Top Reason Why I Switched from Canon to Sony

After 10 years of shooting with Canon, I finally switched to Sony. I say “finally” because I was contemplating the move for a long time. Many of my readers, friends and fellow photographers keep asking me why I jumped the ship.

Here is my long answer.

Flashback

It all started 10 years ago. After I spent almost a year shooting with a DSLR-like Fuji camera, I realized that I had a passion for photography (check my post A Trip Down Memory Lane: Photo Which Changed My Life Ten Years Ago Today) . After spending a few nights on photography forums trying to figure out what camera to buy, I was completely confused with contradicting advice from forum “gurus”.

I was lucky that at the time I had a friend who was a photographer. He saved me a great deal of time deciding what brand and what model to buy. He said, “Do not worry about equipment, buy a Digital Rebel and start taking pictures.” That is how I became a Canonian.

This is how my journey started. It was an exciting time as Canon revolutionized photography by bringing affordable DSLR to the masses. Then, Canon followed with more amazing cameras, pushing technology with each new model.

Before social media, forums offered photographers the opportunity to connect. This is where rumors about upcoming models were shared and, this was where we, Canon people, were poking fun at Nikon cameras and trying to eradicate trolls from Canon forums. Like I said, it was fun times.

Taken with Digital Rebel in 2006

Canon 20D was another revolutionary model where Canon managed to bridge the gap between amateurs Rebels and “professional” high end models. It was the perfect combination of performance, quality, design and price. As a result, many photographers started to use 20D in their business.

We all waited for the next big camera from Canon. Multiple rumours were spreading in forums about an upcoming 30D. But nothing big happened and 30D was an incremental upgrade. 40D came out and nothing happened; then, 50D debuted and it was the same thing. At that point, I stopped caring and I stopped waiting for new models; I stopped checking canonrumors.com. I thought that the DSLR revolution was over and, from that point, the innovation would be more gradual.

At that time, I did not entertain the thought that Canon might have done this intentionally and that it was probably Canon’s new marketing strategy: “Incremental Updates”. It appeared that in every new model, Canon introduced the minimal number of updates to encourage people to upgrade. I grew to hate the word “incremental”.

Technology and Innovation

In 2008 I bought a point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix LX3, realizing that innovation was still possible and that I wanted something more than incremental upgrades. Panasonic managed to squeeze into a tiny body not only all of the DSLR features but also a wide and very fast lens and an extremely effective image stabilizer. I loved my LX3 and, after Panasonic and Olympus introduced the new mirrorless format, my favorite joke was that I shot mirrorless before mirrorless even existed, referring to the LX3. I followed the LX3 with an LX5 and an LX7, which I still use and love.

Taken with Lumix LX5

This is when I started to follow MirrorlessRumors.com to see what direction the industry was taking simply because “incremental” advances were boring.

My theory is that a priority shift happened in the photography industry. With the rapid advances in sensor technology and in the combination with globalization, all modern sensors were equally good. Today, you can buy any model from any manufacturer for $500 and you will have amazing quality. The name of the game is now “features”. Today, we want layers of convenience on top of the sensors. Having a good sensor is no longer enough.

Two years ago, one event, not directly related to photography, became the seed that was planted in my mind that changed everything (I could not resist to quote from Inception).

My daughter went to study on the west coast in the US. It is 5000 km from Montreal and my wife and I were expecting a difficult adjustment. But, what was surprising was that life did not change a lot. We kept texting, messaging, skyping. I created a private community on Google Plus for members of our family and we started to communicate even more than before. I could access my daughter’s computer remotely if she needed help with technical issues. Sometimes, it was hard to tell if she lived in California or on a university campus here in Montreal.

Technology not only became an essential part of our lives but also changed the way we live.

I felt, at the same time, that my Canon equipment was not part of this universe; it was like a different entity living its own life. It felt like a dinosaur. This is when I realized that Canon no longer fit into my universe. I could not understand how I could shoot, edit, share, post, and order prints with my tiny smartphone but my DSLR could not and, what was even worse, was that there were no plans of bridging the gap.

