Op/Ed: Is A Full Frame Mirrorless Camera An Option For a Portrait or Wedding Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7 A7r RX10 Zeiss Lenses (10 of 31)During Photo Plus Expo 2013, I started a debate with several photographers on the viability of  full frame mirrorless cameras for portrait and wedding photographers. We got to play with the New Sony A7 & A7R and we started think about how cameras like these would affect us. While technically and quality wise, the A7 and A7r can measure up to cameras like the Canon 5D MK III or Nikon D800, these camera are cosmetically different. While people should not judge books by their covers, many will. We talked about this, a lot. Here are a few of the things we talked about.

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Perception of Clients

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7 A7r RX10 Zeiss Lenses (3 of 31)
On of the major thing we talked about is how the cameras look to the clients. If a client is not educated in photography, we wondered how a camera like the Sony A7 would be viewed. Most clients are used to seeing bigger camera like the Nikon D800 or the Canon 5D MkIII. While there are cameras grips to make the Sony A7 camera look bigger. One of the thoughts we all agreed on was that we would have to show samples of the cameras image quality printed and on the web.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r and Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 lens sample images (9 of 10)ISO 1001-1250 sec at f - 1.4

The image quality is definitely there on the Sony A7 and A7r. I’m sure as more and more competitors appear and this style of camera matures, the quality of the images would just get better as well. I believe a photographer would have to build a portfolio around the camera. It would help to dispel any possible negative thoughts about its image quality when using the camera around an uniformed client.

The Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7 and 35mm f2.8 image samples (10 of 13)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8
A photographer must know the camera well. You can’t fiddle with it. When using a full frame mirrorless camera everything has to be second nature. Your lighting has to be correct. As well as everything around you. Basically you can not just purchase this camera and go straight to a photo shoot. A photographer is going to have to be much more comfortable with these new types cameras, until people are more aware of them.

Again it’s about the perception of your client. Another suggestion that was made was a photographer is going to have to carry two cameras at first. Their classic full size DSLR alongside their mirrorless. This sort of goes back to perception, and if the photographer is not a 100% comfortable with a full frame mirrorless, they have their regular camera to fall back on.

In the End We Have a New Style of Camera in the Game

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus OMD EM5 product images (1 of 6)

Like the Olympus OMD before it, people either had their doubts or loved it. Over time the camera became more and more accepted, and got a good reputation beyond the reviews.

While all new cameras are very clever, they are getting smaller. We as photographers have to basically sell their use to clients. If, hypothetically, uncle Bob walks into a wedding or event with an old Nikon D2h 4.1MP camera with a Nikon 35-70 f2.8 lens and beats his chest, you may have an issue. A photographer shooting with these new full frame mirrorless cameras will have to possibly prove themselves.  The photographer cannot leave any doubt in the mind of their client. The Sony A7, A7r and the full-frame mirrorless cameras that follow will all be contenders.

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.