Since the digital age of photography I have used, bought and sold more cameras, lenses and equipment than I care to remember. Thankfully I didn’t keep any sort of record of how much I have spent in the search for ‘the best’, and it wouldn’t make good reading.
In 2012 I bought an Olympus OMD, my first proper camera since using my fathers Canon EOS 3’s and my own Contax T2. The OMD was the catalyst that sparked my photographic interest for sure, It was a joy to use, gave super image quality and had some stunning lenses like the 75mm F1.8 and PanaLeica 25mm F1.4. I ended up buying an entire Micro Four Thirds kit over a couple of years and for the most part I was completely happy…
My father used Fuji cameras many years ago, and when Fuji released their X line of cameras he bought one of the first X Pro 1’s. The lure of better image quality was too much for me to ignore so I bought an X-T1 as soon as it was released. I later realised that this inability to ignore or pass up a perceived ‘better’ camera was going to be a long running theme.
The X-T1 was everything that I desired and more and gave me a genuine bump in image quality and dynamic range. The lenses were stellar, not to forget the great ergonomics and the exceptional Fuji customer support, with updates that are actually requested by its users, something very refreshing indeed. Along came the Sony A7II, a full frame camera that was no larger than the Fuji and promised (and delivered) stunning image quality, with image stabilisation to boot. Yep, you guessed it, I couldn’t resist it, I made yet another jump to yet another system, selling my entire Fuji setup… The aimless desire to upgrade to a ‘better’ camera struck again.
Before buying the Sony, I told myself that the Fuji was all I needed and that the Sony wouldn’t get me any better images… But this sort of sentiment was always so short lived as each time I found something better I had to buy it. It was almost like a flaw in my personality. I also read that there would be a rather impressive update coming for the Sony system in the (A7RII) which really sealed the deal…
I bought the Sony A7II over two and a half years ago, and while I did inevitably trade it in for the A7RII when it was released, I have stuck with the Sony E mount system all this time, well, sort of, but I will touch on that in a moment. Without doubt it’s the best camera, from a technical standpoint that I have ever owned. The image quality is superb, it’s small and light, has some great native lenses (finally) and it’s being supported by many 3rd party manufacturers, which only cements its position in the modern photographic world. Most of the images on this site have been shot with the Sony, using a magnitude of different lenses, native and adapted. I have no intention of replacing this camera, I don’t need more megapixels (in fact fewer is not a bad thing) and I do not need super fast autofocus, or even autofocus at all.
One of the great things about the Sony is that it opens up such a huge world of adapted lenses (that I will talk about in another article), some of which are absolutely stunning. Last year I started to explore these a little, buying some Minolta, Contax and then Leica lenses… This was yet another slippery slope that has ended in me buying several Leica lenses and a novoflex adapter so they fit snugly on the Sony. These Leica and Contax lenses are absolutely stunning and are a dream to use. Only last week I purchased a Leica M Typ 262 as I wanted to slow up and think more about my photography, which a rangefinder certainly allows for. I now use the Sony and Leica systems side by side and will never replace either (famous last words), only add to them.
When I look back at my frankly ridiculous path of purchases and upgrades one thing stands out, the fact I kept doing it despite knowing that I didn’t need to! As I mentioned already, this is a flaw of mine and if I had been honest with myself I could have purchased the Leica and the Sony from the start, instead of kidding myself that the incremental upgrades were all I wanted. They were certainly all that I needed, but as I discovered that is another matter altogether.
Over the coming months and hopefully years I will share with you my thoughts, mistakes, triumphs and of course images taken with these great cameras and lenses. I will look at some of the equipment that I have purchased and give you my recommendations, or not as the case may be.