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Monday, 30 June 2014

Comments

The thing that gets me about the Sony A7 camera line is:
With all the original, highly-evolved engineering that went onto the first mirrorless 24x36 camera, they went and stuck a PASM selector dial where the shutter speed dial could have been.
They just couldn't shake the point'n'shoot mentality.
I choose to reward Fujifilm with my small-camera dollar.

The enemy of a better system is a system that is good enough.

Basically, you make the same pictures with both lineups. Sony's E-mount is less expensive, yet there is Zeiss glass for those who (think they) need it.

Other things make the difference: Full-frame, as ridiculous as it is, is the Holy Grail for most prosumer digital photographers. And Sony seems to be more FF-ready. And on the other end, there are *much* better budget offerings in the E-mount.

Attention Fuji-bot: pay attention to this post!

I am intrigued, Mike - why not an X-Pro yourself? were you not a 'rangefinder guy'? As I currently have a D700 but Fuji is tempting me to look elsewhere in the forthcoming months [the usual - size, weight, and would prefer a camera that isn't like a moulded lump of dough now an alternative looks available] I can't help but wonder about your opinions of the actual camera line. I know you waxed about the XT-1, but what is your thinking re the others in the range? They seem to be 'DMD'-ing all over the place and I don't know where to start!!

[I'm not a rangefinder guy actually. I've used them a lot over the years but I'm much more naturally comfortable with SLR-type TTL prism viewfinders. --Mike]

It is a shame those great lenses can only be used on a 16Mp x-trans sensor. if you like fine detail and texture, this sensor solution is not without its problems. I prefer to use my Sony solution with a 24Mp aps-c Bayer sensor. especially at base iso and with a good lens, the amount of detail looks great in large prints. yes, there are good lenses for Sony these days. Touit 12/32/50mm, the ZA24mm, the 35mm, the 50mm. The only thing missing, for me, is a good 16mm. And there are the Sigma 19/30/60mm lenses as well. especially the 60mm seems to be a gem.

I agree that a FF X-Pro2 would be a mistake, but I'd love to see a FF X200, or even a (reaching for the stars here) digital medium format GF670.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/678957-REG/Fujifilm_16019089_GF670_Rangefinder_Folding_Camera.html?gclid=COexwo6Por8CFQSEaQodhxoAEw

Been using the Fuji gear since day one and love it, is really cheap when you see what you can buy for the cost of a Nikon D4 body only.Iridient has solved most of the "Raw" processing quibbles.
At a recent visit to a local camera store I was shocked at the size and weight of a D4 with a small zoom attached after using my Fuji gear.

Mike wrote, "Profit is like heroin to companies."

Profit is like oxygen to companies. Heroin kills. Oxygen is necessary for life.

[I have to disagree. I think it's more like heroin. They get high on it, they think they need more and more of it, and in some cases they do desperate and sometimes nasty things to insure its continued flow. I've also seen companies over the years do things that were actually bad for the company itself and its long-term health in the pursuit of short-term profits--which is what I think Fuji would be doing by splitting its fledgling lens line in two. My analogy-in-passing is admittedly far from perfect and doesn't by itself convey any great insight, but I'll stick by it, such as it is, for rhetorical use. --Mike]

"A Sony camera owner who is completely satisfied with the lens options for his or her camera is the owner of a fixed-lens Sony camera." Brilliant !

The A mount lineup isn't in terrible shape, though that evolved from Minolta's lineup. Like many other photographers, I'd been dreaming of the potential of ILCs even before they'd been invented. I saw the Olympus Pen mockup at Photoplus Expo and then had a half hour tryout with the EP1 at the Expo the following year. I waited. The NEX-5 came out. I was planning a trip to Disney with my family and decided that it was time to make a decision. Neither Olympus nor Panasonic offered a portrait prime (m43 users were adapting all manner of legacy 50's) while Sony's road map promised a portrait tele. Fast forward a few years: Olympus has a wonderful, little 45/1.8 while Sony's idea of a portrait prime was a 75mm equivalent. A 50mm designed for APS-C. The initial lineup consisted of 2 zooms and a 16mm pancake. It took a long time before they offered a normal. I give them a little credit for appearing to "get it" with the recent f/4 zooms and a couple nice options for the full frame e Mount, but I have little faith in Sony's intentions when it comes to developing a photographer-centric system like Fuji. On the other hand, the RX series of fixed lens cameras are gems.

Last week, my family vacationed in & around Boston. We spent a day in Salem and my daughter dragged us into one of those cheesy nostalgic photo booths, where we dressed as witches/wizards. The photographer was using ... drum roll please ... a Sony F717 ! And the reason was for the "night shot" feature (perfect for glowing witch photos).

Fuji's X system tugs at me. I love the lenses - both the specs and the build. I don't like that they muddied up the system by introducing low end lenses that lack aperture rings. I'd love to see what Fuji would do with Sony technology.

Interestingly, on this recent Boston trip, I saw more mirrorless camears in use than I've ever seen before (note: I don't get out much). One Fuji X-something, at least two NEXes, a couple of micro 4/3, and - a first - a Samsung.

Yes, being a Fuji shooter, I am very happy with the lens lineup and the planned releases later this year. I'd love to see a 90/2 about the size of a Leica, which would be a lovely addition to my current kit.

I do agree about a full frame offering -- I'd be somewhat aggravated if the X Pro 2 came out and didn't take my current lenses.

Fujifilm, should also be given full credit for taking responsibility and quickly rectifying any evolved problems. For example the light leak in early xt-1 models. Mine was shipped, fixed, and returned in 7 days...at no cost to me. When needed body and lens firmware updates are issued in a timely manner, i.e. add manual focus peaking, improve manual focus response, etc. They are by no means perfect. However, at this point, they have earned my loyalty, and are benefiting from my photography purchases.

Times are changing. Is there really a need for an extensive lens line? Photography and technology are at new paradigms, but more telling is how photography is being practiced. How often do smartphone users complain about the paucity of lens selection? I'm a Sony user and an "old timer" so I get your point. But photography is no longer the dominion of craftsmen/women, and woe to the brand that misunderstands picture taking today. What will sell more cameras, an extensive lens line up or connectivity and simplicity?

I bought the two Zeiss lenses for X-mount while they where on the amazing half price sale at BH (through your link of course).
They were nice but I really couldn't justify keeping them over the 14mm and 35mm Fuji primes I already had. So they are sold again with no loss. I'm sure I didn't try very hard but compared to the Fuji lenses there was just no extra fizz. Very unlike the Zeiss 35mm 2.0 for Canon which immediately became my number one for over a year.
So far I'm happy to have jumped to Fuji.

As someone who prefers aps-c sized cameras and lenses and loves his fuji x cameras, i say go for it, ill gladly buy up those superb xf lenses for dirt cheap when people angrily jump ship to full frame.

I'm kind of glad that the Fuji products are targeted at a price point generally higher than their (approximate) Olympus equivalents. Replacing the important bits of my E-M10 system (body, 9-18 zoom, 17 f/1.8, 45 f/1.8) with a Fuji system would cost around k$4. I might be tempted to switch systems (losing in size and weight but gaining in aperture and, perhaps, quality) if the prices were lower; I'd just as soon not fight that temptation.

