Posts about Cameras

Log is the pro” in iPhone 15 Pro. Stu Maschwitz has published a handy primer on why log recording is A Big Deal, especially for a camera that fits in your pocket.

Gear Patrol acquires DPReview

I don’t get to use my camera gear a lot anymore — the days before COVID when using my camera felt like a near-daily part of my work are very missed — but I am grateful to hear that Gear Patrol has acquired DPReview, and the site will live on. 

Much digital ink has been spilled about DPReview in the past months, and I won’t add much more to it here, save that the site has always been invaluable. It’s not just about gear. It’s about learning technique from the good people in the forums, too. Losing DPR would have been like losing Sound on Sound for music production — unthinkable. 

Gear Patrol is new to me. I hope they steward DPReview well.

Capture One iPad Preview

Over the past four or five years, I’ve gone back and forth between Lightroom and Capture One many times with my photography work. I find C1 takes me a little longer to work with, but I often prefer the results I can get with it — especially with regards to colour accuracy.

That’s why I was curious about their recent Capture One for iPad preview. I’m impressed with the work they’ve done on the UI. It’s clearly early days — this is still a preview — but I’m more interested in editing with this on iPad than I am in editing with Lightroom CC.

What that preview video confirmed for me is that I just don’t like working on iPads. I watched as David danced around the iPad UI and couldn’t stop thinking about how much faster all these edits would be on my Macs.

So Capture One for iPad looks very impressive. I have a lot of questions still: how are photos synced? Where are they stored? How can I manage the synced photos and edits between machines? Does this work well for catalogs, or is it meant for sessions? Etc. It’s exciting progress, though. My congratulations to the Capture One team for thinking out of the box and designing a UI that is specifically tailored for a touch interface. 

But now I have a different question, unrelated to Capture One, but very much related to the iPad: For years, my assumption was that the software was holding back the iPad. But with software like this, the software won’t be the problem. The problem is just that my human fingers are not as precise or fast as a dialled-in mouse or trackpad.

If Apple announced a new version of iPadOS that somehow fixed all the issues I have with file management, window management, and other productivity features on an iPad, would I want to use an iPad? 

I’m starting to think I will always prefer the mouse-and-keyboard paradigm.

The Canon R3, Sony A1, and the future

Toronto skyline during sunset

I was surprised and excited earlier this week to see the announcement of Canon’s new EOS R3 camera. I was expecting them to announce their flagship R1 camera (which would sit alongside their 1D series), but instead, Canon has surprised me with a new” product line.

The 3‑series moniker has been used by Canon before, but not since 1998. (In fact, they never made a digital 3‑series camera.) The R3 incorporates the EOS-3’s headlining feature: Eye Control AF. Eye Control AF essentially uses the position of the photographer’s eye in the viewfinder to dictate autofocus placement. If it works well (the 1998 implementation was not always well-received, but it’s been more than 20 years since), I think this could be a game changer.

Not only that, but this looks like a 1D-series camera: it has an integrated battery grip. On the Sony camera I used to own, I bought their battery grip separately to make the camera more comfortable for me to hold. Canon’s cameras fit my hands much more naturally, but I’d still be very interested in something a little bigger.

But I’m way more excited about two other features in this camera: 30 FPS shooting and the Stacked CMOS sensor.

30 FPS shooting means that this camera should compete directly with Sony’s technologically-breathtaking A1 on at least some level. The A1 is Sony’s flagship, though, and the R3 will not be Canon’s flagship. I’m taking 30 FPS on the R3 as a statement that Canon can outdo the A1 whenever they release their R1 flagship camera (next year, perhaps).

The Stacked CMOS sensor is even more interesting. For years, Canon has been behind in sensor tech. Stacked CMOS leaps over the BSI technology Sony used for years and skips an entire sensor generation. More importantly, Canon designed and will manufacture the chip themselves. Unlike Nikon’s sensors, this won’t be a Sony gizmo.

