I bought a new camera a couple of months ago and I promised a post about it once I had tested it for a while!
MY NEW CAMERA
A handful of years ago, I purchased a camera for video content. I purchased it with the assumption that my photographer would be using it to film various content I needed, especially since I was doing more Youtube videos back then. It was a Panasonic GH5, which I absolutely loved. People rave about how great this particular mirrorless camera is for video. While it absolutely can (and is) used for photography, it’s more known for its insane video quality due to a built in stabilization. I also didn’t need a camera for photography since I had a photographer on my payroll. And I used my iPhone personally most of the time and in a pinch, the GH5 got the job done just fine!
My photographer had been coming out to NJ from NYC twice a week. But once the pandemic hit, we had to stop. No one knew how long it was going to last– I thought by July we’d be back to normal (lol), so I did what I could with my camera and tripod. Honestly, it was not the worst set up and I think it worked for me. I never want to feel like Mike and I are coworkers (just a personal preference). So I knew I’d have to figure out how to safely shoot at home alone. Again, it worked!!!! I also had to learn how to get off of auto-mode and into manual. Something about being forced into this made it all click for me. I was actually really loving the photos I was taking alone.
But overtime I started to get really annoyed with the Panasonic GH5.
It went from a camera for video to a camera I was using almost every day for photography. All the things people complain about it for photography, I started to complain about. Namely: the autofocus is horrible. Everyone talks about it and it’s not a huge issue if you’re the one behind the camera or have a professional behind it who can make sure it’s always in focus. When you’re shooting alone and with a tripod via a mobile app? The autofocus was an issue. I’d have to review every photo to make sure it was in focus before I moved onto the next shot. It was driving me nuts.
Photography is just such a huge part of my business and the focus issue (along with a “sharpness” issue I could never quite figure out) took its toll. I paid my photographer a monthly retainer through the end of summer and then made the hard decision that we’d probably not be shooting together for a while since the pandemic was still going on. So I decided to re-invest in a better camera for photography, hoping it would solve my biggest pain points.
I spent a month reading articles and watching videos in my spare time trying to figure out what camera to get. Nowadays I think cameras are all pretty great for the most part so it’s a matter of trying to hone in on what features you really need for what you are trying to accomplish.
I kept coming back to the Sony a7 III.
A few of my blogger friends have it and swear by it. Everything about it seemed perfect for what I needed with great all-around features packed into a mirrorless body. The biggest feature I was looking forward to was the EYE AUTOFOCUS. This is such a great feature if you shoot people (and it works for animals too). But especially for me since I’m shooting with a tripod. I was hopeful that the camera would solve my focus problem if I had it set to the eye autofocus.
My *only* hesitation was the mobile app, based on reviews I had read. And remember, the mobile app is a huge part of my self-timer tripod success.
Now that I’ve had the camera for a couple of months, I can assure you this was 100% the right decision.
I love the Sony a7 III so much. The eye autofocus is even better than I anticipated– every photo is perfectly in focus. Also, I swear there is a “crispiness” to the photos that I never achieved with the Panasonic GH5 (with the same settings and the same type of lens). And after being so worried about the mobile app? I actually LOVE it. There’s a slight lag between movement and what shows up on the screen, but the features outweigh the negatives. From the app, I can change all the settings (ISO, white balance, shutter speed, self-timer) and it makes a huge difference when it’s just my tripod and me!!!
With the Panasonic, I can’t tell you how many times I would have to run back to the camera to change the shutter speed or flip back over to self timer mode, doing it from my phone without the back and forth is glorious.
As for lenses, I went with the Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens.
35mm is my preferred lens for lifestyle photography, which is what I do mostly, as it gives the most realistic results. The Sony one is more affordable than some of the other versions on the market and really just does exactly what I need it to do. It’s also lightweight and doesn’t feel cumbersome whatsoever on the frame. With mirrorless cameras, sometimes the lens can end up outweighing the body by a ton. And it can feel awkward and heavy to hold. This 35mm is the perfect length and weight. Feels sturdy but not in the way.
I think it’d still be gratuitous to call myself even an amateur photographer, but I enjoy shooting with it so much more than I previously had. This feels like a joy to shoot with, not something I “have” to do for work. I dream of the days when we’re traveling and with friends again and have more excuses to shoot photos for fun.
Now, I do believe that the best camera is the one you have on you, which for most of us would be our smart phones. I love, love my iPhone’s camera and shoot all sorts of content with my phone in a pinch. However, if you’re looking to upgrade and want to venture into the mirrorless camera world, I can’t recommend the Sony a7 III enough.
I’m going to share some of the Youtube videos that helped me the most in deciding. I’m not an actual photography expert so these pros really helped me make up my mind!