Phase One 100MP vs. Canon 5DSR and Sony a7R II for Architectural Photography

Medium format systems are widely known as being the best, producing the most detailed and technically superior images. The lenses are supposedly the best available too, such as the 40mm from Rodenstock which is praised for its amazing performance. If you want the best in image quality, the widest dynamic range, and the deepest depth of field with the least amount of diffraction, then medium format is the answer... or is it? Is this simply perception? If you repeat something enough does it become fact? How many people who believe this to be true have actually tried and compared the best from medium format to the best available from full frame?

Over the last few years I have been using medium-format cameras to find out exactly what they are capable of. Aside from resolution, which some would say is overrated, many of the claims are unfounded. This is particularly true when comparing lenses. Even lenses like the 40mm from Rodenstock don't hold up to the best available from full frame.

In the video above, I demonstrate how the Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift lens outperforms the Rodenstock at pretty much every aperture. The Rodenstock suffers from noticeably more diffraction and is overall a softer and worse performing lens. This may come as a surprise to many, however, if you're not convinced, I urge you to try it for yourself.

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

Log in or register to post comments

The Canon 5dsr paired with a 17 or 24mm tilt shift is quite simply the best camera/lens combination I have ever used when all factors are considered. Ease of use, setup time, mobility, sharpness, speed, simplicity. It's just brilliant.

I've never felt a desire to jump to medium format after using this system.

But let me just get all the usual comments out of the way for you:

1) You're an idiot
2) You're a terrible photographer
3) This test means nothing
4) You did it wrong
5) Something was wrong with the camera/lens you tested
6) You need to print photos to see a difference

etc, etc...

Now that that is done, I look forward to a civil comment section :)

Oh, you just wait for the D850, Mike!

I'm doing it wrong. wait...

so true :)
Mike dont know ya but love your arch work I actually used to do arch on Maui where I am from

mostly did high-end resort work and mega $$ homes making them look good for advertising so seeing your series promos was fun! now this was over 10+ years ago I moved though and out of that work

my camera of choice then was the 1Ds 11MP (spanking new then)

ironic even then some of the high end guys said if I was not using film I would never make it with that digital crap !
everyone likes to think certain gear is what it takes?

anyways this was one of the shots that was used in 2004 :) no med format needed :)
13 yr old shot for Kapalua wine and food festival event sadly one of my last before moving :) loved doing this event shot on a 11MP 1Ds with a old 16-35 zoom
my phone has better specs than this old beast :)

I so wish I could be doing what I did then with the gear of today :)

There's no question some of the FF SLRs put out great images but from your words, it sounds like you've never used medium format so, I'm sorry, your opinion is worthless. The author is basing his analysis on two specific lenses, one each from one system each and, based on his comments, what appears to be a bias. I'm not saying you guys are wrong because, I don't know. My point is, neither do either of you. And in any case, this kind of think is very subjective on your taste and output. You both seem to be near the top, on the downhill side, of the knowledge graph. JMO

I have actually used both Pentax and Leaf/Mamiya medium format digital cameras extensively. Not so much Phase or Hasselblad. I used the Pentax for about half of this project: and have admittedly rented a Mamiya with a Leaf Credo back for 5 or 6 architecture gigs, and found it to be bulky, difficult to use, slow, and the lenses were not as sharp as my DSLR lenses, even the much-lauded primes. Even though many of the images in the project were shot using medium format, I ditched it halfway through the project and switched to a 5dsr. I probably put 35,000 exposures on it while I had it. The files were marginally better in some conditions but not at all enough to justify using it full time.

Okay. That's better. Do you talk to architectural photographers, using medium format, and how do they respond to your preference? I find it odd that some photographers keep moving to higher resolution and larger format while others keep moving to smaller systems. I have to believe part of it is due to one's level of good enough. Again, I have absolutely no experience with medium format but I can't imagine people deal with the inconvenience just to look cool or professional, although there are probably a few of those out there.

