Sony is getting a bit.... weird

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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:09 pm

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/06/18/the-sony-a7s-1st-look-testing-the-limits/

A7s is the high ISO monster. Not useful for me, as I am quite satisfied with the a7, but holy gajeebies, concert and astro photogs may have to look at switching. ISO 32,000 looks amazing. ISO 102,400 looks like some very lleasant film grain. I am surprised. I hope Nikon's response is awesome.

Its too bad Canikon haven't invested this much in their small systems. At this point, Sony's got the EOS-M and V's up against the wall.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:59 pm

Canon goes where the money is- Sony goes where Canon isn't. Nikon, tries.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:05 pm

Canon hasn't gone anywhere inquite a while. And has pretty much failed at mirrorless, with even fewer ef-m lenses than FE. Shoot, they aren't even bringing the m2 to the US, which is a crying shame since it is, by all accounts, excellent and a vast improvement over the below average mark 1. Nikon's V's have done a bit better.... on Woot.com. So they are failing in that market as well. It feels an awful lot like the 70's where American cars were huge and inefficient, while Japan and Europe miniturized everything, and did it extremely well. We will have to see.

The thing to remember is that the e-mounts (including the a7 family) is a small form factor aimed as a small, specialist or general purpose camera. For Sony's high end, I will be curious to see what comes out at Photokina. I.hope we see 3 FF bodies with these a7 sensors but with the incredibly fast fps and af.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:12 pm

Canon's sensors still do what they do best; they take great pictures. Files from Sony's sensors have more leeway at base ISOs, where landscapers live, but they don't do as well at higher ISOs outside of the special A7S, which no one would use seriously for anything other than for what it was designed.

And you miss the most important part- Canon has been updating their lenses seeming in anticipation of incoming higher resolution sensors, something neither Sony nor Nikon seem to be taking seriously- and they have said sensors!

I will admit that Canon's refusal to take mirrorless cameras seriously is a bit maddening- they have the best lenses in the business here too- but it's also understandable given that, again, Canon chases what makes them money, and mirrorless just doesn't have the mindshare to do that yet.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:43 am

Airmantharp wrote:Canon's sensors still do what they do best; they take great pictures. Files from Sony's sensors have more leeway at base ISOs, where landscapers live, but they don't do as well at higher ISOs outside of the special A7S, which no one would use seriously for anything other than for what it was designed.

And you miss the most important part- Canon has been updating their lenses seeming in anticipation of incoming higher resolution sensors, something neither Sony nor Nikon seem to be taking seriously- and they have said sensors!


They haven't updated any of their mirrorless lenses... or are you talking about the dslr line again? EOS-M doesn't keep up with old NEX 6 let alone the a6000 or the entire a7 family. Its just such a half-baked system, I wonder why they even bothered. If you are going to be successful in mirrorless, you have to have a few models and price points for bodies (yes, plural). Even Nikon figured out you need options. Its no wonder Canon is at thebottom of the mirrorless market.

I seriously doubt Canon can exceed Sony's sensors in one step. Since the introduction of the Canon's 5d III 20 mp sensor Sony introduced the 36mp sensor, a 50mp sensor, and 2 new 24mp sensors. And there wasn't much new on the III's sensor. Years of stagnancy. I'll say this for you, you have faith. I would rather have my performance and innovation now, than in some distant future.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:41 am

Let's talk about three things at once: bodies, sensors, and lenses.

Bodies- Canon has refused to invest here, but for what it is, the EOS-M is a solid device; you can tell that they wanted it to be a P&S-type entry, yet you can tell that they wanted it to be a premium product of sorts. When it comes to DSLRs, other than personal preferences, Canon is top notch.

Sensors- Canon has obviously focused on improving their video capabilities here- see DPAF- instead of improving their absolute performance, particularly for their crop range. On the FF side, though, they are still top-notch for high-ISO RAW file generation; as we see with the A7S vs. the A7/A7R, or D4/Df/D4s vs D6x0/D800(E), current technology forces a performance choice between low-ISO DR and high-ISO noise. Canon, and Nikon in the case of their in-house professional designs, choose the latter, where Sony who has no professional line, obviously chose the former, except for their video-oriented A7S.

Lenses- this is the current conundrum that has me vexed. Canon literally has the best lens range, many of the absolutely best lenses, and continues to improve their optics across their product range to acuity levels that well exceed what their current crop of sensors are capable of, from the obviously stunted EOS-M's glorious EF-M lenses to their fast professional zooms to their telephoto primes to their specialty lenses like their wide T/S and their fast AF primes (50L, 85L, 135L). Canon gives you options that no one else does.