This will be the first Canon sensor with backside illumination, which will help dramatically with low light shooting (an area where Sony still edges out, in my opinion). But it’s also going to be a boon for overall sensor speed. That Stacked CMOS sensor is undoubtedly how Canon is getting to 30 FPS.

There are some obvious questions that remain from this announcement:

  1. What is the megapixel count? (I don’t need more than 20 – 30mp, but I’m curious who the intended market is for the R3.)
  2. Does it record video? Of what quality, and with what limitations?
  3. Does it have a flip-out screen?
  4. When can we get one?
  5. What’s it cost?

That being said, there are some less obvious questions that are more interesting to me:

  1. The R3 already looks an awful lot like what I expected the R1 to be. In fact, my mirrorless R6 performs quite similarly to Canon’s flagship 1D Mark III dSLR. Canon’s new bodies are exceptional, but clearly they think they can make them even better. How much space is left above the R3 for an even better camera?
  2. If the R3 competes with Sony’s A1, does the R1 sit in a new class of its own?
  3. If Canon can surprise us with an in-house Stacked CMOS sensor, does that make the rumours about their global shutter more likely to be accurate? (That would be incredible.)
  4. How does a Stacked CMOS sensor change the familiar attributes of Canon’s cameras? For me, Canon’s approach to colour and exposure is more intuitive than Sony’s. How much of that is because of their (admittedly outdated) sensor tech? Will any of these positive attributes get worse?

The past couple years have been the most interesting years for camera bodies in two decades. I’m extremely excited about the R3, but largely because it represents an even bigger change in the lineup. It means that Canon isn’t resting on their laurels — likely because of Sony’s aggressive market reach and increasing dominance in the mirrorless sensor. As a fan of both companies and an owner of Canon’s system, nothing could excite me more.

Hello Canon: One Month With the EOS R6

I never wanted to buy a Canon camera. 

Years ago, when I moved from Nikon to Sony, I never considered a Canon. I had heard too much about the Canon cripple hammer,” as conspiracy theorists call it, and had decided in advance that they weren’t for me. 

Two years later, here I am. Let me definitively say this: I was wrong. Canon’s new EOS R6 is my favourite camera that I’ve ever shot with. Period. Full stop. Bar none. (If you’re curious about why I moved away from Sony, I wrote about that as well.) Here’s my review after one month of shooting — and a generous smattering of photos I’ve taken with the camera as well.

The R6: A Mini 1DIII

A lot of people have already noted that the R6 shares its sensor with the 1D X Mark III, which is an incredible camera priced at $9,000 CAD. But outside the sensor, these cameras are markedly different. For one thing, the R6 is mirrorless, but it’s also much smaller and lighter. 

The R6 has also been compared to the 6D series’ build quality and weather sealing. I don’t know where folks are getting their information from, but for what it’s worth, Canon have also told some reviewers that the R6 has the same weather sealing as the 5D. (I’m inclined to think this is true, since the R5’s sealing goes far beyond what the 5D offered.)

All this has created some confusion: is the R6 a replacement for the 6D or the 5D DSLR series?

The CN Tower reflected in the windows of TD Bank, with orange lights poking out from behind.

In my opinion, it isn’t a replacement for either of them. Canon have a different product strategy for their mirrorless lineup. That strategy is simple: give you 1 DX levels of performance in a compact, comfortable, and reliable body at one third of the price. 

It’s that simple. 

Shooting with it

Of course, none of that matters if it’s not fun and easy to shoot with. After all, that’s the bug I had up my butt about my Sony gear: shooting with it was tedious and joyless. I am happy to report that’s not the case with the R6.

The R6 has a fantastic, generously-sized grip — exactly what you would expect from Canon. It feels like a DSLR, but it’s not quite as large as one. It’s very easy to carry the camera without a strap, even with a heavy zoom lens. I have done this for hours at a time. The camera is heavier than the a7 III, but because the R6’s weight distribution is so much better, it somehow feels lighter in the hand.