My first shot taken with Sony A6000

The Switch

This is when I started to look for alternatives. Nikon was not an option because it looked like Canon’s twin brother, caught up in sibling rivalry and unaware of the world changing around them.

The obvious choices were mirrorless Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic. I kept my eye on Sony but the NEX-7 was not ready for prime time.

A year ago, I almost bought a Panasonic Lumix GX7. It was the perfect camera for my needs in features and design. The only thing that stopped me was the wide angle lens selection or, almost a complete lack of it.

This is when Sony entered the scene with a bang. Sony A7 and A6000 changed everything. Right away, I knew that my next camera would be Sony; only I was not sure which one.

My initial reaction was to go for the Sony A7.I started to feel excitement about its full frame mirrorless body. What made me thinking was Sony’s release of a wide angle 16-35mm lens. It was quite big and heavy. And when A7 Mark II was introduced with a bigger and heavier body, I recognized that in combination with the 16-35mm, it becomes quite big, almost like my Canon DSLR. That was when my decision was made.

I decided to go for the Sony native combo: A6000, Sony 10-18mm and Zeiss 16-70mm making sure I have the most compact and lightest travel photography kit.

Sony a6000 + Sony 10-18mm + Feisol CT-3442

I know that many photographers who embrace mirrorless technologies execute the switch gradually. They buy a mirrorless body and use it as a second camera so they always have safety of DSLR familiarity. I approached the switch differently.

I decided to remove the bandage in one move: I sold all of my Canon equipment first so I did not have second thoughts and, when fear started to rise because I was a photographer with only a point-and-shoot LX7, I ordered all the Sony equipment in one shot.

It is amazing that I only paid $450 for the body, which makes this great camera almost disposable. I know Sony is working on an A7000, a successor of NEX-7, and I am OK with that. I will definitely buy it and keep my A6000 as a backup or even sell it.

Conclusion

In summation, I’ll give you the short answer as to why I switched from Canon to Sony. I can even do it in one word: INNOVATION. This is the main reason for me and this is the direction I have chosen.

A6000

At this point I am not ready to review the A6000 since I have not shot a lot with it. The weather is awful in Montreal as every day is below -10 C, which is not an ideal time to be outside learning a new camera. Instead, I am learning it by photographing my cat.

Sony a6000 + Feisol 3442 + L-Bracket

Quick Feedback: I love the compactness of the camera and lens. The EVF (electronic viewfinder) is amazing. I can finally see what the sensor sees and I do not have to guess. I figured out how to access and control camera my android phone. It was easy enough but would be much more convenient if it had a touch screen. It goes through batteries rather quickly.

Right now, I am in the final stages of planning my first trip of the year. I am going to Hawaii and then to California. I will put my new Sony gear to the test in real life situations and see how it performs.

I am hoping to put together a comprehensive review in 4-5 weeks.

Update

I know I promised to put together the review of Sony A6000 after 4-5 weeks of using it but it actually took me 5-6 months.

After six months of using my new equipment and taking about 10,000 photos, I am ready to give you a comprehensive feedback on my experience of switching to Sony Mirrorless.

Please read my latest article: Review: Sony A6000 & Switching From a Canon DSLR to a Sony Mirrorless

  • Just bought the A6000 myself, but unlike you, I am not ready to give up my DSLR. Looking forward to reading your review on it.

    • I decided that if I want to upgrade my A6000 I will get Sony A7 or A7r. What DSLR do you have?

      • I have a Nikon D700. Yes, definitely tracking the Sony A7 series, but IMO, they aren’t good enough yet for me to switch. If they do get there (a matter of time), I plan to sell all my Nikon stuff and switch wholesale (like you).

          • From what I can gather from most of the reviews out there, its autofocus isn’t up to par against a DSLR (especially in low-light), 5 fps only, slow to startup, noisy shutter, and a weak battery. Don’t get me wrong, Sony definitely did a fantastic job with its first try on the A7, but I am willing to wait for them to improve/perfect the formula. I had high hopes on the A7 II, but they didn’t improve much except to add an in-body image stabilization system.

