What is the most expensive full frame camera set? (Canon vs. Sony vs. Nikon vs. Pentax)

Another interesting video from Duncan Dimanche (see his previous guest post): What is the most expensive full frame camera+lenses set? Mirrorless or DSLR? Canon, Sony, Nikon or Pentax? Here are the results:

  • Pentax: $7,579
  • Canon: $10,608
  • Nikon: $10,631
  • Sony A: $12,736
  • Sony E: $13,240
  • Sony A: 5064g
  • Pentax: 5162g
  • Nikon: 5196g
  • Canon: 5215g
  • Sony E: 5396g

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  • Jeffrey Knight

    Nikon RULES!!!!

    • Delmar Mineard Jr

      Of course they do.

  • Duncan Dimanche

    Thank you pete for sharing 😉
    It was much easier to do this comparison this time. But i’m sure that some people will still find ways to beat me down haha 😉

    • I am sure there are many ways to approach this comparison – you choose one. I would be happy to publish other views.

      • Duncan Dimanche

        very true 😉

    • Rick

      When comparing this video to other video’s on YouTube, I think it is one of the best. Unbiased, objective, spot on, honest, and relevant.
      For this statement I have of course left out some YouTube channels, like all photography channels, because that suites my conclusion.

    • Flickr_Channyuk

      Thank you for creating this comparison. The choice of lenses for each system used in the comparison was always going to be contentious, and while others have suggestions for alternative choices e.g. the new E lenses for the Nikkor zooms and the Sigma ARTs for the primes, this doesn’t change what I think your video proves conclusively which is: any full frame system that uses good or best glass is expensive (in the region of $10 to $12K) and heavy (in the region of 5kg). You can change the lens choices and the order in which these systems appear, but the weight and cost are all going to be comparable I think, and that’s why your video is so useful. I think your final point about micro 4/3rds being the truly light and small system was well made.

  • Aldo

    D5 + 800mm

    • Brett A. Wheeler

      D5 + Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8P IF-ED.

  • Syco

    Unless you’re in Australia – then 50% ish markup for Nikon against the rest of the world

    • Are other brands not marked up as much in Australia? Canon prices seem just as jacked up.

      • Syco

        Canons about 23-26% over the global price

    • Maxou

      Yup but you have at least 50% more great landscapes to shoot, that’s fair 😉

    • Well if its just for a hobby I understand, but eg for work it depends how much can you earn with it…..How is the average wedding photography service fee there?

      • Syco

        Oh look for me not much of a problem as it is for work however the difference is a flight to the US or Japan buy it there and fly back and its cheaper then buying local (at least you get a small holiday out of it)

        It’s what we know as “AUSTRALIA TAX” where the business can charge what ever they want as long as they don’t fix the price with the resellers (D5 units in AU are $9999 AU so about $8000 USD)

        NIKON AU recommended retail is $5899 AU – correction they dropped the rrp now to $5499AU – roughly $4400US

        • silmasan

          Try Indonesia, the prices should be around the same value in USD (it used to be even cheaper). I mention it because you Aussies love to go Bali 🙂 and the flights should be even cheaper.

    • Jeffry De Meyer

      So book a return flight to hong kong

  • Chris

    Forget to include leica noctilux.

    • Spy Black

      …and the 13mm f/5.6 Ai Nikkor…

      • Duncan Dimanche

        and the 1200-1700 32lbs Nikon 😉

    • Duncan Dimanche

      haha yeah I did….

  • harvey

    the people most unhappy would probably be the Sony E folks.

    • They’re probably already unhappy or using their Minolta lenses.

      • John Mackay

        That is sony A mount. E mount has zeiss!

    • John Mackay

      Why? In this comparison E mount get a way better 50mm and 70-200mm lens, the highest resolution and image stabilisation on 4 extra lenses. And as this isn’t pro work, as I wouldn’t do that with a single card slot, I can leave the stuff I don’t need in the car and carry less weight. Preferably all of it so I can bring my Nikon birding gear and shoot something interesting.

      • Duncan Dimanche

        the Sony 70-200 isn’t that great of a lens in terms of sharpness. Lens rental has tested a bunch of them and they were surprise at how not so great they were.

        And yes they are getting a better built 50mm but tons of people are happy with “just” their “cheap” 50mm 😉

        • John Mackay

          From what I remember of lens rentals they said the sony is weak at 70mm, but strong from 100-200. DXO rates the lens very highly, peaking at 38 out of 42mix. It also has no focus breathing, unlike the Nikon G.

          If you are happy with so so lenses then that’s fine, but many are not. If you want to do a budget comparison, do that, Nikon win fair and square. If you want to do a high end one, Image quality is fair to include, and is probably a big factor in happiness.

          • harvey

            as someone who has owned/owns 3-4 of those systems at the same time, the Sony E ain’t all its cracked up to be. Even in terms of image quality.

          • Duncan Dimanche

            soso lenses ? So i’m dealing with a rock hard Sony fan here… ok ok

            So In real life situation do you think that you could tell the difference between those three 70-200 ? nikon mark ii Nikon E and Sony 70-200 ?

            I do love sharp lenses like anyone else should but calling that Nikon marii a soso lens is silly.

            So Nikon professionals have been taking soso photos with it for the past 10 years ?

            here is a short version from lensrental
            “The Sony just isn’t that great, and that’s really disappointing considering the price tag”

            • John Mackay

              I am not a fan of anyone. If it is good I like it, if it sucks I don’t. If I am a fan I am as disloyal as possible. I want market competition, look what has happened with intel since AMD dropped out of the cpu race… and now look what has happened since ryzen. I did even say that I shoot Nikon in my first comment and most of my gear is for Nikon. In fact I can happily say Sony sucks for most of my shooting at the moment because there is only one kinda short birding lens. It is much better for my nephew though because it is small light and silent, but humans are boring.

              Can I tell the difference? Yes, the e version is much more contrasty than the G, side by side it is very clear, no pixel peeping necessary. Also focus breathing, very big difference in resolution and bokeh for the same shot as you would have to crop. Tony Northrup could not fully switch to Nikon after the d810 came out because the focus breathing was so bad on it, he was really sad about it. Sony to Nikon is a bit harder as the colour science is different, so what is lens quality and what is colour is harder to separate. If pixel peeping sharpness, which as a person who shoots birds and can crop from 36mpix down to 2mpix I do, I think I could. DXO agrees, internet samples I have seen do also including from lens rentals as I had a big choice as to pick between the Sony and Nikon 70-200. The Sony looked much better on their shots than the Canon and Nikon G, a touch behind the E. I got the sony as it is way better for video and I think Sony bodies, like with the a9, will be better than Nikon soon.

              The Sony 70-200 is well reviewed widely, I own it, its fine for a zoom, but I don’t like zooms. Lens rentals don’t like it, DXO do, most reviewers do. Most thing I have read say it is a marked step up on the Nikon G and Canon versions.

              I did not call the Nikon 70-200 vr ii soso, I called the Nikon 50mm soso. The 70-200 G is fine, very good. As I said, if on a budget, Nikon wins, it is better value, but don’t compare it to the Sony as if it is the same. As for the 50mm Nikon does not even recommend using it on the D850 it is that bad.

              I also question why Canon got a second battery included, it went from 25% fewer shots, at a very reasonable 900, to 50% more shots at 1800.

        • Athanasius Kirchner

          Roger himself admitted that there’s probably something wrong with their testing setup and the 70-200mm GM. Sony themselves paid a visit because the posted results didn’t match their design goals or in-house testing.

  • Richard Hart

    Nice! I was trying to argue this point on Sony alpha rumors last week, but some people would not appreciate that the difference in weight between mirrorless and dslr with a pro lens or two was so minimal. I have got 4000+frames on a full battery.

    • John Mackay

      The a7r2 can overheat when shooting 4k video for a long time, the D810 does not shoot 4k video. I would say that is a win for the Sony…

      Also there are plenty of pro quality small and light primes for Sony. If you shoot pro sports, weddings (depending on style) and photojournalism you are right, if you shoot pro street, landscape and travel you are wrong.

      • Richard Hart

        Who needs 4k?! Do you get asked for it? I don’t think people really expect more than 24mp either. These are all features that manufacturers insist we need to have to stay competitive.

        I had some sony stuff until it got stolen. So i can speak out of personal experience. Having spoken to other Sony people, everyone says it overheats unreasonably.

