This story begins in October 2018 and I’ve managed to wrangle up just enough spare cash to finally buy myself one of those Sony A7iii full frame mirrorless cameras everyone had been raving about.
I had actually intended to keep the money aside for the upcoming Nikon Z6, but the reviews were looking spotty and the lack of second card slot told me that Nikon didn’t think this camera was ready for professional use.
I did all the usual due diligence, which was mostly just joining a Sony enthusiast group on Facebook and asking questions. The kind folks in that group pointed me in the direction of the cheapest trustworthy ‘we will pay your import duty’ online retailers and I placed my order.
I actually decided to pick up the bundle which came with a short zoom kit lens. I figured since I was blowing my budget on the camera I would need at least something to put on the front of it whilst I saved for lenses.
It wasn’t long after I’d placed the order that I realised Amazon had kindly given me a small credit limit on my new business account. I hadn’t intended to use it, but I knew I’d have enough cash coming in over the next 30 days so it wasn’t a problem.
So, what did I buy first?
After a little more research I went for the Sony 85mm f1.8.
Regular readers will know that I’m a 35/85 shooter, and since the 85mm seemed like more fun I figured that was the one to go for.
So by the time my next wedding came along I was equipped with what was essentially a Sony duplicate of my Nikon D750 which sported a Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art.
I say duplicate, more of a Mini Me.
I didn’t want to take any chances at the wedding so I kept my usual Nikon setup for the important parts of the wedding day.
I’ll tell you how that went in a bit.
First I want to tell you why I decided it was time to move away from the twin D750 setup I’ve had for a couple of years.
First and foremost, I just wanted to.
I have one of those personalities where I always think there is a better way to do something. Even when the current way works well, if something bothers me then I’ll always look for ways to make improvements.
Generally I was happy with my DSLR setup, but I was having trouble with getting shots in focus. Some shots that I know I nailed the focus point still came out a little soft. I would calibrate regularly and I knew what I was doing, it just wasn’t happening.
The other issue that was starting to bug me was the small buffer. Many times I’d been shooting the bride coming down the aisle or the couple walking through confetti when suddenly the buffer would fill and I basically had to stop shooting for a few seconds. Unacceptable.
Add to that the constant prattling of other photographers who were desperate to justify the huge amount of money they’d just spent on the move to Sony. All I’d hear was talk of supernatural auto focus abilities, bottomless buffers combined with satisfying weight reductions.
Ill be honest, heavy gear never bothered me, although I’m happy to use it as another way to justify the purchase if I’m challenged.
To be fair, I do like that I can clip both my cameras onto my belt now instead of having to use double straps.
My final motivation was video. I take a small amount of video footage at each wedding and spend time afterwards using software to stabilise the shaky footage. Having in-body stabilisation was very appealing.
Anyway, back to the wedding.
I turned up with my two Nikon D750s, both sporting huge Sigma Art lenses, plus a little Sony clipped to my belt.
I started out just using the Sony in between the Nikons, making sure I’d gotten the shot with both just in case.
I also used the Sony to capture loads of video footage so I could see how it looked later.
I kept shooting with all three cameras throughout the day until I got to the point, just before the reception, where I wanted to put the Nikon with the bulky 85mm into the car and just use the Sony.
So that’s what I did, and I think that may have been the last time I used that particular camera and lens.
After that wedding I did a couple more using a combination of DSLR and mirrorless. Then in mid November came my big chance, a 6 week break with no weddings to shoot.
The plan was to fully commit to Sony. This meant another new body, another lens to replace the 35mm Sigma, all new flashes, triggers and spare batteries too. I think in the end the only things I still have from last year are my memory cards, AA batteries and my bags.
Sadly I had to make the switch the hard way since I didn’t have the luxury of being able to buy everything upfront. I had to sell all my old gear first.
This was probably the most stressful part of the switch. There was pressure to get rid of all this Nikon gear as quickly as possible, and I also needed to get a good price for it since I had to use the cash to buy the replacement gear.
There was about 3 weeks in the middle of my break where I actually didn’t have the appropriate gear to photograph a wedding, and that’s what bothered me the most.
I got rid of what I could privately, using Facebook mostly. The rest I took into my local camera shop, Harrison Cameras in Sheffield who gave me a pretty fair price.
So all that remained was to pick up all the new kit, arguably the most exciting part.
I decided that, for my second body, I would spend the extra cash for the security of a locally sources body, so I get my second A7iii from Amazon.
To replace my 35mm, and because I was trying to keep the weight (and cost) down, I went for a Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8. I know that f2.8 is pretty narrow for a prime, especially when I’m used to f1.4. To be honest though, I doubt that I need to go that wide open on a 35mm, and this thing is tiny!
I also picked up a Sony 28mm f2 as a spare wide that also serves to give me a little extra room if I need it. This is also tiny so fits nicely on my Peak Design Capture Lens Kit. Of course, that’s another thing I had to replace, because my previous Lens Kit was designed for Nikon F Mount.
So now you know what camera bodies and lenses I got. What about all the flashes?
I went Godox.
Previously I had a combination of Nikon and Yongnuo flashes, and I used a set of Pocket Wizard Plus IVs to trigger them. This was a bit of a clunky setup because of all the bits that had to be stuck together. That and the Pocket Wizards were just dumb triggers, I had to walk over to each flash if I wanted to change any of the settings.
I read all about Godox and how all the wireless was built in, so I took the plunge and bought 2x TT350s and 2x TT600s. I say plunge, these things are so cheap it didn’t feel like much of one. I think I got all four for the price of one Nikon flash.
As you’ll see from the above photo, I also bought a Joby GorillaPod which I had intended to use for video, but then realised would make a really handy light stand. I have already used it on top of a coat stand and in the E of a 5ft LOVE sign to great effect. Now I just need to get rid of the other light stand and I can fit everything into one bag!
So, in a nutshell, that is the story of my journey to Sony.
Handy Amazon Links
The widget below contains links to everything I currently use so you can buy it all and be just like me :-).
Naturally these are affiliate links so, even though they cost you the same amount as they would anyway I somehow get a bit of cash too. Up to you, no pressure.