There is a big spread of cameras in use. Guys like Iwan Baan are using DSLRs to great effect in an almost photojournalistic way. Guys like Scott Frances use DSLRs as well for more 'traditional' architectural photography. And then of course there are the guys shooting with tech cameras and MFDB. Different approaches for sure, but I do believe that DSLRs absolutely hold their own in this day and age.

I don't think anyone is an idiot for not using MF, or that they did it wrong, or that the test means nothing, etc. I thought this review was good.

I shoot MF (hasselblad) and FF (canon) for our interiors. Hell, I whip out a Fuji X100s and my phone for some deliverables.

I LOVE the IQ (and challenge) of MF and I find working with the files to be thrilling. On the flip, I certainly enjoy the ease/speed/sharpness of the FF with 24mm ts-e especially when I'm trying to bust through a big house.

If I have time to setup, MF shines for me. My clients love it. I love it. So I use it.

While art direction is taking time, I tend to walk around with my canon and a 50mm or an X100s and pickup vignette shots. My toolbox is loaded with fun tools that make set life a blast and our deliverables a great mix of what our clients expect.

Just my $0.02.

The Canon lenses are absolutely great, but I always found their bodies laking in Dynamic Range, last camera I tried was the 5D mk3, did it get any better with the mk4?! I understand that if you will composite everything you won't care much about dynamic range, but for other styles it matters in my opinion.
I was thinking of getting the Fuji GFX but waiting to see if they will introduce lenses wider than their 23mm, any ideas about that camera? did you try it?!

Mike, I agree with you about the 5Dsr being a great combination, however the big elephant in the room of the Nikon vs Canon discussion, is that the D810 smokes the 5DSr for dynamic range, and most would argue dynamic range is more important than a few more MP at this stage. :)

For me, personally, I would rather have the extra MP than the dynamic range. There are very few occasions when I wish to have more dynamic range, truth be told. It would be nice to have but I don't find it necessary.

If Canon came out with a camera with expanded dynamic range I would enjoy it. If they continued on their current trajectory that is fine. I use the 5dsr for one of the most demanding subjects, dynamic-range wise, and don't have much trouble with it at all, even it broad daylight settings. The times I do find that it struggles are when I'm shooting aerials with the sun between about 20 and 45 degrees above the horizon.

This is a very specific use case but it's hard to explain. With a lot of shadowy textures, as aerials at this time of day are likely to produce, I have trouble bringing up some of that shadow detail. In broad daylight or at softer times of day, aerials are not a problem - it's just that super annoying 2 hour period before high noon but after/before the golden hour. When I have much larger shadow areas the camera seems to do fine recovering shadows.

Since I try to avoid shooting at this time of day anyway, and I sell a lot of very large prints as an art photographer,I am not too miffed.

Attached are two examples of the 5dsr - one where I think it excelled and one where I think it flopped due to lighting conditions. The airport photo is broad daylight - 1pm - and the residential high rise photo was about 9:30am. For some reason it really struggles with those deep shadows in these lighting conditions (this is with full shadow and highlight recovery - still clipped in the shadows and the highlights), but in the brighter daylight times, it's great, and the contrasty look lends itself well to these scenes. For the airport photo there are hardly any adjustments at all, nearly straight out of camera.

I really like the airport photo... that's cool.

Very interesting thoughts on the DR vs MP - I would have thought that way if it was 12MP vs 36MP for example, but since the DR is close to 2-stops more I believe... that's more than just a little bump, that's pretty significant.

That being said, what one shoots tremendously would have something to do with that, like you said. For me, shooting a model with backlit sun and a bright sky for example, with dark clothing, the DR is critical to have detail all across every part of that scene. I had actually switched to Phase One for this reason... but found that unless you get one of the newest digital backs, like an IQ3, the Nikon actually is just as good for the DR. And of course the cost on an IQ3, is hard to justify.

