or Journey to the Perfect Travel Gear: From APS-C to Full Frame and Back.
- Prologue: Odyssey APS-C or FF
- Photographic Odyssey Through Time
- Self-Funded Photographic Exploration
- Navigating Camera Technologies: A Dual Journey into Full Frame
- Mirrorless Adventures with APS-C Gear
- Zooming In: APS-C Lens Evolution
- Anticipations and Realities: New Sony APS-C Models
- High-Resolution Choices: a7cR vs. a7R5
- Overcoming Overkill: Why I Chose the a7R5
- Unlocking Dual Realms: Using the a7R5 in APS-C and Full Frame
- The Worth of Investment: Financial Insights
- Lens Harmony: Merging Nikon FF Legacy with the Sony a7R5
- Captured Moments: A Visual Epilogue
Prologue: Odyssey APS-C or FF
Embark on a visual journey mastering adventure photography, transitioning seamlessly from APS-C to full-frame excellence. Join me in the exploration of the perfect travel gear, and the quest for capturing moments that transcend time.
Photographic Odyssey Through Time
Since 2001, I have been on an exciting odyssey through digital photography. A decade ago, I decided to buy my first full-frame digital camera, a Nikon D750. After years of exploration, mainly with APS-C cameras, I am now returning to the world of full-frame photography with the Sony a7R5.
Here’s a little spoiler: I’ll be using the Sony a7R5 in both worlds, with APS-C and full-frame lenses.
As a passionate photographer, I’m always on the lookout for the best gear to capture my adventures. From APS-C DSLRs to full-frame DSLRs and later to mirrorless APS-C lenses. Now I’ve come full circle, as I’m switching back to a full-frame mirrorless body. The reason for this change? The Sony a7R5, driven by my expectations and, I admit, the lack of desired improvements in the new APS-C camera, the Sony a6700. While opting for the a7R5 may seem like “overkill”, I’d like to explain in more detail why I chose this course.
Self-Funded Photographic Exploration
Over the years, my journey through the world of digital photography has been funded solely by my passion and personal investment. Every camera, lens and accessory discussed in this article has been purchased with my own hard-earned money, without any partnerships or sponsorship. In the spirit of transparency, there are no affiliate links or sponsored content here – just an authentic report of my experiences with the gear I’ve personally purchased and tested. Let’s dive into the details of my self-financed photographic odyssey.
Navigating Camera Technologies: A Dual Journey into Full Frame
In 2014, I made a huge change: I switched from the Pentax K5 DSLR to the mirrorless APS-C camera Sony NEX6 and later to the full-frame camera Nikon D750. Despite the excellent results and all the advantages of the D750, the compact and lightweight Sony NEX6 remained my preferred travel companion. In recent years, the Nikon D750 was reserved for city trips or road trips. Daily, I grappled with the decision of choosing two out of my three zoom lenses (15-30mm, 24-70mm, or 70-200mm) to pack in my bag, carefully considering their weight and predicting the upcoming photo opportunities of the day.
Mirrorless Adventures with APS-C Gear
In 2018, I upgraded from the NEX6 to the Sony a6300. For my travels, I used prime lenses exclusively, as I couldn’t find zoom lenses that met my quality standards. However, the landscape of lenses has changed significantly over the years, and my latest travel kit included the Sony a6300 with a Sony 10-20 F4, Tamron 17-70 F2.8, Sony 70-350, and a special prime the Laowa 9mm F2.8. My love for ultra-wide-angle lenses I shared in this blog post.
Zooming In: APS-C Lens Evolution
As I mentioned, I made the switch from prime lenses to zoom lenses between 2021 and 2022. While prime lenses offer excellent image quality, they lack the flexibility of zoom lenses, especially during travelling. With zoom lenses, I could capture a variety of scenes without the need to change lenses, by reducing the total amount of light and maximum sharpness prime lenses offer.
Note on a Sigma prime: In my opinion, the Sony APS-C models combined with the Sigma 56mm F1.4 perform on a similar level as my much older Nikon D750 with the Nikkor 85mm F1.8 at a much lower price and weight. Even the older Sony mirrorless camera bodies support face and eye detection, which the Nikon DSLR-style camera doesn’t have.
Anticipations and Realities: New Sony APS-C Models
For years, I, like many others, eagerly awaited the release of a new Sony APS-C body. The a6400 or a6600 didn’t offer enough of an upgrade to justify the extra cost. Finally, in 2023, Sony announced the a6700. However, the specifications didn’t convince me to invest in this APS-C camera.
Why I Was Not as Excited About the a6700
The Sony a6700, despite its new design and A.I. engine for identifying and tracking subjects, didn’t offer the improvements I was hoping for. While it brought the APS-C line of mirrorless cameras up to date, it lacked certain features that would have made it a complete upgrade.
I believe that if Sony had developed an APS-C body with something like 30 or 33 MP without an anti-aliasing filter, or would have included the flipping-tilting screen of the a7R5 or a better EVF to the a6700, this would be probably already mine.
High-Resolution Choices: a7cR vs. a7R5
With the a6700 not meeting my expectations, I considered waiting for the high-resolution a7cR. However, I found myself drawn to another option: the Sony a7R5 or a7rV. But fist I waited for the release of the Sony a7cR.
