The Leica Boss loves Leica. This is established. But this doesn’t mean I have an “M-only” view of photography. Actually – I always shot Canon. My Dad shot Canon and I caught the “bug” from him. In 1996, I saved enough to purchase my first SLR (an EOS Elan IIe) and I received my first “Nifty 50″ in 1998. I really loved that camera!
Later, my (completely unexpected) college graduation gift was a Canon D30 – a 3 megapixel beast that changed everything. A digital camera that worked like my SLR! It was a pretty wild concept around then. The local camera shop had only one available and I got it, used it.. and loved it… until it died on a glacier in Alaska, in a heavy rain (~2008).
The excitement and the switch:
I grew a Canon kit over time. A SICK kit with an 85L, Zeiss 50/2, 135L, 24L, 70-300L, 17-40L, 24-105mmL. There were other lenses and goodies along the way, but those were the main ones. The problem was that I knew it was too much, and I also shot Leica – having two of everything made me sick. Who was I, Noah?Honestly, I had too much crap and didn’t really love most of it. I cannot say anything really bad about the Canon, but having the SLR was a practical matter rather than any real enjoyment or passion. Outside the 85L, 135L, and Zeiss 50mm, nothing really made me excited. It was a blunt tool and it did a great job.
When the Sony A7 and A7r were announced, it was immediate lust. Finally, I could share a set of “passion” lenses with a convenient, modern NEX-style full-frame body AND my Leica M6 / M9. ONE kit of lenses for beauty and aesthetic perfection, and maybe a few odd pieces for convenience and specialty shooting (i.e. zooms & macro) would be everything needed. Lenses are the main event, and now I really didn’t need parallel, incompatible systems. The wait felt like ages. I quickly sold everything Canon on eBay… except for a few flashes, the tiny EOS M, and my trusty old Elan IIe and 50mm f1.8 (for sentimental reasons).
The problem was that I knew it was too much, and I also shot Leica – having two of everything made me sick. Who was I, Noah?
I converted a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 from EF to A mount, as it was a gift from my lovely wife. (P.S. I was the 12th person on Earth to do this). I also picked up a Sony A77 APS-C camera and a 180mm Macro for long work and an old Minolta 70-210mm beercan. Having a very simple, zoom-based APS-C “backup” system is a concept I’ve always been behind – as I feel a good APS-C body is the best accessory one can get for a full frame system.
Finally, the A7r arrived. Stage 1 began…
The SEVEN Stages of moving from Canon to the Sony A7r…
STAGE 1: GLEE.
In this phase you are completely over the moon, relieved to be without the burden of that vanilla DSLR and in possession of something very exciting. I actually took a day off of work, and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to shoot for a day. I felt like Sony had literally gotten into my head, read all my dreams and put them into a tiny, beautiful little 36MP camera.
STAGE 2: EXPLORATION.
In this phase, you try everything. Every menu option. You shoot constantly. You’re learning. It’s exciting. You are in awe of the wild 36MP files and how flexible they are. You shoot test scenes, the cat, color profile images, the cat, your wife, a wall, tilted lines of trees, a plastic flower, the cat. It’s awesome!
STAGE 3. SHOCK & DENIAL.
In this phase, you realize that your new camera is not, in fact, perfect and that your photos have not improved. You learn about the Sony flash system and come up with excuses for why the Sony flash system sucks worse than any blight on humanity ever unleashed. You try in vain to get sharp corners with RF glass. You blame the adapter. You realize the inadequacies of the Sony lens ecosystem. You make the awful mistake of visiting the Sony forum on Digital Photography Review. You realize everyone is busy actively and creatively trying to break the camera. You see pictures of houseplants in the corners of image frames, a d they aren’t TACK SHARP! You are shocked by these things. Denial sets in. It cannot be that your new A7 or A7r isn’t a perfect, infallible, forged-in-heaven, divine gift to mankind.
STAGE 4. ANGER & BARGAINING.
In this phase, you’re mad at Sony for luring you into this wild, wild web. You’re mad a Canon for not making more compelling gear. You’re mad at B&H for selling you a “bad copy” of your FE lens. You start to bargain… “Maybe I’ll get the Canon EF adapter and use some of those great Canon lenses again” ”Maybe I can get a Nikon 14-35mm”
You start to play with the DxO comparison tool (which you should NEVER do) and throwing things when some other lens/camera combo gets a higher make-believe lens score than the make-believe lens score for your new lens and A7.
STAGE 5. REGRET.
You start to check eBay auctions for “Used Canon 7D” and find yourself browsing Canonrumors.com. You’re mad at Andrea from SonyAlphaRumors.com for getting you all pumped up about this switch! You want a great native zoom, but worry the 24-70mm is too flawed (some knuckle-dragging data fetishist got you all worried about how the corners look at 24mm). You decide never to use auto-ISO again. You realize you’ll never shoot birds in flight with any confidence. You kind of regret going Sony.
STAGE 6: UPTURN & GAS.
You start to come out of regret and depression, slowly. Maybe you start to feel connected with the body. Maybe those beautiful RAW files start to grow on you. The characteristic Sony Colors start to make sense. You realize that resolution of flat black and white test targets at 100% on your monitor is not how you should evaluate a lens. But you need a JOLT… you start to search frantically for your next purchase. A flash? (One of those mortally flawed Sony units?) A new lens? A native lens? Sigma maybe? Or maybe a bargain basement A77 and LA-E4 adapter so you can go DSLR when you need to? (That was my GAS purchase)
STAGE 7: ACCEPTANCE AND HOPE.
In this stage, you are now a Sony person. You know this means constant head-scratching, dealing with bizarre pricing and more camera body releases than lens releases. You accept that you’ll never see a meaningful firmware release. But you’re all-in. You love your A7 system. You’re an e-mount guy. You’ve got your eye on a Summilux 50mm. The world is your oyster, and you’re capturing it 36 megapixels at a time…
Today, my often used kit consists of:
- Leica M6
- Leica M9
- Sony A7r
- Sony A77
- Prime Lenses:
- Zeiss ZM 18mm f/4
- Leica 50mm f/1.4 ASPH
- Leica 35mm f/2 ASPH
- Sony STF 135mm t/4.5 (Portrait master)
- Sigma 35mm f/1.4 (When AF and corners are important, which is infrequently)
- Sigma 180mm f/2.8 APO Macro
- Zoom Lenses:
- Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (Convenience Lens)
- Sony FE 24-70mm (Convenience Lens)
This is SO different from what I was used to, but I really couldn’t be happier. Wait it out – Stage 7 is really worth it!!!