There’s something about DSLRs that I never really liked, but before I get started, full disclosure: I’m a 35mm film fanatic and would prefer spending my time shooting on what I think are the best 35mm film cameras. I like how they look and that probably has some influence in my decision making with digital cameras, but I digress… Throughout my passion of photography I’ve usually always had at least one Nikon DSLR and would upgrade to a newer, better model every couple of years, falling victim to some retail therapy. Succumbing to the same old marketing ploys promising faster, sharper images like never before. My SD card would quickly fill with the same mediocre quality of photographs, just with more megapixels.
After a couple months my DSLR would end up in the same state as its predecessor – sitting atop my shelf collecting dust while the days whirled by in a blur of missed photographic opportunities.
That all changed the day I purchased my first mirrorless camera – the Fuji X100s.
The camera had a fixed lens, a focal length of 28mm so you might say it doesn’t give as much photographic freedom. Yet I found myself shooting infinitely more with it. And that has everything to do with its size.
The Fuji was small enough to fit into a jacket pocket, or even a pant pocket if you don’t mind an eye catching bulge coming from your pants – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like that?
It’s a subtle camera with a charming aesthetic. This is what really sets it apart from the behemoth and intimidating DSLRs of today. And where it pioneered a new style of camera it also rivaled the incumbents with its brilliant image quality.
Photographs from the Fuji came back sharper, with a rendered color palette that I loved and perhaps most excitingly were the clean quality at high ISO with barely any noise – something my Nikon DSLRs in the same price bracket would be quivering at the thought of.
Now all this must be taken in the context of the style of photography one shoots. I’m a fan of street photography and lifestyle, so I wasn’t necessarily relying upon speed or zoom as you may in sports or nature photography. That’s where a DSLR would be likely be the better option.
Or so you might think…
Meet the Sony a7. A full frame mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. It’s an all black unforgiving assault on the 35mm DSLR market.
And it’s also the latest addition to my photography collection.
The camera has surprised me the way the Fuji did when I first had it, but in some different ways.
Firstly, the video on the Sony a7 is incredible. It shoots 1080P AVCHD with a max frame rate of 50FPS. If you get the Sony a7s then you’ll be shooting 4k UHD up to 120FPS – also with a max ISO of 409,600 for those of you who don’t know what daylight is.
It’s built to last with a metal body and weatherproofed to take on some harsh elements. I’ve had it out in dust storms and in the rain and haven’t had to worry about something damaging the internal mechanisms.
At the time of writing, for around $1200 for a lightly used second hand version with a 28 – 70mm lens I think it’s one of the best deals going around. I think Sony are going to continue to impress in the years to come. I’d hate to be Nikon or Canon right now.