Crop sensor mirrorless—Sony, Fujifilm, or … ?

bfluegiebfluegie Big grinsIndianaRegistered Users Posts: 557 Major grins

I seem to go through this every couple of years, but as I get older, traveling with my gear gets harder and harder. Then there are hikes up and down mountains… So, as I think about traveling again, I’m also thinking about ways to lighten up.

I’m currently using a Nikon D7200 and I have no complaints about the features or performance. I’m definitely limited by my skills, not the equipment. Most of my photos are taken with two lenses:
• Sigma 17-50 2.8 EX DC OS HSM
• Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm F4 (IF) DX
I also occasionally use a telephoto zoom, macro, and 35mm and 50mm primes.

The cameras I’m considering are the Fujifilm X-T2 or X-T3 and the Sony A6400 or A6500. Given that two of these cameras are discontinued I’m thinking of buying used, at least for the discontinued models. I was quite surprised when I started looking at specs and saw that the Fujifilm lenses (equivalent to what I now use) aren’t much lighter than the Nikon mount lenses I’m using. Sony lenses are a little lighter. I could save a little more weight if I didn’t go with an equivalent to the f/2.8 normal zoom I’m currently using. I would probably go with something like an 18-135 mm lens and not travel with a telephoto zoom at all. Both Fuji and Sony have one of these lenses.

Something else I have to consider is that my post processing will have to change if I go with the X-T3 or A6400 because I’m still using the non-subscription versions of Lightroom and Photoshop. But I do have some non-Adobe options I can try before I go the subscription route.

And of course I could also reduce the weight of my Nikon travel kit by leaving the Sigma normal zoom at home and taking the 35mm prime instead. I found it to be a sharp lens on my D90, but I really haven’t used it much with the D7200. And I found this article on PetaPixel that was kind of interesting, about using just a 50mm equivalent lens for landscape photography. Although I have to say that I really missed my wide angle lens when I went to Norway a couple of years ago (panorama stitching didn’t work well from a boat).

So, any thoughts on any of these options? Am I the only whiny person who complains about camera weight? I’d like the mirrorless system I decide on to become my primary system. But if I make too many compromises to get a lighter system I will probably keep the Nikon gear for non-travel or car travel situations. Thanks for any comments or suggestions.



  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,165 moderator
    edited March 27, 2021

    I've been looking at the Sony a6500 myself, with the deepest shot buffer in the a6xxx series, respectable AF speed and good AF accuracy in good light. The menus are improved over earlier, but I'm told the latest Sony Full-Frame are better still.

    One problem with all mirrorless I've tested; they don't seem to allow Flash/Master AF-Assist. In darker scenes there is an illuminator light on many mirrorless cameras, but it's not the same benefit as a patterned AF-Assist light. That's a significant problem for much of the social event stuff I shoot. I've got a family event scheduled in May, and it will be shot with a D-SLR kit for that reason alone.

    I've also had problems with both my Sony a6000 and my Canon M50 with shiny and reflective backgrounds distracting the auto-focus and back-focusing, even in good light.

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • bfluegiebfluegie Big grins IndianaRegistered Users Posts: 557 Major grins

    Thanks for the quick response, @ziggy53. I don't do a lot with flash, and if I ever knew my SB-700 could help with autofocus in low light, I had since forgotten. I usually just used it off camera to side light my cats. Mostly I take scenery photos, and I do occasionally run into patchy bright background when bright sun shines through gaps in the trees. But since nothing is moving (unlike at your social events) I usually just put the camera on a tripod and use live view to manually set the focus where I want it. Of course, that means I'm also carrying a tripod up the mountains.

    When I was looking at the specs on the different mirrorless cameras, I also included full frame. I have been wanting to upgrade pretty much since I got my first DSLR. Mirrorless gets me full frame for the same weight as my crop sensor DSLR, but no lighter. Even compromising with slower lenses doesn't help much with the weight.

    It is good to know that you think well enough of the Sony A6000 to consider upgrading within that system instead of looking for something else.

  • JtringJtring Major grins CaliforniaRegistered Users Posts: 626 Major grins

    I've been happy with micro four thirds gear. Most of my photography is outdoors in good light, taken either while hiking or backpacking. As a 66 year old backpacker, I'm quite aware of both volume and weight. There are trades and it just depends on where you want to land. I've heard that going from an APS-C to micro four thirds size sensor costs between 2/3 and a full stop in image quality. (About the same gap, I've heard, as between full frame and APS-C.) So, for example, that would suggest ISO 400 on MFT would look about as good as somewhere between ISO 640 and ISO 800 on APS-C. I notice grain at ISO 800 using my MFT gear, but it isn't bad. I try to avoid ISO 1600 or higher although I have gone as high as ISO 6400 in after-dark settings with lots of noise suppression in post. (I shoot raw.) Sharpness depends, of course, on the lenses, so any move to a new system can mean a new and potentially large investment there. There are some excellent MFT lenses out there, some quite pricey. MFT gives a bit more depth of field at the cost of less bokeh. My standard field kit is a Panasonic G85 body with the Panasonic 14-140mm zoom in a holster pack plus the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro prime in my backpack. The latter is a fine flower lens. In darker settings, I carry the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 prime.

    Jim Ringland . . . . .
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MASuper Moderators Posts: 13,302 moderator

    I switched from a Canon crop sensor to the Fujifilm X-T2. I kept my Canon gear for about a year because I thought there were situations where I would want it. After a full year of no use I sold it.

    I have been very happy with the Fuji X-T2. The camera is smaller, the lenses seem a bit smaller and lighter. I shoot landscape and macro and I have been very happy with the results I get with this camera. For landscapes I use both the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm and the XF 18-135mm. For macro I use (and love!) the XF 80mm. I have the XF 55-200mm but I don't use it that often; I plan to trade it in when the newly announced 70-300mm becomes available.

    If you'd like to see photos from the camera please click to my smug site (link in signature below). Let me know if you're looking for a particular type of photos and I would be happy to point you to some galleries.

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