Well, the content of this post was interesting as always. Mike at work helping us remember what truly matters...

But really, thanks for making me smile. Don't berate the metaphor driven writer too much. Sometimes it's just what is needed.

One flaw in the argument.

A fullframe fuji-X series of cameras would be, well, natural platforms for TWO series of lenses.

Fuji.

And M-mount.

A full frame X-Super-T that could mount and focus and give full frame coverage to, say, the 21f1.4 summilux. Leica's lenses unchained from their slowly evolving cameras. Fuji with their very good lenses and full frame access to the awesome Leica's.

Remember that M-mount by its nature includes all of the screw mount lenses, and so all of the wild and whacky voightlanders, etc.

So such a camera would have a very very large inventory of lenses to use, all in one fell stroke.

And if Fuji does it before Leica, they win a very large prize.

Excellent summary. One of the advantages I see to the Olympus E-M1 over Fuji's XT-1 is the fact that lens shopping for the Fuji is no fun!

Want a wide angle zoom? Get the Fuji 10-24mm. Want a fast 85mm equiv? Get the Fuji 56mm. Want a standard 35mm equiv? Get the Fuji 23mm. All seem to be excellent, the only drawback being the size/weight of the glass necessary to cover the APS-C sensor.

At least m4/3 keeps it interesting - we can fight endlessly about which 50mm equiv is better...

Is Sony really raking in money with the a7? I seem to see them selling a huge discounts for such a new and "hot" camera.

I for one hope Fujifilm avoids the full frame space-race. I think the quality of the sensors (APS-C and 35mm) are not all that far apart for 99% of the photography most people do. Fracturing their lens line up would be a tragic mistake at this point, when so far they have been very customer focused. As a Nikon owner, that is what is most refreshing about the Fujifilm offerings (though X-T1 has brought some doubt to my mind*).

The quality of the lenses they have been producing is top notch, and their novel sensor seems to have merit. The JPEG quality is the best I've seen bar-none and has almost got me wanting to abandon RAW other than having it as a backup for completely failed (exposure) shots. Fujifilm is giving me what I want in a camera. Compact, but not short on features. All manual controls. Solid user interfaces. Quality feel and light weight. Snazzy looks. And did I mention all manual controls.

* I think the move away from the range-finder form-factor was a mistake. One of the greatest advantages of this form factor is having the camera all the way to the side of your face without having your nosed pressed into the back of the camera.

As a Fuji X Pro user and as a professional photographer I think that Fuji will fail if abandon us after all the good firmware upgrades and new lenses with a full frame X Pro 2. If they will do It I hope they don't leave us with all old lenses. One thing about the lenses, I miss a 90 f2 (135 after conversion) because the 56 1.2 is beautiful but the perspective is still one of a normal lens, sometimes we need to compress the perspective and I prefer a light, good and trusty prime instead the zooms. Other about lens, they tried to protect their X100s not offering a pancake 23 (35mm) lens. They did a 27 that is good but is 2.8 instead f2 and have no physical diaphragm control. For those like me that prefer use the OVF the 23 f1.4 is beautiful but is too big and protrudes too much inside the viewfinder.

Nikon shot themselves in the foot by never making reasonably priced APS-C primes too, something Fuji nailed.

Canon, at least, made f/2.8 prime lenses for full frame, that could be used on APS-C, and at reasonable rates, floating around 500 bucks or so. Nikon's intractability to make a 24mm or 16mm prime for APS-C (or full frame) in that price range is appalling. No one, and I really mean no one, needs to own a lens in the f/1.4 or even the 1.8 range, for general photography (and not with price-tags approaching 2K, and weights and sizes approaching a high-end zoom). You can always rent the 1.4 in a pinch, if you really need to go that wide open...

Many camera systems may be bowing down to Fuji (and for that matter, Olympus as well), but Canon's lens system may make it far more survivable in the future than Nikon's...

I enjoy Fuji optics by using their old film cameras, and those things are addictive, but probably not as addicting as heroin (I think). In the collection so far are the GW690III, GSW690III, and a GA645 v2. The Xpan/TX-1 is on my wishlist, but the market is too hot for them right now. The GF670 and GF670W also look good, and the used prices are not at all unreasonable.

And just to complete the totally random touching of all points in this post, my Sony NEX-5N with an adapted Canon FD 50/3.5 macro permanently sits on a copystand for digitizing film, some of which have been exposed by the Fujis.

As an owner of both a Fuji X100s and Sony NEX 7 with 3 native lenses I couldn't agree more. I'm thinking about an upgrade to my NEX 7 and I'm torn between moving to Sony Full Frame or moving to the Fujifilm XT-1.

If my Sony Zeiss 24mm and 50mm covered the whole FE sensor, it would be a no brainer as they really are great lenses- but they don't.

If I'm gonna have to buy new lenses anyway, it's hard to not consider moving to Fuji as they really do have a better overall lens lineup. They have the image quality, build quality and there really isn't any focal length that's missing. Oh, and the primes are faster which makes them competitive even with Sony FE.

I've heard the comments about Sony's minimal lens lineup in various places around the internet, and I'm confused. Does everyone making those comments ignore the vast realms of potential adapted lenses? (I'm almost scared to make that comment, for fear of driving up prices on old lenses even higher than they've gone over the last few years.) Is it the loss of auto-focus performance? Genuinely, I don't understand.

I'll freely admit that I'm very happy with an a7r. Like Daniel Stevenson's comment about the Sigma dp2m, I think it's best treated as a modern-day view camera. I even use it with tilt-shift lenses, and the magnified live view is a godsend for that usage. It's a bit fiddly, and is probably no one's idea of a great camera for shooting sports or wildlife or anything else that requires fast autofocus and a very short shutter lag. But that's a limitation of the camera, not Sony's lens lineup.

I am completely satisfied with the lens options for my Sony Camera. Those lens options just don't happen to be sold only by Sony. Personally, I'm fine with that.

Yes to all of your points here. I had the same thoughts when migrating over to Fuji recently about lens selection and steered clear of Sony for that very reason. I can report that the triumvirate of the 23, 35, and 56 have been absolutely stellar for me on the X-T1. (Sayonara, Canon.) I do long for something a bit wider on occasion and am almost spoilt for choice just looking at Fuji alone.

I will also applaud Fuji for sticking with APS-C for the X-Pro-2, if that is indeed what comes to pass. They've really hit a wonderful combination of size, cost, and quality. Why mess that up in chasing some former ideal?

I forget where it was (likely here), but I read somewhere recently that digital has, for most practical applications, essentially shifted the size categories down from film one notch, where: 35mm film = APS-C digital; Medium Format film = Full Frame digital; and Large Format film = Medium Format digital. I like that analogy can at least vouch for it for my uses where APS-C exceeds the quality I got from 35mm film and I truly appreciate the smaller, lighter gear.

I use an XE-1 exclusively now. My 800e and kit sit in a nice bag for those times when I absolutely have to nail a shot. Anything else it's my Fuji 14mm and 18mm-55mm zoom. I expect with the continuous improvements from Fuji that I'll be able to sell the Nikon gear in the next year or so.

