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It was cold and very dark gloomy , a very bad day.

 

 

There were about 74 dust spots in the sky area of this image.

It took me about 23 minutes to get rid of these dirty spots.

Removing dust spots is tedious and very risky, difficult and sometimes deprives all the good charm of the image!

 

I always clean my A7R sensor and so it has a very few dust spots but my A7M2 always has about 34 -45 dust spots and it is really difficult to clean the sensor properly due to the terrible IBIS implementation in that body. My A6500 has the same problem and this is why I am debating replacing it with a Panasonic GH5 or G85. I think one of the biggest advantages of using m43 system is the super effective self sensor cleaning system and thus we can change lenses outside of our room without the fear of inviting dusts....but most of so-called reviewers always dismiss or even intentionally ignore it........

 

Why Fuji will never become mainstream (updated)

 

In Japan all die hard Fuji fanatics call fullframe as "Furu-size format" and that roughly translated into English like "old dated format", "stupid old format", "oldman's format",etc., and they all complaining about the size and cost of FF lens system, but is so-called FF really more expensive than the Fuji as a whole system?

 

After trying out the Fuji X system and comparing it to my own Sony, m43 and Nikon systems extensively for about 4 months, I really feel it is the best time for me to write about some seriously annoying real life issues of the Fuji X system and the Sony FE mount system compared to more modestly priced Nikon or Canon D-SLR system...as my answer to the above question that our die-hard Fuji fans asked us a few months ago in my local area.

 

There are a couple of disclaimers:

1> I have been shooting Sony as my main camera system for over a decade now and so I might be too biased towards them or against them, but either way I am not a fan of Sony corporation, especially after I started dealing with them in 2009 as one of our main business partners, I've become a bit anti-Sony kind of a photographer and I honestly think it is very difficult for me or actually any one to fully trust Sony as a long term business partner or anything like that. However, I must admit recently Sony has been rapidly improving in service and support area at least in ILC market.

But I think I know them much better than an average forum expert on this matter or any so-called pro reviewer out there because I can read their original Japanese marketing materials better and I've known a few of Sony imaging people very well since about 2008 or 2009. So I think I am qualified to compare Fuji vs Sony vs Nikon lens line here and write about that the 4 system comparison frankly.

2> there is no one better system to all others or close to ideal system for everybody, and unlike common forum belief , it is not like the more expensive camera, the always better it is at everything for everyone. So lets be honest if I had the money and room to put all kinds of cameras, then I would buy almost all formats and most of brands cameras maybe except Pentax.

However, in real life my room size is not getting any bigger, my income is now pretty much fixed and not going up or down any time very soon, so I have to choose one or two systems or maybe three from my current 5 systems I have now. And I am not anti any one or any system at all, just trying to be as neutral and rational as I can be..........however, as I said I am not bias-free either because I know Sony too much and definitely have clear preference and so I may make some wrong assessments/judgement on some systems.

Honestly, there are no really bad systems any more maybe except Pentax , which I firmly believe will go bankrupt very soon.........But hey even they or any one go bankrupt who cares? we are not buying their share but their cameras.

Anyway,I've really enjoyed using m43 for pure fun. For pure personal shooting I honestly prefer it to my so-called FF or the Fuji X system, I've found m43, especially Panasonic models such as the G85, the GH4 and GH5 and the Olympus EM1M2 very very intuitive and fast in all ways. And they are the best or easiest cameras to travel with at least for a budget air traveler like myself. The Panasonic GH5 and GH4 are amazing video making tools and I love them always. But for pure stills , especially landscapes or high resolution studio stuff they are not adequate. A 16mp or a 20mp chip simply cannot produce the resolution we need for high resolution landscapes or studio product shots. After all I am too used to 36mp and 42.4mp FF sensor output qualities.

But even for that kind of use, with Olympus we now at least have the high-resolution pixel shifting mode and that actually produces better result than most of FF cameras, at least for completely static things such as studio or products shots.

I have used it for a studio poster shot of a motor bike I advertised a few weeks ago in a local mag , and the result was simply stunning! However, it cannot work well for anything even slightly moving like flowers or slowly moving leaves...........or a bit windy day landscapes, etc.

For tripod long exposure work, I always preferred and still prefer my ancient Sony A7R and Nikon D810, the reason for that is simple they lack the annoying extra sensor heat generating IBIS gimmick. The IBIS is the most overrated feature of any camera system and I would rather not have it in any FF camera I buy. It generates extra heat, requires a more powerful processor, more ram and thus also requires more room for proper heat dissipation system...resulting in a much bigger heavier body for the same performance without it. The A6500 is much bigger and heavier than the A6300, the Panasonic GH5 is a much bigger body than the GH4 is, and ironically enough, all the mirrorless system supposed to be cheaper and smaller with simple electronics finder system getting bigger and heavier every iteration.

Plus, the IBIS actually makes the sensor nosier and less stable and much more difficult to clean it. My first A7R, which I bought in November 2013 still has a pretty clean sensor even after 4 years of extensive abuse in cold mountains. But my relatively new just 9 months old A7R2 and just 5 weeks old A6500 have lots of dust on their respective sensor, and it is not easy to clean them without damaging the IBIS or the sensor itself.

So for me the IBIS is actually minus point at least in a FF body despite of extreme love for the IBIS in many common forum.

That all said though, the IBIS is not actually a very bad gimmick on the smaller sensor system such as m43 or Sony APS-C, and I think the pluses may beat the minuses in a smaller sensor system. So I need to be clear I am only against IBIS in a FF body.

A7R2 and A7R are extremely slow and make me often waiting waiting for everything and that makes me often miss a few incredible once a life time kind of shooting opportunities.

So for me they are useless for corporate events or decisive street shots,etc. Sure the A7R2 has decent AF and shooting speed, but the camera operation speed is still way too slow;too slow to format the card, too slow to change LCD to EVF, too slow to wake up from a long sleep, etc, etc. And its video is useless, only able to shoot a few minutes and then heating up and suddenly stops shooting and some times even shuts it down itself.

The A6500 is a bit better and shoots a bit better video for a bit longer period, but basically it still has the same heating up excessively and suddenly shutting down issue.