        You can get lightweight dslr lenses too.

        Having had all my equipment stolen ($20k) I had carte blanche with manufacturers. I stuck with nikon factoring in price, choice in lenses and dynamic range. Sony are getting the lenses together, but when you need a quality 14mm now, to be able to work, you can’t wait 6months for it.

        • John Mackay

          I want 4k, my screen is 4k and 1080 looks a bit soft. Also, cropping in video, sliding, stuff like that. 4k is great! I don’t sell video though, but at least it is a good b camera if you do.

          I demand more than 24mpix, I shoot birds, I shoot 36 on the d810 and often crop down to around 2, I take what I can get. I have the 800mm so I can’t go longer. I also print at a2 and extra resolution just makes things extra crispy up close which I love. If I shot boring humans I wouldn’t care and 24 would be fine for most stuff.

          I own an a9, no problems with overheating. All I can say about the a7r2 is that I have never heard anyone say it overheated at room temp from stills. It might do though, I haven’t tested it.

          You can get light weight dslr lenses, but a 50 1.8 on a d810 is a lot bigger and heavier than a 50 1.8 on an a7r2. Big lenses make the size and weight savings on the mirrorless worth very little, but they shine with small glass. Even with a single big lens set up like a 70-200 I like the savings.

          I would recommend Nikon too from the sounds of it, I don’t consider the a7r2 a pro body as it has once card slot. The only pro Sony E mount body is the a9. Nikon is better value as it is an older system, and if Sony doesn’t have the lens you need (600mm grumble grumble) then it is a no brainer. Focus points stuck in the middle of the viewfinder sucks though, it was annoying me earlier today.

  • sickheadache

    Yep…Sony sure are proud of their cameras and lenses…wait till Sony produces …400,500 600mm lenses…the cost of those buggers will be more than Canon and Nikon.

    • Shutterbug

      Their 70-200G is actually a very poor lens when measured against it’s peers, as per Lens Rentals’ research. Nothing to be proud of there and it’s a very important lens.

      • Duncan Dimanche

        that is correct !

  • Dinosaur

    Considering the massive difference between the 5Dmk4 and instead of a 810 you swap for the 850 and add the extra $500 Nikon really the Best Buy overall. The weight comparison will have the Sony fanboys crying foul butt hurt they don’t have another arguing point about why their system is better. Smaller but heavier, and really not that much smaller at all.

    • I’m all in on Nikon, but Sony fanboys can point to video capabilities, IBIS in some models, and AF coverage. Time is on Sony’s side.

      The battery life advantage of Nikon isn’t so relevant now since USB charging allows you to plug giant general-purpose batteries into most cameras, laptops, phones, etc. and easily charge your (Sony, Panasonic, …) camera using your car’s USB jacks. When I’m traveling I carry a battery that can power all my gadgets in a pinch. It could keep a hungry Sony going for days, but it’s no use with a Nikon.

      • Well there are many solutions to charge your Nikon batteries in a car. Having good battery life is a real advantage : how can you use your camera while it’s connected to your car (or big battery) for charging ? If you must wait for a minimum charge before being operational, you’re stuck. Even if you can change batteries too, it’s more practical and much more secure for many purposes to have good individual battery life than having to deal with short cycles. And with external charger, you can let batteries charging in your car or with anything else (including giant general-purpose batteries) while you’re in the field for hours.
        For instance, I’m wondering if simply having 3 EN-EL15 with an average at least 4000 shots available from them is not even more simple. The D7200 allows you two or three standard shooting days of autonomy with only one battery (1500 shots in real world !). Though I understand that when you got many gears, having one same source of power can be more practical.
        Every solution has its downside.

        • You can use the camera while it’s plugged in to an external battery. Anyway, I’m just pointing out that being able to plug into standard power sources somewhat offsets the battery life argument. It’s still better to have more battery life but if we’re shooting video, say, chances are the DSLR’s advantage disappears.

      • Duncan Dimanche

        yeah you can’t have a USB charging your sony while in use without having a sort of cage to lock that USB for ripping or being damaged. So i’ll take a better battery life over USB charging solution 😉

      • Thom Hogan

        Actually, not true. Neewer and others make USB chargers for EN-EL15 batteries, and they work quite well. I also use the same type of charger for my Sony batteries.

        Plugging into the camera to charge? Not really a great idea, IMO. I’ve watched a lot of folk doing this, and what happens is that they’re leaving their cameras out of the bag and vulnerable to getting kicked around. Beyond that, I totally mistrust the connectors on most digital cameras. To many reports of continued use of them causing issues because they’re not typically well supported inside the camera. It’s one reason why I really wish Nikon would just go to a wireless connection that mimics the 10-pin.

        • Good points (did not know about the USB charger for EN_EL15). USB connectors in general are a horror show. UBB-C is at least headed in a good direction.

      • Richard Hart

        mirrorless users would get far better battery life if they used the viewfinder over the power hungry screen too

    • Tony

      This comparison is pretty meaningless. If you look at the original video closely, the Nikon lenses he selected are the G series 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200mm. He also selected the 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4. The image quality of these lenses aren’t anywhere close to what their equivalent Sony lenses can offer.

      Can Nikon produce cameras and lenses of comparable quality? Yes – but they’re going to be bigger and much more expensive – see the new Nikon “E” series. Is Nikon’s best from 3 years ago cheaper and lighter than Sony’s best from 2016/2017? Yes. Is the image quality anywhere as good? No. Do you need that much resolution and quality? That’s up to the photographer.

      • Dinosaur

        The comparison isn’t meaningless. For some time Sony fanboys were crying about how so much smaller and portable their system was; when nikon fanboys retorted that yes the camera was physically smaller(by barely much and had terrible ergonomics) but weighed more than the Nikon. If you take similar images with compatible lenses like a A7r2 and D850 both using 24-70 lens you aren’t going to tell any difference between the two unless you print them both to 60″+ width and have a magnifying glass and 2 hours to compare. No editor is going to tell any difference looking at the images full screen on their 5k iMac 27″ screen(by the way they never look at them full screen, I’ve been in editor’s offices before while mid-conversation when a by-the-wire image or some photo the editor had been waiting on was received via e-mail and they open it give it a hard 5-10 second look and make their decision. Editors don’t have the time to pixel peep, nor do they give a shit because they have been in the business long enough to know that shit is for complete morons, its about getting the story and conveying an idea or type of expression. I have spoken with many pro-shooters and as much as they like mirrorless they can’t rely on it because they don’t want to be left stranded if the EVF fails, many say a hybrid/selectable EVF/SLR would be on their wishlist. I don’t know where Sony got the idea that pros want smaller/less ergonomic bodies, I see the D850 has an even deeper grip and everyone seems to like it even more, who is going around dreaming to awkward?
        Or is Sony just designing A9 pro bodies for small Asian hand sizes?
        At this point in the game will a slightly better quality Sony lens make any difference in making your image better; NO it will not. Will the Sony glass get you chosen over a Nikon shooter for a competing cover shot; NO. Will anyone tell the difference in two 60″ wide prints of the same subject; only nerd with an abundance of time not the 99.85% of people who actually pay for your art to be hung in their spaces.
        Never heard a pro say “gee, I wish my camera body was 1″ shorter and a 1/2″ less in depth, have akward ergonomics and weigh more for my trip to Africa, cause that extra less 1” is going to make it travel better. Comparing a D810/850/750 body next to A7/A9 sizes are relative, yes the Sonys are smaller but by how much really? It’s the same difference in relation weight, and how about the nutjobs who say idiotic things like “well it’s 150 grams less weight that’s going to be much easier on a hike” 150 grams is 150 American pennies. But when you carry the comparable lens the combination actually now weighs more than the DSLR so what is the benefit? And if 150 grams less is that big of a deal you must be one fat lardass and in general respect for life should be hitting the gym instead of taking photos if 150 grams is going to be the game changing factor you are using as a selling point. I do over 6 figures a year with my photography business and I don’t do weddings. I’ve learned enough that at this point in camera technology if you are citing some small difference of higher quality of the Sony lenses in comparison to the Nikon G line of glass then you aren’t much of a photographer and rely more on specs than talent/know-how. And the specs you mention aren’t anything that will make your images any better for the human eye to tell a difference of, that’s where you are confused, but that confusion/ignorance is what sells many people.

