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View Full Version : Sony mirrorless cameras... Well this is the f*cking future



Sad, little man
June 14th, 2018, 07:05 AM
I recently got a bit more serious with my photography, and it has prompted me to have an incentive to bring my absolute best skills to the game.

I've used Canon DSLRs for six years. But the features of the new Sony A7 III were just too much for me not to be interested in, and I thought that such a camera might help me.

Long story short, I'm experimenting using an A7 III with adapted Canon lenses. I was less than enthused with the performance of this setup in very low light a couple weeks ago, so I put the Sony back on the shelf for a while, opting to fall back on my tried and true Canon 5D.

But admittedly, the time that I was using the Sony, the lighting was so poor that even the Canon was struggling to lock on with focus.

Yesterday I went to an event in the city that I knew was going to be a really quiet affair... It was mostly going to be spoken word and such, so I cringed at the idea of popping off the shutter of the 5D over and over, even in "silent" mode which deadens the noise somewhat, while someone was trying to speak.

So, reluctantly I grabbed the Sony, armed with a "silent" mode which is truly, completely silent, with absolutely no moving mirror or shutter. I did my best to set up the Sony's autofocus mode similar to how I like it on the Canon. Initially, I had been curious about the face detection and eye-detection autofocus on the Sony, but I'm realizing now that when you're in a fast moving and dynamic environment, the face detection is still pretty hit or miss. It's not that it's slow necessarily, but in the fractions of a second you have to capture an unstaged moment, and the varying angles that someone's face may be pointing in that moment, the face detection really can't be relied on.

Anyway, once I learned to not expect to rely on face detection, instead treating the autofocus system like an old-school DSLR, and just putting a small, focused point right on the person's eye that I wanted to focus on, the camera started working. The autofocus seemed to work pretty well, even in low light. And the silent shooting is mind-blowing. I sat there and rifled off ten full resolution raw photos per second, with absolutely no noise from the camera, and zero anxiety about putting wear and tear on the moving parts of a DSLR that this kind of use would result in.

After the event was over, my friend that was sitting next to me asked if I was actually taking pictures, because she just saw me holding the camera up to my face with no noise coming from it. She said it was the "quietest camera ever" and I happily agreed.

I was unsure about the technology before. Looking at a screen in the viewfinder as opposed to straight through the lens is still a little disorienting. There is at times a weird focus hunting issue that I can only attribute to the fact that I'm adapting Canon lenses to the camera, which obviously it wasn't designed to do.

However, Sony's menu system is still horrible. It's still clearly stuck in a consumer electronics mindset, not one that recognizes the camera as a professional tool that needs to be able to provide quick access to important settings within fractions of a second, so as not to miss an important moment. The only redeeming quality being that it allows a pretty good amount of customization.

But overall, the accuracy of focus when the camera does lock on, the insane frames per second with absolutely zero noise from the camera, and the in-body image stabilization that allows every lens to function as an image stabilized lens makes me feel as though I'm going to keep this camera around. In the end it just leaves me hoping that Canon gets their stuff together and produces a camera with similar functionality, a menu system that makes sense, and native support for all of my expensive Canon lenses.

Cam
June 14th, 2018, 08:35 AM
Solid review. :up:

Leon
June 14th, 2018, 08:44 PM
As a non photographer (I literally put my Canon in sports mode, and blast off oodles of motorsport action photos), do you know how it would perform for action shots?

I went to (literally) $100 - $200 used Canon DSLR's for motorsport photos several years back, as the previous digital cameras all had way too much delay.

Kchrpm
June 15th, 2018, 07:22 AM
http://cameradecision.com/faq/is-the-Sony-Alpha-A7-III-good-for-Sports-Photography


Sony A7 III has a score of 83 for Sports Photography which makes it an EXCELLENT candidate for this type of photography. It will satisfy all your need in Sports Photography, no need to look further for other cameras.

It's also a $2000 camera, though. I bet you could find something very useful at a much lower price point. I feel pretty good about my results with my $400 P&S, but they won't approach the quality of slm's gear.

Sad, little man
June 16th, 2018, 07:00 AM
Ok I'm back to hating this camera again. :angry:

Last night I went out to take photos, and really started treating the camera like I would my Canon... Demanding quick focusing in dynamic, unpredictable situations. It did pretty well, but it's kind of off putting how there's that fraction of a second when you put the camera up to your face before the electronic viewfinder comes on, and you're just staring at a black screen.