So I recently down graded one of my two A6500 cameras to A6300, which I had before I bought my A6500, and now considering selling it too for something even cheaper and thus more abuse-able camera probably the old A6000. The A6500, the A6300 are not much better than the ancient A6000......at least in terms of sheer IQ.

Any way, since I recently added Fuji system recently, I would like to just compare the lens line of the Fuji X vs the lens line of the Nikon FX vs the lens lineup of the Sony E mount. Many times I find the excessively hard and nasty lens criticism Sony gets from many reviewers and forum experts are extremely unfair, unfounded and dishonest...... And most of times those extreme critics of Sony lens line have actually never used any of expensive Sony or Zeiss FE primes or do not understand how to test lenses correctly.

So here it goes..........

Is Fuji better for lens selection than Sony or Nikon, or is Fuji at least a cheaper system than a FF system like Sony or Nikon?

Well...yes and no. It is not so simple.

Yes, they have APS-C dedicated fast primes that Sony lacks and their zooms are miles ahead compared to Sony APS-C zooms, but then again, the primes Fuji offers are pretty large and heavy, they lack OS and (esp older versions) have clunky and loud AF motors. And Nikon lenses tend to be much cheaper for the same quality or even a bit better optical performance than Fuji or Sony. However, if I can include FF lenses since I only have FF lenses for my Sony or Nikon or Canon, I would have to say Sony FE and Nikon F are much more complete systems than Fuji X. Plus, Nikon FX has really a lot of cheap thirdparty lenses and other cheap thirdparty accessories with incredibly huge selection of used lens market......

So if the native lens selection and the system performance per dollar is any importance to you , then there is still no mirrorless system better than the Nikon or the Canon system......So it's not all roses and sunshine in Mirrorless camp. I have used Sony system for over a decade and I have collected many lenses for my Sony E and A systems and I have a lot of Nikon lenses as well. Now I have been testing many Fuji lenses and they are indeed very good but not as amazing as many many Fuji fanatics in Fujirumor sites suggest they are, especially with respect to value/performance ratio.

 

Comp 1> 23-25mm FL: Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 vs Fuji 23/1.4 vs Fuji 23/2 vs Nikon 24mm f1.8G AF-S vs Sony SEL24mm f1.8Z.

Here I do not want to but I must admit the Nikon is the best lens especially considering its modest price tag and size. Then I prefer the tiny Fuji 23mm f2 WR for bad environment shooting. But if I have to pick the absolute best lens from this set, then I would have to pick the Batis 25 is a bit sharper lens than the the Fuji 23mm f1.4 or the APS-C dedicated Sony Zeiss. The one serious issue of the Batis 25mm f2 is the extremely pronounced CA in highlight or very high contrasty area, other wise, it is a near perfect lens, and I use it very often on my A7R.

The optical performance of the Fuji 23mm f1.4 is nothing short of amazing too but its mechanical quality is not as great as its optical quality.. The Fuji is very well built on paper and according to the fanboys, and renders OOF area or bokeh very very nicely and of course goes down to 1.4........but the AF is loud and just feels awkward, actually it cannot focus well in extreme lowlight where a really fast prime like it is really needed. It has very nice optical quality though...... the fly-by-wire focus ring is also extremely awkward to use in very dark places. Unlike the excellent Zeiss Batis, the Fuji is not weather-sealed and I doubt it is actually well built, to me it feels very cheap...........

The Sony Zeiss is actually a better lens in terms of build and mechanical quality than the Fuji XF23mm f1.4, very well built and very precise focus system and the AF of the Sony Zeiss is light years ahead of the Fuji XF23mm f1.4.

But again considering the price to performance ratio and pure optical quality and over all real life usability or practicality , the Nikon is the best bargain lens here and I mean by far the best bang for your buck kind of a lens not the absolute best -which, in my opinion, is the Batis 25mm f2.

The Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED is smaller and lighter than the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens or the Fuji XF23mm f1.4 lens and the Nikon is a lot cheaper than both the Fuji and Zeiss Batis. The Batis lens is very sharp in the center, but in the edges and corners it is still good but not as sharp as the cheap plastic Nikon f2.8G lens..........the green edged CA is annoying and hard to get rid of in PP, and after getting rid of it in PP, the final output becomes very much softer than without the software correction.

And it has incredibly heavy,pronounced distortion before the extremely heavy handed software correction.......that almost all makers mirrorless cameras apply to all their lenses.

So if MF is fine , I actually prefer my Zeiss 25mm f2 Distagon ZF2 lens for this specific focal length. For AF work, I prefer the Nikon AF-S24mm f1.8G ED, which is an exceptional lens at very very modest affordable price.

Comp 2>At 50-55mm range: Sony FE55mm f1.8Z for Sony E mount vs Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art for Nikon F vs Fuji 56/1.2 for Fuji X vs Loxia 50mm f2 for Sony E.

Yeah I know, f1.2 vs f1.4 vs f1.8 vs f2 not a very fair optical comparison but still this is the most practical way of comparing the systems since not all of these systems have the same class similar optics with the same max F number...and their respective choice of sensor format is also different...........So the Fuji f1.4 lenses just roughly equal to the Nikon and the Sony f1.8 primes in terms of light gathering power and actual DOF-controllability.

I think most likely people use these systems with AF use these lenses and therefore I would like to compare these. Well the Loxia is pure MF lens but I've thrown it into this mix since it is my personal favorite lens for my E mount body and I use it a lot for video and paid corporate portrait work I sometimes do in the summer season(in the winter I am very busy and I have no time for any kind of part time work).

The Fuji is a very fast f1.2 lens but with very slow AF motor, and again it has the terrible fly-by-wire MF ring, and so does the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 Z lens. This is very annoying, and this is why I do not like the optically fantastic almost flawless(at least for the price) FE55mm f1.8Z.

The Fuji XF56mm f1.2 has amazing color and micro contrast and almost distortion free even before the usual software correction Fuji applies to any of their lenses, it renders beautiful skin tone with very pleasant bokeh.

