From the Zach Theatre production of "James and the Giant Peach."
I have to say upfront that I'm very happy with the files I'm getting with the Fuji cameras and lenses and have no plans in the immediate future to consider switching to anything else; or even augmenting what I have. Which puts me, as a writer, in the delicate position of having to just write about how I do stuff or why I do stuff but rarely about what's new in the kingdom of cameras. An acquaintance called me, interrupted a nice nap, and wanted to know which full frame, mirrorless system he should buy and that gave me a chance to look around and develop an opinion.
There are basically four mirrorless systems which would interest professional or advanced users in the full frame space: Sony, Canon, Nikon and Panasonic. I think including Panasonic is a stretch because they are such an unproven player in this space. It's all new for them. But I do include them because after using the GH5s and G9s I have a profound soft spot for the brand. I can't in good conscience include Leica's SL because the sheer cost of the system is too much of a deterrent for 90-95% of photographers looking at products in this niche. And I can't include Pentax, well, just because.
Having used a bunch of different Sony products I have to dismiss Sony at the outset. I don't care how good their sensors are or how fast their line of lenses is growing, I just know that I hate the ergonomics of the A7xxx bodies. Hate the hard edges. Hate the small grips. Hate the less than robust feel. I say this having shot with an A7ii and an A7Rii for well over a year. Tens of thousands of frames. The cameras work fine, the images look great, but holding onto the cameras is about as comfortable as hugging cactus.
Since I would use the chosen camera system to make a living creating photographs for a diverse client base I think I'd have to skip the Panasonic twins because the availability of 2.5 lenses just isn't enough to cover all the stuff I need to do with a camera. I'm sure their image stabilization is incredible and I'm willing to bet that the feeling you get when the camera is nestled in your hand is superb but I'm done being a beta tester for camera companies. That, and occasionally I need access to wildly different lenses than they currently offer. I hope they continue to grow the line-up (both cameras, lenses and flashes) as I'm sure at some point in the future I'll feel compelled to try out the Panasonic full framers.
That moves me on to Canon. And here, please, don't get me wrong, I think the 5Dmk4 is a great camera but it's not mirrorless. I really think Canon hates the concept of mirrorless and wishes they didn't have to defensively offer products in the space just to maintain parity with their competitors. Scratch a Canon exec and I'm sure they'd grouse about just how much better traditional DSLRs are than the Johnny Come Lately mirrorless stuff. Maybe that's why the models they have on offer seem an odd fit in the market. Decent bodies with cheap lenses or crappy bodies coupled with pricey lenses. I can't figure out their strategy. Maybe they don't have a strategy.... But so far the cameras being marketed by them seem like afterthoughts or basic amateur cameras. You can only woo me so far with the dual pixel AF. Remember? I like to focus my video manually....(snob? you bet).
In short order that brings me round to Nikon. If I were starting from scratch today and was required by law, peer pressure and divine intervention to pick a mirrorless, full frame camera system to shoot with for the next duration it would be a Nikon Z6 and a bunch of the new lenses along with an adapter that lets me use the old 70-200mm f4.0 (while waiting for the Z version). The camera has its issues; "only" one card slot, slow C-AF, and a few other misses but it seems like they put a lot of thought into video, the handling is very nice and the 24 megapixel, full frame sensor should be adequate for all but the most extreme needs. Add in a nice EVF and good battery life and you're almost there. But frankly, after having cameras in my hands for more than 2/3rds of my life I've got to say that the handling, and hand feel, is more important than whether a camera or a brand is X% faster or has X% more resolution, etc. If it doesn't feel right you won't want to carry it around and use it. That's what matters most.
Yep. I think the Z6 is the right mix. Everyone else can shut down production and go home. Except for Fuji. While I haven't tested them all side by side I'm going to bet that the differences between good full frame and really good APS-C aren't all we've been led to expect.
But really, it's all just my opinion. Colored by past experiences and nostalgia. YMMV.
Now, what's your take?