The Big Change Part 1 - Goodbye Canon

November 28, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I've been shooting Canon for a long time. My first DSLR was a Canon nearly 15 years ago now. That Rebel S became an Elan 7N which became an EOS 3. Years later came digital with a 50D and then a 7D. I got on the digital bandwagon late and when it came time to consider my full frame options, the 5D MKIII was the go-to camera in Canon's line up. I'm one of those crazy people who always felt that 35mm film, scanned properly was more than a match for modern digital cameras...at least the ones I could afford. To a certain degree I still feel the same way. I still shoot 6x7cm medium format film with an old Mamiya RB67. Scanned at 4000dpi, a single 6x7 slide or negative produces a single image with over 100 megapixels. For a camera only worth a few hundred dollars on todays market, the quality is hard to beat for the money.

Earlier this year, when the 5D MKIII came out in fact, I didn't feel all that highly about it and in an act of rebellion, I bought a Sony NEX-7. This small but powerful mirrorless camera has transformed how I look at modern digital photography. For the type of photography I do, the little NEX is easily the equal of my Canon 7D but in a much smaller package. The day I realized that I could adapt all old manual focus lenses to the NEX format was an epiphany. With simple adapters purchased online, nearly any lens ever made was now ready to be used on my NEX.

In just 6 months, I've accumlated nearly 20 manual focus lenses for use on my NEX-7. In fact I don't use any modern E-Mount lenses any more. Some of these old lenses are considered legendary by some and the optical quality in some of these lenses can't be matched by any but the best modern lenses...if at all.

As a professional photographer I've been able to get by with an APS-C sized crop sensor for digital and medium format film the rest of the time but a full frame digital camera was inevitable. When I was looking at the work I could do with my little NEX compared to my Canon cameras and a small selection of L lenses, I realized that I preferred the old lenses. There's more of them, in many cases they are better quality, they're smaller and don't have messy electronics to deal with, and overall those 20 lenses cost less than my 5 select Canon lenses. I wanted a full frame camera but wanted to be able to use those old lenses which had become my favourites. Unfortunately you can't manually focus those lenses on a Canon DSLR very well even if you bought the required adapters as the autofocus system is useless and the focus screen can't help you like it could in the old manual focus days. In the NEX-7, the electronic view finder has focus peaking as in higher end video cameras. This allows me to focus the lenses rapidly and effectively every time. With this system I don't miss autofocus one bit.

There are a few other cameras which have focus peaking but none of them have a full frame sensor...or so I thought. This week I was introduced to the Sony Alpha A99. To make the long story short, this camera is very close to making me jump ship and sell all of my Canon gear...to be continued...


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