The buttons feel great, too. All the port coverings are labelled (unlike the Sony), and even the dual SD card slots have a very nice card eject mechanism. These are little niceties, but they make a difference. It’s like the old magnetic charger for MacBooks: these are tiny improvements that, once you’re used to them, are difficult to go without.

An image of a Toronto city street, shot the ground in the middle of the street.

Another thing that I much prefer about the Canon: it’s so much easier to change lenses. The shutter closes by default when you turn the camera off, which helps swap lenses without getting dust on the sensor. The lenses are also clearly marked, and it’s easy to identify where they mount by feel if you’re in the dark. This is a killer feature.

I also love the flip-out screen. This is new to professional-level Canons; the 5D IV didn’t have one. I have used it almost every day; it’s one of my favourite features. The touch screen on the R6 is almost as responsive as my iPhone, which is high praise. While you’re shooting, nearly all the most important camera functionality is always available from the touch screen.

The CN Tower lit up with rainbow colours.

Here’s something that surprised me: I don’t think the menus are that great. Sure, they’re better than Sony’s, but that’s a low bar. As these cameras become more and more feature-packed, the menus are bound to get more cumbersome. So it comes down to the devil you know. 

But still, some of the menu choices are downright bizarre. As an example, if you want to film at 120p, that’s in a different menu than all the other frame rates and movie modes. And once, I spent ten minutes trying to find an option in the menus that used an unnecessary short form (Exp. instead of Exposure). If there’s space on the screen to display the whole word, these companies should do that. Both Sony and Canon are making the same menu mistakes. 

But overall, I much prefer shooting on the Canon to shooting on the Sony. In actual usage, it’s not even a contest. The Canon is much more comfortable and way more fun. Over the past five weeks, I’ve eagerly shot with it almost every single day. I love it the way I love my iMac: it just works. Exactly as a tool should be.

Image quality

How do the photos look off this thing, though? In a word: exceptional. I was a little nervous about losing dynamic range I could capture with the a7 III, but I’ve had nothing to worry about. Sony might claim more dynamic range on paper, but in practice, they’re basically identical.

An image that looks very over-exposed of a sunset above a field of trees. The sky is so blown out as to be nearly white.

That being said, I haven’t had the chance to try the R6 in a low-light event space yet (you know, because COVID). I have no idea how it will perform at ISO 3200 indoors because I haven’t needed to push it that high. But given how it performs at ISO 1200, I’m not worried.

The R6 also seems to be less reliant on ISO than my Sony. I frequently found that my Sony needed to be pushed to ISO 800 or higher, and the Canon rarely needs to get pushed as far. (It’s important to note that ISO isn’t really a universal standard, so this isn’t surprising — it’s just indicative of how hard it is to talk about and compare different camera systems.)

The Toronto skyline at night, with its lights reflecting in the waters of Lake Ontario.

While I’m talking about ISO, this seems like a good time to mention Canon’s IBIS system. For stills, the IBIS is sensational. I can pretty easily get a one second or two second exposure handheld, even at telephoto distances. With a wide angle lens, I can take a four second handheld exposure. It doesn’t completely obviate the need for tripods, but it helps.

The R6 has a 20mp sensor, which is low compared to the competition. That being said, the files are incredibly sharp and surprisingly detailed. They appear sharper than the files I would get out of the a7 III’s 24mp sensor. It’s hard to say if that’s a result of the camera or the lenses, but I’d assume it’s a bit of both. In all honesty, while 20mp and 24mp sound different on paper, megapixel resolution doesn’t scale exponentially, so the difference is fairly minor — just a couple hundred pixels on either side.

The files are so sharp from the Canon, though, that I am often turning down sharpness. In Lightroom, I’ll put the Clarity and Texture tools at negative numbers on occasion — the photos are that sharp. 

Autofocus has been excellent, at least on par with my Sony, if not better. The only time I ever had an issue was when I was using the Canon mobile app to shoot remotely. I assume that’s a bug that will get patched soon; this camera is still brand new, after all. (I also missed focus occasionally because of user error. Even this camera can’t fix my stupidity.)