But now this morning I noticed something else... The lag at which the camera does things seems to be overall inconsistent. Last night I specifically remember adjusting the aperture, and being unhappy with the fact that there was a discernible lag between when I spun the little adjustment wheel, and when the aperture actually changed. But today, it seems to be pretty quick. The viewfinder also seems to come on pretty fast. So does this camera have variability in the speed at which the controls respond to your inputs? It sure seems like it. That really bothers me. Canons never do this. When you make an adjustment on a Canon, it happens yesterday. However Canon handles their electronic interface, they have it figured out. There should never be a lag in the camera's functionality. The Sony just feels like using a cell phone in comparison to a professional camera which functions quickly and seamlessly.

I know this might seem like a minor thing, but when you're trying to capture things that are happening, milliseconds count. The Canon functions quickly without any electronic lag. It just gets out of the way between me and what I'm taking a photo of. The Sony just... Doesn't. :|

Cam
June 16th, 2018, 04:03 PM
*flips table*

KillerB
July 3rd, 2018, 10:50 PM
I'm really enjoying my Nikon D500, and if I was going to go full-frame, the D850 is, IMO, the best camera out there right now. That said, I'm very interested to see what Nikon does with mirrorless:




- Two mirrorless cameras: one with 24-25MP and one with 45MP (48MP is also a possibility). I assume both cameras are full frame (I did not get a specific confirmation on that).
- Similar body size to the Sony a7 camera but with better ergonomics and a better grip.
-5-axis in-body stabilization
- 9fps
- New mirrorless mount. We already knew that, but the number I was given this time is 55mm. The Z-mount dimensions I reported a few months ago were 49mm for the actual opening and 65.4mm for the entire mount diameter.
- The new mirrorless mount will allow for f/0.95 lenses - remember the NOCT trademark and f/0.9 lens patents?
- Memory cards: XQD and CF Express - now this is a surprise for me, but it is what I have heard (ProGrade is coming with a CF Express card).
- EVF resolution: 3.6MP
- Initially, three lenses will be announced: 24-70mm, 35mm and 50mm (I think the 35 and 50mm will be f/1.4). There is also talk about a 24mm, but it may come later.

Pricing:
- The 45MP model will be around $4,000/€4,000 in a kit with the 24-70mm lens.
- The 25MP model will be under $3,000/€3,000 (also with a lens).
- The official announcement is rumored for the end of July (on or around July 23rd) and shipping shortly after (August 23rd). This is the part I am not sure about because previous tips suggested a Photokina announcement. Maybe we will see the development announcement at the end of July and the official announcement before Photokina. I will try to get a confirmation on the exact announcement date.

Read more: https://nikonrumors.com/2018/07/03/first-set-of-rumored-specifications-for-the-nikon-mirrorless-cameras.aspx/#ixzz5KGJrSJS5

I'll be very curious to see what functionality is in the Z-mount/F-mount adapter that's also rumored - I think Nikon has to pull that off well to survive.

SkylineObsession
July 4th, 2018, 12:33 AM
Our Sony A77 has a screen in the viewfinder instead of glass, i still find it a little weird, but because i wear glasses 24/7 i always use the pop out screen instead.

I use it on 24mp mode, but find that there's other photos out there that people take that looks so much insanely sharper than my pics. Maybe i need to stop having it in auto mode.

Jason
July 4th, 2018, 12:21 PM
I've been very happy since my move to mirrorless, since it's a much lighter load to carry around (Fuji X series) vs my former DSLR setup (Canon), while still outputting high quality imagery. That being said, Mirrorless has a ways to go when it comes to both speed of operation/focusing, and battery life. My shooting style doesn't really demand the fastest of focusing, but for certain styles of street work, sports, etc, I can see how it would be the wrong tool for the job.

Blerpa
July 4th, 2018, 12:24 PM
Sony has done great improvements to their mirrorless offering with the A9, A7RIII and A III... battery life is better, Autofocus too, same as with sports usage, what with also new lenses (finally).

Sad, little man
July 10th, 2018, 03:43 PM
Ok I'm back to liking this camera. :D

I could really sense that running the Sony with adapted lenses was hamstringing its capabilities. Every now and then the camera would just autofocus like a bag of crap. I saw no such complaints from people who used the camera with the proper lenses, so I broke down and bought a good Sony lens in my favorite focal length.

I got a 50mm f1.4 Sony/Zeiss Planar lens for a pretty good deal used. I gotta say, this lens on this camera seems every bit as capable as the Canon 5D MarkIV with the 50mm f1.2.

Gone are the issues I had with the camera struggling to find focus on low contrast areas. It just locks on now. What really impresses me about the Sony compared to the Canon is how assuredly it gets focus. The Canon will sometimes nervously dance around a little right before it locks on focus. The Sony just moves the lens elements where they need to be, and locks on, no drama.