          • Those are all valid points. They say if Sony brings focusing technology and 11 fps from a6000 to A7, it can compete with majority of DSLR.

          • If you want to shoot sports, for instance, Sony A7 or A6000 will not respond as fast in focusing and speed as Nikon can do. Nikon will guarantee your work. Also, Nikon has a whole series of lenses to choose from. If you are a landscape photographer, Sony is as good as others especially when you have Zeiss wide angle lens to go with it. If you shoot a lot in low light situation, A7S will be the best in the game. As you may know Sony is providing sensors to most camera manufacturers nowadays. I guess Sony will keep the best for its own when anything new is out. The other Sony kit lenses are plastic and cheap. I have one of the early models – Nex-3C, I used to use it during my weekly hiking trips, the exposure was not stable all the time for no reason. I quit using it for last two years, it still sits in my camera case collecting dust. I did try to use my Nikon lens on it with an adapter, the image quality is definitely different.

  • Looking forward to your review! I too am a Canon shooter and have been very curious about this line.

  • Hi Viktor, I got an A7 a few months back and got a few canon FD lenses. Its a lovely combo. I really love the look and feel and more importantly the photos of the A6000. A superb camera for the price. I look forward to your review.

    • I am processing photo I took today with A6000 and I really love 24Mp images it produces, very clean

  • Bee Chow Pek Ha says:

    Hi Viktor, looking forward more photo shoot with Sony A6000 .

  • Gene Naftulyev says:

    I have a Sony a7r and while I love the resolution a few things always bothered me.
    First the ergonomics are shit compared to DSLRs (I started in film in the 80s and my hands like a camera to feel ergonomic) Sony put a bunch of dials and buttons on the camera without bothering to figure out where peoples hands naturally rest.
    Second the lack of a real uncompressed RAW file. Why sacrifice the image from arguably the best sensor made? Since I only do RAW, this was much more important than the whiz-bang features the camera had.
    Third a battery that only shoots 300 images. On a normal studio shoot I’ll do 800, but on trips I may do over 1000 shots each day due to bracketing and panoramas.
    And lastly – the Sony ‘fake Zeiss’ glass sucks. I used to shoot with actual high quality Zeiss glass on my Contax back in the day. Canon makes exceptionally good glass with full focus / IS but if I want good glass for the Sony FE, I have to use a converter and get Leika glass. Which although very good, is over priced and fully manual. If all you shoot are panoramas which allow for many minutes of identical scene that’s fine, but if you shoot moving subjects, like animals, people, etc., then manual focus and no IS is a serious issue. (yes I know the a7r2 will have IS – great!)
    So right now I’m shooting with Canon 5DS(r) and great recently introduced Canon glass. Other than size when traveling, there is nothing that Sony brings that I can’t do with the Canon. And for anyone who points out that Sony has 2f stop better DR – yes it does, but your eye doesn’t. So unless every one of your images looks like an HDR picture – you actually don’t want more DR than your eye. Look at all the classic photos of the film age – are all of them now obsolete or bad because the film had 5f-stop less DR than the Sony? No!

  • Barbara Callister says:

    Like you I got fed up with canon. I had a canon 5D ii with many lens acquired over 30 years. You brought a Sony, (My baby camera is sony RX100 ii which I love) but I just brought a Samsung RX1 about a month ago 16-50mm & 30mm lens. I also have an adaptor for my canon 24-105mm lens. Am I happy with it, you bet I am. Canon really must look to the future or they will find they are selling less cameras each year.

  • pazzophoto says:

    I am really interested. I own the D700 and 7100. Changing cameras does not bother me but loosing the glass does. I go from 5mm to a 500 F4 With lots in-between. Even if I change I want to keep my glass and maybe add lenses to the sony for carrying convenience. I need to know that these Nikon lenses would work on full auto before I even think about it.

