Mirrorless Photography – Time to Switch
I have tentatively dipped my toe in the Mirrorless Photography pond a couple of times before with a couple of enthusiast-level cameras. It is now widely accepted that the future of photography is going to be mirrorless. Mirrorless Cameras are the latest technology and new camera sales are challenging and now performing DSLR camera sales. I had been holding off making the switch, waiting for my chosen system brand, Nikon to produce professional-level mirrorless cameras. My two main reasons for waiting were that I am so familiar with Nikon equipment and knowledge of your kit is so important to a photographer. Also being so heavily invested in Nikon lenses and ancillary equipment, making the switch but staying with Nikon would, I had hoped been a less painful route into mirrorless.
Nikon go Mirrorless
About a year ago at the time of writing Nikon did indeed release their first batch of mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7. The cameras however, came with a brand new lens mount design! An adaptor to the old F Mount system was made available. I could still use my quality Nikon glass, but I held off a little longer to see how the system would perform. Reviews, after a bit of a shaky start, were quite positive, so off I trotted down to my local dealership to try out the Z6. I have to admit, it did handle well, all the controls were in familiar places and everything worked well in practice, even with the adapter and an older F Mount lens attached. This would still be a big investment for me, and using a lens adaptor is not ideal and not a long-term solution, so changing all my lenses was still going to be on the cards. Not wanting to jump into that pond blindfolded I thought I better have a look at the alternatives.
I had used both Fuji and Sony before and whilst there are other players in the market, these were the two alternatives to the Nikon system that I would consider. The Fuji models in the running have smaller image sensors than either the Sonys or the Nikon. Fuji would say that their sensor technology is better, despite being smaller than their competitors. I know that they do produce great images, but I am more drawn to the full-frame sensors of Sony and Nikon. It is a form factor that I am more familiar with and I believe in the theory that cramming more pixels onto smaller sensors is a compromise and something has to give.
The Sony a7iii is the equivalent model to the Z6 in terms of pricing and pixel count. Without wanting to get bogged down in technical specifications, that is broadly speaking where the similarities end. I knew this before I started looking at the Z6, but I thought I would be willing to accept the shortcomings of the Nikon in a trade-off for being able to retain my current collection of lenses. Not so! Following a long hard think, there really was no alternative, it had to be the Sony. It is in it’s third generation and is one of a range of cameras that are being developed at an amazing pace by Sony. It handles in a similar fashion to the Nikon but is less cumbersome without the lens adapter, it is intuitive and whilst there will be a learning curve, it is capable of precise refinement to the users needs. Add to that faster, more accurate auto-focusing and although it is a huge investment, Sony lenses are of a very high quality.
So with an excuse to post a few images, here are a few shots from the Armagh Georgian Festival where I took my new Sony a7iii for a test drive. I am more than happy with the image quality and equally so with the handling of the camera. Can’t wait to get it out for a few more test runs and to get into action on a live wedding, event or portrait shoot.