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Two Very Different 35mm Equivalent Combos - A7R Summilux and E-M1 Nokton

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Amin Sabet, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I've been shooting these two side by side for the past couple of days:

    11443115843_70e1276b75_c.

    Left: Sony A7R with Leica Summilux M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH (FLE); right: Olympus E-M1 with Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 Nokton


    Both combos are pretty sweet to use. I think I could use either and have little need for anything other than the occasional short telephoto.

    Some key differences:

    1) The Sony/Leica combo is smaller. This will surprise some given that the Sony sensor is 4x larger than the Olympus, but lens size isn't necessarily tied to format/focal length/aperture. For example, a Zeiss 35/2 for Nikon SLR is much larger than a Nikon 35/2 for the same system, and a Zeiss Otus is much larger than any Canon 50mm lens. All depends on what the lens maker is trying to accomplish (see point 4 below).

    2) The Sony/Leica combo has incredible resolution. The sensor is much higher resolution, and the lens is much sharper. The differences in comparative detail when pixel peeping are stark. Will post some examples of that later in this thread.

    3) The Olympus/Voigtlander combo has smoother bokeh. Not necessarily better but definitely smoother.

    4) The Olympus/Voigtlander combo has a far shorter minimum focus distance. For example, this is as close I as can get to the Christmas tree with the Sony/Leica (entire frame, resized):

    11449500004_8233e8ed41_c.

    whereas this is how close I can get to the same tree with the Olympus/Voigtlander (entire frame, resized):

    11449550666_92815c095f_z.


    5) The Sony/Zeiss will run you just over $7700 (including Novoflex adapter), the Olympus/Voigtlander just over $2500 (current B&H Photo pricing).

    6) Handheld, low light, high ISO results are pretty much a wash. The Voigtlander is a stop faster, but the magnificent Sony sensor more than makes up for that. Meanwhile, the class leading in body image stabilization (IBIS) of the Olympus just about evens the score as far as I am concerned, keeping in mind that image stabilization won't freeze a moving subject and high ISO won't help you show subject movement.

    7) The Olympus viewfinder is a touch better than the Sony, but more importantly, the view through the Olympus viewfinder is steady (due to IBIS) while the Sony viewfinder is shaky when magnified for focus verification. Meanwhile the magnified view through the Sony is sharper when using both lenses wide open because the Leica lens is sharper wide open than the Voigtlander lens is wide open.
     
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  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Interesting comparison Amin. I'm not into manual focus enough to spend a lot for a MF-only lens, but I do like the images these turn out quite a lot. But I do have one question related to the focal length / FOV rather than either specific setup. I recall you saying more than once that you were much more comfortable shooting at 24-28mm than 35mm and while you had 35mm options you liked, you found yourself not using them much because of this FOV preference. I probably remember this because I felt the same way - very strongly. I also know that the RX1 broke me of that preference to some degree - I love using that camera so much that I finally adapted and learned to see at that focal length. I also find (and have seen it verified) that the RX1 is wider than any other 34-35 FOV lens I've used - it actually comes out closer to 31-32mm. So I attributed some of my adaptation to that - it wasn't as MUCH of a FOV difference as with the X100 / X100s or with the Olympus 17mm. But now I'm really comfortable shooting with the slightly narrower focal length and have even been OK shooting with a real 35mm FOV, not the almost 35 of the RX1. I still can't make heads or tails of a 50mm, but I used to be stuck at 28 or wider and about 90 or longer, with nothing between of much use to me. Now I'm very at home at 35, even with the real 35 - narrower than the RX1.

    So anyway, I was just wondering what brought about this change in your perspective? Was it doing a lot of family shots? I know I'm a lot happier shooting small groups of people and even semi-portrait type shots with 35 than the wider focal lengths. But I also got really comfortable with it for landscapes and urban shots and stuff. Just curious - seems like we had somewhat similar evolutions, so I wondered about your experience with it???

    -Ray
     
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    Hi Ray, I just gravitated toward 35mm over time. Can't really explain it. Still enjoy 28 and 50, but 35 is my new "all around" length.

    I was reading your comment in another thread about 24 feeling less wide in 4:3 than in 3:2 aspect ratio, and I've never noticed that myself. Feels about the same to me...
     
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    It empirically IS less wide, and a bit taller. I don't know if I'd have noticed it as obviously myself without having shot with an LX5 and LX7 for a couple of years. The multi-aspect sensor on those cameras, with a quick-switch on top of the lens, and a step zoom so you limit yourself to common focal lengths, can really teach a person some lessons about aspect ratios. At 24mm in the 16:9 native aspect, the FOV is roughly as wide (but a lot less tall) as a 21mm on a 3:2 sensor. 24mm at 4:3 is still a bit wider than 28 at 3:2 (but not at 16:9), but to me it felt kind of similar. And when I had both a 12 and 14mm lens for my m43 setup, I tended to gravitate to 12mm almost always. Whereas I've always been quite satisfied with 28 on a 3:2 native sensor. I can't swear I'd pass any of these tests in double blind testing, but when I'm using a camera/lens on a daily basis, I definitely develop preferences and perceptions that I'm willing to trust, regardless of their accuracy!

    -Ray
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I know what you mean, but I don't think it's the same for everyone whether horizontal angle of view contributes more than vertical angle of view to the sense of "wideness". Horizontal is what literally speaking defines "wide", but not necessarily what contributes to a sense of expansiveness and intimacy that people associate with wide angle photography. I started thinking about this when I read a review of the Panasonic 7-14 somewhere (can't remember where or when) where the reviewer said that the large vertical angle of view made 7mm on that sensor seem even wider than the usual 14mm equivalent in 3:2 aspect ratio. 16:9 is literally wider with a variable aspect ratio sensor, but you don't get the expansive skies in 16:9 that one associates with ultrawide landscape photography.

