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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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