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  • Zsolt Varanka

Pro & Contra: a practical comparison of a Fujifilm X set to Sony E-mount FE gear for the same budget


Disclaimer

The below observations and statements reflect solely my own experience and opinion with the mentioned photography products.

I am not related to any brands or affiliates.

I am mostly interested in still photography and do not care much about video features.

Regarding glass I have a preconception: zooms are built for convenience, fast primes to use wide open to enjoy their low light capability and artistic rendering. That f/1.4 lens, which needs to be stopped down for proper sharpness simply fails on its purpose.

The value of a camera is earned by its ergonomics and usability, and mostly by the satisfaction the user does not feel seriously limited to achieve ones photography goals.

One should acknowledge other people may have different priorities, sensitivity and interpretation of a particular performance of a product. I am looking for the best quality, affordable gear to enjoy my hobby, photography, and I am definitely not a brand fanboy. Those ones are being brand enthusiastic or affiliated might not agree with (all) my observations and critics, please, do not take any of them intrusive or personal.

As many others, I got tired of the mass of "I switched system and now fully happy with my new gear…" reports on YouTube or personal websites, which lack analytical and objective system comparison. My goal is to share my struggle and experience with the various gear I used to help others to conclude a similar hesitation.

Even, if you disagree with some of my statements, hope, you still find value in these comments.

I go my way, you go your way.

That's fine so far..., but, who is the author to take his evaluation under consideration? Well, I am an award winning amateur photographer, who also earned Excellence of FIAP distinction (FIAP – The International Federation of Photographic Art).

Beware, it is a long story to read, grab a coffee or take a beer before start :)


What is the point of this comparison?

Is there any sense to compare an extended APSC system to a small Fullframe (FF) one - comparing apples to oranges? What are the key aspects?

Here is the point.

Well, the Fujifilm X-system is praised for its "FF-like IQ", well built, high quality lenses, nice, retro-styled cameras with tactical control, smaller sized and weighted camera body and lenses, and all is at lower price comparing to a FF system. However, as a Fujifilm X user one may not be fully satisfied with the Fuji APSC image quality (IQ), especially at higher ISO. One may also find the Fuji cameras and lenses are getting too expensive during the past few years, and the high price is not justified well by the performance, just to mention a well-known fact: its autofocus (AF) system significantly lags behind the competition.

The goal of this article is to identify the real World practical advantages and disadvantages of a very extended, advanced, (almost fully) first party Fujifilm X-mount collection vs. a brand mixed, much smaller Sony E-mount FF set.

More precisely, whether one can get a significantly better performing FF camera system with equivalent weight and volume, comparing to Fujifilm X for cca. the same budget?

...If so, then there is no point to live with the shortcomings and limitations of the APSC Fujifilm. As mentioned in my pevious article I actually spent less when purchased my brand new Sony E-mount kit comparing to the money I got back for the whole Fuji gear when sold it out used. To spend the same I still can buy another quality E-mount lens for cca. 1000 USD, or a Sony APSC body, or just buy the Sony A7RIII body instead of he A7III. Obviously, a key difference that currently I have one camera body instead of two, as before, which is less convenient for fast pace shooting, when lens exchange required frequently. See then, how the new gear performs to the previous one.

Here are the elements of the two sets in comparison:


Set 1:

My Fujifilm set on sale

Fujifilm X-T3 and X-S10 bodies


mark I prime lenses:

Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR

Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R

Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R

Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

Venus Optics Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro


zoom lenses:

Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS

Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR


Set 2:

My current FE E-mount set

Sony A7III body


primes:

Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye with

Sigma MC-11 mount converter (both are hardly used secondhand)

Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN Art


zooms:

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di lll RXD

Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS


Please, note, I use different structure for the lens and the camera comparisons below. The reason is the following: comparing lenses has much less aspects than cameras. Therefore, I give my input about each X-mount lenses I owned and compare its performance to the same purpose / replacing Sony E-mount glass. For lenses I mainly discuss: sharpness and resolution, especially wide open, AF performance and stabilization. On the contrary, cameras have many features, pros and contras, which are listed separately for each body for easy digest.


Lens comparison

When looking back to the time when I had 10 lenses, and now have only 5, at least the following questions come up:


Was the lens replacement successful? Do I miss the numerous, fast, nice Fuji primes?

Well, I am happy to report the replacement was very successful! If sometimes I miss a specific feature of a Fuji lens, it is valid for one prime only, and not at all for the rest. Obviously, I have positive emotions to some particular ones, but, generally, I had issues with the perceived sharpness of the Fuji primes wide open. Another thing, I am evidently overbought with the Fuji primes trying to be prepared for various potential low light or artistic situations, but, finally, some of them were hardly used.


Primes

Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR

  • My primary use of this glass was composing bokehlicios environmental macro photos about flowers or other small subjects (like insects, larger bugs)


Closeup bokeh of the Fujinon 16/1.4 wide open is beautiful
  • I miss the rendering, the creamy smooth bokeh wide open (if the subject is very close) of my X-mount real favorite, my most used prime, the zero-distortion Fujinon 16/1.4

  • When the subject is a bit away from its minimal focusing distance the bokeh is just average even at f/1.4


Once the subject is not so close the Fujinon 16/1.4 bokeh is just average

  • Unfortunately, fully open the lens misses the crispness of the areas in focus (Christopher Frost found the same issue). However, once stopped down for right sharpness (f/2), regrettably, the beautiful bokeh is gone.

  • The 16/1.4 is well usable for astro, (actually, a bit tights for the sky), but, again, needs to be stopped down to f/1.8-2 to get optimal sharpness and minimal coma (example photo), which is associated with more noise

  • Actually, I am still looking for an even bokehlicious, fast wide angle replacement on the Sony E-mount platform. My initial candidate, the 35/1.4 DG DN Sigma is very sharp wide open, but its bokeh is very unpleasing for my eyes. If Tamron is not releasing the E-mount iteration of the ultimate quality Tamron SP 35/1.4, I might purchase the original DSLR Canon-mount version and use with the MC-11 adapter.


The bokeh of the Sigma 35/1.4 DG DN is far to be soft and creamy


  • Replacement: to my surprise, the bokeh is quite high quality of the other close focusing zoom, the Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6, which bokeh balls are significantly larger and softer at 28mm than that of the 17-28/2.8 (which bokeh is not really spectacular).


The Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6 has quite nice bokeh

  • However, hard to compete with the subject separation, 3D effect and bokeh of the Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN (see more sample photos later).

  • As concluded, have more options as a functional replacement for 'macroish' shots with pleasing bokeh, even, can use my old, permanent gear, the characteristic, adapted Meyer-Görlitz Trioplan 100/2.8 providing 'soapy bubbles', but no direct replacement for astro (think, the Tamron 17-28/2.8 will work fine, once I need).