However, I have to admit that the technology in the Sony lens is a full TEN YEARS newer than the Canon, so I would expect the camera and lens to be a little more precise together. Also, the percentage of times that the Sony nails the focus perfectly sharp seems to be better than the Canon. Again, the Sony lens is just a better optical design than the Canon, but check out this photo, taken at f1.4, along with a 100% crop of it...

http://gtxforums.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=3086&d=1531262369 http://gtxforums.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=3087&d=1531262384

3086 3087

Even with someone who was not stationary, there were some strings of Christmas lights hanging across the room, and you can clearly see them reflected in his glasses. That is the kind of focusing I want. :up:

Jason
July 10th, 2018, 07:16 PM
:up:

Is it possible that adapted lenses are limited to contrast detect auto focusing?

Sad, little man
July 11th, 2018, 07:44 AM
That's an interesting theory Jason. It's possible, however based on the settings in the camera, they don't support this idea.

I did notice when using adapted lenses that I cannot set the camera to "zone" autofocusing mode. The camera flat-out tells me that that option is not available with the lens I have mounted. However, there's also an option to use phase detect or contrast autofocus, and both of those options are available to me. So, unless the camera thinks it's using phase detect, but in actuality it is not, I don't think the camera is limited to contrast only when using adapted lenses.

Along with this, the autofocus performance was still pretty good in a lot of conditions with adapted lenses, but when it messed up, it messed up bad, and that's what bothered me. It's not like the autofocus was sorely lacking with adapted lenses and is now spectacular, as if it was only using contrast autofocus before. It's just that I never felt like I could completely rely on it with adapted lenses. But I do with the native glass.

Also, from what I've seen, I think your assessment of autofocus performance on mirrorless still being somewhat inadequate compared to DSLRs is out of date. The new Sony has seemed pretty capable, even in low light. As I said before, what I really love is how well it seems to nail focus with every shot when using wide apertures. The Canon seems to have a lot of inconsistency, and I think that's always been a struggle for DSLRs since they're using a completely separate sensor to achieve autofocus. This system has always seemed to be sort of a wonky old setup left over from the film days, and the consistency of the Sony's on-sensor phase detect autofocus seems to prove this point.

Honestly though, I'm going to be watching for Canon's full frame mirrorless very closely. The functionality of a Canon combined with the great features that mirrorless allows for is going to be great. It also sounds like, even if Canon comes out with a new lens mount, EF lenses will be able to be adapted to it. This should be a good adaptation as well since it's all within one manufacturer. However, the realization that lens technology keeps progressing does make me curious about how well any new lenses Canon makes for its mirrorless system will perform. That Sony/Zeiss 50mm is just a beast, both optically and electronically.

Lastly, I'm sorry, but I'm still not buying into this "mirrorless is so much smaller and lighter" nonsense. The Sony 50mm 1.4 is a massive lens compared to Canon's 50mm 1.2. Granted it's an optically better design, but the Sony A7 III with the Sony 50mm is much longer compared to the same Canon setup. It's probably almost as heavy too. And frankly, I don't like how small the Sony A7 III is. It doesn't fit into my hand in the great, natural, secure way that the Canon does. It feels like a toy.

Jason
July 11th, 2018, 07:55 AM
Also, from what I've seen, I think your assessment of autofocus performance on mirrorless still being somewhat inadequate compared to DSLRs is out of date.

It's definitely getting closer and closer, but the vast majority of professional shooters in certain industries still use DSLRs due to reliable focusing speed (mostly things like sports and racing), but yeah the gap is almost non existent now in the high end arena. Sony has done an amazing job :up:

Edit: The separate sensor actually has been an advantage for DSLRs up until recently, because it was more sensitive to light than an integrated sensor could be. The major advantage of an integrated sensor, is that it can be married to contrast detection, to accurately nail focus more consistently than phase detection only.

Sad, little man
July 11th, 2018, 11:42 AM
It's definitely getting closer and closer, but the vast majority of professional shooters in certain industries still use DSLRs due to reliable focusing speed (mostly things like sports and racing), but yeah the gap is almost non existent now in the high end arena. Sony has done an amazing job :up:
That's true, but I'm not convinced that the reason is just due to the actual performance of the camera. I mean, firstly, old habits die hard. I don't even do this professionally and I'm still struggling a little bit to get used to a mirrorless camera. Why would a pro veer away from what works?

