Thom’s Sony FE Bag

Yes, recently I’ve been carrying around something mirrorless other than m4/3. I’m starting to get a lot more nuanced in how I approach things. For long into-the-deep-backcountry hikes the m4/3 bag still is my first choice, as I can build a smaller, lighter kit that serves me quite well. Carrying extra weight on all-day or overnight hikes in the middle of nowhere is something I long ago learned to avoid.

But for more city-based or front-country travel assignments, I’ve started using a Sony-based bag of mirrorless gear.

To put that in specifics. Last year I had a trip to Alaska where I was doing a lot of hiking and kayaking. The m4/3 bag is packed for that. For a trip to Italy that's mostly city and museum hopping, I use this Sony bag.

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At the forefront of that bag is the Sony A7rMark III(review) This 42mp full frame camera is a near master of most everything. It works into low light far better than the m4/3 cameras, but it also is a pretty much state-of-the-art low ISO camera, too. Things I’d start to worry about with m4/3 (deep shadow detail or high ISO capability) I generally don’t worry about at all with the Sony.

In the bag tend to be three Sony f/4 zooms:

I’ve picked the three best f/4 zooms because they make for a smaller kit that all fits into a sling bag I sometimes carry. All three are optically very good. (The 16-35mm f/4 is also good, the 24-70mm f/4 much less so.)

Depending what I’m intending to shoot, I may throw one of the Sony or Zeiss primes in there, but those three zoom lenses comprise a very competent set from very wide to moderate telephoto in a reasonably compact form. Slightly smaller in size/weight than I can really do with my Nikon full frame DSLRs.

But here's the thing: those lenses are all compromises. The only reason I use this kit over a Nikon DSLR kit is that Nikon doesn't make a trio of lenses that go from 12-200mm that are as small and light as these. If I were to sub in the better f/2.8 Sony zooms, those are the same size/weight as the equivalent Nikkors, so I'd just stick to my D850 with my Nikkor f/2.8 lenses.

The point here is that I'm trying to be portable and svelte, but keep my image quality as high as possible while retaining flexibility. The A7rIII and the f/4 lenses really have turned into my city travel set because of that.

text and images 2018Thom Hogan
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