The Sony A7r. Is the lack of FE lenses actually an advantage?

All images - Sony A7r 10-18mm and 85mm lenses.








I've been one of those who has written repeatedly about the lack of decent Sony lenses for their mirrorless systems, most notably the FE system and the A7 cameras. Yesterday was a case in point, I went out with my APS-C e-mount 10-18mm zoom, which just happens to work within the 12-16mm range on the A7r and my a-mount 85mm f/2.8 attached with an LA-EA4 adapter. Not an FE mount lens in sight and indeed I've just sold my 28-70mm zoom. 

But then I looked at the pictures and thought to myself, what exactly is the disadvantage here? The 85mm is very cheaply made, costs very little but is actually very good optically. And the results I'm getting from the 10-18mm are just spectacular. Absolutely my favourite lens of the moment. Add in the great results I'm getting from my Voigtlander 20mm and Nikon Series E 100mm and I'm beginning to wonder why I and others are making such a fuss. After all if there was a decent set of FE lenses then I wouldn't be using what I'm using and those wide-angle technicolour attention grabbers from the 10-18mm certainly  wouldn't exist. 

Despite it's looks to the contrary, the A7r is a monster of a camera. That sensor is truly a wonder. Just out of interest in the last couple of days I had a look at some raw files shot with the Leica T and it's £1250 kit lens. They were staggeringly mediocre. I don't know if this was a pre-production model or not but the files were really soft, ordinary and very un-Leica like. And yes I know it's a Sony sensor, but it's an old one and the processing engine Leica are using is somewhat dated too. Now the images I'm getting from my a6000 are significantly better than that and the A7r takes this on again. And 'sexy' as the Leica T undoubtedly is, the A7r takes far better pictures, with higher resolution and are un-AA filtered in a way that means something, unlike the Leica which just piles on lots of noise reduction on using in-camera software.

And I still haven't seen anything that compares with the A7r quality. It produces sharper results than the Nikon D800E I had (and it's anti AA filter filter) and I can't see it being surpassed for some time to come. And do the somewhat 'mix and match' collection of lenses I have for it do it justice? You bet they do. There are the two FE lenses I have, the 35mm and 55mm and they are superb but they really aren't that much better than my Voigtlander 20mm which loves the A7r sensor. 

I'd still like to find a decent light telephoto I like that's longer than my 100mm Nikon, but in the meantime those 36MP's make for high quality cropping. But I think I'm going to stop moaning about Sony's lack of FE lenses, or the quality and / or size, weight and price of some of the ones they are have brought out and are bringing out and embrace the fact that I'm getting some seriously good results with my set of 'gypsy' lenses. 

In a way it's like the old days and view cameras. Somebody made the bodies, somebody else made the lenses. And since I pretty much despise the whole team / brand / system concept of becoming a paid up member of the Nikon / Canon / Sony / Olympus etc. supporters club, this is something that suits me anyway. I do like 'left-field' stuff. I was, if you remember, using APS-C Nikon lenses on 35mm / 'full-frame' sensors years ago and singing their praises, so it's no real surprise that I'm prepared to enter into the wild and wacky world of the 10-18mm. 

Diversity rules! 


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