Second, as you know, many pros are just shooting what their news agencies give them, which has been a Canon/Nikon DSLR for a long time. Especially with the long telephoto lenses, agencies that own camera equipment likely have hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in camera gear. They're not going to switch that out overnight, and honestly will probably just plod along with it regardless of what actually performs better. Because let's face it, pro DSLR gear is still plenty good enough, even if Sony gets to be as good or slightly better.

Last, Sony still has a laughable selection of long telephoto lenses. Looks like they're now coming out with a 400mm f2.8, and that's a good start, but still nowhere close to what Canon has.


Edit: The separate sensor actually has been an advantage for DSLRs up until recently, because it was more sensitive to light than an integrated sensor could be. The major advantage of an integrated sensor, is that it can be married to contrast detection, to accurately nail focus more consistently than phase detection only.

Yes but a separate sensor has been and continues to be a huge disadvantage for DSLRs because of the fact that only half of the light coming through the lens actually gets to the autofocus sensor. Half the light bounces off of the mirror and up into the viewfinder, leaving much less light to pass through the translucent mirror and actually reach the autofocus sensor.

Up to now, the sensitivity of the DSLR sensors has just been that good that they have more than overcome this disadvantage. But ultimately, I don't think this focusing system stands a chance because at the end of the day the signal that the camera is processing (focusing on) is the light coming through the lens, and a DSLR splits the signal in half and only sends half of it to the autofocus sensor, whereas mirrorless cameras are directing all of the light coming through the lens onto the sensor at all times.

Jason
July 11th, 2018, 11:50 AM
We're splitting hairs, at this point, but I do want to note, that mirrorless cameras are also pulling about "half the light" in that the phase detection photosites are half for the phase detection, and half for the image:

https://www.imaging-resource.com/?ACT=44&fid=17&d=5115&f=sony_phase_detection_patent_2.jpg

https://www.photoxels.com/photography/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/fujifilm-hybrid-af.jpg

Dunno if the images are clear, but for hybrid sensors, at the focus photosites, they mask off about half the site for color imaging, and then let the rest of the light through to the focusing array.

But again, splitting hairs, in the hands of the vast majority of people, there's no different in focus speed between the top Sony mirrorless and the top Canon/Nikon DSLRs, you're absolutely right there. And my information on speed, and reliability over the course of an event may very well be out of date.

Sad, little man
July 12th, 2018, 06:41 AM
Well, that's true, you're right in saying that Jason... In most cases. :D

One reason I'm really excited about Canon getting into mirrorless is that they have the dual pixel autofocus technology that they introduced with the 5D MarkIV. My understanding is that each and every pixel is split into two halves, which effectively makes each and every pixel its own little phase detect autofocus point. Indeed, it's possible to do a tiny amount of focus adjustment after taking a photo with the 5D MarkIV if you have the camera set to record the data from each half of each pixel separately. However, the amount of adjustment is so tiny that it's not really even worth it, as the file sizes for every photo are doubled when you turn on that feature.

But regardless of its extraneous uses, it seems like Canon has already figured out a very slick solution for on-sensor autofocus that is far more advanced than the compromised solution you pictured above. The 5D MarkIV is already praised for excellent focusing when in video mode, so when they finally do get seriously into mirrorless, their focusing abilities should be spectacular.



Anyway, I hate the Sony again. :lol: I took it out to an event last night with the native 50mm lens. It was dimly lit, but not so much that the Canon couldn't have handled it. The Sony didn't do too badly, but it felt like it struggled just enough to hinder me. The real frustration came when I was trying to focus on a person's face. It was dimly lit, but the camera said it had focus, and even picked out her face and put the green outlined box around it, denoting that it had recognized it as a face and achieved focus. But, the camera absolutely was not focused on her face. I got a blurry face with the background in focus. :angry:

So, to the Sony A7 III, I must say that if you show me in the viewfinder that you recognized a face and you've focused on it, but you haven't actually focused on it, that tells me that you don't know what the f*ck is going on. I had experienced similar things in the past with this camera, but I wrote it off as wonkiness related to using adapted lenses. I guess not...

Sigh, this camera is so close to being right where it needs to be. But ultimately, I'm not going to be letting go of the Canon just yet. Really curious what Canon will come out with when they finally announce a mirrorless camera.

KillerB
July 18th, 2018, 08:21 AM
I think that both Canon and Nikon are going to hit it out of the park with their mirrorless designs.

Kchrpm
July 25th, 2018, 09:06 AM
Nikon's is coming: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/7/25/17611108/nikon-full-frame-mirrorless-camera-system-announced

With a new, unique mount, so current lenses will need an adapter.

