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Reader Questions: Fujifilm X system, Sony A7x Discounting and 4K Video, Arca Swiss Cube Geared Head

See gear page for mirrorless for Fujifilm X, Sony A7 series.

B&H: Two readers wrote asking about material I had covered. Please join the site updates mailing list (daily or weekly) if not following the blog regularly.

Fujifilm X-T1

Elaine D writes:

I know you didn’t like the vibration on the A7 series cameras or the smearing blurry files on the Fuji X-E1, but I wondered if you have tried the Fuji X-T1 or the Sony A7II?

Supposedly the shutter vibration is fixed in that camera, and the X-T1 is raved on by a zillion people. Have you tried either and what was you view? I didn’t see it in the Mirrorless section so am assuming you didn’t review them?

DIGLLOYD: there never was any vibration issue with the Sony A7, A7 II or A7s; these all have an electronic 1st curtain shutter (EFC shutter). The A7R shutter vibration ruined a lot of my work over the past year, and its issues are thoroughly proven in my work, and mitigation options are also discussed (weight or pressure on top of hot shoe, e.g. a large flash or similar). In the field, I have used downward pressure on the hot shoe to mitigate. The vibration peaks at 1/125 second BTW.

I covered the Fujifilm X-T1 with the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 some time ago (lovely lens). The about $999 Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 is the best lens Fujifilm makes, I give it my top rating. It would be the first lens I would be for a Fujifilm X system, and might justify the system all by itself.

The Fujifilm X images (all cameras) are lovely overall (see Fujifilm X review coverage), but 16 megapixels is entirely uninteresting for my work, even if one ignores that fact that real pixel level detail is not there due to the oddball sensor design. The sensor design delivers fractal like emphasis on contours, which our human visual system responds nicely to, but it cannot be confused for natural or actual detail in real subjects, and is heavily artifacted on some subjects (some raw converters attempt to minimize this, but it does not go away, and ACR is a de facto necessity for many).

The X-T1 sensor does not change these behaviors. A excellent camera body design and wide ranging lens line is presumably why users like Fujifilm, but an under-resolving sensor with artifacting issues is of no particular interest to me; building up such a system with a few lenses approaches Nikon D810 territory, and I can’t see the point there unless it is single-issue driven (e.g. modest weight/size savings). Moreover, investing in an APS-C lens lens is unattractive for even the medium term.

Sony trade-in and rebate program

Roy P writes

All Sony E-mount FF cameras are now being discounted, except the new A7-II. Usually, you see this kind of thinly veiled discounting just before new models come out.

Not surprising that the original A7 and the A7R are being discounted, but I was surprised to see the A7S is included in this as well. This has been out only about 6 months.

I need some 4K video solution, and I’m thinking of the A7S + the Shogun recorder – that looks like the best bet (full-size sensor + uses a lot of the lenses I already have).

This discounting is good and bad – this means I can trade in my old NEX-5 body for $375. But OTOH, there’s likely to be a new A7S model coming out. So I’m trying to decide if I should buy the A7S now or wait for its successor.

Even if there’s a refresh to the A7S, it will probably not include direct 4K recording – Sony already said the A7S body is too small to accommodate that, which is why an external recorder is needed.

So the most significant new feature in an A7S-ii is likely to be IBIS. But if I’m shooting video for anything longer than a few seconds, I’d use either a tripod or at least, set the camera down somewhere. So I don’t see IBIS adding a lot for videography.

So that makes me think I might as well go for the current A7S now. Any thoughts?

DIGLLOYD: I would not buy an A7 series now without the built-in sensor stabilization. See my testing of the Sony A7 II in which my focus was on the image stabilization feature. It ought to be considered mandatory on all cameras by the end of this year. It will be interesting to see how Nikon and Canon respond. IMO sensor stabilization is far superior to optical stabilization; for one thing the lens design need not be compromised, and for another, any and all lenses are stabilized. But I doubt that A7R shutter vibration would be helped by the technology, so a future A9 or whatever it will be might well require a vibration free shutter.

Arca Swiss Cube C1 geared head
(with Really Right Stuff clamp)

Caso F writes:

After reading your advice on the Cube and having experimented difficulties to perfectly frame architectural subjects with a RRS ball head, I have decided to buy the Cube. Now I have two questions:

1) Do you advice me to buy a RRS 33 or 24L to mount it ? I generally shot long exposures with mirrorless cameras (A7, NEX-6) and lenses up to 100mm

2) From a few posts on your blog I have figured out that you made fall the Cube at least twice … did it slip from the tripod? do you advice to use Loctite or the Cube fits well without Loctite on RRS tripods? I’d prefer not to use Loctite in order to choose every time the head to mount but I wouldn’t risk to crash both head and attached camera…

DIGLLOYD: The Really Right Stuff TVC 24L is ample for the Sony A7, and I like the height, which is eminently useful in the field, and also can help with architecture for a better perspective.

Damage to the Arca Swiss Cube tripod head: tripod gets knocked over, hammers the head; the gearing takes the hit, notching the gears (repairable). Do not use Loctite on the head.

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