With respect specifically to the EF-M lenses, note that they really are best in class, and they're cheap- they were cheap compared to their competition even before the system was heavily discounted, and apparently Canon hasn't given up, given that they're releasing a high-quality compact telezoom for the system right now. It's one that I'm honestly looking at importing from wherever I have to if Canon doesn't release it here.

Now, what's really annoying is that Nikon, who has access to Sony's sensor technology, and Sony themselves, somehow do not seem to want to push out lenses that can actually take advantage of their higher-resolution sensors. Now, they have a few decent lenses, and a few gems among them, but their lens ranges are overall disappointing.

One example of this is at 35mm. Canon has updated their non-pro 35mm lens in the 35/2 IS, which is by all accounts the best in the business for slower 35mm AF primes. Nikon has both a DX and a brand new FX 35, and neither reach 35/2 IS quality, nor does the even slower FE35.

But examples here abound, especially with Sony. None of their new standard zooms really come close to the existing standards set by Nikon, let alone the lofty Canons; only their FE55 really has the acuity to show off the A7R's sensor, and aside from resolution it's not a terribly outstanding optic for it's price.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:49 am

TheEmrys wrote:I seriously doubt Canon can exceed Sony's sensors in one step. Since the introduction of the Canon's 5d III 20 mp sensor Sony introduced the 36mp sensor, a 50mp sensor, and 2 new 24mp sensors. And there wasn't much new on the III's sensor. Years of stagnancy. I'll say this for you, you have faith. I would rather have my performance and innovation now, than in some distant future.


To address this point specifically: Canon would do well to improve here, but it isn't at all needed. I shoot a 6D, their low-end FF, and while there are aspects of Nikon's competitor that I like (more sophisticated AF being one), overall I am quite satisfied by what the 6D can do. Higher up, Nikon has no answer to the 5D III- there's a reason that it's best in class; it's combination of features and performance are unmatched. And the 1D X? Nikon has only begun to catch up with the D4S in AF tracking and high-ISO performance, both areas where the D4 was clearly inferior, and the jury's still out; but given that Nikon would need to update their professional lenses too, they're not likely to dethrone Canon in the professional arena anytime soon.

And then there's Sony; a hodgepodge of interesting and exciting technology strapped to mediocre efforts to commercialize said technology. They have the most up-to-date sensor technology and they have a partnership with Zeiss, the second-best lens designer (Leica has been smitten with Panasonic), yet they still can't manage to hit one out of the park.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:52 pm

Airmantharp wrote:And then there's Sony; a hodgepodge of interesting and exciting technology strapped to mediocre efforts to commercialize said technology. They have the most up-to-date sensor technology and they have a partnership with Zeiss, the second-best lens designer (Leica has been smitten with Panasonic), yet they still can't manage to hit one out of the park.


The D800 and D800e are leagues beyond the 5DIII... for many applications. Of course, that is why there is specialization. Canon's 5DIII is better for action while the Nikon D800's are better for landscapes/cityscapes. Either are equally good for portraiture or wildlife shooting. Its always a trade off.

As for Sony, it could very well be argued that it isn't about hitting one out of the park, but gaining mindshare, which they have done little by little. Look at the new awareness that has happened. The RX1's are utterly unique and have brought many who never would have considered a fixed lens or a Sony into both. The RX100's are amazing high end P&S's for pocket-ability. Even the entire NEX line has made mirrorless a viable option. And sure it started out basic, but has really grown. Now the a7's have created their own market of small full frame cameras. Moreover, the respect that Sony has garnered as a sensor maker has gained new heights. If you don't see Sony is emerging as a bigger player, that's fine. I love my system for things that do not necessarily matter to you, and that's fine too. But I certainly respect the capabilities (and yes, advantages) of other systems as well. Olympus for their tiny, yet capable systems (which DXO has still yet to figure out how to measure) and amazing IBIS and EVF, Nikon for a fully robust FF DSLR lineup with great glass (and I am falling in love with an aperture ring on my lenses thanks to the CY Zeiss's I've been shooting). Canon for quality and reasonably priced glass as well as their new dual-pixel AF. Panny for their amazing and cheap lenses.

