“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” Alan Cohen
For over ten years we have been both shooting with Canon. When you first start off in photography and buy a camera, you are buying into an entire system. You start buying lenses for your camera, flashes, and all of the accessories specific to your system. We were both heavily invested and the thought of changing to another system was a bit overwhelming. I have yet to meet a person who is excited about selling their used gear. It usually isn’t a money making deal and starting over is expensive. That being said… our story isn’t unlike many of you who are either in the Canon or Nikon camp. When we first started we didn’t even think of any other kinds of camera systems. Those seemed like the best two. Even now, non-professionals are often swayed into believing that they that is the route they need to go. Sony is not just leap frogging with Canon and Nikon…they are soaring ahead. Soaring! What they are doing with mirrorless cameras is amazing. So keep reading and open yourself up to the idea and even the possibility of shooting with a Sony.
We were really introduced to Sony and Zeiss at ClickAway in Seattle about a year ago. We were teaching video and were amazed by the benefits of the Sony cameras and were in awe of the beauty of both Sony and Zeiss lenses. Many of Sony lenses are made with Zeiss glass and their partnership made our transition even easier.
But what makes you switch? Really. What makes you sell everything and start over. It has to be something amazing. There are always new and improved benefits of a competitor camera system. As a Canon shooter we would be lying if there weren’t some Nikon features we wished we had, but truly nothing that made us want to make such a leap.
What Sony and Zeiss offered was something totally different. It wasn’t just one new feature, it was like being reintroduced to photography. As Still to Motion photographers we were always struggling with the idea of how to capture both with our Canon system. While we could capture both video and stills with our Canons, getting steady footage on the go was a different story. Here enters Sony and Zeiss. The first inkling of “wow” was when we learned and experienced their camera’s and lens stabilization. Our minds were blown. We are handholding (successfully mind you..) the Zeiss Batis 135! WOW. With our Canons we could hardly hand hold a 50 mm without shake. But the 135!!! What this means us is that we can shoot beautiful portraits and stills and then seamlessly move to video. Check out this video Amy made with the Sony A9 and Zeiss Batis 135.
Charlotte 11 in the morning from Wild Child on Vimeo.
So we started like many other photographers do when first jumping into photography. Slowly. We were sold on some of the amazing benefits, but were we really ready to sell off all of our Canon gear? Over the past nine months we slowly entered into the world of Sony and Zeiss. We were blessed by Sony and Zeiss with some gear rentals to test out their gear. At first it was weird. A mirrorless camera is so small and light compared to a DSLR. It was hard to believe that it could be as robust and produce what we were accustomed to with our Canons. There was a learning curve for sure, but not nearly as big as it could have been. It would be like going from Canon to Nikon. New menus, new buttons, and new features.
The first thing we really liked was the electronic view finder. This was a feature that seemed weird at first. When you look through the viewfinder you see what your image will look like. You see your exposure and white balance. We really began to love this feature, not just for us, but we saw how valuable this feature was for new photographers we were teaching (especially children.)
The next big difference, as I mentioned above, was the size. Sony Alpha series is the perfect size for your purse and for a child’s hand. Again, don’t be fooled into thinking that bigger is always better…amazing things come in small packages. Phones are great to take pictures with, but when you can have the best tool right with you, even on the go, why wouldn’t you want to take it with you. We purchased the A6500 camera and the Sony 55 1.8 lens. This setup has been incredible. Not only does it give amazing stills, but 4K video that can be shot up to 120 frames a second. What does that mean??? It means the most amazing slow motion video can be created with this camera. Doesn’t everything look better in slow motion?!
We also purchased the RX10iii camera. This is truly the mom’s camera of mom’s cameras. For under $2000 you get an all in one camera and lens. The lens goes from 24 mm (pretty wide) to 600mm… (very very zoomed in!). That means you can get pictures inside you house and feel like you are on the field at sporting event all with this one camera. It would take a handful of lenses to accomplish that with a DSLR, plus you would have to carry them all with you. Add up the cost of a camera and all of those lenses and it would break the bank! Amy took this camera on her vacation and loved it! She was able to get it all and not feel like she sacrificed anything.
Pairing the Sony system with Zeiss lenses is like peanut butter and jelly. They make the world right. The Zeiss lenses were made to go specifically with the Sony mirrorless system. The focus is quick and spot on. The images are crisp and the color is stunning. The quality is perfection.
So long story short, we switched. After a long relationship with Canon we switched to Sony and Zeiss. Not because Canon isn’t great, but because as Stills to Motion photographers, the Sony and Zeiss combination works better. And because we are moms who want to have the best tool available to document life, Sony’s cameras are a better size for a purse. End of story. They just fit us better.
So how did we transition? Well, we started slow. We purchased two of their consumer cameras (the Sony a6500 and the RX10iii.) Both of these cameras allowed us to shoot video and stills and get a feel about the kinds of tools we would suggest to other moms and kids. We also purchased a Canon/Sony adaptor so we could use our Canon lenses on the Sony a6500 as we were just starting out. While the adaptor allowed us to use the Sony with our Canon lenses and achieve stunning images, there was still focus lag. After shooting with a Zeiss batis lens on the Sony there is no comparison. None.
After much thought to what in the heck we were doing, we made the decision to go all the way. We started to sell off our Canon gear. Our goal is to sell all our Canon gear and purchase two a 9 full frame professional cameras, and a series of lenses for both video and stills (most likely the 24-70 and the 135 for now.) With this set up we can conquer the world..ok may not the the world, but we can shoot any session in video or still.
If you are a professional photographer and are just wanting to dip your toe in to Sony I would suggest you purchase the a6500 camera. I really can’t speak highly enough about this camera. Purchase the Sigma Mount Converter MC-11. Now you can mount your Canon lenses onto your Sony (sorry Nikon folks…I am not sure what convertor you need.) The facial recognition and spot focus still work pretty well considering you are shooting non-native lenses. Then I BEG you to rent a Zeiss or Sony lens. Try them out… but do so at your own risk. You will fall in love hard.
Our journey is just starting, but so far the transition has been 100% worth it for what and how we shoot. If you are a professional photographer who has invested in a camera system, we know how scary changing can be. Start small and see for yourself. Next time you are at a trade show stop by the Sony and Zeiss booth. Ask them to try out a camera and lens. Go to your local camera shop and just explore the world of Sony and Zeiss. If you have the chance, rent a camera and lens for a week and really give it a go. Realize it will feel different and uncomfortable, like anything new.