I’m a fan of battery grips. I’ve got big hands and they help balance out long lenses. I like the idea of being to put the grip on and off as required, as an example, when I am shooting events with long lenses, so grips appeal to me.
When I got the A7iii, a grip was always on the cards, it was just a case of when. With lenses like the 135mm ART and 100-400 in my bag, the grips help balance the camera and lens.
When Sony designed the Sony A7 and A9 series cameras, it seems like they designed it for hobbits or a group of people who have really small hands. I have this idea that they went to market and every photographer they found had hands the size of my 8-year-old daughter. I can’t see any other reason for the way they designed their cameras, or one of them would have identified that you couldn’t actually hold the camera properly.
I’m not sure why every mirrorless manufacturer thinks that all camera users want tiny cameras. Some of us just like mirrorless for being mirrorless, for the use of the EVF, and the WYSIWYG perspective of the world where you know the photo is going to look exactly the same as you saw through the viewfinder. And yet for some obscure reason, not one camera manufacturer has made a decent sized mirrorless.
When I lived in Fujiland, the Fujifilm 90mm (APS-C) quickly became favourite from a focal length perspective. I didn’t have a particular affiliation with the 135mm focal length, I think I originally picked up the 90mm because the AF speed on the Fujifilm 56mm was terrible for kids, but I fell in love with focal length and the compression after that.
With my move to Sony, I started with the Zeiss Batis 85 which is amazing, but after a while buying a 135mm seemed was a foregone conclusion, it was just a question of which one. The Zeiss Batis 135mm F2.8 would have been the logical choice, small and light, but us humans aren’t known for logical choices. This is how the bigger and heavier Sigma 135mm f1.8 ART found it way into my collection. I had a light portrait lens with my Zeiss 85mm Batis so I thought for this one I was going to purchase the beast, and a beast it is…beauty and a beast all in one.
In some respects its a little easier reviewing cameras when you are switching systems. You are not as tied to a legacy way of thinking so it’s a little easier to grip on a problem and think of it as a negative or positive. With using a different system, you tend to think: “This is the way I work and I’m not going to change” which creates a problem with a camera. If you are switching you think: “This is the way I am used to working, could I work this way in future?”
My background? Non-commercial photographer. I have long since accepted that I do photography because I enjoy it and doing it commercially wouldn’t work for me because I like doing it the way I want, with the things I want, when I want. I make enough money from my normal career to fund photographic toys. Shot Nikon, switched to Fujifilm for mirrorless years ago, then onto Sony for reasons I won’t go into, except to say I do actually like the Fujifilm gear so it has nothing to do with that.
When the local distributor (Radbitz) for MagMod let me know that he had one of 5 MagBox prototypes in the world and I could take it out for a test, it’s not the sort of opportunity you turn down.
“Sure, just drop it off with me for a month or sixty and I’ll give it a test” after all, I am a completely unknown photographer with no reputation, and a dismal 1500 followers. What could go wrong?
Sadly, my sneaky ruse to get a free MagBox failed before it started. It seems there are so few of these little babies in the real world that people are prepared to beg, borrow or steal to get their hands on one. As a result, Adam Kopf wasn’t prepared to let it out of his sight.
I caught up with a good mate over the weekend, and as a Fujifilm user, he had the latest X-T3 so we decided to swap cameras to allow us to play around and get our thoughts. He’s already penned his thoughts here so feel free to have a look at the different perspectives.
It was a great opportunity to see where the camera designs were going and I put together my thoughts on the two. This isn’t a feature comparison, just some thoughts comparing where the two cameras are in their life cycle.
Some of these photos are snapshots, the review wasn’t intended to showcase the best of these cameras, it was a casual outing with a friend and our kids in bright midday sunlight, not exactly ideal conditions, but I have thrown in some other samples as well.
My knowledge of shooting video is somewhere between zero and nothing, so please don’t expect any video related comparisons.
A mate and fellow photographer, Greg Cromie, offered help me get some photos as obviously it was hard for me to get photos of myself wearing the bag. A big thank you to Greg for taking the photos of me, you can follow him on WordPress. He has some great articles and regularly posts to this site.
Photo by Greg Cromie
In doing this review, I haven’t posted some of the more detailed product shots of the inserts or interior of the bag. You can get decent quality version in perfect light from Shimoda’s website, so if you want to check out every nook and cranny of the bag, I suggest you do it there.