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Tuesday, 12 July 2016


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Sounds great but you should really get some adapters to mount all of the old lenses you have - manual focus with old lenses is so much fun with that system. I have both of those lenses and they are so similar in size and appearance from the outside that I have mistakenly grabbed the wrong lens on more than one occasion. If you are actually purchasing the 24 1.8 new, consider the Zeiss Batis 25mm instead so that you can run it full frame if you want to on occasion, it's only a few hundred $ more and it is a very lightweight lens.

I have both of those lenses and they work very well on the APS-C Sony cameras. But I would buy a Sony/Zeiss 35mm F2.8 instead and use that on the A7II.

Buy the 24 f1.8 and a Nex-7, both used, you will enjoy it much more. Then take Tony Ray-Jones's advice.

Or...get the little Zeiss 35/2.8 and use all them pretty pixels you'll be paying for. It's a tiny lens you won't even know is on there & gives great results.

When those kind of overly convoluted "solutions" arise in my mind, it is, for me, time to go out and take some photos.

I can sort of see your point but "why not just use the camera as a FF camera?" keeps popping into my head.

If IBIS is what your heart desires how about getting a Panasonic MTF with IBIS? I'm sure you know that they're quite good especially if you can avoid pixel peeping.

For a while I've been thinking about slimming my kit down and just having a standard kit lens, a 35 or 50mm prime and a macro. That three lens set would cover 99.9% of my needs. The only problem is that I find the A7 kit lens a bit big for my taste as I like inconspicuous compact kit.

For when I think my A7 is too much I have Micro Four Thirds so I suppose I could get by with two cameras and five lenses in total as I can use my film era macro lens on both systems.

I currently have 3 MFT cameras and the A7 and 32 lenses between them which isn't as many as some have but is still a bit daft to be honest.

My advice... get a Panny MFT with IBIS, buy used lenses and keep the kit down to a minimum, resist the urge to pixel peep... and you might be very happy :D

How about m 4/3 ?
Too bad the Fuji XT-2 doesn't have IBIS, but it is what it is I guess.

What about an Olympus OM-D with M.Zuiko 17 mm 1.8 and M.Zuiko 45 mm 1.8 lenses?

I recently sold off my X-E1, X-T1 and several lenses to start a year-long project using the A7II and legacy manual lenses. I spent a quite a bit of time deciding whether to let the Fuji gear go. For my project the A7II is the right camera because of the excellent support it has for legacy lenses.

If I were not doing this particular project it would very difficult for me to justify giving up the Fuji system. The Fuji cameras and lenses are simply excellent. The support they provide in the form of regular firmware updates to keep the cameras current is second to none.

You may want to consider the Sony 28mm FE (at US$448) and 50mm FE (at US$248) lenses. They are a fraction of the cost of the Zeiss lenses and work both in full-frame and crop mode, giving you four different focal length equivalents: 28, 42 (crop mode), 50 and 75mm (crop mode). And don't forget the Sigma 19mm FE (at US$199) and 30mm FE lenses (at USD$169).

For what its worth, I never use the crop mode on my Sony since you can always crop in post-processing.

The only "crazy" thing about it is the price tag. Otherwise, it's a fine idea. If you could somehow talk Sony into a firmware tweak that allows crop mode to have different aspect ratios, that would be one exciting camera. Hey, as long as we're dreaming!

I am not sure I see the advantage of the 24 over the 35 f 2.8. Sure it's irritating to pay that kind of money for a 35 2.8, but you did for your Contax RTS perhaps.

I broke down and got one a while back after waiting for an f2.

I like the idea of a longer than 55 lens for the camera, I do use my 75 Heliar quite a bit, but the crop on the 55 would be fine I bet.

Being the ownder of a A7II, a Fuji X-E2 and ex-owner of a Olympus E-M5, I would say it might not be a good idea.

The A7II IBIS isn't as effective as the one in Olympus or recent Panasonic cameras, I think it's related to having a bigger sensor to move.

But better than any opinion you might read, the best thing is just to experiment it. I suggest you to rent one with the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8, it's not a ultra-fast lens, but at least will fully use that wonderful FF sensor and in terms o it light-gathering it will be approximately equivalent to the APS-C Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 anyway. And it delivers a lot more of a "Zeissy" look than the 24mm (which allegedly doens't have much).

Aren't there a bunch of cameras that would give you what you want at a lower cost and with less compromise?

