Camera bags for the Sony a7rII, Sony a7rIII or the Sony a9

I’m considering buying a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens and I’m looking at a small bag to be used with my Sony a7rII and my hiking backpack i.e. I’ll have a little side bag.

I originally planned for the PCT and would be bringing a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens or a Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens; therefore, my Lowepro Toploader 45 AW II would work perfectly. Unfortunately, judging from the measurements, the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens won’t quite fit! I’m probably going to get a Lowepro Toploader 50 AW II as it’s slightly bigger but not too big.

Anyway, after re-reading my camera bag photography reviews (12 and 3), I’ve decided I definitely need to re-write them. I’m awfully lazy when it comes to writing reviews but it makes me look a bit stupid / like a slob, haha. I can’t promise when I will get around to re-writing them as I have hurt my arm and it’s a bit painful to type. I will try sometime in the future.

I’ve also bought another bag since then as well, a Crumpler Muli 7500, which I also highly recommend. When I get the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens, I will see which bags it fits in and let you know if it works in this too.

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.

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.

UK Holiday and some thoughts about lenses

I’m going to be gone for a week or so, as I’m going on holiday. I’ll mostly be staying in England but I will briefly visit Wales as well. I’ll be doing a bit of hiking despite what the people at the US Embassy think, I do actually like to walk places lol and photography.

When I return home, I should have my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and I’ll work on doing a review for that. I’ll be reviewing it as a portable backup solution and a device to benefit travel photographers, rather than the stereotypical type of review (there’s plenty like that that’re far better than anything I could create; I suggest you check out Krystal Key on YouTube and Flossy Carter.)

A telephoto lens for Canada

I’ve also been looking at more photographs of Canada and it’s really pretty! I need to give lens consideration some serious thought. For my planned Pacific Crest Trail 2018 hike, I thought taking a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 or a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.8 lens would be enough. Weight’s a serious problem for a hike like that.

However, as I’ll be going to Canada and will likely not have to stress about hiking speed quite as much, I definitely feel I should concentrate a bit more on photography and I’m considering all options really.

The Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is overpriced (in my opinion), it’s relatively lightweight and it’s a fairly good focal length. If it was a macro lens as well, this lens would be a no-brainer for me.

The Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens is beautiful by all accounts, but it’s big and expensive.

The Sony 100-400 f/4.6 to f/5.6 GM lens is lightweight for its focal length but it’s still a heavy lens in its own right. This lens could be incredibly useful for wildlife photography, including bears and wolves.

The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens is a great standard zoom, it will allow me to take flower shots, landscape shots and various things. Combine this with my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and I’d have myself a decent kit, with the exception of being able to take wildlife shots (I mean, you can, but it’s not an ideal focal length.) It’s expensive and heavy but I think it’s priced about where it should be.

I’m considering bringing a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens, a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens, but perhaps 135mm isn’t long enough. It’s a really hard judgement to make. I really want a telephoto zoom, but the weight of one might prove to be too much. At about 600 grams, the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is considerably lighter than all the other longer focal length lenses, and 21mm is incredibly versatile for landscape shots. Plus I’ll be able to use my phone’s cameras a bit; its quality isn’t as good obviously but it will still have its place in my bag.

In truth, the prices of all these lenses stretch my budget beyond what I’m comfortable with, but I really don’t think 21mm to 50mm is long enough. I manually approve all comments, so if something doesn’t appear, please wait a week until I’m back.

Canada, US Visa, Zeiss Batis and stuff

I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing my posts about the Pacific Crest Trail and my US Visa denial, so I’ve decided to make a page dedicated towards it and then limit my blog posts to happier content. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone at least.

I’m going to give Canada some serious thought. Banff looks really pretty. I think I’d like to buy a longer lens, if I do go to Canada. A Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens will be a bit heavy, but the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens might just be manageable. It’s a lens I initially laughed at, and the price is extortionate, but it’s really quite lightweight for its focal length. The price is a bit of a problem though.

I’m going on holiday Saturday, for a week, and hopefully I’ll be able to take a few photographs :). When I return home, I will receive my Samsung Galaxy Note 8. I will do a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, I also want to update my Garmin Fenix 5x watch review, and write about how well it functions with a phone.