In 2017, I made the decision to sell my Nikon equipment and move to Sony. I’ll explain my personal reasons later but now two years later, it seems more than and more people are moving to Sony too. I’k now in the position where I own all three of the tertiary generation Sony total frame cameras currently on the market. Namely, the Sony A9, A7r3 and the A7iii.
As a event, I feel I’1000 in a good position to comment on how each of them perform and discuss which I experience is the best wedding camera for wedding ceremony photographers.
In this article I will be comparison only the full frame generation three cameras. The APS-C A6x00 and the older generation models such as the A7r2, A7s will not be compared. Let me know if you lot’d like me to do that and if enough people message me, I’ll consider it.
Reasons I switched from Nikon to Sony
When Sony first announced the A9. The game changer for me was the total silent shooting with zero blackout. Now permit’southward be articulate, silent mode isn’t a new affair. It’s actually quite a mutual feature on mirrorless cameras. I’ve had it on my Panasonic cameras for years and it’s been in other mirrorless cameras too. Only what Sony did was to all but eliminate the common issues around silent shooting. Namely the warping when movement is fast and the banding which is commonly caused by LED lights. (More on this later)
As a wedding ceremony photographer, existence able to exist quiet and detached is a great advantage. At that place are many situations where you lot don’t want to be the centre of attention, distracting everyone with the clacking of your shutter. For example, during the ceremony when the bride & groom are exchanging vows. Or the special moment when dad get-go sees his daughter in her wearing apparel. You lot don’t want this moment being distracted with ‘clack! clack!’
It’southward actually hard to describe how liberating being able to shoot silently at all shutter speeds with no blackout is until you lot’ve tried information technology and got used to information technology.
The other advantages for the tertiary generation of Sony cameras was the introduction of the larger Z battery and the dual card slots. The new battery means I can shoot almost of a wedding day on a single bombardment, switching to a fresh ane in the evening. Previously shooting with Sony mirrorless cameras meant carrying a pocket-size bag of batteries with you lot. Changing at regular intervals. Finally having dual carte du jour slots gives me the security of knowing all is not lost if a retentivity card fails.
At last, Sony felt like information technology had released a photographic camera that was ready for professional person wedding photographers to use.
Whilst specs are important, they’re not the be all and end all. But permit’due south have a quick look at the key features adjacent before we discuss the features in more particular below.
|Camera||Sony A9||Sony A7r3||Sony A7iii|
|FPS||20 / 5 (mech)||10||x|
|Monitor pixels||ane.four million||one.4 one thousand thousand||920k|
|Camera||Sony A9ii||Sony A7r4||Sony A7s3|
|FPS||twenty / 10 (mech)||ten||10|
|Monitor pixels||1.4 million||1.4 million||920k|
If you want a camera with more than 24 megapixels and so you will be leaning towards the R line of cameras. The A7r3 has an impressive 42MP versus the gigantic 61MP on the R4! For many wedding photographers, having 42 megapixels is actually a burden rather than an advantage. And 61MP is only a total overkill.
An A7r3 RAW file is roughly 40MB compressed and 82MB without compression. Whilst A7r4 RAW’south weighing in at 61MB compressed and 122MB uncompressed! :O That’s a lot of information that mounts upwardly apace.
I really wish Sony had included a medium RAW choice like Nikon have on the D850. That would accept been ideal. I’yard surprised they haven’t.
Whilst I quite similar the power to crop into my images, I can certainly understand why for many wedding photographer’s, it is a brunt rather than a plus.
After all, we all managed fine with 12 & xvi megapixels before 24 megapixels seemed to become the norm.
One important thing to note is that the Sony A9 series slows down when you lot are using the mechanical shutter to ‘simply’ 5 frames per 2nd and 10fps on the A9ii. This is a huge drop from the blisteringly fast 20fps with the east-shutter. However, when you step dorsum and think nigh it. Is 5fps with flash not plenty for a wedding ceremony photographer? I would argue information technology’south fine. All the other cameras can burn the mechanical shutter at 10fps. It wasn’t that long ago before 10fps was the territory of Canon/Nikon flagship cameras like the 1DX/D4. Now fifty-fifty the ‘entry level’ A7iii can reach 10fps!