        • Thom Hogan

          Well, I know two photo editors that could tell you what camera and lens was used with ridiculous accuracy. Their eyes are better than mine, and I think mine are excellent.

          But to your point, you’re correct. At the level of performance we’re talking about here, we’re looking at pretty small differences. I just don’t see those differences making a change in what you’d pick, especially since lenses get better over time, and plenty of other options are available for the major mounts. If you like the way Zeiss renders, you can get that on any mount.

      • Thom Hogan

        See my comment elsewhere. Subbing in the Nikon E lenses doesn’t really change anything.

        As for the contention that ANY of the lenses mentioned would be the deciding factor in which system you chose, I think that would be an unwise decision. Optical performance is a leapfrog game just like sensor performance. At any given time I can point to any one of these companies having the weakest X lens. That changes.

        Yes, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 is the suspect in this list. I just don’t think it’s up to the level of the other lenses mentioned. There are plenty of options there if you agree.

  • Eric Calabros

    Peter what happened to 14mm lens rumor?

    • Haven’t heard anything since.

      • Thom Hogan

        My antenna in Tokyo says that a few FX lenses got pushed back a bit to help provide enough production to launch a new series of lenses.

        • Ivanku

          And a new mount ? ; )

          • Thom Hogan

            Watch sansmirror on Monday for a summary of what I’ve been hearing.

            • dchen32

              Thom, when will you be posting this article? I am eager to hear what you know.

        • Nikon is going to sell a lot of the new lenses with the D850 – the new 24-70 is already out of stock at B&H and Adorama (it was in sock everywhere last week). Maybe that’s why they feel that they do not need new lenses right now.

          • Thom Hogan

            Lenses already launched would have production schedules already triggered to expected demand. You don’t build glass from scratch instantly. And the procedures/lines for those lenses are already established and active.

            What I’m referring to is the prioritization of production of new lenses. If a lens isn’t already in manufacturing, I’m hearing that it might be pushed back a bit to make room for manufacturing to establish new processes/lines for the new lenses they’d need for mirrorless.

            And if you go back to 2011 when Nikon 1 was launched, note that we got 2 DSLR lenses and 4 Nikon 1 lenses, a very weak year for new DSLR lenses, so there’s precedence for this.

        • Kriss_De_Valnor

          You mean new series of lenses for incoming Nikon mirrorles FX system???

          • EnPassant

            You are sure Nikon’s next mirrorless will be FX?

  • Claude Mayonnaise

    Generally speaking, photography seems like the only art form or hobby where it’s user base sit around and argue about the gear and methods of producing their work. Could it be because its method of producing requires a press of a button which is relatively easy. Anyone can press a button and get some sort of result. I can’t remember the last time a saw a group of plain air painters sitting around arguing about their paint brushes. I think some art forms expose you. You usually can’t fake knowing how to paint a landscape with skill. With a camera you just spend a shit load of money and you think you are the next Henri Cartier Bresson or Ansel Adams. OH well, I’m done bitching. Happy Labor Day weekend.

    • So when you have fíníshed preachíng to the frogs please look around you and see that you are standíng ín the mud yourself.

      • EnPassant

        Maybe one of the frogs is a prince! And a master of the art of photography in disguise!

    • Dinosaur

      I’m sure there are forum boards just like this were painters do argue about things. I am interested in viewing the portfolio of the person saying “it’s just pushing a button” I request you enthrall us with your amazing images since it’s so very easy. The majority of the users here are tech nerds/fan boys who love the specs and to argue mundane points of interest. Myself, after 5 years in the Marines I put myself through college using my GI education grant and double majored in photography and another subject. I’ve been out of school 20 years now, age 43 and make over 6 figures in the business with no studio and no weddings. I come here to read and occasionally put some ignorant person in check when they think something as simple as increased resolution or ISO is going to make them better photographers when I know plenty of shooters still using D700’s/D3 era equipment and making 6 figures as well. De-valuing art because your personal belief is that it’s as simple as pushing a button is a dick mentality and if it’s meant as sarcasm it’s a passé and boring attempt at that.

      • Claude Mayonnaise

        I really did not intend to offend anyone with my comment so I’m sorry if I did. I’m speaking in generalities and the atmosphere on these photography sites seem to be me against them attitude. There’s always articles about this camera vs that camera and it creates teams that waste time arguing about things. I never said I was a good photographer. I’m only calling out what I see in my experience. I think to be a great photographer takes more than pushing a button. I did not intend to devalue the process. In fact, I think it’s a very difficult to master.

    • You nailed it ! 🙂

    • Kriss_De_Valnor

      Very good post. It applies to audiophiles too:

      “Look at me this is my new amplifier but don’t touch it please” :)))))

  • Captain Megaton

    Taken as a complete system, size and weight scales by sensor size. The flange distance and mirror box changes very little.

    Paired with the right lens though, mirrorless can be a much smaller and lighter carry than a comparable DSLR.

    So the battlefront is unchanged.

    • John Mackay

      EVF and eye af are great tools and only possible on mirrorless. Also if you are shooting with 2 or 3 small primes the size and weight is a factor, rather than a set of 5 f1.4 primes and f2.8 zooms.

      • Captain Megaton

        EVF/OVF is a six-of-one, half-dozen-of-the-other preference thing. While I appreciate the things EVF can do, I prefer OVF, especially on FF.

        There are basically two arguments for mirrorless: “Look how small it is with a 35/2.8” and “I want an EVF”. I can sympasize with both, but I’m happy with a dSLR and don’t have a huge interest in Nikon’s upcoming plans. For all the people insisting Nikon hurry up and release a mirrorless camera, which is it you want most?

        • Thom Hogan

          I’m agnostic on EVF versus OVF, especially after I started testing the A9. There are benefits both ways. It’s just another tradeoff I have to balance.

        • John Mackay

          I would say f1.8 primes too, not just the 35mm 2.8. Also, while not strictly mirrorless, Sony is the sensor king, I think they will stay at the cutting edge like with the a9 and a99ii. Silent 20fps 24mpix and 12 fps 42mpix, nothing from Canon or Nikon is close to that. Finally video, nothing replaces an evf in bright sun for video.

      • Thom Hogan

        It’s buzz buzz time! ;~)

        Had Nikon made two or three small DX primes and made a few other small decisions about DX bodies differently, we might not be having this conversation.

        • IronHeadSlim

          My D500 is my first crop sensor and now I am REALLY feeling the buzz buzz when I want to carry my small light body and a “small” wide prime.

          • TurtleCat

            The only option out there is the 35 1.8DX. I have it on my D500 and it’s nice. I wonder why the third party players haven’t made any small DX primes? Maybe there isn’t as much of a market out there as we would like?

            • Tony Beach

              Generally, if not always, the market for zooms is greater than for primes. That’s almost certainly why Sigma makes a nice pair of cropped sensor f/1.8 zooms that cover a large part of the range focal lengths that are the classic equivalent zoom lengths used on 35mm format. That said, the 35/1.8G DX as well as the 10.5/2.8G DX have been big sellers for Nikon.

            • TurtleCat

              Such a shame, too. I used to have the 10.5 until it got stolen. I don’t have much use for it otherwise I’d get another. Zooms are better sellers but a strategically targeted prime would probably sell well. I’d love to have my 16-80, 35 and maybe a 14 f4 for travel.

      • Greg Smith

        Agree that EVF is a really great tool; I spent years eschewing the concept until I had a chance to spend a day a really good one. While I am still an OVF (as a DSLR shooter), EVFs and (with the A9) focus systems have reached the point where I myself am questioning the need for a flappy mirror. EVFs offer very useful capabilities that OVFs simply can’t offer, and with each passing generation of development, the disadvantages have been shrinking to the point where they are almost gone. The other thing that nobody has yet cracked on an SLR is hardware OTIS, and the latest 5-axis systems are hugely effective, and do things that lens-alone IS/VR cannot. If I could somehow have an D850 with an EVF and OTIS, wow!

      • Tony Beach

        This is why I don’t get doing 135 format mirrorless. The whole advantage of 135 format versus smaller formats starts at f/2 for primes and f/2.8 for zooms, take that away and you might as well being shooting a smaller format with even slower lenses which will dramatically decrease the size and weight and then break out a couple of f/1.4 primes to even the playing the field with 135 format.

