Upgrade Advice

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thommo84 New Member • Posts: 11
Upgrade Advice
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G'day Ladies and Gents,

My interest in photography has been steadily increasing (I'm slowly recovering from a prolonged illness), and I am considering an upgrade. I've tried to provide the information that you helpful folks usually ask for, and I apologise in advance if it is too long-winded. I am on this site and others frequently reading reviews, the forum, rumour sites, etc. and whilst I get that there probably aren't many bad camera options these days, I thought I'd come and ask for some help sorting the wheat from the chaff for my particular use case.

Current Cameras:

  • Sony SLT-A68 (purchased last year cheaply) and SLT-A57 (purchased after advice from this forum many moons ago)
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 (purchased as a "coat pocket camera" for a Europe trip a few years ago)

Lenses:

  • (Sony) 18-55, 55-200, 75-300, 35 f/1.8, 50 f/1.8 and a Tamron 10-24
  • (m43) Oly 14-42 EZ, cheapo 40-150, 17 f/1.8 (glued to the camera unless targetting animals) and Pany 20 f/1.7

How I use my cameras:

  • Rural Landscapes (especially whist bushwalking or travelling)
  • Plants and trees
  • Any animals I see whilst bushwalking (birds, kangaroos, wallabies, lizards, etc.)
  • Milky Way and other astrophotography (I sometimes connect a camera to my telescope). I take a lot of Milky Way shots, so this has to be a consideration.
  • Time-lapses
  • Urban Landscapes
  • Architecture (when travelling)
  • Sporting events
  • Concerts and other events (where it is possible to bring a camera)
  • Photographing my Kelpie
  • Short videos/clips of the above
  • (Very rarely) People, parties, etc.
  • Printing (usually smaller than A3)
  • Cropping in PP
  • (Usually whilst travelling) My wife will use the camera in Auto (competent Auto mode would be a nice-to-have)
  • (Not at all) Macro, "Street", portraiture

What is my skill level?:

I would say that I am a budding amateur who is keen to improve. I understand the basics and I'm comfortable changing settings and have completed some basic courses and reading. I generally shoot jpeg for casual shooting, or jpeg and raw if I think there is a chance of printing something large or if I think I need the wiggle-room in PP. I don't enjoy post-processing, but I have started using ON1 and find that easy enough to use. I would like to further develop my skills so that I can potentially sell some of my prints and maybe down the track take it further. I would also like to use the new camera to make some training videos for work if at all possible (new use). My "serious" cameras have either been SLT or mirrorless, so I haven't used an optical viewfinder before (sorry). For that main reason, I'm mainly considering mirrorless.

How is my equipment inadequate?:

Sony

  • High ISO noise is worse than the Oly
  • Long exposures are terrible compared to Oly
  • JPEG output isn't great (I've tried changing the settings)
  • AF-S indoors/low light struggles even with one of the primes
  • I added the A68 to my kit after finding one going for a song (300-400 AUD with the 18-55 SAM II) on e-Bay. In general I like it better than the A57 (better AF, better image quality), but the low-res screen is an issue, and the High ISO and long exposure problems aren't solved
  • Limited wide angle options and A-Mount is all-but-dead
  • No Wi-Fi to share images on the fly (useful when travelling)
  • Doesn't come with me on longer walks due to size (not a deal-breaker though, as I like the ergonomics)
  • Not used by my wife due to size
  • Menu is not great, but there is plenty of buttons and dials, so no major issue

Oly

  • It has developed a few faults (shutter is delayed in most modes, AF is missing frequently, Wi-Fi is buggered, hot pixels, random battery life). It would cost more to repair it than get another one. This is the justification given to my wife
  • High ISO noise is a bit higher than I'd like
  • DR is lower than I'd like. Bracketing and HDR are handy but aren't always practical and I shoot in mixed lighting often.
  • AF struggles in low light (even AF-S)
  • AF-C is inadequate for most animals (even when moving relatively predictably)
  • Ergonomics aren't great for longer sessions
  • Limited ability to crop (not a deal-breaker, but a nice-to-have)
  • The menu is on-par with the Sony, but it is not a massive issue

I am contemplating

  • Sony A6X00 with LA-EA1/3 (probably not A6000 due to CDAF only with the adapter). Most of my lenses will AF and I would only need to add a wide-angle prime (Sigma 16). If I got it with the 18-135, even better. I was really hoping they would add a front dial to the A6600 though...and a new sensor
  • Oly E-M1ii, Pany G9 (or possibly E-M5iii). Just need to add a longer telephoto zoom and eventually either the 12-60 or 12-40 for a bit wider coverage (and to have a better quality zoom with WR to match the camera).
  • Sony A7iii (or Rii to cover crop use as well?) with a wide-standard prime (mimicking how I use the Oly most of the time). I really liked the feel of it in the store. Use LA-EA3 for telephoto for the time being (in crop mode)
  • Fuji X-T3 (or upcoming 4), X-T30, or other model? with 18-55 and 23 f/2. Add a telephoto down the track. I think this might be the "siren calling me" effect, but I like the manual control, creative jpeg options and look/feel
  • Just get a cheap option until I improve (but the GAS will hurt); E-M5ii, E-M10ii, E-M10iii or GX85, GX9 (the VF doesn't bother me, I've tried it). Then add a larger camera later (go all-in with m43 or change if I still find it inadequate)

I haven't listed Nikon Z or Canon EOS RF as the lens selection and (more so) pricing doesn't seem appealing. I like the Z50, and if the Sigma trio was announced for Z, that could be an option too. The lenses for EOS M seem to fit my use case pretty well, but maybe it is a fear of A-Mount repeating that has turned me off it.

If you have made it this far, thanks very much. I would appreciate any insight/assistance you could give. I haven't included a budget, it will more be a timing thing - if I go the cheap option, I will pull the trigger soon (days/weeks), A6X00 (weeks/months), Fuji (months), A7iii (months, or after the A7iv arrives).

Once again, thanks :-).

Cheers,

Brad

 thommo84's gear list:thommo84's gear list
Sony SLT-A57 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus E-M5 II Sony SLT-A68 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM +9 more
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