Without flash, the A9/A9ii can do a ridiculously fast 20fps. Any faster and I might every bit well be shooting film. For a nuptials photographer, this sort of speed is absolutely unnecessary and the only utilize I tin think of is to willy wave at Catechism/Nikon owning friends. Once that novelty wears off, y’all won’t use it in ‘Hi’ mode. At all.
Of grade having a fast frame rate isn’t very useful if you don’t accept a good buffer to proceed upward. Otherwise it’south all for naught. 1 of my biggest gripes most my old D750 was how chop-chop the buffer filled. The best I could manage was 19 compressed RAW files before hitting the buffer. At 6.5fps, that was barely iii seconds.
This is where Sony have been much more than generous. The A7iii will permit you shoot 33 RAW’s. The A7r3 is 28 RAW’southward (which is adept if you consider the 42MP files it is writing) and the A9 is an insane 241
RAW’south! Interestingly the A9ii is officially 239 compressed RAW’due south. I guess in the existent globe it doesn’t really make a difference.
In practice all the camera’s take buffer’s are more than plenty for wedding photography. I’ve literally never managed to hit the buffer on the A9. Once I accidentally selected the highest speed mode earlier the confetti tunnel and accidentally ended up with over 300 photos! I only noticed halfway down the tunnel when I saw the square flashing like a lunatic. Just at that bespeak it was too belatedly to switch. And then I merely rolled with it!
In short, if yous demand the ultimate speed. The A9/A9ii are your best bet. But in reality they’re all good.
The A9 has Sony’southward peak of the range auto focus engine and this was too given to the A7iii. The A7r3 has a different AF engine. If you’re a specs person you volition also find the A7r3 ‘just’ has 425 AF points versus 693 of its siblings. I say ‘only’ because if you’re coming from a DSLR then that is an insane amount of AF points! The reality is that the extra points on the A7iii/A9 are on the extremes of the screen. Something I accept literally never missed. And if y’all are a DSLR shooter and then y’all’ve never had that power either.
On paper the A7r3 is worse but in exercise it has never left me thinking “The A9 would have got that.” Autofocus performance is never a gene I consider when deciding which camera to use.
The A9ii/A7r4 & A7s3 have gotten themselves an AF upgrade. In practice the real time tracking does seem stickier simply there’s not loads in it. (more on the existent time AF later)
If y’all are planning on shooting videos and want to shoot with picture profiles then you lot tin can rule out the A9. It merely doesn’t accept them. I don’t know why. If I had to guess I remember information technology is considering the mythical Sony A7s3 will utilize a similar sensor and they will include profiles there. But that’s pure speculation on my part. I say mythical since at the time of writing, there’south yet no announcement on this photographic camera.
If you desire the latitude of filming using SLOG or Cine4 so your choices are between the A7r3 and A7iii. In which example I’d say go for the A7iii. For 2 reasons. Firstly information technology’s way cheaper. Secondly video in depression calorie-free situations is noticeably cleaner.
I of the ways Sony take tried to justify the ‘entry level’ moniker for the A7iii is to reduce the number of pixels on the EVF and LCD. The idea beingness that the picture quality when you are looking at the dorsum of the camera is worse.
In practice I’ve found this to be a total not-issue. If you have both cameras side by side then you tin can see a difference. Fifty-fifty then simply if you Actually concentrate. In day to twenty-four hours utilise, you won’t notice any difference.
I don’t think a lot has to be said here. The A9 fastest shutter speed is 1/32000 of a second. The others are one/8000. Every bit a wedding ceremony photographer, 1/8000 is more fast enough for 99.9% of situations you’ll find yourself in.
I’ve saved the best til final! Yes, all three have silent shutter simply the A9’s is different. Very different. Let’s firstly talk most the ‘normal’ silent shutter which is on the A7iii & A7r3. Yes, it is silent just they suffer from two main issues. Banding and distortion. Y’all volition see banding occur in some bogus lighting situations. In the UK this tin be compensated by shooting at i/l or 1/100. In the US that would be i/60 or ane/125. Yous can google why merely in the interests of brevity, I’m not going to become into it here.
The other biggest disadvantage with silent shutter technology is the baloney if your subject is moving.
Equally a result, silent shutter isn’t something we used a lot. Fifty-fifty if nosotros did, it was very much limited to during certain parts of the hymeneals 24-hour interval. Such as the ceremony or speeches. Situations where people aren’t expected to be moving apace or at all. Only for the rest of the day, the traditional mechanical shutter clack clacked away.