Probably the Fuji has better copy to copy variation and tighter QC than Sony on their older fake Zeiss line lenses such as this FE55mm f1.8, the FE35mm f1.4Z, the FE35mm f2.8,though Sony has already improved it with the newer FE 50mm f1.4Z, which is objectively a great lens but I personally dislike for its awkward ergonomics and extreme Lo-CA at wideopen and near wideopen range. The FE55mm f1.8Z has significantly pronounced pincushion distortion but it is automatically corrected in the camera or in ACR or in C1 pro, or in DXO pro, however, that auto lens distortion correction makes the lens significantly softer in the edges and corners than it should have originally been without it. So in final images it usually ends up softer than the Fuji or the big FF Sigma lens on a Nikon body. The Loxia 50mm f2 is a lens designed after the legendary Leica mount Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens and its rendering characteristic is very similar to that of the Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM lens, but the Sony mount version is significantly sharper in the centers with a lot less lateral CA(still more pronounced green CA than the FE 55 or FE 50mm f1.4 Planar, though). And the Loxia is very good at handling complex contra-light scenes, and so it seldom produces terrible rainbow colored ghost...... , the Loxia is very very tactile and easy to MF precisely for video and for stills even including moderately fast moving things or people. So despite of its slightly slower max speed at f2 , I much prefer it to any of the other around 50mm primes for Sony or Fuji, or any of the Nikon 50mm primes.

However, if I can throw the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens into the mix, I prefer it to everything else I've compared here. The new Zeiss for Nikon and Canon mount is simply a superb lens with outstanding MF ring, I can MF it easily at f1.4 and get tack sharp images anytime......it's that good. IMHO, the Milvus 50mm f1.4 is the best 50mm prime ever made out side of the real Leica price territory..........the Leica 50mm f2 APO is slightly better I think but I can no longer afford it , I used to have it for a few months but I sold it to my grandpa(needed the money for my new storage system 70 four tera byte hard drives and 24 one tera byte SSDs, etc). I think the Milvus series is really underrated line of Ziess, it is actually as great as their more famous Otus line without the crazy bulk of the Otus series. I know the Sigma Art and the Zeiss Otsus series primes are fantastic optically, but they are too impractical in real life scenes(outside of studio and landscape), and therefore, I am not a fan of them.

I love the Milvus line and the older ZF2 line Zeiss primes more than the new Batis or Loxia line Zeiss primes for Sony ,and I am sometimes thinking about going back to Nikon main for that very reason plus better flash and cheaper more practical lens line-up than the Sony FE or Fuji X.

But if you are simply looking for the best bang for your buck kind of a person, then I think there is nothing really beats the Nikon AF-S50mm f1.4G, which is actually a sharp lens if you shoot it at f2.2 or smaller aperture. And if you are like me tend to stop it down to at least f5.6 or so most of times, then the cheap Nikon 50 mm f1.4G is just as sharp as the expensive Loxia 50mm f2 or Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art or Zony 50mm f1.4 Z. But for me the Milvus and the Loxia are both worth the high prices since they have the best MF ring for the Sony bodies, I really hate the fly-by-wire MF system of Zony or Fuji.

And it is obvious that all current tiny bodied mirrorless systems are overpriced and without the super heavy-handed software correction they can not compete well with the best Zeiss or Sigma primes for Nikon Canon mount system, in fact, the cheap Nikon f1.8G series primes beat many of the expensive Zony, Sony GM , Fuji XF lenses in terms of pure optical and mechanical quality, and it is a shocking fact to many.

I think why you may want to pay high premium for Loxia or Batis line if you shoot Sony FE system is that they seem to have very very high QC tolerances and chances are you may never get a bad copy of it at least an extremely bad one.

 

Comp 3> Sony 24-70mm f2.8GM vs Fuji 16-50mm f2.8 XF, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR, Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC USD.

No comparison here. Sony should be ashamed with their zooms. Although I had a very good 24-70mm f4 and f2.8GM, they were still way behind what the 16-50mm f2.8, let alone the new Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E VR......The Sony 24-70mm f4 Z is an OK lens for the modest price and compact size, but the 24-70mm f2.8 GM is a super expensive lens, costing about 300 hundreds more than the Nikon version and still optically not as good as the Nikon, or in fact I believe it is even a bit worse than the Tamron version for Nikon F mount.

In fact, lack of any quality zoom in the bread and butter range for event pros or part time paid photographers in the current Sony lens line up is a big minus point of Sony system regardless of the mirror type...........SLT or mirrorless.

And another issue is no Tamron, Sigma support for Sony E and A mount any more, this is a huge drawback of the system...........to say the least. If there was a Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC for Sony E mount, I would have bought it and replaced my Nikon mount version of it for my A7R and Nikon D750. It is very pathetic sad that we Sony users are always forced to get the overpriced GM or Batis line lenses even for the focal range where we might want to just get a "good enough" cheap off-brand lens option.

And in fact , in many cases I actually prefer Tamron lenses to Sony or Zeiss E mount lenses even without any discount or like that.

If I had the Tamron 85mm f1.8 VC option for my Sony system, then I wouldn't have bought a few copies of the Batis E 85mm f1.8 OSS and the Sony 85mm f1.4 GM and returned most of these. I simply prefer the Tamron to the Zeiss or Sony regardless of their prices or brand names in this case. The Tamorn 85mm f1.8,35mm f1.8VC, 45mm f1.8 VC, etc, are really great lenses and many times I've considered going back to Nikon main just for these modestly priced but high quality Tamron primes.

 

I think the Sony E16-70mm f4 (recent copies)are quite good, but still no where near the best APS-C zoom Fuji or Nikon makes for their respective APS-C system.........But in this case the Sony lens is at least very versatile and small unlike their FF zooms..........they are pure bogs, especially the 24-70mm GM and 70-200mm f2.8 GM....

 

Comp 4>Sony FE70-200mm f4 OSS, Nikon AF-S70-200mmf4GEDVR, Fuji XF55-200mm f4-5.6ED.