Thanks for showing some love for Canon's switch from FD to EOS in 1987. Then as now, smart companies have often been spurred to take a new direction when presented with new technologies (autofocus then, mirrorless now), jarring as it may be to their faithful customers (I know there are a few people who will never forgive Canon, including some regular TOP commenters). Sales figures suggest that Canon's "starting over from scratch" was anything but a mistake: they have sold more lenses in the past 27 years than Nikon has in the past 55 years. Besides, many of those old FD lenses are finding new life being adapted to mirrorless cameras!

Mike,
I sold my X-E1 and lenses and bought a Sony A7. What the deciding factor was the Sony A6000. I decided that the price of the Fuji cameras were excessive - A6000 at half the price of an X-T1 (I understand they are different but for my needs, not so much). Cameras are electronic devices that will constantly be upgraded, that I will take advantage of. Sony is able to cost-cut and iterate faster. If I am going to invest in lenses, then I want it to be from a manufacturer that I can afford the upgraded body from. Just like Fuji at the start, the Sony FE lens line up is a bit sparse but just like Fuji, they are going to fill it. If the forthcoming lenses have the optical quality of their 35/55 then I will be a happier camper. I can use my FE lenses on the A6000. Right now, I want a bit more reach than the 55mm so a cheap solution is to buy the A6000 and get the 1.5x boost for under $600.

A couple observations on Fuji lenses - they are getting bigger and comparatively, they are pretty expensive.

A strong lens lineup is a sign of commitment and long term security. Fuji's lineup is exceptional, mainly because it is covers all the right bases and provides consistently good to excellent optical quality. The only "dud" is the old 18mm, and that's not bad at. It's just not as good as the rest.

Fuji would be utterly crazy to go FF - at least until they have the APSC line fully supported, and why go FF at all? Why not go bigger? A new MF rangefinder would be so much less bulky than the Pentax 645D.

Gotta say, it looks like Fuji has the best performance/$ ratio out there with its lenses. The 23mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 are phenomenal performers and I'm not sure I've ever seen a zoom like the 55-200 that has the sharpness that it does from any other manufacturer: http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/2014/02/stellers-jay-with-the-fuji-x-pro1-and-fuji-55-200-zoom-lens/

Fuji is totally killing it with their lenses and as you say, gives photographers the confidence to step into the ecosystem. I absolutely love the Sony sensors and their interfaces have gotten better, but you can count on them to release 3 or 4 lenses and then they'll move on to something else.

The micro 4/3 lens line ain't too shabby either!! =)

I have an A7 and I have lots of lovely lenses to use on it.

I have the 28-70mm kit lens... and I have Minolta Rokkor 24 and 28mm f2.8's, 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f2 and 135mm f3.5. I also have a Minolta fit Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro and a Tokina 70-210mm my Minoltas are supplemented by Zuiko 24 and 28mm f2.8's, 50mm f1.4 and f1.8, 85mm f2 and 135mm f3.5.

So, for me Sony hasn't put a foot wrong.

Over the years, I've inadvertently collected an assortment of lenses - Voigtlanders, Minolta Rokkors, Jupiters, Helios, Takumars, Minolta/Sony A lenses...and now a couple of Sony FEs ... many overlapping in focal length but of different character that was worth exploring

But it was hard to enjoy their different personalities on a given situation, as bringing different lenses with their corresponding cameras was just physically daunting. You had to make a choice of a body and select lenses accordingly.

Mirror-less camera started changing that when they allowed using almost any lens albeit at a crop factor. Unfortunately, it does not allow you to fully enjoy a lens' intended character.

But today, I use a Sony A7r that constantly brings on a smile. I find it soooo liberating to be able to select any lens I have for the purpose at hand and rediscover/apply/enjoy its imaging character.

Should I bring on a Swirl with the Helios or go for that creamy Bokeh with the Auto Tele Rokkor 100mm f2? Or should I apply the ultra sharp 55 Sony FE or go for the Jupiter 3's look?

Can you imagine a painter being told he can't use all his paintbrushes?

So instead of feeling deprived from the nascent set of Sony FE lenses, I actually feel the intense freedom of rediscovering my favorite lenses and excitement on applying their personalities once more.

OK ..so maybe the Sony A7r introduced some challenges on the very wide end but I've learned to deal with that.

Now if Sony brings out a better line of lenses over time, then i would consider that a bonus. But right now, I have to thank Sony for "doing it all wrong" and unintentionally allowing me to enjoy all my lenses again.

And oh yes, with all my "paintbrushes" to choose from, I think my photography has improved too!

If Fuji decides to roll out a full frame, then perhaps they too recognise the lens versatility that a full frame, small registration camera can do for you..even if there were very few Fuji Full frame lenses at the onset.

"In just a few years, Fuji has created a coherent, consistent line of all-new lenses that essentially have it all..."
No argument from me, owning four Fuji cameras three of which are X-mounts, along with many (most) of the darn X lenses available. I love the lenses' lightness and general quality. Not crazy about the individuality of their design but I treat it as part of the brand's charm.

"...Sony wants to break the Canikon duopoly and become a major cameramaker. Sadly, it will fail at that goal."
Maybe so. But I've learned to never underestimate the power of a highly-capitalized organization, especially one with so much media power. It might also be the case that the age of any such potential dominance within the vast photo hobby is over. The value of the "duopoly" sure seems to be slip-slidin' away to me. Don't look now but the epicenter of the photo world is quickly shifting into the communications world...where Sony just happens to have a nice estate.

Nevertheless, back to today's real world, when push came to shove (or charm gave way to performance) I turned to Canon and Sony (and Leica) for a just-finishing commercial project. The Sony A7R got the majority of selected frames, most captured with either Leica M or Canon EF lenses. Main reasons: image quality, industrial-grade usability, image file malleability & size. Results have been wonderful (if I do say so myself).

"...imagine yourself as an owner of an X-Pro1 and three lenses. How would you feel?"
Like a NEX owner with a drawer full of E-mounts, as I stared at the new A7 models. ;-)

But I agree that it seems unnecessary for Fujifilm to introduce a full-frame body in the wake of building such a wonderful line of APS-C lenses. A full-frame camera also seems like a much further investment reach for chip-consumer Fuji, as compared to chip-maker Sony. Introducing a $2,500-$3,500 body + new lenses makes no sense for Fuji.

Every time I pick up one of the A7 variants and play with it I wonder who the hell it's aimed at. Couldn't be pro photographers since there aren't enough native lenses that work in full frame with them. Couldn't be people who like to shoot wide angle since that seems to be a weakness of the cameras. Etc. Etc.

I really wanted to like the A7 series when they came out, I was shooting the a99 at the time. But half an hour of play time with the A7 and A7r made me realize that Sony had once again cobbled together a series of compromises that may have looked good on paper but were miserable to use in the real world.

You'll know Sony have shot themselves in both feet if they introduce a interchangeable lens camera that uses their "medium format" 645D-sized sensor.

Two design possibilities with Fuji:

1. They use the Sony 645D** Sony sensor in a fixed lens camera that resembles a Mamiya 7 or Plaubel Machina 67 or Fujifilm GF670-like camera. Just design one lens (with convertors or perhaps two different lenses, wide and normal) and that will be it. Tweak the current hardware/software platform. Call it the X640. Fuji basks in "MF" reflected glory with minimal outlay of effort. And the "crowd goes wild".

