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10-01-2016, 08:50 PM - 1 Like   #1
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The Dilemma: Which Camera to Take?

Today I went to the Goodguys Lone Star Nationals car show near Forth Worth, at the Texas Motor Speedway. I've been to a lot of car shows, but until now they were all the smaller, local events. I thought a show with 200 cars was big. This was 2500 cars! Obviously I was going to take a camera. But which one?

My latest darling has been the Sony Alpha A7, which I've been using only with adapted vintage lenses. I knew that it can perform well, very well indeed. . . sometimes. I'm still learning my way around it, though. I'm still figuring it out. The last couple of little events that I took it to, the results were actually a bit disappointing. I didn't feel confident taking it to this.

I considered the Pentax K-S2, which should be excellent out in the bright sun with its OVF and the 20-40mm Limited lens. However... As good as it is, that lens might be a bit restrictive. Also, it could become a burden to carry all over those vast grounds for several hours.

I considered the Q7 Premium Kit. Easier to carry, yes... But the LCD is sometimes feeble in the sun, and I'd be juggling lenses, and I'd still have to tote a bag everywhere -- although a small and very light one.

I considered the Fujifilm XF1. It fits very neatly into a pocket of my canvas vest, so no bag is needed. The X-Trans sensor is slightly larger than the Q7's, and the zoom lens should cover my needs pretty well. I've never used the XF1 heavily, but it's a stylish and solidly built piece of gear. After going around in circles a few times, I decided on the XF1. Of course, I also tossed the Q7 bag in the car, because why not? It goes everywhere.

I got to the speedway, parked, got out and headed toward the track entrance, stopped to slip the XF1 out of my pocket and take some photos of cars going in. erm... That lens is sort of awkward to deploy. It doesn't really give any feedback on where the autofocus locked. I forgot how long it takes to cycle between shots. And I took exactly SEVEN shots before I turned around and went back to get the Q7 bag.

I don't want to be too hard on the Fuji. I'm biased, obviously, blatantly. I know the Q7 inside and out. I know its controls and its settings. I know its strengths, and its weaknesses, and I know how to mitigate those weaknesses. I ended up taking 293 shots with the Q7. It'll take a while to sort through all of those, but it generally performed well.

I should also mention this... Whenever I've gone to an event with the Sony A7, somebody always approaches me to ask: Are you with the newspaper? Are you with a magazine?

Awkward.

Nobody ever asks that when I have the Q7. It seems to be invisible.

10-01-2016, 09:09 PM   #2
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Nice story. I think the next segment should analyze the focal lengths used vs the lenses you took.
10-01-2016, 09:31 PM   #3
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Sounds like its time to get some of the native e-mount lenses for the A7. I had the 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 when I owned an A7 and both were stupid sharp. The DA limiteds come pretty close though for much cheaper...which is the reason I stuck with pentax in the long run. The K3 imo is nearly as good as the A7. The A7 obviously beat it in low light high ISO situations.

I've been to car shows with my K3 (with grip and *16-50) and I never get bothered, and that is a much larger camera than the A7. Actually took the A7 with the 35/2.8 for street photography in chicago and no one seemed to notice it. Its pretty small.
10-02-2016, 07:02 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by GateCityRadio Quote
Sounds like its time to get some of the native e-mount lenses for the A7. I had the 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 when I owned an A7 and both were stupid sharp.
Uh, I don't think the problem is with the lenses. Takumars are plenty sharp enough. I think it's more a matter of finding the right presets and rendering settings in Lightroom. For example, I got my hands on some presets that are supposed to emulate Kodachrome, which look fantastic for some subjects but is not ideal for everything.

Native Sony lenses are big, costly, and autofocus. Autofocus has let me down a few too many times.

QuoteQuote:
I've been to car shows with my K3 (with grip and *16-50) and I never get bothered, and that is a much larger camera than the A7. Actually took the A7 with the 35/2.8 for street photography in chicago and no one seemed to notice it. Its pretty small.
I don't think the size is the issue with the Sony A7. It looks quite a bit like an old 35mm SLR, and even more so when it has an old 35mm SLR lens attached. I think a lot of people have unconsciously ingrained in their minds that image of a reporter's camera. Incidentally, when I took the Sony to the Dallas Pen Show, it seemed like more of the fountain pen geeks wanted to talk about my camera than about pens and ink.