      • pazzophoto says:

        Mainly I am retired now and mainly shoot nature pics on my trips that might last 3 weeks or more. As I get older and still hike nature the less weight I carry would be nice. Some of the Sony’s also had a much faster burst where I could do HDR hand held easier if I needed.

        • the reason I asked is because I do not think it makes sense to switch body only and keep Nikon glass, the weight difference will not be huge. Plus, lens without adapter always beats any adapter setup. I would suggest to buy something like Sony a6000 and use it for travel only and see if you can adapt mirrorless workflow for your needs.

          Good luck

  • SupraHornets says:

    Hi Viktor, glad to have found your site. You have a lot of great information that I need to learn. I shoot indoor youth basketball and travel/landscape – strictly amateur hobby. For basketball, I use Nikon D610 + f/2.8 lens. I always shoot jpeg only so I can immediately email the pictures to the parents. Because of basketball, I will not give up my Nikon. For travel, I have lugged 20+ lbs of DSLR equipment on several international trips. It got tiresome. I bought my wife a Sony NEX3 a few years back. It takes very acceptable pictures. I took it on one international trip this year and found the lack of a viewfinder extremely frustrating. Toward the end of 2015, the NEX3 started to act up, so I bought an A6000 to replace it. And I only have the basic 16-50 and 55-210 lens. It is basically a weight and convenience compromise. Therefore, I’m not likely to buy better lens for it anytime soon.

    I’m just getting started with LightRoom and look forward to learning from you. I have been shooting bracketed exposure RAW for several years in anticipation of HDR but have never processed one yet. Looking at your work makes me excited about my future photography journey.

    I just bought a Vello FreeWave Fusion Basic remote flash and shutter trigger for the A6000. It works very well for both functions. So, I bought another set for the D610. Now, I have 2 transmitters and 2 receivers. This means that I can trigger 2 off-camera flashes with either camera. So, I’m planning to get into portrait photography.

    • welcome to PhotoTraces

      occasionally I shoot indoor sports (gymnastics, water polo) with A6000 and it does an amazing job. The focus is spot on, the tracking is great and 11 frames per second on 24 Mpix sensor is hard to beat. You should try.

  • Imagebloke b says:

    Brilliant reasons to switch to Sony. I am in the same situation you were some time ago. I shoot canon and I have invested in a variety of lenses. Now th successor of the a7r II will be mine or maybe the newer a7000 when it is released

    • I’ve been waiting for a7000 for almost a year. But, they only releasing a6100 which is not the upgrade I need and want.

  • Joe Toejam says:

    Victor, I have used Minolta/Sony for very long time. 2 questions about the newest Sony Mirrorless camera – (1) the battery does not meet the needs of the photographer as compared to other camera types and (2) Has Sony come out of its PC sheltered world? MacOS does seem to exist in the Sony world and my work is done definitely on the mac. If I am wrong, I will apologize up front.
    Joe

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    Dear Viktor,

    I have been an enthusiast nature & wildlife photographer using Canon for the last ten years. Now, sold out all my gears including glasses. Seriously contemplating Sony. These characteristics of Canon made me frustrated:

    1. Dynamic range is poor.
    2. Crop bodies are not as good as Nikon. For example the flagship 7D II is way inferior to Nikon D500.
    2, Nikon has presented its sports/wildlife shooters with an excellent affordable super telephoto in the form of Nikkor 200-500mm. Canon has been rumored to be developing a 200-600mm but it’s taking ages to introduce.

    Canon’s pros:

    A. Only two things I find positive with Canon one of which is; the RAW conversions with DPP is really fast and great. I don’t need anything else for this purpose.
    B. Canon EOS 6D is a great full frame body and I use it for landscape and street photography purposes.

    Now, could you please let me know whether the Sony cameras and lenses can address my concerns mentioned above with Canon?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Quazi,

      Because of the poor lens selection for APS-C sensor cameras Sony is not ready for serious wildlife and sport photography. If you really want to switch to mirrorless, the Fuji is your best choice.

      Good luck

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