A7r or Leica M9 with m-Lenses

Discussion in 'Sony E-Mount (incl. NEX, A7, A7R, A3000) Forum' started by retow, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    Who of the digital Leica M owners has tried a A7(r) and how satisfied are you with the Sony output?
    Center resolution of the A7r with m lenses is impressive. But corner to corner and edge to edge performance is not up to what the M9 delivers. Even with the outstanding Summilux 50 asph stopped down to f8, f11 @infinity edge performance (and it is a wide "edge") is disappointing imo. And then there is a crispness/micro contrast with the M9 files, I simply do not see with the A7(r). As landscape camera, a Sigma DP Merrill easily betters the Sony A7(r) Leica-M lens combo. For connoisseurs, the RX1 with its exquisite files it produces is the FF Sony to get. So is the A7(r) just a Mustang Shelby of cameras, a monster sensor under the hood, but the rest rather mundane and lacking refinement?
    So what`s your early verdict?
     
  2. BruPri

    BruPri SC Top Veteran

    699
    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    M9 with M-lenses. Sony color is not as pleasing as the Leica and the rendering too flat IMHO.
     
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  3. KianO

    KianO SC Top Veteran

    568
    Jun 27, 2012
    Geneva
    Comparing the sony and the m9 cannot be done, the m9 has something unique about it. It is not so much the case with the m240 which I am myself selling because I am very happy with the a7r.

    What many people see as being flat is basically the fact that the dynamic range is very wide and we tend to be used to compressed ans sharp looking colors in transition zones. The a7r and so is the case with the d800e has a lot of "finesse" and I rather like that a lot, I can still crush the colors using lightroom adjustments, but again the m9 has something unique and if I had one I would probably keep it for that uniqueness.
     
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  4. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I've used Leica Ms extensively (albeit not the digital ones) and I have to agree with Kian, you cannot do a "simple" comparison. Using a Leica is the sum of the parts; superlative glass (which can be put on other bodies) haptics and handling, and the viewfinder; it is that latter that makes it for me.
     
  5. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    I understand what you are saying. Though my post relates to output only, not to the more intangible claims of ergonomics, haptics, etc, which are more subjective. The point is, that the A7r does not allow the m-lenses, except maybe for the 75mm and longer ones, to show their full potential.
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I've been using the Sony for two days, and I'm not sure which I'd buy, but probably the Sony. Superb edge sharpness matters little to me. The overall lens rendering is similar with either camera, and the Sony sensor delivers noticeably more resolution (in most of the frame) as well as better dynamic range and high ISO performance. Controls are a wash - I actually like having an exposure comp dial (Sony) more than having a shutter speed dial (Leica). The biggest difference in use is the viewfinder, and I find both focusing with a rangefinder and focusing with an EVF to be enjoyable, the rangefinder slightly more so.

    Without question the Leica looks and feels better to me. The overall experience of using the Leica is nicer while the Sony delivers the preferable files (all just from my point of view of course).
     
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  7. christilou

    christilou SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I made my decision at the weekend, I don't need both and the M has now gone, at some loss I might add :(. My feeling is that the build quality and the gorgeous shutter were not worth that much more money, coupled with the fact that I just couldn't get along with the M's colour quirks. The sony colour is just so much easier to work with at the end of the day whilst the ghastly green/yellow cast I often got with the M made me use it in b & w JPEG more often. Perhaps I would have been happier with the M9 in the first place but having used manual focus constantly these last three months I find that I crave AF and to that end am awaiting my sony Zeiss 55 1.8 and possibly the 35 at some point.
     
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  8. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    there are many aspects to this question, and IQ is only one, and maybe not necessarily the most important. please check out this url, on rangefinder forum, about halfway down the page, a post from Xray that starts 'Thanks Tim'. it covers some very important peripheral topics related to the M9 specifically and leica generally from a professional standpoint. although the thread is formally about the nikon DF, i think it will be very helpful to your m9 decision making.

    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=138392&page=5
     
  9. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    So perhaps the family of three plus two shall be four plus two? M9 will not be shown the door?
     
  10. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    I bought the A7 body only and today an adapter finally arrived so I could start playing with it. It was the complimentary Metabones EOS EF to E mount, so the only lens I cared to try at this stage was my Zeiss ZE 50mm f/1.4 which I really like. I shot with it all afternoon and a bit at night.

    I'm not sure I like the camera. Everything about it screamed DSLR even down to the raw files in the way it presented and reacted to my processing in Lightroom. If I had a choice, I would jump on an M9.

    But anyway I'll wait for the M mount adapter to arrive so I can try my favourite RF lenses and see how that goes.

    I have a stupid question though, Amin you mentioned you preferred the Exp Comp dial instead of shutter dial on top, I've never understood what exp comp is because if the exposure isn't right I'd change shutter or aperture (or ISO). Is exp comp a more subtle way of playing with shutter speed?
     
