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.