My Gear & The Switch to Sony

 
Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 125, f/1.6, 1/1250th/sec

Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 125, f/1.6, 1/1250th/sec

 

I get quite a few DM's asking me about what camera/lens's I use. So I wanted to write a quick review over my current setup and my impressions switching from Canon to Sony.

Currently, my setup is :

  • Sony A7iii
  • Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 Sony E Mount
  • Sony G Master 24-70 f/2.8
  •  Sony 70-200 f/4

(I  just recently purchased the Sigma Art 35mm for Sony E mount a week ago and have only done the shoot with Alexis with it but I love it so far. The Sigma Art 35mm was my go to lens with Canon so was really excited to test it out and see how it compared to the Canon version. I'll give a more in depth review when I'm able to test it out a bit more but here are some sample images below from it with a few of my different presets applied.)

 
Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 125, f/1.6, 1/1000th/sec

Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 125, f/1.6, 1/1000th/sec

 
 
Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 125, f/2, 1/500th/sec

Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 125, f/2, 1/500th/sec

 

Now, to get to why I switched from Canon to Sony. I know it's kind of been a hot topic around photography circles about Sony and mirrorless being the cameras to beat so I wanted to put my two cents into the conversation. Full disclosure, as well, I am not apart of the Sony Alpha Ambassador team so I am not being sponsored to write this but is my honest opinion between the two. Also, this is going to not go into the specs as there is plenty of other resources out there for that. But more so wanted to give a review based on my style of shooting and what I liked and didn't like about the camera systems.

I'll admit, it was really hard for me to make the switch as I loved and still do love Canon's colors. The warm tones I was a big fan of and how accurate the skin tones came out. But, the Canon 5D Mark III lacked the video capabilities I was looking for and it seemed that Canon was lagging in keeping up with new and improved technology. My hands also tend to get shaky after long hikes and in high elevations so I was looking for something that had IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization). Another reason looking to switch was the improved AF system with the newer cameras.

At first, I was hesitant to try Sony as I had heard some negative reviews about skin tones and doing a lot of portrait work those are obviously important to me. So, I decided to give Fuji a go as the reviews on the new XH-1 were great and the camera was affordable at $2,000 and Fuji was known for its awesome color science.

My first impressions of the Fuji were great. The AF was way more accurate than my Canon and it had a super silent shutter that sounded like it had a silencer on it. But, the colors I couldn't quite figure out. That is not saying they were bad but just way different than my Canon and any warm colors tended to turn out more yellow/gold/purple than a darker orange/brown. It was also APS-C which I couldn't quite get used to coming from full frame. There is for sure a difference with the depth of field between the two. Most of my portraits are shot between f/1.6 & f/2.8 so the DOF was important to me.

I heard about the Sony A7iii being released in April and how Sony had updated it's color science. So, I traded in my XH-1 and purchased the Sony A7iii with the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens. (Below are some Fuji samples)

 
Justine shot using Fuji XH-1 w/ Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 at 23mm, ISO 1600, f/2, 1/640th/sec

Justine shot using Fuji XH-1 w/ Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 at 23mm, ISO 1600, f/2, 1/640th/sec

 
 
HB shot using Fuji XH-1 w/ Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 at 23mm, ISO 320 , f/1.6, 1/1600th/sec

HB shot using Fuji XH-1 w/ Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 at 23mm, ISO 320 , f/1.6, 1/1600th/sec

 

Right out of the gate I fell in love with the Sony A7iii. The eye AF blew my mind how accurate it was. Out of 100 photos I might have 2 or 3 out of focus where my Canon that number would be closer to 15 (yes I know the Art lens's are known for mis focusing). With my Canon Mark III I mainly shot on Sigma Primes. I owned the Sigma Art 35mm, 24mm and 20mm lens's. I tend to shoot quite a bit in low light so have the fast 1.4 aperture came in handy. However, when I first purchased my Sony in April 2018 all the primes on the market cost a pretty penny and didn't have the ability to buy multiple of them. So, I went with the 24-70, which is also quite expensive but delivered the versatility I needed.

It took some getting used to with the EVF (electronic view finder) but once you get the hang of it you learn to love it. The big question though was how are the skin tones? Honestly, at first, I kept seeing the yellow/green tint in the skin tones that I had heard about from other Canon users. Not sure if that was my subconscious looking for it or just the fact that the colors are different from Canon's and my eyes weren't used to it. But, after a few tweaks messing with some camera settings and learning how to edit the files in Lightroom that worry quickly went away. It definitely can be frustrating at first switching camera systems and trying to figure out how the colors work in Lightroom but you get the hang of it pretty quick. The key is spending some time messing with the HSL and Camera Calibration to get the colors where you like them. I'll also note the Sony colors were much closer to Canon than the Fuji colors.

The Sony A7iii  performs awesome in low light/high ISO situations. Below you can see a photo of Bayley and her Westy that was shot at 4,000 ISO. Normally, I wouldn't shoot that high of ISO but I was still getting used the camera controls and had my shutter speed and ISO buttons backwards, whoops. But, you can still see how sharp the image is with very little noise. This was not the case with my Canon as I would usually see quite a bit in the images if I shot about 1600 ISO.

 
Bayley shot using the Sony A7iii with the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master at 70 mm, 4,000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1,000th/sec

Bayley shot using the Sony A7iii with the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master at 70 mm, 4,000 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1,000th/sec

 

Next, you can see an image I took of Joelle in a harsh lighting situation at Ruby Beach. The camera did an amazing job of being able to bring out details in the shadows and keeping the skin tones looking great. I wanted to test this out as sometimes the dynamic range in my Canon struggled to preserve the skin tones in harsh lighting situations. I don't usually shoot in harsh light but it is definitely good to know how your camera handles in those situations.

