The Sony a7rIII is a beautiful camera

The Sony a7rIII has been announced and I think it’s a great camera in its own right. I’d love one if I could afford one. Well, I can technically afford one but I think it’s a smarter decision to put my money into travel/glass….

Sony does not make too many cameras

Sony often gets railed at for releasing a lot of cameras in a short space of time, but when you look at Canon, Nikon or any other company interested in catering to multiple demographics, they release quite a few products. Canon has the rebel line, the 5dSR (which is neither a 5dmk3 or a 5dmk4), 5Dmk4, 6DII, 7DII, 80D, etc. However, Canon make their cameras vastly different in shape, and no one says they’re releasing too many cameras a year, even if they release a million all in the same year.

The Sony a7II, Sony a9, Sony a7sII and the Sony a7rIII all look pretty similar but they appeal to a different demographic just as much as the 5dmk4 and the 80D do. In other words, I think Sony would get criticised less for releasing numerous cameras a year if they made their cameras a different shape. Do I believe they should do that? Generally speaking, no. I like their decision for the most part. I love that they’re all pretty much the same size/shape with the same battery (the most recent cameras have a bigger battery but I’m sure they’ll stick with it as a standard across the board, soon enough.)

The Sony a9 line should be the exception, in my opinion. I believe it should be slightly larger. At some point, the Sony a7II series is going to be so good that it’s going to step on the toes of the Sony a9. If the Sony a9 was slightly bigger, it could have another processor or extra ram or whatever. When you start putting everything in the same body, you’re deliberately gimping something, and I’m not sure what should be gimped with the Sony a7III. The autofocus? I don’t think mirrorless autofocus is fast enough to be gimped yet, and it was originally meant to compete with the 5d line, so it’d be nice if it had a great autofocus. Gimp the dual card memory slots? Not a good idea, in my opinion. Gimp the joystick? Again, not a good idea. The Sony a9 forces the Sony a7rII series to be gimped in some way.

Where’s the extra dial?

The Sony a7rIII doesn’t have the extra dial the Sony a9 has, and in my opinion this is a sign of the aforementioned; the cheaper series is now starting to look deliberately cheaper. It wouldn’t cost more than $2 for Sony to implement an extra dial, and it’s something I’d really like to see on the camera.

The other improvements are great, in my opinion. It’s also great they’ve implemented a USB-C port. I think USB-C is single-handedly the best thing to happen to handheld devices. I hope this doesn’t mean they’ll start turning into power hogs just because they can be power hogs.

I bought the Sony a7rII with the plan to one day hike 2650+ miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in America. Although my Visa was denied twice, and I’ve basically said **** America for now, I still plan to do a long distance hike (I’m now looking at Canada, for next year as I’m allowed to stay there quite some time) next year. I’ll most likely hike the Great Divide Trail and some additional hikes. Having an efficient camera is important to me.

The dual card slots are a welcome addition. It’s the one thing I really, really want. I’m not even sure I need a bigger battery (I can charge my camera up with a power bank), but dual card slots is always nice. If the card doesn’t malfunction and the card slot doesn’t break, it’s not needed obviously. There’s ways I can circumvent this problem somewhat and use my smartphone as a portable backup device (I can plug my SD card directly into my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and copy my RAW photographs) but it makes me feel uncomfortable.

The autofocus I don’t really care about too much but it’s a smart move, in my opinion. Sony’s done a good job here, there’s just two main complaints I have really…

 

What the **** is with the PC sync port? Camera companies are encouraging flash companies to use this archaic technology. We’re in 2017…

I’m not sure about the MicroSD port plus a USB-C port. I guess it makes sense because you can charge the camera while supplying data. It’d be better to just have two USB-C ports though.

The lack of a dial the Sony a9 has is a bit of a bummer, in my opinion.

There’s not really any huge complaints here though. It’s a solid camera, and I’d definitely buy one if I could justify the price for the extra battery life, SD card slot and an improved viewfinder (I don’t care about the other stuff so much.)

For people in the UK who want to pick up a bargain, eBay has the Sony a7rII at a very cheap price point.

Places to hike in different parts of Canada

I’ve been researching different places to hike when I visit Canada next year, and a few great suggestions have been given to me which I’m really grateful for.

It seems the most popular provinces are BC, Alberta and Ontario.

  • The Great Divide Trail (700miles / 1125km)
  • West Coast trail on Vancouver island in BC (75km)
  • Bruce Trail in Ontario (900km long with additional 400km+ side trails)
  • The Trans Canada Trail aka The Great Trail is a long trail but many parts are not as scenic for hiking

The Great Divide Trail is the one I’m most interested in, and I should be able to hike additional trails either before or after it as 700 miles isn’t quite long enough for what I’d like to do (I’d like to travel for about 5-6 months.)

I’m going to do some calculations for travel costs, and I also need to send a letter to the US Embassy. If I can visit California for a couple of weeks without a Visa, I can consider the John Muir Trail. I’m going to try and limit my travel to as few countries as possible, but I’m tempted by a few places.

 

 

Email verification activation link for WordPress

Not many people leave comments on my website, and it’s a shame I have to enable anti-spam measures for such a small following, but bots and trolls are everywhere, haha!

I have now re-enabled the captcha, and I have enabled email verification for comments. Please do not use a site that supplies temporary email addresses as it likely won’t work. Gmail, outlook, ISP email addresses, etc. should all work fine.

Interestingly, wordpress doesn’t come with an activation link email setting by default–most forums include this. I was surprised.

People behind VPNs might also encounter troubles posting comments. My apologies to genuine users. Someone recently tried to use a VPN to circumvent a ban.

I realise this sounds awfully excessive but I’m too old to deal with  weirdos on the internet.

The Great Trail in Canada, photography and hiking equipment

I’m expecting to leave around April-May to hike some of the Great Trail in Canada. It’s a 15,000 mile long trail so obviously I won’t be doing all of it, but I would like to hike at least 1/10th of it.

I’m going to try visit the more sunny and scenic places first. After googling for a long time, there really doesn’t seem to be much documentation on it compared to the Pacific Crest Trail. The official “The Great Trail” website is useful in regards to the trail’s exact coordinates but there’s no information on what hiking equipment to bring.

It seems that the best way to research the hike is to break it up into small (smaller?) pieces. So for example if you’re interested in hiking around BC, find the section that passes through BC and similar hikes in that area, and then google the equipment required for those hikes. It still seems like a lot of guestimation, but I’m just glad I can go somewhere :). In all honesty, equipment virtually identical to the middle-latter parts of the Pacific Crest Trail might be suitable for a lot of Canadian hiking.

In regards to photography equipment. I’m a bit lost at sea. I’m thinking of bringing my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens, but I’m really not sure. I’m still considering the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens as well, instead of the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master.

When hiking in Canada, it seems you could bring 100kg of equipment and still not have enough! There’s so much to photograph, from wide-angle landscapes to 600mm shots of bears. However, a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens would really have me covered for 99% of my landscape needs.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen Not Working Correctly

If your Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen, stylus or whatever you like to call it doesn’t work correctly, it’s probably due to magnetism. On the Samsung community forums, a few people returned their Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phones because their S Pen didn’t work correctly, and they experienced troubles afterwards. I recommended they check to see if their case has a magnet in it e.g. a magnetic clasp, and sure enough it was the culprit. Unfortunately it is quite common for folding cases to include a magnetic clasp, and it does prevent the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 S Pen from working correctly, but this is a simple fix and I hope it helps a few people.

It would be nice if Samsung could include an FAQ with this solution, so that people with S Pen troubles don’t try and send their Samsung Galaxy Note 8 back as faulty.