The Sweet Spot is Still Sweet

Let's see, if I'm to Keep Up With The Joneses, this week I'd need to be forking out US$12,500 (plus probably some more for new lenses). That's US$6500 for a Sony Alpha 1 and US$6000 for a Fujifilm GFX100s. The Sony would give me a state-of-the-art speed camera (sort of) and the Fujifilm would give me a state-of-the-art pixels camera. 

The question is this: do I really need those? More to the point, the question is: do you really need those?

Probably not. There's plenty to love straddling what I'd call the sweet spot:

  • Canon — R5 and R6, maybe a 5D Mark IV
  • Nikon — Z6 II and Z7 II, or D850
  • Panasonic — S5 and S1R
  • Sony — A7 Mark III and A7R Mark IV

That spot ranges from US$2000 to US$4000, basically. Buy a generation behind or something like the Nikon Z5 and you're not very far off the sweet spot for less money. 

As much excited talk that Fujifilm and Sony generated this week, realistically these are fairly low volume cameras, and you're not going to spring for them unless you have one heck of a lot of disposable income you don't spend carefully, or you have a real, compelling need that's filled by one of those two cameras. (Yes, I'll be reviewing both. The A1 should arrive first at my office, sometime in March, so let's hope that vaccinations and pandemic decompression arrive soon so I can really put it to its paces.)

What's frightening is that I'm pretty sure that additional expensive, lower volume, higher-end cameras are on the way this year. 

In one sense, we live in marvelous times. Pick a lane, any lane, and you can create images better than we've ever been able to before. When the D800 came out in 2012, it really was a seminal camera without peer. Today, we have a lot of peers that are even better, all in that sweet spot. And if you have a speciality need—low light, speed, pixels, etc.—there's a more targeted camera for that, too.

Personally, I'm chomping at the bit to get out and about and back into the image-making business. I'm not going to be complaining about gear when I do, as my choices are broader and deeper than they've ever been. 

I'm sure you're eager to do more photography the way you're used to, too. But do you really need more than an R6, Z6 II, S5, or A7 Mark III offer? And if you do, are you sure you need more than an R5, Z7 II, S1R, or A7R Mark IV offer? (And that's just in full frame; some of you would probably be just as satisfied in the APS-C sweet spot.)

Those are the questions you need to ask yourself at the end of this week of high-end product announcements. I know how I think you should be answering... ;~)

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