Canon to Sony – Here Goes!

Canon to Sony- It Begins

I’ve been a Canon shooter for the past several years. But in November 2013, I went to Nashville along with a bunch of other bloggers, photographers and journalists to try the brand new, unreleased (at that time) Sony A7r, A7 and RX10. In fact, I wrote a blog piece for Stuck in Customs about the whole thing. I knew then I would go mirrorless… and if Sony kept on breaking ground, that would be the camera for me.

I also knew I needed to wait for lenses. They didn’t have the ideal landscape lenses for E-mount cameras… and the adapters were a bit clunky and slow then.

Cut to now. I’m still a Canon shooter… and faller. My pack is heavy. Also big. When it and gravity collude, the thing has a mind of its own. Periodically, it takes me down. As in… BAM!!… to the ground. It’s like practicing martial arts with a really good opponent. Mostly I win… but occasionally when I’m not on my game I’m thrown to the mat.

As a landscape photographer, I venture out onto questionable footing – often. And with a big weight on my back, my balance is sometimes sketchy. While I have really good balance and agility (I WAS an athlete a good part of my life – but never with a pack on my back!) I’m getting tired of being on the teeter end of the totter. Know what I’m sayin’?

Ah, Then The Lenses…

Sony’s lens selections – and adapters – have gotten better.
So have my ouchies from the LAST time I bit the dust.
I’m going Sony. I’ve started with an A7ii. Will go for an A7r or whatever’s next in that line. Now to figure out lenses.

Here’s one from the other night, handheld and taken with my old Sony 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens:

You truly are the light at my back,Protecting me from what I can't see,Illuminating the way ahead.

Some of you may remember I’ve had an NEX-7 for a few years. I went basic, lens-wise: the 18-55, 55-210, 10-22. Nothing spectacular, but great for video and fun shooting.
Those are the lenses I wanted to start with, while I was deciding which full frame lenses would fit my bill.

The Part “They” Never Mention

In all the reviews and discussions out there, y’know what I’ve never heard anyone mention? That when you use the lenses for non full-frame cameras, it creates smaller images. So instead of a RAW image with 6000 px across… you now have one that’s 3936 px across. Why does no one talk about this? I hear about vignetting and distortion at the edges and other picky, technical issues. But no one comes right out and says that your RAW image is now almost half the size of what you bought that pricey dang camera to do. This might not make a difference to a lot of folks… but it sure does for me! I want to be able to print BIG. For that, you need ALOT of pixels.

Here’s from the same night, same lens:

Somewhere over that rainbow,after the storm,over the hump,through the jungle, the battle, the angst...lies smooth sailing on sunlit waters.Right there.Waiting.Now.For you.

Interim: Sony + Metabones + Canon

So… when I go out landscape shooting, I’m using my Canon lenses with a Metabones converter. The autofocus works, but is so slow I feel myself getting older waiting for it to decide if it’ll lock or not. So I set the lens to manual – and use the focus peaking feature to dial it in. It’s not a perfect science for me yet – probably due to me getting used to it – but at least it allows me to keep photographing in a full frame manner.

I tool this with the A7ii and my Canon 24-70 ii f/2.8:
Of course, I went all grainy and arty in the processing – it was a moody day. So perhaps it’s not the best example. But more to come…  I’m just starting to experiment!

I remember a timewhen we were young...when the way seemed smooth,but the bumps were hard. And over time,The bumps WERE hard.But they gave us shapeand form and purpose...in the boundless gloryof a light and a lifewhose shades, in the endmade the way seem smoothand right and lovely and perfect.

It’s a process. I’m particular. I know what I want. I just have to figure out what the best options are to get there.

I particular, I’m looking forward to lighter packs… and not falling down. Not falling down will be AWESOME!!

25 thoughts on “Canon to Sony – Here Goes!

  1. Re your thread with Cal above, Trey has done a video a while ago where he shows the performance of the 10-18mm on his A7r which may be useful. http://youtu.be/Ysu-WIs-R1k

    I have recently bought the Sony a6000 and I am really enjoying it. I find the electronic viewfinder so helpful, particularly for those trying to learn photography. When you change shutter speed / aperature / ISO – you see it live before you take the photo. It is wonderfully intuitive. I wish I could have afforded a full frame A7ii or A7r as I find the crop factor a bit limiting for going wide, however I will hopefully upgrade soon. I only own the kit lens (and the e mount macro which is nice). I am now, like you, deciding what other e mount lenses to go for. Any insights you have in the future about lens choices would be much appreciated. Your work is inspiring and I look forward to seeing what you can do with your new tools. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Steve!
      I’m even considering the a6000 as one of my tools, in addition to the beefier, landscape-oriented, full frame ones. It would be for the fun, travel/people shots… when I’m not worried about having to blow it up big in print. It sounds awesome!

