Sony Mirrorless Camera Guide: A Look at Four of Our Favorite Sony Cameras for Beginners to Pros

There is no doubt that Sony cameras have revolutionized the photography world, and now even with others in the Mirrorless race, Sony is still arguably leading the pack.

Sony’s lineup of Mirrorless cameras is incredibly exciting. From the Alpha 6000 series, all the way through to the A9 there are Sony cameras for everyone. Sony packs a whole ton of features into their cameras, and they’re continually pushing the boundaries when it comes to Mirrorless technology.

Sony have had the likes of Nikon and Canon on the ropes when it comes to the future of photography, and their impressive cameras have forced the two giants’ hands when it comes to Mirrorless tech. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, and you’re thinking about switching over, we’re sure you’ll find a Sony body to fit your needs.

In this article we are going to take a look at four of our favorite Sony cameras that are good for beginners and enthusiasts, semi-pros, hobbyists, professionals, and more.

 

For Beginners and Enthusiasts: Sony A6500

 

The Sony a6500 really shook things up in the world of APS-C based cameras when it first came out. This small rangefinder design camera packs a big punch. The a6500 boasts one of the fastest autofocusing systems around, five axis in-body stabilization, and a 24.3 Megapixel sensor. It truly is a pocket powerhouse, yet it is easy enough to use for the photographer who is just starting out, or for the enthusiast who wants a small camera to throw in their pocket.

In our review we said:

“One of the best qualities about Sony cameras are their JPEGs. They’re pretty nice right out of the camera when the right white balance is set. Plus the camera can wirelessly port them to your phone or tablet using its built in WiFi.”

The a6500 features 425 autofocus points which cover the sensor from edge to edge, a flip-out touchscreen on the back for ease of use, plenty of buttons that can be customized to your liking, and decent overall battery life. Image quality is exceptionally good (especially the JPEGS), and this is important to know if you are a beginner.

If you are just starting out you will not have to worry about editing RAW images. You can just focus on learning about composition and the exposure triangle, and you will still come away with nice looking pictures. Pair this camera up with the Sony 20mm f2.8 prime lens, and you will have a camera that can fit in your pocket and can go everywhere with you.

The Sony a6500 has enough features packed into it’s small body that will enable you to grow with it. Built-in Wi-Fi, outstanding 4K video performance, a beautiful electronic viewfinder, superb tracking abilities, 11 frames per second burst mode, and face and eye autofocus will all serve you well.

At just under $1,100 this camera really is a bargain. It may seem a little high in price for a camera to begin with, but you will be getting a feature-packed camera that is capable of producing great images, and you’ll be able to grow with it on your journey without feeling like you need to upgrade quickly.

Buy now ($1,098): Amazon

 

Sony A6500 Image Samples

 

 

 

Pro Tip: While battery life on the A6500 is decent (350 shots per battery), it is always worth it to carry extras. These batteries are affordable and work just the same as the OEM ones do. Pick up a few and keep them in your camera bag.

 

For the Semi Pro and Hobbyist – Sony A7 III

 

The A7 III is another Sony Camera that really shook things up in the photography world when it launched. A full frame, Mirrorless camera with features that bested even Nikon’s and Canon’s Full Frame cameras, for under $2,000!

To Sony, the A7 III is considered their basic full frame camera, but to many it has become their workhorse due to the incredible price and features. For the price, and where it sits in the Sony lineup, we feel this camera is perfectly suited for the semi-pro and the hobbyist who demand more from their gear.

In our review we said:

“During my testing with the Sony A7 III, I found the autofocus to be positively fantastic. The Sony A7 III, along with the Sony 55mm f1.8, were able to focus in near darkness. This is great for photographers who want to capture moments with no autofocus assist lamp coming on because the Sony A7 III did just that”

At the heart of the A7 III you will find a 24 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS Sensor coupled with the BIONZ X Image processor. The camera features 693 autofocus points, 11 frames per second burst mode, ISO which is expandable up to 204800, five axis in-body image stabilization, dual SD card slots, weather sealing, a three inch tilting touch screen, an OLED electronic viewfinder, and Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities.

Pair the A7 III up with the outstanding Sony 85mm f1.8 and the full frame sensor and image processor will produce some truly remarkable images. Portraits look great thanks to the shallow depth of field you can achieve with the Full Frame sensor, and the dynamic range is excellent, so your landscape images will look fantastic. Battery life has been greatly improved in the A7 III too, with a single battery being capable of holding enough charge for 700 shots. As with the a6500, the A7 III is can shoot 4k video at 30 frames per second, and is capable of shooting in S-Log.