That’s where the A9 made me sit up and pay attention. Sony practically eliminated those bug with their electronic shutter. I’m not going to go into a long explanation about why. It’s long & slow. Suffice to say that I tin apply any shutter speed and don’t need to worry most banding or distortion.
The other smashing feature of the A9 is the blackout gratuitous shooting. Whilst you don’t NEED this for hymeneals photography. Information technology does make your whole shooting experience much more fun!
DEMO OF THE SILENT SHUTTER Characteristic – (NOTE: YOUR Sound ISN’T BROKEN…It’S SILENT!)
One of my biggest frustrations soon later on getting the A9 was that Sony put some new features into the A7r3 and subsequently the A7iii that were not in the A9. The two that I most wanted were the touchpad AF when using the EVF and the rating feature.
In case you don’t know. On the A7r3/A7iii you can use your thumb to move the AF point around the screen whilst using the EVF. Without that on the A9, it would exist difficult to use at a nuptials since I’d be constantly having to think nigh which camera i am using.
The rating feature is handy for if I’ve taken a cracking shot. I can charge per unit this in camera and information technology will carry over when importing into Lightroom. In curt, I can start doing some culling straight in camera.
In late March, Sony released firmware 5.0 for the Sony A9. This has much anticipated update brought this camera up to date with the features mentioned above. Both touchpad AF and in photographic camera rating are finally there.
The most exciting addition for us wedding photographers, is the new real time AF tracking mode. This new and exciting feature uses AI based object recognition to track objects. The camera tin can automatically detect eyes and faces without having to press the eye AF button. The tracking is now insanely authentic. Even when your subject area turns abroad from the camera, the A9 will proceed to rail the subject and reacquire the eye/face up as before long as information technology’southward available again.
It’s non perfect. It can still occasionally leap to a different discipline. But over the past 3 weddings, I’ve switched to using this tracking fashion full fourth dimension now. On balance, I miss less shots than using the sometime AF spot on bailiwick method that almost of u.s.a. used to use.
Here is a promotional video from Sony which should explicate the new real fourth dimension AF tracking better than I am probably describing it.
Sadly, Real Time AF tracking is non planned to be released for the A7iii & A7r3. Every bit of right at present it is just bachelor on the A9 and strangely the A6400.
Here is a short video I filmed on our wedding cake topper. Crazily plenty, the Sony photographic camera recognises the face up and eye’south on the ‘helpmate & groom’
The new center AF algorithms make eye auto focus even quicker and more accurate. I’ve noticed it is definitely more responsive. You don’t have to have a split eye AF button assigned anymore. Half pressing the shutter or AF On (if yous use back button focus) works now for eye AF. These algorithms and the one-half press shutter for eye AF will be available for the A7iii & A7r3 on April 11th.
My Switching Experience
One of my first thoughts when I started using the Sony mirrorless cameras was how antiquated DSLR’due south felt in comparison. Information technology’south like y’all’ve suddenly graduated from flight Spitfire’due south to jumping into a F35. Looking through the EVF and having all that information in that location for you. Seeing your exposure change as you arrange your settings. It simply makes DSLR’due south experience primitive.
The ability to put your focus bespeak anywhere on the screen has meant I accept switched from using AF-South mode on my Nikon’south to using AF-C full time. I’m no longer constrained by the little rectangular box that my AF points are in. If y’all recall about information technology, it’south crazy. In 2019 why am I limited to putting a focus indicate in the centre parts of my screen only? It just makes no sense!
The existent time tracking has raised the bar college for Sony’s competitors. They surely at present need to raise their game if they hope to compete. Auto focus is now then skillful and and then accurate that I don’t even demand to worry if the bride spins around, someone briefly walks by. The camera is smart plenty to keep going. Yes for at present it is A9 merely. Merely you can bet it will commencement to appear on every new release of camera. As the A6400 has shown.
One of the benefits I don’t retrieve much about anymore is the fact I no longer need to calibrate my lenses to my photographic camera body. With mirrorless cameras (not but Sony), micro adjusting your lenses is a thing of the past. No more staring at an paradigm which is slightly out of focus and thinking “I could take sworn I nailed that shot….oh heck. Practise my lenses demand calibrating again???” With mirrorless, if you miss focus and then you only have yourself to blame. The photo below is a200% crop from a wedding I recently shot. Sharpness similar this is pretty much par for the form at present.
