Changing camera systems is not something to be taken lightly. Being a passionate Nikon fan since I started photographing, I didn't think I'd ever think of getting away from them. Yet, here I am, sitting without a Nikon kit in sight, I just shot my first wedding entirely with the Sony kit and no regrets.
My entire career as a professional photographer was forged with a Nikon. I knew my D750 upside down, I knew how it could measure differently in different lights, when I had to fix things, without even looking. It was comfortable to use, yet as my way of working has changed, and my photography has grown, the camera has not yet kept pace.
What is wrong with the D750
Well, nothing really. The D750 is a fantastic camera, and for the price it is regularly available at (under a big used), I still think it's one of the best digital SLR cameras on the market for money. Its dynamic range is incredible, the ISO performance is fantastic and it's a monster when it comes to concentrating in low light situations.
Yet as my style of shooting has evolved, certain aspects of it have frustrated me sometimes. The buffer is pretty terrible, even with the fast cards in it, turning RAW on both cards the camera chokes after 10 shots. Now, for weddings, it doesn't matter 90% of the day, but 10% is important, it started to irritate me.
Similarly, the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second. Not a problem, unless, like me, you like to shoot wide open. My most used aperture is f / 2 and after this hot hot summer, I had to push the diaphragm higher than I wanted, so that the lights weren't blown.
Turning to Liveview on the D750 is another disappointment: the AF is horrible and slow, hunting back and forth. It's okay if you have time to wait, but if you're trying to catch a moment, you have no chance.
Why not the D850?
So surely my most obvious choice is to switch to the D850 right? Larger buffer, using even faster cards, better real-time display, touchscreen focus etc. That solves all my worries, right?
Well, yes and no. It's a bigger camera, physically, plus I don't need 42 megapixels for a wedding. XQD cards are expensive, and not even the only manufacturer (Sony) adopts them. Making it an expensive upgrade path, especially since I like to run on two identical cameras.
Of course, I would get some of the benefits I wanted, but it wouldn't solve all my problems. Liveview is better than the D750, but it's nothing special.
Mirrorless is where all the cameras will end up
I did a lot of research before making the decision to change, I tried friends' cameras, I checked all the boring things like ISO performance against my Nikons and above all, I examined the accuracy and speed of the AF, because a documentary wedding photographer is the key, capturing moments in the instant in which they happen!
Where the mirrorless is left behind, it is not the case, with the AF points covering the entire frame, the double phase and contrast detection pixels that make the autofocus fast and the addition of Eye-AF on Sony is a turning point for me. It looks so simple, it detects the eye closest to your point of focus and follows it. But how accurate this is and how well it turns around the frame must be seen to be believed.
And let's face it, the whole idea of a mirror that has to move physically to take a picture, is, well, behind the times in this digital age.
The filming of WYSIWYG, what you see is what you get, is where the future is and what makes mirrorless systems a pleasure to use. Just check to see if any salient point is skipped, you know whether or not they are * before * you press the shutter button. The preview of the exposure in real time through the viewfinder and the rear screen no longer means creaking, you know what you have suffered.
A week of use of the Sony a7 III and the DSLR seems dated.
So, what's up with the D750?
The D750 is a fantastic camera, and for the price that can be collected for these days, I still think it's one of the best purchases for a complete DSLR in most of its performance.
And, of course, it's an absolute monster when it comes to performance in low light conditions. And this is where Sony lacks in one way and wins big in the other.
It is lost in low light conditions AF. It's not as good as the D750 in a locked fire when it gets dark, period. So you could think of an AF assistance beam, low power video light or pre-focus (which is what I do for dance shots anyway).
But when it comes to ISO performance, Sony also hits the powerful Nikon. With the native ISO reaching up to 51200 (which is a horrible horrible mess, but still) to any ISO that you are likely to use, Sony wins. Sony has even managed to achieve an even more dynamic range than the D750 compared to the A7 III, which was already an extraordinary camera with regards to.
The ultra-deep grip of the D750 is better in the hand, let's face it, or at least when you hold it, but with me not using the viewfinder, I find that Sony is really good in my hand. Although a little front-heavy with fast Sony glass attached.
There is no weight saving once the lenses are mounted, so if you think a plus of switching to mirrorless is a weight reduction, think again! Similarly, if your work is mainly in the studio and you use the flash all the time, you won't get many of the advantages that a mirrorless system offers you. All vanish when the flash is introduced and you are still measuring the exposure.
But when you work with natural light, the zebra lines highlight the parts of the image that have burned, or the peak of focus that helps you focus manually combined with the possibility of seeing the exposure before shooting, they are simply fantastic.
