If you follow Farm on social media, you will have probably seen the news that I’m now writing a monthly column for Professional Photo magazine. It’s fun to be involved with the magazine at a time when it is regenerating after being bought by its editor, Terry Hope. It might have been a while since you picked up a print photography magazine but I’d highly recommend it, not just for my monthly musings but also to get some wise words from Melissa Love at The Design Space who is also a columnist. If walking to your nearest newsagent doesn’t appeal then hope over here for subscription details. Meantime, here is last month’s article where I talk about my switch to Sony Mirrorless cameras after over 25 years with Canon. As you can imagine this was a big deal for me and so it seemed like a good place to start the column …
What are you shooting with these days? If you asked any wedding photographer this for the last few decades then the answers would most likely have been Canon or Nikon. But there are some new kids on the block and even someone who has been shooting for as long as me can be tempted to switch systems.
My history with the SLR began with the Minolta and kit lens that I was gifted on my 18th birthday by my Mum. It was the best present I’ve ever had: well until my husband had me made as a Muppet by the Jim Henson workshop.
When I started working as a professional music industry photographer I moved onto Canon EOS 5s and stuck with the brand, loyally jumping from the 5D to the 5D Mark II, Mark III and Mark IV through my wedding photography career. And I was pretty content, so why have I now switched to Sony Mirrorless cameras?
I first met Sony at one of our Photography Farm events. The A7iii had just launched and we were the first photographers in the UK to get our paws on it. It felt so alien to me and looked far too complicated. When they asked me if I’d try the camera out I said I couldn’t be bothered. After 25 years with Canon I could just grab them and shoot without having to think about the mechanics, just concentrating on the creativity. It’s the same logic I use for upgrading my Nissan Qasqai every two years. I know that I can just get in the car and drive, which makes me the ideal consumer for a brand!
That night, however, my words started to float around my head. ‘I cannot be bothered’. Yikes, isn’t that just about the worst place you can be as a creative? Complacency is the absolute enemy of progress and if you ever find yourself there you need to do something about it. For me, if lots of people I admired in the industry were ditching the DSLRs and embracing Mirrorless, surely I should at the very least give them a proper try.
A few weeks later, I took delivery of an A7iii and the 50mm G Master f/1.4mm lens. The next day I had an editorial shoot for Rock n Roll Bride magazine, so I added the camera to my usual kit thinking that I’d shoot a few frames to get a sense of comparison between the two systems. I ended up shooting the whole thing on the Sony. What better way to learn than to jump in at the deep end? (The images in this article are from that shoot.)
At my next couple of weddings, I shot both. However, I found it too confusing switching between the two. I even tried to jam a Sony flash on a Canon body for group shots in front of a Christmas tree. The time had come to decide if I was going to break up with my long term partner for someone new. “It’s not you, it’s me” I explained to the stack of Canon boxes that I packed up to send to the lovely folks at MPBIt did feel weirdly emotional but also like the right thing to do.
Much to my own surprise, I’m now shooting solely Sony. I was even invited to speak on their stage at The Photography Show. If you told me this a year ago I would not have believed you. So what’s all the fuss about? I’m not your girl if you want a big old break down of the technicalities of any camera. You can find all that on YouTube or various blogs. What I can do however is to chat to you about frontline user experience and what I like best about shooting Sony.
First of all that EyeAF is lit! So much so that you lose hardly any frames because they are out of focus, and I’m not talking in an ‘arty’ way. There is no more losing frames because you’ve pressed the shutter too quickly either. Yes I get a little trigger happy when a moment is in front of me and sometimes my DSLR couldn’t quite keep up with me. The BIG thing with mirrorless is seeing exactly what you are getting, I feel like I could never go back to mirrored shooting now. I’m also now hardly ever putting the camera to my face. This has two huge advantages for me; more connection with your subjects and no more rubbing off the make-up from half of my face. Yes this is a real thing!
READY TO SWITCH?
If reading this has pushed you off the fence about switching, here are my tips.
Hire. You can hire any kit and treat it as a ‘try before you buy.’ Or many brands have open day events at retailers like Fixation or Park Cameras, where you can have a play in the store. At our free Trade Show in Brighton last October MPB and Sony both offered Pop Up events where attendees could borrow kit and shoot.
Mix. You don’t have to be all or nothing. You can use all your DSLR lenses with adapters, so switching could involve just adding a single mirrorless body.
Trade. Your existing kit that’s lurking in the cupboard can have a value. You can sell it privately or take it to a retailer. They will all offer incentives if you exchange your old kit and buy new at the same time. It’s also super easy to get an online quote from the likes of second hand specialist MPB, telling them what you have to sell and what you’d like to buy. Or do it face to face with someone like Fixation.
Play. I started a personal project taking photos of my daughter in order to get used to the camera and see its capabilities. Shooting away from the pressures of paid work is much easier when you’re learning.
Finally, get involved by signing up to our 100% FREE Switching To Sony 8 part course. Here I dive much deeper into the hows and whys about making the switch and I’ve enlisted the expert help of Sony expert Adam De Ste-Croix to guide us through it all.