[via Sony Alpha Rumors]
I’ve switched to Sony mirrorless cameras. Here’s why.
I know these words might frustrate some of you, because for photographers, investing in gear is a huge financial commitment and we all want to get it right the first time. Once we go down a path of bodies and lenses, it’s difficult to switch.
I’ve made the decision to switch from my DSLR system to a Sony mirrorless system because I’ve realized mirrorless is the future of our industry—and Sony is leading the charge.
In the same vein as the evolution of life, there is also the evolution of camera equipment; it’s always changing. Early on in my career, most people at National Geographic shot Nikon, the prosumer camera of choice, especially in the film days. I excitedly moved to Canon in the early 2000s as they seemed to be the frontrunner in the digital space, but I never wanted to lock into a relationship with a major camera company because I didn’t want to be held to any one system. I’m a journalist and an artist, and I want to shoot with the best of the best and the latest and the greatest. After all, it’s really about getting the shot—a shot that will live on forever. And in my case, to tell an important story that has enough impact to create change for our planet.
I get dozens of emails from people every day asking me which camera I recommend, a question I haven’t readily been answering. The truth is, I’ve been conflicted.
Even though I have been shooting Canon until recently, for the past two years, I have I found myself telling everyone to buy a Sony system. See? Conflicted. It’s like telling someone to become a vegetarian while living on a carnivorous diet.
Cristina Mittermeier, my partner and co-founder of Sealegacy, has been shooting Sony for the past 12 years. I’ve watched her closely in the past two years and have become deeply impressed with the rapid evolution of this powerful photography system.
Cristina on expedition in the Abrolhos Archipelago, making the most of her Sony gear.
For a long time, the race was for DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras. DSLRs use a mirror, meaning every time you hit the shutter, the mirror goes up, the camera opens the shutter, exposes the image, and then the mirror closes. And for years, that race was mostly Canon and Nikon—until the introduction of mirrorless systems.
What does mirrorless mean? No mirror flips up and then bangs shut. You know that mirror sound: the one that almost rattles your teeth and scares huge flocks of birds from the trees and sends a bear running for the forest as you hammer away at ten frames a second.
I’ve received countless angry glances from Cristina and other mirrorless shooters when my DSLR goes clack-clack-clack while they are quietly getting the shot at double the frame rate or nearly double the file size.
What happens when you physically remove the mirror from a camera? With no moving parts, the camera gets faster, and it becomes silent: the two most important camera traits for a wildlife photographer.
While other companies were devoting R&D to DSLR systems, Sony quietly went about investing most of its R&D in mirrorless systems. To me, it feels like the other big manufacturers are now trying to play catch-up—and it could take quite some time.
Combining a 42mb file while shooting at 10 frames a second on incredible quality G Master lenses while also being 100% silent makes the decision seem pretty simple. Life is about compromises, and camera equipment is no different.
Finally, for the first time since I became a professional photographer, I can wholeheartedly tell the world that this is what I shoot, guilt-free.
I’m proud to be a Sony Artisan of Imagery; I’m proud to tell everyone who asks me about what system they should get. I’ve stopped being conflicted.
That said, what are my favorite camera and lens combinations? I like the A7R3 for the file size and the speed of shooting. At 20 frames per second (fps), the A9 has its place as well. For me, 10 fps is fantastic; I will take file size over speed, mostly because I love seeing my images as massive fine art prints. But having 20 fps at my fingertips is a tremendous asset as well.
For lenses, I love the 12–24mm G wide-angle zoom for its range at the ultra-wide spectrum: it’s a spectacular lens for underwater photography. The 16–35 focal length used to be my favourite but I find that I leave it in my bag more often than not because I prefer the 12–24mm. The 24–70 f/2.8 G Master lens is great for portraits, but I can’t wait to try the new 135mm G Master after hearing all the recent buzz. But my favourite lens of all is the 100–400mm G Master; it is a workhorse like no other. Finally, the new 400mm f/2.8 is incredible for low-light shooting; with teleconverters, I can shoot it at 800mm. With a 42mm MB file, I can afford to crop in even more, which really makes that lens combo about 1200mm—all while keeping the 30MB equivalent.
I couldn’t be more excited or grateful for the journey ahead. Thank you for sharing in the adventure.
The Sony RX0 II kit with the VCT-SGR1 Shooting Grip and bracket will ship in Europe in May 2019, priced at approximately €800/£730/$698. Pre-order the Sony RX0 II at B&H Photo and Adorama.