        • John Mackay

          There are fantastic f1.8 primes for full frame which are very nice and small, equivalent to f1.2 in apsc. Some f1.4 glass is nice to have, but you just don’t want to carry too much. A bag of only the very biggest glass is no fun. I think full frame might be better for higher resolution too, as apsc is on 24mpix, full frame is 50, and medium format is 100.

          • Tony Beach

            The biggest issue for 135 format is that equivalent focal lengths are 50% and 100% longer than DX/APS-C and m4/3 formats. Compound that with not even attempting to get a DOF or light gathering advantage by using f/4 lenses to cut size and weight and all you end up doing is paying much more for a larger sensor that is largely unleveraged.

            As for greater resolution, that more often than not starts with a tripod, so again the weight savings of a mirrorless system becomes marginal since you can use small lenses with a DSLR too, and if image quality is the primary consideration for landscape photography we have much more access to T/S lenses with the Canon and Nikon systems.

            Of course, the camera companies would like you to believe you are gaining something significant by spending a significantly more since they profit more when you do that. What they don’t tell you though is that the gains are at best diminishing as you spend more and sometimes there are none at all.

            • John Mackay

              FF is often of not much use, but it is good for the times that it is. As a prime shooter having great f.8 and 1.4 primes available is important to me. Base iso performance is better too, if you have the light iso 100 full frame is over twice as clean as apsc. I do take the point though, I think at least for DSLRs apsc is the way to go as sigma has shown great f1.8 zooms and focus points can cover the frame. Long lenses can also be faster, as 800mm is just too shallow at f5.6, but you need 5.6 for focus.

              Mirrorless systems have IBIS, which negates much of the need for tripods. Flash and bright Sun also do the trick, so I don’t really accept that, at least not around the 40mpix mark. 100mpix might be another storey. All tilt shift lenses are manual focus and can all be adapted to mirrorless, and work better because of the evf and focus peaking.

              It is frustrating there is no pro Canon, Nikon or Sony APSC glass, I think fugi has some though, but I don’t know enough about it. It does make improving your gear very expensive.

            • Tony Beach

              Base ISO at f/4 is going to be about the same on 135 format as base ISO at f/2.8 on DX/APS-C format.

              Having to cart around an 800mm lens also completely defeats the point of mirrorless being smaller and more convenient since you can get the same FOV on m4/3 format with a 400mm lens.

              Any sort of image stabilization has limitations. You will not be doing longer exposure in dimmer light or blurring waterfalls using IBIS.

              My point here isn’t to argue mirrorless over DSLRs, or vice versa; although I much prefer DSLRs. My point is that if I wanted to get a mirrorless to save weight I would go with a smaller format than 135 format — thus, I don’t see a per se appeal to 135 format mirrorless, especially for Nikon; other than marketing.

              Having said all of that, I have looked at the possibility of getting an A7r to use with a Canon 17/4 TS-E, but the costs have not added up to being any better than paying more for a Nikkor 19/4 PC-E to use on my Nikon system. The costs and pitfalls of using adapters is also a factor for me, and not a positive one.

            • John Mackay

              You are wrong about the base iso performance, apsc performs about the same if you are light limited and want the same depth of field and shutter speed. But if you are shooting at base iso you are not, and full frame makes cleaner images. The d750 is 2.5 decibells cleaner than the d7200 both at iso 100. 10 decibels is 10 times cleaner. Source is DXO.

              Yes, massive glass makes the size and weight savings of mirrorless pointless, but mirrorless can shoot 20fps full frame silently, DSLRs cannot, worth bearing in mind. Yes a m4/3 would only have to be 400mm, but would have to be just as big to gather the same amount of light. A 400mm f5.6 m4/3 lens is the same as a 800mm f11 lens, and that just wouldn’t focus. m4/3 also hits diffraction limits very quickly, I like apsc in theory but would only ever go smaller for video on something like a GH5.

              Yes, IS has limitations, but IBIS/VR does the job 90% of the time, all portrait, most landscape, all sitting birds, almost all street and some macro to name a few.

              As I said before, mirrors are currently limiting sports performance, shutters and mirrors will limit sharpness when mpix count rises because of the added shake. If you want to carry around 4 or 5 lenses then saving weight on the body won’t be noticeable. If you just want one big f1.4 I think it is though. If you don’t want fast f1.8 glass smaller sensor mirrorless if for you.

              I think adapters are fine if you don’t need autofocus or weather sealing, its not ideal for sure, but Manual focus I don’t see the problem.

            • Tony Beach

              Go back and read what I wrote about base ISO performance. The comparison was using an F/4 lens compared to using an f/2.8, and my entire argument has been that you are giving up the advantage of 135 format when you start using slower lenses on it.

              Your argument about the equivalence of an 800mm lens versus a 400mm lens is also based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what is or isn’t equivalent. Using a 400mm f/5.6 lens is using an f/5.6 lens on any format, and it puts that much light on an AF sensor regardless of the format the AF sensor is on.

              Stabilization may work on most of your work; I hardly ever use it. Besides that, this was not what I posted about and is just a distraction from my initial point. That is to say, it’s pointless to discuss this any further — same with the whole mirrors are limiting sports photography and the general desirability of mirrorless cameras. You can argue with yourself or someone else about mirrorless versus DSLRs, but my mind is already made up.

              Finally, regarding adapters, there is a tolerance issue, and it includes side to side performance, and it’s a cost as well, so I’m not buying that either (so please stop trying to sell it to me).

              I’m done here. Post more responses if you like, but I’m sure I’ve already answered them at least once in my previous replies to you about this in this thread.

            • John Mackay

              F stop has nothing to do with iso performance. I am not realy sure what you mean. All else aside, a full frame camera at iso 100 will have half the noise of a dx camera at iso 100 camera, as it can gather twice as much light. It may have to use half the shutter speed, but that doesn’t change the fact under ideal conditions full frame cameras are cleaner than dx.

              I did get a little confused here, I understand it just fine but what I said was totally wrong. I usually think about it the other way around. Yes, a 400mm f5.6 would focus just fine on M4/3, but would be the equivalent of a 800mm f11 full frame lens, and as I should have said before, hit diffraction and collect very little light producing noisy images. The point was that small sensors can give you a longer focal length and focus fine but to gather the same amount of light they need the same amount of glass. I didn’t really make that point when I should have. And I would just say that f5.6 doesn’t put the same amount of light on the sensor in any format, it put the same light intensity per unit area on the sensor, a sensor twice as big will receive twice as much light from an f5.6 lens.

              As I said before, IS is a use case thing, if you need a tripod then you need a tripod, but for most people IBIS negates the need for a tripod if one was needed in the first place.

              I am not selling you adapters, I don’t care what you buy. I am just saying, their fine, but not perfect.

            • Tony Beach

              Okay, as I said above, you already have the answer to any arguments you want to make against my posts in this thread.

              Nonetheless, and for the last time, re-read what I wrote in my very first reply to you. If you are shooting at f/4 on 135 format then you aren’t gaining anything over shooting at f/2.8 on DX/APS-C format (same amount of light gathered at the same exposure, that’s what equivalence is). If I have all the time in the world to expose the shot, and I don’t care about shallow DOF, then I just go with a smaller format with smaller lenses that are equally slow and my system gets a lot smaller and costs a lot less too; if I do care about DOF and shoot with faster lenses then the mirrorless system is only marginally smaller than what I have with my FX DSLR that I mount f/1.8 primes and an f/2.8 zoom on.

              What’s more, as you move away from wide open shooting (which you have effectively done by sticking a slow lens on a 135 format sensor) then equivalence comes into play with every scenario, and then moving up or down one format or even two will have practically no effect on image quality.

            • John Mackay

              Ok, I see what you mean, when you say “Base ISO at f/4 is going to be about the same on 135 format as base ISO at f/2.8 on DX/APS-C format.” you mean that both images will show the same level of noise if you use a lens a stop faster, which at slow apertures is no problem for a dx lens. I have no problem with that. My problem is that the dx camera would not shoot at the same iso as the full frame camera, the dx camera would need to shoot at half the iso of the full frame camera to have the same exposure. In other words iso 200 of the full frame equals iso 100 of the apsc camera. My point was that a full frame camera can still go down to iso 100, and show less noise if you have enough light on say a sunny day or on a tripod. You should not have used the word base, as this implies both cameras are at iso 100.

