Six Months Into The Switch To Sony
At the beginning of August I saw the specs for the Sony A7R4 and decided that it was time to make a move. I had been holding off on buying new equipment to see if Canon was going to do something amazing. I never saw any sign that they were so I made the switch. At first I jumped in with just a Sony A9, the Sony 24-105mm f/4, and an adapter for my Canon glass. After using the A9 for a couple of weeks I decided that it was time to go all in. I loved how the camera felt in my hands, and I loved what I was able to do with it. I now have a complete Sony kit with the exception of my Canon long glass. I have found though that I am not using the adapted glass as much as I normally would have.
What The Switch To Sony Means For Sports
One thing that I noticed right away even with adapted glass was how fast these cameras will motordrive. If you know me then you know that I don’t want to have to sort through all of those photos so I use it sparingly. What I found though was that for our fall baseball I was able to get the bat on the ball quite often. I still maintain that those are not the best photos of the swing, but in one sequence I could get the ball coming in just off the bat, the ball on the bat, and the ball just off the bat. That is fast!
One great thing that I think I am still finding out how great are the tracking modes. For sports like wrestling, tennis, and baseball it was always something I planned on using. Lately though I have been trying it out in basketball, and it definitely has a place there as well. I think there are times near the hoop when it gets very congested. Those are toss ups, but the Sony seems to figure it out most of the time. For fun I tried using tracking mode in the pool. I am floored by the fact that this camera was tracking the athletes even as they went under water. When they came back up the focus was right there with them! It was not without fault. The same water droplets that can grab focus can still fool this camera, but when you are already on the face as they come out of the water it happens a lot less than it used to.
A No Blackout Viewfinder
It took some getting used to not having a blackout in the viewfinder. Immediately after the switch I was not too sure of what I thought of that. After a short period of getting used to it the blackout seems terrible if I have to use a camera with a mirror. It seems like you are blinded for way too long. You are not, but once you are used to seeing things in close to real time you can’t go back. I had another photographer tell me on a forum that it wasn’t really real time. You were a couple of milliseconds off. That may be true, but I would rather be a little off and be able to see the entire time. When I find this comes in handy the most is while panning. At 1/15th of a second that blackout is a little longer. Without the blackout I am able to follow me subject better, and usually tell if I nailed the pan or not just by what I saw while panning. That is huge! I have used that to make way too many panning photos since buying this outfit. It has been fun getting creative though.
60MP Of Awesomeness!
The main reason that I switched over to Sony was the A9, but when the A7R4 was announced I knew that it would be a great all around camera. I had no idea that it was be so good for wildlife. Having those extra pixels allows me crop in a little tighter, but also retain the details that I need. This is still a camera that I don’t think I have seen the full potential of yet.
What The Switch To Sony Means For Wildlife
The improved tracking and shutter speed means that I am missing less of my bird photos. I have been much happier with my work since the switch. When something amazing happens having the ability to let the frames rip has been great. They allow you to make the photo of the decisive moment. There are so many factors that come into play that having frames to choose from is huge. You never know when an animal will blink right when you are making the photo.
What The Switch Meant For Others
I have this blog where I ramble on about photography every day. When I made the switch to Sony I only thought about how it would impact me. What I quickly realized after posting about Sony a couple of times is what it meant to others. I could not believe the things that people were sending me. They felt betrayed because I switched. At first I tried to reply and explain that this was what was best for me. I quickly realized that I couldn’t get anywhere with these people. For some reason my switch really hit them personally. It was a weird thing for me to grapple with. When Canon came out with the 1DX Mark III some of those same people felt the need to send me messages asking me if I was jealous. What a crazy concept! I never thought that this would impact people the way that it did. When I first thought about making the switch it was fear of the unknown that stopped me. I waited a few months before finally pulling the trigger. Maybe it is that same fear that causes people to act out like that. It is easier to tear down someone else than face yourself.
Pros Of Switching To Sony
- Same batteries for all cameras
- Buttons and dials on cameras all in same spots
- The customizable buttons
- Speed of A9
- Image quality of A7R4
- Overall lighter than what I was using
- The versatility of the 200-600mm lens
- No need for micro adjustments
- No blackout in viewfinder
- Seeing exposure in viewfinder
- Firmware updates!
- Eye AF
- Silent shutter
Cons Of Switching To Sony
- Using SD cards (Why not XQD?)
- Need to use adapted longer glass
- Weird speedlight hot shoe
- Multi port not so secure for firing remotes
- The Sony haters that feel the need to message me
- Menu system (it would take six months to scroll through it all)
- Banding on A7R4
- Selling my old gear
- EVF not so great when lighting (extra step needed)
Overall Thoughts On The Switch
I really expected to have much more buyers remorse after making the switch. It was a huge change, and with that comes the stress of wondering if you did the right thing. A camera and camera system are nothing more than tools to get the job done. When I started doing construction work to put myself through college I bought a 16 ounce hammer to use. I quickly found out that the hammer worked just fine, but a 22 ounce hammer worked much better. That is how I feel about the switch to Sony. I was making fine pictures with my Canon gear. It was starting to get old in the tooth though and I needed to upgrade to something. The switch to Sony feels like I am swinging a bigger hammer. It could be all mental, but I will take any edge that I can get. This is a tough business, and any edge is huge. I will say that I will think twice before selling all of my gear again. I did not enjoy that process at all. It has been an interesting six months getting used to an entirely different camera system. It has been fun as well. In six more months I will revisit this idea again one last time. I don’t like to harp on the equipment too much. It is a tool after all. This was a lengthy process though so I feel that a couple separate blog posts are not going too overboard.