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April 2, 2015

Sony Camera Reviews – What Are We Really Looking At?

Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera

This photography game we are all playing has been changing faster than my boy Jase’s diapers as of late! We have Sony re-leasing the  A7 II, which is clearly the best bang for the buck full frame camera system on the market today. The Sony A6000 is the one of the most capable APS-C cameras on the market today and it’s mirrorless!

So when you have the best bang for the buck cameras in the market like Sony, where do you go next? Customers demand everything, but clearly Sony can’t do it all. Lens options are a big issue and is constantly improving, Pro features like tethering and more rugged build quality are often concerns when compared to the competition like Fuji and Olympus.

This leads me to my next point. Just because Sony has the best bang for the buck mirrorless camera systems, does not mean the competition is junk or not worth considering. This is something I have struggled with reviewing only Sony gear 99% of the time.

 

Better Reviews!

sony alpha a7I want to be the best reviewer I can be, so I have a plan moving forward and I think it will pay off in the end. Bottom line is I want and need to learn more in order to maintain the fun factor and stay relevant. It’s hard not to become biased over time when only reviewing Sony gear exclusively.

Therefore…

I feel I need to review some of the latest competition in order to more accurately and fairly review the latest Sony gear. For example, the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera is the direct competition to the A7 II if you forget about the sensor size for a moment and just think enthusiast photographer with that sort of budget. I spoke with so many people at the Photo Expo (Click Here), and they were checking out both systems debating the differences back and fourth. I have always been impressed with the Olympus OM-D line in particular, but Fuji is also paving a really nice path into the market as well with its Fujifilm X Mirrorless Digital Camera systems.

The features are insane with Olympus, but with Sony you get the full frame format. I think people look at the Full Frame Sony E-Mount lens options and say, if I go with the smaller M 4/3 sensor system, I have so many more lens options? Is full frame really that much better? What about APS-C and Fuji?

Well, Yes and No is the answer to that sensor size question in all honesty. You don’t need a huge sensor to get a good photo, but it does offer some options that the smaller sensors do not, and vice versa. Mostly depth of field is much more narrow when using a full frame camera and the lenses are much larger, heavier, and more expensive most of the time due to the larger sensor.  See full Frame Vs APS-C Compared in the Real World >>

 

So What Now In 2015?

Sony Alpha A6000Well, Sony has really tightened down the ship as far as camera products go. They do not have near as many cameras currently offered as they did in the past which is smart and mostly market driven. Sony was losing a lot of money as a company overall, but has since changed course and been in recovery mode. Now finally looking towards profits in 2015 apparently. Remember, photography is a small portion of Sony Corp overall.

Perhaps Sony should offer a lower resolution full frame sensor the utilizes the sensor shift technology like Olympus is doing? This is brilliant and would effectively wipe out the need for higher resolution sensors. Sony A7s II perhaps?

I would also like to see the killer hybrid AF that the A6000 has offered on its full frame mirrorless cameras. The A7 II really should have had an updated sensor in my opinion, but in all fairness the 24mp sensor is great.

Cell Phones are taking over the point and shoot market as we all knew would happen. The mirrorless market is taking off and DSLR’s are starting to fall due to the quality and performance of the mirrorless cameras catching up.

The New Sony A7r II is expected to be re-leased pretty soon, and the 4 New FE lenses are coming out in the coming days and months also. This gear will all be reviewed asap and thew lenses are already on order!

 

New Reviews

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II In the mean time I’m going to take a stab at reviewing the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera w/ the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens which works out to 150-300mm effective, plus Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Lens which will give me a 50mm effective focal length equivalent.

Reviewing this camera system should give me/ us a fresh perspective on the latest image quality production of the Olympus Micro 4/3rds system, and also a taste of how the build quality, features, and performance compare to the Sony line as a whole…

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Lens
Olympus OM-D E-M5:

  • 16MP Live MOS Sensor
  • TruePic VII Image Processor
  • 2360k-Dot Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0″ Vari-Angle OLED Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video
  • 40MP High Res Shot
  • Built-In WiFi
  • 5-Axis VCM Image Stabilization
  • 10 Frames Per Second
  • Dust and Splashproof Construction

After that the New Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless Digital Camera also looks like a worth while camera to review and then compare to the Sony line. Lenses look awesome and the build quality of Fuji cameras are insane, but how do the features and actual image quality compare to the Sony line?

What else? Panasonic perhaps?

The 4 New FE Sony lenses I wrote about here, and new Sony cameras, will take review priority to the other systems just to clarify things!

