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Goodbye, Nikon. Hello, Sony. Why One Photographer Left His Beloved DSLR And Embraced Mirrorless

By Hanssie on October 21st 2014

Bear with me as I am still teetering on the edge of dumping all of my Canon gear to jump  ship onto the fast moving bandwagon that is mirrorless. Honestly, I need something new to jumpstart my love for photography again, but also I’m tired of paying my chiropractor after each weekend of hauling my heavy camera bag to fix my aching shoulders.

Last week, I shared with you a video from Matt Granger where he compared 5 of the top mirrorless cameras to see which was the best option for you. From that video, I’ve narrowed down the top two mirrorless cameras I am considering – the Sony A7R and the Fuji X-T1, but I still was not completely sold on saying that final goodbye to my Canon 5D Mark II just quite yet. And then I found this video.

IMG_9639-650x365

Here are 10 reasons a photographer, a professional photographer, sold his beloved Nikon system and embraced the Sony system. And before you conspiracy theorists jump in, he did not get a sponsorship from Sony. He was able to take the Sony A6000 and the Sony A7RS to Ethiopia and all over the world to test it out and he does show some sample shots from the cameras. The video is fairly lengthy at almost 25 minutes long, so below is a list of the 10 reasons he gives. To find out more of Jason’s thoughts on each, make sure you watch the video below.

10 Reasons Why a Professional Photographer Left Nikon and Started Shooting with Sony

  1. Price
  2. Weight
  3. Electronic Viewfinder
  4. Tilt Screen
  5. Focus Peaking/Zebra
  6. Memory Card Compatibility
  7. Upload to the Phone
  8. Smart Remote
  9. Cross Brand Compatibility
  10. Expanded Focus

Thoughts

Though the camera angles were a bit distracting, and I wish the video was just a tad shorter, I found it extremely interesting to hear firsthand from someone who jumped the DSLR ship. His reasons are compelling and his excitement and giddiness are palpable.

If you’re grappling with the same decision as I am, be sure to check out the most recent Gear Talk video where Pye and Cha go head-to-head discussing DSLR vs. Mirrorless and why one of them switched permanently to Sony, yet the other stayed with Canon.

For those that are on the same boat, trying to decide whether to make the switch, does this video help sway you? It did for me. For those of you who have already jumped over to mirrorless, do you have anything to add?

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About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Priscilla Del Valle

    I love his composition as well. Your entitled to your own opinion I respect that. I try never to talk badly about another photographer. I am not in to the editing as well its not something that I would do. I take the more realistic approach :)

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    • Michael Young

      Yeah, I think I’m just becoming a bit jaded to his “brand.” He’s seriously teetering on the fine line of great resource, and danger to the “photographic community.” It’s just weird seeing people talk about him as if he’s Gregory Heisler, Annie Leibovitz, or Joe McNally.

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  2. Priscilla Del Valle

    Jason Lanier is a beast at what he does. His work speaks for it love his overall confidence. I appreciate his youtube videos and I appreciate SLR lounge for spreading the love. Great work guys!

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    • Michael Young

      I’ve gotta admit, I’m not the biggest fan of his work. He seems like a good guy, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s his following that made him an Sony Artisan, or if it’s his following. I usually like his composition, but everything after that (lighting, processing, etc.) kinda falls flat for me.

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  3. Pompo Bresciani

    I’m glad there is people out there doing these type of videos since I’m not in the financial position to go out and just invest into a whole new system to see if it fits my needs. The more I know, the better ! I may just get a mirror less as an add on to the ancient sleeping dinosaur Canon system I own. For the people complaining about the videos…just don’t watch ’em :)

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  4. Imants Ozolins

    Question to Mirrorless users:
    1) Tilt & Shift. Is there any Tilt & Shift lens for mirrorless? I don’t think adapters would give same results.
    2) Astrophotography?
    3) Bokeh. Would Mirrorless system produce same bokeh like 85mm f1.8/1.2 or 135mm f2?
    I guess, only nr.3 is true?

