A Slow Transition From Nikon to Sony

Well, I did it. I never thought I would, especially after attempting the Sony camera system twice previously.

But as it turns out, my issues with Sony cameras have been resolved, for the most part, thanks to the A7RII.

There are still some little things that frustrate me, but I can deal with it.

For example, Sony needs to allow photographers to update camera firmware (or lens firmware) without requiring a computer. Let me put the firmware on a memory card, and update it within the camera.

The LCD and electronic viewfinder aren’t the easiest to see through at night. But they’re better than Nikon’s live view LCD, so that’s good. But I think Sony can improve on it. Heck, look at Canon. Their LCD is fantastic at night. And the electronic viewfinder? Really? It’s blocking light when an eye is up against it. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be beautiful at night.

Battery life kind of stinks as well, but the batteries are so tiny that having multiples in a pocket takes up minimal room. And being that the camera can charge with a USB cable means, I can charge it on the go using the same Goal Zero USB charger I use for my iPhone.

Other than that I’m pretty happy. I can use my old Nikon lenses in manual focus, using a metabones adapter. Although autofocus doesn’t exist with that adapter, manually focusing with focus peaking is so simple.

A Slow Transition From Nikon to Sony

My Slow Transition Into Sony

I’m very fortunate that I have multiple friends who have made the transition or are in the process of making it. I also have some friends who are Sony Ambassadors, so their knowledge of the system is as if someone at Sony is providing directions.

I still have my Nikon Df for now, but here is my plan for moving to Sony.

I already sold my Nikon D810 and had picked up a used Sony A7RII body. I also picked up a Sony 35mm f/2.8 lens. It’s tiny and sharp.

The rest of my Nikon lenses are still in my collection. But I will be slowly selling them all and convert to Zeiss lenses (made for Sony) as each is sold. It’s worth noting that I’m not switching to Sony lenses using Zeiss glass, except for the 35mm f/2.8. I’m going to be buying Zeiss lenses, made by them, for Sony cameras.

Note: It’s come to my attention that both lenses are licensed for Zeiss and not actually made by Zeiss.  But that is a moot point anyway because the Zeiss lenses are smaller, lighter and sharper than the Sony counterparts.

zeiss-batis-85mmMy goal for lenses is as follows:

I’m still on the fence whether I’d pick up a Sony 70-300, 70-200 or 24-240. I’m not a big fan of telephoto lenses, but I know at least one is needed for certain things, like tight landscape photos. For example, photographing in the Palouse, Washington region is almost useless without a long telephoto lens.

So why Zeiss Batis instead of Sony lenses? Oddly enough, the Zeiss lenses are less expensive and lighter, than the Sony counterparts. There’s the extra advantage of Zeiss’s engineers controlling the design from top to bottom. Instead of Sony engineers handling the design. I like that aspect as Zeiss have been making some of the best lenses for such a long time.

No Regrets

I have waited so long for Nikon to wise up and release their full frame mirrorless camera. In fact, I’ve written about it a few times. On Medium and SLR Lounge. But nothing has happened. Rumors have gone around, just as they have for Canon. But no evidence of anything in the future. So I made the decision just to go for it and not look back.

I will, however, be keeping my old lenses. Some of which were my grandfathers and some of which work on my grandfather’s Nikon F body. But the others will be sold.

By leaving the Nikon D810 behind, you might think I will have regrets. Know that the Sony A7RII has incredible dynamic range. In fact, the Nikon D810 sensor was the one used in the Sony A7R. And being that the Sony A7RII has an improved sensor and more megapixels, it means I will have more to work with when processing photographs.

The software inside of the Sony cameras isn’t impressive, aesthetically. In fact, the menus are cumbersome and complicated. However, they are innovating when it comes to capabilities. Like eye focusing or the time lapse app which is controlled wirelessly using a phone. I am undecided on what cable release or app to use at the moment, but until the time comes when I decide, I plan on using my trusty TriggerTrap for any cable release needs.

Moving_To_Mirrorless-1At the time I’m writing this the A7RII has not been used for any professional work. But I look forward to the time when I get to use it “for real.”

If you are in a similar situation as me and want to research the A7RII or the Sony system in general, then check these out.

My friends Brian Matiash wrote a fantastic eBook called Moving to Mirrorless. Brian Smith wrote a book called Sony a7 Series: From Snapshots to Great Shots. My friend Colby Brown has two incredible articles about the A7RII specifically. One with simple tips to get more out of your A7RII and the other an awesome review of the camera.

What About The Df?

My last plan will be to sell the Nikon Df. That might happen when the Sony A7RIII or the A7III comes out. I’m not 100% sure on that answer yet. But switching all my lenses to Sony means eventually getting rid of the Nikon body too. Until that time comes I plan on using my older Nikon lenses with the Df, because it handles those so well.


Do you have questions about the new camera? Or about my transition? Comment with questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Good luck with the mirrorless system. I’ll stay with looking at the “real” image through my viewfinder. I understand people changing for weight reasons, etc., but in my opinion, it looks less professional. (just my opinion) If a “professional” photographer showed up to photograph an event for me with a mirrorless camera, I’d show them the door. Why not just bring their IPhone, like everyone else there? Sad times, really.

    1. You’re correct that clients can have mixed feelings about photographers with smaller cameras. I wrote about this a while back here with 2 real world examples.

      With that said, I may not be sticking with Sony. As it turns out it doesn’t “feel” right. I’ll be writing about this more if I decide to stay with Nikon.

      1. Curious to hear more on your reservations on the Sony “feel”. As a Fuji XF user adapting Zeiss lenses, Sony’s A7 series “native E-mount” environment for newer Zeiss appeals, but resistance to relearning contains my enthusiasm, and prefer to stay in “listen” mode for now. ;)

        1. I’m not quite sure what you mean by feel, but the camera feels good in my hands. I do have reservations, though. I’m writing it up for next week’s post.

  2. Interesting. Did not know that the Nikon lenses could be used with the Sony. Have a forty-year supply of Nikon lenses so have stick with Nikon. Think others have better software, better autofocus, but need a system, not just a camera. Have looked at mirrorless, but besides being as pricey as the high-end Nikon and Canon pieces, I would have to get all new lenses. I note you use mostly prime lenses. For everyday use, I tend to have a zoom available, rather than my whole kit. But I am not technically a professional, although I do make a few bucks at what is really my hobby. Thanks for the article, Scott.

  3. Muy bien si así lo crees conveniente, pero no estas sacrificando marca, renombre de NIKON y todas las maravillas de los lentes clásicos Nikkor? Entiendo que tienes un maravilla DF, explotala.

    Yo soy Nikon 100%, con lentes clásicos manuales sobre un DF.

    1. Do you really think the name of a brand matters? Yes, Nikon has been around for a very long time. But look at other industries. Anker is killing it on Amazon. They’re selling more power products than the big names.

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