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Making The Jump

June 15, 2017


My first camera was given to me by my grandfather when I was just a boy, maybe five or six years old. From what I can remember it was an old Leica M3; all metal and built like a tank. He taught me how to load it, the basics of photography and how to develop film in his darkroom.

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Leica M3 (Photo credit Wikipedia)

Canon 400D (Photo credit Wikipedia)

Fast-forward twenty years and much of that knowledge was long forgotten, and what wasn't forgotten was useless as we were firmly in the digital age.

My dad then stepped up and gave me his DSLR, a Canon 400D. It was basic and the kit lenses were absolutely dreadful, but I immediately loved it. Day after day was spent taking pictures. No thought went into composition or subject matter. It was all about learning the basics again.

Whether it was some of my youthful knowledge coming back to me or whether I just had a knack for it I soon got my head wrapped around the terminology and the fundamental idea of exposing an image properly. Once that was firmly ingrained I started paying more attention to subject matter and composition; to things like leading lines and rules of thirds; golden ratios and bokeh.

I started investing in the Canon ecosystem, both in lenses and lighting. Kit lenses gave way to Canon L series professional glass. Off camera flash with multiple Speedlites was a common setup for something as mundane as family or pet shots. A Canon EOS 5D Mark II was the next big investment and with that purchase I made the decision to turn my hobby into a profession.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Canon L Lenses (Photo credit Wikipedia)

Canon EOS 5D Mark II (Photo credit Wikipedia)

Ten years on and I've got few regrets. I still enjoy photography and have built a client base in my preferred niche. Canon as a brand has always met (and usually exceeded) my needs as a professional. I scoffed at mirrorless systems when they were initially introduced, as I'm sure many people did. But as the years went by Sony started to listen carefully to photographers. They started to respond and build products based on the feedback that was given. What seemed gimmicky at first now was showing real promise. Their sensor technology was beginning to better the offerings from the big boys like Nikon and Canon. On top of that I'd recently sent a couple of L lenses to Canon for service only to be told they were water damaged and I would need to purchase two new ones. My gear is used hard but it's never abused, and certainly never exposed to water. These were Canon's "professional" weather sealed lenses at that! That was the final nail in the proverbial coffin. It was time to do a bit of research and see what else was out there.

....To Now

My focus briefly touched on Nikon but at the end of the day I felt they were heading in the same direction as Canon. Too comfortable with their market share to worry about making major changes in any hurry. In quick time I had my sights set on Sony and the heavy research began.

The A6000 series had great reviews and was well priced but I felt that it wouldn't hold up to the physical stress of being used as a daily body, not to mention I needed a full frame sensor. The A99 used their A-mount lenses which I didn't much like, and as I no longer shoot weddings or anything that really demands exceptional low light performance I also dismissed the A7S. The A7R II fit almost every requirement I had: High megapixel, full frame sensor, weather sealed, E-mount lenses and exceptional dynamic range performance. This thing bettered Canon's nearest offering, the EOS 5DS R, in almost every way. Better sensor, better viewfinder, better portability, (way) better video, more customisable controls....the list just goes on and on. There were a few cons that I had to accept -- most significantly a lack of dual card slots -- but for the most part it looked nearly perfect.

And then Sony introduced the new A9 and I had to start the research from scratch, or so I thought. It really did look like a better camera than the A7R II, but not by much. In the end it did have a few nice upgrades, notably the dual card slots, but the high burst rate shooting meant little to me as I seldom shoot sports. Finally the A7R II's higher megapixel count and lack of detail robbing anti-aliasing filter kept it in front for me. Decision made.

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Metabones V EF - E Adapter (Photo credit B&H Photo)

Pixel King Pro System (Photo credit Pixel King)

So here we are, the beginnings of my new camera system just beginning to develop (*pun alert*). Off I go on a new adventure in photography with promises of monster megapixel, ultra dynamic range goodness for me to push to the extremes in Photoshop. The Metabones V adapter works beautifully and allows me to use my existing lens lineup until such time I can afford to invest more heavily in native Sony glass, and a new set of eTTL triggers means I can also continue to use my Canon Speedlites for the time being. Thanks largely to this compatibility I'm not selling my Canon gear yet, but if this thing performs as well as I expect it will then I may become a full Sony convert in the not too distant future!

There's a new kid in town Canon, and you'd be wise to sit up and take notice before it's too late.

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Sony A7R II (Photo credit B&H Photo)

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