Blerpa
July 25th, 2018, 10:27 AM
No F-Mount? Well, then no need to jump ship back from Sony to Nikon.
Why should I buy a Nikon mirrorless if my F-mount lenses will have to go by an adapter anyway? Pff.
A case of "probably too late to the game".
Meanwhile Canon still sells loads with awful plastic lenses and those dumb M5 sets.

Jason
July 25th, 2018, 03:19 PM
Using a DSLR mount on a mirrorless camera defeats the point of the format...

Blerpa
July 26th, 2018, 05:22 AM
To me mirrorless point is to not have a mirror anymore and to have EVF, I don't care about the weight.
Also physics are such that good lenses will always be big. No way around.

KillerB
August 1st, 2018, 10:32 PM
https://youtu.be/Ax3ZpDs4EgI Like it or not, new Nikon mount confirmed. :)

Sad, little man
August 2nd, 2018, 11:39 AM
To me mirrorless point is to not have a mirror anymore and to have EVF, I don't care about the weight.
Also physics are such that good lenses will always be big. No way around.
The general consensus is at least wide angle lenses are easier to design when you don't have the big distance between the mount and the sensor to deal with.

It was high time for Nikon to make a new mount. They have been putting lipstick on the pig that is the F mount since the 80s when they shoehorned autofocus capability into it. It simply isn't big enough to support nice fast apertures and the electronic connections that go along with autofocus. Looks like they learned their lesson because the new mount in the teaser photos of the camera looks damn gigantic.

I see no problem with making a new mount assuming you'll be able to adapt old lenses to it with good performance, which it seems like you'll be able to with both Canon and Nikon.

The one area where Canon and Nikon could really blow Sony out of the water is if their cameras came with a global shutter. This is fancy talk for an electronic shutter that reads out the entire sensor at once. Current Sony cameras allow you to use a fully silent, no moving parts shutter, but there is a drawback. The electronic readout does not happen all in one instant, but rather line by line, so if you're using an electronic shutter with something really fast moving, or under fluorescent or some LED lights, it can result in really weird visual artifacts. Therefore, Sonys still require a clunky mechanical shutter in many circumstances. As soon as someone cracks the code on making a sensor that can electronically read out all at once, the need for any mechanical shutter goes out the window, as far as I know, and then you'll have a really bulletproof camera with no moving parts to wear out.

Blerpa
August 3rd, 2018, 12:02 PM
That's what happens shooting neon lenses on Sony mirrorless cameras sometimes.

On other news Canon announced a new mirrorless camera... a p&s one. MEH.

Kchrpm
August 13th, 2018, 09:44 AM
This is more of a fluff piece than I was hoping for, but it's on topic: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-12/sony-s-new-super-fast-cameras-are-winning-over-the-pros

KillerB
August 14th, 2018, 10:21 PM
Nikon Z6 and Z7 full-frame mirrorless cameras and three lenses coming on August 23rd, Z-Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/0.95 lens to be announced later (https://nikonrumors.com/2018/08/13/breaking-nikon-z6-and-z7-full-frame-mirrorless-cameras-and-three-lenses-coming-on-august-23rd-z-noct-nikkor-58mm-f-0-95-lens-to-be-announced-later.aspx/)

The Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/0.95 patent has been out there for a bit... definitely hoping for a replacement for the Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2, which is a legendary MF lens which does an amazing job rendering points of light at night, but has ended up costing well over $3k per example thanks to low production and hype over the years.

I doubt I'll be buying one right away, but I'm interested to see whether the lower-resolution version (24MP) is speed focused, like the Sony A9, or whether it's truly a lower-end camera, a replacement for the D750. I have my D500, which is a speed demon, so I'd likely lean toward the 45+MP version to compliment the crop-sensor-but-high-speed D500.

I have to think Canon will sweep in a few months later and release several models that will ensure their continued dominance, but I've enjoyed the Nikon ergonomics for a long time and are reluctant to change, despite my relatively small investment in lenses - I've only got two full-frame lenses at this point (Nikon 50mm 1.8D I picked up for cheap, and a Tokina 100mm f/2.8 Macro, so technically, when I'm ready to go full frame, I could go with any system if I really wanted to.

Therefore, I'm not AS stuck on an F-mount adapter for the Nikon Z cameras, but I still wonder whether it's possible for them to produce an F-mount adapter that could somehow turn MF lenses into AF ones. I do think that, long term, it wouldn't hurt the sales of new lenses as some of the high MP cameras can out-resolve even some of the best film-era lenses, but in the short term, it would be a real boon to the Nikon market.