The soapy bubbles of the ancient Meyer-Görlitz Trioplan 100/2.8 always add atmosphere




Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R

  • Planned for indoor portraits and some outdoor semi-macro, but AF always failed to follow moving subjects.

  • When tested, I found its sharpness level is about the same as of the 16/1.4 wide open, but, lacking close focusing feature, so it is absolutely unusable for environmental macro

  • I do not miss this one at all. (see generous lens review by Christopher Frost)

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R

  • Was reading so much good about this must have, cheap lens, I thought I will have a good use of it. Nevertheless, I used the Fujinon 35/1.4 for environmental portraits, landscape and flower shots one or two times a year, only.

  • This is the oldest X-mount lens, and a 10+ years design is really showing the beginnings of the Fuji X optical platform. Unfortunately, its IQ is not so nice at f/1.4 (sharpness, better say softness, ghosting and CA, not to mention the sluggish and noisy AF). The IQ is excellent from f/5.6 (yes, but who cares? For f/5.6 shots I use zooms...).

  • Some people say there is a magic rendering built into this lens, what actually, I could not recognize, rather, found a real atmosphere in the swirley bokeh of the Fuji 55-200/3.5-4.8 instead

  • Another issue that the aperture ring is quite loose, so easily mis-set.

  • As hardly used I do not miss this glass at all. Think the Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6 zoom replaces its focal length well (obviously, not the same Depth of Field (DOF)).


The bokeh of the Fujinon 35/1.4 is nice at f/1.4, but the image is very soft
Even if stopped down to f/2 still remains softness, also, nice bokeh gone


Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R

  • This was my second Fuji portrait lens, hoped to use as a classic 85/1.8 equivalent glass.

  • Literally, it has very nice, soft bokeh and image rendering, but (at least my copy) was just not sharp and contrasty enough wide open, how it is supposed to be great, (…never needed to soften the skin as I had to do for the Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR II photos…). I want to mention some people find this glass very sharp, others find to be very soft (link), so, sample variation looks to be a common issue, and all agrees AF is... far to be good. One may find Dustin Abbot's detailed review informative.

  • So, over the missing crispness at f1.2, the most critical issue is coming from the Fuji AF system, which tends to focus on the eyelashes (or the tip of the nose) instead of the iris, and, as a result, the photo has a soft focus feeling. Note: anything stating about the Fujifilm AF system is valid up to X-T4, the latest camera as of now: end of May, 2022, as we do not know the future, the X-H2 is not yet announced and reviewed).

  • What is true, when stopped down, it is very sharp (but, again, who stops down a fast prime?)

  • Very negative: the 7, edgy aperture blades give ugly bokeh, so, be very careful about the light sources in your background


The bokeh of the Fujinon 56/1.2 is nice wide open, but gets distracting once stopped down a bit due to the 7 edgy blades. Also, see how sharpness improves and longitudinal chromoatic abberation eliminates on the foreground subject as stopping down the lens

  • Close focus results with extension tubes is poor (resulted in IQ degradation: softness and CA), its ugly bokeh stopped down (must for macro) even more distracting, a no go for macro purposes

  • Further issue that the aperture ring is quite loose (like that of the 35/1.4), so easily moves to a stopped down position.

  • For an 85mm equiv. glass lens stabilization is a very strong plus (the 56/1.2 is unstabilized, and Fuji has only 2 recent bodies with In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS))

  • Lateral chromatic aberration is very visible and distracting wide open when shooting contrasty subject

  • This is an unjustifiedly expensive lens, many times disappointed its performance

  • Now, as the proven APSC X-mount Sigma 56/1.4 sold at 480 USD and the Viltrox 56/1.4 for 300 USD the old Fuji 56/1.2 has no reasons to buy. (Just leaked: for a very good reason Fujifilm is working on the mark II version of the 56/1.2, so good news for Fuji fans!)

  • The replacing Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN (with equiv. focal lenghts) is just not in the same league with the 56/1.2, a much better substitution of the two Fuji portrait lenses, the Fujinon 56/1.2 and the Fujinon 90/2. See my detailed verdict in the next paragraph.


Wide open the bokeh and subject separation of the Fujnon 56/1.2 is nice and soft
So then, what could we say about the same features of the Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN? Amazing? Uncomparable!


Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

  • My first Fuji portrait lens. Opposed to the Fuji 56/1.2, the 90/2 is just very well-built, weather resistant (WR), fantastic optically, has zero distortion, sharp wide open, has linear motors, fast and precise at the AF-department. This one also renders out of focus area beautifully. See lens review here.

  • ...But f/2 on APSC is not separating the subject from the background well for me (equivalent to a 135/3 FF lens, often proved to be too long for indoor portrait shooting).

  • And, Fuji made the same mistake as with the 56/1.2: having here also 7 edgy aperture blades, so careful, when stopping down! (Let's state: minimum 9, rounded blades is a must for a modern lens...).


Test shots demonstrate how the 7 edgy aperture blades destroy the otherwise very nice bokeh of the Fujinon 90/2 wide open

The old Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR II performs much better in the bokeh business than the Fujinon portrait glasses
  • Further problem is the lack of image stabilization, as these focal lengths often need to be stabilized (think about sunset portraits). The choice of IBIS-equipped Fuji cameras is very slim in 2021/22: the T4 and the S10, only. On the contrary, the Sony FF bodies have IBIS, so stabilize every lens, even the old, adapted manual focus ones.

  • The 90/2 works fine for semi-macro, IQ stays fine with extension tubes.

Flower closeup image with the Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN @f/1.4. Outstanding 3D effect and background separation!
  • If the bokeh and rendering of the 56/1.4 is very nice, and the sharpness, overall IQ and AF of the 90/2 is great, the replacing Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN is still levels up to both two! The Sigma is crazy sharp wide open, has negligible CA, its soft rendering and bokeh is beautiful even stopped down a little (sure, it has 11 rounded aperture blades), subject separation is uncomparable to the Fujis, focuses well for half-body, or full body shots, as well (which is not true for the 56/1.2), build quality is top notch (aperture ring, switches, lockable AF-ring), very well usable for 3D-look, subject-separating semi-macro shots, as accepts well a slim extension tube. (Adding fat tubes and getting even closer, though, kills image sharpness and introduces ugly lateral chromatic aberration, so not ideal for real (1:1) macro). There are two optical flaws I found, and that is cateye shaped bokeh balls at the periphery of the image (wide open), the other is the pincushion distortion of the Sigma. However, the last is virtually flattering, consequently, it is benefiting for the face of many people.