Well, in this comparison, I must say the Sony FE70-200mm f4G, at least the recent copy(made after 2015),is the best in the set. The Sony is cheaper and sharper and comes with tripod collar. The initial 3000 or so copies had the soft 200mm f4 setting issue, but the copies produced after 2015 July are much better, if you read the recent review on the Sony FE70-200mmf4 G at Ephotozine, you see it clearly, it is raved there, and they are usually an anti-Sony, pro Nikon site.

In Japan, the Sony FE70-200mm f4 G SSM lens is one of the biggest bargain lenses, and now Sony is giving a free Zeiss branded Protection filter for any one buys this lens.

So for me, in this range it is a no brainer. It is relatively compact, sharp throughout the range, with very well corrected almost flat field at most of focal range, it is a very very good zoom at very very reasonable price point.

The Nikon AF-S70-200mm f4G ED VR lens was a good lens when it was out. But now it seems really dated and overpriced. It is heavier than the Sony by about 205g, it is a bit longer than the Sony and much bigger and heavier than the relatively small(albeit darker)Fuji. The Nikon is less sharp at 70mm mark than the Sony at all aperture settings, with a bit more pronounced barrel distortion than that of the Sony. At 135mm setting, the Sony is still a bit sharper and better corrected. At 200mm f4, the Nikon might still be a bit sharper at 200mm f4 setting but not by much, the later recently released copies of the Sony is much better than the initially released copies that tested by most of so-called review sites, so you may see it seems much worse than it actually is at 200mm f4 setting at most of review sites, but it has really improved since 2015.

Compared to the cheap but dark Fuji zoom, the Fuji is overrated lens, obviously.

It is not the same class of the zoom as either the Nikon or the Sony 70-200mm f4 zoom. Claiming the XF55-200 dim zoom as good as the Sony FE 70-200mm f4 G is a bit of stretch. IMHO, the Fuji 55-200 is a bit fancier version of a typical kit zoom, that is all about it.

 

Comp 5> around 50mm macro lens: Sony FE 50mm f2.8 macro, Nikon AF-S60mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, Fuji 60mm f1.2 almost macro lens, Sigma 50mm f2.8 DG.

Well there is no need any serious analysis or reading at all about these lenses, I used to have all of these and I only kept the Sony.

The Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro is a fantastic lens especially for the modest price tag it carries. After all, it is the third very sharpest prime ever tested on the a7R2 and a7R.

It beats the about 100 US more expensive Nikon 60 G micro hands down, albeit the compromised slow AF, but in macro range no one use AF anyway.

For pure optical quality it is a absolute steal, it has very low CA, thanks to the amazing new ED element, it has very very low distortion, and it produces cool color(not as warm as Zeiss or G branded Sony lenses) and I prefer that personally, but many people especially those who love flowers or people head shots may prefer a bit warmer OOC color.

The Fuji 60mm f2.4 is an excellent lens too but it is not a REAL macro, it is only a half macro kind like the Canon EF24-70mm f4 L IS in macro mode.

So if you need the real macro capability in mirrorless system there is no other choice than the Sony or you must go down to m43 league, and I say go down but as for macro m43 system is not actually worse than FF or especially APS-C system unless you have super expensive macro lens plus macro ring flash and always 100 percent use a tripod.

The m43 allows you to focus stack automatically for better DOF, and it has excellent but reasonably priced compact macro lens choices such as the amazing Olympus 60mm f2.8, the Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Leica branded lens, the Olympus and Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro. And Panasonic will release long awaited X120mm f2.8 G macro lens very soon.

So for me and I think many casual macro shooters the m43 is the most interesting choice for macro work or just simple casual floower close up.

I love Sony 30mm f3.5 on my A6500 too, it is a cheap lens but very practical, you can really abuse it in rain, in cold mountains, etc, and it never breaks. Even if it breaks, hey who cares? it is very cheap indeed. But if you like shooting food or some product like some Star Wars figures or Mickey Mouse doll like I do, then the Sony FE50mm f2.8 macro is an excellent choice especially on the R bodies.

The cheap Sony macro is a bit less sharp than the amazingly sharp FE55mm f1.8Z on the A7R2, but it is just as sharp as the Sonnar on the A7R or the a7M2. And in my test comfortably beats the Loxia 50mm f2 in the center and especially in the edges, albeit a bit more pronounced Lo-CA in highlight or OOF area. In any case, the Sony FE50mm f2.8 is a real bargain deal lens in the current FE system, and this lens and the FE90mm f2.8G prove that actually there are many bargain deal lenses in the current harshly criticized as expensive or overpriced(mostly by non-Sony users) Sony lens system.

Comp 6> around 100mm macro lens: Sony FE90mm f2.8G, Tamron 90 mm f2.8 VC G2, Nikon AF-S105mm f2.8G ED Micro Nikkor, etc.

Well there is really no comp here, the Sony FE 90mm wins hands down as DXO and others all confirm it firmly. I had all of these plus the famous Voiklander 125mm f2.5 APO macro, and the FE 90mm f2.8 G is the absolute winner here, of course the Voiktlander is also a great lens but it is not as practical as the Sony in real life use.

The Sony lens also beats both the Zeiss 100 mm f2 ZF2 and the Milvus version in resolution, CA, distortion, and light fall off, so it is an outstanding lens without any doubt.

The lens really shines on the a7R2, but it is really good on any body but if your sensor is just 24mp FF , then it easily outresolves the low resolution sensor. It actually even outresolves the 42mp sensor. It is that good with respect to sheer resolution and measurable so-called objective IQ.

However, it is not really easy to use in real life since it is big and not balances well on any of Sony A7X body, let alone on any of A6XXX body. I think Sony really needs a bit bigger body for this type of truly outstanding optics that're clearly designed to resolve the next generation high resolution FF. Many internet review sites talk about the latest sensors out-resolving the lenses very often as the biggest issue of the high resolution FF camera system, but it is a big myth or even lie, it is better to have a sensor easily out-resolves any lens you can put on it because it really eliminates all sorts of bad sensor artifacts issues.

