Andy Gallacher is an International TV Correspondent
Alright so I don’t have much to whine about. I own two of the finest mirrorless cameras on the market and have a job that constantly puts me in front of interesting things to take pictures of. But none the less a compare and contrast between the Fuji and Sony at this point is something that's warranted. You should know that this isn’t my first foray into the mirrorless wonderland, for the past couple of years I owned, swore at and eventually fell in love with a Fuji X-Pro1. Like many people I loved the handling, look and image but sometimes wanted to throw the bloody thing off a bridge. Focusing speed, shutter lag and a myriad of other issues were a pain at first but after a series of firmware updates things got much better. But I was still yearning for a full frame camera and then along came the Sony A7R.
I ordered it immediately and got one of the first out the door but initially found it to be an unforgiving little beast. It seemed as unwieldy and alien to me as the X-Pro1 did when I first bought that and the tiniest adjustments made huge differences to the images I was getting. Regret set in, compounded by blogs about light leaks and shutter vibration, but I'm not easily dissuaded (and I'd spend a wad of cash) and despite everything this little boxy bugger was starting to grow on me. Maybe it was going from APSC to FF that was causing me problems initially but with each consequent frame came vast improvements. And then there is the image quality. The sheer amount of detail, information and latitude that this little metal box exudes is beyond impressive. Having said that all that processing power and megapixels in the world won't help you take pictures of your kids. Movement is no friend of the A7R but the same can't be said of the Fuji X-T1. Now the first thing I thought when I frantically unboxed the X-T1 was just how good looking this thing is. It's the Brangelina of cameras, I mean this thing is just beautiful and it's not skin deep. It feels leaps and bounds ahead of the X-Pro1 in terms of speed and usability. For me the key reason to trade up from the X-Pro1 wasn't the image quality but the tracking focus and ability to fire off 8 frames a second. I recently got a chance to test that under pretty tough circumstances and X-T1 passed with flying colors. When I took shots of the Angola Prison Rodeo in Louisiana I was at the back of the stadium in the press box at the long end of the 55-200 and barely missed a shot. Tell me these shots don't look at least as good as anything you've seen come out of a hulking DSLR and huge lens?
The combination worked so well that I used it to publish a picture gallery for work.
So the big question I guess might be which camera is the best? Well if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose I would probably take the bullet; I just love both of these cameras that much. The A7R is amazing for landscape, urban and portrait shots and suits the pace that I work at for the most part. The Fuji replicates all that, albeit with much smaller files and detail, and throws in the bonus of being fast and, I think, better looking. If you're on a budget the Fuji will not displease but it's what I can do with the A7R files that continues to impress. Pictures that I have been convinced were average or just lost have turned out to be stunning. But whenever I am packing for another trip I go through the same dilemma - Fuji or Sony. It's most definitely a first world problem but the fact that I lose sleep over which of these small and highly capable cameras to take with me is a testament to how much choice and quality mirrorless shooters have these days!