There's got to be five or six m43 bodies that would couple with the rather brilliant 15, 17 and 45mm m43 lenses out there. You'd get IBIS and the focal lengths you want. If you must spend the money then the PenF would happily take it, I would think.

Unless there's a format decision (4:3 vs 3:2) I don't see how a 10MP APSC image is going to be better than a 20MP m4/3 image.


I do believe the manufacturers would kiss the guy with 32 lenses and four cameras. Wonder how good his snaps are? Just curious...............

Recently I was in the same boat - very much wanted a 24mp+ mirrorless system with IBIS that didn't cost a fortune. I had planned to wait for Photokina, but the urge to replace an old camera led me to buy a Panasonic GX85 kit with the clever little 12-32, to which I added the 20mm and 42.5mm/1.7. It's the best compromise I could come up with and fortunately, a much better camera than I had expected. And I have an upgrade path when the GX9 comes out with a better shutter and IBIS system (and maybe a surprise in the sensor department, who knows).

The point I would make is that with fast lenses (which you have) and very good high ISO, how necessary is IS for what you do? I don't mean to denigrate IS, and I'm sure that many do find it very useful, but for me, it doesn't add so much that it overcomes what I find to be the crappy ergonomics of the Sony. I also truly believe that many people who believe IS necessary wouldn't find it so if they focused on their images and not the tech.

Sounds to me like a solution waiting for a problem.

It is indeed a frustrating omission for the supposed golden age of digital still cameras, this APS sensor mirrorless body with IBIS...

As for your proposed kit, you could make it a teensy bit less crazy with lenses designed for APS E-mount, used.

Have you ever spent any length of time with the Sony A7II before? I thought it was a near perfect solution - ibis, small, great evf - but I never felt comfortable with it during the 6 or so months I owned it before selling it off. It was a bit fidgety, the battery life was absolutely atrocious, and the 28mm prime had this difficult distortion that ACR struggled to correct with a profile because it differs so greatly at different distances. And that Ibis is nowhere near as good as what you get with m4/3.

The resolution and high ISO are nice.. but I find that my Olympus m4/3 gear is much more satisfying to use (including the 4:3 aspect ratio I've really come to enjoy). Plus I like the extended depth of field 95% of the time with what I shoot.

If Fujifilm added IBIS (or OIS in more of their lenses) and ditched X-Trans, I would really like to go with the larger sensor. Unfortunately, there's no free lunch and everything is a compromise despite so many manufacturers competing for our business.

My conclusion is that up til now, every camera that I lust after that will replace my trusty Nikons is a combination of workarounds and compromises.

I love the Olympus EM1 for it's size and silent shooting capabilities. When one or both of those factors is a priority, I use it. Image quality not as good. Flash capability not as good. Most of all, continuous autofocus not usable.

But I still long for a much smaller, FX, continuous autofocusing, Nikon rig. The D5 is unnecessarily huge and heavy.

Not a bad idea at all. I've shot the D800 with crop mode and just cropping the FF images. Works just fine for moderate prints, and lets you carry a smaller kit.

But why not pick up one of the micro 4/3 systems with IBIS. The Olympus primes are not too expensive, the IBIS works great in the older OM-D EM5, so I imagine it's even better now in the latest generations of Olympus cameras.

Me, I've been thinking of selling my FF Nikon kit and my micro 4/3 kit and just getting the Sony A7RII with a few really good lenses. Consolidate down to one digital system. So if you do get he Sony I'll be interested to hear how you like it. I haven't tried one yet, so maybe my idea is crazy.

I don't know. That is really expensive if you are not going to use all the muscle your paying for.

How about a lighter weight APS-C body, small sharp lenses, and a higher ISO if you can't get to the F stop you want? Would not a faster shutter speed help to replace IBIS?

I just picked up a used XF 35mm F2 for my XP2 ($275@KEH) and man is this thing tiny! I also have the Zeiss 32mm F1.8, but for size and weight issues, I will use the 35F2.

Here is a quick snap I took an hour ago in my kitchen. It is very sharp for F2, and it has good DoF for what the story is about:


If I find a piece of gear that is expensive that I want, but I will not use the engineering behind the price, I will not buy into it. I am not trying to push Fuji, (I use many different cameras and lenses), but the weight of the XP2 with the 35F2 and what I can do with it in low light makes me very happy. I am so use to heavy gear, this almost seems unreal. :=)

IBIS is no panacea. The image circle has to be quite a bit wider, especially for tele lenses, which means a larger rear projection angle which is cropped by the sensor.

