in Honor of
Ottmar Mergenthaler & Henri Cartier-Bresson
Over at the Sony Forum they asked the question if the 42mp Sony A7Rii beats a Leica Monochrom. I just got a used Sony yesterday and only shot some test pix, so my experience with the Sony is very limited – I did find the sensor on the Sony to be very impressive. But I can say I spent a few hours handling the Sony and studying the ergonomics thoroughly.
As far as the Leica? I only have experince with the old 18mp Monochrom and the M240. Now, I’m just guessing that the Sony would beat any Leica 35mm sensor on the market as of now. The old 18mp Monochrom that I use = about 30mp to 36mp of a color camera. But, one thing only goes so far in life. And there are other things to consider beside the biggest ego bloating sensor you can find and doing candid street work.
Leica has perfected what is needed in a reporter’s cam eons ago. But when the conversation turns to sensors, for the price they charge, Leica does not use top grade, state of the art sensors in their cams. (Other than the revolutionary sensor they used on their first Monochrom in 2012.)
By the time any new Leica is on the market, its sensor is usually a generation or two behind state of the art sensors. In any case, my photos are dependent on many other things beside the sensor. Camera ergonomics are a big deal with me.
Beside superb fit and finish, the Leica’s benefit is with a compact footprint, no grip, no prism and easy manual controls and rangefinder. If you don’t need a compact footprint, no grip, no prism and easy manual controls and rangefinder, the Sony is a lot cheaper.
I shot both of these with a Monochrom
Candid…shot with a Zeiss 21mm…
Candid…shot wide open with a 35mm 1.4 in terrible light….
I do highest level candid street and doc photography. I’m also the world leader in infrared flash street photography.
Candid Infrared Flash…
Been at street work nearly 50 years, so I know a little about what I’m talking about when it comes to candid photography.
Candid…shot with a little Fuji X-E1…
This is how I work on the street…
That is where the Sony is an issue for me, but the design and ergonomics are not up to snuff for my use. Compare the shutter release on the Sony to that of the Leica…no comparison. The Sony can hardly be felt, the Leica is right there with no doubt. Many camera design features were not made by street photographers, they were made by sunset shooting, camera fondling engineers. Any street photog worth their proverbial salt would know better than to make these design mistakes.
The Sony is compact enuf, but I don’t like the viewfinder on top or the grip. The Sony lenses are also dummied down for camera fondlers with no easy to access manual controls, zone focus engravings or aperture ring. I hate program dials and prefer a real shutter speed dial, as I almost always shoot manual. I only shoot wides, super wides and the occasional normal lens and do lots of zone focus work. If I shot tele, the Sony viewfinder would be great.
I am not into landscapes or architecture photography. But if the occasional sunset or building thumbs its nose at me, I will shoot it. This what the old Monochrom does in decent light and taking your time…hand held.
This shot below was done with an ancient 6mp Epson RD-1…
You would never go for a lousy 6mp…would you? Well, 35mm negative film = about 3 or 4 mp with a P&S cam. So anything we got now is way above that and a gift.
Don’t believe me? Here is the proof…
To shoot kids candid you can’t use bulky or hard to use cams. What will they say about an old guy in his 60s’s shooting stranger kids on the street??? That is right…a sexual predator.
Still, if you have candid skills and the right gear you can shoot kids day and night with seldom an issue.
You boys and girls want to do museum quality candid street and doc work? Pay attention to your cams footprint and ergonomics. They make ALL the difference…not the mega pixels. It is skills coupled with the right camera ergonomics that allow you to get the candid street shot.