Back to Canon - Sony has to leave

Back to Canon - Sony has to leave
Canon EOS R5 Body

As men­tioned in my last arti­cle, I ordered the new Canon EOS R5. So after 6 good years, my Sony sys­tem had to go. I have there­fore sold all my Sony gear on eBay into good hands.

Why the Canon R5 and why mirrorless system cameras at all?

I con­sid­er the mir­ror­less sys­tem cam­eras to be the nat­ur­al evo­lu­tion in dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy. Sim­i­lar to the devel­op­ment in soft­ware, cam­eras today should allow you to see as accu­rate­ly as pos­si­ble what the final image will look like.

WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get

In the days of film, this was the dri­ving force behind the devel­op­ment of the SLR, the sin­gle-lens reflex cam­era. For the first time, this enabled a par­al­lax-free view through the same optics with which the final pic­ture is tak­en. How­ev­er, this requires a sophis­ti­cat­ed mech­a­nism, which must be extreme­ly pre­cise in order to enable one to set the focus accu­rate­ly via the ground­glass image redi­rect­ed by the mir­ror and prism. On the oth­er hand, it must be able to switch very quick­ly from viewfind­er mode to shoot­ing mode and back again, with as few vibra­tions as pos­si­ble to pre­vent cam­era shake. A sec­ond mov­able aux­il­iary mir­ror is even required for the phase con­trast dis­tance sen­sors used in mod­ern DSLR. All this is pre­ci­sion engi­neer­ing in its purest form!

I have to admit, this is work­ing very well with the cur­rent cam­eras today. The Canon flag­ship cam­era 1 DX Mark III reach­es up to 20 frames per sec­ond in viewfind­er mode with aut­o­fo­cus track­ing! How­ev­er, the cur­rent cam­eras also have their lim­i­ta­tions due to the built-in high bright­ness ground glass. The built-in Fres­nell lens­es in the focus­ing screens increase the bright­ness of the viewfind­er image, but do not use the full aper­ture of the viewfind­er when using very fast lens­es.

So, for exam­ple, with the won­der­ful EF 85mm F1.2L it is not pos­si­ble to see the exact depth of field in the viewfind­er and the man­u­al focus set­ting becomes a mat­ter of luck. Effec­tive­ly, the max­i­mum aper­ture used in viewfind­er mode on my 5DS R is just about f/2.8. You can test this by your­self by press­ing the stop-down but­ton while look­ing through the viewfind­er: only at aper­tures below 2.8 the viewfind­er image becomes dark­er. Also shift­ing with tilt/shift lens­es, like my TS-E 17mm f/4L, shows mas­sive vignetting in the opti­cal viewfind­er. On DSLR bod­ies, it is actu­al­ly only usable in live view.

With con­ven­tion­al film, the SLR would cer­tain­ly still be the opti­mal sys­tem. In the dig­i­tal era, how­ev­er, it is now pos­si­ble to see the images cre­at­ed instant­ly. So why should we con­tin­ue to rely on the com­pli­cat­ed and error-prone mechan­i­cal mir­ror sys­tem? For sev­er­al years now, many dig­i­tal cam­eras offered a live view on their rear mon­i­tors. For sta­t­ic shots on a tri­pod this was often already a good choice. How­ev­er, the dis­ad­van­tage was the low res­o­lu­tion of the image on the small dis­plays, which were hard­ly read­able in sun­shine, and the usu­al­ly very slow aut­o­fo­cus.

The electronic viewfinder

So the devel­op­ment of usable elec­tron­ic viewfind­ers was a big step for­ward. Here Sony has already had expe­ri­ence with SLT cam­eras since 2010. Since I want­ed to have a mir­ror­less body for my exten­sive Canon sys­tem for a long time and Canon had missed the trend for years, I there­fore added a Sony 7R with a Metabones adapter for Canon lens­es to my pho­to back­pack in 2013. So I had a high res­o­lu­tion (36 megapix­els at that time) for “slow” shots and work­ing with the TS-E was sud­den­ly a lot of fun. The viewfind­er res­o­lu­tion in the orig­i­nal 7R was only XGA (1024x768 pix­els), but was already usable. One by one I changed to the 7R II and 7R III.

The mir­ror­less Sony cam­eras have shown that they offer a very good alter­na­tive to the clas­sic DSLR cam­eras. The ini­tial dis­ad­van­tages are bal­anced. Part­ly the mir­ror­less cam­eras already sur­pass the con­ven­tion­al DSLR. For exam­ple, the aut­o­fo­cus on the Sony a9 is now just as fast as on the fastest DSLR bod­ies, and that at 20 frames per sec­ond, with track­ing of the AF on the sub­ject and eye recog­ni­tion with very wide cov­er­age of the viewfind­er image. And unlike the 1 DX Mark III, the viewfind­er image does not black out!

The elec­tron­ic viewfind­er also got more and more res­o­lu­tion. The cur­rent cam­eras now have a viewfind­er res­o­lu­tion of 1,600 x 1,200 pix­els, which is hard­ly dis­tin­guish­able from an opti­cal viewfind­er. And you can see the actu­al image in the viewfind­er, includ­ing the over- or under-exposed areas!

The Sony cam­eras were get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter and at Canon - noth­ing hap­pened.

Then, two years ago, the EOS R final­ly arrived and short­ly after­wards the RP. How­ev­er, both cam­eras were still clear­ly infe­ri­or to my Sony 7R bod­ies, so that with the release of the 7R IV I had already phi­los­o­phized loud­ly about a com­plete change to Sony. Only my exist­ing exten­sive lens stock, my high-res­o­lu­tion 5DS R and the already over­all well work­ing coop­er­a­tion of my cur­rent Sony Alpha 7R III (now with the Sig­ma MC-11 EF-E adapter) with my Canon lens­es (and espe­cial­ly with the Sig­ma 60-600 HSM) stopped me.

But now the cards are reshuf­fled again: The Canon EOS R5 is final­ly up to date and I can ful­ly return to Canon. Not that the Sony 7R III / IV cam­eras would get worse - but I have a lot of high qual­i­ty Canon lens­es and an EOS 5DS R body and of course a Canon body fits bet­ter into my sys­tem. Espe­cial­ly the aut­o­fo­cus will with all my lens­es native­ly again. I will ( for now) keep the 5DS R. Which body is bet­ter suit­ed for what, I will find out and report here. Nev­er­the­less - if I would already be com­plete­ly work­ing with Sony, I would cer­tain­ly stay there.

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