This reduces potential resolution and lens speed on the one hand, and makes the camera quite a bit heavier on the other (compare Sony's first and second generation cams).

I have the Fuji zooms for when I need OIS, and it works superbly, but I don't want to give up the performance of the primes when I need them. I don't really like the idea of larger bodies either.

Had IBIS on my old Pentax bodies and was never that convinced.

Actually it makes sense in many ways except I think the choice of the 24mp A7-2 instead of the A7R-2 limits your options somewhat. A high res mirrorless FF camera like the R can be an almost universal solution. (except for those who love to shoot sport or do specialised stuff like birding)

Anyway I was thinking about much the same concept last week and took some time to consider the options, this ended up being a 4 part blog post on the 3 core formats with an idea on a possible universal solution in part 4. Part one (the FF part) can found here:


I like the idea of a camera that can be dressed up or down to suit the purpose at hand, the A7R-2 is probably as close as we have ever got to that, pity the price of entry is a bit steep.

On the other hand no matter what we choose we always end up with compromises....I guess we are never happy.

Of course, when you add up the cost you are getting four lenses for the price of two...
I've been using an A7 with Canon FD lenses for a while, I don't think of it as 'crop' mode...it makes my 50/1.4 a short portrait lens (75/1.4) and the 300/2.8 a fast medium telephoto lens (450/2.8) great for birding. Its doubles my lens collection, not many cameras can do that.
Sony A7rII would be even better with the larger sensor...but for the cost.

CRAZY...written by Willy Nelson BTW. An appropriate term and song for certain camera buyers of which I am one.

I've come to find the Panny GX85 is ticking a lot of boxes, however I still like my Canon SL1 and the great value ef-s STM lenses. Frankly before that though I'd jump at an SL2 w the 80D sensor, 20+ focus points, 1/3 stop ISO adjustment and some way to back button focus. I'd be pretty content

Mike, really. This seems to be all about your yips. Just shoot more frames; remember, this is digital, the extra frames are free!

Indeed, one of my few grumbles about the X-T1 is how easily the left hand dial on the top deck slips off the normal shooting setting; every so often I get a run of shots on a fast fps. Just use that setting.

After 10 years working in a camera shop (ending last Christmas), I (we) often played the "what if" game. Yours is not a crazy thought, but more a symptom of there not yet being the perfect solution, just a lot of workable work arounds. I remember many years ago deeply pondering the Pentax 67/645/35mm 2 lens, three format idea. Crazy thing is I could still be using those lenses on a micro 43 or Fuji now. Great times for fiddlers, poor times for people happy with forced limitations.

Mike, I haven't read the comments, so someone else may be chiming in with the same thought, but can I suggest an obvious and economical idea? The 24MP Pentax K-3 is now around $700 new. With the 20-40 DA Limited , also priced around $600 new, you have a top of the line APS-C camera with a top of the line lens that should do whatever you want it to do. I can't say enough about how good these feel in hand. Fast, forever battery life, ergonomic, real photographer gear. IBIS and a 1/8000 shutter too. When you want to splurge, you can get the full line of DA lenses to play with. Real pentaprism 100% VF too... it's like old photographer's crack but legal and cheap. C'mon, stop with the prissy Sony and Fuji stuff.

Speaking of Fujifilm cameras my idea is to still produce 16MP sensor APS-C cameras but using the new body that is being used for the 24MP cameras.

So the XPro-1A would get the new processor with the 16MP sensor and the same body as the XPro-2.

Reason: How many of us need a 24MP sensor that creates a 50MB raw file?

Personally I'm very happy with 16MP. The largest prints I make is with Super-B paper. Also if I purchased the XPro-2 I would also need to update to a faster computer such as the DELL XPS laptop. And I would probably need larger disk storage. Maybe a new second monitor.

When adding up the cost of camera and computer system it could go to 4 to 5 thou. No thanks. I'll just stick with the XPro-1.

Yes... ;-). I would be afraid to lose my feelingfor the perspective. I suppose one can always say after the feat "that was thought to be cropped". But maybe you are right: After all, a Mazda does not only 100 mph, it does 10 mph and 20 mph and 30 mph too!

