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News & Insight

Sony A7R II Impressive Focusing With Canon Lenses Makes It Even More Tempting

By Kishore Sawh on August 21st 2015

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If you’re serious about your photography, buying a new camera isn’t simply buying a new body. Like dating/marriage, you’re taking the family as part and parcel, and in the camera world, that means the entire sub-system of that camera. This means the native lenses, batteries and grips, and all the other accessories that go with it – the in-laws, if you will. So it’s a decision that requires some real consideration beyond just liking the actual body.

Fair to say most photographers are and have been, Nikon or Canon shooters longer than any other brand, and therefore likely have the glass to go along with them. That sort of investment makes it hard to justify switching systems, and why it’s also hard for new systems to break into the market in any major way. The Sony A7 family of cameras, however, have managed just that. For a lot of people, it’s the first time they’ve decided to venture out from the monarchy that is Canon or Nikon.

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But if you’re a Canon shooter, there’s more good news, and that’s that the A7 family has been able to be used with Canon glass via a Metabones adapter with some real success. The ability to AF and/or meter has been there, but performance benchmarks have generally been lower than native lenses with the first series of A7 cameras. According to a test by Gizmodo, this has changed considerably for the a7R II. By all accounts, the a7R II is a brilliant camera, and being able to adapt an arsenal of Canon lenses to it with good performance just makes it that much more attractive. It’s like dating someone for their looks and then finding out they mesh well with all your friends.

[REWIND: Sony A7R II Initial Impressions and Sample Images]

According to the test, as can be seen in the video below, you can see the marked difference in focusing speed and accuracy between the original A7 and the A7R II. The test was conducted using:

Sony A7
Sony A7R II
Metabones Adapter III EF-E
Canon 24-105mm f/4 L
Canon 35mm f/2 IS
Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS

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The results are impressive, but I would urge you to consider a few things before jumping to the new system. First, currently native couplings of camera system and lenses will always work better than an adaptation. The battery life on the A7 series has never been the best and can almost surely get more out of your Canon body’s batteries. You’ll also likely have a decent sized investment in Canon lights and so forth. There has also been come suggestion that the adapters work better with shorter focal lengths, so wildlife shooters and sports shooters may have an issue.

Neatly, that brings up the talking point of considering your typical style of shooting. If you’re shooting portraiture or in studio, then this is all going to matter a bit less as you typically have more time than say someone tracking fast subjects, or even a wedding shooter. That all said and done, I think the A7 II series is almost too attractive to go without. Our resident pixel peeper, Matt had some alone time with the A7RII recently, and you can see his initial thoughts and sample images here.

Have you had experience with Metabones adapters with Canon lenses on the A7?

Source: Gizmodo

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1158850-REG/metabones_mb_ef_e_bt4_canon_ef_to_e_mount.html/BI/5982/KBID/6868

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mike Menon

    Excellent article, BTW I was loking for best lenses for Sony A7R II

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  2. Peter Trinidad

    Going by the conversation on this thread it seems that the older lenses are either not compatible or have issues with the quality. So seems my EF 35mm f/2 (Old Model) and EF 85mm f/1.8 USM would not be compatible or would have quality issues and my other new lenses which are the 50mm 1.2L, 16-35 2.8L , 24-70 2.8L II, 70-200 2.8L II should be working fine. If the new ones will work satisfactorily and even if not 100% with the metabones MkIV then I might as well give it a shot and see unless it is a total waste of time. I am willing to take that chance just to avoid going for the native lenses as it will be an expensive affair and I don’t like it :)

    Guys I would really appreciate if anyone would advise. I don’t do photography for monetary gains but just for keeping my last hobby alive and for travel use. Shall I go spend that USD 400 odd or go for the native lenses (Fingers crossed) Hmmmmm. Awaiting replies. Thank You.

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  3. Ralph Hightower

    Okay, this doesn’t look like it applies to me. I have a few Canon FD lenses for my A-1 that I bought back in 1980. When I bought a DSLR, I stayed with Canon; but I have to invest in new lenses because the EF mount is not compatible with the FD mount. I have one EF lens.