Every system is capable, and its always more about the need for shooting. I need something small but I want top-notch IQ that emphasizes DR, so I have an a7. I am pretty happy with it. Do I wish there were things done differently? Of course. I cannot wait until there is a larger lens selection. But that being said, I can do everything I want with what I have, so what's wrong with that?
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:53 pm

The D800E is 'leagues beyond' for literally one thing, and that is absolute acuity; the D800 is just more advanced, that damned AA filter makes a huge difference (see DxOMark for the most pertinent, if not the best, examples). The challenge here is that the end-product difference is usually so very small unless someone is shooting for absolute acuity- i.e., shooting at low-ISOs, using top-notch (which in Nikon-land usually means not Nikon, same for Sony, sadly) glass, and shooting in such a way as to absolutely eliminate subject movement. If this doesn't happen, the differences between top-end systems disappear.

The trade-off for working pros is that the 5D III delivers what is needed- enough resolution, enough FPS, the best (or very slightly second best behind the 1D X, possibly third behind the D4S, TBD) AF, and access to the very best lens range available (Canon and third-party EF included). I see this time and again.

Now this is no slight against Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji etc.- this is just one that Canon knocked out of the park, unlike the 5D II and predecessors. It is 'just right'. And note that the rumors (or facts, I'm not sure) surrounding the 'D800S' update tend to gravitate on those aspects that fall short of Canon's most balanced camera.

And note that I don't own a 5D III, rather an in most ways more limited 6D; I'm not a working pro. My 6D now costs about what your A7 did, and for what the 6D gains over an A7 I'd consider it a reasonable compromise, and of course the A7 is a reasonable compromise in the other direction.

But that's not where Sony's challenges lie; though they are systematically pushing up against those challenges in a number of areas that you state. The RX100 III will be the compact camera either to get or to compare against; it's perfect, from my perspective. And while the A6000 is part of a system that isn't perfect, it really does represent the culmination of what Sony has been working on in the E-mount arena, and their continued investment continues to attract third-party lens vendors, unlike Canon's EOS-M, which only just now attracted it's first third-party AF zoom- an 18-200 from Tamron, of all things.

So yes, Sony is innovating themselves out of their quagmire, and yes, they're gaining much needed and deserved mindshare. I know that I rail on Sony, and I apologize that I haven't recognized what they've done right; I've tended to focus on where they could have (and rightly should have) done better, for example their FE lenses, or their kit lenses for the E mount, rather than some of their successes. I'll work on that :).
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:50 pm

TheEmrys wrote:... and I am falling in love with an aperture ring on my lenses thanks to the CY Zeiss's I've been shooting...


Which CY's have you been shooting? I really like my 135/2.8, even if it's an AEJ. My next lens purchase will either be a Zeiss (either 35, 50, 85 or 100. I'm really great at narrowing that down...) or a C/V 35/2.5 pancake.
I love what I've seen from the Zeiss 35/1.4, but that will probably have to wait a while. The C/V 35mm is an M-mount pancake, so it'll make the a7 really easy to carry in a jacket pocket. The 85mm would be nice as a fast lens, but I miss my Pentax 55mm, so I might try to get a 50mm to have that focal length again.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:54 pm

Zeiss 50/1.4 & 135/2.8 MM. Also a Yaschica 28/2.8, which may be my favorite cheap lens ever. It and my CZ 55/1.8 make a great pocket combo. I put the adapter on the 28/2.8 and cap the ends and its perfect in a jacket.

I can't love the Zeiss 50/1.4 because the 55mm has stunning rendering. They are all on loan from a friend and I will probably pick up a 135/2.8 and maybe a Sony 85/2.8 a-mount and call it good. Can't wait for a native 85.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:02 am

While the Otus has caught everyone's attention- having a halo product is always good marketing, even if no one can afford it- Zeiss' real future successes likely lie in their ability to refine their AF mirrorless lines, i.e. the Touits. Particularly with Sony on a 24MP APS-C Exmor for the A6000 and Fuji likely moving to that sensor in the near future, Zeiss has a real opportunity to push their brand to new heights (and not just through association with Sony with some collaborative hits and misses). I really look forward to a year or two down the road where Fuji begins to approach Sony's capabilities on the hardware front, as they have literally everything else down.

