I took pictures of my daughter the night before her graduation—fortunately! Which she missed because of COVID!
If you have daughters anywhere older than 12, you might know that it’s really hard to please them with pictures of themselves, if they will even consent. My daughter was very pleased.
I chose to shoot with the Sony A1 + Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM. You’re just not going to get more pleasin images than that combination, though the Nikon Z9 or Nikon Z7 II + Nikon Nikkor S 50mm f/1.2 S or Canon R5 + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L would do just as well, I expect.
But my point here is not which 35mm camera might have done as well. It is more that having mostly shot the Fujifilm GFX100S in past months, it was almost a shock to use the Sony A1 and be reminded of just how awesomely pleasant the Sony A1 is vs the GFX100S. Dang, the difference is massive!
Far more responsive, instantaneous everything, the Sony A1 just gets out of the way and becomes a tool that’s an extension of the mind. To use a crappy analogy, it’s like driving a Tesla versus a Model T belching clouds of black exhaust.
Does my daughter care that the images are 50MP instead of 100MP? Hell no, and she most likes the f/1.2 through f/2 images, which pop like nothing you can get off the GFX100S.
At this point in the evolution of cameras, the smart move is to consider what your priorities are in terms of enjoyment and ease of use, hit rate (sharp and in focus images), and similar. NOT the megapixels. Obviously there are subjects where those factors can be discounted, e.g., landscape and architecture.
James K writes:
Sony is THE way to go. I am using the Sony A7R IV and I have the same feeling regarding the ease of operation and excellent technical results. The price of the a1 is hard to justify for my uses. Maybe the A2 will ring the right bells.
DIGLLOYD: anyone who thinks the A7R IV is a solid camera is right. But... the A1 blows it away.
Dr S writes:
2 weeks ago Sunday I served as the photographer of a 45 member Choral ensemble for their Spring Concert. They asked for candids as well as a posed group photo. The venue was an old church with mile high ceilings but was quite dark inside for available light. Because of the lack of light and the lack of room to set up appropriate lighting inside, the group photo needed to be taken outside in the courtyard. Besides, the courtyard was a very attractive setting.
What gear did I decide to take? To facilitate the interior shots w/o onboard flash I took the Sony A1 w/50mm/1.2. Why? for just the reasons you stated in your article. The A1 is snappy, AF excellent, relatively small and lightweight, high MP, a cam that does not get in the way when you need to get a photo. It is ready when you are and it is reliable! Besides that the 50mm GM is a great lens. No issues with the shoot "inside." I also brought another cam just to see what it would do..... the Fuji GFx100s w/30mm
For the group luckily there was good cloud cover. Put the GFx on a tripod, arranged the group and just as I was going to take the photo, the sun popped through but not full sun. The areas illuminated were slightly diffused. But I had to go through with the shoot because it was a pre-concert photo. There was a time constraint. Got about 10 shots with the GFx and had them wait until I could mount the Sony, and shoot a couple just in case the Fuji wasn't to my liking.
The result? The Sony was solid, no issues, and the Fuji was just fine. Had to do a lot of local adjustments on the group because of the sunlight but the image came out just fine.
Moral? 50mp on a very capable body is, at this point, as good as it gets. It did not get in the way......an extension of the photographer. I'm sure there will be improvements in the future but Sony has done a great job. And there is a place for 100mp especially if needed and wanted. Yes, I could have brought the A7r4 and just swapped lenses. More than enough resolution for the group and would have been just fine.
With the GFx I just wanted to see what the MF beast could do.
Lloyd, you are a great source of info and am pleased you wrote that small blog.
DIGLLOYD: cats for rats.