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    • Greg Silver

      1) I don’t know of any specific tilt & shift lenses for mirrorless cameras (yet) but have seen results from an A7r with Canon 17mm/4 TS-E using a metabones adaptor and the pics look great! (http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/tag/mirrorless/)

      2) Search Flickr for mirrorless and astrophotography and some great shots will show up. Most from Sony or Olympus mirrorless cameras.

      3) I’ve had great success with Bokeh on mirrorless (view my profile pics).

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  5. Michael Young

    This whole video is an eye roller. First he scoffs at Canon’s 1.6 vs Everyone else’s 1.5 crop. Seriously, Dude? .1x crop is a deal breaker, and worth mentioning?

    At least when Pye did Gear Talk, they went over the pros AND cons. This is a huge disservice to those who follow him. He said nothing about the limited native lens selection, the AF focus, sluggish EVF in low-light, poor battery life, ergonomics, etc.

    He made it sound like there wasn’t a single issue with the camera. Hell, my D600 lets me shoot in Kelvin. He also make it sound like the 11FPS of the A6000 included AF tracking. I’m glad he’s happy, but this felt a bit too biased.

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  6. Stewart Baird

    Mostly link bait but still kind of helpful. I added an OMD to my kit and love it (general shooting, in the bag all the time). For sports and wildlife, I’ll stick to a Canon 1D thanks very much. The question should be – what am I trying to achieve? How many farmers would say – what I switched from my tractor to a sedan? Someone told me recently “you should try and shoot only with your iPhone”. I said to them “ever tried shooting a bird in flight at 100 feet with an iPhone?”

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  7. Jeff Ladrillono

    I’m still trying to get over the fact that he shot the video in an abandoned building. Really? With a fedora on???

    Maybe for his next video he’ll shoot on some train tracks.

    Geez.

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  8. Ian Moss

    Wow – and there was me thinking you just used the best tool for the job and got on with it. I love all my cameras.

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  9. Ralph Hightower

    My photography background is as a hobbyist, but I do have to say that weight is a factor. I own 2 35mm SLRs and a DLSR. I bought my Canon A-1 in 1980 and I still shoot with it; July 2013, I bought a used Canon F-1N so I could share lenses. Both cameras have their respective motor drives. December 2013, I bought an EOS 5D Mk III with the kit lens of 24-105 F4L. Comparing the 3 Canons to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, the A-1 is the baby bear, the F-1N is the mama bear, and the 5D III is the papa bear. I was sore after carrying the 5D during a two hour photo walk.

    Value and theft: Sure I’m concerned about getting robbed of my 5D.

    WiFi: I’ve been following Canon Rumors about the 7D Mk II and Canon said they didn’t put WiFi in the 7D II because the signal doesn’t get out of the magnesium body that well. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But if the 7D Mk II was available in 2013, it would have been a toss-up for me between deciding 7D II or 5D III; APS-C and full frame have advantages and disadvantages.

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  10. Giovanni Logrono

    In the video he says that any flash works. I assume that there is no TTL unless you use a Sony TTL flash?

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  11. Ryan Bartels

    Yep. Me too. As a professional I also use both DSLRs and mirrorless, but hey, I also still shoot film. DSLRs are still simply the best IMO for shooting sports – my main area of work. Nothing mirrorless I’ve tried can keep up with the demanding focus like a D4 and 2.8 AFS lenses (Canon as well). The new Samsung promises a great deal, but I’ll reserve judgement for when more real world testing comes out. I’m doubting it’ll match the D series in ISO production which is a must for sports shooting. Lens selection is still a problem there too.

    For most personal work, many portrait jobs and travel esp., I like mirrorless – M43 in fact. I’ve used my OM1 for some of the work I have to do that would normally require something “major”. It works for me unless ISO is crucial – then it’s a no-go.