Closeup image with the Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN @f/2. Detail, DOF, bokeh is ideal
Macro image with the Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN @f/3.5, if some more DOF and defined bokehballs are demanded

  • Let me give some more insights to the Sigma 85/1.4 - actually, as expected, I hardy use it stopped down (only when need proper DOF for group shots or for closeup work), as it is very sharp wide open, hits the iris over 90% accuracy with the A7III, thanks to Sony's AF with artifical intelligence. Also very positive the lens's small size and more than acceptable weight, not to mention its reasonable pricetag (1200 USD, but I got mine for 1000 USD at Sigma summer promo). For my money I got a highly valuable, trusty workhorse, especially, when compared to the much less practical valued Fuji 56/1.2 (1000 USD) or its APD version (1500 USD!). In summary, I am very happy with this dual-purpose replacement: for portrait and semi macro. Sigma is not exaggerating, it is an exceptional lens.


Venus Optics Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra-Macro

  • I can put here the manual focus X-mount Laowa 65/2.8 2x macro lens, as well, which I sorry for its exceptional IQ. If you are a Fujifilm user, recommend to choose no other than this glass: it is perfect: crazy sharp, technically has no chromatic aberration, has 2 times magnification, small, lightweight and the price point is quite affordable.


Example macro photos taken with the Laowa 65/2.8 2x macro

  • At the same time, as I am getting lazy to put much effort into true / super macro work, not really miss this lens. But, in any case, if I need true macro, I am good to use one of my vintage manual focus 50/1.7 lens (e.g. Cosinon auto 50/1.7) with a reverse ring (see Thomas Shahan's amazing macro shots and videos with vintage glasses for reference).


Use of a cheap vintage lens reversed for closeup shots



Zooms

Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS

  • This is a primary landscape and travel lens, I have mixed feelings about, still, consider as a well usable lens despite its weaknesses.

  • The zoom range is very versatile and IQ is high if the RAW file is processed with the right software [e.g. converted by Iridient X-Transformer (IRXT) then processed with Adobe Lightroom (LR) or Photoshop (PS) or directly processed with Capture One (C1)]. The lens is quite compact and had no issues with the weather sealing of the mark I version, either.


Landscape photographs taken with the Fujinon 10-24/4 lens


  • At the same time, I found this lens must be stopped at least to f/5.6 for fine results as it is too soft at f/4 (might be my copy only, again?), also, corners are poor. See lens review here. Therefore, practically, it is a slow lens, not useable for astro at all.

  • The Optical IS (OIS) is quite weak, and it is not a close focusing lens, so has no macro capabilities.

  • Further issue its ambivalent software-based barrel distortion correction for video: the edges of the frame are often jump flip-flop by the sloppy software correction.

  • During my recent trip to Slovenia I tested the Fuji 10-24/4 on X-T20 (24 MP) side by side against the Tamron 17-28/2.8 on Sony A7III (24 MP) at equivalent focal lengths on the same tripod. I found when the Fuji image was processed carefully by C1 and the Sony by LR, then the Fuji IQ reached cca. 92-95% of the Sony-Tamron IQ. Converting the Fuji RAW by IRXT, then processed by LR results in very slightly weaker sharpness and detail comparing to those processed by C1. In general, the Tamron is the overall sharper and more contrasty lens (gives more details), but the Fuji is the more balanced as it resolves less details in the middle, but the extreme corners are sharper (when stopped down).The barrel distortion of both lenses are quite prononunced. Even, I lost some focus range with the change to the Tamron 17-28/2.8 I enjoy it's much better IQ wide open (f/2.8, so 2 stops practical advantage), which is also good for night sky. Also love its close focusing ability and small size and weight, which is a huge benefit for travelling light.


Evaluating lens performance of the Tamron 17-28/2.8 vs the Fujinon 10-24/4 in relation to different port processing. Full sized crops of the image centers are displayed. Clearly shows the Tamron holds more details and contrast, but the Fuji image is also very detailed when edited with Capture One

Landscape photographs taken with the Tamron 17-28/2.8 lens



Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

  • It is said to be the best kit lens in the World. Actually, has very good build quality, focuses relatively fast, and has a faster than generic variable aperture from 2.8 to 4 instead of 3.5 to 5.6, which is the kit standard. It is also a proven well usable lens for video in the Fuji World (lens review).

  • Still, I really disliked that lens and tried to avoid any use due to its compromised optical quality and hard need for excessive stop down (f/8-11) for good IQ, but finally, the long end remains weak anyhow (awful corners). For me the Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6 zoom is a way better replacement with much better IQ and more versatility as a 2 in 1 lens. See my replacement verdict at the next lens summary.


Fujifilm X-T20 + Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 @f/10 25mm

Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

  • I liked the Fujinon 55-200/3.5-4.8 lens quite much. Considered to be an excellent price to performance ratio lens, but due to its pincushion distortion I found it is also advised to apply IRXT RAW conversion with optical correction 'OFF' to get maximum detail out of the files (as the built in software correction decreases the IQ of the image center). This zoom has a nice, moderate swirly bokeh effect at its shorter end, which gives some 3D hint, so a special atmosphere to the images. Stabilization was found to be very effective and the lens might be used wide open or with minimal stop down with very good results. I found it to be an excellent lens for landscape photography (similarly, as Andy Mumford, also see Christopher Frost's review here). When it hits, the result is very pleasing, unfortunately, I got many missed focus shots for portrait, as it tends to focus on the nose even in spot or eye-AF mode (due to Fuji AF system).


Travel, landscape and macro photographs taken with the Fujinon 55-200/3.5-4.8 lens


  • My replacement is the Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6 zoom, again, which, unfortunately has no stabilization, so, needs to take care more at slower shutter speeds (SS). Despite the Fuji zoom, it has a zoom lock switch on the barrel, but no need to use as it does not extend when carry vertically (with backpack bracket like Peak Design Capture). Very usefully its short end starts from wide 28mm and performs excellently up to 200mm. The other very positive feature its close focusing capability (works well with extension tube, too), so I like to use for semi-macro shots on flowers. The 2.8 to 5.6 aperture gives better subject separation comparing to the Fuji 55-200mm (equiv. to FF DOF 82-300/5.2-7.2mm). The Tamron zoom has the same weight as the Fuji, also, the Tamron replaces 2 Fujifilm lenses, the 18-55/2.8-4 and the 55-200/3.5-4.8. So, saved weight and volume in the bag, also, need lens exchange less frequently, which is very handy and relaxing. When travelling light the 28-200/2.8-5.6 zoom is a perfect one-lens solution. The mentioned Tamrons' build quality is not the same as of the Fuji, but, believe the good quality engineered plastic serves well for its planned many years lifecycle. Really, who want to use an expensive, but outdated 15 years old lens with metal barrel? Summary: I am very happy with this multi-purpose lens (3 in 1 wide angle, medium and long telephoto without drawbacks for semi macro, portrait, travel, landscape, etc).