I'm actually glad to hear the real-world of the 5dsr is that good, because based on the reports and tests, I was seeing the Nikon as just crushing it. I would certainly appreciate a little extra MP, hopefully the 850 addresses that. We certainly benefit from the companies competing. :)

I think you nailed it Mike. Dynamic range is an overstated concept. I have had the 5DSR since it was released. I really push it to its limits and have no issue with noise on the low end. I also emphasize ETTR and use my histogram to capture a full exposure. Post processing in Lightroom CC yields a great image. The resolution is still eye-popping to me. I use the camera on a tripod because I choose to shoot at low ISOs for landscapes. Proper execution and canon lenses yields phenomenal images. This is not the camera to use for NBA basketball.

Mike I shot jewelry in a studio for a long time using the Phase One P60+ on a Sinar with Schneider 100 digitar. When the 5Dsr came out I rented one to test it against the Phase One and the Phase One was a tiny little bit better but not 30grand better and that was with a Canon 100mm macro L. It convinced me buy buy 2 of the Canons. I also wanted to get a tilt shift to use with it and maybe sell the Ones. Unfortunately I took another job with a different company before I got to test it out. If your doing studio work it is hard to justify the expense of the Phase One. I would be interested to see someone test the Canon vs. 100 Phase One.

That's awesome to hear. See, I'm not completely insane :)

The Canon 17mm-24/mm T/S on my SONY A7rii is fantastic. In fact, the t/s as a regular prime lens (no t/s) is probably one of the sharpest I have ever used. I also had the 5Dsr which is outstanding (I switched to Sony 2 years ago). The dynamic range of the SONY comes in handy if, for example, I need to bring out some dark wooded areas far in the background of the main building im shooting. Before, with 5d system, I would have to mask in a higher bracket for that portion. That is a rare situation, but nice to know the detail are there.

One advantage I did have with 5dsr, is that Canon has "medium raw" setting. Sony only has compressed vs non compressed file setting which still leaves a super large image file. Basically, with medium raw, the 5dsr was like a regular 5diii for shoots that did not require such large files sizes.

Link to Raw Files please?

From a practicality standpoint, 35mm cameras rule. I'm sure the IQ from the Phase is wonderful and all, but the system is just not practical. As far as competition with the Phase is concerned, I wonder if anyone will ever manufacture a full frame 4x5 sensor back you can slide into any existing 4x5 camera. Then we'll talk about tilt-shift...

I've read reports suggesting it has been tried but quickly scrapped as the product cost would have been far too high to sell to more than a tiny handful of the most elite photographers in the world. (think like 10x over medium format prices)

Scanning 4x5 backs are a thing, you just can't have anything move while taking the exposure:

Is that an Adobe Portfolio site you are using for your website?

I'm using the 5DS for architecture after trialing the Sony for a year. I loved the noise performance and dynamic range of the Sony, but I experienced terrible performance in the corners pairing canon lenses to the Sony body, especially when going wider than 24. I would have loved to see a comparison between the canon and Sony using the canon 17tse.

I love the Corn Exchange building!

I've heard that from others as well. I have pretty sharp corners with the 17 t/s/metabones (just as sharp as the lens on the 5dsr). My native sony 17-35 seems just a little sharper on corners. I generally crop in anyway. I believe the new 5div may be pretty close to the Sony in DR. So I would expect the next generation of the 5dsr would narrow the gap as well.

The problem with the Sony/metabones adaptor is that the results are not consistant. Sounds like you have a good combo going, so consider yourself fortunate. My corners were terrible using the 12-24, 16-35 and 17tse but were perfect on the 5D.

Funny you say that. The first copy of the Metabones I received have terrible light leak and lots of mis focused shots with my Canon 16-35. I exchanged thru B&H (the copy I have now ) is flawless. The 16-35 I had was like a native lens with a new copy ( I don't need super fast focusing). I'm willing to bet there are copy to copy variations with the adapters.