Nikon D750 and Sigma f/1.4 ART (which has VR).

don't forget your newly found love for ultra wide lenses. Would you have an equivalent to the XF14mm?

The only time one thinks about gear is when one isn't shooting.

This does sound convoluted, and I have to say I really don't get it at all. You have perfectly fine Zeiss Batis 85 1.8 and the also pretty neat 35 2.8, why do you need to get those focals via crop mode?

If you want an A7II-like camera but with APSC sensor, why not just get the Fuji XT1? They have the lenses you need.

Why cripple the A7II and shoot in crop mode? If you want the A7II, just get the Zony 35 f2.8 or Loxia 35, plus the Batis 85. This will get you your APSC-like focal lengths. Sure, they are not cheap, but are absolutely worth saving for.

Talking of pipedreams. I like the sound of this APSC A7 Mike, but could it come with a Pentax KAF mount please.

Mike, given your recent posts expressing your f64 group type affinity, and the desirability of aps c to increase DOF and all, it might be that the Zony 55 1.8 would be a singularly bad choice for you (though maybe the best choice with autofocus, which you won't need with that camera given good magnification features in the viewfinder). I owned that lens alongside the Zeiss Loxia 50, and I did exhaustive tests between the two. The Sonnar Zony 55 is very perfect and good at f1.8, and it continues sharp amazingness up to f4. After f4 the Loxia 50 surpasses it. I now own 4 full frame 50s, mostly vintage, and I'm finding that these other lenses also can surpass the Loxia 50 stopped down (and thus the Zony 55). So assuming you'll want to stop down a bit to get your DOF, don't get the Zony 55.

The other thing is the bokeh of that 55. It's very smooth and creamy. To a fault, I found. While for some purposes, of course, it would be supreme, for most general work I personally want a bit more detail and character in the out of focus area. With the Planar and double gauss lenses the out of focus area having more detail makes it more like it is actually in focus a bit more, or if out of focus it has more character than just mush.

For the price of that 55 you could get on ebay: Pentax 50 f1.4: $105 + Olympus OM MC (serial number 1,xxx,xxx) , $105 + Konica Hexanon 50 f 1.4 $80 -- and you'd have $600+ ( or less if a used lens) left in your pocket.

I don't mean to dis the Zony 55 1.8 -- it is a remarkable lens opened up wide, super sharp at those apertures, and perfect bokeh of a certain sort. I would own it, absolutely, if not for the price/value of it.

As for your idea overall, I'm mixed. The Sony has some advantages, but overall MFT has some usability advantages over the Sony, at least on the Olympus side where my experience is. I use my Sony at FF much more than my MFT camera these days, but if I want shallow DOF I will use the MFT instead of crop mode on the Sony.

Meanwhile, the old 1949 8x10 Deardorff keeps on working. Haven't even had to change batteries all these years. Can even use a 47mm wide angle for a circular image if I want.

What your Idea of' buying FF and only using it in Crop mode' says to me is that as someone here pointed out recently APS-C really is the "35mm of the digital Age"
The Sony body is smaller than all FF DSLR's and most APS-c dslrs
yet offers offers ibis on a lovely FF sensor.
As you already pointed out it really doesn't make a lot of sense to Pay for FF, but the thought experiment can be instructive.
The combination of FF & APS-c is a powerful one used by many folks
But it really works best with 2 cameras because the 2 similar but different sensors allow you to put more pixels on the cropped field of view. But if you are ok with fewer pixels,Crop mode in camera helps you visualize the crop before rather than after the frame is made, and saves the weight of 2 bodies.
There's nothing wrong with shooting loose and cropping later, except it highlights the fact that you are throwing away all those pixels. On the other hand if you like the look of fewer pixels it's fine (but a bit expensive)

Buy what you want, try what you want, and report back here (if you want). You do seem to have identified a hole in the market (apsc mirrorless with ibis). The latest Pentax, the K70 I think, has ibis and phase detection on its sensor, so it's leaning in that direction.

I'm actively working to crop less tightly anyway. I frequently find that, when I try to arrange everything just so, I miss slightly and have the tip of the cat's ear going inconveniently out of the frame (sometimes it's fine, but it isn't always fine). I think I'm at "crop tight enough, but not too tight."

And a D800 in crop mode has more pixels than my first two DSLRs, if I'm remembering this right :-). And only a million fewer than my current full-frame DSLR (11 vs. 12).

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