Sony press release:
Sony Launches RX0 II, the World’s Smallest and Lightest Premium Ultra-Compact Camera
- Superb image quality delivered by 1.0-type stacked 15.3MP image sensor condensed into waterproof rugged, highly compact body
- Featuring ZEISS® Tessar T* 24mm F4 fixed wide-angle lens
- Movie shooting with 4K internal recording and new image stabilisation solutions
- Advanced functionality for stills photography including up to 1/32000 sec. Anti-distortion Shutter and up to 16fps continuous shooting
- Diverse range of shooting scenes enabled by waterproof 180 degree tiltable LCD panel and Clear Image Zoom
- Perfect for selfie with enhanced colour reproduction, new Soft Skin Effect mode and advanced Eye AF
- Microphone jack and Shooting Grip (VCT-SGR1) delivers minimal and ideal Vlog shooting solution
- Multi-camera solution that enables creative video expression from various viewpoints
Sony today introduced an exciting new addition to its highly popular compact camera line-up with the launch of the world’s smallest and lightest premium compact camera, the RX0 II(model DSC-RX0M2). Building upon the waterproof/dustproofii,shockproof, crushproof and ultra-compact qualities of the original RX0, thenew model now offers internal 4K recording, an up to 180-degree and down to 90-degree tiltable LCD screen that even works underwater,iiand new image stabilisation solutions for video recording.
At the heart of the RX0 II sits a 1.0-type stacked 15.3-megapixeli Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor and an advanced BIONZ X™ image processing engine that offer enhanced colour reproduction including beautiful skin tones. This power packed combination have been optimised to deliver lightning fast performance and exquisite image quality for both stills and movie shooting across a wide sensitivity range of ISO 80-12800. The ZEISS® Tessar T* 24mmiii F4.0 fixed wide-angle lens has a shortened minimum focussing distance of 20cm, making it perfect for selfies or table-top photos.
A camera for all conditions
The RX0 II is truly a ‘worry-free’ camera that can be taken into places that no other camera can go. Measuring just 59mm x 40.5mm x 35mm[ and weighing just 132g, the RX0 II fitseasily into a pocket and is ready for whatever the elements can throw at it. It is waterproofii up to 10 metres deep, dustproofii, shockproofvii up to 2 metres and crushproofviii up to 200KG force.
“The development goal of the original RX0 was to build a camera that enabled new forms of creative expression through its form factor and technical capabilities,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging at Sony Europe. “We have built upon this with the new RX0 II and added features and functionality that we believe make this an ideal camera for any type of travel and will perform equally well as a stills or video camera across a huge range of shooting and vlogging scenarios.”
Movies and More
The RX0 II offers 4K 30p internal movie recordingiv with full pixel readout and no pixel binning to collect approximately 1.7 times the amount of data required for 4K video. This oversampling reduces the appearance of moiré and jaggies and delivers smooth, high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Using the recently introduced Sony “Imaging Edge™”mobile applications, this footage can be transferred to a smartphone, edited and shared easily across social networks.
The RX0 II introduces in-body electronic stabilisation[xv] for steady footage, even when shot handheld. This can be enhanced even further when footage is exported to a smartphone or tablet running the ‘Movie Edit add-on’ application where the additional information captured during filming can be processed to produce a video with gimbal-like smoothness. An additional new feature that can be accessed via Sony ‘Movie Edit add-on’ is ‘Intelligent Framing’ where the selected subject is kept in the centre of the frame and image distortion is corrected in a final edit. Depending on where the video will be shared, the required aspect ratio can then be selected.
Additional movie features of the RX0 II include Super Slow Motion recording at up to 1000 fps, uncompressed 4K HDMI output and simultaneous proxy movie recording. Users can utilise Picture Profile, S-Log2 and Time Code / User Bit functions to ensure a final result that exactly matches their creative vision.
The versatility of the RX0 II means thatit offers a host of stills photography features in addition to its video capabilities. It boasts an Anti-distortion Shutter of up to 1/32000 sec. and can shoot at up to 16 fpsv to capture any fleeting moment of emotion that passes across the subject’s face. In an upgrade from the original RX0, colour reproduction has been enhanced to reproduce natural and vivid colours of human skin, and the optional ‘Soft Skin Effect’ can be applied to cover minor blemishes and wrinkles.Rating and Protect functions can be applied in camera and a grouped display of continuously shot images can be viewed on the camera.