An image of a website about electric cars on an iPhone. The iPhone is lying on a leather couch and surrounded by toy cars.

Finally, I want to briefly touch on Canon colours. I don’t want to say they’re better” than Sony’s, because colour science is often misunderstood. What I will say is that the colours are much more predictable in post. I can look at a jpeg preview in-camera and know how I’ll tweak the colours later. As you might predict, this has made my editing workflow much smoother. I’m probably saving anywhere from 20%-50% of the time I spend on photo editing now, and I can get much more consistent results. 

So, in short: great image quality. Dynamic range is more than you’ll probably ever actually need, the colours look great and are easy to work with in post, and the autofocus nails it. 

Is the image quality better than the Sony? It’s certainly not worse. It’s just different. I prefer it, but this is subjective. Your mileage may vary.

The RF system

Can I talk to you about lenses now? As far as I’m concerned, the RF glass is the best reason to switch to Canon right now. 

The RF glass I own is simply sensational. I bought the trinity: the 15 – 35 2.8, the 24 – 70 2.8, and the 70 – 200 2.8.

A large, isolated tree in the middle of a farmer's field.

The 24 – 70 is far and away the best I’ve used in its category. I don’t typically like this zoom range much, but this has become one of my favourite lenses. It renders sensationally. Canon also makes a 28 – 70 f2, which sounds amazing. I’ve been told the images it records make my 24 – 70 look like a child’s plaything, which I find hard to believe — but also, I want one. 

The new 70 – 200 is also awesome. Unlike my Sony, it is sharp all the way through, from 70mm to 200mm. And it’s so small and chunky! I love it. I can stand it upright in my backpack (so long as I’m not also carrying a laptop), which saves me a ton of space. (I’ve heard Canon is working on a 70 – 135 f2 lens, which… drool.)

A wide image of the Canadian flag in between multiple skyscrapers. The image is shot from the ground, so it's like you're looking straight up at the sky with the flag billowing a hundred feet above you in the wind.

The 15 – 35 is interesting. In all honesty, I think I preferred Sony’s 16 – 35GM, which was a truly sensational wide angle performer. The Canon lens has an even stronger vignette in the corner, which makes the lens difficult to use for portraiture. (I once shot an engagement session entirely at 24mm on the Sony, and people love how it turned out. I don’t know if I would do that with this lens. I would absolutely use the 24 – 70 for this purpose, but maybe not the 15 – 35.) That being said, Canon’s take on this lens includes built-in lens stabilization, which is a nice addition for landscape, real estate, and architecture work (four second handheld exposures!).

While the difference between the two wide angle lenses is subtle, I much prefer Canon’s 24 – 70 and 70 – 200 lenses over the Sony equivalents. It’s night and day; the glass is substantially better. This isn’t even Canon’s best work; if you want to see what the system is truly capable of, the 50mm f1.2, 28 – 70 f2, and 85mm f1.2 are expensive, but supposedly unbelievable. Not only that, but the EF to RF mount adapters make it easy to use EF lenses with the new Canon cameras — and there are some classic lenses in their lineup.

A runner about to take off. the image is shot with a wide angle lens from the sole of his shoe. It looks like he's already eight feet ahead of the frame, even though the shoe is right in your face.

Comparing the Canon R6 to the Sony a7 III

In my exit review of the Sony a7 III, I listed a few things that I didn’t like about Sony’s cameras. I thought I’d list out some of those issues, and directly compare the Sony and Canon on those fronts.