              I have never said you should use slow lenses on full frame, so I am not sure why you are making this point. I have said that f1.8 lenses are great and better full frame, as f1.2 is equivalent in apsc. I think I also said that if you don’t want fast lenses small sensors are fine. The only slow lenses I have mentioned are super telephoto ones, and I am very happy to say I would like them to be apsc (at f5.6 of m4/3 at f4) because the depth of field at full frame is too shallow at max aperture. Sadly they don’t exist in a pro system.

    • Thom Hogan

      Let’s be clear: mirrorless can only be smaller in one dimension, the depth of the body. That change only (currently) enables smaller lenses mostly in the wide angle realm. In return for the smaller area within the camera of mirrorless, you get battery size limitations and heat considerations.

      Normal to telephoto optical designs generally mean you have, for example, ~300mm from front of lens to sensor for a 300mm lens. There are exceptions (e.g. PF, DO), but to do something other than traditional lens design increases cost of the lens.

      Just as we photographers have to juggle decisions about dozens of things while we shoot, so too do the camera makers have to juggle dozens of decisions about what they make and how.

      • Mirrorless bodies are generally smaller, but mirrorless lenses are generally bigger in order to compensate the lack of space between the lens and https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d8b262460ef316c7225513f8d73aa6d00dc835278cdec8d0e4e4b1ee91fcc12.jpg the sensor, right?

        • Thom Hogan

          For telephoto lenses, yes, that’s fairly common, as the standard optical formula tends to be mm for mm (e.g., a 300mm lens requires about 300mm from front element to sensor/film). There are other designs, such as PF, that change that equation, but they result in more expensive lenses.

        • RC Jenkins

          Not at the wider & faster end. Using APS-C cameras as an example here because it has more purpose-built mirrorless equivalents, but here’s an example, with fast 35mm lenses:

          Also threw in a full-frame Leica 35mm F/2.0 for kicks, since they’ve got legacy of full-frame mirrorless lenses (though manual focus).

          The Fujis are actually the fastest lens @ F/1.4. Nikon @ only F/1.8…2/3 stops slower than the Fuji. The Leica is F/2. All are very high-quality lenses.

          That site doesn’t have Canon’s mirrorless lens options yet, but for perspective, here’s Canon’s 22mm F/2 mirrorless APS-C lens:

          Further complicating things is that the Fuji & Leica are both thicker than is strictly necessary–their sensors are much closer to the mount, while the Nikon sensor is very far back. (look for the “Φ” symbol for the sensor plane).

          Sony has seemingly re-used DSLR optical designs when creating it’s initial rounds of E-mount lenses, rather than new-purpose built mirrorless lenses. I wouldn’t use them to gauge what’s possible.

          But it does illustrate another key benefit to a short flange distance–it’s always easy to move the rear element further, but not closer to the sensor. This is why every single full-frame DSLR lens by any manufacturer can be adapted to mirrorless-specific mounts without optical elements, but not vice versa.

          There are only a handful of cases when mirrorless ‘size’ is truly a benefit–and it’s usually around wide-angle primes, with compact camera bodies. If you shoot full-frame 20mm – 40mm primes often and dislike the size of DSLRs for portability, you’ll see a benefit. Otherwise, not so much.

          In this respect, my personal mirrorless cameras compete more with my phone today than with my DSLRs. And size is very important–the thinner, the better.

        • EnPassant

          Depends on which lenses we compare.
          The Sony FE 16-35/2.8 is actually in practise, what some FE lenses a bit unfairly have been accused of, a SLR lens with a built in adapter.

          Although there are some FE lenses that have the rear element recessed quite a bit they would never fit a SLR even if the mount was flush with the rear element.

          However, looking at the lens construction of the FE 16-35/2.8 the rear element seem to be a full inch from the mount, which is extreme for a wide angle, prime or zoom!

          Why? My guess it may have to do with the floating focus mechanism (As I haven’t had it in my hand I don’t know how the rear elements move.) and keepeing the light rays as telecentric as possible.

          If it is the latter that is actually the same as admitting the flange distance is too short for use with a full frame sensor.
          On the other hand Sony have the FE 12-24/4 lens that has a rear element flush with the mount and is much smaller and half the weigth of the new Sigma 12-24/4 and Canon’s 11-24/4.

          Here it is compared to the old Sigma 12-24/4.5-5.6 (The new 12-24/was not an option on the site but is almost as big and heavy as the Canon 11-24 lens.), that despite the slower aperture is a both longer and heavier, and the Canon 11-24/4 lens:


          Lab test show the Sony 12-24 being about as good as the Canon 11-24. But claims from early testers say the FE 16-35/2.8 is the better lens. So is it just a focal length thing? (Lenses with wider angles are more difficult to make super sharp.) But why then couldn’t Sony make the FE 16-35/2.8 GM lens shorter? Was the lens constructor lazy or what?


        • Athanasius Kirchner

          Only if the design is retrofocal. So for lenses that need heavy corrections, like the 24-70mm f/2.8, it makes no difference. But on the 12-24mm f/4 G (vs. the Canon 11-24mm L or Sigma Art 12-24mm F74) it’s almost a 50% weight reduction.
          It’s extremely dependant on what one shoots – for wildlife and birding enthusiasts Sony E is hardly the best choice.

      • Greg Smith

        Agreed; this is not often talked about but it is a size disadvantage when you have to add the length (and resulting weight) to multiple lenses in your kit. Better a slightly thicker body and shorter lenses than vice-versa any day.

        • Thom Hogan

          I’m mostly agnostic on this.

          To be honest, if I want a smaller/lighter kit, I buy truly smaller/lighter. For more serious work, that’s been an m4/3 system. For more casual stuff, it’s been the EOS M5 with the 11-22mm, 22mm, and sometimes another lens.

          If I’m shooting 36mp+, my decision is usually not based on lens size, camera depth, or anything else the fan boys keep trying to bring up. It’s based upon the results I get. And there the Nikon D8xx plus recent Nikkors is really tough to beat. At high ISO values shooting sports with incredible focus, the D5 is tough to beat, though the A9 has certainly raised my eyebrows on a few things. Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t have the lenses I need yet.

          • RC Jenkins

            Totally agree. I don’t want slightly smaller / lighter–it has to be significant. Not enough difference between a D3### & D8## as far as I’m concerned.

            But certain cameras are small enough to be carried differently. Like:
            :::Panasonic GMs
            :::Fuji X-M1 (even up to the size of the Fuji X-Pro 2).
            :::Canon Ms
            :::Nikon 1 Js (& non-existent DLs)
            :::Sony RX100s

            These are flat enough where I can either literally pocket them or slide them into a thin bag–they’re the same thickness as a phone or laptop.

            Interestingly, this correctly implies I’m primarily using small or thin lenses too with them…

            …the same things I use my phone for.

            This has left me with a dilemma: the only mirrorless combos that are still dramatically differentiated for me today are:

            :::Panasonic GM + 42.5mm F/1.7
            because it’s truly pocketable and better than phones for portraits & low light tele–though the latest phones are quickly catching up.

            :::Fuji X-Pro2
            for its hybrid rangefinder OVF-EVF & tactile controls. It’s ovf excellent for framing action like casual shooting sports or pets, and controls make general shooting streamlined & fun. Not pocketable but very portable–I now take it a lot more places than my DSLRs if I’m doing something other than just photography–and the OVF saves battery life!

            And so for me, the mirrorless camera I want most from Nikon is their version of the X-Pro2, with a thin body, similar controls, Nikon FF sensor, IBIS, good video, Nikon AF tracking, and Nikon menus. Good for prime or manual focus (viewfinder peaking). That’s a good complement for DSLR shooters and taking brilliant advantage of differentiators.

            Nikon should also release a DSLR-style mirrorless camera. Size won’t matter as much here, as we see with the Sonys. This would be for whatever other reasons people feel they want mirrorless cameras–even if it’s just for an EVF.

      • Captain Megaton

        Not quite. The mirror box (and pentaprism) are volume considerations. Typically most of these savings are made to reduce the front-back dimension in lockstep with the reduction in flange distance however.

        The battery life reduction is partly a consideration of the smaller battery size, and partly from the extra power draw of the EVF. A chunky mirrorless like the GH5 gets pretty decent battery life, despite its compact size. (yes, its MFT but the point stands.)

        • Thom Hogan

          I’ll stand by my answer.

