After being a Canon user for SLR bodies and lenses for the better part of 12 years now, I made the jump last week to a new camera/brand. After testing, reading, researching, and watching the maturity of Sony Alpha line of cameras, it seems late 2017 the line really matured to the point it needed to be for me.
I sold all my Canon goodies and upgraded to a truly high end Full Frame setup with a Sony A7RIII body, and a Sony 12-24mm f/4 G lens, and a 24-105 f/4 G Lens (on order still). In the future I am looking to order the 100-400 G Master Lens as well.
This replaces my Canon 7D Body, Tokina 11-16 Lens,a Tamron 28-300, and a Canon SL1 body with a few other assorted Canon lenses.
This new setup is full of potential and is a completely new learning curve for photography. I sold all of my RC racing hardware in the last few weeks in order to invest in properly high end photography gear to focus on this as a hobby coming up. The Sony is lighter, smaller, and more capable than anything Nikon or Canon have in their line up right now. The small size and weight will make it awesome for backpacking and hiking.
Some of the key reasons for the move to Sony:
- In Body Image Stabilization – No matter the lens, the camera does Image Stabilization on the sensor itself.
- Small size and weight (it is 1lb lighter with the wide angle lens than my Canon 7D with a similar lens, thats huge)
- A sensor that rivals even medium format 30k$ camera backs currently for dynamic range, and image quality
- Electronic Viewfinder (this I didnt think I would like… but its AWESOME) – the ability to fine tune/manual focus on the view finder to a very accurate level.
- Full Frame sensor – I wanted to make the move to full frame.
- Very high end AF system using phase and contrast detection across 400+ points
- Great selection of 1st party lenses that are very high quality (A recent change for Sony)
- Good memory buffer and AF tracking for sports photography
Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc… all could do some of that, but no camera had it all. Now I think the Nikon and Canon may be better at AF for high speed sports, only he Sony A9 rivals them, but the A7R is still a leap better than all buy the best Nikon and Sony.
The Sony sensor blows the Canon sensors even in their top end cameras out of the water. The Nikon D850 sensor is splitting hairs with the Sony sensor.
The sony glass they have released in the last 2 years is toping most charts for sharpness, distortion, and CA. With a 42Mpix sensor in the Sony, weak glass will be VERY evident, so this is forcing me to concentrate on buying higher end lenses going forward.
Some downsides to the Sony:
- Short battery life (roughly 700 pictures per charge, but it can be powered off a USB battery pack if needed and charged via that)
- MASSIVE RAW files, this impacts all new big sensor cameras – the RAW file is close to 90MB in size per picture, meaning a 64GB UHSII SD card will hold 700 pics only.
- The Small size does make it a learning curve on where to keep your hand to access everything
- The menu system has a ton of options, and it is very important to save custom shot setups in the custom modes on the mode wheel… if not you could be hunting a bit to set stuff up.
- Cost… this isnt exclusive to the Sony… all the top end cameras and glass cost a lot, just something to suck up if you want to play in that space.
I took some test shots on my patio to get a feel for the lens and camera and to see really how sharp this 12-24 lens can be and then to see how the images come out of the camera. These are raw exports from the camera with no modification being done to them. Just set the camera in Aperture priority and set a reasonable f/5.6, and left the ISO on Auto and used the auto focus of the camera.
The clarity and definition of the bottle is amazing at both extremes of the zoom and the focus area is not even centered in the sweet spot of the lens.
This should be a fun adventure learning to use this new and very complicated camera, and seeing what I can get out of it. I pushed my 7D pretty hard in some conditions and it never failed me, let’s hope this A7RIII can do the same.
Much more to come on this topic.