Almost everything has changed! I went from an iMac to an old Mac Pro tower, from a Canon EOS 6D to a Sony A7III, and now it looks like I have to change RAW editors! I’m excited about my new Sony A7III, but I am running into some obstacles and looking for ways to overcome them. It’s always a learning process with photography.
One of my first shots with the new Sony A7III, using my Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM with a Sigma MC-11 adapter. The Sigma MC-11 is for adapting Sigma lenses with a Canon EF mount to Sony E-mount cameras, and Sigma makes no guarantee that it works with other brand lenses. I found that it works great with my Canon EF lenses, though the autofocus is not quite as quick as with a Canon lens on a Canon camera. The lens bokeh isn’t very pleasing (never really noticed that with the 6D), but the optics are quite sharp!
But when I moved to the post processing stage, I ran into some trouble. First of all, the A7III was released on April 10, and Mac OS-X Sierra does not recognize the RAW files. This means there’s no thumbnails to help select photos in the Mac file system. I don’t expect it to be updated since OS-X High Sierra is the current OS. My 2009 Mac Pro is supposedly not compatible with High Sierra, and I REALLY don’t want to break my computer!
Next problem: Lightroom 6 doesn’t recognize the new ARW files either and won’t import them. Since Adobe has moved away from “perpetual licenses” and wants you to pay monthly for Lightroom CC (I don’t like to “rent” software), this issue won’t be resolved with an update. Sounds like you can use Terminal to hack your RAW files and fool Lightroom into thinking they are A7II files, but again, I’m not familiar with Terminal and don’t want to break my computer. And I don’t need my metadata on Flickr and any other website showing the wrong camera.
In addition, the A7III sees (via the MC-11) that my Canon lens is a 50mm and has a max aperture of 1.4, but it doesn’t have a cross reference of Canon lenses to match up with the data the lens reports, so it embeds lens metadata as a “DT 50mm F1.4 SAM”, which is a Sony lens. And metadata is very difficult to edit or correct, unless you know how to hack into it without ruining your image files. There are some software solutions I might explore. My Canon 6D had a similar problem with my Rokinon 12mm Fisheye with a Canon EF mount, but the Rokinon is full manual, and it doesn’t report any info to the body, so there’s no lens name or aperture setting in the metadata.
So some disappointments, but look at that image quality and sharpness! You may not be able to see what I can, working on a 4K monitor, but I never got texture detail like this (with the same lens) using my Canon 6D. Sony’s Exmor R BSI (back-side illuminated) sensor is pretty incredible, but here’s another reason:
Every Canon lens I purchased (even the pro L lenses) needed some AF micro-adjustment calibration with each Canon body I owned. And even then, many of my auto-focused images were sharp in the wrong places, not where I placed the focus point. dSLRs have their auto-focus sensors in the viewfinder assembly, separate from the image sensor, because when the mirror is down, it blocks the sensor. I had better luck getting sharp images manually focusing with magnified Live View on the back screen. I’ve shot Canon SLRs since 1991, but I’m sorry, I expect more from a $2,000 camera and $1,200 lens from the same maker.
Sony E-mount cameras can use just about any lens ever made (with the right adapter), and to make manually focusing easier with old, vintage lenses, they provide things like a magnified view in the electronic viewfinder and “focus peaking”, which highlights the parts of the scene in sharp focus. The reason Sony E-mount cameras can adapt so many lenses is that the mirrorless body is very thin, and the image sensor is placed closer to the front of the camera. So… to get the image circle from the lens spread across the sensor correctly, lenses for thicker cameras must be placed farther from the body. So the adapter fills the space between, and depending on the lens type, can be thicker or thinner as needed.
But Sony E-mount cameras also have super accurate auto-focus systems (my wife just went from an A6000 to an A7II last year). Because the AF sensor is in the image sensor, what’s in focus according to the AF sensor is also in focus on the image sensor. How cool is that? So auto-focus, even with my adapted Canon EF lenses, is far more accurate now than it was with my Canon dSLRs. I’m just ecstatic that my Canon L lenses can now show their true optical quality (pics coming in future posts)!
The reason I was running around my backyard shooting at f/1.4 was to see how sharp the in focus areas were, and how the out-of-focus areas were rendered by the new sensor. Here apple blossom petals have fallen on a park bench. My lens-to-subject distance was probably about a foot and a half, and near the minimum focusing distance of the EF 50mm f/1.4.
Oh yes! Since I couldn’t use Lightroom, and I read that Sony camera users get a free “Express” version of Capture One software, I downloaded it and processed these photos with it. Now I don’t know how much of the increased image quality is due to C1’s better processing algorithms, or the Sony image sensor. And I can’t really find out, because the free Sony version of C1 only imports Sony ARW files. I am very pleased with the results though – enough to purchase the “Pro” version for the expanded capabilities.