    I agree with most of the list he gives in why one would switch, but, as others have mentioned, it’s up to each shooter. If someone’s holding onto a bulky DSLR for some sort of status it seems to evoke and not because of the true benefits, well, that’s just stupid. Doesn’t bother me nor should it anyone else. There’s also the cost of switching. Many may feel they will come out upside down on liquidating and rebuilding a kit despite liking many of the advantages. If it works for you, do it. If not, don’t fret. The product you deliver is what matters. I still shoot 35mm and MF film as well because no amount of presets in LR or PS does it for me really. If I want the “look” of film, well, I just shoot that. Again, to each their own.

    In a way, these vids can be helpful if folks are worried about what they’ll lose if they switch and maybe it puts them at ease – esp if they admire the photographer. However, I do think we get too caught up in what John Doe shoots and why and our gear envy can soon transform into necessity for productivity. I think informed shooters with security in what/how they shoot won’t be too offset by it.

    I like trying new things. Some don’t. It is what it is. For anyone to say there’s a one-size-fits-all system, I think, would be a gross miscalculation of the market and the needs/want’s of the user. If I HAD to only choose one system, there’s zero question that for my line of work it’d be DSLRs. For a family/infant photog? Ariel photography? Travel? Studio-only portraiture? For many of these areas, I’d think mirrorless that spits out the quality you demand is reasonable to consider. However, others more versed in these specifics may certainly disagree. To each their own. I love that the market is diversifying personally and I think there is certainly more than one way to skin a cat (wow, that’s sounds terrible when you type it out, but it conveys my view).

    As with everyone in existence – it’s simply my opinion on things. Cheers

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  12. Jeff Ladrillono

    I use mirrorless and DSLR cameras. Until mirrorless cameras’ focus performance rivals DSLR, my Canon gear isn’t going anywhere.

    When, the technology in mirrorless cameras advance and has comparable AF performance, i’ll have something to think about.

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  13. Austin Swenson

    I switched to the A7, but as much as I like it, I would still like to have both setups for all the different ways they have their advantages. I don’t miss the weight, but the super fast focus and the lens options would be nice to have right now. That is until I can get some of these sweet e-mount primes that Sony came out with

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  14. Eric Smith

    New to the discussion here…but I’m a sony guy. Mostly because when i did visual FX for Sony Imageworks I could buy their gear cheap, they got me into photography.

    Tilt screen = shoot from above your head, over a fence…from the hip. I use it ALL the time as I find eye level photographs sometimes boring. Do you need it, no. If you have it do you use it, yes. Once you’ve used it, if it was gone would you miss it, yes.

    AF performance is NOT up to DSLR standards. I’ve shot F1 races with my Nex7, and it’s very hard to get a shot of the cars. I get them…but it’s not easy and I don’t get many. However that is changing, just look at the a6000. I believe it’s as good as any DSLR from what I’ve read.

    Fact is, there is a mirror in your DSLR because you couldn’t look through a piece of film, it’s legacy technology to get an image to your eye so you can frame and take your shots.

    A mirror doesn’t improve your shots.
    Not having a mirror doesn’t improve your shots.

    Not having a mirror makes your equipment smaller, this is nice…it’s ALWAYS nice to have less weight to carry around.

    Mirror less is the future…….it’s just a fact. It’s where you want to be….but it’s very early days yet and there are performance issues. Sony fixed that by releasing 3 FF cams, one for each need because as of NOW you can’t get one to do them all.

    If your style of photography will not require DSLR specific performance or features, then there is no real reason not to go mirror-less. And right now Sony is the only company with both feet in the FF Pro mirror-less development cycle. No other company is even CLOSE to their level of advancement.

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    • Greg Silver

      You’re right about the a6000 it’s as good or better than most DLSR’s for AF. Anyone looking to get into mirrorless really needs to try one to really believe how fast it really is. It’s not like many other mirrorless cameras which lag behind – it’s a powerhouse in a tiny body.

