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Reader Comments: Transitioning to Fujifilm GFX100S or Sony A1, Lens Compatibility

Important to my B&H loaner supportbuy your Fujifilm GFX100 via links on this site.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm GFX100 and My Favorite GF Lenses

Michael Erlewine writes:

I still read your blogs every day, even though I have no Leica or medium-format cameras. However, I seem to be at a convergence place or exo-convergence, if there were such a word.  The camera world is suddenly a cornucopia, a wonderful time, but one I can’t afford personally. I can’t buy all this stuff, and don’t even need much more. Lenses are morphing exponentially!

Fujifilm GFX100S, front view

I am totally thrilled by the Sony A1, but very unhappy for the lousy LCD LiveView monitor, which I use all the time in the studio on my Nikon Z7 II (which is larger than the Sony), which I just received.

I realize that Nikon is falling behind, yet as I just mentioned, so are almost all of us owners of equipment. I can’t afford everything that is exploding.

As for the new Fujifilm GFX 100S, too late and too crude, still. I stopped dreaming medium-format quite a while ago. Yes, I nervously look at the Sony A7r IV and your love of it, but am stopped by the neglect of the LCD, less res than my Nikon Z7s, and the sloppy implementation of the sets of images to get the hi-res that have to be combined in the computer. That’s a no-go for focus stacking, for sure.

I have a bunch of Sony lenses in E-mount that work on my Z7s, but there seems to be no way to convert all the Nikon lenses I have to the Sony mount. Is there?

If I made the move to the A1, what are the most brilliant Sony lenses I would just have to have? I have the Noct95 and it is just a wonderful, wonderful lens for my work. The new Nikon S 70-200 f/2.8 is an amazing lens too, better than my FL version.

In your wisdom, I wish you would leave a breadcrumb trail for those of us who are not about to go medium-format, but are stuck in the backwater of Nikon. Still, I realize I am quite content with the 50-ish sensor in the Z7, and really don’t need a 60 or 100 megapixel sensor.

So, throw us a bone if you will. Guide us into the future of how to convert to Sony. Or, do we just wait for whatever Nikon will bring, if they can afford the research. 

I am seriously considering getting the A1. I just ordered it via your link.

I can sell my D850, return my new Z7 II, and sell my new S 70-200mm lens… etc. I could also sell my fS5 Sony video camera and just use the A1. I would keep my Z7 and the Noct 0.95.

What it comes down to, if you can suggest, for the kind of work I do, what are the lenses that will work best with the Sony A1? I have the Voigtlander 65mm and 110mm in E-mount… and others.  I had the Sony A7 III twice and didn’t like it.

I take it I can’t convert Nikon lenses to Sony. I agree that Nikon is headed or already in a standstill or something coming like that.

DIGLLOYD: well, I guess an iPhone doesn’t do it all, after all. Horses for courses.

Sony FE lenses can be adapted to Nikon Z, but not vice versa. That’s because of the flange focal distance (16mm on Nikon, 18mm on Sony). The 16mm distance on Nikon allows a 2mm-thick adapter to be inserted, mounting the FE lens to Nikon Z camera. But there is no way to shorten a Nikon Z lens, let alone add an adapter for mounting on a Sony camera body.

Focus stacking support is in the Fujifilm GFX100S and other models. Gven Michael’s work with fine-art images using focus stacking, the Sony A1 sucks because it lacks support. OTOH, Fujifilm lens choices for his work are very limited. Quite a quandary!

General thoughts on making the transition

  • Sony and Fujfilm dominate the camera landscape now. Canon might rejoin this group, but it remains to be seen and can this happen in less than a year? Two years? Death watch for all other brands.
  • Out of date gear that needs an upgrade? Go with Sony or if applicable, the medium format Fujifilm GFX100S.
  • The tactical failure of Canon and Nikon to embrace 3rd-party lenses as Sony has did from the start is in fact a long-term strategic error. Sony users enjoy not just Sony lenses, but also Voigtlander and Zeiss and several other brands, which is a positive feedback loop for the Sony ecosystem. Fujifilm has the same weakness as Canon/Nikon, but also no real competition in the medium format space (Hasselblad a distant second and is not price competitive).
  • Buying new gear other than Sony or Fujifilm (perhaps Canon) is now a long-shot bet—all others are playing not-even catchup (more like fall-behind). If Sony accelerates even a moderate transition to its platform over the next year, that is the de facto end of the game for the laggards.
  • Selling in a hurry to switch platforms only makes sense if your mind is made up to get it done. I don’t see, for example, some additional huge decline in used Nikon Z gear prices—that has already started given these announcements. So selling now or in June might not matter much.
  • A system or lenses you like and that are working to your satisfaction might as well be used a bit longer, so long as you are not making significant new purchases on that platform (e.g., buying a Nikon Z7 II to replace/add to a Nikon Z7 makes no sense to me).
  • There are exceptions: a working photographer whose system is getting the job done might use that gear for the next 2-3 years, letting it depreciate as it earns, and then decide on a transition. Unless of course you need technology like super-fast AF or Eye AF or whatever, which in themselves can be must-have features. And anything else Sony develops in the next couple of years. If your gear keeps you competitive, then use it until there is a business case to change.
  • If you are doing high-grade video, anything but Canon or Sony seems foolish.

See also:

re: Mirrorless Camera Perhaps Nikon Z7 II to go with Nikon D850, Tempted by Sony A7R IV
Reader Comments

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