2. Skip 35x24mm and base the next interchangeable lens camera range on larger than "full frame" sensors. The 645D CMOS sensors from Sony is here and perhaps larger sensors in future. That's part of the problem adopting a larger than full frame sensor -- do you wait for the a real MF sensor). Then you have to make a new lens range. The "two stops" between APS-C and 645D make the jump a big more significant. Perhaps a longer term play for Fuji.

Option 1 is a lot more likley from Fuji (and a sane Sony too -- the RX2?).

** Note: Don't get confused by the marketing: 654D is much smaller than "film" 645 (6cm x 4.5cm) or 6x6 or 6x7 or 6x9. It's not 120 film.

Quick question: If you're a Sony owner, and you frequent any forums whatesoever, have you ever mentioned that you'd really like for Sony to release an X lens for Y camera? Of course you have.

No, not once. I bought my A7 to use with my beautiful collection of Leica R and Nikkor SLR lenses. It does a superb job with them. Why would I need anything else?

Fuji X cameras find me uninterested. Tried two and returned them. Just not for me.

Indeed, big mistake if Fuji would add a full-frame now (especially considering the future improvements in APS-C sensor tech).

But how cool would it be if Fuji would use the new 'medium format' sensor from Sony (44x33mm) in a compact Fuji G670 like body with 3 primes.... after holding the actual film Fuji G670 in my hands, I can't stop dreaming how nice a digital version would be..

Exactly! That is why I no longer own a Nex6 and now own the EX-2 with the kit lens and the 23mm f1.4. Fujifilm should get an award for understanding what enthusiasts want. Now I just have to save for the 56MM f1.2 and I have a complete travel system. I truly hope they don't spilt their line up. I really don't want to afford both systems :) The question is: did you decide to keep the XT-1? I'd guess yes.

I got an X Pro-1 in the second half of last year, and now use it for about 90% of everything. I have only one lens - the "kit" 18-55mm, which covers just about everything that rangefinders ever covered. The IQ is excellent - I moved to Capture One for RAW conversion and have had no problems whatsoever. I also have an M-mount adapter, but very rarely use it. Some day, as time goes by, I may get some other lenses, but for now I just keep a Canon 7D for wildlife (long lenses)and a 5D2 for interiors and architecture (very wide-angle). Don't know anything about Sony - I thought the lenses were too big for the bodies when I last looked, but that may have changed.

Something else that I think is going to be obsolete -- the 24 x 36 aspect ratio. I know some people like it (landscape people, especially) but I personally much prefer the 4:3 ratio. Once a camera system is locked into a particular mount, I would think any number of things could be done -- perhaps Fuji could come out with a 4:3 sensor that would be larger that the m43, but use the current Fuji lenses. 35mm film cameras were locked into their lenses (and mounts) because of the film, not because of mechanics. Kodak tried to break that a couple of times, but failed. But now that the film is gone, why should a company feel obliged to follow any particular aspect ratio?

About Sony...Sony comes up with great ideas, and then, somebody else runs with them. Remember the Trinitron TVs? Looked like Sony was going to be everybody's TV maker forever. I don't even know if they make TVs anymore. Remember the Walkman and the Discman? I knew a guy who traveled internationally with a bundle of CDs and a Discman, and we all marveled at how compact it was. Now he could put the same songs on an iPod Nano one-fifth the size of a pack of cigarettes...the key here being the "i" in iPod, which is not a Sony brand. Do you own a Sony cellphone or tablet? This is one reason why I decided to stay away from Sony cameras, despite their marvelous sensors. Great ideas, no follow-through.

I believe (and sincerely hope) that Fuji will not venture into full frame. It makes no sense for them, and given the evolution in sensors, probably not necessary. My other hope is that Ricoh/Pentax will see the light, seize the opportunity, and jump onto the mirrorless bandwagon with a camera which can, through an adapter, use their myriad of older lenses, and adaptations of their current APC lenses.

Gee, I'd love to own a Fuji camera. I just can't swing the dough for the lenses I'd want. I am planning on getting a early-model Sony NEX just to use a focal reducer for my legacy glass. I really hope to get a Fuji and the 23/1.4 one of these days.

I believe the lack of Sony lenses for the E mount at least is overstated. Here is a partial list which doesn't even include all the third party offerings from Samyang, Sigma etc. This list was copied from a thread on DPreview

Under $500
16mm f2.8
30mm f3.5 Macro
18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OSS
50mm f1,8 OSS
16-50mm f3.5-5.6
20mm f4
55-200mm f4.5-6.3
35mm f1.8
FE 28-70 f3.5-5.6 OSS
Under $1000
18-105mm f4 OSS
35mm f2.8 ZA
10-18mm f4
18-200 f3.5-6.3
18-200 f3.5-6.3 OSS
FE 55mm f1.8 ZA
16-70mm f4 ZA OSS
Over $1000
24mm f1.8 ZA
18-200 f3.5-6.3 OSS
FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS
FE 70-200mm f4 ZA OSS

I will also note that Fuji rolled out the X Pro 1 with three lenses and no zooms.. Sony rolled out the A7 and A7r with two primes and two zooms. The primes are of particularly good quality based on testing websites (I don't own either system). It remains to be seen if Sony will support full frame as well as Fuji has supported its system, but it is too early to declare that Sony doesn't get it.

Well, some flies for the ointment:

1. As the webmaster and co-founder of the LightZone Project, the revival project of that interesting software Mike used to like, I can attest that we have lots of posts from people , and there are more elsewhere, complaining about software's handling of the Fuji files. Just sayin'...
2. Of course Fuji is doing a good job with lenses---they have tremendous experience there in multiple formats from 35mm and smaller up through large format. With the exception of the GX680 and possibly the last of their SLR's, their cameras were very simple--like my GSW690II, which has zero electronics (and no meter..). By contrast, Sony is an electronics company. They are now providing the best sensors to FF and now maybe medium format digital cameras 'Nuff Said. 3. Sony has 2 lens lines, period: A and E mount. All A mount lenses can be used on all E mount cameras through one of two adapters (depending on you focusing preferences). All E mount lenses can be used on all E mount cameras. Period. Some E mount lenses cover FF, some don't; at least one (the 10-18) covers all of apsc and some of FF. The FF E mount cameras can also be used in crop mode. It's very easy, really. E mount lenses cannot be used with A mount lenses. 4. I'm using Sony, Voigtlander, Nikon , Rokinon/Samyang/Bower/please-god-make-up-your-mind-what-to-call-yourself, and Contax lenses with my A7R and NEX 7. (cue raspberry sound....).

I'll be very interested in Fuji digital when/if they go medium format. Very interested.

It could be that if anyone goes full frame M mount it would be Panasonic.

It may be that it would be a strategic mistake if Fuji went full frame, but at the same time it's quite clear that the real action is going to be on full frame, and perhaps this is what Fuji realizes as well. You can do good marketing, exploit the reluctance of enthusiasts to carry a lot of weight, and appeal to photographic hipness. But you can't change the laws of optics. This is why the "mirror flipping" Canikon products with their awesome lense lineups will remain the primary tools for really beautiful photographs. And I suspect Canon and Nikon know that, so they are not too worried. If Fuji went full frame, I think they would be a far more dangerous competitor to Canikon than Sony is now, because they can make good glass without having to rely on Zeiss.

