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?!
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...
"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 prioritize new technology over easy sales. The a7riii is a feature packed gem and is my favorite Sony camera to date. When people say gear doesn't matter, I wonder if they've ever shot with a Sony. Here are my top reasons for shooting weddings with the Sony a7riii:
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 packed dance floor. Eye focus captures them instantly! They go out of sight and the camera jumps to the next face. It's the only camera that can keep up with me on the dance floor. Every photo has a happy face in focus. Not a shoulder, a face. If you shoot weddings, you KNOW.
Real life: For family and portrait photographers, no more soft eyes and sharp noses. Shoot at 1.4 and admire the detail in post processing.
Resolution: 42 megapixels means you can crop and crop again. When 8k screens are a thing, your photos will still be sharp.
Real life: Sometimes I 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. If you don't think that's cool then 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.
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 and looking at the back of your camera. No more guessing games. No more accidentally ruining portraits. No more forgetting you were at 1/1250 when you went into the dark reception hall.
Sony flashes: Sony flashes kick ass. I've tried them all and Sony is king.
Battery life: with rechargeable black Eneloops, I get an 8-hour wedding day out of them from the getting ready to getting down on the dance floor.
Wireless: their wireless capabilities are fantastic. No receivers, triggers, cables, extra batteries. I abandoned my Alien Bees and now shoot with six Sony speed lights.
Price: they're expensive, I know. Not "Profoto" expensive but... not far off. These flashes are uncompromising in build quality, consistency 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 six 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 is up on the advice page! I compare the new Sony 60RM to Flashpoint (Godox), Metz, Yongnuo and previous Sony flashes HVL-F60M and F43M.
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 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!
Questions or suggestions?
Inbox me! I'm always up for trying new lenses and testing out products!