Thom’s Sony FE Bag

Yes, in late 2017 I started carrying around something mirrorless other than m4/3. I’m starting to get a lot more nuanced in how I approach things. For long into-the-deep-backcountry hikes the m4/3 bag still is my first choice, as I can build a smaller, lighter kit that serves me quite well. Carrying extra weight on all-day or overnight hikes in the middle of nowhere is something I long ago learned to avoid.

But for more city-based or front-country travel assignments, I’ve started using a Sony-based bag of mirrorless gear. 

To put that in specifics. Last year I had a trip to Alaska where I was doing a lot of hiking and kayaking. The m4/3 bag is packed for that. For a trip to Italy that's mostly city and museum hopping, I use this Sony bag. 

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Up front in the bag is a Sony A1. This 50mp master of all trades is Sony's best foray into mirrorless so far, and by a wide margin. At the back of that bag is the Sony A7r (review) (currently A7R Mark IV). This 61mp full frame camera is a near master of most everything. It works into low light far better than the m4/3 cameras, but it also is a pretty much state-of-the-art low ISO camera, too. Things I’d start to worry about with m4/3 (deep shadow detail or high ISO capability) I generally don’t worry about at all with the Sony. 

What, no Sony A7 Mark III? Well, you can go that route and save yourself some money, for sure, but the hurdle these days is to be ready for anything. The extra pixels on the A7Rm3 have served me well in this regard.

In the bag tend to be three Sony f/4 zooms:

I’ve picked the three best f/4 zooms because they make for a smaller kit that all fits into a sling bag I sometimes carry. All three are optically very good. (The 16-35mm f/4 is also good, the 24-70mm f/4 much less so.)

Depending what I’m intending to photograph, I may throw one of the Sony or Zeiss primes in there, but those three zoom lenses comprise a very competent set from very wide to moderate telephoto in a reasonably compact form. Slightly smaller in size/weight than I can really do with my Nikon full frame DSLRs. 

Indeed, I've managed to fit this all into a LowePro Sling III [advertiser link] with a bit of care.

But here's the thing: those lenses are all compromises. The only reason I use this kit over a Nikon DSLR kit is that Nikon doesn't make a trio of lenses that go from 12-200mm that are as small and light as these. If I were to sub in the better f/2.8 Sony zooms, those are pretty much the same size/weight as the equivalent Nikkors, so I'd just stick to my D850 with my Nikkor f/2.8 lenses. 

The point here is that I'm trying to be portable and svelte, but keep my image quality as high as possible while retaining flexibility. The A7R Mark IV and the f/4 lenses turned into my city travel set for awhile because of that. 

That said, my primary bag these days is a Nikon-based one. As Nikon filled out the Z lineup, I was able to return the camera UX I prefer. You can see what I'm using for what these days on this page on

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