Travel and closeup photographs taken with the Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6 zoom



Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

  • My only one wildlife lens for Fuji (shorter ones are good for domestic animals, not wild). See lens review by Opticallimits. I feel sorry it's gone for its smaller weight and size, which matches an older FF 70-200/2.8 zoom (~1.5kg). It was a joy to walk with this lens in the nature due to its portability, but it often caused a disappointment when sorted the taken images due to many missed focus, which I think is coming from the overall Fujifilm X system's limited AF performance (again, statement is up to T3/T4 for sure, H2 is not yet tested). This lens coupled with the T3 or S10 body caused the worst moments for me while at the Fuji platform when realized the so many missed opportunities I could have caught with a more capable system.

The Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 renders nice bokeh for closeup shots
  • I want to mention this lens might be very well used wide open as it is very sharp (hardly ever stopped down, only when DOF required). It has silent, fast AF with the linear motors, but, found focuses better on closer subjects than on ones in the distance.

  • Positively, it renders nice bokeh when use for semi-macro

  • Its build quality is unquestionable, I used it many times in the Nature, and found its dust resistance works very well

  • The huge positive of the Fuji ultrazoom its high performing OIS. I was able to get sharp photos at 1/60 at 400mm (equivalent to 600mm @FF) when mounted on the X-S10 (aided by IBIS). While, with the Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3 hardly able to go under 1/160-1/200. As one might guess, rarely able to go below 1/800 SS for wild animals in motion, so Fujifilm's OIS advantage could not be realized in most cases.


Fujifilm X-S10 + Fujifilm 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @f/5.6 1/110 400mm ISO3200, miss details
Fujifilm X-T3 + Fujinon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @f/8 1/1250 211mm ISO1600, denoised with TDAI, IQ is fine

  • Still, need to think in systems/platforms, and not in independent gear elements: this is an overpriced product, costs about the same or much more than the Sony E-mount counterparty offers (Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3 [2000 USD] or Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 [1400 USD] or Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 [1300 USD], or the shorter Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 [900 USD]). Coupled with Fuji's limited, noisier APSC sensor and lower performing AF no way it competes to its FF equivalents. Due to the incomparable overall system potential of the current Fujifilm X offer I would never buy this lens again, and try to use (any brand) APSC camera for wildlife.

  • Although, the replacing Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3 is a heavier and larger lens than the same purpose Fuji, also, the OIS is less effective, it is very sharp wide open, AF is fast and reliable, also weather resistant and has internal zoom, which is a huge benefit to collect even less dust inside, further, makes use a real joy to use the lens on gimbal head. Together with the 'beginner A7III camera's' Sony E-mount AF system I am finally very happy with my wildlife gear, never feel again missing nice opportunities. (Sure, the Sony also miss photos, but not at the same level as the Fuji, also, always have many good hits from any burst series). Carring the extra ~600g worth the inconvenience.


Challenging AF situation: Sony A7III + Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3 @f/6.3 1/800 600mm ISO 8000, denoised with TDAI
Challenging light circumstances: Sony A7III + Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3 @f/6.3 1/500 559mm ISO 25600, denoised with TDAI


Third party lenses

  • There are 2 widely appreciated cheap third party lenses for X-mount I owned: the wide angle manual focus Samyang 12/2 and the Samyang 8/2.8 UMC II fisheye. Unfortunately, both of my copies were decentered, so I returned them. Otherwise, the sharpness was found to be fine for both, but the 12/2 had very serious vignetting wide open. The new generation AF Samyang lenses are reported to be quite good to the price, but, afraid, I lost my trust in the brand, better pay more for satisfying results. As there is no native AF fisheye exists for the E-mount I searched for an adaptable option and bought the Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye from the '80-s, one of the optically best fisheye lens ever produced, and you may bet, I am very happy with!


Sony A7III + MC11 + Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye



Concluding remarks on lenses

  • A nice feaure of the newer Fujinon lenses (and many older ones) that most are WR. Although, my WR 16/1.4 had noticeable dust inside, so actual dust resistance is questionable.

  • aperture ring on premium (XF) lenses is handy to use, enjoyed to use very much, but, having 10 year Nikon DSLR background, for me, it is easy to switch back to the camera front dial (btw. many E-mount lenses have aperture ring)

  • In general, I disappointed in the mark I, slow AF and unsharp wide open primes designed for 16 MP, not optimal even for a 26 MP sensor. They will no doubt fail at 40 MP (only survivor assume is the 200/2), so it is wise Fuji is releasing the brilliant, high IQ new primes (like 18/1.4 or 23/1.4 mark II, see Christopher Frost's reviews on YouTube. But, one to pay FF price for an APSC lens (900-1000 USD each).

  • Fujinon consumer zooms are not killing sharp, often provide not enough detail, but the 10-24/4 and the 55-200/3.5-4.8 still good enough on 26 MP (recommend to use IRXT or C1 to get most out of it). Expect all will fail at 40 MP resolution, and also on AF accuracy mounted to X-H2s 26 MP, when burst at 40fps. Sadly, no news about mark II zooms, yet

  • Fujinon zooms have much distortion and Fuji relies on software correction (with built-in lens profile) to fix, which cannot be turned off in CameraRaw - so the sharpness/resolution is degraded

  • The Tamron zooms also have distortion (especially, the 17-28/2.8 at the short end), but they are quite sharp, so resulting image remains detailed after the automatically applied software correction. They are already proven on 42 MP.

  • The Tamron 28-200/2.8-5.6 is a sharp lens, however, when compare the resolution with the Sigma 85/1.4 DG DN on the same subject the Tamron smokes!

  • The Fujinon XF lenses are beautiful retro style products, more attractive than the Tamron or Nikon zooms I owned... The pro-grade Sigma 85/1.4 and the Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3 are also appealing products in another way, they have modern look, what I also like. But who cares the look?... Finally, these are just tools to get the expected results, are not they?

  • Do not get me wrong! I think the Fujifilm X system (lenses and cameras) are high quality, high potential products, and very well usable gear for professional purposes on certain areas, but I found this is not the most suitable and advanced system for my needs. Till I was interested in mostly travelling and landscape photography I enjoyed the Fuji system very much (with some caveats), but, as my skills improved and needs and expectations raised by growing wildlife and portrait genre interest I prefer to use the very cost effective and higher performing Sony E Fullframe platform.


E-mount FF lenses pro

  • Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD is a light and small, wide-open sharp wide-angle lens with unexpected high IQ and internal zoom, loved by gimbal users

  • Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di lll RXD is a very sharp, very versatile lens (moderate wide, short-, medium, moderate long-telephoto in one), for its close focusing capability well usable for close up shots. It also receives well extension tubes, the IQ is not degrading, rendering, bokeh is nice

  • Image IQ (sharpness, CA) and shallow DOF of flagship FF Sony and third party lenses are performing significantly better than Fujifilm mark I glass and have 1 stop advantage on shallow DOF.