But I do have to admit- I wish I had some Zeiss. Rendering is something that I've been paying more and more attention to as I've become more familiar with photography from an artistic perspective, and it's now something that I look for in a lens intently. For example, the 35/2 IS USM that I mentioned above, can have some pretty noisy bokeh if used in the right way- and that's just the way I'd want to use it. In that sense, Zeiss' ZE 2/35 and 1.4/35 start to look really attractive; the only '35' I have is Canon's 22/2 for my EOS-M, which while emulating Zeiss' signature elements for the most part, like smooth rendering, contrast, and rather heavy vignetting, it's not an FF lens and the EOS-M is not the low-light APS-C king that Sony's latest (and associated Nikons and Fujis) are.

Otherwise, I'm not sure where I would go- I do love 50mm and my 50/1.4 USM is bolted to my 6D regularly for better or worse, and I could definitely do an MF 50 so long as it has an electrically coupled aperture and focus confirmation like Zeiss' ZEs do. And I'm almost up for finding a used Sigma 50/1.4 HSM (non-Art), or three, if I can find one that will behave on my Canon. That lens is as close as one can get to the 1.4/50 ZE in rendering without paying out for a Zeiss planar :).
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:05 pm

I loved my non-art Sigma 50 HSM. It was terrific. Why not look for a CY mount? They are relatively cheap, and adapters are less than cheap. Mine was $20 and functions extremely well. Sure, you'll have to get into using the old style (unless you were a Nikon shooter, then it would be cutting edge) of aperture control on the lens, but it is surprisingly easy and a natural adjustment. Auto everything else works well. The 35mm 2.8 is very cheap, also, but the 50/1.7 is a very cheap way to try it out. At $200, its awfully easy to buy it, try it out, and then sell it if you don't like. If you do like it, still sell it, and get the tremendously fun 50/1.4. I have a ball shooting with it when I want some MF fun. MF really is fun (even though I hate saying it), as it really makes feel connected to the image.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:25 pm

I'll have to divide my interests in to two groups- AF and MF- it seems;

I'd be all over the 50/1.4 non-Art simply because it would replace my 50/1.4 USM for a number of things, but they'd still be complementary. I'm not sure that I'd want to go MF beyond 35, though- I shoot too much moving stuff where having just focus confirmation would be pushing it; missing focus confirmation would be killer. I could definitely live with manual aperture control, though, as that's something that I usually keep my finger on anyway. It'd just be moving the control to the lens from the camera, the camera will still meter as needed.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:54 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I loved my non-art Sigma 50 HSM. It was terrific. Why not look for a CY mount? They are relatively cheap, and adapters are less than cheap. Mine was $20 and functions extremely well. Sure, you'll have to get into using the old style (unless you were a Nikon shooter, then it would be cutting edge) of aperture control on the lens, but it is surprisingly easy and a natural adjustment. Auto everything else works well. The 35mm 2.8 is very cheap, also, but the 50/1.7 is a very cheap way to try it out. At $200, its awfully easy to buy it, try it out, and then sell it if you don't like. If you do like it, still sell it, and get the tremendously fun 50/1.4. I have a ball shooting with it when I want some MF fun. MF really is fun (even though I hate saying it), as it really makes feel connected to the image.


Which adapter did you get? I have the Fotodiox and it's fairly good, though infinity might be off. I'm not sure if that's the adapter or if the lens just doesn't have a hard stop.

Any idea how the Sigma 50 HSM compares to the C/Y Zeiss 50 1.7? A quick check of e-Bay didn't reveal any C/Y mount Sigmas available, but I'll have to keep an eye out.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:43 am

Airmantharp wrote:I'd be all over the 50/1.4 non-Art simply because it would replace my 50/1.4 USM for a number of things, but they'd still be complementary.



Couple of thoughts for you. The Sigma had a very nice color to it, but the rendering was very neutral with very little 3-d pop that wasn't bokeh related. Micro-contrast was average. Very similar to my Minolta's (both 1.4 & 1.7) as well as my Sony 1.4. It was also huge. It unbalanced my a65, not sure how it would feel on your 6d. It was very front-heavy.

Airmantharp wrote: I'm not sure that I'd want to go MF beyond 35, though- I shoot too much moving stuff where having just focus confirmation would be pushing it; missing focus confirmation would be killer. I could definitely live with manual aperture control, though, as that's something that I usually keep my finger on anyway. It'd just be moving the control to the lens from the camera, the camera will still meter as needed.


I would really look into how well mf does on the 6d before making the leap. I use the mf focus tools in my evf exclusively. Focus peaking for good photos/landscapes, but for portraits I use focus magnify where I can zoom in on eyelashes/pupils. I know that focus screens exist, but I have no idea the cost of making a Canon into a good MF shooter.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:53 am

lonleyppl wrote:Which adapter did you get? I have the Fotodiox and it's fairly good, though infinity might be off. I'm not sure if that's the adapter or if the lens just doesn't have a hard stop.