 
Joelle shot using the Sony A7iii with the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master at 70mm, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/400th/sec

Joelle shot using the Sony A7iii with the 24-70 f/2.8 G Master at 70mm, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/400th/sec

 

The in camera stabilization has also proved to be extremely helpful, especially when it is low light and I need to bring down my shutter speed. Low light is bread and butter so having a camera that in which I am able to keep my ISO down in those situations thanks being able to lower my shutter speed has been awesome.

Overall it's been extremely impressive and given me everything my Canon did and more. Yes, the colors are different than Canon's but I think it's very attainable to get a similar feel to your photos as your Canon images. Going into weddings and shoots where the subject might be moving I feel much more confident with the Sony than I ever did with my Canon thanks to the eye AF and IBIS.

Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 500, f/1.6, 1/1000th/sec

Alexis shot using the Sony A7iii with Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 at 35mm, ISO 500, f/1.6, 1/1000th/sec

There was nothing necessarily wrong with my Canon but I was just looking for a few things that my 5D Mark III didn't offer. So while Sony is the right choice for me it might not necessarily be for you. I recommend if you're looking to possible switch rent one and see what you think. Don't be quick to judge the editing as that will come with time. Every camera systems colors will be slightly different and the dynamic range is also different. So the way you might be editing your Canon or Nikon photos wont be how you will edit Sony and vice versa. But, see how you like the EVF, if the eye AF will be a major help for you and even if you like the way the camera feels. It's quite a bit smaller than a DSLR so see if you like the way it feels in your hands.

I hope this was helpful and please feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments or shoot me an email. I'd also gladly go more in depth in another post if there is anything specific anyone would like me to talk about further.

 

Below I have added some sample galleries for you to look at some Canon and Sony images

Note that most of my Sony images are at f/2.8 or higher while most of my Canon are at f/2 or below. I also have a much greater diversity with my Canon images as I had it for a few years compared to a few months with my Sony. I'll provide an update as soon as I get some more use out of the Sigma Art 35mm for Sony E Mount.  

 

Sony A7iii

 

Canon 5D Mark III

Five Things I Have Learned 6 Months Into Freelance Life

A common question I get asked is "what made me decide to go freelance? I bet it's scary". To answer the scary part, yeah, it definitely was and still is. I mean when you put it into perspective, there is no security blanket to fall back on, and you are 1000% betting on yourself. But, it also has been the most rewarding 6 months in my professional career so far. I know that I am building on something that directly represents me and what I'm about. So here are some things I have learned and advice to anyone who is potentially looking to make the jump.

 
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1.) Be Honest With Yourself

Best piece of advice I can give to anyone who is thinking about quitting their job and looking to go into a freelance position is to be completely honest with yourself and if this is what you are looking for. What I mean by this is, that know if you can handle uncertainty, and be in a constant state of flux when you start. You are not going to have a steady paycheck every two weeks, and there really isn't a "routine" to everyday life. You are essentially the artist, marketer, accountant, sales rep and customer service manager all in one. So you need to be prepared to learn about all of those on top of the actual creating aspect. Its stressful, but awesome. Personally, I'm thankful for my sports background that made me a highly competitive person in which I refuse to settle for becoming average, or just getting by. I think you need to have that mentality of wanting to be the best and not letting anyone tell you different. If you have that,then I think you'll love and thrive in the freelance life. 

 
 
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2.) Freelance is so much more than creating

One of the toughest things I have had to learn is that you have to be just as good at business, as you are at creating. Looking at peers who are also in the freelance world, those who are succeeding are the ones who are great at running a business. People will try to take advantage of you and not pay you what your worth, which is just how the world works. If you can buy something cheaper, you're not going to say no, right? So it's important to know your value and the value you are providing for companies, and quality of work you are providing for others. A common frustration among most photographers/artists I talk to is that our skill set is not valued in the way it should be. It takes years of practice, time and money to gain the knowledge and skill to become a professional and it's important that you understand your value. Know image rights, contracts, etc. This will all help make you look more professional and also save yourself from being taken advantage of.

 
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3.) Sometimes you need to spend more to get more back

When I first started, I came in with a "don't spend any money" mindset. But, I quickly realized that me being cheap and not paying for quality or for someone else to handle a task for me, was actually costing me more money and time. Instead of paying someone with a graphic design background to help me with something I would try to do it myself.  Two days later I'd be right where I started and essentially wasted all of that time I could have spent on other aspects of my business. So sometimes it's best to just bite the bullet as it will save you a lot of time and headaches down the road. Once you get a steady income flow and want to learn more about whatever aspect you are outsourcing then great. But starting off its important to get the ball rolling and not be stagnant.

 
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4.) You're a professional, act like it

If you want to be taken seriously, you can't approach clients like you're just some bro off the streets with a camera. Build a website, create quality business cards, make a professional email address. Don't keep your old gmail address you have from middle school. If a client receives an email from hotchic72@gmail.com pretty sure you will have a hard time being taken seriously. First impression is so pivotal when it comes to anything in life. It's important that clients know you mean business and you're not an amateur. So take pride in your work and your company. 

 
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5.) Failing is not a bad thing

You will be turned down, and a great idea you had will not work out the way you planned. But, this isn't bad and you shouldn't get down on yourself about it. Life is all about learning and take "failure" as a chance to learn and better yourself. Nobody is perfect and a pitch you had that worked with one client might not work with another. This is just how the business goes, but it is no reason to become discouraged. Believe in yourself and know that you are great at what you do. People have obviously taken notice of your talents to make you take the leap or give you the thought if you should or not. Know you are talented, and if someone says no to you, then just bust your tail to make sure that when they see your work next, they realize they should have said yes.