I’ve had my Sony A7III for more than half a year now and have used it for various trips and family events. I switched over from Fuji in 2018. Up to that point I had been a Fuji shooter since 2012 when I first bought the Fuji X100.
So the question is whether I have any regrets making the switch. Let me just summarize what I have and have not missed about my Fuji X-T2:
The drive dial
This is a really convenient external dial to which the Sony A9 has one but was not trickled down to any of the A7 bodies. Instead of menu diving (of at least 2 clicks) one can just turn the dial to get bracketing or hi-speed continuous mode.
It’s not great (Canon’s are still better) but next to the A7III, the X-T2’s menus are much easier to understand. Of particular annoyance is Sony’s graying out options when you hit the menus in certain modes. They don’t tell you why these are grayed out either.
The aperture ring on the lenses
Usually on cameras, the new lens you attach takes on the aperture of your previous lens. With the Fuji lenses you can always have the widest aperture ready as soon as you attach the new lens. Very convenient. Sony’s top of the line GM lenses are the only ones with aperture rings.
The higher resolution EVF
This is more likely due to Sony’s cost cutting measures to get the A7III under an X pricepoint. The EVF on the A7III is low resolution enough that I sometimes see moire patterns.
The glowing AF point
To be more specific, how the AF point glows green when I’m moving it around. On the Sony, it’s a non-glowing medium gray box which can get hard to see.
The 3-axis tilting screen
The Fuji’s LCD can tilt in a 3rd axis which is useful for taking photos in the portrait orientation. I didn’t think it’d be useful but came to use it a lot.
The option to reduce the number of AF points
The Fuji has the option to reduce the number of AF points available so changing AF points can be faster.
The level of weather sealing
I’ve semi-buried my X-T2 in the snow without hesitation. The A7III is weather-sealed but reading around user reports, the bottom plate of the A7III is a weak spot so I doubt it’ll survive a short stint lying in the snow.
The faster start-ups
The A7 is slow to start and wake up from sleep compared to the X-T2 which is almost instantaneous.
How discreet it feels
Due to it’s size and form factor it somehow feels more discreet to use than the A7III. While the size difference isn’t much, I feel the A7 is less discreet when out shooting.
How fun it is to use
It’s totally subjective and not quantifiable but the X-T2 is a more fun camera to shoot. I don’t discount this since having fun is part of the process of photography for me as a hobby.
I don’t miss…
That it’s difficult for non-photographers to use
When I want to be in the picture, it’s not easy to pass the X-T2 to someone to take the photo. It doesn’t have an auto mode and the face detect/eye-AF wasn’t reliable yet so before passing it to someone I’d need to set the aperture ring to A so the camera gets into P mode, then change the AF mode to wide or zone. Then once I get the camera back I have to do the reverse to get it back to my method of use. Not ideal. I took to carrying a Canon G5X instead for this purpose.
Changing shooting modes
The nature of having external dials means changing mode is not a one-handed move. I needed to turn the different dials to get into the various modes. Gets tedious when you’re out on photowalks and need to switch between Av and M modes often.
The harder to edit RAW files
I have found the Sony RAW files to be easier to edit than the Fuji’s in Lightroom Classic. I can’t explain why but it requires less fine-tuning to get the the look I want. And it’s not just Sony. I have found Canon RAW files to be easier than Fuji too.
With the X-T2, I usually packed 3 spare batteries in my bag and would have to change the battery at least once during a day of shooting. Evenings back at the hotel were used for recharging. That’s no longer the case with the Sony Z batteries which perform like the ones in DSLRs. I could go 2-3 days on 1 charge.
So, that’s a lot more things I miss on the X-T2 than not. Does that make the X-T2 a better camera? Nah. You’ll note that most of what I miss are usability and somewhat intangible issues and nothing with the image quality of the photos. Both cameras take excellent photos.
There’s just something more tactile about the external dials and going out to shoot with it: it’s just more fun to use. Conversely though, the A7III is an easier camera for running and gunning.
Back to the question then, do I regret switching? It’s hard to say, I lost some of the ‘fun’ but gained some practicality so it’s a toss up really. What matters is that I’m still able to get good pictures for my memories. I think I would have done fine with either camera. What matters most is to have a camera ready at all times to catch the moments.
To put that point across, I’ve sprinkled a few photos on this post. Can you really tell which camera took which photo? Disclaimer: there’s a photo from a Canon camera here too 😉
Note that I’m not saying the gear doesn’t matter because of course it does. But that’s a post for another day.