To kick things off, let me say there are no winners or losers. This is like a competition between toddlers at pre-school where everyone gets a prize. This isn’t a direct technical comparison between the two and it isn’t about proving you should buy one in particular. This is about guidance on how I made the choice between the two.
The Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 vs Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 is a common problem choice in cameraland particularly when it comes to sports. It’s not really as simple as putting a converter on the 70-200mm and putting them side by side, they perform differently with and without the converter. For me personally, the 100-400mm was my answer, but like anything, it isn’t the same answer for everyone, hence the reason this isn’t a one paragraph article.
Whilst I believe that Sony has the upper hand with autofocus, I would still like to see some of the autofocus customisation options from Fujifilm offered on Sony. There are some aspects Fujifilm also gets wrong on the autofocus side so this isn’t to say Fujifilm is better, more that there are lessons to be learnt for both parties.
Fujifilm is quite popular as a travel system and there is a good reason for it and it isn’t necessarily APS-C. Fujifilm introduced a compact set of lenses, affectionately called Fujicrons by the users, named after the Leica Summicron. Instead of putting out lenses with wide open apertures of 1.4 or even f/1.8 like most of the full frame brands, Fujifilm introduced good quality f/2 lenses that were compact, with fast AF and good quality optics.
With full frame and Sony, everything to date has been developed with f/1.4 and f/1.8 apertures with the exception of the 35mm f2.8, a nice compact lens that mirrors the weight and dimensions of Fujifilm 23mm f/2. The problem in Sony’s lens line up is that the 35 f/2.8 is where Sony’s Fujicron equivalents stop. That means if you want to go light, people tend to go with travel zooms like the 24-105 instead of going for 2 or 3 compact primes. This is great if you have the budget for the 24-105mm, or if you’re a zoom users, but not if you’re a prime user or have a limited budget. The advantage with small primes is they still have a larger aperture than a travel zoom so you’re getting better sharpness and low light ability.
I’d like to see Sony introduce more additions to the range, a 24mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/2.8 to complete the combo. You could argue for a 16mm f/2.8 and 85mm f/4 but it would be great just to see the others initially.
What this would start to offer is compact travel options along with alternatives for street photography. If I’m travelling overseas, I’m happy to go with some lightweight lenses.
Why would Sony want to do this?
The one advantage they have is your users don’t have to go to other brands or APS-C to get compact travel options. Fujifilm is a popular brand for travel photos so it would be good to be able to buy lenses in your range without having to go to Fujifilm.
It offers customers a cheap set of entry level primes, but a set of primes that are still decent optical quality.
Maybe there is a market, maybe there isn’t but like most photographers, I’m selfish and I look at what I need. Hopefully it’s something Sony or a third party consider.
For those who have never used a Sony camera, the feature set is amazing but it has a menu system that feels like it was designed by a 18yr old crack addict after mixing LSD and Heroine and 72 hours of sleep deprivation. That’s what I would assume occured, as it seems to follow a pattern that not even a military cryptographer could resolve.
To make matters worse, Sony has made the obscure decision to make the navigation path down, across, down, across, in a way that still has you confused no matter how you get used to it. There are options shifted all over the place, flash settings in more than one place.
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.