Why I’m switching to Sony Mirrorless

I’m excited to welcome a new Sony A7ii camera to my toolbox. This camera has me rethinking everything I know about photography. Here are the 10 reasons I’m considering the move to mirrorless.

1.Lighter, Faster, Stronger

Cramming equipment into small bags is a required skill for me. Yes, weight is a concern, but it is about being fast and nimble. This is so much easier when you have small, lightweight equipment.

On a typical shoot, besides the camera equipment, I am stuffing my pack. With climbing ropes, harnesses, runners, carabiners, ascenders, shoes, water, food, gloves, goggles, etc.

I travel a lot. I’m all over the place, and that’s how I like it. Experiences are my photography subjects. Traveling with gear that fits in planes, trains, automobiles, and pockets helps a lot.

2.Expense

I’m a small business owner. Despite considering myself a value driven consumer, I do care about cost.

My Nikon equipment has always been reliable, durable, and great. While it is too early for me to determine what tradeoffs in durability I’m making a move to Sony. Already it seems like I can get a lot of that same durability from the Sony A-series cameras for less cost.

This is a big deal to me.

3.Equipment or Experiences

I love the fantasy of spending an infinite supply of money on gear.

If given the choice it is much more rewarding to spend a finite amount of money on experiences. That will allow me to create more visual content for my clients, friends, and followers.

4.Tech. Capabilities

Cameras are great, but digital cameras are computers and they’re changing. For me, the cost, value, and improvements in technology start to collide a bit here.

For example, I purchased a refurbished Nikon D3 in 2010. This was three years after Nikon released it. I got a great deal at the time, but it still cost more than my first car.

Yet, the technical features are likely outdated.

Important things to me are; autofocus, processing speed, buffer size, image quality, and video.

I can’t afford to replace that level of the camera anywhere as fast as they come out.

So, I’m missing out on great technology improvements. Because I’m holding onto expensive equipment for longer amounts of time.

Sony A-series cameras have a lower price point. I can make a pretty strong argument that I can upgrade more as they mature. That’s not something I can do with my Nikon gear.

The newer tech capabilities I’m talking about above are basic things. I’m not even getting into all the amazing things Sony is doing right now with their cameras.

Features like zebras, focus peaking, crazy good eye/face detection, great sensors, etc.

5.Software Updates

Most firmware updates that I’ve seen on the Nikon side have been minor fixes. What I’m seeing from Sony are new features. That increases the long term value for me.

6.Image quality

Visit any number of sites, and you'll find super smart scientists/photographers. They will compare cameras in detail.

That’s not who I am, generally, as long as the camera helps me make good content I’m happy.

I can say that to my eye the Sony A7ii is churning out images that are as good if not better than my Nikon D800 or D3 (given).

7.Video

I’m not a great cinematographer, I have a lot to learn. But I’m pulled into more video projects.

Sony A-series cameras offer great video capabilities in a light and flexible platform. I don’t think the big camera manufacturers can offer.

8.Mobility

There’s something that I never thought I’d want/need in a camera. That’s right, its WiFi. With the Sony A7ii, I can sit down at lunch after a shoot and transfer my photos from my camera to my phone.

This has removed at least one intermediary step between me and sharing my work. That’s huge, and like all things means I can work on the go!

I can charge my camera’s batteries from USB cables. I’m already carrying these damn things for my other devices. Less junk to travel with.

9.Style and Workflow

When I’m shooting it's generally while moving fast in nature. It is important to maintain the authenticity of what I’m creating. I do that by immersing myself in the experience.

These Sony A-series cameras support me well by being light and unobtrusive.

10.Lack of Cons

There aren’t many rational negatives for me. I have some fears and concerns, but when I check them they read more like ‘this is always the way I’ve done it, so I’m not changing.’

Should I switch camera systems?

Since the Sony A7ii has entered my life I’ve found myself re-examining the tools that I use, and the ways I use them.

I have minor concerns that make the right course of action less clear for me. Questions like:

  • Am I making the right decision?
  • Why do I even want to switch? There will always be a shinier piece of gear to look at.
  • I’ve been shooting with Nikon gear for so long it is familiar. Why switch now?
  • What if 6 months from now something better comes along from another vendor?
  • Sony makes TVs, Playstation, Music, and Movies. Do I trust them to provide me with quality photo equipment?
  • What if I regret this decision after the new feelings wear off?
  • Why don’t I keep both?
  • I’ve spent so much on Nikon accessories like cables, batteries, tripod plates. I can’t recoup that.
  • Will I still “look” like I know what I’m doing behind the camera?

Parting Thoughts

When I break down all those concerns and fears of mine. I realize that a lot of them are some weird mixture of sentimentality and stubbornness.

There are a lot of unknowns in life. I have no idea whether 6 years from now my Sony camera will still perform as well as my trusty old Nikon D3 from 2010. Can I afford to not adopt technology that is lighter, faster, stronger? That allows me to move quickly and easily through the world?

I'll check in at some point down the road on that one.