I say one really can't go wrong with any camera system today. As long as the system meets the needs of your workflow.

I hear what you're saying. I loved the Sony A7RII. I would have stayed with it happily over Canon, but the corner/edge problems were too significant to ignore. Unfortunately in London and the UK, there is almost no support for Sony and even less for Metabones. I went to 10 camera stores and none had metabones in stock for me to test out. So whilst I agree that you can't go wrong with any camera system - the UK just isn't ready for Sony/Metabones for professional use.

SONY-Zeiss Should develop their own T/S. it would be hard to beat Canon's though

When Sony have a mature lens lineup (and they're not far off), I'd be seriously tempted to switch.

Not that I would havre an argument either way, but it appears as though he just glossed over the incredible advantage that the Phase seemed to have: Highlight recovery. Now I personally have never used this 100mp system, and wouldn't ever be convinced to given the price difference, but the Highlight recovery looked to be lightyears ahead of the other 2 cameras, and that was not even a particularly good situation to test this difference.

A Ferrari costs 10 times what a Prius costs, and its much more expensive to maintain and insure. It drives faster and looks nicer. I also would never buy a Ferrari.

Yes, but Shadow recovery is on the side of full frame so it does even out. The highlight recovery is good but, it's not world changing. It comes down to which you value more, shadows or highlights, making dynamic range even in terms of performance.

Also, I do mention in my video that the test I did for the dynamic range was only to give you an idea of how they perform and not a lab environment test.

Lastly, the Ferrari vs Prius analogy would work if medium format actually performed better.

I'm old school and I know that results in some limitations. I've got an old Hasselblad system and I added a Phase One back to my 500cm with 5 lenses (40mm to 250mm). I. Price the CA in the edges (the 40 is the worst). The 80 is pretty good, the 150 is very good. I've thought about a 100 (exceptional reputation). The last 40 was designed for digital. The 180 was also designed in the modern era.

I have no doubt current FF dslr's deliver exceptional performance. In many situations I don't doubt they are superior tools. It is inevitable modern equipment would stomp my old 500cm in many cases. But I know how it works, and it compliments my slower style. I still get very good images, I'm a landscape photog.

I'll stick with my Hass/Phase tools. Thanks...

If you prefer using medium format, you don't need to explain why I completely respect that decision. My video wasn't about telling people what they should or shouldn't use but more about demonstrating how allot of the claims made by medium format manufacturers, are simply untrue.

It doesn't matter much if your car can go 100mph or 180mph if you intend to drive at the speed limit. My point is sensor and lens technology has made FF "good enough" for most people and customers. Given that there is a Moore's Law type of thing with sensor technology, improvements will keep coming. At some point, the future need for larger format photography will be for those with special needs or huge egos.

Has anyone done a similar test comparing the Nikon D810 and 24 mil T/S to Canon and Sony?

Dont worry the D810 would be as good as the A7R2 or even better because of the low native ISO of 64.

Nikon uses Sony sensors and add their own flavor to the image files. Nikons have always had better DR and noise performance vs Canon. A few years back I had an assistant shoot Nikon and it was really apparent then when editing

No horse in this race, but can these conclusions be generalized beyond architectural work, specifically with T/S lenses? Phase One offers 12 Schneider Kreuznach lenses specifically for their cameras with correction by the sensor. None are T/S. Pentax, Fuji and Hasselblad also offer lenses designed for use with their systems. Hence Usman's argument is persuasive but not conclusive for non-T/S cases.

This is part 2 of my medium format videos, I've tested a larger number of MF lenses. Part 1 demonstrates more lenses from Medium format and I have tested most of Hasselblads and Phase one's lenses.

Part three will demonstrate further.


The following are my observations from trying a similar test.

I have used a Linhof Techno. Couple of things I have learned about it.

