I’ve made a recent decision that my FE lenses deserve a better body. The a7 I is getting long in tooth. The IQ is great, but the AF and battery life is dismal. Its AF at least has better coverage than the a99 I horrible center focused AF but the tracking leaves a lot to be desired. And the W batteries are just awful. In comparison the the M batteries where I feel solid doing a days worth of shooting, the W batteries feel like they are going to die within the hour. At first I felt quite focused on choosing a body that had full LA-EA5 compatibility so that I could use all of my A mount lenses, but then I figured why not just use my a99ii for that – there’s very little that desire in the a99ii as it is just such a complete camera body to me. So instead of shelling out money for an a7r IV, a1 or a7iv, I’m more open to other bodies. A used a9 i started to feel very good- especially with tracking as its primary strength and anti distortion filter for electronic shutter. And used prices have come down considerably. I’m also a sucker for the 9 series. I’m being a bit of an elitist, but the a9 is right in the a99 and a900 camp of premium flagship territory (at least until the a1 came out). a7 feels….mainstream. And part of camera culture to me is beyond just tools of the trade. I love heritage.

However, I have also found that open box a7 iii and a7c prices are well within or below used a9 i prices and this means full warranty and less headaches. To be fair, I have maybe 2 duds in buying used equipment (I’m looking at you RX10 lens fungus and Canon G3X lens zoom failure!!! problems, both which are likely manufacture defects but not covered because used obviously, or way way too old for the manufacture to care). Which means given the extensive used equipment I have taken in, I’ve saved quite a bit in a successful manner, so this shouldn’t be too big of a jump to buy another body. The difference I think for me is that I paid this much for the a99ii used, because that was peak A mount, and the used prices were not going down- and new prices were considerable. And I love A mount. But the FE bodies are a dime a dozen and plenty of them are available compared to a99 ii bodies. So I actually have choice. I went to McBain to check out how it handles – here we have the A7iv, a7iii and a7c- with the Zeiss 50mm F1.4, it really balances oddly and didn’t feel super comfortable. However, with the kit 28-60mm it feels great. I bet that 50mm f1.8 FE lens would fit better on the a7c.

That grip is off putting though. It really is not that great compared to the a7 iii body. I also don’t like the mini EVF – the a7 has a much more prominent and larger EVF, a lot more crucial for stills shooting vs the vari angle side flip out LCD for video on the a7c. The a7c is also said to have better tracking for AF and AF is definitely one of my main upgrade drivers. Which….emphasizes used a9 i. But having a more than good enough camera with full warranty for a cheaper price (guesstimate around 500-600 CDN for the a7iii open box price) is a hard thing to say no to. The a7c is also tricky….because there is one in stock right now. It also comes with the 28-60 kit lens, which is not impressive in focal length or aperture, but is sharp and compact. I’m not sure if that is a lens that would get a lot of use for me, but its nice to have a decent lens as a bonus. The prestige of the a9 is compelling to me though. And the a7c looks kind of dumb and unbalanced on my bigger FE lenses like the Zeiss 50mm f1.4. And no official vertical grip to balance that out on the a7c. Its kind of crazy how its not all that much different in size from the age old a6000. The body is much better feeling though.