 

Body wise, I can only repeat what I said before. The last APS-C body I personally bought with my own money was the Sony A6500 and it feels good in my hands and it has great quality RAW file but terrible jpg's just like all the other Sony cameras. The shutter sounds very cheap with helplessly bad shutter shock, the rolling shutter in Electronic shutter mode is very bad and it gets even worse in video mode. But I never have the infamous heat issue with my A6500 in stills mode, just in video mode. My A6300 has terrible heat issue both in stills and in motion modes. I do not really have any issue with Sony menu system any more but I am already extremely used to it by using almost every single Sony AXXX and A7X camera........the short battery life issue is already solved since I have special USB charger for my mirrorless cameras and I have already collected 12 Sony batteries since the first NEX5. And to be fair to Sony, no other company mirrorless system has better battery life than these Sony cameras. So over all despite of the flawed mount design and questionable mechanical quality with terribly slow general operation speed of these cameras, I think Sony E mount system seems like still the best cost effective choice in the current mirrorless world with respect to simple body usability aspect of camera system, especially if you do not mind using fullframe lenses on an APS-C body.

The X-T2 is built like a tank but quite a bit heavier in the hand than the A6300 but not much heavier than the new A6500, which I also own and think also built like a tank.

The A7R2 is even heavier than the Fuji, albeit the lower quality body material used and poor body sealing quality. The Fuji is a much faster camera in the real world use, it shoots much faster than the A6300, the A7R2 or the A7M2 but the A6500 is even faster than the XT2 with a much longer lasting big buffer. However, the A6500 does not have any sort of external grip option that might have helped the balance of the system when a long tele photo lens is mounted on the camera, so the real life usability of the Fuji with a big AF lens is better than that of the A6500. The A6500 and the A6300 have very fast single shot AF and decent C AF in good light, so they should have had an external grip option for better balance with a big tele photo lens for action shooting.

The eye-detect AF and faceAF on the Fuji is just OK compared to the Sony's, but it is the only one aspect of AF performance where the Sony APS-C beats the Fuji XT2 or X-Pro2. But I am sure none of the current APS-C and FF mirrorless are as good as the upcoming GH5(that I've already pre-ordered and consider as a game-changer) with respect to AF performance and in general operation speed.

The Panasonic has the best AF in mirrorless world but even that is not even close to the decent Canon or Nikon D-SLR for action tracking. The D500 still blows anything from Sony, Fuji, Olympus out of the water and the AF performance gap in real lowlight between the best mirrorless and the mid level D-SLRs such as the D7200 and 80D is not getting smaller but bigger, IMHO, especially when a big telephoto lens is mounted on them. Mirrorless lowlight AF is actually not getting any better except with Panasonic system, this is a real shame. But all other areas of AF performance the Panasonic GH5 and the G85 are both better than any D-SLR, period. These two Panaosnics can focus down to minus 4EV without any issue, any D-SLR or other brand mirrorless cameras cannot even touch it with respect to extreme lowlight AF accuracy......The Sony A7MK2 on paper can focus down to the same level of lowlight minus 4EV, but in real life the Panasonic is a lot better in these extreme lowlight scenes.

The Jpeg quality of the Fuji is quite amazing and sometimes saves a lot of time, so I kind of appreciate that. But the Fuji XT2 or XP2, or even much cheaper new XT20 still have the infamous dust issue as with the Sony A7X and A6XXX........and this is the real reason I can never shoot my Sony or Fuji in Jpeg mode, I always need to remove about 46 dustspots in the sky whenever I use my XT2, A6300, A7M2, A7R2, or A6500, they really have severe dust issue and the worst of all the sensor of the A6500, the A7R2 and the A7M2 is very very difficult to clean safely without sending them in for Sony service center. The sensor of the Fuji's and the older Sony are at least much easier to clean without damaging the sensor or IBIS. I think the really effective automatic dust reduction system of the m43 is really underrated, and it is, I consider, one of these most effective real life weapons of the m43 system that Olympus and Panasonic might be able to effectively use against the others in their marketing or educational materials.

This is the main reason why I sold my A7X2 series cameras and kept my A6300/A6500 and A7R.

As for Fuji UI and controls initially I liked it and I was finding my way around the camera very easily and the Q menu of the Fuji system much easier and more logical to use than any Sony menu system, there is no comparison in this department and I think Sony should focus on this area and also the over all usability with increased operation speed of the camera "system". However, I quickly found out the amazing controls and UI of Fuji that all Fuji fanatics in Fuji rumor sites rave about is kind of working against me or many non retro prime shooters around me. I really hate the retro style bodies and controls inherited or borrowed from film era "my granpa generation", who was one of those anti-Vietnam war hipsters wearing crazy bell bottom jeans and flare shirts.

For me the film era UI and controls are very very difficult to use and very much stressful on my peace of mind. When I was shooting the XT2 there were times I literally felt wanting to throw it onto my grandpa's concrete car garage.....using it for a long period of time every day was that frustrating.

 

I think both the Fuji and the Sony system have serious lens issues; there is no thirdparty lens support other than obscure manual prime options from cheap obscure names. Zeiss makes a great set of primes for Sony and a couple for Fuji, but they are all primes.....

I think they need more great zooms than primes to become true rivals to Canon and Nikon system for really budget minded average camera buyers. I think they really need to persuade Sigma, Tamron, and Samyang to re-enter into the system.

Lack of any decent quality zoom in the so-called bread and butter focal range for the Sony or the Fuji mount system is a huge issue for many. There are no decent quality zooms in 100-400 range or 24-70mm FF equivalent range...........even if you accept to pay 2k for each zoom range. And in case of Sony, their 70-200mm f2.8GM OSS is a expensive but horrible lens with really bad quality control and copy to copy variation to date...

I have tested three copies of that lens and all of these 3 were terribly de-centered.

They all have terrible anti-flare coating and they all produced terrible green or magenta/ orange rainbow colored ghost and spot flare......and the distortion at the 70mm mark on this lens was simply monstorus, very very difficult to correct in PP. At the 200mm mark on this lens it gets even worse, the pinchusioning type of distortion at the 200mm mark on this lens is even harder to correct than the barrel type distortion at the 70mm mark.

