As you will have noticed in some of my past blogs, I catch up with a good mate of mine now and then for various photographic endeavours. He calls himself the Overrated Photographer. I prefer to call him many other nasty things but for now, I will refer to him as the ORP. You can check out his site here – which has changed from his previous site I used to link to. Recently the ORP, who had been a long time Fujifilm shooter and advocate, made a poor decision to leave the Fujifilm ecosystem and make a complete change to a Sony full frame system. I tried to talk him out of it but he is a man with a lot of determination and once he had made the decision to change, it was done. Regardless, I still tolerate him.
So on the weekend, we had a cracker of a day as we both have kids of a like age and we took them to the Ian Potter Children’s Garden which is inside the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne. It was such a beautiful day. 24 degrees Celcius with a slight breeze and a big blue sky. And we followed the kids around the gardens taking shots of them and of each other – never a more willing model than another photographer. The kids got completely absorbed in fishing for tadpoles in a pond and so that gave us a great opportunity to watch them, talk gear, talk life and take shots. My little boy feature in a lot of the shots.
The ORP had his new Sony A7III with the Zeiss 35mmF2.8 and the Zeiss 85mmF1.8 lenses. I had my new Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mmF2 and the XF50mmF2. So with his camera being a full frame, we had a relatively comparable set of equipment. We swapped cameras for a while just to test out the new gear and whilst the ORP probably found the X-T3 very familiar (as he had the X-T2 and the X-H1) I felt very lost for my first time on the Sony. The camera was a beautiful build and has a very modern and sleek design, especially when compared to the more retro look of the X-T3. The Sony A7III with the Zeiss 35mmF2.8 is a comparable weight and size to the Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mmF2. I was actually surprised by this as I always thought Sony cameras were bigger and much heavier. But the balance in hand was really nice. I noticed that the ORP did not have a carry strap and was just hand holding his camera. So the weight is very manageable. The AF and Eye AF were very responsive but I really didn’t put it through its paces to make a fair comparison.
I got some good shots using the Sony but when in a brighter setting I think I overexposed other photos. The Zeiss lenses are of course gorgeous and they have a focal ring only as the aperture is controlled from a command dial on the camera body. I found that a little tricky too as the aperture ring on the lens feels more natural to me. One thing that did interest me in the Sony system is the ability to have more accessible Custom Menu settings.
Included with this blog are some photos I took, some that the ORP took, some with Fujifilm and some with Sony. Either way, the gear didn’t matter as we were enjoying time with the kids and just taking photos. And that is something that is often lost in the whole photographic equation. You sometimes only get taken seriously as a photographer if you have Canon or Nikon DSLRs. Or only if you have big zooms that weigh 5kg on their own. Photography is not and should not be about the gear, it is more about the experience. And for me, it is about hanging out with like-minded people and doing what we love.
After the kids had all but drained the pond of every last tadpole, we opted to make way to the Observatory gate of the gardens as we were hungry and thirsty. We opted to go into Jardin Tan – a Vietnamese inspired restaurant tucked just inside the gardens – for a range of dishes that we could all share. It was a great feed and a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to more outings especially now that the weather is starting to warm up. Happy shooting.