Hi Mike,
I hope you are joking about the Greek myths "...reading Homer just makes me want to slap people—but never mind: the point is that the story gave us a nice expression."
Most, if not all, the Greek myths inform us of our human frailties, warn against the dangers of ego and overconfidence, and that even the (apparently) invincible can be brought down to size through a fatal flaw.
Cheers Kevin

Give Sony some credit Mike. How many lenses Fuji launch on the first year? How many lenses Sony will have for the FE by the end of the first year? Still think Sony doesn't get it? I bet you will be into sony's system by the end of this year or the beginning of 2015. Just wait and see.... ;)

Quoting Michael Reichmann

"Sony's lens roadmap from now (mid-2014) through end 2015.

16-35mm f/4 Zeiss OSS (2014) (announced May 1, 2014)
85mm f/1.8 Zeiss OSS (2014)
100mm f/2.8 Macro G (2014)
35mm f/1.4 Zeiss (2014)
24mm f/2 Zeiss (2014)
28-135mm f/4 G OSS (2015) (announced May 1, 2014)
135mm f/2 Zeiss (2015)
21mm f/2.8 Zeiss (2015)
35mm f/2 G OSS (2015)
50mm f/1.2 Zeiss (2015)
Add to this the already shipping...
Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS
Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA
FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS (kit lens with the A7)
Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS

...and the lens future for the FE line looks very good."

I am having lotsa fun with my xpro1, I take it everywhere and use my D800 for entirely different stuff. I have the original set u with the 18/35/60 and I have added a Nikon 105 2.5 and 200 f4 both great supplements for next to nothing $$$ and the size of the AIS MF lenses are a perfect match!

I have an X-Pro1 and their 35/1.4 and 18/2 lenses. They work well. But today I needed to send a macro photo, and the old 50 Summicron with helical adapter came out. I tend to use the thing in EVF only mode anyway. The thing I love about the camera is the manual exposure compensation dial. Most recent picture? A panorama of my sister's new apartment using the camera's auto stitch feature. I find the menus easy to navigate (or perhaps have gotten used to them), love the motor drive modes, and still don't care about video. I have let Photoshop worry about the file conversions. It is quite the light, efficient package. It does so many things well for me, you just know its design was not a happy accident. I think I'll keep using this one as a backup to a Leica and a lighter option than my Nikon D3 for low light. Great product.

I sold all (except one Minolta Macro) of the A77 with a few lens plus flash as I decided to rationalise my dSLR to Nikon.

I still struggled with my Sony mirrorless. I feel sort of not sure what to do it with it. I got my 5N filter removed to do UVIR and 6 for simple use. But is it viable any more. Just not sure.

Already got the strange Sigma DP1/2/3M. Would it strange to get another non-std "film" from Fuji and dump Sony (I think I got at least all their cheap E-mount lens - I meant every one of them; as I am not sure who I should bet on the mirrorless).

Confused.

Not only can you trust that the vaporware lenses will show up, you can (importantly) predict what those lenses will be before they are announced.

They started with a 28, 50, and 90mm-e set. Clear gaps were a 35mm-e and a fast 85mm-e. Shortly before those launched, I thought to myself "well, the obvious gaps seem to be a 24mm-e and a 135mm-e." And those are next on the roadmap.

I love that the Fuji lenses match the effective focal lengths of lenses I know from shooting 35mm film. I don't have to use a 75mm-e 50mm prime as my portrait lens and constantly want for more reach. My wide isn't a not-quite-wide-enough yet not-quite-a-35 20mm (30mm-e) that so many other APS-C systems seem to settle for.

I switched to Fuji for the lens lineup, the image quality, and the ergonomics (I really missed aperture rings and shutter speed dials). The Fujis have delivered on all counts in spades. I couldn't be happier. The surprise for me, though, has been the benefit of the X-Trans sensor itself. Yes, the image quality is great. But while some think it is a little long in the tooth and should have been replaced, I love that my X-E1 and my X100s deliver identical files. I love that when I finally get my mitts on an X-T1, it will also deliver identical files. I can buy any of these bodies and shoot them along with the two bodies that I already have and process all of a shoot as one when I go to Lightroom and not have to constantly adjust my procedure and workflow. It really aids in me carrying two cameras and shooting them side-by-side (X100s with its 23mm and X-E1 with the 60mm, usually). I know the X-Pro2 will be bringing a higher-resolution next generation version. I just hope they get it just right like the current sensor, and then give it a similarly long life in many different bodies. It is an underreported, but very real, benefit.

Sure the photo info in this blog is good but it's things like "... —reading Homer just makes me want to slap people— ..." keeps me coming back.

I'm pretty happy with the Sony lenses for my a99. With the CZ 24/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, 24-70/2.8, 16-35/2.8, 70-200/2.8, and 135/1.8 I'm not hurting for anything and the IQ just destroys the finicky pretty much jpg only Fuji sensor.

If Fuji wants to stay alive they need to maybe look at some of the innovation Sony is doing with their a7 line and sensor development.

So Fuji has a system with excellent lenses. Good on them. But what Mike neglected to mention is Fuji's not so excellent X-trans sensors that produce artifact laden files that are a bear to process. Meanwhile, Sony is developing a new camera system based on class-leading FF sensors. Native lenses may be lacking at this stage of development, but why would anyone presume that the people in charge of Sony's imaging division are too stupid to recognize that fact and rectify the deficiency? Did any other manufacturer start out with a full array of lenses?

For photographers who are very demanding with regard to image quality, Sony's FF cameras will leave Fuji's APS-C cameras in the dust. For those who care more about size and ergonomics, the X series may be a better choice.

"Photographers have never had more or better lenses to choose from that right this historical minute."

Not all perfect though. I'm quite less about all the pretense around weather-resistant systems. Starting with Pentax: they've gone to greater length than others on cameras at all levels, and also with lenses down to the kit zooms (and proving it was probably not a terribly costly feature). Yet you are out of luck if you want a WR prime south of 85mm-eq! Olympus is worse, laughable even. They started with the E-M5 over one year ago and you get a whopping choice of 3 lenses - two of which share the same range so that it's actually more like two choices. Plus 2 more lenses from Panasonic including 1 more redundancy.

We'll see what Fuji does, but I'm not holding my breath: they introduced the 55mm at the same time at the X-T1; surely they could have accommodated minor mechanical design changes to make it WR once they'd decided to go this route. To all manufacturers around here: if you're serious with WR, you need to release that in ALL new lenses.

And this one too: standard zooms. All brands have the ubiquitous 2.8/24-70 equivalent, and more decidedly uninspiring 24/28-XX zooms of mediocre f/5.6 speed than you'd care to count. Sometimes an "enthusiast" f/4 zoom that tries to be too much, invariably starts at 24mm and fails to really convince optically. Am I really the only one to wish for a really good piece of optics covering the 35-105 or 35-135mm range of old? I'm pretty sure the likes of 24-120 or 24-105 would be much better and lighter without the compromises that come with the wider end. And would compliment all those 16-35 nicely, who are better wides anyway.