First, you have to focus bracket by 1 millimetres turns of the focus nob either side of the point you think is in focus to get the image exactly sharp. The live view on the back is not always going to be accurate and doesn't have the resolution to get pinpoint sharp focusing. As it has less depth of field at any given aperture to a 35mm camera, it is going to be totally unforgiving to focussing errors even by tiny margins (I really mean tiny).

It is also unforgiving in rendering an image sharp where the light is not sufficient to illuminate the area you are focusing on.

The Canon is a more forgiving system from that point of view

The Mk1 Eyeball is better than live view sometimes but you need to magnify the image off the ground glass with at least a 5 times magnification loup and still "focus bracket" by a mm of a turn of the focussing nob at a time.

The shape of the image is going to be different using a medium format technical camera and back compared to 35mm. Not sure if it was the composition or the camera but the dome in your image looked noticeably flatter with the TS 24 compared to the Rodenstock. The colour on the 35mm image looked more saturated as well.

Rodenstock lenses are not my favourite. They are too cold for my taste. I have a preference for the Schneider lenses.

Linhof Technos require patience to get them perfect but the range of effects you can with parts of the image in and out of focus is breathtaking.

The medium format back also needs to be shimmed perfectly to the camera and the lens otherwise it will always be just out. I would speculate that if they sold you a 100Mp back they should have shimmed it to the techno. You just can't take the back off the Phase One camera, mount it on the Techno and expect it it be perfect. There are too many variables. I will assume though that it was calibrated and shimmed.

The TS 24 canon lens is also a spectacular lens and delivers great results with less effort. If you don't want to take the time to use a techno then a technical camera is not for you. Even in the film days, the image you could get out a film technical camera wasn't always better.

Compare the Canon 5Dsr or Alpha 7 or 9 to the Phase One body and lens or even a Hasselblad body and lens. I found that a 35mm based system will render an image sharper, warmer and "redder" because it can't pick up half tones in the same way a medium format system can. Therefore it will render the half tones the same colour without separating out the subtlety in the shades of colour and shadow. The wood on the bannister in the image for the 35mm based system looked redder compared to Rodenstock even though the overall image on the Rodenstock was a colder.

You use the Techno for what is it, a technical camera with infinite adjustments that can give infinite effects and results. It is neither easy to use nor quick to use. The Sony and Canon is a big point and shoot that allows some adjustment.

Each needs a different style and will produce a different result. It's a question of preference and shooting style.

thanks for the detailed video, i have to agree with Usman finding.

I moved to the sony A7RII plus the canon lenses for my Architectural photography. The canon was just to smudged in the shadows.

I like to set the camera on a tryout turn on wifi and shoot with the iPad all the exposers I need to blend to desired result. Never touch the camera again.

I found that software like C1Pro and getting so much better in the last few years , resulting in better highlight and shadow recovery to the competition.

NIKON? how do you mouth the canon 17mm TSE on a nikon??? LOL

I really have tried to get the hang of C1p. I'm just so use to Lightroom, it feels cumbersome

8X10 Acra Swiss view camera.

There are few a small(BIG) details missing in the comparison!!
1) C1 automatically recognizes the Canon and Sony lenses and corrects the lens being used. You can tell this by seeing all the camera data below the image of the canon in the video, were as with the P1 it does not show all the data. see image below. the Rodenstock lens (if it even exist in C1, just checked and it does) most likely has to be manually selected for lens correction. this is very important and will make a huge difference in IQ.

2) The digital back needs to be told what sharpening to use in C1, were as if the Canon has a setting selected in it's menu it automatically is show as so in C1. So the statement about the sharpness is a little fuzzy!! The fair way to compare sharpness is to select the same preset in C1 for both images. I have a fuzzy feeling that we might have a different outcome.

I would like to see this same comparison with an H series Hasselblad + P1 100mp back + HTS 1,5 TILT AND SHIFT ADAPTER with HC 3,5/50MM II. I say this for the lack of a T/S PhaseOne Sneijder lenses.

not to mention, why not use a 50mp P1 back... it does not need the newer MF lenses, plus it would make more sense comparing two cameras with the same megapixel count...