10-02-2016, 07:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tony belding Quote
"the fountain pen geeks"
roflmao
10-02-2016, 02:23 PM   #6
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Good information. I too would be interested in what focal lengths were used. I will be going to my first car show in a few weeks, using K-S2, with maybe my 20-40, FA 50 and DA 70.
10-02-2016, 03:11 PM   #7
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Without doing any in-depth analysis, I can tell you the humble 02 Standard Zoom lens did by far most of the work.

I only used the 01 briefly, when I went into an indoor vendor area and the light was dim. I only used the 08 once, when I needed some shots of a car in a cramped space. (In retrospect I could have used it more; it delivers such a dramatic perspective in close-ups.) I used the 06 when shooting some of the action events: autocross and motorcycle stunt jumping.
10-02-2016, 04:44 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
Native Sony lenses are big, costly, and autofocus. Autofocus has let me down a few too many times.
.
Yeah, they are full frame lenses after all. The 35/2.8 is pretty small, not DA limited small but still. The 28/2 and 50/1.8 are fairly cheap and not huge either, probably no different in size than the taks with the adapter. The AF from the A7 is one of the things I miss most about it. Its reliable and fast, something I don't seem to always get with the K3.

10-05-2016, 08:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
Without doing any in-depth analysis, ...
There is a nice little windows program for analyzing jpeg exif exposure data easily called ExposurePlot available at Vandel.nl the homepage for Wega2 the Image Viewer and Exposureplot the Exif Analyzer utility.
10-05-2016, 05:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GateCityRadio Quote
Yeah, they are full frame lenses after all. The 35/2.8 is pretty small, not DA limited small but still. The 28/2 and 50/1.8 are fairly cheap and not huge either, probably no different in size than the taks with the adapter. The AF from the A7 is one of the things I miss most about it. Its reliable and fast, something I don't seem to always get with the K3.
Most Takumars are very small. I don't see how it makes any sense to add the size of the adapter to the lens? I only have one adapter (not one for every lens), and I keep it on the camera body, and the A7 body with adapter is still smaller and lighter weight than my Pentax K-S2.

Time and experience have led me to conclude that AF is always going to let me down, at least until somebody invents a psychic AF that can read my mind and know what I want to focus on. The only AF that I somewhat trust is on the Q7. It doesn't have calibration problems, always shows me on the display what it locked onto, and the great focal depth gives it a lot of leeway anyhow.

As for the Sony, though. . . I've never found an AF lens that was much good for manual focusing. All the mirrorless systems use focus-by-wire, which is the worst. Some do it better or worse than others, but it's always pretty crummy compared with using an actual MF lens.
10-05-2016, 07:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
Most Takumars are very small. I don't see how it makes any sense to add the size of the adapter to the lens? I only have one adapter (not one for every lens), and I keep it on the camera body, and the A7 body with adapter is still smaller and lighter weight than my Pentax K-S2.

Time and experience have led me to conclude that AF is always going to let me down, at least until somebody invents a psychic AF that can read my mind and know what I want to focus on. The only AF that I somewhat trust is on the Q7. It doesn't have calibration problems, always shows me on the display what it locked onto, and the great focal depth gives it a lot of leeway anyhow.

As for the Sony, though. . . I've never found an AF lens that was much good for manual focusing. All the mirrorless systems use focus-by-wire, which is the worst. Some do it better or worse than others, but it's always pretty crummy compared with using an actual MF lens.
Well I add the size of the adapter because it adds size to the camera and lens combo as a whole. Not so much for whats in the bag but whats in my hand at the time. I agree on their lenses having poor manual focus feel, the focus by wire isn't all that. In my experience the AF wasn't very bad in well lit situations, I use center point focus 99% of the time anyway. In low light it could get bad very quick however.
10-06-2016, 07:23 AM   #12
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Some cameras track where you look to determine where to focus.
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