choosing between X-T1 and Sony A7

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
David McGaughey Senior Member • Posts: 2,246
No good choice

Arn wrote:

I posted this also to a thread on the Sony forum, but I want to hear both sides of the story, so naturally I am also post here to hear your opinions.

I've recently gotten tired of lugging DSLR gear around and I'm intent on getting a compact mirrorless camera system that can be considered a true photographer's tool and can provide good image quality. Travel photogprahy is a high priority. I always shoot RAW. Video is something I rarely do. I only use AF lenses.

I already have an APS-C system - the Samsung NX20 with 10mm fisheye, 12-24/4.5-5.6, 30/2 (pancake), 45/1.8, 18-55/3.5-5.6 which are all pretty good quality. But I want to compliment that system with another system that has higher overall quality (mechanical and image quality) and faster lenses. My biggest gripe with Samsung NX is, is that it doesn't have a fast 35mm equivalent lens.

So, I'm trying to choose between the full frame Sony A7 and Fujifilm X-T1. Can't see much other choise than these two... (no, I absolutely do not consider micro43 a choise and I will not get the NEX-7 or 6). The X-T1 provides the best image quality from an APS-C sensor (though not as good as a FF sensor) and Fujifilm has the best lens selection with fastest primes.

My favourite single focal length is 35mm, though I shoot with anything from 15mm-300mm.

The problem with the A7 is, that I want a camera that I can fully use right now (or within the next 3 months). The only fast lens that Sony has on FE-mount, is the 55/1.8 (though it is a very high quality lens, though costs around $1000). At 35mm there is only 35/2.8 which is nicely compact (120g), but undeniably slow. In comparison, Fuji has the 23/1.4 (equivalent to ~ 35mm f/2.1) which is faster and can produce a more shallow DOF than the A7 with it's FF sensor, though it is a bit heavier.

distinct points on X-T1

  • direct controls with buttons and wheels, which I much prefer over menu settings.
  • I like that the wheels have locking buttons (I simply hate it with my 7D/5DII, that the wheels constantly rotate when I take the camera out of the bag). Now, I believe that A7 is not as bad as big DSLRs, which are in tight contact with the camera bag's walls, but the X-T1's solution is just perfect.
  • fast and good quality 35mm equivalent 23mm/1.4
  • pretty good quality kit zoom 18-55/2.8-4
  • also available the 56mm f/1.2 (equivalent to ~85/1.8), wide angle primes, wide angle zooms, telezooms, etc etc. All quite high quality.

distinct points on A7

  • better contrast, sharpness, noise from sensor than X-T1
  • Faster at ~50mm and better DOF control with the 55/1.8, but not with other lenses. FE 55/1.8 and X-mount 23/1.4 are equally expensice
  • overpriced 24-70 zoom and sadly not offered as a kit, people seem to say the 28-70/3.5-5.6 is not a very good lens
  • limited lens selection (just 35/2.8, 55/1.8, 28-70/3.5-5.6, 24-70/4 that does not sell as a kit and costs $1200) , more lenses coming in 1-2 years... wonder about the pricing.
  • slow and pretty expensive 35/2.8 (though the Fuji 23/1.4 is even a bit more expensive)

I actually wonder if the FE mount will ever get faster lenses than the Fujifilm X-mount and at the same time keep the lenses compact and lightweight (and reasonably priced). After all, Fuji already has fast quality lenses: 23/1.4 (~35/2.1), 35/1.4 (~52/2.1), 56/1.2 (~85/1.8). Sony FE only has the 55/1.8, which admittedly is faster than the Fuji's 35/1.8 (but only slightly) and from the testes I've seen so far produces better image quality. But there it ends at the moment.

So, the way it looks to me, the X-T1 will be probably the nicer camera to shoot with, giving a more intuitive shooting experience and the A7 will give better image quality in good light. The lack of a fast AF 35mm on FE pains me the most. It seems that in low light, Fuji's fast primes even out the sensor size advantage of the A7. Am I right or utterly mistaken? I'm keen to hear opinions. If you even managed to read this far, you have my respect.

Your needs/wants are very close to mine. I LOVED my 5D|35/2 combo. But I tired of the weight, and here I am.

Unfortunately no one sells what you want. The Fuji 23/1.4 on the X-something is a very good combo. But the DOF doesn't appear to be as narrow as you would expect ( ).

The Sony MIGHT have what you want - but it'll take at least a couple of years for Sony to flesh out the lineup. Given what we are seeing so far, I think the Sony lenses will come out very slowly, be very expensive, and only the Zeiss ones will be very high quality. Since they already have a 35mm prime, the faster 35mm will be a long time coming (and definitely be a f/1.4, which will be huge).

Also, Sony might decide the clip-on camera modules are the future and give up on the mirrorless thing.

In terms of a "system," the Fuji is very close to being complete. Unless you want a wireless-TTL flash system. Who knows when/if that'll appear. Fuji does make very nice bodies and lenses (nicer than Sony is both regards, imo). The biggest two issue are AF (not even close to DSLR fast) and flash system (nothing wireless, the Fuji flashes are cheap Sunpak rebadges).

What should you do? I have no idea. Really, the smart thing to do is just stick with a DSLR system and smaller primes (35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8 instead of 35/1.4, 50/1.2, and 85/1.2) and see how this mirrorless things plays out over the next couple of years....

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