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I Switched from Canon to Sony 4 Years Ago. Here Are 8 Things I’ve Learned.

I switched to Sony from Canon on December 31, 2014. Since then, I’ve cranked through over 50,000 frames on my Sony cameras in the past 4+ years of shooting.

I upgraded to the Sony a7 III in October 2018, following a brief stint where I considered a switch to Fujifilm or Olympus.

So now’s a good time to take a look back at the pluses — and minuses — of my switch to Sony from Canon.

Let’s start with something you need to hear if you are thinking of switching camera system:

1. Reality Check: There Is No Perfect System

The hardest part about ditching Canon was the fact that I actually liked my Canon cameras and lenses. But I wanted an electronic viewfinder, in-body image stabilization, and smaller size. I was also convinced that mirrorless was the future and wanted to get ahead of the curve.

So I put my Canon system on eBay and ordered an a7 II with a kit lens.

As I’ll discuss below, I made the jump way too soon. In 2014, the Sony system was very immature, kind of like Nikon’s and Panasonic’s full-frame mirrorless systems are today.

When you switch brands, you’re not just getting a new set of features. You’re also transitioning to a whole new set of problems. Regardless of what you read from bloggers, YouTubers, and sponsored ‘influencers,’ every system has its upsides and downsides.

So let’s dig into what I really like about my Sony a7 III:

2. The Sony Hype Train Was Right About Eye AF

I used to think reviewers (especially those who have a financial relationship with Sony) were over-hyping Sony’s Eye AF (Eye Autofocus). In fact, I had a hard time trusting Eye AF on my first few shoots with the a7 III. But then I said, “Let’s put this whole eye autofocus thing to the test in a real shoot.”

In December 2018, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a portrait subject to do a shoot. I used my a7 III and my 55mm f/1.8 lens and shot 678 frames at f/1.8 with Eye AF on.

Focus accuracy was nearly flawless, even when I was shooting at ISO 3200 and up. It just grabbed the eye closest to the camera over and over again. The only exceptions were select scenes in near total darkness or ones with busy backgrounds like this one:

However, as I’ll explain in a future article, I’ve stopped using Eye-AF, as miraculous as it is.

3. Sony’s Lens Lineup Is Underrated… but Expensive

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think Sony’s lens lineup is underrated, especially for portrait photographers.

Canon wins on variety, and Fujifilm kills on the price-to-quality ratio. But I’ve been wowed by every Sony lens I own with one exception: the FE 50mm f/1.8, which has solid optics but Flintstones-level autofocus.

Sure, Sony is missing some telephotos and I’d love tilt-shift lenses. But there are plenty of gems, like:

However, Sony lenses are very expensive. The $1,400 Sony 24-105mm is $300 more than the $1,100 Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L.

The $1,100 90mm macro is $200 more expensive than Canon’s excellent $900 100mm f/2.8L — these prices depend on current promotions, and Canon gear is often on sale.

Sony’s lousy 50mm f/1.8 is way overpriced at about $250. Seriously, don’t buy the Sony 50mm f/1.8 — it’s awful.

4. Image Quality Is Great… But Every Camera Produces Great Images

For some strange reason, Sony has a reputation for poor “color science.” Of course, there’s no hard evidence of this… and plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Tony Northrup produced this excellent blind taste test of different camera brands’ colors:



August 2020
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