  • A Sony FF f/1.4 lens is a true 1.4 lens as can be used wide open without compromising the IQ. Examples: Fujifilm 16/1.4, 23/1.4, 35/1.4, 56/1.2 are soft wide open. Need to stop down to min. f/1.8-2 to get better (acceptable) details, so in terms of DOF they work as an ~f/3 (f/2 x 1.5) lens. As an E-mount lens, one of the best is the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art

  • In general - better bokeh for fast primes: due to larger front element of fast lenses and by well-rounded (and often 9 or 11 element) aperture blades. (Fujifilm 56/1.2 and 90/2 has 7 edgy blades resulting awful bokeh many times)

  • Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS internal zoom (so great on gimbal head), best in class product


E-mount FF lenses contra

  • Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD has a bit weird and slow autofocus (not a real issue for landscape), it has lower IQ in the corners

  • Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di lll RXD would be better with OIS (obviously, also more expensive)

  • Same speed, equivalent focal range FF lenses are (generally) larger and heavier than APSC counterparty (yes, physics, but not true for e.g. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II against FUJIFILM XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens, as both weight about 1 kg!, or the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II Lens vs FUJIFILM XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Lens, both are cca. 0.7 kg!)

  • Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS is just over 2kg, might be heavy for some people to carry (but, it is physics, the Sigma 150-600/5.6-6.3 has similar weight)


Camera comparison

Under this point I am going to compare the main features and capabilities of the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-S10 bodies against the cheapest Sony FF product, the A7III (let me ignore its even cheaper variant, the A7C for now). As known, the X-T3 and the A7III are same generation cameras released in 2018, the X-S10 was released in 2020, and essentially use the same generation hardware and software as the X-T3, but IBIS was added and some ergonomics features deducted. Added a few reference for X-T4, and also provided some remarks about the previous generation Fujifilm X-T20, which I consider an excellent price/performance camera (for the purpose it was designed).

Note: under Fujifilm pro/cons section 1st the latest X-platform generic features, then model specific properties are discussed. I have no hands-on experience with other, higher end Sony bodies, so, all Sony camera featured valid for the A7III model only.


Fujifilm camera pro

Ergonomics

  • Lossless compressed RAW option is available, great to decrease the storage need

  • There is a dedicated EVF / LCD switch button, which helps quick camera handling

  • Very good LCD / viewfinder (VF) customization

  • The Q (quick) menu is great

  • Recent Fujifilm cameras electronic shutter speed can be as short as 1/32000s, which is amazing when use very fast (f/1.2-1.4) lenses in bright light (no need for neutral density filters)

  • Self-timer runs counting back on display, so, can see how many seconds remain till exposure triggered

  • T3 and T20: can customize the camera quite well, excluding the replacement of the ISO dial for the T3

  • T3/S10: is a responsive camera (wake up, video to start and stop), the T20 is slower, like Sony A7III

  • T3: exposure time can run for minutes, not maxed out at standard 30s, this is useful (not valid for S10)

  • T3: very good IQ EVF (has split screen for focus peaking), the T20 and S10 EVF has lower quality, but still satisfying

  • T3: the 3-way display is great, should be industry standard

  • S10: grip is great, better than that Sony A7III has

  • Consumer line cameras T20/T30/S10: has very light and small body, great walkaround

IQ

  • IQ is fine at base and low ISO with moderately contrasty scene, but often needs bracketing for landscape photos

  • White balance (WB) measurement is generally very accurate (for these newer models, but was quite bad for the older X-T10 and X-M1)


Fujifilm X-T3 + Fujifilm 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @f/6.4 1/200 400mm ISO 1250 SOOC camera JPG and edited photo from RAW file, denoised with TDAI


  • Film simulations are very good initial point to start editing, colors are well set and calibrated, no need for excessive color channel adjustments during post production (at the same time the standard filmsim: Provia is not really neutral / natural). Need to mention skilly photographers can create the very same color grading from any brand camera, the built in profiles have no real relevance


Having accurate WB and nice camera JPG profiles / film simulations helps, but for the trained eyes it is not a challenge to set same color grading for images from different camera make. Capture One postprocessing is the courtesy of Zoltan Lugosi, editing by LR was done by myself

  • The X-trans pattern really helps to eliminate moiré and due to lack of antialiasing filter it has a good potential to get very sharp, detailed photos, (unfortunately, industry standard post processing software by Adobe does not support to get most out of the Fuji RAW files - color and detail, also, very limited number of Fuji lenses are crazy sharp - mostly the new generation / mark II ones)


Price

  • T20: 900 USD launch price is fine

  • S10: 1000 USD launch price is fine

Ecosystem

  • Lot of 1st party lenses with various quality and price point (but some essential types are missing).

  • The better quality (XF) Fuji lenses are quite pricey. Sigma, Tamron and Viltrox joined Fujifilm X line with very competitive quality and price, so expect they will cut under the price of the mark I Fujifilm (used) lenses like 16/1.4, 23/1.4, 56/1.2, etc. This is good news for those plan to buy 3rd party lenses, makes the system more affordable.


Fujifilm camera contra

Ergonomics

  • No multi-exposure with RAW output (only JPEG)

  • Camera menu: the 'my menu' is restricted, e.g. cannot add 'format SD card'. Why must go into the generic and extensive menu every time for this frequent activity?? (OK, there is a button combination shortcut to format card, but that often does not response / work). Actually, since I know the Sony camera full-page-jump menu I really do not like scrolling menu (Nikon, Fuji)

  • Each camera line and generation has different button layout, it is a pain to use different models in parallel (like T3 and S10, T3 and T30, etc.), as muscle memory often fails

  • Platform general: Camera's button and dial ergonomics is suboptimal. Fujifilm cameras have small fn buttons, and mostly placed non-ideally. Front and rear dial is small and not rubberized, easy to push when rotate (undesired option selected), especially under very cold conditions (minus 10 degree Celsius).

  • Joystick is hard to use, placed too low to reach conveniently by the thumb


The position of the joystick on the Fuji X-S10, Sony A7III and Fuji X-T3. The highest, so best is on the A7III, but could be shifted even higher for better ergonomics

Thumb position is awkward when reach joystick of the Fuji X cameras vs. using The A7III


  • Technically, no grip on Fujifilm X cameras, but on H1, T4 and S10, only. L-bracket is suggested for comfortable hold


Comparing the grip of the Sony and the Fuji cameras. The best is that of the X-S10

  • Slow image review

  • Workflow ergonomics: due to the suboptimal demosaicing mechanism by LR, my workflow includes Fuji RAW conversion with IRXT software to DNG, then this larger file was postprocessed by LR with the goal to achieve better final IQ. This means additional step (time and effort) and storage. The editing part also takes longer as X-trans manipulation needs more CPU resources, resulting in longer waiting time while rendering / processing. Alternative editing software (C1, Luminar) often does not fit into many people workflow

  • Battery life is substandard under model T4, T4's battery is much better, but still not great

  • T3: top camera dials for ISO and SS look nice and seem tactical, for fast pace shooting, especially with heavy lens this ergonomics is not well usable. Why: the quickest way to change camera setting when everything can be set by the right fingers (iris, SS, ISO and/or compensation), while holding the camera or long lens with the left hand. When holding the 100-400/4.5-5.6 or the 200/2 lens with left hand how can you adjust the ISO dial on the left side? No way, only if set AUTO ISO and adjust compensation with the right hand, so dedicated ISO dial is not used at all. Another issue: the SS dial rotates in full stops, the thirds could be set by a secondary dial, so complicated = slow. The retro design is fine for street, landscape and travel with small lens, but very inconvenient with long lens use for sport and wildlife photography. No question, many Fuji fans love these cameras for the dial ergonomics, assume, most have no interest in the sport and wildlife genre.