I really don't mean my preferred range is anywhere near as universal as the wider options, but those are already covered and overflowing. Churning more of the same won't help with new sales!

The fact that Fuji are making the cameras that modern photographers want isn't that surprising to me because they are the only manufacturer not burdened by a legacy design. No lens mount restriction, no existing user base of expectation, no (format) then micro-(format), no consortium of specification, no dependence of 3rd party sensor.

They are truly free of historical weight internally and externally and it shows in their design.

Pak

[Good point except "X-trans" is a Fuji adaptation of a standard Sony sensor according to Kevin Purcell. --Mike]

I used to think I wanted a 24*36 sensor camera but now, if I were in the market to change systems, it would be to Fuji probably X-T1 & those "sweet" lenses. Outstanding IQ, compact & light, a joy to use & those lenses...... I'm trying to resist the temptation.

Dear Mike,

2 things:

Sony is a behemoth so it should be clueless and it is.

The Sony A-system is great and much more an alternative for the pro with a twist (in his head and in his back) who is sick and tired of schlepping around big hefty DSLR's just to look cool, the part, whatever and who is not into Leica (I said they had to have a twist in their head). And most pro's do allright with a 28-70, a 24 and a 90 or a 80-200. So I guess the behemoth sees a niche and dives in.

Now you can argue your ass of about FF (I personally think it is a fetish) but that will never ever convince FF photographers.

You can again argue your ass of about 36 mPixel or half a million ISO (I personally think those are fetishes to) but that will never convince FF photographer either.

So there has to be a healthy market for a FF EVF camera and Sony spotted that. I applaud the behemoth. The real behemothes are Canon and Nikon who still build F5 styled overengineered Pantzercamera's with a "and dyou will enjoy" (<- add nasty German accent), kind of feeling behind it.

But things are changing, is it me or is the 4.0 the new 2.8 in sports......looking at the FIFA world cup matches I see more and more relatively small tele's at the sideline.

Greets, Ed

I can't believe nobody here is talking about the Achilles heel of the Fuji system: the X-trans sensor itself. The sensor suffers from a serious flaw in my opinion in resolving certain uniform details like grass, canvas, hair, etc. what results is a 'waxy' artifact to the fine details of the image. This is arguably due to the software algorithm that allows the sensor to overcome moire issues. When I first bought an X100s I experienced many operational issues with the camera which I've documented here (http://www.raedabughazaleh.com/five-reasons-why-im-disappointed-with-the-fuji-x100s/). But the real disappointment and deal-breaker for me was the sensor artifacts which drove me crazy. It didn't matter how good the lens was, the sensor was the limiting-factor. Surprisingly there's little mention of this issue on the web, but the Digilloyd blog documents this very well (http://diglloyd.com/blog/2012/20121206_1-FujiXE1-artifacts.html). Make sure to click on reader's comments at the bottom to see personal impressions.

Hi mike,

Like your blog read it a long time we share the love of coffee and audio and making pictures even write about it. I am no shooter and do not have glass in my bag and do not own a modern camera still my focus is very professional ( using that word because I eat and pay my bills with photography for more than 30 years) About your pro 2 thoughts stay with me here I think fuji is as we know still on there surfboard moving and standing firm they understand very well that there are photographers who do not need a lot of glass to make onbeliveble pictures so a big chip in a body like G 670 with three lenses for all of us who want to step in the fujifilm filossofie and want to print A1 or A0.
Owning a g680 three for long time now I know what fuji is capable of sad they not making a digital backpack for it. The pro 2 will be a product what maybe do not hit the selling ranks but ground them as a company who understand and is connected to photography with new philosophy, ideas and products. We using now d300ses still waiting for d400 small like xt1 or a pro 2.

Warm regards

TBE

Apart from the fact that Fuji gets it and Sony doesn't (on which I agree completely), I'm not sure the answer to the opening question is no. "Special", I hope we agree, is quite subjective, but with regard to the listed desirability factors, M43 is at least on par with Fuji.

I guess being a son of the PASM era doesn't help me in my assessment :-)

doesn't the second rumor of FR correct the first rumor? Pretty clear, no FF on the horizon according to Fujirumors

Suffering from GAS, I'm glad Sony does not have too many lenses for the A7.

Actually they have too many for me. I have bought both the 35 and the 55 mm Zeiss when one would have a been sufficient.

The rest of my lens requirements are well served by my old analogue Olympus OM lenses; 21mm, 50mm macro and 100mm.

"Full format" is great when you come from 35mm film; no crop factor to confuse your thinking with regard to d.o.f. and coverage. And add to that the possibility of cropping with little or no quality loss.

I don't think that sony is doing all wrong. It has a more affordable lens line. Maybe the quality of the fuji lenses are better but it comes for a bigger price and they are also heavier. Actually I'm really happy with some budget lenses (e.g. the unique optically stabilized 50mm f1.8 or the very light sel30f35 macro). Maybe fuji fits better to the enthusiast photographers but sony will be more successful with its strategy, while fuji will remain a niche player.

The question for an enthusiast with a few bucks is which to choose: A 16mp X-T1 body for $1299, an Olympus 16mp E-M1 body for $1299, or go the extra $40 for a 24mp, full-frame Sony A7?

All the medium sensor players (Olympus and Panasonic M4/3, Fuji APS-C and Sony ASP-C) span the price spectrum with their lines. And, for the most part, they top out around the same point. But Sony has really screwed around with that price-point with a cheap, small, super-high quality full-frame.

And I think Sony learned a thing or two from Fuji about their lens line up. The Sony 35, 55 and 70-200 lenses (all very high quality) seem likely to be rounded-out by a wide zoom and an 85mm shortly. And, unlike Olympus, Fuji and Panasonic, they have a well developed line of A-mount (full-frame) lenses that will work (focus and exposure connect) with the adaptor they've been giving away recently.

I think Sony gets it.

I think you're right, Fuji would be crazy to try for a full-frame; but they had better do something. Maybe a Fuji medium-format will be game changer.

None of this, of course, is about a Sony challenge of Canikon.

I think Sony does get it. The 35 and 55 they launched with really are spectacular lenses, they have also added 3 very good zooms and with a 16-35 to follow soon they will have the basic 16-200mm range covered. I also find the A7r a spectacular platform for my Canon TS-E and Contax/Yashica Zeiss glass via adapters.

OK they ought to get a proper wide prime and a proper portrait prime out sooner rather than later, but the FE mount we're only 8 moths in.

Finally, Sony seem very serious about the A7/FE system and they are listening to customers. I was sent a questionnaire about is and they have run focus groups with Advanced/Pro A7(r) users. An example of that listening; the A7s comes with an external charger and an extra battery which was a major gripe about the A7 & A7r.

Have an X-Pro1 and a number of lenses. When I really need the shot I grab the Canon 1Ds MkIII.

Oh well, I might be odd, but I'm perfectly satisfied with my range of Sony A7r lenses : the brilliant FE 35/2.8 ZA, the exquisie Leica Elmarit-R 19/2.8 II, the lovely Leica Elmarit-M 90/2.8, the fun Mamiya 645s, the old summicrons ...