          Moreover, note what the mirrorless cameras have been doing in order to up battery size: they increase volume, typically through a hand grip size increase.

    • Tony

      “Paired with the right lens though, mirrorless can be a much smaller and lighter carry than a comparable DSLR.”

      That’s an excellent point – I find the best way to use a Sony A7R II is to actually pair it with the f1.8 to f2.8 primes out there available for it. That’s where you realize the most benefit from the size reduction of full frame mirrorless.

      I don’t see the fast primes for Sony being of any real advantage except for the fact that you can use the same body with light primes for maximum portability or fast zooms/primes when you want that capability.

  • Phanter

    Again. “I did not went with the latest generation of each lens, because the old ones are cheaper.”
    Yeah i get the point but again the comparison is not fair. Both the Sony 85mm F1.4 and the Sony/Zeiss 50mm F1.4 are far better than the Nikon equivalents. Same for the 24-70 and the 70-200 you selected.
    Nikon does make nice optics just chose them

  • EsaKivivuori

    Leica SL 😉

  • Paulr

    Lets nor forget the Nikon D3X was the most expensive body Nikon made and to this day that price has nor been matched.

  • TinusVerdino

    Sony lenses cost a lot. Very funny how the mirrorless option weighs the most.

    • John Mackay

      They are also the best lenses, this is not a fair comparison. G lenses were chosen, not E. This is a big problem for the 70-200mm comparison. The Nikon 50mm is not very good, the zeiss one for Sony is big, heavy and expensive, it is also fantastic quality. All 5 Sony lenses have vr because of IBIS, only 1 does for Nikon. Carrying the extra batteries is also subjective, you might not need to carry an extra 3 batteries with the Sony, it depends what you are shooting and what you can leave in the car. This kind of comparison is worthless except perhaps as a template. You need to compare what you need and will shoot with and factor in image quality, weather sealing and dual card slots.

      • TinusVerdino

        The best 24-70 is made by Canon.

        • John Mackay

          True… at least assuming you don’t need VR. It’s not 3 stops of ISO better.

          • TinusVerdino

            If you need VR for the Canon you can adapt it to e-mount :p

            • John Mackay

              True, but then you get into tracking af issues

            • TinusVerdino

              When shooting moving subjects you are not going to need VR anyway. Shutter speed will have to be higher.

            • John Mackay

              True, but then you have to own two 24-70s (or two cameras) and switch every time you need to go from still to moving subjects.

        • docnorth

          Like Duncan Dimanche you are excluding Nikon 24-70mm E VR or you are based (or biased) by tests shot at 96cm for 24mm to 2,8m for 70mm focal length. Nikon has very good micro-Nikkors for this purpose. For real life distances we all can find useful information at Lens Rentals (https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/nikon-24-70mm-f2-8-ed-af-s-vr-sharpness-optical-bench-testing/), Cameralabs etc.

        • Duncan Dimanche

          It’s a lost battle here Tinusverdino John he is clearly a rock hard Sony fan who has lots of time to spend/waist defending Sony on a nikon site.

          The only reason why I’m still responding here is because I made that video but otherwise who has time to writes 20+ comments ?

  • TinusVerdino

    Pentax will announce a new 50 1.4 and 85 1.4 within a year. There is also a 55mm 1.4 which will cover full frame although it is an aps-c lens. The 50 1.4 shown here is a great classic lens for Pentax.

    • Duncan Dimanche

      Thanks for the input ! I didn’t know that the 55mm was compatible 😉
      I hope that they do bring those two new lenses

  • Adam Brown

    I’m sorry, but it’s silly. One can design this experiment to lead to almost any desired result. To get these results, didn’t even use the newest Nikon lenses. And the only thing that makes e-mount heavy, is their 50/1.4. Put the sigma art 50/1.4 on the Canon and Nikon…. and results are quite different.
    If anything… it shows price and weight, will really depend on how you design your bag.

    • Exactly, my impression after watching the video and him justifying the use of older less expensive lenses on the Nikon gear is that he designed it to give the outcome he wanted.

  • Coffee

    Message received: Canon and Nikon are about the same cost and weight. Sony is more expensive, and who is Pentax? Does Pentax have a good lens offering (cost/choices) or is it mostly for video use hence the discount. Also, once you put a lens on the Sony, they weight about the same as the competition but have shorter battery life.

    Really, their weight is about the same across the board (take the average between the 2 Sony).

  • Thom Hogan

    Let’s start with the easy bit to make this more understandable to some: I’ll sub in the E lenses instead of G for Nikon. This increases price by US$1310 and weight by 60g (the 70-200mm E is less weight than the predecessor, the 24-70mm E is more).

    So Nikon would be US$11,941, leaving it basically in third place in price, and it would be 5256g, lifting it to just beyond Canon in fourth place in weight.

    These two substitutions don’t fundamentally change anything in those metrics. The point some have been making, that the Sony E ends up costlier and heavier, is still true. I can attest to that. I just borrowed a full set of the latest Sony E gear and was a bit surprised at the price tag.

    Certainly, there are ways to finesse price and weight in every system, both with and without third party options.

    But on to some other contentions. I’m not sure why Duncan thinks the 24-70mm E is less capable than the G. As in my review, I believe the 24-70mm to be much better in actual shooting. Maybe the E doesn’t do show itself off well in test charts shot at a short distance, but in real shooting it excels in ways that the G simply doesn’t. Both are fine lenses, the E is better.

    There’s no contest with the 70-200mm. The E version is simply better than any other 70-200mm I’ve ever used, and by a clearly visible margin (at least on the high resolution/high pixel density bodies). The Sony GM does not really match it, at least in my early testing of that. But again, both are fine lenses, but the E is arguably better.

    But that brings us to this conclusion: at this level you’re not buying the size/weight or the price. Those things for the main competitors end up being far too close for there to be a clear winner, and those traits have a tendency to average up over time.

    Thus, the question basically is what are you buying for. It boils down to these things:
    1. Brand preference (typically due to already owned gear and customer service)
    2. Particular features (EVF, battery life, video abilities, frame rate, etc.)
    3. Ergonomics
    4. Marketing

    #4 is an external factor that you shouldn’t let drive your decisions.
    #3 is a personal preference.
    #2 can be important, so don’t ignore it and compromise without understanding what you’re compromising.
    #1 is something that was earned by the company you bought from.

    • Eledeuh

      > But on to some other contentions. I’m not sure why Duncan thinks the 24-70mm E is less capable than the G.

      Unfortunately that’s pretty much the current hivemind opinion on the internet. Some reviewers did some basic testing and very broadly dismissed the lens as somewhat lesser than the G version, and from there the idea took a life of its own, everyone repeating it or trying to prove it with poorly made/biased attempts at making comparisons, and here we are.

      • The 24-70E is ever so slightly, probably imperceptibly in real world photography worse in the center but significantly and noticeably better in the corners making it the better lens in my testing. And as Thom said, on the 70-200, the differences aren’t subtle. The 70-200E is simply the best zoom of any kind ever made.

        • Duncan Dimanche

          Very correct for the 70-200 E version.
          It is the Sharpess 70-200 lens out there by a big margin.

          But Once again I wasn’t trying to choose THE best lens for the job. The nikon mark i wasn’t that great and cannot be found new so it was clearly out of the equation but the mark ii is a very capable and sharp lens.


      • Duncan Dimanche

        Well I didn’t feel like it was worth the upgrade really. Unless you wanted better sharpness on the edges.

        My goal here wasn’t to choose THE best lens for the job.

        If Sony had an older version of their lenses that was just as good I would have chose that one as well. (As I did for Canon’s 16-35 markii instead of the Miii)

        I really like the fact that with Canon and Nikon you still have the choice to buy older versions of lenses that are still great and very capable lenses.

        But you are all free to do the maths with the newer versions of lenses (Like one already did in the comments) 😉

    • catinhat

      Two considerations:

      1.) How many people just buying into a new system, i.e. trying out/sampling, are going to spend $10K+ to start with? I would say not many. Those looking at the high end offerings are likely to already own a system, which brings us to the second consideration:

      2.) How many people who already own a full fledged system would add a second one, or sell and replace with a different system? Again, I would say not many, because it is a money losing proposition, and, secondarily, because being used to particular ergonomics and workflows are hard to break habits.

      I would say, item #1, brand preference based on already owned gear, is the overriding consideration for the vast majority, and the only way to break this dependency would be to change the lens mount. Which is why I believe Nikon will never do it.

