I changed over to the Sony a7Rii camera from my Sony RX1. I was looking for a bit more variety in my photography than the fixed lens 35mm RX1 and the a7Rii looked like a perfect upgrade. Definitely not cheap, but I feel I will be very happy with my new toy. To help soften the blow to my wallet I sold my RX1, my Canon 60D and a few Canon lenses and a mostly unused fancy Canon flash. So now I am down to just the a7Rii and some new fancy lenses, a Canon S100 and my iPhone. The RX1 was/is a great camera and I know I will miss it’s compact body and beautiful Zeiss Sonnar 35mm/2 lens… but I am looking forward to my new journey with the a7Rii.
Lenses. Ah, yes. I wanted a zoom that can get me really close to the action (for kids sports, and videos of concerts), as well as a very fast wide angle (between 24-35mm) for taking shots while out at night or just walking around town. Here is what I looked at:
- Sony FE 24-240mm ($1,000) – Reviews are ok… very convenient with a 10x range!
- Canon EF 28-135mm ($300 – I already owned this) with a fotodiox adapter ($100)
- Zeiss Loxia 35/2 ($1,300) – beautiful manual focus lens, solid build and hoping to match the beauty of the RX1’s Sonnar lens
- Sony FE 28/2 ($450) – very light and small, with all the auto-focus goodness of the a7Rii
- Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40/1.4 ($450) with a fotodiox adapter ($70)
Here are the crops of these images
I feel the winner is the Loxia, with the Voigtlander a close second, although the crop looks a bit ‘flat’.
Low Light Tests
Testing the low-light performance of the following primes on my Sony a7Rii:
– Sony FE 28/2 ($450) – very light and small, with all the auto-focus goodness of the a7Rii
– Zeiss Loxia 35/2 ($1,300) – beautiful manual focus lens, solid build
– Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40/1.4 ($450) with a fotodiox adapter ($70)
I shot these in my office and cropped them to show the same views. Applied lens corrections in Lightroom, but did not adjust white balance or do any other color corrections. The last 4 shots have 60% noise reduction applied in Lightroom.
All shot at 1/60th at ISO 6400. The order of the images are:
– f1.4 Voigtlander
– f2.0 Sony FE, Zeiss, Voigtlander
– f2.8 Sony FE, Zeiss, Voigtlander
– f2.0 with noise reduction on Sony FE, Zeiss, Voigtlander
– f1.4 with noise reduction on Voigtlander
I feel the winner is the Voigtlander.
However, the Voigtlander’s color is a bit suspect, even with lens corrections. Here are a set of images taken at different apertures, compared to the Sony FE 28/2. I feel that this test swings it towards the Sony.
So, after this, I decided to return the Voigtlander, and I kept the Sony.
UPDATE (March 2016):
I ended up liking the 55mm Sony Zeiss f1.8 (took me a while to get to love 55mm after shooting mainly 35mm for a while… but now I love that focal distance). But what I was still missing was a small lens for walking about and taking with me to dinners and events. Both the 55mm and the 28mm lenses are physically quite long and awkward in social scenes. So I ended up selling the 28mm and went back to a Voigtlander, but this time the 35mm f1/4. Happy so far!