      Your point about choosing – and using – new tools is very apt. This whole process really is about choosing which brushes to use for what I want to create. It’s not as straightforward as I thought it might be, and settling upon which compromises are acceptable is a challenge! I’m so dang picky…

      thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!!

  2. I’m reading closely. Many have waited for Canon to produce an answer to Nikon’s D810 and Sony’s A7r. Now it looks as though the Canon 5Ds and 5Dr will not have the increase in dynamic range many were hoping for so I am very interested in Sony’s A7r replacement.

    Also, I’m looking forward to also reading if you move from your current backpacks to something else. Anything in the works?

    Ray

    1. Yep, I was sad when I realized that the gear Canon has just released was not only increased in dynamic range, it’s also HEAVIER than the Canon gear I currently have. And way more expensive. DOH!

      I’m interested in the A7r, for sure… but honestly I’m waiting for a new gen on that, since I don’t love the ergonomics nor the shutter shake. I’m really hoping they follow the physical set up of the A7ii and settle down the shaky-shake thing it does.

      As for backpacks… god, is ANYTHING easy in these transitions? I think not!
      So, I did support F-stop’s new women’s camera backpack Kickstart campaign (before I decided to switch), called the Kashmir – which should show up in May. That’ll be lighter, but will still be large and mainly for backpacking or travel. A SMALLER pack is going to be the $90k question.

      For big city action, I have a PacSafe backpack now… it’s slash proof, with RFID protection and other cool stuff. It’s pretty comfy, as long as it isn’t too heavy. Plus I have one of their slings too. Sometimes slings make my neck and shoulder hurt, so I’ll have to see how that pans out.

      I do have the FStop Guru backpack too… that could be an option.

      Beyond that… I’m gonna have to try and try again, mostly likely… just like I did when I finally came up with the rig I use now. It sounds like folks are interested… so I’ll share the discoveries along the way!

  3. been drooling for the Sonys since the first ff A7 … it’s not just the weight reduction but the small, unobtrusive footprint….people and security get so nervous when a brick-sized computer is planted on top a face :>) whereas a small camera is hardly noticed.

    waiting though…have great hopes for future improvements in accessories & software for these next-gen cameras. Just think of a A7 with a lens as good as a Leica without the 8k-10k pricetag :>o

  4. Love the way you tell it. This is a story that I will follow – first by reading your posts and then, no doubt, by following your lead on the gear. I am a convert to the notion that it is not the gear that makes the art…but there are practicalities and then there are practicalities. I am in Brazil now – having lugged my Nikon rolling trunk with me and then picking the gear to take with me each day. Sometimes the best shots are those taken with a smart phone just cause the big Nikon gear is still back in the hotel room (can’t take it all with me when trekking up the Escadaria Selaron). Also – my Nikon (D600 now replaced with the D610) has had its share of mechanical problems (shutter mechanism). Mechanical problems you say? Yeah. Believe it or not we still tolerate cameras with “mechanics” in them…moving parts…parts that flip up and snap away at thousanths of a second. It is impressive that they can do this but so….last century. I was hoping that Nikon was doing even better research than Sony and that with all of their history in imaging that they would come out with the ultimate camera with no moving parts. I am losing hope and with the D600 issues that I had – I am ready to switch brands.

    Really looking forward to hearing about your Sony experience. I love my little RX100!

  5. Karen, I made the switch to Sony in late 2013 when the A7 came out. After that I bought the A7s too. I still have most of my Canon lenses but I did sell my Canon 5d mark iii about a month ago. It was then I knew that I had made the switch and the fact that I took 98% of my pictures with the Sony cameras. I visited Hawaii in late January and I was able to stuff everything into a pack that qualified as carry on luggage…proof that small is beautiful. I still carry around my Canon 105mm macro and my favorite lens, my Canon 50mm F/1.2. With that said, I do love the Sony lenses, generally, they are smaller but not by much in some cases. I am happy with the move, welcome aboard Karen! Cal

      1. Karen, I am interested in the statement about losing pixels by not using full frame lenses. I am using the Sony 10 to 18mm on my Sony A7 and A7s. It vignettes at 18mm and 10 mm and it is fine in the middle with the camera set to off for APS-c. I believe that by staying in full frame mode I am getting a full frame amount of pixels between 10mm and 18mm. What do you think?

        1. Hey Cal… I guess the real answer to that question is; when you do that, are images coming out of the camera 6000px across and 24 megapixels-ish?