      • Thom Hogan

        1. True. However many organizations that buy cameras for their photographers have been known to consider each new upgrade point as a “dump all the old gear buy new gear” thing. A lot of the PJ stuff gets pretty heavily used/abused and there’s something to be said for starting fresh each cycle.

        2. Some. I call them Samplers (as opposed to Leakers, who completely switch). What they tend to do is sample with a body and a lens or two (or an adapter), then make a decision whether to switch. A lot of the Samplers stay samplers. They’re looking for something they just won’t find, so they sample, sample, sample…

        Look, the legacy lens sets still in actual use by Canon and Nikon owners are considerable. With the old Minolta A mount, not so much. I call this a “gravity” that tends to keep purchases within a realm.

        But Nikon is showing signs of that gravity no longer having the same effect it once did. They’ve lost considerable market share recently, with no sign that this loss has stopped. Within a smaller gravity well that encompasses basically the D7500 through D850, Nikon still does decently. It’s the core of their user base that is engaged and staying engaged.

        So far, Nikon hasn’t really messed that up, though the D7500 changes were on the risky side for them. The D500, D750, and D850 are what Nikon dealers can sell today, basically. And that’s the other problem: Nikon is seeing strong pushback from dealers after the Nikon 1, KeyMission, and DL failures. Very strong pushback. As in “maybe we shouldn’t be a Nikon dealer any more, as we can’t meet your minimum purchase requirements any more.”

        In many ways this discussion is moot. If you’re in the market for a really well-rounded, capable of most anything full frame ILC, you’re going to pick a Canon 5DIV, a Nikon D8xx, or a Sony A7rII. And when you do, you can put lenses that might not be fully up to the sensor (e.g. the 24-85mm Nikkor or 24-70mm f/4 Sony) that are smaller and lighter, or you can put the monsters on (e.g. f/2.8 zooms). I just don’t see a lot to distinguish one from the other on price or overall size/weight when all is said and done. So we get back to my other points…

      • Duncan Dimanche

        If one needs sth that only the other company can offer. 4k/lenses/flash system/EVF/20fps/etc… IF someone buys his gear used (Like I do) you don’t loose that much money in the process really.

        – I went from Nikon to Canon (Needed the video feature)
        – Then from canon to Nikon (Needed that 36mpx for my work)
        – Then from Nikon to Sony (I needed 4k and a lighter system (hahah jokes on me)

        and All that without loosing too much money because I bought my gear used or on sale at the time.

    • Now do that comparison substituting in a D5, 1DX2 and a9 – you get a very different result on weight and cost. You can make this go any way you want.

      • Thom Hogan

        True. Although then you run into other issues, like do you include the vertical grip with the A9 ;~).

    • Albert

      If you’re going to substitute the latest, then you need to do that for Canon as well, no? Such as the 16-35 F/2.8L III, costing $1999. Also, Canon has not renewed their Trinity 24-70 or 70-200, which helps maintain lower prices. Etc.

  • citrate

    Which one delivers the best overall image quality in combination of body and lenses? My quess is Sony.

    • Fly Moon

      Why would you guess that?

      • tomskyphoto

        If you’re old enough – remember that poster behind Fox Mulder’s office desk: “I Want To Believe!”

        • Fly Moon

          Unfortunately I am old and I can remember that!

      • RC Jenkins

        Experienced photographers don’t need to guess and know that the statement by @hongda_li:disqus is naiive at best. ‘Overall image quality’ is a subjective, highly variable term, that is heavily dependent on what and how one shoots–and how one weighs the factors that contribute to ‘image quality’.

        • citrate

          Sony’s 50mm and 85mm F1.4 lenses are just better than the equivalents from Canon and Nikon. The high quality of these two lenses come with the cost of weight and price.
          Nikon has better 70-200, but their 24-70 is the worst among the group.
          Nikon does not have advantage at the ultra-wide F2.8 zoom either, unfortunately.

          • RC Jenkins

            That’s responding to a different statement, not the one I wrote right there.

            Let’s start with the crux of the statement: “‘Overall image quality'” is a subjective, highly variable term, that is heavily dependent on what and how one shoots…”. If you don’t understand this concept, there is no point to discussion.

            How are the sunstars on Sony’s 50mm & 85mm lenses? How’s the Sony for a landscape shooter @ 14mm (including in dynamic range). Oh wait–that focal length doesn’t exist in Sony.

            You lumped all this together, and are likely talking only about metrics like “sharpness”. Which goes back to why your assertion is naiive at best.

            It’s sort of like saying “which vehicle delivers the best ride quality, in terms of body & tyres?” The experienced reviewer may ask: “are you driving a offroad or highway? Because a Jeep wrangler may be brilliant off-road and horrible on the highway, while the opposite would be true for a Lexus LS. That’s not even getting into how one measures “ride quality,” which could be anything from handling to steering feedback to road noise to dampening, etc.–many of which are mutually exclusive.

            • citrate

              I was talking about the set of lenses that were talked about in the video.
              Just talking about weight and price without mentioning about the “overall image quality” does not make sense to me. Maybe it makes sense to you and the administrator of this website.

            • RC Jenkins

              Once again, how do you define “overall image quality?” What does that mean?

              Maybe that term makes sense to you, but that loaded term is subjective and not agreed upon by experienced photographers–is the point.

              Real photographers don’t say, for example, “Canons have overall image quality better than Nikons” or vice versa. They’ll say ‘my Nikon has better dynamic range than my Canon system’, or ‘my Canon corners resolve higher than my Nikon system’, etc.

              People who go with “overall image quality” tend to go with things like ‘dxomark overall scores’, which most experienced photographers don’t take seriously.

              Your statement is unqualified and too generalized to have any reliable meaning, which is why it’s problematic.

  • Shutterbug

    Quite the opposite actually – Lens Rentals is the only one that tests 10+ copies on a $200,000 optical bench plus test charts. DXO is known to be inaccurate, Roger is known to have the best tests out there because he has both the equipment and the sample size necessary.

    On top of this, his test results always match consensus and reality for all other lenses that he has tested. The fact that the Sony is an outlier on DXO is precisely why I prefer Rogers tests, because it avoids cherry picking samples.

    • Phanter

      I’m not saying that the review of Lensrentals is worth less than the others. But ephotozine, lenstip, dxomark, photozone etc… are also highly respected sources and almost every Sony lens is much better rated there. The reason is explained quite quickly. Other sides test with lenses on the camera, lensrentals does not. You can read about the problems that this leads to on lensrentals. The thick sensor cover glass, for example, means that excellently rated Leica lenses on Sony cameras produce only muddy corners. Conversely, lenses that take this cover into account as part of the overall package cannot, of course, show a perfect result without it.

    • Adam Brown

      Doesn’t matter how many lenses they are testing — they are running the test the same way. If another 20 reviewers/tests find spectacular results… it suggests something about the lensrentals testing format isn’t working great for that particular lens. And lensrentals even notes that possibility.

  • Brett A. Wheeler

    The most expensive camera set is the one that doesn’t get the job done!

  • Mukesh Patel

    Not sure, why people worry so much about which camera and who makes it. I have been Nikon shooter for 40+ years and have vast collections of great lenses and cameras, recently for past 3 years, I have own Sony with all cameras, from A7R2 to A9 and every GM lenses. Both are great performer and enjoy every bit of it.
    End of the day, the best camera and lens is which one is in you hand when moment happens. I rather spend my time admiring the best camera and lens from any of the manufacture and make best of use it. 30 years ago, all I had was Nikon FM2 and Minolta Hi-matic 7 and I still enjoy the picture taken with it.

    Waiting for Nikon D850 and see what it has to offer, can’t wait to try out for my wildlife photography and don’t miss the shot when they come real close!

    • Well, if you owned Nikon for 40+ yeas, and now also own both the A7R2 *AND* the A9, plus every GM lens, …then it’s no wonder you don’t understand why people worry so much about “which camera and who makes it.”

      For most folks, “end of the day, the best camera” …is the one that you barely save up enough to afford, and to buy into the system for. Us plebeians can’t afford to “admire the best camera and lens from ANY of the manufacturers…”

      That is why you see most folks cheering for the brand they’ve already bought into. Because they can’t afford to switch every single time another potential champion comes along.

