Further Thoughts on Full Frame After Shooting m4/3 for Five Years

Buttons. Two of the most annoying on the a7 III are the menu button, which is inexplicably located to the left of the EVF; and the lens release button, which is tiny and very difficult even with rather slender fingers to reach with the handgrip scrunched so close to the lens mount.

Some buttons might advantageously be placed on the front of the camera: the dilemma being that there isn’t much real estate for any. Several G Master lenses do have programmable buttons, though I haven’t used them yet. The camera is probably a nuisance to shoot with gloves on, though this doesn’t really pose much of a problem in Vietnam! I’m sure if Nikon gets it right, their mirrorless will be more popular with people who shoot in harsh environments.

Sensor dust. Over the years, I’ve heard the online community complain about dust gathering on the sensor. I should preface my remarks by saying that Saigon is one of the filthiest places I’ve ever been; the air quality is poor; there is construction everywhere; and I have to bathe several times a day to get the grime off. Still, in my five years of shooting Panasonic, it never once occurred to me to check the sensor; and since I almost always shoot at f/4 or wider, it was never going to show up anyhow. But checking the a7 III yesterday, I did notice one speck of dust, which was easily dislodged with a puff of air.

Detail. The amount of detail is staggering, but also extremely unflattering if you’re working with models with anything but perfect complexions. This means having to use extra diffusion with lighting, and perhaps even hiring a stylist to assist with hair and makeup, stuff I never concerned myself with shooting m4/3.

The Full Frame ‘Look’. I happen to love the full frame look, but have come to realize that unless I’m shooting in the dark, for me, there’s no need to shoot much wider than f/4 or so to get the nice creamy out of focus backgrounds I’m after with the lenses and subjects I regularly shoot. With m43, I rarely shoot at apertures narrower than f/4 and often shoot wide open.

Autofocus. The AF is insane, and face tracking is almost psychic. Sunday morning, I shot with a model for two hours in the Central Post Office and on Book Street, both of which are teeming with sightseers on the weekend, and every clip was in focus, even at wide-ish apertures, and even when the model was quite far away from the camera.

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