May 18, 2016 at 5:34PM

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GH4/Sony A7/Fuji and rangefinder M lenses?

Hello :-)
I did something quite stupid and my Nikon D7200 fell down and broke. I am looking at mirrorless systems and I am not too much involved in Nikon gear, I bought everything second hand and can sell it again for more or less the same amount. Moreover I can always keep some Nikon lenses in case I get a mirrorless (like the Nikon AIS 105mm 2,5 which I like).

I like trekking and outdoor photography. I have 1 (maybe 2) project down my way in a few months which will be in high altitude (above 4000m) so weight and size are important factors for me since I will be carrying everything on my back. I am getting involved more in video and probably these projects will be about 50%-50% videos – stills. Since I will be “out in the field”, I prefer to have a minimum kit with 1-2 camera bodies and 3-5 prime lenses, plus spare batteries.

Other stuff I will carry, a Manfrotto Q5 photo/video head and a Manfrotto 190 tripod. For the audio, the Rode NTG2 and Tascam DR40.

I would like something that:
- is small
- does not attract unwanted attention and looks more “touristy”
- is rugged
- takes good stills
- is good in low light
- preferably does 4k internally so I can skip on the external recorder and downscale the video to have a good 1080p

I am looking now at these possible choices:
- the Fuji x-pro2 (or the upcoming XT2 in case it comes before end of summer), I like the colors from the Fuji cameras
- Panasonic Gh4 (for video only)
- sony A7R II

Lenses I am considering are primes from Leica M o R, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Nikon, Canon, etc. as long as they have good image qualities and are small and light to carry.
Right now I am considering the Leica M Summarits (like the 75mm), Voigtlander M 15mm and 35mm, Leica M Tele elmar 135mm, Nikon AI 135mm 3,5. I will probably take 2-3 among these focal lengths and use my legs for zooming in and out and then add a telephoto for wildlife.
I am quite interested in the Leica or Voigtlander M ones, since it’s possible to have 2-3 top quality primes for less than 1 kg of weight, which is remarkable.

I know from experience how trekking, especially in high altitude, can take its toll, so I prefer to have less stuff and use it at 100% than having too much around and then using it at 30% or nothing at all.
So far, I am leaning at getting either the A7RII (1 body) or the Fuji Xpro2 + GH4 (both bodies) and then the Leica M 75mm and 35mm (Summarit, which do not cost too much), adding then a wide angle and a telephoto for wildlife (something like a Nikon 400mm 5,6 or a Canon 400mm 5,6 or the 4,5 FD version which are cheap, small and have good quality). This would be around 3-4 kg max and I don’t want to take more than that and leave any extra weight I can carry for spare batteries and food, so I can stay longer in the field.

I never used a Sony camera so far, nor any mirrorless. My questions are:
- any user experience on documentary videos using rangefinder lenses? I did not find much info on this except from people using them on the RED cameras
- Gh4 or the A7 family in outdoor harsh situation? Any first hand experience?
- mirrorless cameras consume batteries a lot faster than DSLR, but on the other hand DRLR used for video are not so frugal on power either. Moreover ML batteries are usually smaller. Any experience with recharging Sony/Panasonic/Fuji batteries in the field with a solar panel or a power pack like for example the Goal0 Venture 30?

2 Comments

heya, here is something i shot with the original Sony A7S, mostly with the Leica M 35 Summilux Asph (also a bit with Voigtlander M 21 f4 and some canon lenses): https://vimeo.com/163807204/07c2659f10

i love the combo shooting leica lenses with the a7s, the edges can be a little soft with the wide angles and you can occasionally get weird flares from lights (you can see some in the video) that you don't get with other lenses. but because the camera is so tiny and the images are mostly really good i think it's worth those trade offs.

the viewfinder is fine in harsh sunlight as long as you turn the viewfinder brightness right up.

i don't have a power solution, i just have a couple of batteries in my pocket whenever i'm shooting.

i have shot a bit of handheld with a friends a7s2 and the IBIS is really awesome.

May 26, 2016 at 9:37AM

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Hello,
thanks for your reply. I have seen your video and it's good: composition, music choices, lightings. I did not see weird stuff like smeared corners or strange flares.

- I was also considering the A7S, but I have read that while the Sony A7 family are quite good cameras, they start to show their weakness once in the field: messed up menus, buttons hard to use with gloves, lower performance in the cold, general weakness to humidity, etc. Have you ever experienced these issues?

- Can I ask your opinion about the Voigtlander M 21mm f4? I read mixed opinion about this lens, especially on mirrorless cameras. I was considering the Voigtlander 21 Ultron, but the f4 version is about 1/4 the price and size.

I considered also the A7S II with all its nice characteristics, but the projects I am up to are 50% video and 50% photos. While 12 good mp would be nice and enough in most cases, I prefer to have more than that and having a body as the A7S II only for video would be above my budget

June 13, 2016 at 4:30AM

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