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  15. Vladimir Byazrov

    What about Sony focusing system? Canon is the worst system in terms of focusing. In this age Canon cameras still focus on hands, on shoes, on anything but faces. Canon is like a blind stupid puppy. I shoot with different Canons from 1ds to 6d. They all can’t focus like they should… And the noise. Even iso100 images are terrible comparing to Sony and Nikon. I really really need to switch to something else. Canon just gave up on photography. It is so obvious.

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    • Jeff Ladrillono

      I’ve never had that problem with Canon AF and i’ve been shooting Canon bodies since the EOS 650 in ’89.

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    • Linda Matlow

      I’ve been using Canon on and off for 11 years currently with the 6D and I agree about the inconsistent focus.Not to mention their noisy long in the tooth old sensors.

      In the coming year I know I will probably be using my A7 and A6000 more.Looking forward to what is rumored for the A7000.

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  16. Holger Foysi

    As for everything there are reasons against and pro and everyone should use what he thinks suits him best. In my opinion body weight is only s.th. coming into play with small primes at larger aperture for full frame, as usually equivalent lenses are of equivalent size. As soon as a 70-200/2.8 OS is used it won’t be small and light at all. Compared to a 400/2.8 the weight increase using a 800g DSLR-body are negligible over the 500g mirrorless. Many points are over-exaggerated in my opinion (“better than anything out there”, “technology is not there”, Kelvin…). ISO 409K on the A7s is pretty much unusable, but he generates the impression it is amazing and usable. Another issue is price: an A7s plus good glass easily gets int CANIKON territory (Sony/Zeiss lenses are NOT cheap). Take a D750 together with 1.8G glass, it is not very expensive, for example ). It will still take a while until a FF mirrorless with decent AF and tracking in a fully weather sealed body with nice controls is available (which isn’t too small). So far I didn’t encounter a mirrorless being where my D810 is overall. But for the travel/leisure part of shooting, they are more than sufficient and certainly are the future. I’m with reviewers here pointing out that the A7-series already is a great start, but it takes another one, maybe even two generations to fully(!) surpass DSLRs. Then, most initial quirks are ironed out and many (including myself) will ditch DSLR completely. Up to then, I enjoy using both.

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  17. Kevin Cucci

    Just my 2 cents. I shoot Canon 5d3 and 6d and I attempted to jump to the fuji xt-1. While I do think mirrorless is the future of photography, for my purposes (mostly weddings) I felt that the fuji struggled with the AF where my canons shine. Once a speed light, vertical grip, and 56mm lens is mounted the camera isn’t a small and light as I wanted it to be, though obviously lighter and smaller then my 5d3. I think these are great cameras and if I only shot controlled portrait sessions I would probably make the switch. But I need my cameras to focus and react the second I need them to and that, plus the terrible battery life and single SD card slot made me realize that I couldn’t make the jump just yet. But oh man do I love that EVF. Maybe the next gen of mirrorless will get me. But for now I am standing my ground with my DSLR’s

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  18. Greg Silver

    I for one appreciate these type of articles for a few reasons. First, I can relate what’s being said here. Yes I too have given up my Canon gear and jumped ship to mirrorless (a6000). Is it the best camera at everything – heck no but for me it was a step up in many areas from a DSLR.

    Second, for those who want to know the benefits of a mirrorless camera – these type of articles are great.

    Each camera has it’s pros and cons. I certainly don’t mind hearing others thoughts on what they like or don’t like. What in there mind is better or not. Some photographers may not be happy with their current gear or are on the fence as what to invest in.

    Personal testimonies help shape the photographic industry. Kudos to Hanssie for posting this!

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    • Lion Hijmans

      I’m very interested in your experience as well, Greg. What kind of photographer are you and why is the Sony A6000 a big step up for you?
      Thanks,
      Lion

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    • Greg Silver

      Lion – My main focus is landscape and wildlife. I found the combination of the fast FPS and exceptional autofocus on the a6000 was an ideal fit to capture wildlife and moving targets. The compact design and lighter weight of the mirrorless compared to the DSLR is a bonus. Combine all this with a low price point and its a winning combination.

