Help me break this! A7 vs DX Nikon?!

AdamD

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Hey there!

I've been looking for a new camera for some time. I'm on Nikon 5100 and I've been satisfied with the IQ (especially with my Nikkor 35mm f/1.8). However, I started feeling limited by the ISO performance and little controlling options (d5100 only has 1 function button). So, until a few days ago, I thought I'd buy an used D7100 or D7200 (which has much better control options and somewhat better ISO performance) along with Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 to get the best out of the extra resolution (they're both 24Mpix DX cameras.

BUT a few days ago, I was listing through cameras on ebay and noticed how the price of the Sony A7 has dropped after the A7II release (for comparison - here in Canada "like new", used d7100 cost about CAD $800, the d7200 about $1100, the A7 about $1300 and A7II $1800). For the similar price of the d7200 and a7 (about $200 difference maximum) I'd go for the full frame a7 as I'd love the smaller body and better ISO performance.

BUT here comes the other side of the coin. I'd like a fixed aperture mid range zoom (equivalent to the DX 17-55 f/2.8). I saw that Sony makes the Zeiss 24-70 f/4 which would be perfect for me and I would be able to get used for about $1100 which I'd be willing to spend on a quality lens. But this one gets quite terrible reviews for being unsharp at its 24mm and 70mm.

So, the question is - do you think I should go for a7 with the Zeiss24-70 f/4 even over its questionable reputation? Or would the Nikon D7100/7200 with the 17-55 f/2.8 serve me just about similar at a lower price? Or is there another good mid-range zoom with fixed aperture that any of you use with the A7 and would recommend? Also, do you think the a7ii is worth the extra $500?

Any advice much appreciated!
 

Derrel

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WOW...the lens has some serious weaknesses in its imaging characteristics...very sharp center area, but very weak edges--a huge fall-off in center to edge that will surely be noticeable. And the bokeh...uggh! And plenty of distortion that needs to be corrected from raw captures. And a bad-performing short end. The Photozone reviewer is very unmoved by the value proposition of this lens; it gets a 2-star price/performance rating. Gosh...does Sigma have anything for the a7 series bodies? Carl-Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS (Sony SEL2470Z) - Review / Test Report - Analysis

The A7ii was recently tested for low-light focus with a 35mm f/1.4 lens; it can autofocus with that lens down to extremely dim light...dPreview just did a quick test of it...the A7-Mark II has better AF than a d-slr in low light when used with the 35/1.4 lens. Better than a Nikon D810, better than a Canon 5D-III...

The high MP sensor and the new anti-vibration corrections make it seem pretty good. I would rather have the 24MP A7 over the A7r, but the new A7-II is supposed to have a number of the A7 series' problems sorted out.
 
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jaomul

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Mirrorless are improving, but there would be nothing wrong with a d600/d610 and a tamron 27-70f2.8 for similar money to your a7 and expensive Zeiss lens, that I know nothing about, but from you and Derrels post it's not a great lens
 

goodguy

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Ano
Mirrorless are improving, but there would be nothing wrong with a d600/d610 and a tamron 27-70f2.8 for similar money to your a7 and expensive Zeiss lens, that I know nothing about, but from you and Derrels post it's not a great lens
Another vote for a used/refurbished D610 with a Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 VC
 

astroNikon

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I was going to mention the same thing as above. For the added money of the Sony A7 you might as well look at a FF Nikon, the d610/600. The bodies are very slightly larger than the d7x00 body but you get Full Frame performance.
 

robbins.photo

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Ano
Mirrorless are improving, but there would be nothing wrong with a d600/d610 and a tamron 27-70f2.8 for similar money to your a7 and expensive Zeiss lens, that I know nothing about, but from you and Derrels post it's not a great lens
Another vote for a used/refurbished D610 with a Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 VC
Yup, I would agree wholeheartedly here. If low light performance is your goal you'll be much better of with the d610

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Solarflare

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AFAIK there is a lot of good glas for Sony FE:

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4 OSS - the only zoom for Sony FE with a good reputation, at least from 16-28mm
Sony 28mm f2 - Very good for the money (at 400$ its quite cheap)
Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 - Steve Huff claims its the best 35mm he has ever used, even beating the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f1.4
Sony 90mm f2.8 macro OSS
Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f0.95 - a budget lens for lowlight (no autofocus)
Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm f1.2 - no autofocus but online tests say its optics even beat the Canon EF 85mm f1.2
Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 - no autofocus
Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2 - no autofocus, Steve Huff claims its optics are about as good as the legendary Leica APO Summicron 50mm f2
Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 - should be great, considering the legendary status of the Zeiss Distragon 25mm f2 for Canon and Nikon
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 IS - Matt "The Ex-Nikon-Guy" Granger claims its closer to the Zeiss Otus 85mm than any other lens he knows about
 
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AdamD

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Thanks for suggestions guys!! I found one more thing. There are older Minolta lenses popular among A7 users. They can be used with a $300 adapter which keeps full-performance AF of the lenses.

For example this minolta lens is sold for $45
Minolta AF 50mm F/1.7 Lens - Sony Alpha

Here's the AF test of the same lens

Theres also popular minolta 70-210 f/4 lens thats usually about $100 on ebay.

Here's some footage taken with the 70-210

Here on ebay:
Minolta Maxxum 70-210mm f/4.0 AF Lens 'Beercan' Sony 'A' DSLR ***

Wouldn't the A7 make more sense with these options? Maybe along with the mentioned Zeiss 16-35 f/4 with much better results than the Zeiss 24-70 f/4. I know most of you recommended me to go with the nikon d600/d610, but if I decided to go for a Nikon FX camera, I'd feel the need to go at least for the d750 for the better AF and better build quality.
 

robbins.photo

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Wouldn't the A7 make more sense with these options? Maybe along with the mentioned Zeiss 16-35 f/4 with much better results than the Zeiss 24-70 f/4. I know most of you recommended me to go with the nikon d600/d610, but if I decided to go for a Nikon FX camera, I'd feel the need to go at least for the d750 for the better AF and better build quality.

