Switching from Canon to Sony

Update: Read my review of the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 lens. It pairs perfectly with this camera!

Resisting Change

I’m kind of a loyal person, but when it comes to cameras, I also like knowing them like the back of my hand. So, it’s hard when I make changes, but each time has been for really good reasons. My first camera was a Pentax K1000, fully manual in every sense of the word. I kept that camera for a loooong time. When I realized the world of film had it’s time and place (and still does), but I would need to get going into the digital world, I got a Canon. And I was fully a devotee. It was the king of the DSLR world, and all of my mentors were Canon people. So it was with some sadness when one of my favorite photographers and educators, Chris Orwig, became a Sony Artisan, selling all of his Canon gear and becoming an ambassador for Sony. Little did I know that just about a year later, I would follow suit (well, not the Artisan part, although I’d happily become one). Hello my new Sony A7III.

Are you looking for a new camera?

Most of my readers and clients are in the same boat as me – photographing young children. Some of you are looking into investing in a more powerful photo system than your phone. I hope this explanation of why I’m switching to Sony will be helpful as you navigate the world of modern cameras, which can seem very overwhelming. This won’t deal with things like exposure bracketing, which is fun but people don’t generally use with children and family photography. It won’t deal with image quality, because really, any full frame camera is going to be able to take gorgeous pictures. In skilled hands, even a crop camera like a Canon Rebel can take stunning photos. I loved my crop sensor Canon and got a lot out of it. But, here are my main reasons why I switched:

The world of digital photography is going mirrorless

No more single lens reflex, the mechanism of taking photos that has reigned for professional photographers since the mid 1900’s (although the idea has been traced back to 1600’s). Without that whole mirror and prism setup, mirrorless cameras are so much smaller and lighter. My hands aren’t killing me after three hours of shooting. The early mirrorless cameras were no competition for DSLR’s, but Sony went full throttle into improving mirrorless technology. Perhaps they realized that Canon and Nikon were fully vested in the DSLR market and not going to lose their tight grip. Perhaps they were prescient enough to know the direction digital photography would eventually go. Either way, Sony is about five years ahead of the powerhouses, who have been scrambling to catch up. I’m ready to jump to mirrorless now…and Sony is ready now.

Sony is perfect for little kids

Much of my photography is of little children. Even with both of their feet firmly on the ground in one place, you would be amazed at how much they move. I don’t think any other system has the equivalent of Sony’s Eye AF technology, the ability to lock and track focus on their eyes. Can I tell you, I. LOVE. IT. I can give more attention on composition and getting genuine smiles and expressions.

preschool photo of two brothers

What you see is what you get

Again, I photograph little kids. I don’t have a lot of time to be messing with my settings. But if I do forget that I changed something and need to change it back, my viewfinder will show me. Before, I would sometimes take several shots before realizing that the exposure was off, but you really can’t do that with an electronic viewfinder. If you’re underexposed, you know it. I was so hesitant about the electronic viewfinder at first, thinking it would be like the screen that used to be on old point and shoot cameras. Honestly, I sometimes forget that it’s electronic. The monitor (screen) also helps to get down to the level of some of my subjects without actually crawling the floor (which you’ll still find me doing often at in-home shoots). This was something I could do with live view on my Canon, but it seemed much more like a “special” feature, not a “native” feature, and it also sucked up my battery 1000 times faster.

Speaking of battery…

I can take 1000 shots over several hours and the battery is still at 60%. When I’m photographing a long line of children who are barely knee high, I can’t be stopping to change my battery. If I put my camera down, a toddler is going to grab it. The Sony allows me to keep my focus on the children, not on my equipment. I do have a backup, because I always carry backups…and sometimes backups of backups, but I’ve not had to pull it out yet.

It can handle high ISO

When I go into a hospital room for a newborn photo shoot, I’m not going to carry lighting with me. I actually love the cozy feel of the natural light available, and the hospitals around me have amazing birthing rooms with gorgeous window light. However, I’m still photographing newborns who have lots of movement and siblings who are often still toddlers. I need a fast shutter speed. Even with my lens wide open, I still often need an ISO of 4000. With the Sony? No problem at all.

With my school photography, I’m usually photographing preschoolers for whom this might be their first school portrait experience. If I have the use of a windowed room, there’s no better light, and it avoids them having to stand in front of a large umbrella and lighting. Even if it’s a cloudy day, I know I can push that ISO and rely on the Sony to give me great images straight out of camera.

Silent is…silent!

My DLSR could kind of be silent, but it was just dampened. When a mirror has to get out of the way, it really can’t be silent. But the first time I photographed a ballet performance and tried the silent mode on the A7III, I was amazed. I was like a spy. A covert photographer. No one could tell I was taking photos. Except for the fact that I had the camera in front of my face the whole time….but other than that. But I was aghast at how loud the DSLR’s were all around me. Continual click, click, clicking! And I realized I WAS THAT PERSON for years! I would only use it in a situation where I really wanted to be silent, like at a performance, since silent mode on an all white wall showed significant banding for me, but I didn’t notice any issues on the very busy stage of the ballet performance.

I love the menu!

It’s funny, so much of what I read is about how convoluted Sony’s menu system is. But I love it. I love how I can customize buttons to my heart’s desire, how I can set functions I know I will want to have with one touch. I love the focusing and metering versatility. But, I also love Algebra. So you might want to take this section with a grain of salt.

So I hope that helps some of you who might be looking into investing in a new camera!

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