  • T3: exposure compensation dial is hard to rotate (alternatively, set to 'C' mode and use any secondary dial)

  • T3: the use of 4-way selector also suboptimal (actually, Canon and Sony rotating 4-way disk seems to be the best industrial solution for the same job)

  • T3/T4: bad placement of physical AF { S|C|M } switch in front of the camera. Should be on the backside or on the camera top for best ergonomics.

  • T3: forgets self-timer mode when camera switched off, (S10 is fine, as can be set to remember to self-timer mode)

  • T3: consider the T3 on the tolarable edge on weight and size for and APSC mirrorless camera

  • T4: is heavier and larger than some FF mirrorless cameras

  • T4 and S10: selfie display is not favorized for photography by most others than Youtubers (even if this is getting to be the standard recently. The flipped out screen is fragile, also, not in the axis of the lens, see owner comments on Fujirumors.com)

  • S10: camera customization is poor. Stupid limitations e.g. on rotation dial functions (cannot swap the front and rear dials) and cannot assign exposure compensation when set manual exposure and auto ISO, so a no go for wildlife photography

  • S10: AF joystick operates imprecisely and slowly

  • S10: button layout is tragic, miss the 4-way selector

  • S10: has no physical dial for AF modes

AF

  • Even, most of the Fuji fans agree AF is weak in every term comparing to any other brands: for eye-AF, for wildlife, to track motion, for low light focus. AF Continuous often misses static subjects (as it is focus pumping: searching for focus, need to switch to AF Single for accuracy!), video AF is jumpy, no nice transition. AF sucks when light needs 12800 ISO (anyway, IQ is already unusable for wildlife right below ISO 6400)

  • The T3 misses focus on the eye/face even more frequently during studio shooting comparing to outdoor shoots. My solution was to turn the modelling lights to maximum power to get better AF accuracy

IQ

  • ISO 160/200 as base vs ISO 100 is nonsense. Every other APSC base ISO is 100, resulting in cleaner image, also good for studio flash photography workshops, when all students need to apply the same camera settings

  • For my taste: generally, acceptable IQ for wildlife photos is up to ISO 2000 (with good/strong light and fast motion the maximum limit is ISO 3200), but it needs after treatment with third party noise reduction software like Topaz DeNoise AI (TDAI). Remark: obviously, noise/granularity does not necessarily kills creative art images, but for wildlife noise and grain and missing details is a clear no go

  • As said, base and low ISO noise and IQ on APSC is acceptable. While the noise difference between APSC and FF might be about 1.5 stops at base ISO, the difference is dynamically growing at mid or high ISO and images visibly lose details from ISO 800 at any APSC brand (at 1:1 magnification). Example: while ISO 4000 / 6400 is unacceptably noisy on APSC, ISO 25600 / 32000 is still OK on FF, that is 2 to 3 stops difference, which is practically huge! Not to mention, maximum ISO is 12800 on Fuji, but absolutely unusable. See my bear photos in Transylvania, there are many taken at ISO 12800 to 32000) vs deer photo with T3 at ISO 12800.


Camera settings statistics for the bear photos taken in Transylvania, see gallery for the photos

Over the technical limit. Photo was taken with Fujifilm X-T3 + Fujifilm 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 @f/5.6 1/50 400mm ISO 12800. No more ISO to freeze motion. Showing SOOC JPG, edited RAW file with LR only, then 2 more post-denoised with 2 different TDAI algorithms.

  • Regarding high ISO noise tolerance: for those has no wildlife shooting experience: it is very rare ISO can be set under 2000 or even 1000 (only under right sunlight), rather, be happy, if can stay under 12800 (morning, evening, when most animals active), but shooting at 25600 to 32000 is still often required, as mentioned above. Where you stop shooting with Fuji (by ISO and AF limitations) you still can continue to shoot with FF for long.

  • X-trans RAW processing is unfavorable. Reason: industry standard Adobe LR and PS does not support to get out the full potential of the Fujifilm RAW image. See details above under workflow ergonomics.


Price

  • X-T3: 1500 USD launch price is at the pain threshold as has no IBIS, now it is dropped to 1000 USD, a significant depreciation (good for new buyers, but bad for already owners).

  • X-T4: 1700 USD launch price, more expensive than several FF camera, found to be unreasonal for many with the little feature impovements over the T3 (IBIS, battery, some video features), so many T3 owners decided to skip the T4 and wait for the T5. (Note: the best selling Sony camera the A7III is still sold at its launch price: 2000 USD, so hold its value. There are always debate, as well, so can get for 1700 USD!). Choose Fuji APSC limitations for the same budget?

  • next Fuji flagship model, the26 MP X-H2s is foreseen with relatively high price tag (2500 USD), equivalent to the price of the new 33 MP FF Sony A7IV, which is not a flagship model, but, presumably, still more advanced and have a better use in many critical areas.

  • when one wants to upgrade to the other, new 40 MP Fuji camera, the X-H2, literally, needs to sell all owned mark I lenses and upgrade to the new high priced quality lenses like 18/1.4, 23/1.4, 33/1.4, etc. But, first, need to wait for years for Fujifilm to design and produce a new high res. lens lineup. Remember, no mark II zooms released yet, but the 10-24/4 mark II, which optical formula unchanged, so will underperform at 40 MP! The upgrade to 40 MP Fuji X comes with similar cost as changing camera system to another brand. Which is better, to re-buy into the new Fuji ecosystem with hardly available lenses now, or change brand, which has full lineup right now?

Ecosystem

  • Even there are so many lenses available, lens choice is far from best, many repeated and overlapping focus range (for example: 16-50, 16-55, 18-55, 15-45, 16-80, etc. ).

  • No fisheye, no tilt-shift, no real good portrait and wildlife lens lineup exists. (The 200/2 is great, very expensive: 6000 USD!, but short (equiv. to FF 300/3 and 420/4.5 with 1.4 TC), also, no longer, 500/4 and 600/4 mm fast FF alternative exists, and presumably will never be for financial reasons).

