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Is Sony Image Quality Good Enough?

Get Zeiss ZM at B&H Photo and see my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and my Leica M mirrorless wishlist.

For what?

Recently a consulting client asked me whether I thought that Sony image quality was good or good enough. Yes.

It’s way more than good enough. The issues these days are (a) lenses, (b) ergonomics and haptics, (c) suitability for the types of photography.

The image below is of my daughter. I’m trying to set that aside and ask myself: could I have made a better image with another camera—and the answer comes back “no, not in any important way”.

That’s why although I greatly prefer the Nikon Z7 camera body, the Nikon lens line is currently a non-starter, at least without adapting lenses via a lens adapter. That’s doable but far from ideal (size, weight, awkward). Canon got Canon mirrorless right at the outset, with at least one fabulous lens (and perhaps the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L is equally impressive). Nikon is tactically and strategically brain dead in at least two ways: (a) three dud consumer-grade lenses at the outset, and (b) failure to partner with Sigma and Zeiss immediately. No one wants to wait three years for a full lens line.

View this image at full size on an Apple iMac 5K. It has a strong visual impact IMO. Zeiss optics on Sony are terrific. If only I had Eye AF at the time—the iris of the eye is off a little here, by 2mm or so.

L Chambers
f1.4 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 200; 2015-04-07 18:47:58
Sony A7R + Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

[low-res image for bot]

Jason W writes:

I find it interesting that you answered this question with an image from the Sony A7R, the only Sony camera I'd flat-out say has image quality that isn't acceptable due to the shuttershock issue.

DIGLLOYD: shutter shock is unacceptable with the Sony A7R which to me means the A7R is dumpster material, but in this case not an issue (1/160 is fine at 35mm, at least handheld). I was referring to color, dynamic range and noise, sharpness (without shutter shock issues). Using a 2015 image was in part a way to reinforce the idea of the maturity of camera systems. But also it’s like pulling teeth to get my daughters to pose any more!


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