 

Why Review Other Camera Systems?

That is what I’m thinking for the next month or two everybody. This should be fun and really give me a much better perspective on the competition and current industry standards for mirrorless photography.

By the end of this run we should all know and see what Olympus and Fuji have to offer compared to Sony! Then, well informed decisions can be made by all in the market for a new camera system of the future… I’m talking specifically about hard-core enthusiasts looking to upgrade from a quality point and shoot, or downsize from DSLR in order to go mirrorless. With so many options and reviews it can be a daunting task for sure!

I will give you my honest opinions as aways, and with the Sony gear to compare with it should be informative.

 
Loxia 35mm f/2 lens @ f/2 via A7r, Lab Testing - Minimum Focus Distance

Loxia 35mm f/2 lens @ f/2 via A7r, Lab Testing – Minimum Focus Distance

Lab Testing?

Is it worth my time using the lab for testing or would you prefer real world photos and video only? Feedback appreciated as my time is valuable and I do this for you. If you don’t even bother looking at the lab photos I would really like to know, thanks in advance!

I still think the lab is cool and helps illustrate what a lens is capable in the 3D world as opposed to a test chart etc…, but that is just my opinion which really does not matter in this case 😉 Real world is clearly the best for seeing what a lens can do, but for checking the technical and comparing, a Lab is pretty valuable I feel?

 

Closing Remarks

That is about it for this article and I really appreciate you checking in! Please stay tuned and be sure to check out the forums, for daily updates, deals, and killer photography from the growing community 😉 For instance, the BW Photography Challenge just completed and the sample of photography in that thread is amazing to say the least! The latest SAL Photography Challenge started today, is Telephoto Photography >>

Please consider joining in the challenge if you are looking to expand on or share some telephoto photography!

I would also love to hear what you think of my short little stint to the other side for learning purposes and you can share below in the comments area. I will certainly reply and appreciate all feedback good or bad.

Thanks again,

Jay


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Thanks,
Jay

 


About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!




6 Comments


  1. Stef

    Hi Jay,

    In a nutshell, I think your idea to dab your foot outside of the Sony realm is great. It shows both openness and honesty. Looking at the best alternative products should allow a frame of reference to be applied and a mindset/method consistency to highlight differences, both good and bad, in the Sony product line(s) and elsewhere.

    I actually like the lab testing. It’s somewhere between looking at a static and plain resolution chart and the wild variability introduced by the “real world”. Again it provides a good reference but one with wider/deeper scope. I especially like the video lab discussions you post, where you can direct our attention to details which may otherwise go unnoticed.

    Real world photos are nice to demonstrate feature usefulness and showcase strengths and potential weaknesses. These photos inspire more to see what a product can do for each individual, how it can be applied. In the end, we all take “real world” photos.

    Of course you realize this path will be challenging and probably confusing or frustrating, trying to compare what is not really “aligned”… but isn’t that the game manufacturers play?

    Stay practical and true would be my closing words. You are doing a great job so far!


    • Jay

      Hi Stef,

      Thank you so much for the detailed reply and feedback on the and all the Lab and everything else!

      I do agree it might be hard comparing the systems at times, but I figure pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each will be a fun learning process. Also, the real world and lab results should basically settle any confusion on the matter I would think? Or will it? don don donnnn(dramatic music effect)

      From my perspective I think it will point out more stuff that Sony is missing in particular. Menu’s, features, and so fourth. I should be able to say, the A6000 is great, but if it had the controls of the X it would be even better for example. Or the menu system like the Y or whatever.

      I will learn and create as I go, but some structure and a plan of attack is really important for time savings. So thanks again for the valuable feedback 😉

      The video breakdowns in the Lab are the hardest to do, but I also agree they are the best content creation. Watching a video that breaks it down is so much easier than reading, lets face it. Plus the human element really adds something you can’t really put your finger on? I noticed this most recently when watching reviews on the latest quadcopters. Some guys are really good at connecting with the viewer. Others are not as good at that, but have incredible detail and organizational skills. I need to combine all this and make it as efficient as possible. By myself mind you in the little time I have spare these days, but I enjoy the challenge!

      Best,
      Jay


  2. Dalibor M

    Looking forward to non-Sony reviews.


  3. Unlo

    I love the lab shots and comparisons. Don’t do away with that especially if you want to compare other brand to Sony, don’t change the format!


    • Jay

      Thank you very much for the valuable feedback! I will keep the format the same which makes perfect sense to me, but I did not want to waste the time if you all did not see any benefit 😉 Thanks again!

      Jay



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