Gear Rationalisation - Sony A7 II now 'AF Free!'

I've been gradually 'rationalising' my bloated camera and lens collection to get down to something manageable, something I use on a regular basis and something that I can write about and review in depth. The problem for me with using lots of camera systems as well, is the accumulation of lenses for those systems. So I'm working on that too.

  • I'm keeping the Leica T (Typ 701) lenses obviously, because those are a significant reason for buying into the system anyway.
  • My Nikon fit lenses for the Nikon Df I have, will also work well with my Fuji X-T1, which is the only Fuji camera I have left and my Sony A7 II, which is the only Sony camera I have left. so I've sold (or am selling) all the lenses for those apart from the Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8, which I really like and is a current lens.
  • The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is for sale, since I have the E-M5 II. Unfortunately due to the poor manual focusing in those cameras, I having to keep the Panasonic 15mm and Olympus 75mm and 12-40mm lenses. It's tough I know but I'll grin and bear it!!!
  • My Sony A7r is off to a new home (Though I'll probably swap my A7 II for the rumoured A7r II if and when it appears.) And as indicated above I no longer have any native AF Sony lenses. Why?

I've sold the 35mm f/2.8, 55mm f/1.8 and a-mount 85mm f/2.8 plus the LA-EA4 adapter. So I'm back to adapted Nikon and Voigtlander lenses for my FE camera. And the reason is those lenses suit me much better than the 'native' lenses for the Sony FE system. Now for others what Sony have released might be perfect, but for me it's an odd and mismatched collection. The ones I might use are not what I would want either in optical performance, in terms of size and weight or what I would consider a sensible price. For example I went out yesterday with my Nikon 20mm f/1.8G and my trusty old Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8. And these worked just fine. I had the 16-35mm f/4 and it was an excellent lens certainly (one of my lenses of the year) but after an initial burst of enthusiasm I just didn't seem to want to go out with it. Maybe it was the weight, the feel, I'm not really sure, but it was spending all it's time sitting on the shelf.

The 35mm and 55mm Zeiss badged lenses were also top class lenses but again, I was using them very little, likewise the 85mm. It's probably something to do with my attitude towards Sony in general. There's definitely something missing in the design, aesthetics and handling of Sony cameras that makes it difficult for me to 'bond' with them. A friend of mine called them 'soul less' and I think there is something in that for me as well. However, I must say that I like the A7 II a lot better in terms of both handling and aesthetics, and if the rumours are true about the A7r II, in that it will have the same design and finish of the A7 II plus a silent shutter (Please make that so!!!) then maybe I'll feel like using the cameras more than I do currently.

But I certainly enjoyed using the A7 II yesterday with the Nikons. The focus peaking and whole manual focus facility in the camera is really good and very user friendly. (Unlike some other manufacturers efforts!!) and it's also really quick as well. The Nikon 20mm, the lens I used the most, is actually a pretty light (for a 'FF' DSLR) lens (355g) and that's one of the reasons I like using it. Because paired with my MF Series E 100mm, it makes a combination that gives me a nice wide and moderate telephoto option, without weighting me down.

With Sony I've considered the 28mm f/2 + W/A adapter, but really can't generate any enthusiasm for buying it. Like wise the 24-270mm zoom, which by all accounts and certainly from the samples I've seen, is a big, heavy, expensive lens that produces pretty mediocre results. And some of you might say that's typical of much that Sony turn out and I might be inclined to agree with you.

Because for me, Sony is all about the cameras and in particular the sensors. It's much less so about the lenses. As indicated above, what they have come up with just doesn't 'fit' me. The FE lenses seem to be unnecessarily bulky and expensive for the optical quality that many of them deliver and the small footprint of the FE cameras is, with most of what they released, sabotaged by the somewhat larger footprint of the lenses.

The 90mm macro is (just about) something I might have considered for a short telephoto, but it's 602g, costs close to £1000 and I don't need the macro facility anyway. It's an example of how Sony seem to be reluctant to give us the everyday, simple lenses that cover the most popular focal lengths and do a job in a fuss-free way. The seem to have to release 'headline grabbers' rather than lenses that might be useful for us as photographers. Whatever the reasons and intent, they have pretty much lost me as a lens consumer. I will continue to use the FE cameras I'm sure, particularly with the restyling, but I'm going to sticking with my Nikons  and Voigtlanders on the front of them for the foreseeable future.