If lowlight really is your concern then the D610 is probably the best option given the budget. As far as Sony, yes you can get older minolta glass for it with an expensive adaptor.

But then with a D7100/D7200 or even the D610 you can get older AF-D model Nikon lenses without the built in focus motors pretty cheap as well, so not seeing that going with the Sony for that reason really gives you much of an advantage. The other question is, if at some point you think you might want to go full frame, then wouldn't it make more sense to stay with Nikon?
 

astroNikon

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If lowlight really is your concern then the D610 is probably the best option given the budget. As far as Sony, yes you can get older minolta glass for it with an expensive adaptor.

But then with a D7100/D7200 or even the D610 you can get older AF-D model Nikon lenses without the built in focus motors pretty cheap as well, so not seeing that going with the Sony for that reason really gives you much of an advantage. The other question is, if at some point you think you might want to go full frame, then wouldn't it make more sense to stay with Nikon?
The SONY A7 is Full Frame if I recall correctly.
 

robbins.photo

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If lowlight really is your concern then the D610 is probably the best option given the budget. As far as Sony, yes you can get older minolta glass for it with an expensive adaptor.

But then with a D7100/D7200 or even the D610 you can get older AF-D model Nikon lenses without the built in focus motors pretty cheap as well, so not seeing that going with the Sony for that reason really gives you much of an advantage. The other question is, if at some point you think you might want to go full frame, then wouldn't it make more sense to stay with Nikon?
The SONY A7 is Full Frame if I recall correctly.

It is, but for whatever reason the OP apparently wants to stick with DX if he stays with Nikon. The D610 has better noise to ISO than the A7, but of course the A7 would have better ISO/Noise than either of the crop sensors - the D7100 or D7200.
 

Derrel

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This is the central problem with the A7 series: not enough good yet affordable lens options. Part of the issue seems to be that Sony released a camera with a NEW lens mount, and not many lenses, into a segment where the buyers want and expect high-performance lens options...you know, to go along with 24-,36, and 42-megapixel full-frame sensor cameras. The $1200 24-70mm f/4 Zeiss is not a good lens...but it is **the** option for that lens length and speed for the A7 series.

Apparently, Sony figures some users will turn to adapters and adapted, vintage lenses to use with their A7 cameras. Which is an option for many types of photography. I saw a pretty comprehensive write-up and review of the 70-210 f/4 AKA "the beercan" zoom on the A77 24MP Sony: it is still a very fine lens, which is not too surprising, since the 70-200 and 70-210 and 80-200 f/4 zoom category was at one time the high-end in amateur photography, and a TON of lens design effort went into those lenses. By the mid-1980's, when the beercan was premiered, that class and speed of lens had been refined very well by Canon, Nikon, Minolta, and others.It is still a modern, usable lens on 24M FF, based on the photos I saw.

There really has not been a lot of revolutionary development of the 70-210 type zoom except adding vibration reduction. Nikon's 30 year old 80-200mm f/4 Ai-S is for example, still an amazingly good zoom, priced at $79 or so...it cannot be picked out of shots made with newer lenses based on inferior picture results, for example...at f/5.6 or f/8, it blends right in with top-level,modern lenses that cost $2500.

The A7 can be adapted to use many,many kinds of other-brand, other-mount lenses. That is one of its strengths. The only other FF camera that comes anywhere even close to being able to use as much other-mount lenses would be the Canon 5D series or 6D series of cameras. How well adapted lenses work depends on one's shooting style and subject matter, and on the focusing features the camera offers, and how practiced the user is at manually focusing. Having an AF-capable adapter, and there are not many such things, would be, I think, a huge help to many people.
 

goodguy

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AFAIK there is a lot of good glas for Sony FE:

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4 OSS - the only zoom for Sony FE with a good reputation, at least from 16-28mm
Sony 28mm f2 - Very good for the money (at 400$ its quite cheap)
Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 - Steve Huff claims its the best 35mm he has ever used, even beating the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f1.4
Sony 90mm f2.8 macro OSS
Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f0.95 - a budget lens for lowlight (no autofocus)
Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm f1.2 - no autofocus but online tests say its optics even beat the Canon EF 85mm f1.2
Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 - no autofocus
Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2 - no autofocus, Steve Huff claims its optics are about as good as the legendary Leica APO Summicron 50mm f2
Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 - should be great, considering the legendary status of the Zeiss Distragon 25mm f2 for Canon and Nikon
Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 IS - Matt "The Ex-Nikon-Guy" Granger claims its closer to the Zeiss Otus 85mm than any other lens he knows about
From your list it looks to me like for the prime leness loves the A7 is a gold mine, on the other hand people who likes fast zoom lenses are still left wanting.
 

goodguy

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If you are ok with using lenses in manual then the A7 might be a good choice.
If you are like me a guy who shoots from the hip and speed is important for you then you need a good efficient AF system.
From talking to 2 A7 users they told me in lower light the camera (like many other mirrorless) tends to hunt.
Now I dont know how good this 35mm F1.4 is AF in low light, if Derrell say its good then its good but thats just one lens, a prime lens.
Not for me but maybe for you, give me a good 24-70mm 2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 and I am happy.

I think you got a lot of good info here, think what matches best your style and expectation and then get what you want.
 

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