          From what I’ve read, the move you mention also reduces the camera to a 12mp, but I’m sure not the expert! Nor I haven’t tried what you mentioned. Lazy beast that I am, I just threw my Canon lenses on it to avoid the whole issue. Ha! I’m an avoider.

          There was conversation going on about some of this here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1102008-REG/sony_ilce7m2_b_a7ii_mirrorless_digital_camera.html… scroll down and look for the question: “Can I use my Sony APS-C mount lenses (from Sony a55 camera) with the A7II?” It kind of goes on a different tangent on account of the A-lens aspect, but touches on a few relevant points.

          My best solution is going to be to get new lenses…

          1. I agree getting the Sony lenses is the best option. But I bought the Sony 10-18mm before they came out with the 16-35mm full frame. Anyway, due to your astute question, I took a picture with the 10-18mm on the A7, opened it in Lightroom and it has a dimension of 6000 x 4000 = 24 megapixels… I should pony up for the 16-35mm but the 10-18mm is so small… I also own the Sony 70-200mm, 24-70mm and the 35mm f/2.8. They are all great lenses. But I carry around my Metabones adapter so i can use my favorite Canon lenses. Have a great day Karen!

          2. Ahhhh… this is great info Cal! THANK YOU!! Think it’s the setting you mentioned earlier that made the difference? I just threw the lens on and ran out the door, didn’t know about changing that. Cause I do love my 10-18… like you say, it’s light. And a question for you… you like the 24-70?

          3. Yes, the “Settings” menu has an APS-C option. I set it to “off”. As for the Sony 24-70mm, I do like it. It is not too big and it is sharp as far as I can tell (not being a pixel peeper). It has a better build than the 10-18mm (I think it is metal). I bet with your A7ii and image stabilization, you could do some really nice work in low light (the 24-70mm is an f/4). I’ve used it for all types of photography. It takes a 67 mm filter but I use Lee filters so all I needed was the adapter. I recommend it!

          4. Awesome info, Cal… thank you! I’m gonna give that a twirl in Settings.
            And good to know about the 24-70. That’s the one lens I can’t remember from back when I first tested these cameras. 😉

  6. I’m very interested to follow your journey. I’m a Canon shooter and the whole deal is getting really heavy. I just don’t know what to do as I have so much money tied up in it. Wonderful shots

    1. I’m in your boat, Cathy! Hence taking my time with this. But I AM figuring out how to do it a bit at a time, and especially now that I know so many people are interested… will share the details as they happen. More soon!

  7. I’m so glad you wrote this. My intention a year ago was to go from the Mark iii (which I dearly love, even after lugging that beast around for 2 1/2 years!) to the Sony a7. I bought version 1 and from the get go I was disappointed with the AF speed. Still am. I have a third party adapter like the Metabones but always wondered if I “should have ordered the Metabones” lol – so it was nice to hear that you still struggle with fast enough AF with that as well. I mean, not nice to hear, but you know what I mean! Other than the AF issues, I really love the a7 and am still waiting for a bigger native lens assortment. Anyway – thanks again for the write up and here’s to lighter packs 🙂

  8. Hi Karen,

    It will be interesting to hear how you adapt to the Sony full time. As a Canon shooter myself, it’s been disappointing waiting for Canon to catch up. The high dynamic range and the lighter weight is what is pulling me. For now, I still enjoy my Canon and loving my Fuji XT1. I’m keeping an eye on Sony though 😉

    1. I hear that, Patricia! I still love my Canon too… which is what makes this whole thing bittersweet.
      But the need for leaner/meaner/lighter has really pushed the whole issue. The decision is SOOOO individual, especially when this equipment is so intimately involved in our art and livelihood, y’know?

    2. I like the 6D’s weight in comparison to the 5D. I too love the 24-70 ii and the 16-35, I am seeking a best case wide angle for my full frame camera.

      KK

      1. Hi Kevin! Great choice. I’ve got 2 6d’s. I love my 14mm for wide angle – but if I were investing in Canon right now, I’d go 11-24. That lens is sweeeeeeeet, if pricey!

  9. Thanks for a great start to what im sure will be a very interesting change for you. Ive always appreiciated your up front honesty in your writeups/reviews. Keep up the great work.
    John

    1. Thanks John, I appreciate that!
      I knew this time was coming, but it’s honestly kind of a wrench. The tools to create my art become part of me, carefully chosen for very specific reasons. I’m not making this decision lightly.

      I’m excited and sad at the same time… and I’m going to do my best to share the ups and downs along the way, because I’m quite sure others are facing similar considerations.
      They aren’t mainstream and I don’t hear much about them… it’s time!

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