  • Ergonomics: Every Sony I’ve ever is uncomfortable in my hand. For what it’s worth, my hands are probably the average size for my height (six feet exact), so it’s not that I have huge hands” and can’t hold Sony’s gear. It’s literally that Sony’s gear is too small. Canon’s mirrorless offerings are night and day better; it’s not a contest, and I doubt you’re surprised. Sony’s recent announcement of the super-small a7C belies the fact that Sony doesn’t believe this is an issue. It is. There’s a place for small cameras, but it is so important that we make tools that are ergonomically sound.
  • Changing lenses: Changing lenses is so irksome with the Sony that I listed it as a bug in their system. This is a non-issue with the Canon. Overall, the system I found it easiest to change lenses with is Nikon (back when I shot Nikon), but why would anyone shoot Nikon these days? (Please don’t send me hate mail about this.)
  • Editing workflow: it’s so much easier to work with the Canon files. This is true in every app I’ve tried editing the files in. My editing time has shrunk exponentially, which means I’m shooting more.
  • Shooting quirks: The R6 doesn’t need to be underexposed like my Sony. I can half-press the shutter button and continue to adjust my exposure settings without releasing the shutter button. I have not experienced a single bug or glitch yet (though that does not mean they don’t exist). Unlike my Sony gear, there has never been a situation where the Canon silently failed to record images to a memory card, or recorded everything to the card with a green overlay, or failed to recognize its own batteries.
  • Flip-out screen: The R6 has one, and the a7 III does not. The only Sony cameras with flip-out screens are the new a7C and the a7S III. I am confident more flip-out screens are coming to their lineup, but shocked it took this long. Flip-out screens aren’t just for vloggers; they’re important accessibility features for people who are physically handicapped as well.

At the end of the day, almost all of my problems were about usability and workflow issues. These are things that you don’t read about on a spec list, but you do experience them over time. The a7S III’s marketing page includes a section about improvements for workflow efficiency.” This is something Canon doesn’t typically need to advertise; outside of the Multi-function Touch Bar on the EOS R, their ergonomic blunders have been few and far between.

Canon’s image quality has been tested and proven time and time again. Sony’s image quality is also very nice, but until recently, they hadn’t been focused on usability and workflow at all. While I’m glad to see Sony is working on it, it’s an iterative process. It will take years for Sony to sort this out. I got tired of waiting.

For me, this has been like switching from Windows to a Mac, or an Android phone to iPhone. It’s been an instant improvement. The R6 mostly works the way my brain works, which helps the camera become a physical extension of my body. It lets me focus on the photo, and not the device I’m making the photo with. I couldn’t be happier with the move.

I never wanted to buy a Canon camera, but I guess I’m one of those Canon people now. It’s like being an Apple devotee (I’m also in this club), a BMW driver (who else drives like that?), or a New England Patriots fan (the most unfortunate). Never say never… but I don’t plan on going back.

Goodbye Sony: An Exit Review of my Sony A7 iii

At 10am on August 24th, I walked out of my favourite camera store with the new R6, the RF 24 – 70 f2.8, the RF 70 – 200 f2.8, and the RF 15 – 35 f2.8. It was a complete swap: I sold all my equivalent Sony gear, including my GM lenses, and moved over to Canon wholesale.

I had been using Sony’s critically-lauded A7iii since its release, and had migrated to Sony from Nikon (which I had shot with for almost a decade). At the time, moving to Sony made sense: Nikon’s mirrorless offerings were not impressive, and Sony made their best sensors. I figured it would be a pretty easy maneuver.

And it was! The switch felt natural and easy. Once I set it up to my liking, the Sony system felt pretty easy to use. Some of their lenses are truly fantastic (although not all — more on that in a bit), and once you learn their menus, it all becomes second nature pretty quickly.

I shot many thousands of images with my Sony gear — somewhere over 100,000 shots in just a couple years. It’s good. The dynamic range is excellent, the batteries last a long time (in their newer cameras), and the surrounding community of Sony shooters is filled with knowledgable and helpful people. For all I know, Sony’s cameras might be right up your alley.

With that all being said, I’d like to tell you why I sold all my Sony gear.

Statues in Bangkok

Ergonomics and usability

First of all: Sony gear is not fun to use. I don’t know what it is. It might be the build materials. It could be the ergonomics. It might be that the body is a feather, but the lenses weigh a ton. (That being said, even a small, lightweight lens didn’t make the Sony more fun to shoot with for me.)