    Of course shooting in portrait orientation, horizontal becomes vertical and vice versa; so even if you consider 3:2 to be "wider" for a given diagonal angle of view, the reverse is true when you shoot in portrait.
     
  6. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, good point - the expansiveness in the skies does give it a different dimension, rather literally! There's also the issue of distortion and the way a wider lens causes stronger angles in converging lines, which are basically more inevitable in wider lenses than narrower lenses. So they're not the same. But, for whatever combination of reasons, I've gravitated to 24 with my m43 gear and generally to 28 with APS gear (and any other 3:2 gear I've used).

    -Ray
     
  8. bwidjaja

    bwidjaja New to SC

    5
    Sep 14, 2013
    Amin, thanks for the interesting comparison. Is there a third party adapter with helicoid that allows much shorter focusing for M lenses? I use one on the Fuji mount and M lenses now have almost same minimum focus distance as the SLR ones.
     
  9. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    There is a hawk adapter and also Voigtlander has a new adapter to focus M lenses closer.

     
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  10. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder SC Veteran

    383
    Mar 7, 2012
    That first picture puts an exclamation point on what an incredible job Sony did shoehorning a FF sensor into such a small body. Just 2 years ago did anyone think that anyone could make FF camera smaller than a M43 one?
     
  11. Gubrz

    Gubrz O.* Gonzo's & Bentley's Dad

    979
    Jun 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    i keep thinking i want an a7 to use with a tiny rf lens, like a voigt 40 or something
    mainly cause i want to use a focus tab... :D
    it feels fancy and slow and thoughtful... or something... and i think id like that!

    wow that close focus distance difference is CRAZY!
     
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  12. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Amin, thanks for your initial comparisons between the A7r and the EM-1. While I don't have an A7 (yet), I do have the EM-5 and Voigtlander 25, and it is both fun and annoying compared with Leica lenses. If you're used to lenses being sharp when wide open, the Voigtlander is either annoying or has 'character'. I find the wide aperture invaluable for video shooting in low light, although I still stop it down to f1.2 or f1.4 to get rid of the glow. The close focus is, as you said, very impressive.

    On the wide angle subject: the LX7's wide angle is quite remarkable, especially for a pocket camera. It has the widest and fastest lens I know of on a small camera, and is very versatile, due to the zoom.

    At 24mm and 16:9 ratio, the LX7 is just a touch longer than the GRD III + 21mm adapter, almost close enough to make no difference. But the vertical 'real estate' of the GRD III is much greater, due to the 4:3 ratio sensor. The Panasonic 7-14mm really does feel very wide for the same reason.

    If the RX1's lens is more like 30-31mm, this interests me a lot. I'm much more a 21-28 and 50 shooter than a 35mm shooter, and I often find 35mm lenses restrictive. Not wide enough, not long enough.
     
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  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    The 17/0.95 is sharper wide open than the 25/0.95, at least based on my copies. Not super sharp like the Leica, but no glow with the 17.
     
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  14. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Your 17.5 has no glow when wide open??? Pretty sure mine does! I will have to check this carefully.
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    It is. I shot it back to back for a few weeks with an X100s and it's absolutely notably wider than the X100s. And I've now done a few comparisons with the Olympus 17mm, and its definitely wider there to, which is partly due to the aspect ratio but slightly counteracted by the Olympus being 34 rather than 35. I'd noticed all of this without giving it too much thought. And then I saw an article (it was linked somewhere here but I'll be damned if I can recall where) where a guy was comparing the RX1 to some piece of high end Leica 35mm glass. And part of the analysis got into the field of view. He did some calculations and came up with something in the 31-32 range, which sounds about right to me. And very likely has something to do with my easier than anticipated adaptation to the RX1... I can't vouch for the exact numbers, it's clearly wider - not a figment of my imagination...

    -Ray
     
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  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    Not as I can tell. At extremely close distance, yes. At normal distance, I don't see it.
     
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  17. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    There's fewer pixels in your 3:2 sample, though.

    Your 4000x3000 image: 12mp
    Your 4128x2752 image: 11.36mp

    For those interested, a few months ago I took my 16mp Oly and my 16mp K-01 and compared the aspect ratios: https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=22561

    The difference isn't huge, but it is noticeable.
     
  18. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    That's exactly as it should be. A square is the most efficient use of the area of a circle, and a squarer aspects more efficient than wider aspects.

    Using the dimensions of a Micro 4/3 sensor,

    AspectRatios_zps13fd43d8.

    The difference between angle-of-views from one type of camera to the next is more likely to be influenced by artistic license of the claimed focal length of the lens being used.

    Lastly, most APS-C kit lenses start at 18mm which equates to 27mm compared to 14mm in Micro 4/3 which equates to 28mm so the difference in width is attributable to the lens as much as it is to the aspect ratio.
     
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  19. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Yes, a square is more efficient spatially, but less efficient if trying to relate to a human's visual impression. We see more latitudinally.

    I agree, it just seems weird to me, lol.

    Well, it depends on the APS-C camera. Pentax & Nikon's "crop factor" is generally 1.51x - 1.53x, depending on the specific model, Canons are 1.6x, and some Sigmas are 1.7x.

    I've noticed that there's a greater amount of lens correction with my Oly 14-42 compared with my Pentax 18-55; I wonder how much that modifies the "perceived" focal length? Maybe I'll experiment with that on a dreary Winter day...

    Eh, sorry guys for going :eek:fftopic:
     
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  20. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Damn, those cameras look sexy.
     
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