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    • Scot Tumlin

      Greg, similar to u, I enjoy landscapes and wildlife.

      For Landscapes, I moved from my Canon 5Dmk2 to a Sony A7r.

      For Wildlife I’m probably going to move from my Canon 7D to the Sony A6000 or A7000, but the lack of a 100-400mm FE mount zoom is holding me back. What wildlife lens are u using with your A6000? I’d rather not go the A mount route with an adapter, as I’d loose some of the A6000’s AF/IS ability.

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    • Greg Silver

      I currently am using the Sony 18-105 f/4 OSS lens for wildlife. The range isn’t there but have been able to capture some decent pics (mainly by simply getting closer to wildlife which isn’t always easy). I’ve looked at the Sony FE 70-200. While a bit tempting I prefer to wait for a 300mm lens to come out for the e-mount. Just a matter of time.

      For Landscapes, I’ve ordered the Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 lens for some nice wide shots and the ability to take some great astrophotography pics. Looking forward to that!

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    • Scot Tumlin

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for getting back to me :). Like you, looking forward to a longer FE mount zoom!

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  19. Raoni Franco

    Yeah I don´t understand why people make this kind of proclamations either. I think it is a way of people convincing themselves that they made the right choice or whatever. I also think all this debate about which is better, dslr and mirrorless, canon vs nikon, sony vs fuji, is such a F**** child play!! GOD! I´m so f*** tired of this wining and bitching. Grow up people!!! Know your stuff, be true to yourself, pick one of the gazilion tools we have at hand and do your shit. Or, or, and listen, or, be a man and admit that you have a child inside of you and you just like new toys to play. Fu***!! I just can´t stand it anymore. Sorry for all this crap I just wrote.

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    • Hanssie

      Whoa…I can see you are passionate about this :)

      He says he made the video (in the notes) because people kept asking him why he switched over…and I can definitely see that because as a Canon user, who wants to switch over, I really do want to know WHY he switched over and IF it is a viable option for a wedding photographer.

      He even says at the end that he still loves his Nikon DSLR, but just that Sony is the best tool for him because of his ten reasons.

      I do understand your frustration about the debates though. They can get pretty heated, because goodness, I’m also considering switching from the iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy. People love to weigh in on that one!

      Anyhow, for some I think these videos are valuable,for others…not so much :)

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    • Lee Goodson

      Xanax. Seriously.

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    • Raoni Franco

      Thanks Hanssie for the patience to answer my furious post. Patience is something I lack.
      And Lee….well…..whatever

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    • Matthew Saville

      Because, clearly, Raoni Franco, NOBODY enjoys discussing their hobbies just for the fun of it…

      Heaven forbid we actually LIKE talking about pros and cons, and helping to educate newer folks about the current advantages and disadvantages of current systems!

      What I just can’t stand any more is the disgust expressed by those who scoff at the thought that such discussions can be useful.

      I happen to think that there is such a thing as the WRONG system for you, depending on what you shoot. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve talked to who bought this or that lens or body, only to find they never use it and really should have bought something else. That is why we post stuff like this. So people can buy the best cameras and lenses for THEM. Because, despite what you think about “whining and bitching”, there are indeed superior / inferior systems, for different photographers.

      Respectfully,
      =Matt=

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    • Raoni Franco

      “there are indeed superior / inferior systems, for different photographers” That’s true to the bone man!! Different tools for different people!! But do people see it? Really, do they? I don’t think so, and that’s because they don’t know what the hell makes them a different photographer from their neighbours besides the fact that their camera can focus 0.003 sec. faster, and that’s all they care about. We all know the different systems, but who are the different photographers? How are they different? Why?………….You see? I’m not trying to destroy you guys for posting this kind of material. My mind just goes in other directions I guess. Whatever….