When comparing the a7cR and a7R5, I had to consider several factors. While both camera bodies offer high resolution in FF and APS-C modes, the little less weight of the a7cR did not convince me to not go for the a7R5.
Comparison of the weight:
Weight of the a7cR + Grip (515g [with battery] + 75g = 590g)
Weight of the a7R5 with battery 723g
Overall a reduction of 133g, but a worse screen, worse EVF, similar overall size (including the a7rC grip), no joystick and lower-rated IBIS compared to the a7R5. This said I have to mention that at the time I bought the a7R5, it was only roughly 300 Europ more expensive than the a7cR. When I am looking at the current prices and see they are nearly 800 Euro apprat, I would probably go for the a7cR and still would be happy.
Overcoming Overkill: Why I Chose the a7R5
Yes, the Sony a7R5 might seem like overkill. However, it offered the flexibility I needed. With the a7R5, I could switch between full-frame and APS-C lenses. By the use of APS-C lenses, I will still get 26 MP resolution. During travelling I can travel with a unique portfolio of lenses (APS-C & FF lenses) within an overall reasonable light travel kit. This flexibility, combined with the high resolution offered by the a7R5, made it the ideal choice for me. The latest modern FF lenses also reduce the weight and sizes a lot and in addition show an improved optical quality, which will be crucial on a high-resolution body with 61MP.
I can think of two different travel kits for my kind of photography which will be around 2kg for a full travel kit:
- Sony 10-20 F4 (APS-C) [178g]
- Sony 20-70 F4 (FF) [488g]
- Sony 70-200 F4 Macro II (FF) [794g]
Total weight with body and battery 2183g.
- Sony 10-20 F4 (APS-C) [178g]
- Sony 20-70 F4 (FF) [488g]
- Sony 70-350 (APS-C) [625g]
Total weight with body and battery 2014g.
My APS-C travel kit was in total 1732g. To put it into comparison, my old Tamron 70-200 F2.8 FF lens on the Nikon d750 was already 1535g + 750g for the camera body.
Unlocking Dual Realms: Using the a7R5 in APS-C and Full Frame
With the Sony a7R5, I can now enjoy the benefits of both APS-C and full-frame photography. With APS-C lenses, I can take advantage of the extended reach of the lenses I already own, while having at the same time a reasonable weight. In full-frame mode, I can enjoy the full image quality that this sensor offers, if a good lens is mounted to it.
The Worth of Investment: Financial Insights
Is this investment worth it? In my case financially, definitely not, because I am not making any money with my photography. For the joy, this camera gives me, for sure.
I can even see from my first pictures, that the overall colours and quality of pictures have improved. I don’t think it is a first-time buyer camera, but I have already using digital cameras for more than 20 years. And yes, I am still struggling with the Sony camera menu, even though it is my third Sony camera. 🙂
Lens Harmony: Merging Nikon FF Legacy with the Sony a7R5
In order to utilize my existing Nikon/Nikkor gear, including the autofocus functions, with the Sony a7R5, I incorporated the Monster Adapter LA-FE1 into my setup. This adapter has enabled me to leverage the capabilities of my older lenses with the advanced autofocus features of the Sony a7R5, expanding the range of lenses available for my photography.
Captured Moments: A Visual Epilogue
To conclude this photographic journey, I would like to rewind to 2001, when I started my journey into digital photography with a Canon s45. I chose the s45 back then because of the full control and the great reviews. I took a lot of pictures with it even though it only had 4MP and only offered a 3 times zoom. Over the years, I believe my photography skills improved and at the same time cameras and lens techniques were getting better and more advanced. Now I’m pleased to have this huge upgrade of camera and I love to present a collection of moments I captured with the Sony a7R5. From everyday scenes to breathtaking landscapes, these images reflect the memories of my adventures.
In conclusion, my journey through different camera bodies and lenses has led me to the Sony a7R5. While it may seem like an overkill, its flexibility and high resolution make it the perfect fit for my needs. Whether I’m travelling or capturing everyday moments, the a7R5 allows me to capture the world as I see it, in all its detail and beauty.
For more insights on travel photography gear, including ultra-wide angle lenses for Sony APS-C cameras, check out my comprehensive guide on Top Ultra-Wide Angle Lenses for Sony APS-C Cameras.
However, this is only a small selection. The full photo gallery contains a wider photo story. Each photo tells its own special tale, and I invite you to explore the entire collection. If you want to see even more, visit my Instagram page or read other posts on this homepage for an even more comprehensive visual experience.
Join me on a journey with Shadows to Sunshine: Transforming Gloomy Travel Photos, your ultimate guide to the unpredictable world of travel photography. Learn advanced editing techniques, harness the power of artificial intelligence, and unlock the potential of RAW shots to seamlessly transform unpredictable weather challenges into captivating visual narratives. Discover Lightroom Classic’s innovative features, such as advanced sky adjustments and enhanced noise reduction, and set out to transform gloomy shots into vibrant and compelling visual masterpieces.
As mentioned above, I started in 2001 with a Canon s45 with 4MP and I loved it, but back in the day, I couldn’t have imagined such an improvement in camera technique. Now I am moving up the game with the a7R5 beast and I am looking at where this “creature” takes me during my upcoming trips and if it gives me new wings on my journey of developing photographic skills. 🙂