The release of the Sony A7 camera has been very interesting for me, and has had me wondering again about if I should go to full frame. I like many things about full frame, but what I don't like is that cameras like the EOS 5D (and most of the new series lenses) are bloated creatures. I would quite likely not be carrying them, and thus (it not being with me) the best camera I had would be something else like my GF/GH camera (or probably my phone). I find it disappointing that full frame digital was only in such obese bodies while my OM series film cameras had been quite compact devices.
I decided to put a roll of 35mm neg into my OM1 and whack the 21mm onto the front and go for a walk with both cameras and see, as it happens I took these shots over the period of a week.
Firstly I was looking for any differences in "Shallow DoF" that could be obtained with a wide lens, because I don't always want everything to be in focus. So I took these two shots. Ohh, and all digitals were shot RAW and many and varied methods were employed to not have blowouts ... more on that in a moment.
GF1 + 14mm + wide
OM1 + 21mm
The perspective difference between 4/3 (4:3) and 35mm (3:2) makes them look a little more different, but essentially the horizontal view is similar between the two systems (and therefore I can crop the 4:3 into 3:2 no dramas) and the DoF is really similar. However I did notice that (when taking and then processing the shots) that the digital blew out in the highlights. Really that just shits me, and this isn't even harsh light compared to stuff I work with in Australia.
So I wandered around down to the river and took these shots:
This is the proverbial "chalk and cheese" and cuts to the heart of why I hate digital ... blown colours in real world situations. Sometimes this just isn't recoverable. The 35mm negative held the cloud details and the irregularity of where blown channels are (red often blows before green or blue) makes the clouds look horrible to me.
Perhaps with a lot of time on my hands (and I already tried using Adobe ACR, dcraw and Photomatix) I could perhaps work this into something nicer. But you know, you just can't recover data that's lost, you can only work it into something acceptable buy effectively "painting".
So this got me thinking (seeing those blinkies and knowing about this issue) that I'd give my OM vs GF a torture test. I waited for a clear day and took a shot looking right into the sun.
So, first impressions were:
- holy shit my OM21mm had massive flare (and a lens hood isn't going to help here)
- holy shit the blowouts on the digital are massive ... its pathetic
The blowout is less, but geezuz its still hot. Lets take a closer look...
Which actually has details and didn't blow the channels of Neg (but must be hitting hard I have to say) ... just amazing. Tweaking the contrast and you can actually see the graduation to the disc of the sun!
- A better lens would fix my film camera shots lens flare, but nothing will fix the digital.
- just how far do you have to under expose to not blast out the digital (and at what expense of the shadows)
- the clouds around the sky in the digital are artifically red due to channel blowouts
So where does this leave me?Well while my intention was to see how my lenses may "look and feel" on the Sony A7 this exersize has left me wondering if there is any point in moving systems from micro4/3 over to the Sony full frame system, simply because no matter how many more pixels (and I've got enough IMO already) or how much the larger format is going to look better I'm still going to be stuck with the dynamic range issues of digital.
So compared with keeping 35mm neg and micro4/3 (NB going to the Sony A7) I would
- rationalize bodies and lenses (being able to use the 35mm lenses on both systems)
- but still need to carry a 35mm film body for high contrast work
The wide lens on the 4/3 did give me sufficiently shallow DoF for my purposes and quite enough resolution too. So as long as I don't get blowouts (and I have enough experience to predict that) and since the GF/GH camera is about as compact as the Sony (and really how much more compact can it get?) perhaps I don't get much extra bang for my thousand bucks??
That would be body only and selling my micro4/3 gear to offset the price, so I'd still not have any AF lenses then) at lest with a EOS camera I'd have a couple of EF prime lenses too.
So maybe I won't get the Sony just yet ...