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    • Matthew Saville

      You have a point, Raoni, and that is why in every article I write personally, I always make sure to explain that my advice and reasons certainly do not apply to everyone, and that most people will be utterly thrilled with whatever camera is in their hands so they should probably just shut up and shoot. But for the few who truly do push the envelope, or need their camera to operate a very certain way, …this type of information is highly useful…

      =Matt=

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  20. Jean-Francois Thibeault

    The reasons 4 and 7 makes me scratch my head intensively….

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    • Hanssie

      I’ve never used a tilt screen, so I can’t speak for that one. I do like the upload to phone feature though. I would love to have something better than my iPhone 5 to post my social media pictures with. I was able to use my mom’s point and shoot while in China, and that feature was fantastic!

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    • Greg Silver

      I agree with the tilt screen as many cameras have this feature. But the sent to smartphone I use all the time. I often use this feature to either review photos on a larger screen in a coffee shop without having to bring my camera inside or send these pictures via email or post on to Flickr. Very cool feature!

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    • João Medeiros

      $ and 7 are essential tools if your doing events/weddings. You can shoot seeing what your doing (forget guessing) and you can send to your blog or FB page photos of the events on the same day. Priceless, since everyone has a smartphone and will see your work immediately. You can even edit.
      Best wishes.

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  21. João Medeiros

    ” I am considering – the Sony A7R and the Fuji X-T1″ you should consider the Sony a7, not the R version. Just check these suggestions. Consider this, a Canon 5d mkIII can’t compete with the Sony a7 glass capabilities, from Zeiss to Leica, you can even add your own Canon lenses and get superior focus abilities like peaking, magnify (evf) and articulated LCD. You can check my work and others with MF lenses, it’s a whole different world.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/hands-review/sony-a7-series-which-model-suits-you-best

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/camera-reviews/sony/a7/

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    • Hanssie

      Thanks for the tip! I’m still waiting to test both out, but I have to wait for the new graphite upgrade (since I’ll be reviewing it here). But I’ve had so many recommendations for the Sony, I’m already swayed that direction!

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    • fotosiamo

      Very much enjoyed my Sony a7R. In fact, I’m selling my whole micro 4/3 gear in order to get the a7S and go all Sony!

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  22. Eric Sharpe

    Everyone has their reasons. I honestly don’t understand why people make these proclamations on YouTube. “Why I’m switching”, “Why I shoot canon”, “Why I drive Ford”, “Why I’m switching to vanilla ice cream.” I just don’t get it. I appreciate the list of pros that the pro provides.

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    • Hanssie

      I think the reason people do say “Why I am doing this…” or “why I am doing that..” is because 1. they probably had people ask..”why did you switch to a mirrorless (a Ford, Vanilla ice cream…)” 2. The title is more catchy than, “I switched to vanilla ice cream…” 3. a combo of the two.

      P.S. Why would anyone ever switch to vanilla ice cream??! ;)

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    • Joe Topping

      Haha, I agree, Eric. Sounds like a brand deal or something. Maybe it is, who knows.

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    • Marius Peter

      I subscribe to your sayings Eric.

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    • Adrian Jones

      “Why I’m switching to vanill ice cream.” Hilarious.

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    • fotosiamo

      Because I love vanilla ice cream ALMOST as much as I love my Sony a7R, lol!

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    • Peter McWade

      What do ya mean? Real Vanilla ice cream is Great. It did not take much convincing for me to jump the Canon ship.

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    • Peter McWade

      I enjoy watching these because I am always out to learn something. I almost always learn something from these videos. Each person has their own flair and way to present their reasons for making a switch or not. Or for using a particular lens or not. I like listening to everyone. I say, never stop learning so I am always listening and playing with my gear to practice new things I read about or watch. Some are just not things I will use but its fun to play some and learn so I know what others are actually doing. :)

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    • Kayode Olorunfemi

      Maybe they are trying to justify their decision. Am happy with my 5D Mk3 and wont be changing my body until it no longer fulfills the reason I got it in the first place. I for one am tired of chasing gear instead of chasing creativity.

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