The Film SLR lookalikes - Fuji X-T1 + 18-135mm zoom. Sony A7s Nikon 28-200mm zoom, Olympus OM-D E-M10 Nikon 100mm f/2.8 - three days of shooting

Mirrorlesson fashions have dictated that 'lookaleicas' are on the way out and film SLR type designs are very much the order of the day. Sales figures I've seen seem to indicate that.  The Fuji X-T1, Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Sony A7s are examples of this. I've just had three days shooting with each and here's some pictures plus some comments on my experiences with each.

DAY 1

A great day with some terrific light, my X-T1 and one of my lenses of 2014, the 18-135mm zoom. I was shooting in a variety of locations and it was my second outing using the newly firmwared electronic shutter, which was great. So what not to like?

Unfortunately I had neglected to check that the camera was shooting raw as well as jpg. so I got jpgs. only and was unable to see just what the camera + lens was capable of by processing the raw files via Iridient Developer. And I don't like Fuji X jpgs. at all. In fact I'm stunned that people speak so highly of them. Because they are soft and with significant amounts of 'smeared' detail. This is particularly bad with landscape shots and the obliteration of distant detail. See below.

Not great, but my fault because I forgot to shoot raw, which processed via Iridient Developer or Photo Ninja is fine. However, a great example of my up and down relationship with Fuji X cameras. Because despite my disappointment with the jpg. files, using the camera + lens and the electronic shutter was a very positive experience. And for the moment I will be keeping my Fuji gear. I've just finished my tax return and after discussions with my accountant, it's clear that selling anything before the end of the financial year would be disadvantageous for me, so everything is staying until after April 5th. at least.

So the usual yin and yang with Fuji for me and whatever my experiences, one thing is for certain, owning and using Fuji X-Trans sensor cameras is never dull!!

DAY 2

After my previous post on the increasing size of some mirrorless lenses, I decided to test out a manual focus option with my Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M10. With the 2x crop this is 'equivalent' to the long end of a 35mm film type 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens. I already have the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, but this would give me a slightly longer option. So I decided to see how the lens performed wide open at f/2.8.

The answer was OK, not great but with a bit of Photoshop work, perfectly acceptable. However Olympus have never made manual focusing easy. Firstly I've had to assign the focus peaking to a function button and if I want to use that, I have to remember to turn that on. Then I have to press another function button to get the magnification and after focusing I then have to press that button again to get rid of the magnification and then move my finger to the shutter button to take the picture. Too fiddly, too complicated. I really have no idea why all the Olympus cameras I've ever used do this. Maybe they really don't want us to use manually focused third party lenses and this is their way of deterring us!! Whatever the reason it is unnecessarily difficult.

DAY THREE

Final day of the three was my Sony A7s + Nikon 28-200mm G zoom. To see if this lens is a viable, lighter, smaller alternative to the forthcoming Sony 24-240mm lens, which I imagined to be huge and heavy. Though this preview indicates that might not be the case. 

However that turns out, one thing is for sure, the Sony is a much easier camera to manually focus with than the Olympus. One button, better focus peaking (Sony seem to have improved this) much quicker and much more accurate. Everything I would want in fact and a system that makes it a pleasure to use lenses manually focused. 

So three days, three different outfits. Part of my continual process of field testing combinations of camera bodies and lenses to see how they work. In actual fact I could probably happily use any of the three, but if I had to pick one system over the others, it would be Sony FE. The results speak for themselves and the two FE cameras I have are a extremely efficient to use. However, I do seem to like a challenge, so I'll be persisting with my Fuji and Olympus options for a while yet. It's nice to be able to have the choice.