If you are a pure prime shooter, then you might love the current great FE prime lineup and XF prime lineup, but for a mostly zoom shooter or for a documentary type of work that really requires a great mid range zoom, the Sony E system and the Fuji X system are both not great. Especially not great for those events where you do not want to change lenses over and over due to the dust issue or due to your shooting objects move fast, or you cannot simply zoom with your feet.

So while I think the Sony and the Fuji systems are really good for studio or landscape or location work where you can safely change lenses all the time and allowed to work on a tripod at very slow pace. But for any thing requires speed or a set of great 24-70 or 70-200 and 100-400 kind of zooms , they are just a pure joke, simply useless systems.

And for that type of works the DSLRs are much cheaper and much more trusted tools due to the much faster general operation speed, much better zoom lineup, much better third party lens support, much more reliable flash system,etc.

All that said both the Fuji and the Sony system are already very good for most of normal use cases and getting better and better every iteration, so I am quite positive about their short term future success.....but not very sure in the longer run............especially considering the fact Nikon and Canon will get more serious about their mirrorless offerings very soon.

And in case of Canon they are already no2 in mirrorless market only second to Olympus in total unit sales, and only second to Sony in market share by value.

I think if the Sony FE system and Fuji X system will not sell very well, or will not better the all Canon Nikon D-SLRs in unit based market share, no thirdparty will make a great set of zooms or any decent moderately fast primes at reasonable prices, and this extreme focus on highend market of Fuji and Sony may eventually hurt them seriously.

In order to get more NEW users coming into their systems they really need attractive lowend bodies like improved more rugged version of their X-A3 or A5100. In case of Fuji the cheap but very capable X-T20 may rectify this issue, but still they have very expensive (for those potential consumer body buyers)lens line issue and that must be fixed or they will slowly lose the momentum they've got since the XT2.

Personally, if I have to choose all from scratch again, then I would still choose the Sony system as my main system and maybe m43 to back it up for documentary work done while I am traveling. IMHO, the Olympus EM1MK2 or the Panasonic GH5 or the G85 based m43 system is much better than the Fuji X-T2 or X-T20 based system, at least much more practical with more stabilized lenses and much better flash capability.

So the m43 for action travel and video, the Sony FE for serious tripod work is still the logical choice for me.

 

I think Nikon is the best value system for most of things still, but I just cannot go back to D-SLR main, I feel it really odd whenever I look into the OVF of my D750. It feels really anachronistic and I do not like it at all, I always try hard to like it, though.

I really think Nikon needs a serious mirrorless system that fully utilizes all the current great Nikon F mount lenses at very least the E series lenses, or they will slowly falling into the irrelevant category.

After having owned about 22 Sony cameras in last 11 years or so, I have come to realize I can never fully trust Sony in the long run, and always looking for something else to move to or simply better value system, but I cannot find anything better than my current E mount set up just yet. But the continuously pushing the user base to their higher end products by incessantly replacing or discontinuing products that they do think not high-end enough or highly profitable enough for them eventually hurts them because this strategy will eventually exhaust many of their long time faithful users and at the same time it will scare potential new users away.

 

 

UPDATE: I interviewed many NORMAL camera buyers in my area at our camera shop and asked them to tell us about what was the main reason they did not buy so-called mirrorless any more, and why they think the market share of these mirrorless decreasing at least in the Western world and the already developed part of Asia such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea , Singapore and HK.

They answered to these questions carefully as we paid some $$ and I think we found out a few interesting things about the NORMAL camera buyers' perception/opinion about ILC cameras and the culture surrounding the camera business:

 

1 to them, if it requires a bag even a tiny one, it's really not important what kind of camera system it is; a mirrorless or a D-SLR, a m43 or a FF, it is just too big and simply too annoying to carry around. So they use their cellphone more even though many of them already have some sort of One cameras or cheap ILCs.

2 To most of NORMAL camera buying people here it really does not matter FF or m43 or APS-C or MF because they are all too difficult to operate and actually really not much different to each other in real life use(at least to them).

This means maybe the small sensor camera systems like the m43 and the Nikon One will all fail since there is no market for them. Not many average camera buyers are interested in ILC systems but fixed lens all around cameras with good one button wireless connection to their phones. And not many the fanatics get interested in these cause most of them are obsessed with the best IQ possible they can get out of a camera system. Thus Olympus, Nikon and Panasonic will definitely need a bigger sensor system to entice them.

3 they do not want a lens like Zeiss Otus or Sigma Art even if it is selling for $50 or less. In fact, any kind of lens interchangeability is not important to them, in fact it is really annoying, and if it is an all around just fixed lens camera like the Sony RX10MK3 , it is actually a better camera system than any type of ILC with a set of primes that most of camera forum denizens want. They should realize they are not the majority of camera buyers and making and selling exactly what they want does not actually help any of these camera makers........

To them a set of great dedicated APS-C primes may be an important part of a good camera system, but to most of NORMAL people it is just not an important or an alluring feature at all.

So as opposed to what Tony , Thom, and many other self-proclaimed experts in many camera forums think, a great set of APS-C dedicated primes will NOT help Nikon or Sony. In fact, outside of the forums most of people actually prefer ZOOMS.

4 To NORMAL people all interchangeable lens cameras are big and quite intimidating.

This means that the very common camera forum trend to get mirrorless for being less conspicuous in the public reason is a silly idea , no one actually cares about if it is a mirroless or a D-SLR, to them all interchangeable lens cameras are annoying and intimidating to most of non-photographers.......so if they really want to be less conspicuous they should try one of the One inch sensor fixed lens cameras.

 

So as I already pointed out, the camera makers should focus on developing fixed multi lenses multi sensored computational cameras with easy one-button wireless connectivity to the phones. The software must be intuitive and 21st century design rather than the current 1980 design, I think it should be user programmable and as Thom points out open the source code to the smart kids and then some of them will develop some good apps for them for free.

Remember why the 5DMK2 and the Panasonic GH2 became such huge hits? Because of the hacked firmwares, I think it is the key.

 

 

UPDATE2:The last two weeks or so, I have been testing my Batis 85mm f1.8 (I have 2 copies of it and I have access to 6 extra copies of it at my shop) vs the new Sony FE85mm f1.8.

