Sony Week - Part One - Lifting the Lid

on March 19, 2017

Opening the box on a new camera is like lifting the lid on either a treasure chest or a can of worms. Don't let that image put you off - it depends if you are fishing for compliments or bass.

This week's exploration is of a Sony mirrorless camera and two lenses. These were chosen from the Camera Electronic stocks to find out what the brand is like to handle and to see whether there is a real usable difference between the full-frame system and an APS-C system. To this end, lenses that would give a similar field of view were selected:

Sony Alpha 7 II and Fujifilm X-Pro1

Sony 50mm and Fujifilm 35mm

Sony 28mm and Fujifilm 18mm

The true believers of each brand are free to jump up and down, wave spec sheets, and berate each other as much as they like - the committee of the camera club needs to fill a hole in the year's entertainment roster and a fist fight will do nicely. I am jut going to play cameras in the studio and out in the field.

First comment, though, is one that Mr. Sony, Mr. Panasonic, and Mr Fujifilm may well like to heed. It is a biased comment, and a finicky one, but here goes; knock it off with the in-camera battery charging, guys.

It might look like a good idea, but it turns around and bites the photographer in the end. If the only way that the shooter can get electricity into a battery is to relinquish the use of the camera for the charging period, there is gong to come a time when the best shot of their life is happening and the camera is connected to a wall socket or a computer...

Oh, I know you can buy accessory charger blocks, and I know you can buy extra batteries - and I strongly suggest that anyone who gets a camera with no charger goes out and does exactly that - but think about the people who have not got this same amoiunt of foresight. Give them a charger block that they can leave back at the hotel charging their extra battery when they take the camera out. You can bank on the fact that they will eventually forget to pack it when they check out and have to buy another one. You'll score extra profit eventually. But give them that charger block to start with.

Note also to ALL makers: Memory cards are cheap as chips these days ( ...see what I did there...? ) and if you are a multi-billion Yen camera maker you can probably get a discount down at the local Bic Camera store in Tokyo - so you can afford to include a little 8 GB or 16 GB card in the basic camera box. It will save the thoughtless buyer from opening the thing on the Boeing and having no way to take pictures. If you brand out the cards as well, you'll encourage them to always buy your version in the future.

Now a word of praise to Sony. Their packaging designers have finally come up with a sales box that is neither too complex to be understood nor too sealed to be opened for inspection. Plus the external graphics now include a clear flag that the product is suitable for both the E - mount and the full frame format. Complex codes and numbers never help - clear labelling is a winner.

Interesting to see how many instruction books they put into the packaging. I counted 6 in the 50mm lens coping with Chinese, Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Swedish, Portuguese, Greek, and what may possibly be Korean. Three of them seem to be addressed to the photographers and three to the photographers' lawyers. I suppose it is the way of the world...

That there is no leather case in there is a given these days. You have to step pretty far up in the market fto find someone who is prepared to include one - though there are plenty of bag manufacturers who have wonderful camera containers. You should pop this Sony into an Ona if you are stylish or a Think Tank if you are practical. I'm cheap - I used a hessian bag...

Note that as this camera is one of the wonderful WiFi ones, you may wish to consider a bag that has a compartment for your tablet or mobile phone - you are going to be using that WiFi facility to store and share on a regular basis.