Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 2: The Sony A7II meets my Fuji X-T1

What began as a one week trial is going to have to be put on hold for awhile. The Sony A7II died on me in day 2 when I received a "Camera error: turn the camera off, then on" message. Nothing worked. The camera is essentially a doorstop at the moment. I am going to have to wait for a replacement  model to continue my tests. I'm not holding anything against the camera. It is a test camera, after all, and probably subject to a lot of abuse.

One funny thing that happened is that I kept mistaking my X-T1 for the A7II. I keep my X-T1 handy near my desk, and the two cameras do have a similar profile so it was easy to confuse the two. Once, I even tried to mount a Fuji lens on the Sony and was annoyed that it didn't fit, until I realized my mistake and laughed. As I looked at the two cameras next to each other, if gave me a chance to think a bit about the differences in ergonometrics of the two. No question that I prefer the Fuji with its clear-cut and accessible dials. The Sony works more from a menu. The menu layout is quite similar to that of the Sony RX-100 so I am familiar with it, but I did find the X-T1 a much easier and quicker camera to use.

Note that I am not making any comparison of image quality, just physical characteristics. For that, the Fuji is hard to beat as a mirrorless system.

The two cameras are similar is size with the X-T1 being only slightly larger. In this photo my X-T1 has a hand-grip on it which raises it up a little. 

Sony could take some lessons from the Fuji top control layout. Everything you need to control exposure is sitting right there in a top view of the camera. With a lens mounted on the X-T1 even the aperture control is accessible with a control ring with the apertures stops visible on many of the lenses. This is retro design at its best -- i.e. most intuitive and convenient.

The whole point of my A7II test was to determine if it would make a good second body for a Leica M system. I chose the A7II over the A7r so I could also test the efficacy of the in-body vibration correction with the lenses. If I do decide to add the Sony to my Leica kit, I will probably wait until an A7r II model comes out so I could have both the higher megapixels and the vibration control. 

I only had time for a few preliminary test shots before the camera conked out. I'll have to wait until I recieve a replacement before continuing the testing. 

Here's a sample image taken with the Voigtlander 15mm lens and an ISO of 100. Click here to download the high res version.

Taken with a Leica 50mm Summilux lens. 

Taken with the Leica 135mm APO telyt on the A7II


  1. Sony repair is a big factor to consider. When my RX-1 viewfinder failed I was told it would be $700 to repair (almost double the new price!) and later told it couldn't be repaired at all.

  2. Ugh, of course! I was really looking forward to an article. Well, one where you got to spend more time with the camera...

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  4. Repairs are the single thing that I truly HATE the most about Fuji in the Netherlands.

    Their repair lab is... in Germany! It takes , at least two weeks to send and receive the camera ( though the shop) and a couple of weeks to do the repair.

    This was the main reason why I now own a X-T1 because my XE-1 went there with a dirty sensor and came back with an even dirtier one after 6 weeks.

    Having said this, what strikes me if the view on top of both cameras ( which is the reason why I liked my X-T1 more than the Sony when I considered buying one or the other) whatever is not there in the form of a turning knob in the Sony has to be activated by means of a menu which is precisely what I truly hate to do by using any camera ( even the X-T1) operating the on screen menus. I loathe them!

    This was the single most important factor for me to go for the Fuji.

    I truly don’t care about pixel amounts at this level.

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  6. Hello guys!
    I am a hobby photographer with a nikon d7100 that I really hate and i will tell you why later. I'm a general purpose photographer and i shoot artistic, portraits, street, landscape and ocasionally I shoot a wedding or two. Soon I'll be moving to Switzerland so I will be shooting even more landscape.

    For the last couple of weeks i've been looking to replace the d7100 with the a7ii or x-t1, why?

    I won't rant too much about why, but the biggest issue is when using live view. It literally takes about 4-5 seconds to take 1 picture using live view with the nikon, its so friggin slow!! And if taking a series of lets say 5-6 photos when taking a portrait I have to wait like 8 seconds for the buffer to clear so i can review the picutre...
    (My camera is front/backfocusing alot even after microadjustment so i need liveview to get sharp eyes)

    In this way the mirrorless seem to be much much faster and i can take series of photos and instantly review them on the screen.

    I really like the fuji and the lenses and Im planning to get samyang 135 manual lens, wich should be really convenient on the fuji.

    The only reason for me to get the sony over the fuji is higher MPix, FF and ibis.

    Now, do i REALLY need the 24mpix FF in landscape photography or is the 16mpix fuji sufficient?

    Yes I plan to do some printing, both for hanging on my walls and also for making photobooks for wedding clients.

    Please help me choose :)

    Thanks / Dennis

  7. DSLR cameras are not really very good at working with live view. It's just the nature of the beast. If you really prefer using working from the back of the camera, then mirrorless is the way to go. Both the Sony and Fuji are excellent cameras. For landscape, I find it best to use FF cameras to obtain a higher quality image. For candid shooting I like the smaller APS size. The new Fuji X-PRO2 will be a 24mp camera so with that you could have both high MPix and small size, but it does not have an articulating screen. So long as your print sizes are not much larger than 16x20" or 20x24" then either format will work. For larger work, I would recommend FF. Hope that helps. - Tom

  8. Oh i did not know all dslr are like that. I find it hard to manual focus in the OVF of my d7100 so i really want to try this EVF on the x-t1.

    I think I will start with the x-t1 and go FF later if I really need to. thanks for your answer and btw great blog! :)

  9. One thing i still dont understand tho, is why do you need higher quality in landscape photography than any other type? thanks

  10. Most photographers shoot landscapes on a tripod and try to achieve a very sharp image with a lot of detail and no noise. This is better done with high resolution.