Mirrorless & FF photography: I find no alternative to the Sony E mount system (a7III).

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Siobhan_K Regular Member • Posts: 225
$2600 for frustration?

Bombusthebee wrote:

I'm a first-time buyer into a mirrorless full-frame camera system for photography (no video) as a hobby in nature and some urban areas (forests, landscapes, streets). I value FF, intuitive ergonomics and accessibility (ease of use), light-weight, IBIS and good low light performance (for dark winters, dusk/dawn, fog etc.).

I've been researching wildly but seems to have run into the fact that there seems to be no alternative to the Sony E mount IF you're buying into an entry-level system for semi-professional photography in terms of value.

Am I missing something?


I'll point you to something you wrote, with me adding the bolds:

The a7iii is an older albeit still capable camera with frustrating EVF, screen, menus and ergonomics (I'm borrowing one).

And, I'll just ask you if you really believe it's a good idea to spend $2600 on a tool you find "frustrating" to use. It's easy to write about frustration and not really mean it, but if you do mean it, that sounds like a honking alert klaxon. To me, anyway.

$2600 is a lot of money to some people, maybe also to you. For perspective: it's enough to buy a credible used car.

So: I'm of the opinion that if you spend that much money on a camera (rather than, say, a car!), you should love what you get. You should love, love, love it. For that amount of money, you should end up with a tool with which you get on so well that it'll just functionally disappear in your hands during use--that it'll enable you to think entirely about the image and the moment and the project at hand, rather than about it.

But what you've written sounds less ideal. It seems as if you plan to be making peace with the A7iii + Tamron zoom as a rational compromise. You don't plan to get on with it perfectly. I think that's potentially a sign that it's not the kit for you.

Maybe it could grow into being "the one" for you? Your perspective on what's "frustrating" could change? That could happen, sure. Hard to say.

There are many potential excellent alternative body-lens outfits in the $2500 - $3500 price range from every manufacturer, including Sony, which you haven't listed among your research. But the critical question--how those alternatives would serve your photographic interests--is difficult or impossible to address without a more detailed dive into what you're shooting or into what you plan to do with your results.

Remember that as you approach equipment intended for "professional" photography, the capabilities added will begin to empower niche needs--because "professionals" all pursue their own, highly individualized thing. "Image quality" isn't what defines professional-grade work. Rather, "professional grade" is the production of images that don't look like anything else anyone else is producing. The point of spending north of $2500 on a camera system is that it empowers the special, interesting, individual thing that only you can produce.

Professionals explore-engage all kinds of equipment to achieve a unique look, a result that jumps off an editor's Photomechanic contact sheet. Full frame mirrorless? Pfft: if you're Sofi Lee, you've made a commercial career shooting CCD digicams from the early 'aughts.

So what's that unique thing, for you? If you're "missing something," it might be consideration of that. You've circumscribed your equipment needs into a very particular box, which you regard as "semi-professional." Are you certain that's the box that actually best fits your interests and intentions? I know the Sofi Lee example is wild--I'm not saying you should content yourself with a Canon G10 from 2008! Rather, I'm pointing toward her to remind you of how diverse and how specific equipment load-outs in at the "semi-professional" or "professional" level of our craft really are. There's no "general purpose" at the level of photography you're aiming yourself toward, and what you might think is "general purpose" is probably only "general" to you. That's why the weird cost / capability disjoints you're noticing exist: you aren't comparing a couple of different "general purpose" kits designed for the same user-interest-result. If they compete, it's adjacent at best. They're all highly purposeful, aimed in different directions.

Photographers here moan and flame and bash and troll that one system is "better" than another, but what they're really saying is "this system's [x] feature is more important to my highly individual interest, and I'm just going to assume that my unique interests are 'general' because I'm the main character here, it's about me, me, me."

Oh, I kid, I kid. Kind of.

Anyway, what I'm really getting at: you've been researching cameras, but have you also been researching (your) photography? What your individual, unique thing really, really needs to take off, to creatively satisfy? Maybe the box you've drawn around your needs isn't as "tight" as you now think. Maybe an f/4 zoom would work just as well for you. Or maybe a pair of primes. Or maybe a smaller format.

Maybe not?

Really, unless you're buying a camera just because you like cameras and not necessarily for photography, there's no good way to get into a system by just "researching cameras." You really have to get close in touch with what you're doing, creatively--what you like, specifically, to produce--and pick the tools that will best enable the unique purpose at hand.


Good luck in your choices, and have a good one

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