Somehow, shooting with the camera became a chore. I never felt like using it outside of work. I didn’t like the way the buttons felt (for some reason, the AF-ON butt was so hard to hold down). I could never get a good grip on it. The whole thing was too small; my pinky finger never knew where to go.

I ended up buying Sony’s battery grip — not because I needed the extra battery power, but because adding the extra weight and bulk gave it some much-needed mass. I could at least rest my pinky on it. The battery grip also doubled my battery life. The battery life on the Sony is insane, by the way. With two batteries, I could shoot for three days.

Woman taking photo

I couldn’t use the Sony camera without a strap, because the grip wasn’t big enough for my fingers to wrap all the way around it. And if my fingers did wrap all the way around it, the shutter release button was right beneath my middle fingertip.

That brings me to changing lenses: it’s painful. Sony’s markers on their lenses are hard to see, impossible to feel, and not in line with any of the lens’ switches or buttons. After years of swapping lenses, I never got the hang of it.

An image of four men sitting in a semicircle on a church stage. The pews are filled with people looking on.

To make matters worse: Sony doesn’t close the shutter when the camera is off, so when you’re changing lenses, the sensor is exposed the entire time. Switching lenses is cumbersome and always takes longer than I expect, so dust gets on the sensor. Even if you can change lenses quickly, this is unavoidable. I had to clean my Sony’s sensor all the time. All the time: every month at least, sometimes every week. Guess how many times I ever had to clean my old Nikon’s sensor.

Editing Sony files

A lot has been said about whether Sony’s colour science is accurate or inaccurate. Honestly, I don’t care. I shoot RAW and I edit my colours in post. But on the Sony, that’s not easy. Adobe’s profiles in Lightroom are terrible for Sony’s cameras. The oranges are much too close to red, and there’s something wrong with the blue curve. I spent years fighting this.

A man and woman kiss in front of a small waterfall and pond.

Eventually, I moved to Capture One. Capture One is known for its colour editing prowess. Even with Capture One, I could never get the colours to look right: oranges still looked weird, and the blue curve was still way off.

A black and white image of a large event hall. The screen is lit with colour and says "Creative Mornings Toronto" on it.

One should not judge their camera by their editing software, but honestly, if you have to move mountains to edit your camera’s files, something is wrong. 

Something else is off about the files. Even on my iMac Pro, which is a beast of a computer, the files were difficult to work with. It didn’t matter what editing app I used; somehow, my iMac would also demonstrate lag while editing. Brushes in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Capture One were particularly painful. Eventually, I just came to the conclusion that the .ARW files Sony compresses their RAW data into are probably difficult to work with. I can’t think of any other reason I’d have issues like this.

Shooting quirks

Sony also expects you to slightly underexpose all your images if you want to get the most dynamic range possible out of your images. Why? Because if you underexpose, you’ll save your highlight data, and they’re very confident about their cameras’a ability to preserve shadow detail. You can get a lot of shadow detail out of Sony’s cameras without adding any additional colour noise, which is great, but it has some obvious downsides.

A man in a suit and a woman in a wedding dress pose in front of a wall of very green leaves.

First, it makes the exposure preview in the viewfinder a little difficult to use at times, particularly if you’re shooting indoors. That being said, you can quickly disable that in the menu if you need to. It’s also one extra thing you need to adjust every time you edit an image.

The latter is what’s most bothersome for me: it’s another thing to edit. I want to spend less time editing, and more time shooting.

I nearly forgot to tell you about the software bugs I had too. Here’s a brief list of the rare, recurring bugs that derailed my client shoots:

  • The camera didn’t recognize its battery and threw an error. Fixed with reboots. This happened all the time.
  • The camera didn’t recognize the on-brand battery grip. This bug manifested itself by making all my photos green. Fixed by taking the grip off and screwing it back on. 
  • Without displaying an error, the camera would silently fail to save images to either SD card. This is maybe the worst bug I could ever imagine. To fix it, I would remove both SD cards from their slots and — I kid you not — blow in the slots like it was an N64. This happened twice in two years, and this bug was the final straw before I decided to switch. 
  • The shutter doesn’t close when you turn the camera off. I know I mentioned this already, and I know it’s intentional design, but it’s such a poor design that it’s basically a bug — so I’m treating it as one. Sony’s solution is to sell you an A9 II, apparently. 