I don't think it was Sony's intention, but their sensor is the most tolerant - no, make that symbiotic - of old glass I have ever used and the A7r just begs to be used that way.

I'd love a Fuji, though ;)

Mike, can you supply the URL for the screenshot of the Fuji lens lineup? I'd like to look more closely at the details...

[http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/pdf/lenses_accessories_catalogue_01.pdf (Thanks to Dennis and several others for re-finding the link when I couldn't). --Mike]

Turnkey systems like Oly and Fuji are game changers. I lost faith in Sony after it failed to update the a850/a900. The introduction of the a99 convinced me it was time to cross the chasm into Nikon territory. I love the D800 for what it is. I suspect it will serve my purposes for another five years. My very favorite cameras/lenses of all time are Olympus OMD/EPL bodies and Oly F/1.8 primes. The only lens that I miss in the Oly lineup is a fast 7mm. Meanwhile, the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 works fine for me.

Omer wrote: "Times are changing. Is there really a need for an extensive lens line? " and "What will sell more cameras, an extensive lens line up or connectivity and simplicity? "

That's an interesting question. The thing is, when you consider that "times are changing" you have to look at who is migrating away from ILCs and who isn't. There was a time when consumers were looking to entry level DSLRs as the only way to get reasonable snaps of kids, and I think the 2-zoom kit buyer is among the casualties of all the innovation that's happened recently. Then you have the new, excellent larger sensor compacts that can effectively replace a very modest DSLR kit. I think that the niche market that's left is a market that is concerned about the "system".

Fuji may never be as mainstream as Sony, but volume alone doesn't equate to success. (Look at Leica). Sony could probably have 1/3 fewer e-mount lenses than it currently has and the lineup would be no less interesting; r&d is wasted on the scatter shot approach (throw it at the wall and see what sticks, as I believe Thom Hogan said).

The other thing I'll point out, because there are bound to be people who defend Sony by pointing out the number of lenses and the variety, is that Mike used the adjectives "desirable, coherent and consistent" to describe the X lineup. Sony has a lot of "stuff". Some cheap, some lousy, some great, some very expensive, some third party, some stabilized, some not, some APS-C, some full frame, some with power zoom, some without. And then A mount lenses with adapters. It's kind of a hodge podge and none of those three adjectives applies at all. It's more like Sony hopes you want the camera *body* enough that you'll piece together a usable lineup, where people will choose Fuji for either the bodies or the lenses.

I will say that if you look at Sony's FE lineup alone, it's much more coherent/consistent/desirable than any of their other lineups ... just far from complete. The 24-70/4 and 70-200/4 make a great 2-zoom kit and the Zeiss 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 are both nice primes. Unfortunately, based on Sony's past history, I can't expect anything else - there's just no telling what else they'll deliver or when.

Eric, as I just mentioned in another post, Mike wasn't complaining about a "lack" of lenses. He indicated that Fuji's lineup is desirable, coherent and consistent. Sony's is just a bunch of stuff.

Fuji has ended up being my general carry around camera, for family stuff, and when I need high ISO. The lenses and bodies are superb. The 23 1.4 and 27 2.8 are my go to lenses, the 27 pancake is great for a small unobtrusive carry around kit. The X-Trans sensor still outputs strange artifacts, especially with fine details. It likes people and architecture, but seems to struggle with details like branches, leaves and similar, so not a great choice for landscape. At least this is true using Lightroom to process the raw files.

Your thoughts emphasize the fact that imaging sensors have become commodities. Different cameras now produce near-identical output in most conditions. It is the optics that define a camera system (again) and so they should.

As opposed to the consensus, I am not too keen about most of Fuji's lenses. They are sharp enough and more than fast enough, but they lack an identifiable character and are often low in contrast. The best native glass for the X system is currently made by Zeiss. That said, Fuji's is the only system which completely lacks dogs (the 16-50 and 27 pancake are rather humble, but not terrible).

Don't look now, but there are rumors of a dedicated B&W variant of the RX1 from Sony.

I mean, it IS just a rumor. But if any of the major camera manufaturers were to take the idea seriously..........Who, but Sony?

Another thing to consider about Sony:

I have legacy lenses from Canon, Nikon, Contax, Lieca; some of them approaching 50 or more years old; all still great lenses. And in great shape. A year ago, I was considering selling or trading them. Now, thanks to the A7, I get to use them.

Those great Fuji lenses are great; however, if Fuji ever throws in the towel, they are scrap.

Thank heaven for Sony's lack of direction.

I agree completely that Fuji gets it, and that they make spectacular lenses. They always have: view camera, medium format, 35, enlarging, motion film and projecting lenses.
Sony however, has a number of really outstanding FE lenses (full frame, e mount -- yes, I have the primes). And as someone else stated, you can use virtually any lens on them, and it is practical to do so.
I think the real contribution (aside from their outstanding sensors) is Sony's aggressive rethinking of the camera. The impact this will ultimately have on the market and the slumbering and conservative Canikon will be interesting, regardless of the market-share Sony ultimately ends up with.

How many lenses does anyone really need? I've done virtually all of my best work with only 3 focal lengths. For long spans of time, I'm mostly using only one or two (even though I've generally owned more that that). I know of several photographers who say they would never consider putting photographs in the same show that were made with different focal lengths. Restricted choice makes for stronger, more consistent vision and is a bit part of developing personal style, in my opinion.

I don't (yet) have an A7, but expect to buy one this fall unless something more interesting gets announced. I currently have an a99 and more lenses than I know how to use and an RX-1 that gets lenses exactly right (if you can only have one). The primes currently available for the A7 are the perfect focal lengths as far as I'm concerned (and since I really prefer 55mm to 50mm, the only lens maker that has gotten that one right in auto-focus).

I am a Sony user that is happy with the lineup.

I got excited about the Fuji X-T1 after reading reviews and rented one along with a Fuji XF 18-55mm, Zeiss Touit 12mm, and a Battery Grip. My intention was to see if I wanted to switch away from the NEX-7. Well, I was disappointed and sent it back sooner than necessary. The Fuji X-T1 camera body was pretty cool, but the look of the files was not to my liking. I understand the lure of the Fuji glass and how Fuji should be recognized for their commitment to their system, but I am a photographer that relies on maybe three lenses in each of my systems and I have not had a problem finding excellent glass for my Sony. In the end, it was the Fuji sensor that turned me off.

"A Sony camera owner who is completely satisfied with the lens options for his or her camera is the owner of a fixed-lens Sony camera."

Yep ... still using/lovin' my RX-1, every day!

Another area where Fuji really gets it is their policy of updating firmware. They don't just fix problems, they improve even older models with updated/new features. The idea of camera as a work in process is very appealing.

I was a Sony user and fell into the black hole of constant change, flash mounts FF A mount APSC A mount, NEX7 e mount with lens lagging and initial releases crap, now FE.

went Fuji and living quite happily, and my legacy flashes work. Re legacy lenses?? how many folks really bother. I had some but by the time you sort out the this and that's. Net I want to take pictures and trying to stay current with Sony was $$$$ killing me

b

Dennis,

You're right. I stand corrected. Looking at the list I posted, it is kind of a hodgepodge.

