Why I switched from Canon 5D mk3 to Sony A7iii!
A personal account
So every year I go to the SWPP Photographic convention in London. And this year I went with a view to take a good look at the mirroless Sony A7iii. I had no plans to buy at that stage, but clearly I got rather overexcited by what everyone was saying and so I rented it for a couple of days to try it out. Skip to 2 weeks later and I’ve packaged up my canon kit and completely switched Canon 5D mk3 to Sony A7iii. Here is why..
Look and feel
Now this is not as important as the images it takes I’m sure you’ll agree but it’s the first thing that you notice and…. it’s really nice!!!! The Canon 5D mk3 is ergonomic in design, is rounded edges, feels solid, is curvey, and fits fine in my hand. The Sony, reminds me of my first camera, the Olympus OM2 which was bought for me by my father on my 18th Birthday… it’s retro.. and I love that. It really feels like something I can love, it is more angular, solid but not curvey, it feels less plastic. The canon is a piece of tech, the Sony feels like it could be an extension of me. I think that despite the fantastic images I took with my Canon kit, I never truly loved it… (sorry canon), but the Sony has character that reminds me of my past, reminds me of why I love photography, and make me feel just a little bit more cool! Not important really, but yes I do like its look.
Now there’s a bit of chat about the menu system on the Sony Mirrorless system.. it’s fine, I don’t know what they are worried about. You get the camera set to your spec, then you create your own quick access menu items so you don’t have to wade through the whole thing every time. You can customise virtually every button on the damn thing. I’ve got my focus set on the back of the camera, and the eye focus (see below) set to a different button, the white balance custom set up on another, so I now feel at home. I also have the aperture set on the back of the camera as my fingers didn’t find the usual aperture wheel very easily. Am all set..
The first and most obvious difference that I loved, was the size/weight difference. If you’ve ever held a DSLR with a quality lens attached then you’ll know just how heavy they are, especially if you’ve got 2 attached to you and you’re moving around for hours on end.
The reason the Sony A7iii can be that much smaller is that it doesn’t have the mirror that the DSLR cameras use to give you the viewfinder image. This is a game changer and allows the new digital viewfinder to take over and things to get smaller (see below)..
Now my back, as it turns out, has had enough of leaning over newborns with a 2kg weight held to my face and so I was massively impressed by this size difference. The weight of the Canon 5D Mk3 with the Sigma Art 85mm lens is double the weight of the Sony equivalent.. DOUBLE>> yippee, my back cried.
Flip out screen
OK so I know this is not new but it is new to me. I’ve had to have my eye to the view finder with my canon, which, when leaning over babies with said heavy lens, is a real killer. The Sony A7iii has what is called a ‘live view’ mode, which basically shows you how the finished image is going to look if using the current settings. Not only does this stop you having to fanny around and check exposure by viewing the last image you took and making adjustments accordingly, but it allows the flip out screen to show you what the image will look like too..so I can lean over the baby without having to have my eye to the viewfinder..result.
But what about using it in the studio, I hear you ask.. well you can turn off the ‘live view’ mode and your viewfinder is simply a normal view, just digital!
So basically my back wins both ways..
Now it comes to the crux. Does it take good photos… Well, the simple answer is, yes.. (well, of course it does, otherwise I would be sticking to my canon, no matter how good it looks!).. So my assessment is broken down as follows:
This is the Mother Load.. The autofocus is bang in, pin sharp and high tech. It uses CCTV technology to hone in on eyes and can follow your subject around and get the eye bang in focus every time even using f1.2… how amazing is that. I have a couple of lenses that are F1.2 but I’ve never really used it that wide open as I’m so scared of missing the focus. Now, however, we’re not going to miss. It even has a face recognition software so if you’re covering a wedding (I don’t anymore but can see how cool this could be), then you can tell the camera to favour focus of the bride.. I KNOW!!!! fabulous..
Now I was used to using my ISO at a maximum of 2000 on my canon as it just got too grainy after that so low light was always a bit stressful as I didn’t want to go too grainy. The Sony you can go up to 10,000 without it getting too much. It does go way up but you do get grain/noise that personally I would prefer not to have as I’m a portrait photographer, but could be really useful for interiors etc.
I have opted to go fully sony with my kit and that required researching/testing new lenses. You do have the option to buy a converter ring (eg Metabones converter) which will allow you to use your Canon lenses on your Sony mirrorless body, but as I am an all or nothing kinda gal, I wanted the lovely light weight lenses and the super fast autofocus and didn’t want to compromise my new venture by not allowing the sony AF to do it’s thing properly or make use of the light weight kit.. so I bought 5 new lenses to basically match my Canon set up currently. They are so small by comparison which made me slightly concerned to start with, but I made tests between my canon body and lens and the sony set and found there to be little if no difference in quality, and yes, I did Whoop!!!
Where to get kit
Now I know it is scary to swap kit, believe me, I thought long and hard about this. I hovered over my box of canon kit and couldn’t quite bring myself to seal it and send it to be sold (I used www.mpb.com for second hand reseller, really easy way to sell second hand kit). But really it’s the way the industry is going. I don’t want to be at the tail end of the technology but want to be trying out new kit to see what it can do for me. I think that the combination of amazing focus and ease of use is going to pay for itself really quickly and this is the area companies are investing in, so why would you not. I did look at canon mirrorless to see if I would be happier staying loyal to the brand but it’s not quite there yet. There are more mirrorless bodies coming out in the next 12 months so maybe the Sony A7iii will be trumped pretty soon, but I am very happy with my investment and can’t wait to show it off.
My kit came from Wex Photography – they are fantastic, very knowledgable and great stock levels. There is already some stock on ebay, I presume some people have tried it and not got on with it so are selling, so you can save a few pounds there. I wanted a warrenty though so went for Wex.
Susan Porter-Thomas LSWPP – Family Portrait Photographer in London
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