Sony A7r - Again! Sony FE 28-70mm and Minolta 70-210mm lenses.


It happened again. The sun was out this morning so I decided to go out. After my recent posts I thought about what to take with me. The GX7? X-E2? Two different formats with different lenses? Maybe the X-E2 and X-M1? So I went to my camera shelf and guess what I left the house with?
Sony A7r + Sony FE 28-70mm and Minolta a-mount 70-210mm lenses. I fitted the Minolta to my LA-EA4 adapter. So yes it happened again. When I go out I grab the best camera I have. And this 'problem' if of course it can be seen as such, is that I have these cameras that I supposedly like using, but I've actually stopped using them. To a certain extent I had the same 'problem' with the Nikon D800E sitting on the shelf. I SHOULD be using it, I always thought to myself. However the situation is now different. The D800E was heavy, the lenses I used on it were heavy, but the A7r (and the A7) aren't. And I have some relatively light lenses for both.

So after driving to where I wanted to be, the sunlight disappeared and I was under grey cloud with little possibility of it improving. So I was 'stuck' with a camera that's not regarded as great in low(ish) light and two slow lenses not renowned for their performance wide open. So after wishing I'd brought the 55mm f/1.8 or Sigma 35mm f/1.4 with me I decided to make the best of it and at least do some testing with the 70-210mm.

So in the end I set the shutter speed to 1/320th. sec. the ISO to 400 and got on with it.




The jpg. files were nice and clean, noise free and surprisingly good. As is well known by now I really rate the jpgs. from this camera. Which contradicts comments by a certain well known review site. And the more I use these FE cameras the more I'm convinced that I'm right. The 28-70mm was OK. Decent enough but nothing spectacular. However for the most part I used the 70-210mm as I wanted to check it out some more. 

Now I don't (didn't) expect much from this lens. It's old, it was cheap (£69) and it's an 80's / 90's telephoto zoom designed for film cameras. But then I got home, looked at the files and saw this.


Anyone have a problem with that as a OOC jpg. image shot hand held with no IS? No, I thought not. As you can see it's a 100% blowup and it's seriously sharp. And this begs the question, what does my Fuji X-E2 + 55-200mm with OIS offer me over this? Well some extra reach certainly, but not much else really. Because up to ISO 1600, which is the limit of what I'd ever use outdoors, the A7r jpgs. seem to be better than what the Fuji can give me. They are really impressive, with little noise and sharper than the Fuji rendition. Plus remember this is a slow lens. f/4.5 maximum + the loss of another 1/3 to 1/2 stop of light because of the adapter. That extra pull from the Fuji? Well not really a problem since with all those extra A7r pixels cropping isn't a problem. So what exactly is the point of me keeping my Fuji X gear? Well after today, maybe not much. 

Now whether I keep my Fuji X gear is not dependent on anything so sensible as whether it's earning it's keep, but if I keep ignoring it and use the Sony's all the time then I will eventually get round to selling it. I must admit I had no idea that I could get such good results from the 70-210mm at ISO 400, so this was a pleasant surprise. And it does tend to sabotage my reasons for keeping the Fuji 55-200mm, which is a lens I love using but isn't the sharpest lens I've used. Now that doesn't particularly matter as I can apply some sharpening in PP, but the Minolta produced such good results that I may not be inclined to bother anymore. Plus the Fuji telephoto zoom doesn't have much in terms of size and / or weight benefits either.

So a trip I didn't hold out much hope for ended up being very useful. And now I have the information and the results of using something different. Whether I act upon them is of course a whole other matter.

 
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