Eric

As an off-topic comment -

Mike said:

"And funny you should mention GM, because Ford has one big problem starting this very day: Alan Mulally retired today. He was a car guy who started from a love of cars and knew what car people liked. He knew that the company's success started from a vision of one customer buying one car. Ford is going to wish they could clone that guy. A clear thinker."

FWIW, Alan was an airplane guy who spent most of his career at Boeing. He left when he was passed over for the top spot and Ford - which was in big trouble - made him an offer that he couldn't refuse.

None of which means that he was not an auto enthusiast also, but just that I cannot resist picking nits.

- Tom -

It's really a damned shame that Leica can't release a somewhat reasonably priced rangefinder so I can stop having to decide which compromise system is right for me.

Sony's got the body without the lenses - I need another giant f/4 FF zoom like I need another colonoscopy. Fuji's got the lenses but the quirks never seem to end. Micro 4/3 is, honestly, more of an image quality compromise than I'm willing to make. And the big boys aren't playing in this pool.

Can I just have a freakin' rangefinder that I don't have to sell my car to own, so I can use the film lenses I've got and call it a day? Jeesh.

Great article and commentary. As someone who uses Sony, Fuji, and m43 cameras for different purposes, I see it this way: If I need the finest detail, I use the A7 and Zeiss glass. If I need reliable and controllable video capture, or the smallest camera I'm willing to carry (the GM-1), it is m43. But, as a pleasant and reliable general purpose system, the X system - and Fuji as a company - wins for me.

Their glass is extraordinary. Their customer dedication and support is unmatched. The XE-1, for example, was downright slow to focus when it debuted, but with the consistent improvements in firmware is now usable for anything short of sports photography, which I don't do in any case. I guess I agree that Fuji is a photography company first, and Sony is, well, gradually getting there.

Hi Mike, I actually have a blog post from a couple months back on this issue, or in particular the Sony end of things.

I agree the consistency of the Fuji sytem is great but that doesn't mean Sony doesn't get it, in fact Sony totally get it but they are working to a completely different approach.

Sony realizes that it is not lots of extra lenses we need but in fact an arsenal of purpose built cameras. Top drawer camera to stick in your pocket, check! Multi purpose walk around camera with fast zoom to cover most travel bases, check! Ultra high res camera to shoot commercial studio stuff with any glass for any style of required rendering ( kind of like a digital back) check! Fast responsive and affordable mirrorless camera with plently of flexibility, check. Extreme low light camera for video and stills, check!

Sonys' lens line up is fine, it covers most sensible needs and there are brilliant alternatives often for little money, the deficits are I feel radically overstated and have become part of the accepted wisdom of the camera web world.

But what no one can even touch Sony for is its radical approach to producing specific cameras to satisfy niche needs that innovate their way into peoples camera bags.

Sony wants to sell cameras and it wants to sell you a new one every 12 months or so.....sounds like a sound busniness approach to me.

Oh affordable ( sort of ) monochrome camera with super high quality and low light performance.....maybe check?

http://thecontrarianphotographer.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/accepted-wisdom-and-false-belief-of.html

My main system is Nikon, but I'm a Sony user. Thing is, I use pretty much only adapted lenses on my Sony; with an M-mount lens it makes for a nice, compact package that produces high quality output. But I'm sure that I'm in a minority here.

I'm tempted to get the A7 and 55/1.8 Zeiss lens, but the lens is very expensive and who knows what the future of the system is. I think that's one of the problems a more serious buyer has: will there be good upgrades, or just dump everything for nothing a few years down the line?

Never really got into Fuji, as I had already tried Sony and m4/3 by the time Fuji came, preferring larger sensors and feeling that the bodies still need work. The X-Pro went into all the wrong directions for me: big, expensive, fancy viewfinder which I didn't need, not lightning fast.

I have a Sony NEX 7 and two lenses, a 21 and a 55. Well, I have other gear as well, but that's all manly medium format and large format, but lets not get distracted by sideline diversions. It's a great system. I like the images that come out of the camera, (well mostly, I can still take some real bad ones, but that's down to me). I am really happy with it, and it's not a fixed lens camera. Can't see myself switching in the near future. I mean, it kicks my old (and once rather expensive), D200 to death really.

And, like almost all camera systems these days, it probably outperforms what 99% of the user will ever want, and failure generally starts behind the viewfinder.

As a recent Fuji convert, I can personally attest that the company has some very savvy people running it because it shows in their product line.

Until 3 months ago, I had a full phalanx of Canon gear (a single 5Dm3, 2 zooms and 3 primes)that was a fantastic kit. But I also travel a fair amount, and more and more I was dreading the size and weight of that kit every time I packed--and gradually started leaving stuff at home. So I finally took the plunge, sold the Canon stuff, and with the proceeds got an X-T1, 3 lenses that cover almost the whole range of my Canon lenses, and an X100S. I had money left over and a camera outfit about 40-50% less in size and weight than what I had before.

I recently returned from a trip to Europe where I put the gear through its paces, and the images that I got are simply outstanding, both SOOC JPEGs and RAW files. I don't know what kind of algorithmic fairy dust that Fuji sprinkles into their secret sauce, or what they do to the glass in their lenses, but the Fuji image files have a pop and clarity that is hard to describe... you have to see them to believe.

To top it off, they have that fantastic lens road map. They know that experienced photographers place their faith in glass, not in bodies, which are always outdated a year or two after release. I simply hope Fuji doesn't blow it by introducing a full-frame X-Pro. It's not necessary and could derail their very successful blitz across the industry.

I get very close to selling my D600 and most of my nikon gear and getting an X-T1, but am trying to stay happy with the x100s. It's not that I don't love the D600, especially pared with the sigma 35 or nikon 85, but wee camera + really nice glass+ real controls to use is a very attractive option. And while the X-Pro1 + leica glass combo is nicer in theory than in practice, the X-T1's gorgeous EVF with a 50 Summicron does make my heart go pitter-pat.

Funny to see this Sony-Fuji comparison laid out here, right now.

I'm a disgruntled Sony customer, angry to watch the value of my eight Maxxum lenses dropping as Sony abandons the DSLR and neglects the a-mount. The lack of an OVF future with Sony has me casting about for alternatives. Recently I was pushed over the edge of my X-camera lust by the half-price Zeiss 12 & 32 lens sale. Those deep, deep discounts were prompted in large part by Sony's decision to lure perfectionist customers towards the FF a7, and away from Zeiss' high-end crop-sensor lenses. A glance through eBay indicates that the Sony/Fuji ratio for Touts is about 10-1, so Sony's market forces are paramount here.

Therefore, by making decisions that resulted in me getting two excellent Zeiss lenses for $800 off, Sony has given me delayed payback for my disappointments with the alpha system. Thanks, Sony!

You might change your mind about Sony "getting it" if this turns out to be true, Mike. :) http://www.thephoblographer.com/2014/07/02/sony-may-answer-leica-m-monochrom/#.U7QbHLG4M_c

I have the Fuji x-E1 and had the Fuji X100. The cameras feel cheap and plasticky to me. Take some great photos but they feel like cheap toys.

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