Sony’s EyeAF, that is proving hugely popular with portrait photographers across the world, has been upgraded on the RX0 II. Thespeed, accuracy and operation of the EyeAF has been improved to make it even easier to capture a stunning portrait; a simple half press of the shutter button will lock-on to the eye of the subject. The focussed eye can be selected (left / right / auto) in the menu or assigned to a custom button, allowing the user to concentrate on composition.
The camera can be set for interval shooting, the results of which can be edited with Sony’s “Imaging Edge”desktop application ‘viewer’ into stunning time-lapse videos.
Upto 5 RX0 II camerascan be controlled wirelessly using Sony ‘Imaging Edge Mobile’ application and between 6 to 50 cameras will be able to be controlled via an access point (scheduled for Summer 2019.) The RX0 II is alsocompatible with the Camera Control Box CCB-WD1 which enables up to 100 cameras to be connected and controlled in a wired multi-camera setup. These multi-camera solutions unlock a whole new world of shooting opportunities and free video expression from any viewpoint that the user wishes to pursue.
Pricing and Availability
TheRX0 II kit with the VCT-SGR1 Shooting Grip and bracket will ship in Europe in May 2019, priced at approximately €800/£730.
For more information on the new RX0 II camera, please visit; https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras/dsc-rx0m2
A variety of exclusive stories, videos and exciting new content shot with the newest cameras and other Sony’sAlpha products can be found at https://www.sony.co.uk/alphauniverse. Sony’s European photography hub is available in 22 languages and details product news, competitions and an up-to-date list of Sony events in each country.
BCN published their market share ranking in Japan for 2018 (BCN awards 2019).
Canon rules the market in Japan, as you can see from the image on top. Canon holds 57.4% in the DSLR market, and 31.6% in the mirrorless market. Canon’s success in the mirrorless market comes from the excellent sale figures of the EOS M50, and is also due to the new EOS R full frame mirrorless camera line-up (a new model coming soon). Nikon tops in the compact camera market with 31.5%, closely followed by Canon with 29.8%.
Below you see the ranking for the single categories, compared to previous years ratings.
BCN posted their annual “BCN Awards” and look who is ranked on top for the mirrorless and DSLR market. It appears to be true that there is life in the old dog.
Canon ranks first for DSLR and mirrorless market shares in 2018.
DSLR market shares:
- Canon – 57.4% share
- Nikon – 39.3% share
- Ricoh – 3.1% share
Mirrorless market share:
- Canon – 31.6% share
- Olympus – 23.5% share
- Sony – 22.7% share
Canon’s success in the mirrorless market is mostly because of the commercial success of the EOS M50, and also to some minor degree thanks to the new EOS R. It’s interesting to see that Nikon doesn’t show up among the first three players in the MILC market. Surprisingly the so much touted Sony mirrorless systems are not getting that much love in Japan.
Nikon still ranks first for compact cameras with 31.5%, followed by Canon with 29.8% and Sony with 11.9%.
Canon also ranks first for sold lenses with 20.7%, followed by Sigma with 15.7% and Nikon with 13.7%.
Below you see how Canon’s market share in the mirrorless market evolved since 2016.
Not bad for a company so heavily criticised. I’m curios to know how much market share Canon will gain this year because they are clearly headed to lead the market.
DPReview published an interview with Mr. Kenji Tanaka, VP and Senior General Manager of Sony’s Business Unit 1, Digital Imaging Group. The interview was taken at Photokina 2018.
Sony appears to be rather fond of their role in the industry.
Q: What is Sony doing that’s unique?
A: We are the world’s largest manufacturer of image sensors, and have developed many unique sensors. Looking at the Alpha 9, the stacked CMOS sensor is a good example of both a unique and innovative product. These kinds of things are a strength compared to our competitors.
How does Sony stand to the competition?
Q: How do new competitive full-frame mirrorless cameras affect your planning?
A: I welcome the shift in the market. Our vision is not to move the customer [from DSLR to mirrorless], it is to expand the market.
I don’t know what the impact of [Canon and Nikon entering the full-frame mirrrorless market] will be but we remain focused on creating new customers. That is our priority. Honestly speaking, I don’t care about competitors, I care about the customers. If customers need more functionality, or more quality, we’ll try to do it.
Later on in the interview Mr. Kenji Tanaka reminds how he always knew about Canon and Nikon’s entry in the full frame mirrorless arena.
You can read the interview here.