What does it mean to use
The body is smaller, the grip is deep enough and feels comfortable in the hand. If you are not using fast lenses, you can get decent weight savings out of the switch. But connecting a 35mm f / 1.4 Distagon or 85mm f / 1.4 G Master is definitely not a light combination. Perhaps a hundred grams lighter than my equivalent set on the D750.
But it is nice in the hand, the lens fits my hand well, I think a little weight helps to stabilize a little. the camera. But if you are thinking of passing only to save weight and you intend to add a quick-release lens. Stop, step back and think again. It will no longer be light!
The AF is incredibly fast, the D750 is not slippery, but Sony impresses me again and again. Eye AF which I thought would have been a bit found. It is simply, incredible, fast, precise and virulent.
The complete silent mode is great if a little strange to begin with, and you have to understand the technical limits. In some artificial lights, it will create stripes on the image. You could avoid it by shooting in multiples of 1/50 (1/60 in the US) due to the flickering of the frequency lights. But if you notice it, it's best to turn silent mode off in those lighting conditions. Likewise, it cannot be used for particularly fast subjects, or will seem to stretch on the screen. This is not a problem with Sony, it's just a technical limitation of how electronic shutters work against mechanical shutters. So you have to learn when you can use silence and when you can't.
I'm the first to admit, I'm not a fan of Electronic View Finders. The one on the A7 III is good, the EVF in both A7R III and A9 is better. But I don't really like them yet. Don't ask me why, I really don't, I think it has to do with my eye that is so close to a screen, I just don't like it. While others are enthusiastic about it. So it's definitely down to personal tastes.
So is it a problem? No, because it's the other thing with mirrorless that changed the way I shoot … I don't use the viewfinder. Not only does it consume the batteries faster (due to internal heat generation), but I also find the footage in LiveView better. It's liberating, it allows me to turn the camera into angles that would otherwise have difficulty creating new creative opportunities. C is a mode for sunlight, which works great, probably increases the drain on the battery, so I turn it off when it's not needed.
And the most important thing for me, as a social photographer. I don't hide my face behind a camera, I am able to interact with my clients during filming. Making them feel more comfortable, which creates better connections, which makes the photos better. IS one is what we all want.
Com & # 39; was at the wedding?
So I changed kits a week before a wedding, and I'll admit it, on the eve of it. I was thinking "Is it reasonable? Will I be used to using them by Saturday? Will I deliver the same quality that my clients expect?"
Any concern was completely unfounded, once set as I wanted them to be, they are a dream to use. So easy! Focal points covering the entire screen and being able to touch the screen to select them is a dream, the AF was fast and accurate all day, it even exceeded my expectations late for the dance.
The silent shutter meant that I could shoot even more discreetly for most of the day (I had to turn it off in the barn to avoid the stripes) and the expanded buffer compared to my D750 meant that I never had to worry about choking the camera. Combined with the fact that I could see the exposure before pressing the button was a dream.
Let's put it in perspective …
I had cameras for a week. And this was the most confident I had ever felt for a marriage.
So would you recommend switching to Sony then?
No. Well, maybe.
It depends, doesn't it? If you mainly do studio work, you immediately lose some of the benefits. No WYSIWYG for you, of course. And you don't need it. Super fast AF, well, it's not necessary that for the most part, as you know the distance, you can prefocalize.
Social photography and lifestyle? Could be. I will not say Yes, because it is a very personal decision and what seems right to me may not be right for you. But I think it's certainly worth checking them out.
Do any of the most dreamy portraits work? Maybe not … The A7 III has a very weak optical low-pass filter (or anti-aliasing filter). A low-pass filter softens the image, mainly to prevent moiré but also because sometimes a slightly softer image is just more pleasing to the eye. Since it is the A7 III, it offers incredibly sharp images and, for some styles of photography, may be too sharp.
Ultimately, it's not a camera for everyone. Kit doesn't make you a better photographer or somehow able to better frame an image in your head. But for me it is easier to translate the image in my head, in an image to be delivered to a client.
Specific advantages of Sony
- Silent shooting – brilliant, simply brilliant, especially for shooting couples when you're potentially invading their personal space. It's a little less intrusive without a quick click of a shutter!
- A HUGE buffer – I get 50 images in a row at 10 fps before the camera starts to choke!
- Preview of the exhibition in real time with zebra stripes on the blown highlights – nails that show every time!
- Eye-Af (this is really crazy)
- Focus points covering the entire viewfinder
- Focus Peaking so manual focusing is easy
- Brilliant battery life: I took the whole wedding with 1 battery in each camera!
Whether you are in agreement with me, whether or not you agree, you are considering the switch or have tried to pass and found that you hate the mirrorless! I'd like to know why! Please drop your thoughts below.
About the author: Andy Dane is an award-winning wedding photographer, lifestyle blogger, husband and father based in Norwich, UK. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author. You can find more work by Dane on his website, Facebook, chirpingand Instagram. This article was also published here.