Back about 1 1/2 years ago I bought my fourth in a line of Sony compact cameras going back to a Sony Mavica in 1999. The new addition was the Sony HX 80. When I got it that model was just out and cost me all of $380 at Best Buy. I had always liked using and the results out of my previous Sony compacts and this was a good one too. I was looking forward to having an electronic viewfinder, steady shot vibration reduction, and the ability to optically zoom from 24-720mm equivalents. For the price and size of this camera I got very good results including really amazing long lens shots of birds in flight and distant mountain tops. One of the big benefits of this camera was the small size, and one of the problems of this camera was the small buttons and small electronic view finder.
Soon I figured out that it was just simpler and better to set the camera to Auto when the exposure seemed not too wide and then I would use A mode and adjust the exposure setting using the zebras on the back screen or in the viewfinder. Sony’s “intelligent Auto”. worked well and was able to detect most scenes and to find people’s faces. And that is how I used the camera until I sold it about 8 weeks ago. My 2 1/2 month old Sony A7iii is a highly capable camera that gives excellent stills and video. It is hard to adjust and change settings quickly on it most of the time. I am sure after I have it for a year it will be easier. So after grousing about how hard it was yesterday when we expected family to come over for a Christmas cookie decorating event I decided that I would try setting the A7iii to Auto and seeing how well it did.
For all of these shots it was always in Auto and I used my 55mm Zeiss f1.8 prime lens. Also used was a Godox flash in some of them. I set the flash on TTL and did not adjust it at all.
As it turns out I think the Sony did a splendid job. When there was a face in the scene it picked it out right away. It did a good job of auto white balance, exposure, speed, and so on. Do I plan to just let the camera do the thinking for me in the future, no, I like trying different settings to get the best result possible.
Color. I am finding the best results at this point to be just setting the camera to export raw only and editing that in Lightroom CC Classic. I have also used Lightroom CC and there is little difference between those two. I prefer the organizational ability of LR Classic to putting everything on line like CC wants you to. The Sony does seem to put out raws that need little editing. For these shots I mostly tried Adobe auto to see if that improved it. In about half the shots it did. And then I mostly added either Adobe Standard profile or Sony Standard profile. Plus maybe a little clarity or dehaze.
All these shots were hand held and this lens does not have VR, but the camera body does. The A7iii was able to get focus quickly and snap off the shot rapidly. I seems to work with the Godox flash easily. I did have a cover over the flash head that quieted down the light blast a bit.
I am surprised at how well the A7iii was able to automatically adjust for backlight and skin tones and come up with a good result. We have had cookie decorating parties in this same spot for about 15 years and the Sony did the best job on exposure of any camera I have used so far. A year ago though I did shoot some Fuji 200 speed film using my Minolta and I will now insert in a few of those shots.
The above film pictures I did use a flash but forgot to tilt the head up so in some cases there is glare on the faces. But the colors are good.
The above six shots were also Fuji 200 (Walmart film) but shot about a week later and with my manual focus Olympus OM2n. All of them except the top one were just nature light through a window. The top one I think the color is a bit affected by a little incandescent light. The bottom five photos are all excellent with the beautiful bokeh you get from the Zuiko lens and the just popping colors on the gingerbread house and the painting. I love some of the sharp focus rolling into off focus from wide open glass and the inexpensive Fuji film just does a great job. There is a little of the Fuji green tinge in the shots though. I did shoot about a roll or so of film yesterday and when I get it developed I will post the results along with the Sony photos for comparison.
I like both the Sony shots and the film shots. The Sony shots are technically excellent. Clear, start, exposed right, clean. Even though the lens I used on the Sony is very highly rated it Just is not rolling in and out of focus like the old Zuiko. Plus the film adds some softness to the look. I find the look of the bottom five shots where the focus rolls in and out and some of the color is just vibrant and other times soft to be beautiful in a way the Sony photos are not. And that is the reason I think film still has a place in 2018. If all we had was digital our photos would look mostly like we were Xeroxing the World. More art is needed with the Xeroxing.