I’ve been using DSLRs from the day I started doing photography. But frankly, with the growing quality of the Mirrorless market, I feel quite tempted to do the big jump … Still, will spending my hard earned money really be worth it? Today I’m sharing my thoughts, hopes and concerns about completely switching my photography gear.
Once upon a time …
Not so long ago, I remember living a happy and fulfilled life, taking pictures in the gyms with my two DSLRs, never second guessing my cameras or lenses. They were doing what I expected from them: Full Frame sensors, good image quality, good ISO capabilities, lovely fast primes for lowlight situations … In my mind, there was nothing more for me to wish for.
Then I went to WPPI. It wasn’t my first big expo but it was the first I could walk around and have a hands-on experience with the latest gear. That’s also exactly the precise moment I realized how innocent I was.
The triggering element
And then, just like in the movies, my life collapsed the second I looked through these until that moment the unknown electronic viewfinders. It was a revelation. How could autofocus be so fast?! How could colors look so pretty? How in the world could I take 20 (or even 60 — SIXTY!) frames per second? The B&H booth was like a candy store and I was a kid going wild in it (wild photographically that is). We could borrow all the camera bodies and lenses we wanted to walk around the huge expo floor. I loved the experience and knew I HAD to try some of them in the gym.
Regarding my professional needs, I had to look for bodies that had sports performance features (I’m still talking about cameras here). As the full frame Sony a9 and the newly released Micro Four-Thirds Olympus OM-D E-M1X looked like a perfect fit, I got in touch with both representatives. We got agreement on loan programs so I could give them a try on my real element back home (aka low-light-and-high-speed-action-environment). For those who don’t write about cameras check out local rental houses. A small amount of money gets the gear to use for a weekend of trials.
Even if this looks like a fairy tale, I do have concerns and fears about switching technology.
With my Nikon D750, I can take almost up to 1,500 images with a single battery. I rarely had to change it — even for 8+ hours of sports events. Will an all-electronic device like a mirrorless camera force me to carry 10 batteries for the same events?
Will I lose image quality if I switch from full frame to a micro four-thirds camera?
Will I actually enjoy using a mirrorless camera in the long term?
How much money will I have to spend (or will I be willing to spend) to switch from my already paid gear? I am a big advocate of buying what I can afford. It’s easy to get caught in the latest technological hype and so is spending thousands of dollar bills. In my photography business — as in all my other life’s areas — I am not the kind of person who creates needs for herself. As long as whatever I own still works, I just keep it until death do us apart (which up to this day has always been “the object’s” death …).
I am the first to say that the camera doesn’t make the photographer. When I first started photography, I knew all great sports photographers were using top of the line DSLRs like the Nikon D5s. And boy, I thought how amazing my pictures would be if I had one of those! It didn’t take me too long to realize I still could create very good pictures — even with my used Nikon D5000. I am not considering switching my gear with the hope of becoming a better artist nor to feel more “professional” because I own more expensive stuff.
I am considering switching because I realize there might be better tools available for me to use to make my living. I wouldn’t become better but I could become more efficient. I wouldn’t develop more creativity but I could have access to more creative options. I wouldn’t change my photographic qualities but I could offer a better photo quality.
What’s next …
I just got the Sony a9 and the Olympus OM-D E-M1X at home for a couple of weeks. I’ll be using both of them for my “real life activities.” I promise to share what I like, what I don’t, as well as plenty of pictures. Hopefully, this experiment will benefit all who are facing the same choice as I currently am. To leap to mirrorless or not to leap, that is the question … I’ll keep you updated with reviews so stay tuned!