only for very specific purposes. The 'native' m4/3 lens range being very extensive and of high quality. For my Fuji X cameras it's now becoming the case that I use them less and less. Certainly Fuji have some gaps to fill but overall there is now an excellent high quality range available.

I imagine in time that Sony will come up with some decent options for the A7 and A7r, but if past experience is anything to go by, this will take time and not necessarily offer the premium quality I would wish for. As I've indicated, I'm prepared to tolerate some flaws in the 28-70mm because of it's convenience and generally pretty decent performance overall (plus it's really good for handheld video), but I'm certainly not interested in the telephoto zoom (too heavy) or the Zeiss standard zoom alternative (It's Zeiss!!) and I'd rather use my Nikons than the 35mm and 55mm primes, though the latter of those lenses does look very impressive indeed. So for the foreseeable future I'll continue 'fiddling around' with my adapters and using manual focus. And to be honest that's not a prospect I find unappealing.

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