  11. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    I know you asked Amin to answer this question but until he does let me try. In a normally lit scene your camera's light meter does well in seeing the scene properly. But let's say you're shooting a scene with snow (white). You're camera's meter is designed to expose for 18% grey and you're snow will look grey out of the camera. You would normally add a 1.0 - 1.5 stops of additional exposure to fool the meter so your snow is white. You would use the exposure compensation dial to add that bias to your camera's choice of exposure. Or manually set your shutter speed to a 1.0 - 1.5 stop slower shutter speed to do the same thing.
     
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  12. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    Thanks Duane. So do I understand it correctly that the exp comp dial has a direct relationship with shutter speed only and not aperture in the way it affects exposure? It would be the equivalent of basically adjusting the shutter speed directly, is it not? Why not do away with the exp comp dial and make things less complicated by directly adjusting shutter speed?

    What happens if a camera has a max shutter speed of 1/4000 and I adjust the exp comp dial a stop slower?

    A side question - if snow is coming out grey, isn't that a WB issue?
     
  13. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    I think the exposure comp is only affecting shutter speed. However, not sure what would happen if you're also using auto ISO. As to what happens when you hit the shutter limit I would think if you're using a lens that has auto aperture then its going to change. On my Leica the 1/4000 is the limit and exposure comp trying to exceed that can't change the physical limit of the shutter mechanism.

    The snow coming out grey is not a WB issue as its an exposure challenge. If it were a WB issue then the problem would be a temperature issue either too blue (cool) or yellow (warm) or the tint has a green or red problem.
     
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  14. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    If it has auto aperture then we'd be in Program mode or auto-everything territory. In which case I don't know where exp comp fits into the whole automated scheme of things if the camera is already taking control of shutter, aperture and ISO.
     
  15. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    It's why I prefer the simplicity of the Leica. Direct control of aperture/shutter/ISO. Yes you can set auto ISO and shutter speed. I also like how Leica has designed how the shutter detents and lens aperture settings work hand in hand. Two clicks changes to the aperture changes one stop of light. Two click changes on the shutter dial changes the light one stop.
     
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  16. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Depending on changing light conditions, the metered shutter speed from one image to the next might change as much as a couple of stops. If you are in manual mode you'll need to make big changes to the shutter speed get the metering right. In A mode, the camera will get you to what it thinks is the right exposure immediately and you then only need to trim the exposure compensation a little (if at all) to get to the correct exposure.

    I agree with Amin that I'd take an exposure compensation dial over a shutter speed dial any day.
     
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  17. flash

    flash SC Veteran

    372
    May 6, 2011
    Gordon
    Manual exposure is static. Shutter, aperture and ISO are locked until you change them. The exposure comp dial does nothing in manual. Aperture or shutter priority are dynamic. One is locked but the other changes with the guide of the camera meter. If you are in changing light it's really handy. exposure compensation just tells the camera to set the floating parameter higher or lower than the recommended meter reading. That could be either the shutter speed or aperture, or both in the case of full program.

    As for the A7(r) versus the M9. Almost all my lenses perform very well on the A7, just without the modifications coding provides on the M9. It's not like the M9 doesn't have its own problems with a whole bunch of lenses.

    Gordon
     
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  18. KianO

    KianO SC Top Veteran

    568
    Jun 27, 2012
    Geneva
    Tests we see here and there on the internet tend to show that leica lenses are well served by the a7r but your expectations may be higher than mine. I am very happy with the noctilux on a7r I believe that it's full potential is well expressed. I plan on putting a 35 1.4 leica lens on it. Wider angled lenses don't all work so well on the a7 cameras as far as I know.
     
  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    It depends on all your settings. If you are manually selecting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, then exposure compensation has no function. However, if you let the camera automatically choose shutter speed and/or ISO, then exposure compensation plays an important role.

    Say you are shooting in manual mode (choosing aperture and shutter speed) at f/2.8, 1/100s but using Auto ISO. For this example, let's say the camera selects ISO 160 to achieve a particular apparent exposure (image brightness). If you change to 1/200s in an attempt to lower the apparent exposure, it won't change because the camera will automatically gain up the ISO to ISO 320 to maintain the same image brightness. If you were to change to 1/200s and at the same time dial in -1EV exposure compensation, the exposure comp tells the camera that you want a 1 stop darker apparent exposure than it would normally choose, and it will therefore keep the ISO at 160.

    Or say that you are shooting a scene at f/2.8, ISO 320, automatic shutter speed (aperture priority), where the camera chooses 1/200s to get a "normal" apparent exposure of the scene. If that scene happens to be a backlit portrait, you could dial in +1EV to increase brightness of the subject, and the camera would respond to that exposure compensation by using a 1/100 shutter speed.
     
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  20. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    earlier in this thread i cited a url on RFF that may have been overlooked. besides the IQ issues, there are issues of lens compatability even with the m9--color and especially focus shift with many rf lenses. many have to ship out all their lenses and camera to leica for recalibration, and as the post i cited demonstrates, leica is in no hurry to get these back to you in a timely manner. moreover, agsin as in the cited post, recalibrated lenses can suddenly and without warning fall out of calibration, necessitating another office visit to dr leica. i strongly suggest you consider some of these ancillary nonIQ issues so yiu know what youre getting into before commiting $5000.