shot raw with the Sony A7rII and the Sony FE 90mm macro wide open. This is one of the most versatile/tele/macro/portrait lenses I have ever used. The Sony 90mm is the only macro lens that comes close to the Micro Nikkor G 105mm/f2.8. This is subjective of course, I prefer Sony’s FOV of the 90mm, esp on the 42mp sensor, where it nicely doubles as a 135mm in crop mode. AFS is incredibly fast and virtually silent (great for video) AFC ins’t too shabby either and I love the way this lens handles, the manual focus push/pull option is and a nice touch. I quickly tested my copy in the store it is almost as sharp as my Sonnar 55mm 1.8 wide open.
Since I can’t find the time to write a full A7rII review,
here is a quick update. Although I love the camera and files it produces, fast and acurate af with primes wide open, 4k and slomo video,
there are four seriously annoying gotcha’s.
1) the inability to review shots while the camera is writing to the card
2) no option to shoot small raw, around 20mp, in full frame mode.
3) no custom button assignment option to switch between APSC and FF mode.
4) Single shot only in silent mode. I am pretty sure this has been intentionally crippled since it is possible to bracket up to 9 frames without problems in silent mode.
Should I switch systems is the main question I am getting from fellow professionals these days, most of them shooting Canon and Nikon:
So here is my answer:
If you don’t need video and mainly shoot with Zoom lenses, like the 70-200mm, 24-70, 24-105mm, 24-120mm, 16-35mm and speed is important because you need to nail the shot, wait and
stick with your DSLR a little longer.
If you mainly shoot primes wide open, switch, this is the best camera for nailing shallow depth of field shots.
If you shoot video and stills in controlled shooting situations, switch.
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The choice between the Batis 85mm and FE 90mm macro shouldn’t be made on aperture ratings, nor really size or weight. They draw very differently. The 85mm is clearly optimsied for “shaprness” and as a result seduces many with it’s “wow!” sharp look. In my experience, the bokeh behind the place of focus isn’t that great and can be very busy and have nissen rings. The FE90mm is a classic Minolta/Sony “G” lens with good resolution but without an excessively “sharp” look. The focus roll off seems quite gentle, and I think it draws rather nicely with decent bokeh. On the A7s the Batis contrast at pixel level is so high that using Sony IDC to process raw files requires the shaprness to be reduced otherwise the results are excessively sharp to the point of creating artefacts, and I find have a rather hard and tiring look. As I said, you shouldn’t worry too much about the aperture or size and weight – they draw so differently that I think you should choose on that. If you don’t know which look you life or prefer, buy neither until you know the kind of “look” that you want or prefer.
Thanks for your answer. I might keep them and try the Sony bodies. My 5D is fast to focus, but not always crazy reliable. And manual focus is out of question. Sony offers both potentially (all my lenses won’t AF perfectly I think…). I’ll keep reading blogs like yours first, it’s great to have comments from the field !
Thanks François! I wouldn’t change if u are happy, I always found shooting wide open with standard primes like the 50mm 1.2 and 1.4 a nightmare with DSLRs. I am talking AF of course, much better accuracy with the a7rii.
May I ask why you are saying “this is the best camera for nailing shallow depth of field shots.” ? Because of focus peaking ?
Really nice lense and very nice photos, very natural looking.
I’m not sure if I would trade my sigma 70mm macro & Canon 135mm f2 for it… (Or even my 85mm f/1.8, hell i paid 200$ for it !). Your photos here don’t seem to be that big on my mobile, but I guess I might like to be able to get an even shallower depth of field, like for your first shot. But again, photos even zoomed in are quite small here.
As I’m shooting mostly primes, I’m interested by your comment, those lenses are really great, but I may have to operate them manually on the A7 bodies (all Canon mount lenses don’t seem to focus at the same speed…). To change them all for the Sony equivalents would cost me an indecent sum of money
Thanks Greg. I hear you, I couldn’t make up my mind between the two either, until I tried the Batis at the photo show in NYC, lovely lens, if you need the extra stop and a small lens, that’s the one to get, I find the 90mm a lot more versatile, bokeh is almost as good as on the Batis, it focuses faster and the macro and mechanical mf option won me over.
Great images, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on switching systems. I’m currently agonising over the 85mm Batis and 90mm Macro you used in this shoot. Any thoughts?