Why We Switched to Sony A7III
Well, like so many others who’ve already made the switch to Sony, we have also made the switch. Actually, it would be more accurate to say we switched again. After shooting Olympus cameras for the last 3 plus years, we’ve switched to the Sony A7III mirrorless, and we couldn’t be happier.
About 6 years ago, when mirrorless cameras were becoming more popular, we succumbed to the siren song of smaller, faster and lighter. Before making our purchase, however, we tried quite a few – Sony A7 & A6000, Fuji XT1, Nikon 1, Olympus OMD EM5, EM10, EM1, etc. We finally settled with the EM5, but soon replaced it with both the EM1, the PEN-F and more recently, the EM1 Mark II. We took many images with the Olympus cameras, even taking the EM1 Mark II to Cuba (along with our Nikon D750 and a Sony A7RII). Suffice it to say we knew them well, and enjoyed shooting them for both client work and our portfolio.
While we greatly enjoyed shooting the Olympus cameras, and while they were marvelously loaded with tech (IBIS – In Body Image Stabilization, Silent shutter, High FPS – Frames per Second, Focus Peaking, 4K, etc.) they did have one serious limitation: they simply did not do well in low light. Olympus cameras use Micro 4/3 sensors, which are (much) smaller in size than a full-frame sensor. With a smaller sensor, photo pixels are correspondingly smaller and capture less light: larger sensors equate to more light captured.
This meant that we could never shoot the Olympus cameras above 1600 ISO if we wanted to capture the best image quality – you just can’t argue with physics. We should explain that we also shot a Nikon D750, a full-frame sensor DSLR (i.e. mirrored) camera, so we were spoiled with superior IQ (image quality) in low-light (and the D750 is a low-light monster). Try as we might, however, we simply could not duplicate the IQ of our D750 with the Olympus cameras, especially in low-light situations. We longed for a full-frame mirrorless camera that was (at least) the equal of our beloved D750.
Nikon & Canon are reportedly working on full-frame mirrorless offerings, but they haven’t yet been announced and certainly won’t appear until well into 2019. Hasselblad and Fuji have medium format mirrorless cameras, but they are quite expensive (and medium format). Currently, Sony is the only camera company that offers a true full-frame mirrorless camera. Well, we once owned an A7, but were unhappy with its performance. We then tried the A7RII in Cuba (as a rental)…while it performed well enough, it simply didn’t match the Nikon D750’s capability (in our humble opinion). In deference to Sony, it could have been our lack of expertise with the camera…we only had a week to try it out before we left for Habana. Nevertheless, we decided not to keep the A7RII. We have since traded in our Nikon D750 for the D850. It is quite the camera…but it requires a different approach. While we enjoy shooting it, we use it primarily for client work – not our everyday camera for the sheer joy of shooting whatever – THAT we reserved for the Olympus cameras…but lately only during the day when the light was plentiful.
Not too long ago Sony announced the A9, followed by the A7RIII. From all appearances these cameras were game-changing tours-de-force. But at $4500 and $3200, respectively, both were simply NOT in our budget. Then Sony announced the A7III. For the same cost as our EM1MII, this seemed to be the full-frame mirrorless we had been waiting for: IBIS, 10 FPS, Silent Shutter, Focus Peaking, 4K, etc…this was IT! We sold all our Olympus gear and made the switch to the A7III, the 24-105mm f/4 and 12-24mm f/4 lenses.
After setting it up we took it out for a spin. We went to New Brunswick and Rutgers Campus to take some images. Rather than drone on about the shoot, we’ll just let the images speak for themselves…
After shooting the A7III we find it has much of the capability of the Nikon D750, and then some. We used to set the D750 to ISO 1600 (or 3200) and shoot handheld with abandon, never worrying about the image quality. We can now say that we have a full-frame mirrorless camera that enables us to do just that. Are we satisfied with the results? Absolutely! Are we glad we made the switch? So far, yes. Do we miss the EM1MII and PEN-F? Of course…but, we don’t miss the struggle to get great images in low light.
While the A7III is an outstanding camera and quite an achievement (Bravo, Sony!), it isn’t perfect – such a camera doesn’t exist. But it does tick a lot of the boxes we were looking for with regards to our shooting style (handheld) and subject matter (architecture, real estate, cityscapes, etc.). 10 fps (or better), IBIS, silent shutter, low-light capability, superior auto-focusing, joystick, 4K video, touch screen, configurability, social media connectivity…these are all features that are in great demand today, not only by professionals, but also by enthusiasts as they move up from their smart phones, where many of these features are already available. While we haven’t always been Sony customers, we’ve kept a close watch on their announcements and how they’ve responded to their clientele. In a short 5 years Sony has turned the mirrorless world upside-down with their cameras, paying close attention to their customers’ needs and delivering on their promise to become the mirrorless market leader.
By releasing the A9, followed by the A7RIII and more recently the A7III, Sony has delivered products that redefine the nature of full-frame mirrorless photography. And everyone else (specifically, Canon & Nikon) is now trying to catch up.
From here on it will only get better….
Curious about the A7III and what it can do? Just click here and you will find loads of information about this stunning camera.
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Frank Villafañe & Rose Rios