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  4. Peter Trinidad

    Hi. Could you please check the link to the Metabones? Clicking it takes you to the wrong page of B&H.

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  5. Jeri Baker

    I returned the camera. I am sure it has many fine attributes. EVF is nice but that sucks the battery so fast. The one I had got warm just after 15 minutes of shooting stills not video. I had read about the adapter problems but thought most of the lenses I had would work fine with it. I think they should have addressed the problems with the overheating and the slower focus problems with the adapter. The cost of the camera does not justify the purchase. I returned mine today.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Battery life is something they mention but, like this story, kind of gloss over. Sony made the unfortunate decision to go with a relative small battery, the same one used in their very compact NEX-now-Alpha APS mirrorless, for the A7. Ok, sure, there’s an advantage to keeping the same battery between models, but I doubt many of us shooting Canon full frame would have applauded if Canon chose the LP_E8 battery from the Rebel series for these… and the LP-E8 is rated at 1120mAh, while the Sony NP-FW50 is rated at 1020mAh. The LP-E6 battery used in the 5D, 6D, 7D, etc is rated at 1800mAh, nearly twice the capacity.

      And mirrorless… some people love it, some don’t, but thanks the EVF, you’re using substantially more power, for still shooting anyway. So the difference isn’t small… based on the CIPA ratings, my Canon 6D gets 3.9x as many shots from a single battery as the A7II, 3.6x versus the A7rII, both cases shooting via the viewfinder. That drops to 2.4x comparing the A7rII to the Canon 5Ds.

      Maybe not a deal breaker, but another thing to consider. You’re probably going to want the battery grip for many shooting situations. Between battery grip and a quick power down mode, I have my Olympus OM-D E-M5II going for 700-900 shots on a pair of batteries, which is at least up there in “reasonable” land.

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  6. Patrick Shipstad

    As an owner of many Canon L lenses, I was super excited about this news until I went on the Metabones web site and dug into exactly which Canon lenses will reliably autofocus with the Metabones iV adaptor and the A7RII.

    The rub is in the details of the Metabones IV product details page, that many OLDER Version 1 lenses are not qualified for autofocus with the Metabones IV adaptor. The aperture control, IS (if applicable) and EXIF are supported on the older lenses, but autofocus is not on all of them. My 24-70 2.8L V1, 70-200 2.8L v1, 24 1.4, 50 1.4, 50 1.8 will NOT auto focus (manual focus only) with the Metabones iV adaptor. I’d need the V2 of all of those lenses for the Metabones and A7RII to autofocus. Only my 100 mm macro might autofocus (if it’s V17).

    This lens version thing is a detail that most of the Canon/Sony/Metabones reviews of the A7RII have failed to mention. It’s an exciting time for a Canon/Sony mash up, and I wish the version of the lens didn’t matter because I’d be all over this camera/lens combination.

    Anyway, just check on the Metabones IV product details page to see if the version of your Canon lenses you already own are tested and confirmed to autofocus before you get too excited.

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    • Matthew Saville

      @Patrick,

      To be quite honest, I’m not even sure you want to see what the images look like from some of those older lenses when resolved at 42 megapixels, it might not be pretty. I suspect that at least the 24-70 and 50mm’s will be utterly incapable of giving you all 42 megapixels worth of fine detail.

      This is largely why Canon themselves are so frantically updating their existing line to mk2 or mk3 lenses. They’ve got their own 52 MP sensor on the market now as well, and only the latest lenses will be able to truly take advantage of it.

      That is probably why most reviews haven’t mentioned it yet, and why Sony and/or Metabones probably aren’t putting too much R&D into it.

      I know that lots of people are excited about switching bodies but keeping their existing stable of lenses, however IMO the real advantages are only attained when completely starting over from scratch in the new system.

      Obviously that is incredibly expensive to do, and besides, not entirely possible in some cases. (11-24mm f/4, 17mm TSE, oh, and 2.y zooms lol…)

      However thank you for bringing this aspect of the situation to my own attention, I’ll be sure to mention it in my own final review.

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