The Sony a7riii & What's In My Bag

My camera bag has changed a lot over the last 10+ years but one thing has remained consistent- it's chock full of Sony. Multiple Sony cameras, an array of Sony lenses, a fan letter to Sony that I haven't mailed yet...

These days I shoot weddings with Sony a7riii's. The eye-focus is a game changer for wedding photographers and noticeably improved my photos, especially ceremonies and dance floor. No more spray and pray, no more questionable focus. I can walk backwards while shooting a couple that's walking towards me and every single image is a keeper. Say whaaaat?!

 
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Hi, I'm the greatest thing ever.

And I have a DxO sensor score of 100!

 

When the first Alpha came out in 2006, I was working for a Sony Style in Austin. Since then I've purchased 14+ Sony cameras from compact to full frame, starting with their first-ever Sony Alpha a100 with a whopping 10 megapixels.

The a77 made a brief appearance in my collection before upgrading to the a99 and using that for a couple years. When the a99ii was announced, I snapped them up. All of my 2017 weddings and events were shot with these cameras and I was really damn happy (but still jealous of the e-mount lenses).

At the end of 2017, I welcomed two Sony a7riii's into my cam-family along with a host of jaw dropping lenses. I feel like a new mom again, boasting to anyone who will listen about my babies. They're so smart. They're so beautiful. They sleep through the night. Ok, I'm getting carried away...

 
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"HIGH END CAMERA OF THE YEAR."

-DPReview Awards, 2017

 

After selling my Sony a-mount gear *cry*, I eagerly tested the e-mount setup. Some of the lenses are heavier than their a-mount equivalents. These are the ones in my bag (or rather, in my Pelican 1510) that I need at every wedding:

  • 90mm Macro f/2.8 G Master - SEL90MF28G (It's practically a microscope but can be a bomb ass portrait lens if you need it to do double duty.)
  • 85mm f/1.4 G Master - SEL85F14GM (The portrait lens of your dreams... but it weighs a ton. #worthit)
  • 70-200mm f/2.8 - SEL70200GM (What can I say? This stunner is essential for wedding ceremonies and I can't do without it. It's amazing.)
  • 16-35mm f/2.8 - SEL1635GM (A beast on the dance floor and sweeping vistas... this lens deserves it's exceptional reviews. I use it all day long.)
  • 35mm f/1.4 ZA - SEL35F14Z (I chose this over the 50mm since I already have the 85mm. This lens is beautiful but tends to run soft.)
  • 35mm Sonnar T* f/2.8 ZA - SEL35F28Z (The hype is real, the reviews don't lie, the lens is amazing... and TINY. It's my video, travel and walk-around lens.)

 

Something I love about Sony is that they have always prioritized new technology over easy sales. They relentlessly pursued mirrorless cameras when Canon and Nikon dragged their feet on basic DSLR upgrades. The a7riii is a feature packed gem and is my favorite Sony camera to date. When people say gear doesn't matter, I know they haven't shot with a Sony yet. Without further rambling, here are my top reasons for shooting weddings with the Sony a7riii:

  1. Eye AF: I can rely on it to track my couple's faces, no matter what. It even tracks a profile if your couple turns and faces each other while walking towards you.
    • Real life: the couple is on a crazy dance floor and they come into the shot for a brief second. Eye focus captures them instantly! They go out of the photo and the camera eagerly jumps to the next face. It's the only camera that can keep up with me on the dance floor. I'm hungry for action and this camera is all, "I got you, boo!" Every dance floor photo has a happy face in focus. Not a table, not a flower arrangement, not a shoulder. A happy face. If you shoot weddings, you KNOW this is life changing!
    • Real life: For you family and portrait photographers, no more soft focus eyes with super sharp noses. Shoot at 1.4 if you want to and admire the detail in the pupils in post processing.
       
  2. Resolution: 42 megapixels means you can crop, enlarge, crop again. And when 8k screens are a thing, your photos will still be sharp.
    • Real life: Sometimes I really love a portrait and want it wide, vertical and super cropped to give my couple more variety.
    • Real life: Ring photos will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. I use my 90mm Sony microscope, er, macro lens to make a 1 carat diamond the size of an iMac screen. And if you don't think that's cool, you probably aren't an engaged bride who does want to see her 2-billion-year-old-diamond blown up to the size of a phone book. It's fucking awesome.
       
  3. LCD Viewfinder: Real time exposure, folks. Know what your image will look like before you hit the shutter.
    • Real life: Auntie asks you to step into the sun and take a family photo. The LCD screen goes blinding white. You adjust the exposure without needing a test shot or looking at the back of your camera. No more guessing games. No more accidentally ruining a few portraits. No more forgetting you were at 1/800 when you went into the dark reception hall.
       
  4. Sony flashes: Sony flashes kick ass. I've tried them all and Sony is king.
    • Battery life? With rechargeable Eneloops, I get an entire wedding day out of them including 2-3 hours on the dance floor of continuous use.
    • Wireless? Their wireless capabilities are fantastic. No receivers, triggers, cables, extra batteries. I abandoned my giant Alien Bees and now shoot with Sony speed light.
    • Price? They're expensive, I know. Not "Profoto" expensive but... not far off. If you want a Mercedes, you have to pay for it. These flashes are uncompromising in build quality, consistent light and cobra head motion. The menu system is SIMPLE. The size is excellent. The provided Sony cases fit the flash with the MagGrip still on. Sony makes life easy so you don't miss the shot.
    • In my kit is four HVL-F60RM's, one Sony commander for cool off-camera set ups, two full sets of MagMod, 13 foot light stands and a bag of Eneloop's. Lighting blog coming SOON. I'll be comparing the new Sony 60RM to Flashpoint (Godox), Metz, Yongnuo and even the previous Sony lines (HVL-F60M, F43M, Minolta 5600hs).

All in all, I'm a huge Sony fan and feel like their cameras and flashes are perfect for a wedding photographer that's all about the fleeting moments. If you're a candid photographer you should give Sony a long, hard look. I'm in the DC area (Rockville) so if you're local, let's grab a coffee and talk shop!

 
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Questions or suggestions? 

Inbox me! I'm always up for trying new lenses and testing out products!

 
Jessica NazarovaComment