Creative: Sony A7riii Recap

I’m going to send the camera back early. Something wrong? Nope, not at all. I did my testing, know what I need to know, and will send it back so someone else can have a crack at it. I learned a lot, as you do when you test something new. Let me condense this for you.

This is a great camera system. It really is. If I was starting over with gear this would probably be at the top of my list. Let me hit you with what I like, and remember, I’m comparing this mostly to my Fuji gear because this is the gear I use most often.

Sony good.

1. Full frame. It’s awesome. I know Fuji has their explanation for the crop but there really isn’t any substitute for full-frame.
2. Build quality. Sony is built like a tank. Far more durable than the Fuji which feels like if I drop it I’m buying a new camera while the Sony feels like it would take a hit.
3. Battery life. Can’t even compare. Fuji sucks, Sony rocks.
4. Motion/Audio details. Sony has A LOT of options for motion and audio, and their system has numerous small features that are tailor-made for the motion shooter who also deploys the old sound system when needed. Fuji getting there but isn’t at this same level.
5. IBIS. It works. Really well. I need it. Don’t have it with XT2, or XT3. More on this later.
6. Autofocus. It’s better, but I’m wondering if the XT-3 addresses some of this.

Sony bad. (Not really that bad.)

1. Cost. Looking at three times what the Fuji gear costs.
2. Size. Lens options are HUGE in comparison to Fuji, and this is a real issue with me when I have to carry so many other things.
3. Menus. EVERYONE complains about this, and sure, the Sony menus are complex, strange at times, slightly bewildering at others, but they aren’t that bad. I only had to YouTube ONE thing I couldn’t figure out. Don’t let this influence you at all.

Again, this system is tight. It really is. And a huge shout out to Sony for sending me this thing. They had no real reason to do so, but they did, so many thanks. Am I switching? No. If Sony gave me an entire system you bet your ass I’d switch, but I’m not asking for that nor do they have any reason to do so. I’m not a great person to sponsor because I don’t shoot that much and I’m never going to become “that” guy on social. Never. Is this Sony system superior to the Fuji? In some ways, yes. For sure. But are those advantages worth me selling and switching? No. But again, this is a hobby for me these days. And here’s the other thing. I really like the Fuji system. Small, light, inexpensive, great color, insanely good ergonomics, simple menus and very capable. Lastly, my eyesight SUCKS now. So using the Sony with manual focus with my Leica 50mm was great but geez, I actually really missed my autofocus. (Yes, the Fuji will hunt like crazy from time to time especially with the older lenses.)

So, here is the plan. This makes financial and common sense people. Sell both XT2’s. Buy XT3 then wait for next version of XH-1, which I’m guessing just might be called the XH-2. Stay with Fuji. I’ll still be out of pocket but not nearly as much and will still be able to take advantage of the four lenses I already own. In addition, I have a full Canon system that Blurb bought me, something I haven’t used it at least two years, maybe longer. Way too large, heavy and I frankly never made great images with that system. Not entirely sure why. Plenty of other people use it well. But maybe I can get Blurb to let me dump this Canon system and put the proceeds toward the Fuji? A guy can dream right?

So, if anyone is in the market for an XT-2 let me know. Crickets…….. I’m guessing I might end up donating them to a school or something. Just want to make sure they get used. They are in great shape. One owner, low miles, no accidents. Complete Carfax vehicle history report upon request.

The last thing I’ll say is that the only gear worth a shit is the gear you never have to think about. If you are thinking about gear you are doing to make shitty images, and you are going to miss out on the experience of photography which trumps everything. The Fuji gear is far from perfect, but I’ve used it long enough now to never have to think about it. Game on.

If you are on the fence about switching to Sony or thinking about buying your first camera then, by all means, go Sony. I have SO many friends who switched to Sony in the last three years and not one of them has regretted their decision. In fact, most credit the Sony system as being the best gear they have ever used. And remember, Sony feels like they are just getting started.

13 Comments on “Creative: Sony A7riii Recap”

  1. Dan deep, very deep inside you already bought the Sony. Haha…!
    You only struggling and finding excuses not to buy the little Sucker, right?
    Admit it! Haha…!

  2. dan, great points. what i takeaway from this is “find the right tool for the job and the tool that makes you most effective.” i too have generally moved to fuji and find i need two tools, the x-system and the gfx system, different systems for different needs.