      Let us know how the D850 compares to your existing vast collection. 🙂

      • Mukesh Patel

        Thanks for the comment, the reason I have owned these cameras because I have been in this hobby for long time.

        The reason, I made a comment on this post was because some the comments were more bashing of the other manufacture than objective of the original post. I am not sure why people have to bash other manufacture to make Nikon looks good. In my opinion Nikon is best on its own and it does not need this type of bashing of Sony or Canon or any others to look good.

        All manufacture has strong and weak point and we should purchase/use it based on our needs. That is may be the reason why I have collections here because I like to have the best of everything. End of the day, I can not get away from Nikon because, 1. it has sentimental value to me as my first SLR, 2. for Wildlife, it has some of the best tele lenses out there and those are hard to replace with Sony or others ( except Canon) at this time.

        The reason I am excited about the D850 is because now I don’t have to pack my A7R2 with me because D850 can do both, work as my D500 for wildlife and replace A7R2 for landscape.

        Also, my comment about owning all these lenses was not to show off but let you know that my vested interest in both system and my appreciation for best of both manufacture.

        Now, waiting for D850 so I can reduce some load on early morning packing of gears!


  • Tony

    The Nikon kit you picked out is good enough for use but you’re not comparing the five best Nikon lenses to the five best Canon and Sony lenses as you claim on your comparison.

    Hence why it’s misleading and meaningless.

    • Duncan Dimanche

      meaningless really ? aoutch !
      ok well sorry for wasting your time.

      • Tony

        Ok maybe a little harsh on the choice of words- my apologies but I would say the biggest miss is on the 50mm prime and the nikon body choice – should really be the D850 and something much closer to the quality of the 50mm f1.4 or the Sony selection should be much more affordable as the equivalent.

        For what its worth, I do agree with the general point that once you switch to fast primes and zooms, the weight and size benefit of full frame mirrorless disappears. I think the real benefits are if you use f1.8 primes and f4 zooms where the body weight savings make a big impact.

  • Phanter

    You are a master of cherry picking. You’re just looking at one review. The Sony 70-200 GM has received excellent reviews all over the web, just like most other Sony lenses. I’m not saying that the review of Lensrentals is worth less than the others. But ephotozine, lenstip, dxomark, photozone etc… are also highly respected sources and almost every Sony lens is much better rated there. The reason is explained quite quickly. Other sides test with lenses on the camera, lensrentals does not. You can read about the problems that this leads to on lensrentals. The thick sensor cover glass, for example, means that excellently rated Leica lenses on Sony cameras produce only muddy corners. Conversely, lenses that take this cover into account as part of the overall package cannot, of course, show a perfect result without it.
    In addition, in this particular example, there are other reasons that disqualify the old Nikon 70-200. For example, it has an enormous focus breathing, which makes it rather a 70-135mm lens in portrait use.

    Nikon probably has the best camera in the world. And the new Nikon lenses are often the best in their class. Nikon is therefore a very attractive system, but to sell it as a budget system and simply not right. Just look at the latest holy trinity of each manufacturer:

    Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
    -2799 $
    Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS
    -2599 $
    Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
    -1949 $

    Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
    -2399 $
    Sony 24-70 GM
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
    -1749 $

    Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens
    -1899 $
    Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens
    -1999 $
    Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
    -2199 $

    The same goes fort he two last released fast primes for each System:
    Canon 35mm F1.4 II – 1699$ /85mm F1.4 IS – 1599$
    Sony 50mm F1.4 – 1399$ / 85mm F1.4 -1799$
    Nikon 28mm F1.4 – 1999$/ 105mm F1.4 -2199$

    And no, I am not going to ad up the prices because you obviously can’t compare these lenses this simple. But I think what it shoes is, that the prices of the manufacturers are more or less on the same level.

  • Bernt-Olov Hellström

    But…we need Canon and Sony to push Nikon forward!

  • eric

    My Leica M set up cost $10k…cheaper than both nikon and canon and Sony lol.

    • Albert

      Wow. A Leica with 5 top lenses is $10k? Who would have thought…

      • eric

        With a Leica you only need one lens. I had the holy trinity of nikon lenses at one point in time, and i can say now i don’t miss them. The best photographers of all time mostly used one lens.

        • Albert

          I have no idea what your comment means, “with a Leica you only need one lens”. Either you are saying it has some special power that transforms its lens into all the other lenses in one, or you discovered you did not need more than one lens for your personal needs, in which case you could have achieved this with any of the rival systems for muuuuch less than $10k.

          • eric

            My point is comparing systems. With a Nikon, canon, sony, people feel compelled to carry many lenses, bags of gear, etc. I used to be one of those people. A Leica system is the opposite. It’s very simplified. You learn to do without. I don’t really buy the photographic needs argument.

            • Albert

              Uh-huh. There is a lot to be said about spending $10 thousand dollars on a camera and one lens to ‘learn to do without’. Yes, I am starting to see the light.

            • eric

              Right. And when I see my neighbor driving a $75k Tesla car I just as soon do without a car. I’ll walk everywhere. That’s the spirit. Too funny

            • Albert

              Exactly. 🙂

        • Davo

          So why not compare a Leica M with 1 lens to a Nikon/Sony/Canon/Pentax set with just one lens too.

          • eric

            Because nobody shoots nikon/Sony/canon with just one lens.

            • Davo

              I did, for more than a year. You generalize too much.

  • DaveyJ

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Sony E, the heaviest and most expensive.

  • Fred

    I think your choice of words leave a lot to be desired.
    Suddenly the interpretation of the LensRentals report goes from “isn’t that great” to “VERY poor” which is a completely misleading statement. I suspect you have an agenda behind your comment…

    • Duncan Dimanche

      That sentence in quotation is what lensrental wrote about this lens…. that’s all.

      And I agree with the side by side. It would be hard to tell the difference….

      I was just trying to respond to those who are saying the the Sony lenses are sooooo much better than the Nikons….

      That’s all…

  • Athanasius Kirchner

    Mr. Dimanche, I have to ask: just what is the point of making these incredibly poor and misleading comparisons? Do you have an agenda? You can’t stick to the simplest of methods!
    I couldn’t watch past your choice of Canon gear. Why use the 16-35mm f/2.8 L III when the second version “seems good enough”? Well, because it’s SUBSTANTIALLY better, enough so that Canon received a ton of criticism after releasing the second version because it barely improved on the first.
    I can’t really understand what drives someone to waste their time, and that of spectators, on absolutely dumb comparisons. Either stick to the rules set out by yourself, or simply title your videos ‘A completely arbitrary system comparison made because I want to bash Sony E mount’.

  • Let’s all take a moment to be thankful that the era of the $8,000 MSRP flagship camera body (Canon 1Ds, Nikon D3X) …ended many years ago. 🙂

  • Also, this whole comparison is made much less useful by the omission of Sigma Art primes and zooms, and other third-party options, which can significantly level the playing field since they are available on multiple mounts, and usually cost the same for all mounts.

    In the real world, most photographers are likely to build their kit as needed based on which lenses are their bread-and-butter lenses, (spending more and being willing to lug around something a big heavier, maybe) …and the lesser “gap filler” lenses that they don’t use as often, and can afford to compromise on image quality, or want something lighter weight if they don’t need speed. etc.

    For example, the Sony 12-24 f/4 is shockingly lighter than the Canon 11-24mm f/4. It’s so dang light, it feels like they forgot to put some of the glass in!

    Either way, it’s still interesting to see how things balance out. If anything, this whole exercise just proves to me that it’s all much closer of a comparison than you’d think, and folks who complain about one particular system costing a ton more, or being a ton heavier, are exaggerating a little bit.

    There are lightweight options for all systems. There are “exotic unicorn” options for all systems. (What about Zeiss Otus?) Most photographers build their system around the specific camera features and/or lens optics that they need most.

  • Who cares, pointless space filling chat

  • nek4life

    Did he include the weight of the 10 batteries you’d need for a mirrorless cam?

  • Leica M10 + 35 Summilux is $12,000 body and a 50mm Noctilux is $17,000. I haven’t watched the video so I don’t know if there is more to this but based off what I read this is not accurate 🙂

  • Ariel Glaze

    I agree that mirrorless system is not light for full frame. On aps-c it is lighter, but not by much. M4/3 is really light, but I’d rather use my cellphone at that point because the good m4/3 lenses cost more than aps-c. Meh, I’ll keep using fuji.

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