And surprisingly enough I found the Sony cheap lens actually quite a bit sharper at f1.8 and probably throughout all f stops.

The bokeh or out of focus area rendition of the Batis seems to be a bit smoother, it has a bit less lateral CA, but it seems to be softer, actually obviously so. It is not a copy issue since I have also tested 6 extra Batis we have at our store.

Another big con of the Batis vs the Sony FE 85mm f1.8 is that the Batis has noticeably more pincushion distortion , if you turn off the in camera lens correction, you will see it in the EVF of any Sony A7X camera.

The color tone is also different, the Batis produces a bit warmer color than the Sony and many say they prefer the look of Zeiss, but honestly if you objectively blind test it you will soon realize the Sony renders everything more naturally with a bit more neutral tone. Many Zeiss fanboys just say it is a Zeiss, so it is a special lens, well really? Not all Zeiss lenses are great, only a very few Zeiss are actually great, and these days everything is designed with computer with using the same software, so every lens in the same size range is actually identically sharp, no dramatic difference there, really..

The Tamron 85mm f1.8VC, the Batis 85mm f1.8E, the Sony FE85mm f1.8, are all similarly sharp wide open, and from f2.8 the Sony is noticeably better than the Batis and the Tamron.

I also prefer the cooler out of the camera color of the Sony lens over the Tamron and the Zeiss Batis.

Now, we all know that Zeiss is not a better lens designer than Sony or Tamron , or any one..........maybe this fact is really hard for the fanboys to admit, but it is the reality.

IMHO, the only one minor drawback of the new Sony FE85mm f1.8 is the a bit harsh out of focus area rendition in strong back lit scene, and I think almost all Sony FE lenses share this issue.

The AF of the FE85mm f1.8 is much faster than the AF of the Batis 85mm f1.8E, so for shooting my cats indoor, I think the Sony is a much better lens. For weddings, I think the Batis may be a bit better since it renders our of focus area a bit smoother in extreme back lit scene. However, I do not like the warmer color signature of the Batis and many Japanese Zeiss lenses. I suspect the actual lens designer for the Batis series is Tamron, and therefore they share very similar look to the Tamron 85mm f1.8VC. I may be wrong here but I think I am right since the look Batis series lenses share is quite different from my MF Zeiss lenses including my Loxia lenses and ZF ZE lenses.

It is sad but I have to admit that almost all Zeiss Batis and Loxia lenses are just ok , nothing really special about these, except the 25mm, which is my favorite lens, and Loxia 21mm f2.8 and may be also the 50mm f2 Loxia.

The 18mm f3.5 Batis is a poorly designed lens, really should not carry the Zeiss blue badge. The Batis 85mm f1.8E was a great lens, at least I thought so until I compared it to the new cheap Sony 85mm f1.8, but now it is the softest 85mm in the current Sony E mount lens line up. The FE85mm f1.8, the Tamorn 85mm f1.8VC, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art, the Sony 85mm f1.4GM are all sharper than the overpriced plastic coated bulky Batis 85m f1.8.

I am selling the Batis and get the Sony FE50mm f1.4 soon to replace my Loxia 50mm f2 and Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8.

 

But the most important change that this very humble Sony FE85mm f1.8 has induced in this industry is that it has kind of killed all charms of them43 system and the Fuji X.

The Fuji 56 f1.2 and the m43 fake Leica 42.5 mm f1.2 lens are great optically, but as a whole system, they are a much less capable system than a cheap Sony lens on a FF body.

 

 

UPDATE3: Recently, I decided to sell some of my Sony, Nikon, and Fuji gear and the results were really surprising.

 

I sold a couple of Fuji X-T2, a Sony A6500, a A6300, a A7R, a A7R2, three A7MK2. I also sold my Nikon D800E, D750, and D810.

 

The most expensive camera by far of the list was the A7R2, but surprisingly I got about identical amount of money for it to what I got for my much cheaper(as a brand new) D810. I paid about 3200 USD for my A7R2 in 2015 and shockingly it was devalued a lot more than I thought, I could only get about 1750 USD for it.

I must say it was a terrible loss.

I paid around 2000 US for my D810 in 2016, and got back about 1800 US for it in May 2017.

 

I got about 123000 yen for my X-T2, and I must say the resell value of this camera is great, I think Fuji has been controlling the price of this camera quite well. I just lost about 5000 yen on this camera and I have used it for more than 7 months, so it was a great deal. Renting it over 5 months and paid only 45 US or less, is an amazing deal.

 

I got offered only 72000 for my A7R and it was really pity, so I did not sell it.

 

I got only 64000 yen for my A6300, but I expected this so it was not really shocking, still it was a bad value camera, though. But it was replaced by the A6500, so I did not expect too much for this one.......

 

I got about 75000 yen for my A6500 and it was quite shocking, I expected to get more for that since I paid 118000 yen for it in last Oct.

 

I got 95000 yen for my A7MK2, it was quite sad, deplorable since it is a FF and cheaper than the X-T2 in the used camera market here.

I got about 134000 yen for my 2 year old D750, and it was a positive surprise. I did not expect to get this much of money for it since I paid only about 158000 yen for it in 2014.

 

So I realized Sony cameras seem to hold the worst resell value (by far) in Japan and my Thai friend told me in Thailand too.

I was about to sell my second A7R2, but I decided to keep it just for my FE16-35mm f4 and Voiklander 15mm f4.5 and Sony 85mm f1.8...

 

But the shocking loss by far this time was the Batis 85mm f1.8 or the Batis 18mm f2.8, I have lost a lot of money on those 2 lenses, and I did not expect this.....I thought I might get about 900 US for my Batis 85, but I got only about 630 US for it.

The 18mm Batis was even worse, I paid about 168000 yen for it in 2016..... and now I could get only about 98000 yen for it, it was the most shocking and the biggest loss by far, I never thought the resale value of the Batis 18mm f2.8 this bad.

 

 

So now I decided never buy any more Batis series lenses, I have lost too much on this terribly built so-called Zeiss(actually Tamron made) lenses.

 

 

UPDATE4: I am now in the process of replacing all my Sony E mount lenses(except a few) with Canon EF mount lenses.