Generic performance

  • overall Fujifilm X system performance is limited by sensor size (noise, IQ) and autofocus accuracy (AF in low light, eye-AF, motion tracking). For this reasons, best suit for beginners and patient advanced amateurs with limited needs and interest to specific genres. Not optimal for semi-pro or pro photographers, especially for action/sport/wildlife and portrait/fashion. Further, no professional services provided. Therefore, there are much less Fujifilm pro shooters exist than Canon or Sony ones. Certainly, the platform is also used by professional photographers, which clearly prove the X-system could be used professionally with its known limitations, so, kudos to these pros!

  • One of the reason I switched from Nikon to Fujifilm is the promise I do not need to postprocess the RAW files due to the very pleasing quality of the Fuji Straight out of camera (SOOC) JPG files. Well, no doubt, not only the Fuji JPGs, but the RAW files are also very strongly processed by the camera (so very easy to postprocess/adjust Fuji RAW), but, neither the SOOC JPG colors, nor the image sharpness satisfy my eyes. So, even, if the they look generally better, I relinguished soon to accept the SOOC JPGs, and returned to RAW postprocessing to my taste (see example SOOC images from Fuji and Sony under Fujifilm camera pro / IQ section).


Sony A7III pro

Ergonomics

  • Camera ergonomics - buttons customization and placement, dials to use, also, joystick placement is almost perfect, ergonomics of the while FF alpha series is well designed and matured, the more expensive models have even better controls. (see Joystick placement as compared to Fuji's under Fujifilm camera contra / Ergonics section)

  • Camera customization is way better than Fuji. Many settings can be ported out to separate buttons, fn (quick menu) is great, not much limitations in 'my menu' entry counts: can add almost every item I need, like the Format SD card, which is not possible for Fuji (however, video customization in 'my menu' is limited!)

  • I like the old Sony menu: logically grouped and jumps per pages (thanks for no scrolling!). The new Sony menu said even better

  • Rotating back selector is great, continuous image review is fast with this

  • Overall image review is fast, anyway

  • Small, light body, have a nice grip (better than of Nikon D750 DSLR), but still recommended a bottom extension (arca plate or L-bracket for good handling with large lenses

  • Camera size and weight is fine

  • Battery life is like in the DSLR times, 1 battery takes at least 2 days (real life example: was photographing bee eaters, went out 3 times for 1-2 hs sessions each, taken cca. 1400 images and 7 short videos with the same battery, still have 3% charge)

  • Workflow ergonomics: LR is optimized for Bayer pattern, so no need for preprocessing with IRXT, editing of Sony RAW is fast and artifact free. Means, a quicker, more enjoyable editing experience. For landscape no need for exposure bracketing then merge in LR - less editing time, avoid merging artifacts

AF

  • AF is excellent and can be trusted overall (certainly, it is not perfect, and also misses sometimes in challenging situation). Aactually, for mammals over 8-10 m, it works above 90%, for 5-7 m close, fast moving birds maybe 70-80% accuracy for me, due to very shallow (1-2 cm) DOF


Bee eaters under the bright sun in 6-7m distance, Sony A7III + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 @f/13 1/2000 600mm ISO 1600, denoised with TDAI

Deers at the evening, Sony A7III + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 @f/6.3 1/800 512mm ISO 5000, edited with LR only

  • Eye-AF performance is way above Fujifilm's solution

  • AF DOES work, finds / recognizes the subject (say a wild animal, AF points mostly jumps to the head) and has very high hit rate, even if the subject is partly covered by branches


IQ

  • RAW IQ: it is FF - dynamic range, noise level, keeping detail, shadow recovery excellent at high ISO, way better than Fuji, also noticably better than DSLR golden standard Nikon D750

  • To my eyes: acceptable IQ at high ISO (32000), those could be brilliantly postprocessed with external noise reduction software (TDAI) vs Fuji, which ends at ISO 3200 (then denoised after editing) for wildlife

  • Images taken at high ISO are still sharp and detailed opposed to Fuji, which lose a lot of detail and sharpness (see examples under Fujifilm camera contra / IQ section).


Low light and AF performance of Sony A7III + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 at sunset time @ISO 25600. Displayed full size crops are: 1) SOOC JPG, 2) RAW processed with LR only, 3) processed with LR, then post-denoised with TDAI


Price

  • A7III has good price: 1700 USD with seasonal discount. It was released in 2018 and still sold for 2000 USD. The Fujis lost a lot from their value since they first released.

Ecosystem

  • Wide native lens choice (primary and third party) available, especially, great for wildlife, portrait and landscape

  • Comparing to more expensive, first party Sony branded glasses - much cheaper, but quality third party AF lenses (Sigma, Tamron) available, which price is similar to equivalent Fujinon lenses

  • Budget AF Samyang and Viltrox lenses also available.

  • Easy to adapt other SLR (built for film or digital cameras) lenses, can use exotic lenses with no limitations (Meyer-Görlitz Trioplan, tilt-shift, manual lenses with no crop, no focal reducer adapter required)

  • The open SONY FE mount system has the strongest future, great new cameras and lenses available

  • No lens resolution issue: all available E-mount lenses are newly designed and work fine at 24MP (or at 42 MP), Sony and Tamron even released improved mark II models. Sigma states the current and even the older lineup satisfies up to 50MP sensors

Generic performance

  • The 'beginner' A7III was better performing 4 years ago with the initial firmware than now Fujifilm's flagship T3/T4 with the latest software (due to limited processor power and lack of high performing algorithms)

  • Any newer, non-flagship Sony Alpha bodies (A7C, A7IV, etc.) are further improved, just smoke Fujifilm's newer flagship T4/XPro3 cameras

  • Due to the high sensitivity of the FF sensor and the effective AF system a Sony FF camera works as a night scope with a telephoto lens at moonlight (AF still works and brighten the image using crazy high ISO)

  • Overall: the boundaries of the Sony A7III are much broader and in the key critical areas (IQ, noise tolerance, AF), in challenging situations a much more effective camera than any Fujifilm X ones and a still photographer may get better results with. However, the X-T3/4 has more advanced video features, compared to the Sony A7III, but, the AF transitions and accuracy is much pleasing / reliable on the Sony.


Sony A7III contra

Ergonomics

  • No multi-exposure function at all

  • No compressed RAW option - needs extra space for full quality ARW files

  • A7III EVF is LQ: low res. and dark

  • LCD is also LQ, has no auto brighten setting. Auto switch between EVF and rear LCD is slow. Poor VF decreases the joy of shooting, but, at least, the end product has the right quality. Better than vice versa.