Part Three coming soon which will include the HTS adapter from Hassy.

Hum... not sure why a subject with a curved shape was picked to do this test. It seems rather obvious that the corner comparison is useless since the distance to the sensor differs between peak focus area (the clock in the distance) and corners. What we are seeing here is most probably difference of DoF, not difference of lens corner sharpness.

Besides, what my eyes are telling me is that even so, the 35mm and MF images have rather similar pixel level sharpness, which means that the P1 image will appear significantly sharper at a given print size thanks to its higher resolution. Files would have to be examined at 100% to know for sure, but this is what the video conveys.

Now, with those fixed, the 35mm solution may still be better... but for reasons other than the supposed image quality advantage:
1. I would use shift, since the image circle of the 35mm lenses enables significant movement while the Rodenstock 32mm and 40mm on the P1 100mp and Hasselblad 100mp sensors is very limited,
2. The need to do an LCC on the MF images slows down workflow during capture and post-processing significantly. T
There are a lot less color issues on 35mm (although there are some too sometimes).

Now, if the objective is to demonstrate that 35mm can be close in terms of image quality, I would start by working with the Nikon 19mm T/S that is significantly superior to the Canon 24mm T/S and by far the best T/S lens available today (probably even more so when mounted on the soon to be released D850). I would compare nicely to the Rodenstock 32mm HR.

I shoot IQ3 and Canon. These 100% screen shots below show you why.

Sorry for the super late reply but a couple of things.

You're comparing (I'm assuming) The canon 24 TS to a Schneider lens which is a different comparison to what I did. The Schneider lens is also less effective for architecture due to the lack of movements so it's not the same thing. I demonstrated the Phase with a Rodenstock lens on a technical camera.

Secondly, you compared them at the same aperture which means you're going to get more diffraction and more DOF on the Canon vs the Phase. Equivalent apertures would make for a fairer comparison.

In any case, the images you present don't disprove my findings in any way nor are they related to or counter my points.

Big fan of your work by the way, been following your stuff for a few years now :).

A couple of years ago, I bought a Phase One DF+ and the IQ250 back, along with a couple of SK lenses. At the time, I had been shooting with a Nikon D800 and an A7r, with a mix of Zeiss, Leica, and Nikon lenses. The first comparison I made was on a portrait shoot using all three of these cameras. The Nikon had a 55mm Zeiss Otus on it, the Sony had the 135mm Zeiss, and the P1 had the SK 80mm lens. At the time I had no idea how to shoot MF and really screwed up in a number of very basic ways. The 35 mm cameras were much easier to use than the P1; they were lighter, shot more images per second, had better auto focus, much larger maximum apertures (1.4 and 1.8, respectively), and could be shot at slower shutter speeds without a tripod because they were so much lighter. Despite those issues, I bought the P1 kit because I liked the color a lot better. This is despite the total absence of fringing with the Otus lens on the Nikon, and the noticeable fringing in some of the P1 shots, the poor focus with MF, etc.

Last year, I upgraded to the P1 XF3-100 and a couple more lenses from SK. By then, I had learned a few things about MF photography. That knowledge made it clear that the problems I experienced in the first IQ250 test were for the most part caused by lack of knowledge of the system. When I got the IQ3-100, it again came down to the color, which seemed to me miles ahead of the IQ250, which was much better than the Nikon and Sony. The extra resolution didn't hurt either.