I hated adapters, but after I tried the Sigma MC11, I changed my mind and I think it is much safer to use my Sony bodies with Canon lenses since Canon EF mount is the safest long term future proven mount, and the resell value of the super expensive Sony GM and so-called Sony Zeiss are too bad, the Batis line is even worse. So I think by selling off all expensive Sony E mount lenses that cannot be reused in any other mount system in the near future, I will be more secured and adding the Sigma adapter expand the possible AF lens selection for my FE bodies. After all, I realized that Sony FE zooms are all mediocre , even the most expensive GM ones.

 

I will replace my FE16-35mm f4 Z with a Canon EF16-35mm f4 L IS, I have compared ten copies of each and I am 100 percent sure the Canon is the better lens and cheaper one. In fact, the adapter plus the lens price is the same as the Sony FE16-35mm f4 Z alone. And another benefit of this lens over the FE16-35mm f4 Z is that the Canon lens does not extend its length when it zooms out or in.

 

I will also replace the FE24-70mm f4 with the EF24-70mm f4 LIS.

I will get the 40mm f2.8 STM, which is a surprisingly good lens for the modest size and price.

 

I will also add Sigma 135mm f1.8 Art, which is the sharpest lens ever produced by any one according to Photozone,de.

 

I also add Canon EF70-300mm f4-5.6IS MK2 lens, which is really cheap and for me it is a worth lens since I am not a serious telephoto shooter and so I do not want to invest over 100000 yen for a lens like FE70-300mm f4-5.6G, which is clearly overpriced.

 

I also add Tamron 35mm f1.8VC to replace my Sony FE 35mm f2.8 and Loxia 35mm f2, both of which I actually detest for the terrible corner quality and terrible coma(in case of the Loxia).

 

I may also add the amazing Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC G2, which is about half the price of the Sony FE70-200mmf2.8GM, and in my experience, the Tamron is the sharper lens(I compared 4 copies of each once at my shop).

 

I will keep my FE85mm f1.8, which is one of the best 85mm primes ever made and I much prefer this to the overpriced oversized GM and my plastic coated cheap looking Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8E lens.

 

I will also keep my Voiktlander 15mm f4.5 and 12mm f5.6.

 

 

UPDATE5: Many people including myself thought Nikon is dying, if not already dead by now, but in reality Nikon still sells many many more units than Sony and Nikon is now working on new type of sensor design and they may collaborate with Pentax and Olympus to set up a new sensor company. If this plays out well, then Sony will be the loser since they will have no one to sell their so-called Fullframe sensors any more. And as a result their highend camera prices will go up significantly.

And now Sony has just announced they've just decided to spin off their digital-imaging division(Sony DI) and now it is an independent business under Sony corp's supervision, just like their sensor group.....

This means now Sony imaging is not a part of Sony but their subsidiary, and therefore, to Sony device group, the imaging group is just a customer,nothing special, in fact,considering its size of market share in relation to that of Nikon, Sony imaging group is a lower class customer to the device group.

So there is no more reason for Sony device technology to keep the best sensor for in-house use-only. In fact now Sony device tech must compete with the new sensor company Nikon Olympus Ricoh have just established here and some European sensor designers such as CMOSIS, who makes the Leica SL sensor and M sensor.

And do not forget there is always Canon if Sony does not sell anything to Nikon.........Canon will start selling it and there will be Panasonic and Tower Jazz also........so Nikon will not have any problem choosing sensor suppliers any more.

Sony must sell their best sensors to Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax , or Sony will lose them, Sony cannot choose customers any more.

If Sony is smart, it will not compete with Nikon or Olympus in camera market. After all, Nikon is the biggest customer of Sony.....and Sony also buys steppers from Nikon anyway. So Sony is not dominating the sensor market, or controlling Nikon as many armchair experts in many camera fora think..........and the just announced Spun-off of their imaging division makes Sony camera business less trust-worthy........... Sony thinks every business as a short term investment and runs it to make it temporarily profitable and then spins it off.

After that? of course sells it to anyone willing to buy it.........like Sony did with the Vaio PC business, TV business, etc,etc.

That is why no one really trust Sony in the long run, we long term Sony users just use its cameras but always know it is a back-up plan or step-gap solution......

After all no serious camera buyers are as obtuse as many spec-chasers and review sites think they are. No one buys into a big expensive camera system just for an amazing set of features in a body or two...................there are many many more important aspects to a system camera than just a set of great features... I think Sony should try to be an Intel of camera.

 

UPDATE6:I attended a few academic conferences in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. And I visited many many very crowded tourists venues there and I have come to realize the death of real camera thing is nothing but extremely exaggerated by those silly clickbait sites. There were many many people still using a REAL ILC camera along with their smartphones.

Then what is the problem I've found there?

Well there were a very few people using so-called mirrorless there , especially the high-end mirrorless cameras like theA7R/A7R2,theA7M2, the X-T2, the X-P2, etc. I saw many m43 cameras even the EM1MK2 and GH5, I also spotted many people with XT20, A6300, etc, but I never spotted any A7R2, A7M2, XT2,etc......even at the most crowded tourist places like Kinkaku-ji temple, Kobe Great earthquake museum, Kiyomizudera temple, etc.

And that makes me worry about the long term future of so-called Mirrorless, if Sony and Fuji actually going under before Nikon?

 

To be honest, there are many many Nikon shooters and of course Canon guys and girls, but no A7 or XT2 guys at all.

 

In my last academic conferences in Tokyo area, I found it the same, and in Bangkok and Korea I did not see any Fuji or Sony high-end mirrorless bodies at all.

And more worrying fact was that there were so many Chinese tourists there with big cameras, but none of them shooting a Sony or a Fuji, that makes me really nervous about the future of Sony.

 

Sony is investing a lot of money very quick into the FE system but the ship seems to be sinking. I think the stupid shill marketing and silly "mirrorless taking over the entire industry "hype generated by Fuji and Sony paid internet sites is not at all working for them , but maybe working against them.

 

 

The temporal D800 success in the camera forums made Nikon this stupid!

 

 

 

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Taken on January 7, 2016