Comments to the Editor. Findings With the Sony a7r IV

Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of comments. People can be pretty toxic at times when you and your staff work pretty hard to output content. That’s why for a while I removed them from the site. But sometimes, our comments are actually from people who realize that we’re human beings too. And instead of responding to them in our comments section, we had the idea to write full letters to them. Inspired by the Letters to the Editor in the New Yorker, we’re doing just that here.

On the Sony a7r IV’s Autofocus

In our article about the Sony a7r IV discount, we stated how we never liked the autofocus across the board. Andy Lay said this:

“Chris, I can’t tell a lie either but I definitely prefer the R4 over the R3. The Sony a7r IV is my primary camera body for my professional work. The eye auto-focus and stability function seems to be significantly better. I have also found that the noise level on the R4 is much lower that the R3 despite there being many more pixels on the same size sensor. If I remember correctly, there were some significant improvements in the R4 via firmware updates that came out a while after initial release. I’m curious if you had the latest firmware when you tried out the R4. Thanks for your many articles and including Sony in your topics.”

Thanks for your comment, Andy. And more importantly, thanks for writing it like an intelligent human being. Comments like these excite me. First off, yes, we have had the latest firmware updates. In fact, Sony is pretty bad about communicating with the press about firmware updates. And it didn’t really change until I reached out recently. If you’ve read the site for a while, you’ll know that when firmware updates happen, we call units back in for testing and we update our reviews. We see when firmware comes out at times, but not always.

I’m not sure what sort of settings you’re using, but even according to DXOMark’s findings, the Sony a7r III is still the better camera. Every time I pick that thing up, I pretty much fall back in love with Sony. It’s nearly perfect in many ways. I wondered exactly what you were saying about eye auto-focus as well. But in reviews of first and third-party lenses, both Brittany and Hillary seem to agree with me. Even previous staff have agreed as well. One PR rep that does work for Sony also told me that they’re not surprised by the findings considering the megapixels. The Sony a7r IV had the processor of the Sony a9 II if I’m remembering correctly, which had to handle sensor output that’s nearly 3x as much. The Sony a7r IV just seriously, consistently, never did it for me. And for the record, I had very high hopes for it.

I’ve also generally got this notion that I don’t buy the “even” generation of cameras. With the exception of the Canon 5D Mk II, I’ve never seen something really be all that amazing. The X Pro 2 wasn’t a fascinating enough upgrade from the X Pro 1 for me. But the X Pro 3 is my baby. The Leica SL2s came after the Leica SL2, so it improved on what issues both the first and second version of cameras in that series had.

With my experience aside, I think it’s wonderful that you’re having yours. I don’t know what you shoot, and I also don’t know what kind of shooting situations you’re in. But I purposely expose myself to a bunch of different scenarios when running this site. Further, Brittany and Hillary both are in different states and have completely different experiences than I do here in NYC. Hillary has been doing this nearly as long as I have, and Brittany has been shooting for longer than Hillary and I both.

Thanks for reading and for your comment.

On the Fujifilm XH2s Being Too Late

In our article, I wondered if the Fujifilm XH2s is too late to the scene. Nick Turpin wrote:

“If you are a commercial stills photographer and filmmaker as well, this camera steps up to tick both boxes. Internal Prores recording in 4k at 120fps, 14 stops of dynamic range in flog2. This is the Fujifilm I’ve been waiting for to ditch my Canons finally.

Ordered 2.”

Hi Nick! It’s been a while since we’ve featured you, and I sincerely hope that you’re well.

I agree with you. If you’re both a commercial stills photographer and a filmmaker, the XH2s seems like a fantastic camera. But that’s also a statement that comes with caveats. Let me explain:

  • If you’re a filmmaker, I don’t know how Fujifilm is going to steal the thunder away from Panasonic, Canon, or Sony. More importantly, when we talked to a bunch of filmmakers in 2021, they didn’t seem to focus on the hybrid camera market in general. They used dedicated camcorders instead.
  • Commercial stills photographers can more or less use anything they want. No one makes a bad camera these days, even if we’ve never rated a sigma camera above three stars and they average one or two.
  • The hybrid shooters can do a whole lot more with Canon and Sony. With Sony, you get a much larger selection of lenses and much fuller flash and lighting support.

What I sincerely feel really set Fujifilm apart from all the rest are the ergonomics and the film simulations. Lots of camera testers don’t consider these because of the many standards that previous generations created. In our eyes, those standards are antiquated. Fujifilm’s film simulations make the camera system unique and they apply to the RAW files. Further, the superior ergonomics and retro feeling is seriously valued by a ton of photographers.

And with the XH2s, those were more or less thrown out the window.

The XH2s seems like a camera that’s not necessarily designed for Fuji shooters. Hillary and I love our retro ergonomics. So too does, Brittany! But Brittany is genuinely considering moving to the GFX format from Canon.

Will the camera make Fujifilm photographers a whole lot more versatile? Absolutely. But as Alex said in an article on the 19th, companies need to stop messing around with ergonomics so much. If you’re going from your XH2s to your XT4 or X Pro 3, the entire layout will be completely different.

I hope your cameras serve you well.

Thanks for Writing In

If you leave comments on articles, we’ll probably respond by turning them into full letter responses like you see here. Otherwise, you can write in to us at editors@thephobloographer.com.

Thanks folks!



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