I recently made the decision to switch over to mirrorless, having shot for over a decade with professional-grade Nikon systems like the D3s and D810. I also currently shoot 35mm film using the very capable Contax G2 with Zeiss lenses.
My first exposure to the world of Sony was with the astonishing 42.4 megapixel Cyber-Shot RX1R. It was an awesome camera other than some weather-sealing and ergonomic issues.
Fast forward a few years, and I decided to go all in with the Sony A7riii. I really wanted to like it, but had some fundamental issues with the system. So let’s talk about the new Sony. It’s built like a tank – although some have questioned the weather sealing in the battery area. I do really like the contemporary looks, although some of the fast lenses do add heft nearing DSLR levels. Fuji has wonderful fast glass that is much smaller.
- Sony Alpha A7R III – Great camera ’nuff said
- Sony Alpha a7R III Digital Camera
- Sony Alpha A7R III – Great Consumer Camera
My decision to return the Sony and jump into a Fuji XT-2 (for my digital kit) really came down to three major issues. First, I don’t really dig the Sony colors. Maybe it’s how LR Classic CC renders the Raw files, but I just wasn’t feeling it – even after adjusting calibration and presets. Sony has supposedly gotten better with color, but it’s nowhere close to Fuji.
Secondly, the files look way too digital to me. It’s hard to explain, but there’s a certain hyper-sterile digital look to the images that kind of lacks soul – almost what you’d see in one of their HDR 4K TVs. Once again, Fuji files seem to have more character and personality. Maybe other raw editors render better, but I’m a LR guy.
But the biggest miss with the new Sony IMHO is the massively convoluted and bloated menu system-pages and pages and pages of menus. I spent weeks watching videos and reading articles – but when I put the camera to real-world usage, I sort of tripped over myself on more than one occasion. When I’m focusing on the craft, I don’t want to be operating a complicated computer (although ample custom buttons do help).
Fixing this will require more than simply re-organizing the menu system, but a paradigm shift in Sony’s technological focus, with a renewed emphasis on creating simplified technologies that bring the photographer closer to the experience, not further away. Other manufacturers like Leica and Fuji seem to understand this organic approach much better.
Sony engineers should look to the past for inspiration – as many film cameras like the Contax G2 or Konica Hexar AF mostly only give photographers what they need and nothing more, allowing them to focus on storytelling. Sony’s approach seems to be “give them everything and the kitchen sink.” Not my cup of tea, but still a technological marvel in so many ways for those who like the Sony look. In-camera image stabilization and EyeAF are fantastic!