Why I like my sleek Sony A6000 more than my awesome Olympus E-M1 (Part 1: Look and Feel)

Well, I first have to admit my title is a bit sensational.  The fact of the matter is that I could also write a blog post (and am planning to!) in which I state just the opposite:  why I like my Oly more than my Sony.

Let me also disclose up front that if I could have only one system, it would be the Olympus.  With a few notable exceptions the Olympus is a more seriously featured camera.  And, oh, the lenses! But that's a story for another blog post.

But since I have both systems, I find that my preference is to pick up the smaller, lighter and bigger-sensored Sony. I think the preference is due to the "look" and "feel" more than the features. In exchange for the pleasing look and feel (ergonomics?  haptics?), I make do with a smaller selection of lenses, knowing that the Olympus is close at hand.  (Physically these are small enough cameras that I find it easy to carry both in a small day pack while traveling.)

The look:

I absolutely love the rangefinder look of the camera.  And it is so small for an APS-C sensored camera with interchangeable lens.  Growing up I had a love affair with my dad's German-made Kodak Retina IIIc, a rangefinder style camera with a collapsible 50mm F2.8 Schneider lens. As a kid I could only shoot black and white on my little brownie camera because color slide film was too expensive to buy and develop.  I loved the Kodachromes my dad took and likely I assumed the beautiful slides with the beautiful blue skies were because of the camera. I think the most influential part of this old psychology is the use of small cameras to make (hopefully) great images.

Sony A6000 with Sigma 30mm F2.8 and c.1955 Kodak Retina IIIC
with fixed Schneider 50mm F2.8. 
The similarities: size, flat top plate, and
viewfinder in the upper left corner.

The feel:

Sony has come up with a really compelling form factor, at least in my opinion. The A6000 simply feels great in my hand.  It feels even better with the cheap Chinese (via eBay for about $20) Arca-Swiss compatible base plate I have attached.  It adds approximately 10mm to the height of the camera, translating into 10mm of additional grip.  This easily allows me to grip the camera with all four fingers, rather than with three fingers with the pinky curled up under the camera.

The $20 Arca-Swiss compatible bottom plate/grip via eBay

Access to battery and memory card

I'm a big fan of the extra 10mm of height/grip.

I wish I'd taken my can of compressed air to blow off the pollen (it's everywhere!)
before taking this picture.

Part of the nice "feel" IMO is the viewfinder in the upper left corner, rangefinder style.  I love this.  I am right eye dominant, so this means my big greasy nose is not pressed against the display.

The lesson learned:

What this tells me is how important the look and feel can be.  These are things that are very subjective... and, perhaps, more important than features.

There will be a Part 2  !

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