This camera is great for those who want a full frame camera and don’t want to break the bank to get one. Perhaps you have just started working in photography doing portrait or event work, or maybe you sell your prints. This camera will serve you well for sure. While it doesn’t boast the image quality of its bigger brother (the A7R III), it will most certainly be enough camera for most.

Buy now ($1,998): Amazon

 

Sony A7 III Image Samples

 

 

 

Pro Tip: Cameras get dirty even when we try our hardest to keep them clean. Pack a quality camera and sensor cleaning kit in your bag so that you can clean your gear while on the go.

 

For the Professional – Sony A7R III

 

The A7R III is perhaps the best full frame camera on the market right now, and it’s the Sony camera that we would recommend to professional photographers who need the absolute best images possible. If you work in the commercial photography world you will be overjoyed with the huge 42.4 Megapixel, back illuminated sensor, five axis in-body image stabilization, and superb weather sealing.

In our review we said:

“The Sony a7r III is a fantastic camera that is pretty much everything that every working photographer needs. Good autofocus? Great RAW file versatility? Third party lens support? Third party flash support? Improved battery life? Dual card slots? Weather sealing? I mean, what is there to not like. Anything that isn’t that great about the Sony a7r III can be overcome and in no way do I see it being a burden in the long run.”

For under $3,000, the A7R III boasts 399 autofocus points, 10 frames per second burst mode, 4k 30 frames per second video with S-Log, dual card slots, a 3.69 million dot electronic viewfinder, a three-inch tilting touchscreen, USB 3.1 for fast data transfer and charging, and a weight of just 1.45lbs.

Image quality is simply phenomenal; RAW images are incredibly versatile while JPEGS are also excellent in quality. The 42.4 Megapixel sensor captures enough detail and data for even the most demanding photographers and clients. When paired with a lens like the G Master 24-70 f2.8 you will be able to create images that will make your jaw drop.

If you are a professional photographer who works in the fashion photography sector, portrait and head shot business, or who produces fine art, you will want to look at the A7R III. This is one of the best Sony cameras on the market.

Buy now ($2,998): Amazon

 

Sony A7R III Image Samples

 

 

Pro Tip: The A7R III produces gorgeous images, but they are quite high in file size. Be sure to pack quality, fast SD Cards in your camera bag so you can just keep shooting all day long.

 

For Sports Photographers and Photojournalists – Sony A9

 

When it comes to sports photography the Sony A9 is really hard to beat. This beast of a camera features a 24 Megapixel, full frame sensor, a 20 frame per second burst mode, an ultra fast autofocus system that refreshes at 60 times per second, and an electronic viewfinder with no blackout. This is the stuff sports and action photographers dream of.

In our review we said:

“It’s got the best autofocus of any mirrorless camera out there, has a blazing fast 20fps, a fantastic battery life, a lot of power in the way of the menus, an ethernet port that I’m sure will really help photojournalists, and a whole lot more. On top of this though, what the target demographic will really love is the high ISO output.”

Like many other Sony cameras, the A9 features the outstanding five axis in-body image stabilization which really makes the world of difference when shooting in low light conditions. You’ll find 693 autofocus points, a max shutter speed of 1/32000, dual SD card slots, excellent battery life, a 200 RAW image buffer, a vibration and noise-free shutter, an ethernet port that enables immediate file sharing, and very good weather sealing which means you can shoot in even the toughest weather conditions.

The Sony A9 not only boasts all of the features above, it is also performs really well in low light, which many sports photographers find themselves shooting in. It’s high ISO images are almost noise free up to ISO 6400 and even beyond this; noise that can be seen is easily removed via Lightroom or Capture One. Pair this up with the Sony 70-200mm f2.8 and you will have a camera package that will capture every play of the game with ease.

The blackout-free viewfinder means you won’t miss any of the action when it matters the most, and the built in ethernet port means you can transfer large amounts of data quickly, which is important if you need to get your pics to an editor or publication quickly. The A9 is also capable of shooting 4K video at 120 frames per second, and the battery life will get you through even the most challenging assignments.

When it comes to Sony cameras and sports photography, the A9 is the one for you.

Buy now ($3,998): Amazon

 

Sony A9 Image Samples