- Sony a7iii
- Sony/Zeiss 35mm f2.8
- Nikon D750
- Nikkor 35mm f1.8
- filters: none
- lens hoods: always
- strap: Peak Design slide
35mm is king!
I have other Nikkor primes, and other Sony & Sigma primes, but I’m in love with the 35mm focal length for street photography, so that’s what I’m shooting most of the time. The Sony/Zeiss 35mm f2.8 costs more than the Nikkor 35mm f1.8, which is a little bit nuts. Little blue logos can be expensive! Still, it’s a pretty cool lens. It’s almost a pancake. It’s not actually flat like a pancake, but like a pancake it is: very small, super-light, expensive, and slow.
- Sony a7iii + Sony/Zeiss 35mm f2.8 – 861 gm
- Nikon D750 + Nikkor 35mm f1.8 – 1183 gm
Small & Light is Queen
The D750 is about the smallest & lightest full-frame DSLR that Nikon’s made. It’s a little bit smaller & lighter than the D850, yet the D750 has a deeper grip. The D850 feels great in my hand, but I actually like the feel of the D750’s deeper grip best. And it has very good autofocus and a sensor with amazing dynamic range. I’ve shot both the D750 and the a7iii in what I’d more-or-less call “total darkness” and achieved grainy, but beautiful results.
I don’t think I’ve held a camera that felt better in my hand than the D750, and 1183 gm really isn’t bad for a full-frame DSLR and a 35mm f1.8 lens. Still, if I walk around with that for enough hours, my shoulder is tired in spite of the nice padding on the Peak Design strap. BTW, I know a lot of peeps love Black Rapid straps. Sadly, they just don’t work for me at all.
The 300 gm savings with the a7iii + 35mm f2.8 is fantastic. No matter how many hours I walk with it I don’t feel tired. And while it doesn’t feel as great in the hand as the D750, I think Sony gets overly bashed on ergonomics. I love that a tiny 35mm f2.8 on the smaller a7iii can be so compact and lightweight. Not feeling anything in your shoulder after hours of walking is “ergonomics” too! And I can still take off my tiny Sony lenses and mount something like the glorious Sigma 135mm f1.8. That combo feels great too. You can call it “front heavy” if you want to, but what body isn’t dwarfed by a big Sigma prime? I love the feel of the Sigma 135 on the a7iii.
Obviously, there are smaller, and lighter cameras out there, like the much-loved Fuji X100F. Some peeps aren’t crazy about the X100F because it’s a fixed lens. I love that focal length so much that I’d be fine with that. But while Sony’s smaller-than-Nikon grip feels fine to me, Fuji’s almost non-existent grip does not. And I love full-frame sensors. Medium format is out of my price range, and too big and too heavy. But I wouldn’t shoot aps-c if I didn’t have to. For sure there are many great aps-c cameras, and no dis if you like them! 🙂
On the Street
Whatever lens I choose, 35mm, or something else, I never leave my studio with more than one lens. The lens I choose for the day is the lens I use for the day. Every lens is bad at something. But I’ve never gone out without encountering some moment where the lens I happened to have was exactly right.
A lot of Lightroom CC Classic, and pretty much no Photoshop. In portrait photography I often try to pull the clarity down as far as I can get away with. In street photography I usually push the clarity up. A lot. Very little full color. Sometimes I convert to B&W, and sometimes I pull the saturation down to -85 which is near monochrome, but can still carry hints of color.
I do a fair amount of split-toning. Sometimes a subtle selenium-toned-like effect. Other times I’ll use more dramatic tone, like blue shadows and amber hilights. +Clarity, +Vibrance, -Saturation, +Toning can sometimes look color-ish, but it’s actually very different from a traditional color image.