This is a personal view, there is no
absolute truth imho. So it's hints and clues, nothing more.
first time I held a Sony Alpha 7 body in my hands, I was delighted by
it's small size. The difference to a full format DSLR is striking.
Apart from my large format b&w studio work, I'm into outdoor
photography and I love wide angles. I run around a lot, weight and size
are an item. Up to now this was mid format cameras, folders (no wide
angles) and 24x36 (SLR and M39 rangefinders). And growing difficulties
to get film develloped.
The A7 seemed a good solution for
me. The first disappointment: size and price for Sony mount full format
lenses. So the so-called legacy lenses and their adapters came into
focus (pun intended). I don't mind to focus manually, I have done so
all my life.
Some data from the Sony website: the A7
camera: 126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2 mm) (W/H/D), 474g, with battery and memory.
This is really small and lightweight. Then some Sony lenses: the famous
55mm lens: 64.4 x 70.5 mm, 281g; 28-70mm kit lens:72.5 x 83
mm, 295g; 24-70mm Zeiss lens: 73 x 94.5 mm, 426g; and the
70-200mm lens: 80 x 175mm, 840g. So the first 2 weigh about 2/3 of
the camera weight, the Zeiss lens nearly as much as the camera and the
tele nearly twice as much. They are all big compared to the camera,
with the tele lens you hold a big lens with a small camera attached. Weird.
Whether you buy old Olympus, Canon or Minolta lenses, is a personal
choice. Olympus are usually a bit smaller. I like them
well. If you look at the sales on internet, they seem to be more prone
to fungus than the other two. M42 are often a bit cheaper and there is an enormous choice. Russian
are a temptation. At the end of WW II the Russians came into posession
of what the Americans had left from the Zeiss factories. So there is a
Russian equivalent of nearly all famous Zeiss design lenses. Most
legacy lenses are smaller than the Sony
lenses and weigh less, adapter included. I lately came across another compact solution:
Konica AR. The lenses are 40.5mm FFD. This is shorter than most of the
others, except M39. So the adapters are shorter as well. On top of
this, AR lenses are very compact, modern and luminous.
Buying lenses on internet is not easy. I bought more than a hundred for this project. Fungus is a real problem.
About 30% of the lenses had fungus and another 20% had severe dust or
heavy scratches. I am not talking about a spec or two. So about 50% of
the lenses had real problems, visible with a short glimpse through the
lens. And I only bought from sellers with a good reputation. This is a
lot. So I nearly stopped buying via internet, I keep my eyes open on
fairs and flea markets. There you can touch, feel and have a look
As size and weight are an issue for me, the so-called M39 lenses are my preferred solution (in fact, it's not M39 exactly, the diameter is 39mm, but the pitch is 0.977 instead of 1, so LTM or LSM Leica Thread (or Screw) Mount is more exact). Have a look at the A7 lens comparison page
and you will see why I prefer them. No problem to carry around the A7 with one M39
lens attached and to have two more lenses in your pockets. + 2 or more
batteries, battery life is poor (or a shame if you prefer). However it improves significantly after some loading cycles. If you
compose your pictures with care and focus manually, a full battery will
only give you about 150 photos. The battery grip is absolutely no
solution to my eyes, it's big, expensive and only doubles capacity. A
really poor solution. It's easier to carry some spare batteries.
love my A7 well.
The results seem to be better than those with
classical 135 film cameras. The possibilty to have special lenses for
each situation at very low expenses is real fun. Which lens is best
depends on your needs. Please compare the sample pictures to find out.
For the A6000
I chose the smaller lenses for an Alpha 6000 comparison page.
I had to learn about diffraction and APS-C size sensors, a bit of
a deception. I hadn't read about it before. But now I know and you
may, if you refer to the A6000 comparison page.
That's it for the moment. One
last remark about my view of photography: There is nothing worse than
missing a photo. A non-optimal one is still better than none. So I always
carry a tiny camera in my pocket. I started with a Minox 35 in 1975
which was replaced by an Olympus XA in 1979. It stayed in my pocket for
30 years. I tried small digital ones in the 2000's, but it was only in
2009 when I came across the Canon S90
that I found one that was at
least as good as the Olympus XA in my eyes. These tiny little
electronic wonders are completely worn after 3 years (and about 15.000
photos), so I have worn out 4 of them, the last 2 were Canon S120
models. Canon decided to stop the series without a replacement model.
The only alternative size-wise is a Canon G9X. So I own this one now. At the end of the camparison pages there's a link to my test of the Canon S120.
I still like it, even if picture quality of the Sony A7 or the
A6000 is much better. But they don't fit into a pocket. At least not