SONY A7s and FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* - with this combination is there any need for a fixed lens 'lookaleica?' RAW FILE SAMPLES FOR DOWNLOAD

This is an opinion / discussion post and is not meant to be any kind of put down of the Fuji X100s camera I own. As should be well known to regular readers this is a camera I really like and have written extensively about. However it did occur to me that my Sony A7s fitted with a Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens, might actually have some significant advantages over the Fuji. And for all the perceived social documentary, 'street photography' cred of the Fuji X100 'lookaleica' series, might not the Sony be better for that as well? It has crossed my mind more than once that Fuji gets a lot of mileage from what it's cameras look like rather than what they actually do. So I thought I would pop out (in a freezing wind) shoot some pictures with the Sony and see what occurred to me as to what might be the more suitable camera for carrying around and photographing whatever took my fancy.

First off, here's what I think are the advantages for each camera / lens combination. You might have your own lists, but this is what I came up with. And no I don't think the hybrid viewfinder on the X100s is any kind of an advantage. In fact I think it's a distinct CON rather than being a PRO. Because the one on my X100s is wildly inaccurate and the captured image bears little relationship to what's in the frame lines. If it was accurate I might think about using it, but it's not so I don't. 

SONY A7s - PROS

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • OLED viewfinder
  • Movable live view screen
  • Best high ISO performance in mirrorless
  • Longer Battery life
  • 'Full-frame' sensor
  • Top class video
  • Electronic shutter
  • With the 35mm f/2.8 - better wide open
  • With the 35mm f/2.8 - less lens distortion 
  • Faster AF
  • Separate SD card slot
  • Better jpgs.
  • Better grip

FUJI X100s PROS

  • Cheaper than the Sony
  • 4MP more resolution
  • Faster lens (f/2)
  • Leaf Shutter
  • Built in (Very Good) flash
  • Lighter and Smaller
  • APS-C sensor allows more DOF
  • Fixed Lens, therefore no dust spots
  • Great retro look

First off the Sony A7s may be heavier and larger than the X100s, but it's no hardship to carry around in one hand. In fact it's actually a lot nicer than the basic X100s. Because it has a grip unlike the basic Fuji camera. I walked around for half an hour shooting the pictures above. (Somewhat briskly I must say since it was VERY cold in the wind.) I held the camera in my hand when I wasn't shooting and it wasn't any problem. If I was out for longer I might consider a strap or a small bag, but for this excursion it was no problem carrying it one handed. 

I also have no problems about the speed of the camera. Focusing and capture is nice and simple and there is little of that hesitancy that my Fuji sometimes suffers from. The Sony has an electronic shutter, the Fuji a leaf shutter. So the A7s is completely silent and the X100s almost silent, so not much difference there. The Sony has an advantage in terms of High ISO performance, since it's probably the best camera ever for shooting in low light and I certainly prefer the way Sony renders jpgs. And I don't think I'll surprise anybody when I write that the 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens is better than the 23mm f/2 on the Fuji. That Fuji lens has some noticeable distortion and it's not exactly the sharpest at f/2, which tends to negate the one stop advantage, which is already eroded by the A7s's sensors high ISO performance, even further. 

And so I came to the conclusion that yes, the Sony A7s is probably a better camera for what I was trying to do than the Fuji X100s. Does that mean I'll stop using the Fuji? Well no, it doesn't at the moment, but it does show that like many others, I'm not immune to using a camera because of it's aesthetics rather than what it's abilities. There really is nothing wrong with that, since any camera that makes me want to use is inspirational and as ever it's whats in the picture rather than what created it that's important.

SONY A7s + 35mm f2.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens RAW FILES FOR DOWNLOAD

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