Any idea how the Sigma 50 HSM compares to the C/Y Zeiss 50 1.7? A quick check of e-Bay didn't reveal any C/Y mount Sigmas available, but I'll have to keep an eye out.


I use the Fotodiox, too. The lenses I am using don't have that issue. How stopped down are you? If I am at infinity, I am usually at f/8 or more.

The Sigma is very sharp with good contrast and nuetral colors. Somewhat flat. AF is quick and mostly accurate. It can miss badly but recovers quickly. I fooled it at 10pm at a wedding outside with people dancing under terrible light. It hunted badly. All else was a quick recovery. The Contax 50/1.4 (never shot the 1.7) has good enough sharpness (better for people shots to smooth blemishes beacuse it doesn't ave the focal length for a super shallow DoF) and great micro-contrast. Colors are a touch warmer, and it does very will in skin tones as well as greens. Reds can pop more. Can get 3-d effect with good composition up to f/2.8. At f/4, images are gorgeous just from challenging bokeh. Love the bokeh.
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Re: Sony is getting a bit.... weird

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:56 am

TheEmrys wrote:Couple of thoughts for you. The Sigma had a very nice color to it, but the rendering was very neutral with very little 3-d pop that wasn't bokeh related. Micro-contrast was average. Very similar to my Minolta's (both 1.4 & 1.7) as well as my Sony 1.4. It was also huge. It unbalanced my a65, not sure how it would feel on your 6d. It was very front-heavy.


Main two things are this- it has the best wide-open contrast of any fast AF 50 available in EF, and it has great focus transition bokeh, even better than the 50 Art. Another is that it has the least vignetting, which can matter when you actually need f/1.4- even on a 6D (I've been here with the 50/1.4 USM and had to turn off vignetting correction as the noise was just too strong).

TheEmrys wrote:I would really look into how well mf does on the 6d before making the leap. I use the mf focus tools in my evf exclusively. Focus peaking for good photos/landscapes, but for portraits I use focus magnify where I can zoom in on eyelashes/pupils. I know that focus screens exist, but I have no idea the cost of making a Canon into a good MF shooter.


I'd use magnified Live View, which works very well on Canons (Nikon users are SOL here, I assume Sony does better). If I used longer, wider-aperture MF lenses (my Samyang 14/2.8 is all manual), I'd put Magic Lantern on an SD card and enable focus peaking of some sort, which would get most if not all the way there. I could also change out the focus screens, but that's a compromise. Magnified Live View with Focus Peeking works exceedingly well on Canon, as I found with my 60D and 100/2.8L macro.

But the challenge here is that I'm not sure I really want to deal with MF at >35mm focal lengths- and it's not that I can't, but rather that MF isn't amenable to my shooting style at longer focal lengths, as I shoot too many things that move, in generally varying conditions where I'm also tracking exposure variables and having to pull the viewfinder away to maintain situational awareness.

However, I'm all over MF at 35mm and less; while I use the hell out of the IS on my 24/2.8 IS USM, I could MF it just as well; my 14/2.8 is child's play and never fails to deliver. And the main reason is that the 35mm lenses available for Canon (and Nikon) aren't 'great'; the L is ancient and ridden with LoCA, though it does excel at it's purpose; the old 35/2 has bokeh that no one wants, and while the new 35/2 IS USM is better on all accounts, it's still not smooth- not even close to my 24/2.8, which was released at the same time. Both of Zeiss' 35 ZE lenses are of interest here as they both have better rendering, with the f/1.4 lens being stupid smooth, and the f/2 lens being quite sharp on top of that. Sigma's 35/1.4 Art is the sharpest available, of course, but it also has a slightly nervous rendering and a very clinical look that I'd find useful for certain things, but likely not for situations where I'd want a 35.

Anyway, all things for me to look at. An old Sigma 50 should be easy to grab for less than MSRP providing I can get one that behaves on my 6D, and it'd make a great complement for my Canon; I'd use the Sigma for WA and lower light stuff, while the Canon would be the portable option also used for narrower aperture infinity focus (or close) work, where it excels among all the other available options other than the 50 Art.
Canon 6D|24-105/4L IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|24/2.8 IS USM|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
Airmantharp
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