The Silent Shutter Once again!
The silent shutter has fabricated me really bask the documentary side of being a wedding photographer. It has also allowed me to shoot in situations where I probably would have been banned. Registrars and vicar’southward attitudes have changed for the amend one time I’ve shown them I make no sound.
I’ve been able to put my camera literally centimeters away from the registrar’s ear, burn off a flare-up of 20 shots and they never knew. Try doing that with a DSLR and see what reaction y’all get. I can be super discrete for emotional moments such as the moment the father sees his girl in her dress. Meaning I’m documenting the story without accidentally being part of it.
Videographers honey me too. No more clacking disrupting their sound. Videographer’s detest it when they’re trying to edit and all they can hear whilst the bride & groom are exchanging vows is the clicking of your camera.
Shoot More & More!
The number of frames I shoot now has gone up dramatically. This seems to be consistent with others who accept switched to Sony. Because nosotros’re so much more detached. Nosotros shoot more. Some will hate this thought and consider information technology ‘spraying and praying’. I really don’t care. Personally I think it is something to embrace. Shoot through the moment and choose the decisive moment afterwards in post. No demand to ‘make do’ with the best shot you tried to anticipate.
Luckily Sony take chosen to use SD cards for both slots. And then I’ve upgraded from 64GB cards to 128GB. A tip for if y’all’re switching. Use fast UHS-1 cards. Don’t carp at this moment with the expensive UHS-two cards for slot 1. Sony buffer’due south are and then skilful you will be wasting your money.
The concluding thing I will mention is that I hadn’t realised how people instinctively stop and smile at you when they think they’re having their photograph taken. Even if they are talking, they hear the clicking and they plough to yous and smile. For documentary parts of the day, information technology is the exact contrary of what I want. Shooting silent means information technology is much easier to sneakily take photographs to show the emotional moments your bride & groom desire to see. The real moment as it was.
Now yous’re probably now thinking “Hey Martin…y’all’ve done zero only talk about the A9. You’ve barely mentioned the others” And there’s a proficient reason for that. If I am shooting a wedding, the A9 is my first pick. My backup camera is the A7r3 and the A7iii is only used for video work or as a backup to my backup.
Why? Well it should be clear by now why I favour the A9. But why is the A7r3 my second photographic camera rather than the A7iii? Just because of the 42MP sensor. That being said. I purchased the A7r3 before Sony announced the A7iii. If I had to make the option now. I’d go straight for the A7iii. The actress resolution I get from the 42MP sensor is really handy for cropping but information technology isn’t worth the price difference betwixt the mk3 and the R3.
The A7iii is such a popular camera because of the feature set up and aggressive price point. I’m guessing it has outsold the A9 by a considerable margin. Many many hymeneals photographer’s are happily using the A7iii to produce fantastic images. It is a superb photographic camera. Price/performance it’s tough to beat. Compare information technology adjacent with the Catechism/Nikon equivalent DSLR’s and even their new mirrorless cameras and the A7iii in many ways is even so superior. If I didn’t already accept the A9 then I’d happily use the A7iii to shoot an entire wedding.
Some argue that the A9 is a fleck of a one play a joke on pony. That the A7iii has silent shutter also and you can workaround problems with lighting by matching the shutter speed to the light frequency. That for wedding ceremonies it’due south adept enough. And it’south all true. It’south good enough. But I don’t want expert enough. I take the budget. I wanted better.
Equally I said earlier, information technology is incredibly hard to explain how liberating information technology is to be able to shoot silent shutter for nigh of the wedding twenty-four hour period. If asked by our customers, nosotros’ll all claim to exist ‘unobtrusive’. But are we really if your shutter is clacking abroad thousands of times a twenty-four hours?
The Sony A9 has enabled me to go in places that I otherwise wouldn’t. And capture lots of photographs I otherwise couldn’t.
If you are a documentary wedding photographer then I couldn’t recommend the Sony A9 enough. For y’all, this is game irresolute. Just become information technology.
For the rest of us y’all can’t actually go wrong with whatsoever of the iii cameras. If you’re on a budget then the Sony A7iii volition do you proud.
But if I had to pick one and say which camera out of the three is best for nuptials photography. In my opinion, it would be the Sony A9 of class.
If you lot have any questions, I’m happy to assistance. Feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com kingdom Respectfully I enquire yous to contact me this way rather than use my contact form. Thanks!