Why I Chose the Sony A7 Series After Fujifilm

Well, my Fuji days are over for now. In October, I bought a Fuji XT-2, thinking it would be my replacement to DSLRs, but what ended up happening was me wanting to get rid of it. But it wasn’t easy.

Why?

Well there is a list, but it isn’t because it is a bad camera. In fact, it is a wonderful camera, which has some of the best controls any camera has to offer. It also features incredible AF function with a great EVF system. All of the important functions can be dialed in by twisting knobs on top. It is an awesome camera, and I actually miss it. A person shouldn’t have too many expensive cameras, so I can’t warrant having that plus the A7r II.

What ended up turning me off was the lost hope of any near-future full frame options from Fujifilm. Instead, they come out with a $6000 medium format camera with incompatible lenses, which I don’t want to have to invest money into. Sony is open to tons of lens options without having to crop their actual focal length.

I found out what I needed was something I could use things that I already have, while also trying some new things. So I took advantage of the trade-in deal at Adorama. It would have been a bad deal, but thanks to the Sony $480 bonus deal, I was able to get a fare trade. So now I have the A7r II with the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8  and a Sigma MC-11 adapter, which I can use my old Canon prime lenses. Aside from this, here are some of the reasons why I gave up on the Fuji XT-2.

Sony A7r ii with Sigma MC-11 and Zeiss 50mm

It isn’t full frame

I think APS C is great in many situations, but one thing is undisputed. Full frame cameras produce more detail, and more depth and bokeh. In the dark, full frame sensors can make more detail at high iso. It may sound crazy, but I was getting more detailed shots in low light with my Canon 6d, than with the Fuji XT-2. This is a camera years older than the Fuji.

Less depth

Something that is important for me when making images, is the ability to control what is blurry and what is not. Fujifilm lenses are great and sharp, but I found that on wider angle lenses, my subject had to be much closer to make the background blurry, than on full frame lenses. Even if my subject was 5-10 feet away, I would still be able to get some nice separation and soft background with a 35mm on the Canon full frame sensor. Of course, your aperture opening plays a big role, but the fuji would be mostly in focus after a certain distance from the lens, even at f/2.

This doesn’t mean that the images weren’t good, but it was difficult for me to lack that control over my depth of field, as compared to full frame, where you can really control what is in and out focus. Even on the Fuji 35mm f/2, I felt that I was always shooting at 5.6. In-fact, at f/2 on the the crop sensor, you are probably getting the depth of field of f/2.8 on a full frame sensor. On the contrary, if you are shooting in low light wide open on an APSC, you can expect to have more depth of field. This could be a benefit in some situations.

Less lens compatibility and variety

I don’t know about you, but I like my focal length to be what it says on the lens and not cropped by 1.6. Full frame is more straight forward.

Fuji cameras are pretty much only compatible with Fujifilm lenses. There are adapters, but they lack AF function, plus, the sensor is a crop sensor, so any old manual focus lenses will be 1.6 times tighter. The Sony A7 lineup is becoming compatible with many lenses through advanced adaptors. For the most part, the Canon EF lens lineup, which I happen to have many of, have the most developed adapters available on the A7 series. This means I will be able to use my favorite EF glass on the A7, as well as my Sigma lenses, which work great with the MC-11 adapter. This was the main reason I went for

If you have some old manual focus gems, chances are you can adapt those and get great performance with Sony’s focus peaking feature. I have a Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 ZE, which is for Canon mount, and I am impressed with how easy it is to focus using focus peaking. With this revelation, I am planning on getting some other gems for it. By the way, with the viewfinder on Canon DSLRs, it was incredibly difficult to nail your focus with a manual focus lens. This had to do with the focusing screen inside. You just couldn’t see clearly where your focus was.

No in-camera image stabilization.

Although in-camera image stabilization is less effective than in-lens image stabilization, I still think this in-camera feature on the A7r II is extremely valuable, especially when shooting video with prime lenses. After shooting around with this, I also noticed that it is great for low light stuff. This feature really packs a lot in a small package, while creating cinematic video with a ton of depth. Sony is able to do this in a very small package on a full frame sensor. The XT-2, just slightly smaller than the Sony, lacks both of these features.

Fell for the “full frame doesn’t matter” line

Many people have raved that they don’t care about the lack of full frame on Fuji cameras. Indeed, the difference may not be too noticeable, but for me, I just want that freedom that full frame gives. In-fact, the Sony A7R II offers the ability to change to APS-C, giving me the ability to crop my images in sensor. For a certain breed of photographers, you don’t need full frame, but I think photojournalists and portrait photographers kind of look to the flexibility of full frame when shooting, especially for the low-light detail. When your job is to show reality through your pictures, you want a camera that can get detail in low light.

fujifilm xt-2

It depends on you

Different photographers have different needs. If you shoot macro and landscape, chances are, you will be looking for a larger depth of field that APS-C cameras offer, as opposed to the smaller depth of field that you get on wide aperture and full frame cameras. Obviously, telephoto Fujifilm lenses will produce comparable bokeh to full frame cameras, but I just didn’t see that on the 35mm f/2, which is the equivalent of 50mm on full frame.

With all of this said, I do kind of miss the XT-2, but I wouldn’t go back now that I have a Sony. My first Fuji camera was the X100s, and I got into the XT-2 because I liked the feeling of that compact rangefinder. What I didn’t understand was that the Fuji camera I loved was indeed that X100s. It is the perfect camera for carrying around the streets on your shoulder or under your jacket when you are not doing work related photography. Its beauty is in its simplicity and non-offensive feel. My X100s is gone now, but I may go for a X100f somewhere down the line.

Trains in the desert near Tuscon. Taken with the Sony A7r II and the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar.

Trains in the desert near Tuscon. Taken with the Sony A7r II and the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar. With Sony’s focus peaking function, it is easy to nail focus while using manual focus lenses. I shot this at f/1.4 at 1/8000. As you can see, there is great separation from foreground and background.

For now, my gear acquisition syndrome must take a break. Expect to hear some more reviews of MF lenses that I will be using on the A7r II, and in the mean time, keep shooting. Thanks for reading.

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