Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why use a Lens adapter with the Sony Nex-7

The Sony Nex-7 has a very good imaging sensor, 24MPixel in size, in APS-C format, which is fairly large for such a compact body, and the sensors uses very mild anti-aliasing filter, capable of achieving very sharp images.

Unfortunately, the stock Sony 18-55mm which is the most common choice for Nex-7 users, is simply not adequate for the Nex-7 sensor. It was already a bit too low for the Nex-5 and Nex-3, but on the Nex-7 the imaging sensor quality is not matched by this lens.

The other two most common Sony choices, are the 18-200mm and the Sony-Zeiss 24mm, but the zoom is fairly big and not so much better than the default 18-55, and the Zeiss is quite expensive and not readily available as of today.

In general, there's aren't many choices on the market for E-mount lenses. It's possible to use Sony Alpha with a Sony adapter, which is also very expensive on itself. This will likely change in the future, but we want to get the best of our sensor right now, won't we ?

A very versatile camera

The good news is, there are already many 3rd party lens adapters and, with these, it's possible to use almost any lens from any manufacturer, from the mighty german like Leica, Zeiss, Voitglander, to Canon, Nikon, and many others.

I'll specifically cover using Canon lenses on this blog: having used Canon cameras since the 70's, I have access to many optics, both in the old FD standard, and of course several EF (Eos) too.

A very quick test, just to get us started

We'll enter into details with next posts but, for the time being, let's start with a very quick test that should make it clear why it still makes sense to use 30+ years old optics with a brand new camera such as the Nex-7. Here's a quick comparison of the default Sony 18-55mm, against a 1973 Canon FD 50mm 1:1.4

Sony 18-55mm OIS

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C.

The weather wasn't very good on this shot, strong cloud cover and not much light, and It's not easy to appreciate the differences on a web page but, let's have a look at a 1:1 close-up:

Sony 18-55mm OIS - 1/125 @f/6.3

Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C. 1/125 @f5.6
The difference in details is really noticeable. The old Canon prime (it's a lens that was released in 1973)  it extremely sharp, while the Sony doesn't really do justice to the Nex-7 sensor.

This was by no means a serious test, just a quick one to get us started. More will follow.

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