  • Limited customization on what you can see in EVF and on LCD, but the preconfigured modes work fine for me

  • No (real/usable) touch screen

  • Display only tilts, but that works better than Fuji X-T3, as it is easily tilts with no force

  • Slow video operation (start and stop recording)

  • Slow camera wake up when turning on - limiting for wildlife photography

  • The shutter button needs a long push (unresponsive)

  • Slow response from dials and menu

  • Miss a dedicated button to manually switch between the EVF and the LCD, (available in quick menu)

  • Miss a dedicated button also for the AF modes (though, a quick switch between two could be programmed to a button)

  • The whole system with same number of quality fast lenses is heavier comparing to APSC Fuji (this is physics, so no surprise)

  • AWB is poor, so manual WB is recommended. Depending on the light quality the RAW may serve as a poor starting point for color grading (post processing). For example, under low light situation often appears magenta cast in shades, so, WB need to be cared actively. (Notwithstanding, with some practice and good eyes to colors any nice color could be achieved with post processing)

  • Weather sealing of A7III is not reliable (as others say)

  • The IBIS performance is lower comparing to S10 or T4. I found IS for the unstabilized wide lens like the Tamron 17-28/2.8 is poor (my safe min. SS is 1/30-1/40, the same as for the OIS stabilized Fujinon 10-24/4, but with extra care I can go down to 1/20)

  • Even for the good grip recommend an L-bracket (to have support to the little finger) for good handling with heavy lenses

  • No quick physical AF { S|C|M } dial, but ported to an fn button and a slower rotating dial on A7III

AF

  • Animal eye-AF would be a great extra in A7III, but, with my high enough hitrate I am already satisfied

IQ

  • SOOC JPEGs might look awful in challenging light situation due to poor AWB (latest Sony cameras are reported to perform better in colors), but watch Fujifilm SOOC JPGs in poor light. Obviously, the same thing..., poor light, poor photo... or may we fine tune?

Sony A7III + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 @f/6.4 1/800 437mm ISO 5000. SOOC camera JPG and edited photo from RAW file, denoised with LR only



Price

  • While the A7III has very good price, all other Sony cameras sold at a significantly higher price level, advanced / flagship cameras might not target amateurs' budget

Ecosystem

  • Genuine Sony products, G and GM lenses and accessories e.g. battery, flash are expensive, however, more affordable good quality products are available (e.g. Tamron and Sigma lenses, Godox radio-flash system)


Closing conclusion on the system compare

The 'entry level' FF Sony A7III found to be a more capable camera for various still photography genres (portrait, events, wildlife, landscape, etc.) than flagship Fujifilm cameras at similar price point, especially, when AF reliability and noise resistance is highly demanded. As the newest flagship, the Fujifilm X-H2s is not yet available, no comparative data is available with the similarly priced Sony A7IV (2500 USD), however, hard to predict that the H2s takes a generic advantage. The Fujinon X-lineup is very extensive, but, mostly obsolete for the new 40 MP X-H2 platform, Fujifilm needs years to release new generation lenses, which perform well at APSC 40 MP photosite density. On the contrary, the 'rivalling' E-mount platform has many high grade, compact, primary or 3rd party glasses at affordable price level, so, a better performing FF E-mount set could be purchased for the same money one would pay for an APSC system. None is perfect in every terms, personal needs and preference decide, which brand to choose for the same budget. Personally, I am happy I took the Fujifilm X journey for couple of years and owned many nice and fast lenses and a number of cameras, even if finally I decided this is not the optimal platform for myself. Before saying: "The duffer blames its tool..." let me mention I achieved both my photography distinctions (Artist of FIAP and Excellence of FIAP) during my Fujifilm years (with photos taken with Nikon and Fujifilm). Currently, I am significantly more satisfied with my current E-mount gear, (for sure, never fully happy...), and eventually do not feel the used hardware seriously limits my possibilities. The only limitation on E-mount is the decided budget ;). At the same time I absolutely understand those people, who stick to Fujifilm as having completely different demands are fully satisfied by the Fujifilm platform.

Hope, was able to provide an independent, well-balanced comparison about the pros and contras of both affordable systems within the same budget.


Let's look into the future of the next generation Fujifilm X-system


What could we expect from the new Fujifilm flagship cameras, the X-H2 and X-H2s?

  • AF speed and accuracy closes up to industry standard, but not sure if is now fully matching Canon and Sony

  • The expensive, 2500 USD price 26 MP X-H2s: very fast continuous shooting mode, but with too small buffer (2-3 sec shooting), also, afraid, no (or not good) AF during a 40fps burst, but AF locked on the 1st image. Hope, I am wrong.

  • X-H2s performs better with the old lenses, and very well with the mark II lenses

  • Even if X-H2s is autofocusing at 40fps there are very limited number of lenses can keep up to AF at this frame rate (probably only the 200/2 and the new short mark II primes, but fast fps makes sense generally for wildlife and sport genre, which need fast, long prime teleobjectives, and Fuji misses a full lineup)

  • The cheaper (2000 USD?) 40 MP X-H2 can be used optimally with the expensive, new short primes and the 200/2 only, so, as with the other new body, no enough proper lens to mount.

  • Added some computational photography flavors, which improves IQ (lower noise), but still lags behind the 8 years old gold standard Nikon D750 quality (which is considered already to be poor now)

  • Even better AWB so even more balanced colors

  • Another new film simulation

  • Weird ergonomics layout (some wrong button / dial placement), not matching T4 or H1 design

  • The package is two well-rounded hybrid camera, but just too expensive comparing to FF price / performance

Preface remarks for the Fujifilm new X-platform

A very nice option for those patient brand lovers who have the FF equivalent budget for a very advanced, high quality APSC, strong-in-color mirrorless system. Afraid, Fujifilm did not properly prepare for the release of the new cameras with providing new generation lenses. In order to fulfil pro photographers needs Fujifilm should have released the following FF equivalent fast primes: ~20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm (means ~13/1.4, 23/1.4, 33/1.4, 56/1.4, 90/1.4 on APSC) - and there are only 2 created (the 56/1.4 is under construction). Also, FF equivalent fast 24-70 and 70-200 zooms (16-55/2.8 and 50-150/2.8 mark II) must be released till the end of 2022. Unfortunately, those want to get the 40 MP version body need to wait for years for the mark II quality zooms and medium and long telephoto lenses for optimum results. The 26 MP X-H2s model no doubt will perform better with the current lens lineup, but, one cannot take full advantage of the new camera (AF) capabilities with the obsolete lenses and the very few new, brilliant, but short primes.

Today is May 30, 2022, FUJIFILM X Summit Announced for May 31, let's see more details tomorrow about the new offer!


related:

Future with the Fujifilm X-system after 2022? (zsoltvarankaphotography.com)

My way to switch from Nikon DSLR to Fujifilm X mirrorless (zsoltvarankaphotography.com)




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