I got to check out the Panasonic S1 mirrorless body and I must say the handling was very impressive- very much reminiscent of the big beefy a99ii handling, maybe even a850 – this however is also a drawback- its as big as a DSLR if not larger and just feels a little too unwieldy. Its absolutely enormous compared to the a7 bodies here.
While an a9 feels cool to shoot with, its really not as unique to me as an a99ii, so it sort of doesn’t nail it o the head for me. And so now I am considering open box a7iii or a7c bodies. Both use the new Z batteries which is a massive plus over the W batteries and equivalent more or less with the M batteries. Both have excellent AF – not as good as the a9 but at the level I am shooting, I wouldn’t notice a difference. What the a7c has is a two tone option in silver which I like having something different but its not really Fujifilm classic film camera styling coolness. Its just different. The a7c lacks the handling though, both in size of grip, and buttons and dials. Especially dials and joystick. The lack of the joystick is a concern because I use the joystick frequently to change AF points and while I can somewhat do this on the a7 i, its cumbersome and a two step process. The dual dials might not be a huge deal. I fully believe Sony had the ability to put a front dial on the a7c but did not in order to cripple it to some degree and not overlap the a7iii model. I tend to shoot in A/S mode primarily and rarely in M mode, and two dials is not as critical as one dial. Besides, the a7c also has an EV dial so that helps somewhat. This a9ii open box was cool to look at, but even at open box price, it was far more than I was willing to pay for a body upgrade. It handled well to be honest- great grip, great build quality, but I’m a little bored of the whole a7/a9/a1 body design. Its the same experience almost. With the a7c’s tracking AF being on par with the a9 mark I more or less, I was willing to let go of somethings like larger grip, larger EVF, handling, electronic shutter filter, faster shutter speeds, and full la-ea5 compatibility to save a good chunk of money and get a newish with warranty body over a used a9 mark i.
Very interested to see who buys this 300mm f2.8 SSM II SAL lens- mounted on my a77ii, its a beast of a lens and a curious one at that. Quite pricey, I am curious who is in the market for one of these- A- mount shooters are long gone like me, and a pro A-mount shooter is….pretty rare. I doubt anyone willing to shell out 6k on a lens is going to use an adapted lens on FE mount. Very impressive glass though. I’m probably done with my a mount journey- I have a nice collection of a-mount stuff – unless something exotic comes my way.
Mother’s day sushi platter- just really loving that pressed salmon sushi- the jalapeno and sweet soy sauce makes it so good. I was not a fan of the mango maki.
Shopping for new work computer. Still debating if I really need this given that I sort of have a work around to making my old VAIO L Core 2 Quad work with my work flow. The iMac M1 is hot on my list, because I want to experience a new OS- yellow is likely the flavor of choice. The muted front fascia colors don’t look as nice to me as yellow. Orange was a close call because I love the rear fascia but the front is too peach to me. Purple looks lavender, which is not my deal. Green and blue look great from the rear but meh from the front. 24 inches is a bit small I think and I wish it was 16:10 instead of 16:9.
Super slick Adidas outlet find- this Terrex GoreTex jacket matches my mountain fly GoreTex with a really light but weatherproof layer and a slick cut/fit. At 10% the original MSRP.
Japanese for lunch; I gotta say that this place had so many good memories when I was younger, but its pretty forgettable in taste for me now. Its nothing particularly special and it might be on par with Tokyoo Express now to me. Banzai was a local fave in high school but alas maybe not so much anymore.
Swim lessons for H. Gotta say I was feeling pumped getting into a public gym- its been ages. I feel a natural competitiveness especially around the other lifters and I’m eye balling who I need to beat in the gym on numbers. Its friendly fun competition that I like – it drives me to do more. H seemed to have a blast with her swimming test.
Maybe one of my favorite shirt finds in a while- just the right breathability and thickness for comfort and a slick color combo. Love the neon yellow on purple. I’m definitely summer vibing with this shirt.
Out with S for some shawarma- lamb today with extra garlic sauce and hot sauce. This garlic sauce is to die for. I just love how good and how much food is in this dish. The lamb is so tender and so tasty.
Doing a field trip now that field trips have resolved with H’s school. Got to check out this old school wood burning stove- the entire stove is a hot surface.
Out for a really nice morning walk in the river valley and the rising sun. Such good weather for a stroll around the spring greenery.
More strolling and chatting. Great morning.
Culina to Go- I freaking love the picked onions here.
The central view of downtown from somebody’s balcony- just love that greenery in this time of the year.
Lifting has been really great. I’ve managed to accomplish my three plate bench press in a clean fashion in the last month, after dropping weight for a year to focus on full range of motion bench press. I even went a bit further and got to 325lbs with some room to spare (including bar). Squat and deadlift have also gone up but not in as a memorable manner. Running continues to be a hit and miss for me with injuries. I can still feel my big toe joints and Achilles aching after runs. Changes in shoes seems to have been good though- I am being more and more of a convert with the Nike flyplate carbon fiber and React foam vs the Air Max runners I have been using for years. I’m enjoying thoroughly the new found greenery of spring in the city as I run and not using 80 layers or wondering if there is black ice under my foot. Or wearing my running spikes all the time. I am monumentally slow though. The heavier lifts are taking a toll on my agility and stamina; I’m hitting a much slower run time and speed, and inclines are challenging, crazy esp considering how much stairs I used to do. But I’m def more focused on lifts right now. This week I managed to do 315 lbs with 8×8 225lbs before, meaning that I didn’t need to have a full rest day to have a heavy chest lift. Felt great and in control. Another plus? Friendly dude in gym got to talking about squats and he was noting my weight (315lbs 16×8) when I hadn’t even reached my final form yet- 395 lbs paused squat finale. Felt good. Then I helped him rack his weights.
East Indian for lunch- I’m a sucker for different curries, and this beef, lamb and chicken was just so good. Tried it with Hakka noodles this time and that was not too bad either. I’m undecided if I would rather have saffron rice or these noodles- the noodles have so much taste in themselves that the sauce seems a bit wasted in them.

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