You make it clear that the P1 photos were not taken by you, but someone from Phase One with considerable experience. From the sounds of it, a lot more experience than I have. However, a couple of points:

1) MF is very sensitive to tiny focus adjustments because of the limited depth of field, and this applies even to landscape shots of distant subjects. As an example, I recently did a landscape shoot in the Swiss Alps. I brought an assistant with me, a good tripod, a portable table for my tethered computer, and a few other bits of equipment to get the best results. The first shots were to test exposure, double-checked on the histogram and image displayed on the computer. Next, auto focus was used to get a quick focus of the subject--with full knowledge that this wouldn't be the final focus. The AF system simply isn't sensitive enough to get it exactly right, so I don't expect it to. Next, I start taking shots while manually making tiny adjustments to the focus and checking it at 100-400% resolution in Capture One. After about 5-6 shots, it is a lot sharper. After this, I switch it to electronic shutter mode. Do any other cameras have this? The IQ3-100 is the only one I know of that does. In ES mode, the shutter goes up, so I can't look through the lens. Electronic shutter opens the focal plane shutter, lifts the mirror, and opens the leaf shutter in the lens. At this point the only thing controlling the "shutter" is the sensor itself. The benefit of ES mode is there is no movement at all within the camera, none. From here, I take a shot at the last focus setting. This gives me another benchmark, and it is always sharper than when using FPS or LS shutter modes. Now I bracket it some more. By the time I have what I want, it is very sharp; much more than anything I could get with my Nikon or Sony. To be fair, those two cameras are both old models now, but the point is, it takes some work to get the focus right. Once you have the focus, it is very good. The two images attached are an example. The first is the full image, scaled for the Internet, the second is a full-res crop (1500x1500 pixels).

2) Unless I really want most of my shot to be out of focus, I normally shoot at between f/8-11. I very rarely go outside of that range, and depending on the lens, favor f/9.5 and 11. This works pretty well for most of my shoots, because I usually have a couple of lights with me and use those as my primary light source. That isn't true for landscapes, but then I just use longer exposures combined with a LEE filter to control DR.

3) I recently did a test with the D800, A7r, and IQ3-100 for shooting a basketball game. This is because for the past few years I have been working on a fine art project designed to capture the action in 3x3 basketball for the purpose of making large prints. One thing that really irritated me while doing this series is that it is very hard to capture the moment I want with the P1. As soon as I think someone might do something interesting, I have to hit the trigger and hope it happens, or I've missed the moment and have to wait awhile until something interesting happens again, or if it happens right away, hope the DB isn't busy storing the image. However, in the test, I much preferred the P1 shots. This is despite the fact that while I was shooting, I was much happier with the other two cameras. First, they felt weightless compared to the P1, second, hitting the trigger was effortless, third, the shutters were much quieter, and last, the viewfinder preview (in the A7r) always looked like the focus was completely perfect. At home though, I discovered that MF focus with the P1 gave me more in-focus shots than the AF or MF on the Nikon and Sony, but more importantly, I had a lot more room in the RAW file to bring out the color. On this metric the P1 blew both cameras out of the water to such an extent that I would not use either for these fine art/sports shots unless I had a special reason for doing so, despite their high burst rates. You can see my article on this here:

4) I agree with your point about ISO performance, but that usually doesn't bother me for two reasons. The first is that I usually have lights to fill in any shadows, if needed. The second is that I know shadow recovery is dicey, so I "expose to the right" to be sure my shadows are at the right levels. This is a workaround, but it does work. There is plenty of highlight recovery space available, more than I think you can get out of the shadows of the Nikon or Sony. Where it is a real problem is if I am in a dark environment shooting motion and don't have enough lights. I have done this a few times and really do not enjoy shooting that way. The ISO noise on the IQ3-100 is unusable (in my opinion) above 1600. Normally, I try to shoot everything at 50 ISO, but will grudgingly go up to 400 ISO for motion outdoors in good light, 800 ISO for weaker light, and 1600 under torture. For those situations only, I would probably use the Sony instead.

Hey thank you for the comment, sorry for the super late reply.

Just to quickly discuss your first point, DOF at equivalent apertures are exactly same.

Shooting on a 24mm on full frame at f10 is about the same in terms of DOF when shooting at f16 on a 40mm on the Phase. This means both are equally sensitive to tiny focus adjustments.

More comments