Changing the equipment is an exciting decision on the one hand, but also demanding financial outflux. As you know, the pleasure of shopping comes from buying something (= spend money) and injecting ‘adrenaline + dopamine’ into the body and mind in return . Because of this process, shopping without spending money hardly provides tense, satisfaction, and catharsis at the end.
However, expenditure is accompanied by stress, so it is important to find a suitable reason to keep the peace of mind. That’s why you can not just buy a new camera whenever it pop out in the market. Proper reasoning is vital to persuade at least one person, yourself, or at best 2 persons, your wife who pretends to believe your explanation.
Here are some important reasons I have had in my equipment changes during the last couple of years. They are Killer Applications which sound great but actually too complicated to understand full details. That’s good enough though :- )
Sensor jitterbug to reduce vibration
I was happy with Kodak and Canon DSLR, and triggered little interest when Sony released A7, A7R. The fact that they are smaller and lighter than DSLR did not appeal to me much. Rather, I was not convinced about A7 design which imitates DSLR pentaprism while it is barebone mirrorless camera. Simply DSLR design hangs around too long and feel boring. Why not try a different shape, something like a Leica or a Contax RF camera? I would be hooked much more if it was so.
Then the Sony A7 II and A7R II came out with sensor jitterbug function, to compensate handshake of any kind of lens on their body. I jump on the A7 II immediately and go to A7R II later. The killer application in here is ‘vibration reduction, including manual lenses’. I have a collection of classic lenses from film days. Before the Sony A7 II series, I used Canon body for manual lenses without having any functional support from the body.
Canon’s killer lens combo, 85mm f1.2, and 35mm f1.4
After transition to Sony, I keep using the Canon lens stubbornly without investing a Sony lens. Sony lens price looks somewhat ridiculously high for me, also I am getting used on Canon 85/1.2 and 35/1.4 lenses. In fact, it is not truly brand change one to another. I put 2 Canon lenses at the center of my arsenal and attached to Canon DSLR body before and attache Sony body after. Let’s take another time to talk about these 2 lenses….
A7 II and A7R II have an eye AF function. It is a new killer application I believe. It is new technology only feasible in the mirrorless camera, unfortunately though, Sony support only for their genuine lenses (OK, I understand their position clearly).
Real annoying point is every time use Eye AF, have to press the switch on the backside with the thumb. What design philosophy in here? Instead of pressing the separate switch, can they route (electrical signal) to shutter release? Half press shutter release triggers AF function anyway, why not Eye AF function?
I decide to ignore this promising but annoying function and push Canon lens utilization up to limit with conventional AF system. I just do not want to give up Canon’s killer combo 85 & 35 L lens for this feature.
The photo is taken from Dustin Abbott’s Samyang Lens Review, link here Https://dustinabbott.net/2019/04/samyang-af-85mm-f1 -4-fe-review /-
Real-time Eye AF + Samyang FE Lens
In May, Sony made a massive(?) firmware update to implement real-time Eye AF on the A7 III and A7R III. Real-time Eye AF is a function that automatically detects and focuses on the subject’s eye when press the shutter button halfway to take a picture. Unfortunately, the A7R II is not a device for this firmware update.
I can tell how important this feature by counting the number of pictures I dump that are not in focus in the eye. In the future, it is expected that the new camera’s ‘live or die’ application. If any camera manufacturer is not able to facilitate this function, they will see the fate in the market.
Another obstacle, the price of Sony lens is cleared by Samyang Optics. Coincidentally, the Samyang 85mm f1.4 FE lens was released in May as Sony upgraded the Real-time Eye AF firmware. The initial reviewer’s reports are pretty much positive, the Samyang shows a lot of progress on their AF system, and finally possible to choose Samyang 85/1.4 as a replacement of Canon 85/1.2.
I know, there is a subtle but noticeable difference in between 85mm f1.2 vs f1.4 aperture. But the advantage real-time Eye AF set the foundation of new-buy and tolerate any difference in between. Samyang Optics already has superb 85mm f1.2 XR lens in manual focus. I imagine when the XR version comes out in AF, it will hit the market with a hard impact. Let’s wait and see…
By now, Samyang 85mm f1.4 FE lens is just released and recognized as an excellent one in a good balance of performance, price & portability. It’s good time to try out !!!
Because I do not expect Sony will release new firmware for A7R II, this lens should be accompanied with A7 III or A7R III to utilize ‘Real-time Eye AF’ properly. So double buy, lens and associated body, as double happiness… or… I will find out in coming month surely :- )