There are other quirks when you’re shooting, too. For example: if I held the AF-ON button or the pressed the shutter halfway to focus, I wouldn’t be able to adjust any of my exposure settings without releasing the focus button. So sometimes I would remove my finger from the shutter, make my changes, and miss the shot. That’s one example of a minor usability issue, but things like this are important! It’s what separates trusted and reliable gear from broken refrigerators.

Also, while I’m being being picky: I appreciated the tilting screen, but longed for the flexibility of a flip out screen every time I was getting low for portraits or landscapes. Plus, the touch screen on my A7 III was so bad as to be useless. I turned it off two days into ownership and never looked back. 

Some notes on lenses

I also wanted to quickly mention the lenses I shot with. Out of all of them, my far-and-away favourite were Sony’s wide angles. Their 16 – 35mm f2.8 GM lens was, at the time, the best lens I’d ever owned.

An image of the CN tower poking out from behind the TD buildings.

That being said, Sony’s lenses were less impressive in the telephoto ranges. I didn’t buy their 24 – 70GM because, after trying both, I thought Tamron’s 28 – 75 outshone it. Even the Tamron’s images left something to be desired; they never sparked any creative muscles in me.

I used Sony’s 70 – 200mm f2.8 GM extensively as well; it was probably my most used lens. It was very good up until 135mm, where it started to get soft. By 200mm, it was essentially smeared with vaseline — especially indoors. This was not limited to my copy of the lens. I rented seven different copies of this lens and can confirm they all display the same issues.

The Toronto skyline at sunset with pastel yellows and blues in the sky.

As far as lens recommendations for the Sony system, I can heartily recommend the 24mm GM prime, the 55mm prime, the 135mm GM, and the aforementioned 16 – 35 f2.8 GM.

Issues like a painfully small grip, or trouble swapping lenses, or even difficult editing workflows are not easy to discover on day one. Issues like this are death by a thousand paper cuts: these are small things that, cumulatively, become big over time. By the time Canon announced the new R5 and R6, I was eager to make a move.

Sony’s new telephoto lenses

Sony is plugging some of the last holes in their mirrorless lens lineup today with the announcement of their new 200 – 600mm F5.6 – 6.3 and 600mm F45 lenses. These lenses look quite nice — at the very least, they’re competitive with the offerings from Nikon and Canon.

I’m not the target market for the 600mm lens, but the 200 – 600mm lens looks great. The variable aperture isn’t extreme, which is fantastic. (I’m aware this isn’t the first lens of this kind, but it’s the first for the Sony system, so let me be happy.) 

With that telephoto, you could now buy the trinity from Sony for pro work, and get a large telephoto for wildlife and birding and be good to go. The pricing on that model is fair too. Altogether, a much more sensible lens than the 70 – 300mm Sony’s had for a couple years — so long as it will fit in your camera bag. Plus, if you’re a crazy person who needs a 900mm focal length, the lens is compatible with tele-converters.1

I thought $13k seemed a little high for the 600mm lens, but it’s in line with Canon’s offering (and I bet it’s just as good). I want to complain about the price, but both these prices are more or less what I’d expect from Sony: pricey, but fair (for the 200 – 600mm) and eye-watering, outrageously expensive (for the 600mm).

Also, don’t miss DP Review’s interview with Sony’s Yasuyuki Nagata about the optical design of these lenses. As usual, the editor’s note after the interview is a well-written analysis of the playing field.

Out of all the obvious focal lengths, this just leaves us without a 35mm f1.8. Sony’s lens design team has been on fire recently, and I’m pretty stoked on what they can pull off.

  1. I am exactly this sort of crazy person. ↩︎