  3. “there really isn’t any substitute for full-frame.” I respectfully disagree….
    I believe you’ve fallen prey to the more megapixels or bigger sensor == better image quality myth.
    Image quality is a purely subjective evaluation. You can say that Full frame cameras give you a different “look” than crop sensors…if you like that look well then that’s better image quality in your opinion.
    This is an old debate Dan. I remember us debating this in the film days…Gene Smith got fired from Newsweek because he insisted on using 35mm cameras instead of the Rolliflex they wanted him to use because of “better image quality” argument.
    You see each of us judges image quality per the set of variables which are important to us. When you shot film you shot grainy ass 3200 speed film because you liked the look…so for you THAT was the image quality you were after. I on the other hand hated grain in those days so I shot Tri X and only pushed due to low light levels.
    Guess what … now that I shoot digital I find digital too perfect and instead of making my images look “film like” in post I achieve it in camera. NOW I love grain. That’s my new image quality.
    But Dan, if you feel you want the Sony “look” (which I think is HDRish and unrealistic because it dosn’t look like Tri-X) don’t let me stop you 😉
    “Why Jim everyone is shooting Sony what are you rebelling against?”
    Dunno Dan what have you got? Oh wait…maybe marketing…

    1. Jim,
      Full frame falloff and twice the data. Makes a big difference. I like the color of the Fuji better, but most of what I’m doing is converted to black and white anyway. Digital never looks like film no matter what people do. I’ve quit even trying to go down that road. I’ve loved grain my entire life, even when I was told it was “wrong” by the staff at the school I attended.

  4. Clarification
    I realize you won’t be switching to Sony but I’ve just felt overwhelmed by the Sony Marketing tsunami of late…What has really surprised me is looking at pictures (online) taken by photographers using the micro 4/3rds Olympus line. I was shocked at how good the pictures looked given sensor size/megapixels…But then I guess it still comes down to what I like….

    1. Jim,
      That is your first mistake. Never look at work online! I’m lucky because I ignore photography marketing, don’t read the magazines, etc. I have, however, seen a massive number of my friends switch to Sony over the past three years. And many of these folks are way better photographers than I. I did look at the Alpha site to see what to ask for. And I visited a Sony sponsored photographer to get my hands on a few things. But again, if you read the review, the look of the camera is one small part of the system. Build quality, autofocus, motion/audio capability, IBIS etc. All beyond what I currently have.

  5. After dumping my Canon gear in 2011 and switching to a Leica M6 for a good few years (mostly because of this blog), then pretty much giving up on photography completely, last year I suddenly found myself motivated again so picked up a Lumix system. It’s so unbelievably light compared to my old 5D Mark 2 and as I couldn’t give two shits about bokeh or night photography I never notice the smaller sensor size.

    It’s absolutely wonderful for dropping in a backpack and going cycling, and you can even buy *Leica* lenses too 🙂

    1. Sean,
      LONG time no see. Glad to see you are still snapping and still riding. I’m with you. For the cost, the smaller sensor is totally fine and very capable. Would I like to have a full frame or MF camera? Yep, but not going to ruin my day if I don’t have one.

  6. I currently use an Olympus with a smaller sensor and couldn’t agree more. Small, light and great to use.

    I do quietly miss my classic Fuji X100 though…

    It all boils down to getting the best out of the system you have and regardless of what you use, keep shooting

  7. Sean and Paul I’m in total agreement. I’ve long believed that “form factor” is a much overlooked thing when considering cameras. Size, weight for me it’s shutter speed dial on top of camera and fstops on lens…but thats because its what I’m used to.

    Dan: look of the camera is one small part of the system. Build quality, autofocus, motion/audio capability, IBIS etc. All beyond what I currently have.” To be honest Dan most of the features I already have in my fujis are way more than I really need. I just discovered that the x100f has a motor drive!! I can shoot like 6 frames a second…have never used it before just relied on timing and shooting one frame at a time. But to be fair I don’t have the same needs you do. Sony is definitely better for video… Then again quality is measured in totally objective measurements..(specs) but the subjectivity comes in in the selection you care about. BTW your 3200 grain has grown on me. I also shoot film btw 😉

    1. Jim,
      Whatever works. If scanning was less expensive, and a bit quicker, I could still be using film for much of what I do. Still love my Leica’s and Blad more than anything else but Fujis are really nice.

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